A Bimble Around Beaufort, North Carolina and Our Last Day Here
Originally inhabited by the Coree Indians, then French Huguenots, Beaufort was eventually settled by the British in 1709. In 1713, Robert Turner, who held the original land grant for two hundred acres, laid out the town and named the streets just as they are today. The town was named in honour of Turner’s friend Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort and was incorporated in 1722. By the late 18th Century, Beaufort was becoming an active seaport. Inhabited by sailors, pirates, privateers, fishermen, soldiers and planters, it was a diverse community with the common thread being the sea.
While Beaufort’s active sea trade allowed it to be connected with seaports thousands of miles away, its geography kept it isolated from the interior of the state. This isolation has help the town retain its historic appearance and an accent all of it’s own; known locally as ‘the Elizabethan Accent’. To our ear the sort of deep vowel you hear in films – hern(t)in’, shooo(t) in’ and feeeesin’. Still standing today are the homes of Beaufort’s early sea captains, shippers and merchants. Beaufort boasts over a hundred homes that are over a century old and several private residences that are over two hundred years old. This is a bit of a touchy subject, we are genuinely interested in exploring wherever we visit or we would simply slip Beez Neez away the very next morning. So many people in this state have sounded somewhat techy “well it’s nothing compared to the age of the houses and buildings in England”. So get over it. We have seen the Holy Land and there is even more ‘old stuff’ there than in England. OK off the soap box.
Beaufort’s early architecture is characterised by its simplicity and charm. Boat-building and skills and tools were used as sea captains copied double-porch styles of the West Indies and Bahamas they had seen on their voyages. The Bahamian influence is reflected in the rooflines of the oldest houses. Providing nature’s own air-conditioning, the gabled ends form a steep pitch at the ridge of the roof which breaks to cover the full length porches. These porches are the dominant feature whether on a traditional cottage, Queen Anne or Greek Revival style property. The quirky picket fences built with an up and down pattern are also distinctive and used extensively since an early law stated that pigs must be kept in the yard. Pigs found outside the fence could be slaughtered by the finder, though half must be given to the church wardens to feed the hungry.
The First Baptist Church (sorry about the power line Colin), Sarah Guthrie’s Bell outside, loved the old style Chevvy and Carteret County Courthouse (don’t mention the aerial).
We very much enjoyed our bimble around the Old Burying Ground (own blog) and..............
.....we really do not know what we will see next including a ‘One Careful Owner’.
Wandering back to the girl (bottom right of last picture) we realised we had taken pictures of the fronts of the memorials to Michael Smith John Costlow, but not the backs. Michael’s is all the more poignant now we have seen the Challenger memorial at Arlington Cemetery (and visited the Kennedy Space Centre). Time to nip over the road to the General Store and get a Styrofoam cup – half filled with the best death by chocolate ice cream in the world and topped off with coffee. Bear’s choice, buttered pecan with peaches and cream, no supper needed after those. Our hips and waistline need us to move on. Off on the morrow.
ALL IN ALL WE HAVE VERY MUCH ENJOYED OUR TIME HERE