Thursday, June 14, 2012

Beaufort, SC

This past weekend Donna and I visited lovely Beaufort, SC on the coast between Charleston and Savannah. En route we stopped and visited an old favorite, the ruins of Sheldon Church. It was built between 1745 and 1755, burned by the British in 1779, rebuilt in 1826, and burned by the Union in 1865.

We then headed to Hunting Island State Park, where we were greeted by an alligator in their pond.

In the park is a lighthouse that was built in 1873 (a previous one was destroyed during the Civil War); it was closed for repair work when we visited the park several years back, but it is now open (it's actually the only one is SC that is open to the public) and we were able to climb to the top. Fortunately we didn't have to lug a 50-pound container of fuel oil to the top like the lighthouse keeper once had to do on a daily basis!

There was a large number of pelicans flying around and diving into the ocean grabbing fish. Groups were constantly flying overhead.

After visiting the lighthouse we went out onto the beach and walked along the water for a while. It's a nice stretch of secluded beach with not too many people on it.

There is a great deal of driftwood along the beach that, along with the pristine sand, makes for a winter-like scene.

We concluded the day with a good seafood meal at Steamer Oyster and Steakhouse and a lazy evening at the hotel. The next day after filling up our tanks at Waffle House we headed out to the ruins of the Chapel of Ease to St. Helena's Church, built in 1740 and burned in 1886.

The church was built using tabby, a combination of oyster shells, lime, and sand; it's amazing how durable it is and how well it has held up for 270 years!

Next we visited the remains of Fort Fremont, built in 1899 to protect Port Royal Sound. The round structure shown here was home to one of three disappearing canons that was raised to fire and lowered to protect it.

We then headed back into Beaufort and explored the waterfront shopping area for a couple of hours. We visited several interesting small shops, a great used book store, and Southern Sweets, a really good ice cream and sandwich shop where we grabbed a snack.

Then, it was time to get headed homeward, but there were 2 more sites to visit along the way. The first was the Pon Pon Chapel of Ease (Pon Pon is an Indian term meaning "settlement"), built in 1753, burned in 1801, rebuilt in 1821, and burned again in 1832. It was actually a bit of an adventure finding this one, as it is on Parkers Ferry Road, and we found that there are actually two separate roadways with that name. We first took the 4 mile dirt road loop that is not the correct one. The correct one is a bit further south, though, with it also being dirt, and since we've just had a good amount of rain, it looked pretty messy, so we instead went via Jacksonboro Road, which is paved and not any longer of a route. Here's a map of the area.

And then one final stop in Bowman to see the UFO Welcome Center, a quirky homemade UFO some guy has built in his front yard (he's obviously not part of a homeowners association) using all sorts of random articles. You can supposedly knock on his door and get a tour, but we weren't feeling quite that adventurous.

And then we were back home! Was great to see some great sites again and several new ones, eat some good food, meet some good folks, and just plain get out and go somewhere. :-)


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