Monday, August 16, 2021

Visiting Beaufort, South Carolina

by Paula Gail Benson

If you’ve seen the movies The Big Chill, The Great Santini, and The Prince of Tides, then you’ve seen parts of Beaufort, South Carolina. Pronounced Beau (rhyming with DEW) -fort rather than the North Carolina Beau (rhyming with SEW) -fort, the city preserves its historic features while offering a thriving community for the arts, education, and military installations (Beaufort Marine Corps Base, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, and Naval Hospital Beaufort Navy Base).

Two weeks ago, while traveling for work, I had the opportunity to stay over in Beaufort and visit with a friend. During the summer, it is hot and humid, but there are plenty of sights to explore inside. We had a delightful lunch at the Lowcountry Produce Market & Café, which offered both indoor dining as well as a variety of products to take home. It’s located next to the library on Carteret Street. As I was going there, I stopped behind a long line of cars. I noticed no one seemed perturbed by the wait. Later I learned that the bridge had been open, allowing vessels to pass. It’s a regular occurrence in Beaufort.

Up the street from Lowcountry Produce is NeverMore Books, now located at 910 Port Republic Street. It provides a warm and welcoming environment for any book lover. As you enter, there is a large collection of books by local authors about Beaufort. I’ll recommend two in particular by a good friend and excellent historian, Alexia Jones Helsley. A Guide to Historic Beaufort, South Carolina (History and Guide) (The History Press 2006) provides both the story of the city as well as suggestions for touring. Wicked Beaufort (The History Press 2011) offers a history of Beaufort’s illicit activities spanning from the 1500s to the 1900s.

Gregorie Glass Website

My friend, Greg Rawls, displays his beautiful glasswork art at Thibault Gallery. You can view his work at the Gallery through this link or on his website.

Greg with Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors
In addition to his glasswork, Greg designs sets for the Beaufort Theater Company and Beaufort Children’s Theater. Sometimes he also appears in the productions.

Beaufort may best be known as the home of novelist Pat Conroy. The Pat Conroy Literary Center is located downtown and contains memorabilia and offers programs of interests to readers and writers of all ages. Come see the Spanish moss, smell the pluff mud, and be inspired by a man who drew his own inspiration from this charmed city.     


  1. Looks like an interesting side trip when we visit my brother in Charleston. Thanks, Paula.

  2. Putting Beaufort on my bucket list, too. I love Pat Conroy-land, and I loved "The Big Chill," also. Thanks for this cool description.

  3. So much to do there, and I now know who to pronounce Beaufort!

  4. Gay, Saralyn, and Donnell, let me assure you that you would enjoy Beaufort. I hope you’ll visit some time!


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