We arrived in Beaufort at 4:30pm the previous afternoon and were very glad to find the playground next to the house much bigger and better equipped than in the photos. On our first morning there, we all hung out at the playground for some time before heading to the beach in the early afternoon. For our beach foray, we drove half an hour to Hunting Island State Park. The drive into the park mesmerized us with such strange-looking trees as probably could only be found in tropical lagoons and marshlands. We even thought the flora here seem almost prehistoric in their spiky, savage shapes.
We went to the beach in the morning.
In the afternoon, we visited downtown Beaufort for the first time. We walked around on the boardwalk to admire the view of the boats and around the downtown streets to check out the architecture and the shops. We saw a toy store amusingly called Monkey’s Uncle and decided that we would like to visit Finder’s Keepers, a quaint-looking souvenir shop displaying wooden model ships in the window. On that afternoon, the air and sky were grey with a veil of very fine dust. David had found out that every year at this time the wind carries dust from the Sahara Desert to this part of the U.S.’ Eastern Coast. That explains the fertility of the soil here and the thick growth of flora.
We took the boys to the beach in the morning. That morning being Sunday morning, the beach was quite calm.
We took it easy in the afternoon. David took the boys out to play at the playground while I stayed home to read my book.
We walked from our place to downtown Beaufort along Bay street. We wanted to look closely at the antebellum houses facing the harbor front on the way. When we finally reached downtown, the boys played at the playground next to the boardwalk while David and I sat down for a while in one of the swings looking out to the harbor. We found out that Beaufort has the deepest natural harbor south of New York. We also learned all sorts of interesting facts about Beaufort history this morning just by walking around and reading the memorial plaques in the square.
Discovered by Spanish Captain Pedro de Salazar in 1514, a year after Ponce de Leon’s landing at St. Augustine (Florida), Beaufort was the second landing site on the North American continent by Europeans. After numerous failed attempts by the French and Spanish to colonize the area, the English arrived in 1663 and successfully established the Beaufort District as the second frontier of English North America. Beaufort was named after Henry Somerset, the 2nd Duke of Beaufort.
Here are the boys sitting and reading together on James’ bed in their room:
After the boys played at the playground for a little bit, we drove to Port Royal, a recently-developed residential neighborhood in Beaufort. As we watched a man fishing at the boardwalk, we saw him catch a stingray. We were also excited to see two dolphins swimming around not far from us in the harbor. It was our first dolphin sighting ever! David spotted the first dolphin and we could hardly believed our eyes or our luck when we spotted the second one. We named them Greg and George.
In the morning, we went to the beach for the last time. It was an auspicious morning as we found 2 sand dollars while walking along the shore to enjoy the sea breeze and view. Not too far from the beach, an American flag was flying from the State Park’s iconic lighthouse to announce the near arrival of the Fourth of July. As we were getting ready to leave, we saw 4 bottle-nosed dolphins swimming merrily not too far from shore. It was the perfect memory of the ocean from this trip.