Friday, May 12, 2006

Speaking of Beaufort


This is one of many breathtaking spots in Beaufort to which the Mustang rolls. We could leave you with just the photo and you'd get the message, but we'd like to run through all the gears anyway.

The topic of Beaufort was raised with Lowcountry Bloggers as to it's role in the Low Country, the definition of which was explored as well. Certainly Charleston is the center of the Low Country, but Beaufort is decidedly a kindred spirit. While no one has yet copyrighted the term " Low Country ", it exists as much as a state of mind as a set of county lines drawn in the sand. Perhaps you can't define it, but you certainly know it when you see it ( to paraphrase Mr. Justice Stewart on the vexing Constitutional issues of pornography ).

Georgetown is certainly within this realm at the northern limit. But, Pawleys Island, just inches above Winyah Bay, is on the cusp of the " Grand Strand " and damned by the tar of that same brush. Hilton Head Island has a geographical presumption to membership in the LC, but spiritually it's all resort, the development of which has displaced every trace of Low Country pathos. It's the Astro Turf of the marshlands, This leaves venerable Beaufort to guard our southern flank of the LC.

We have to recognize that every coastal community suffers from industrial tourism, vulgar trinketeers and insufferably cute boutiques run by retirees from whatever away place you don't like. Beaufort has its share, but if a community has managed to preserve its indigenous architecture, vegetation and vistas, then joy abides. Beaufort has done this with early preservation efforts. They've lost some nice buildings, but saved many. Fine old buildings are like teeth: when you lose them the replacements never quite fit.

Their Open Land Trust has preserved many lovely views of the wetlands from blockage by developed clutter. Beaufort retains almost every virtue which we associate with the Low Country. People will often cite Savannah as the sister city to Charleston, but if you take a good look at the City of Beautiful Squares, it ain't. Beaufort is our rightful kin.

Some years back there were reports of a Neutron Bomb, a gadget which would take out all of the people, but leave the buildings standing. We don't know if it really worked that way and appalling prospect that it was, it did catch the eye of some preservationists.


Anonymous Agricola said...

Perhaps, Windviel, a future trip might include a visit to the bucolic town of Blufton (at least it was when I last visited), which, if memory serves, is geographically located between Hilton Head and Beaufort. Spiritually, I don't know where Blufton lies, but I do hope its soul still resides in the Low Country.

As to the neutron bomb thing, perhaps the coming oil crisis, which only grows worse with the refusal of some politicians to allow off-shore drilling, will force the cessation of air conditioning. Such an event might cause so much stress in the local eco-niche as to transform the creatures now known as CumYahs to a new species known as the BinDays.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Windviel said...

Thanks for your comment, Ag. As it happens, we've "done" Bluffton as one of our very first postings on MR. We found the bucolic index relatively high. Spiritually, Bluffton is still Low Country at its soul, but has some new faces and innovative ideas for internet related projects which is not overly distractive.

Fortunately, they have not nuked all of the quaint little cottages so we won't drop the Neutron Bomb on them...for now.

2:33 PM  
Blogger WJG said...

I have visited and photographed in an around Beaufort. Great place.

3:47 AM  
Blogger Windviel said...

WJG, Thanks for your comment. Beaufort is very special place and one which has managed to retain its civility as well as its magnificent inventory of historic and beautiful structures. It's an easy town to walk and a breathtaking place to photograph.

I hope that you will revisit often as we shall do. Thanks again for your comment.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've lived in Charleston for over thirty years now, and though I love it dearly my heart still beats a little faster every time I return to beautiful Beaufort by the sea...

2:14 PM  
Blogger Windviel said...

....twenty-six miles from Yemassee, as the jingle goes.

Yes, we fully understand how you feel. What may be difficult for newer residents to understand is the strong bond between Charleston and Beaufort. Beaufort has both a rich history and sentimental places to which we are drawn back time and again. We will always go back and it's never far from our thoughts. Thanks for sharing that with us.

11:22 PM  

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