We then drove to South Carolina, using both main roads and back roads. It was Easter Sunday, and Mother Nature was all dressed up for us! We went through spectacular small town with blooming azaleas, redbud, dogwoods, and every other kind of flowering tree, including crabapple, and each town seemed to outdo the last one.
Since we were already running late, we stuck to the junk food diet. We ate cookies, candy, crackers, trail mix, pecans, and anything else we could get our hands on. Needless to say, we were at coked to the gills on sugar and preservatives by the time we arrived at the Rhett House Inn. The drive through the South Carolina low country was impressive, with massive oaks draped in Spanish mosque, but it was nothing like the tabular beauty of western North Carolina.
Beaufort is a beautiful town that was spared the torch by Sherman’s advancing army because it had served as a garrison for Union troops. Therefore, the old antebellum houses from the pre-Civil War days were spared the Atlanta’s fate. The town is nothing short of spectacular.
Our B & B Home for the next day was The Rhett House Inn, a beautiful white antebellum mansion, an 1820’s mansion that whispered genteel Southern hospitality. With twilight approaching, we walked to the Plums Restaurant, which had been a favorite for many actors who had shot movies in Beaufort. Barbra Streisand (in town for the filming of “The Prince of Tides”) loved their ice cream. There, we had an excellent dinner of crab cakes, and soft shell crab, and then made our way back to the inn, where we hit the sack.
The next morning, we explored every inch of Beaufort. There were numerous old antebellum mansions, many of which had been converted into bed and breakfasts, but the one mansion we were most interested in was the one featured in the movie “The Big Chill”. We found it without much difficulty, but were disappointed to find that a high wall surrounded the property, obscuring the view. Apparently, too many fans of the movie had harassed the poor woman who owned the house to the point of distraction. We were about to join the legions of the others. Not to be deterred, we peered through the iron gates, and over the wall, shot pictures by raising our cameras as high as we could, but none of them turned out very well. We had to do better. This required guerrilla action.
Since it was low tide, I saw an opportunity. The mud flats surrounding the mansion were relatively dry and covered with matted seagrass. I gingerly walked on the seagrass in the mud, edging my way along until I got a clear view of the house, and that’s how I got our pictures. I don’t think that any of the terminally cool people from the movie would have done such a stunt, but I didn’t care. I got my pictures.
We rode around the town, taking pictures of statues, cannons, old daughter of the Confederacy plaques, as well as a hawk killing a squirrel. I don’t think I will send Danny that picture.
Cindy’s note: Just before we were about to leave, Larry spoke with the manager of the Rhett House Inn. What could have been a one minute conversation “What’s the best way out of town?” turned into a dialog of over an hour. The manager turned out to be a serious bicyclist who owned the exact same bike Larry owns, the Orbea Orca, and he and Larry became kindred spirits who shared cycling stories. Then, almost as an aside, the manager told us to take a quick ride through Darien, Georgia, on our way to Cumberland Island, so we could see some of the ruins of the Civil War. It was a heartbreaking sight. Check out our entry for Georgia for more details…