During our first few days in Beaufort, the locals Bruce and I spoke with warned us that Beaufort would get under our skin, and we wouldn’t want to leave. “There’s just something about this place…”, they said.

Nearly three weeks later, as we prepare to make our way back to Georgia, I reflect back to those conversations and must admit the locals were spot-on. This is a great place, and we look forward to a return visit– hopefully, right back in this very house that we rented for our stay.

The memory I will take away with me that is sure to linger is the friendliness of the locals. Throughout our stay, we met friendly people everywhere we went. From the checkout lady at Publix to the gallery owners at Thibault Gallery (who, by the way, didn’t try to sell us anything), to the artists we spoke with during the First Friday After Five Artwalk, to the young guy behind the counter at Sea Eagle Market, to the lifeguards at the Beaufort Public Pool; they were all so warm and welcoming. Southern hospitality is alive and well here in Beaufort, South Carolina!

Visually, I was taken by the beauty of the Spanish moss on everything from the wild oaks, to the crepe myrtles, to even the magnolias. At “The Point”, that stuff was growing everywhere, and it was beautiful. So were the antebellum homes.

The marsh was also surprisingly alluring– something I found myself gazing at often. It was every-changing, as the tide rolled in and out; and, since we were here during the full moon, the tide had as much as a 10-foot swing during a few of those days.

Then, there were the dolphins. WOW! What a wonderful thrill it was to have the opportunity to spend hours observing them in their native habitat rather than in constricting tanks at Sea World. (As an adult who now knows better, I no longer view being a dolphin trainer as something I would aspire to be. I have yet to see the documentary, “Blackfish”, but I’m guessing after I do, my feelings for Sea World (and similar amusement parks) will continue on a downward spiral.

On the culinary end of things, we enjoyed a few good restaurants, but I most enjoyed eating shrimp- and, lots of it! Sea Eagle Market was our seafood source of choice for eight of our home-cooked meals, and seven of those dinners featured medium local shrimp purchased at $5.99 per pound. Boy, were they sweet and FRESH! Sea Eagle owns their own boats, so the shrimp they catch go directly from their boats onto the ice at the market.

Bruce has it down when it comes to cooking those little guys to perfection. Sautee in a little olive oil, red pepper flake, basil, and tons of freshly chopped garlic; toss over whole wheat penne with a little pesto and top with grated romano, and it’s the base for an easy and delicious dinner. Steamed broccoli on top and a side salad make this my favorite shrimp dinner. (The shrimp wraps Bruce made were tasty, too!)

About the only thing I didn’t like about Beaufort was the same thing I have dealt with no matter where we have visited along the coast: no-see-ums. Darn those little buggers! If there was a place I missed spraying with insect repellent, they found it. They weren’t as bad here as they were in Sanibel, but they were bad enough.

Even with the no-see-ums and miserable weather we had for several of the days, I loved this place and look forward to visiting again. After all, Beaufort got under my skin.






Since moving to the East Coast in 2009, Bruce and I have taken our kayaks with us to explore the waters around Sanibel Island (twice), St. Augustine, and Laguna Beach– all in Florida. This time, we opted for a Lowcountry adventure and chose to visit Beaufort, South Carolina.

Located between Charleston and Savannah, Georgia, Beaufort is situated along the Intracoastal Waterway. It is a kayaker’s paradise with more than 200 marsh islands to paddle around, 175 species of wetland birds to observe and photograph, great fishing (Bruce is going for redfish), and plenty of bottlenose dolphins to watch while Bruce is busy catching those reds.

South Carolina’s second oldest city and The Sea Islands surrounding Beaufort were first discovered by French explorer Jean Ribaut more than 450 years ago. The city of Beaufort wasn’t founded, though, until 1711 by the English.

This quaint and historic city is known for its ongoing revival and celebration of Gullah culture including its cuisine which blends flavors from Africa and the West Indies. Frogmore stew (also known as Lowcountry Boil) is a Gullah dish that dates back hundreds of years and originated in the Frogmore area of St. Helena Island near Beaufort. A combination of shrimp, sausage, corn, onions and potatoes; it’s the most famous dish of the region. We plan on enjoying some of it during the Shrimp Festival next weekend.

Our home-away-from-home during our visit is a wonderful rental we found through VRBO. This is the owner’s second home; his main residence being in another beautiful city, Ithaca, New York.

This place felt like home the moment we stepped inside. Built in 2012, it’s still very modern and new, but casual and comfortable. The kitchen is awesome; one of the main draws for Bruce who loves cooking up the local shrimp and fish. Another selling point was the view of the marsh from the house, including the screened-in porch. (Stay tuned for photos in another post.) The Spanish moss-covered huge oak trees on the property surrounding the house were a bonus. The best feature, though, is the long private dock over the marsh, and the boat landing just down the street where dolphins can be viewed feeding just 50 yards from the boat ramp. This morning, I paddled out to watch them.

We couldn’t beat the house’s location, especially with it being so close to the historic downtown area full of antebellum homes featured in movies such as The Big Chill, The Prince of Tides, Forrest Gump, and more.

Our first several days here just zipped by. We arrived last Tuesday, and mid-week was spent settling in and exploring the area. It was love at first sight!

We had hoped to take three different kayak trips with Kim and David of Beaufort Kayak Tours; however, the weather didn’t cooperate, and we ended up having to settle for just one before they left for vacation. That tour was on Friday, and it was a gorgeous, calm evening on the water following a day of rain and thunderstorms that kept us holed-up indoors.



Our guides, Kim and David

The group (joining the kayak club for the tour, and using our own kayaks saved us $40 each!) launched off Fripp Island Inlet and headed out to the marsh across the way. After stopping to see a huge bald eagle nest, we paddled back out to the open water to see the dolphins. There is a particular spot where they are known to feed, and when I say “they”, I mean that literally. There were pods of dolphins all over! In just about any direction I pointed my kayak, I would eventually see dorsal fins pop out of the water without waiting too long. On three different occasions, we saw a dolphin jump high out of the water! Unfortunately, I missed the shot each time. After all, this isn’t Sea World where the Dolphin Show hostess instructs you to “have your camera ready, because Flipper is going to jump through that hoop high in the air when I blow the whistle!” Rather, photographing dolphins in the wild is more like herding cats.


Just as I was aiming to get a nice shot of Kim, she pointed to a dolphin jumping out of the water.  He was long gone before I got a shot.

Having said that, I did manage to get these two photos. The second was shot– no joke– no more than six feet from my boat:








They Called Him “Flipper”…

Do you remember that really cheesy, sappy TV show, “Flipper” with the even cheesier theme song?  When I was a little kid, Flipper was my favorite show; must-see TV for me.  I was so envious of Sandy; I wanted my very own pet dolphin, too!  I was so crazy about dolphins, my dream was to grow up and become a dolphin trainer at Marineland (no longer in existence) or Sea World.

Well, fast forward to 2012 and now I am a baby geezer, remembering that childhood dream.  Flipper was from Florida and now I was on a mission to see his distant cousins here, too.  Sure, I have seen plenty of dolphins in my 50 years, but “plenty” is never enough, when it comes to seeing your very favorite of anything.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself, as far as yesterday’s adventures go.  The day started out back at J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge; this time with our kayaks, rather than a tram tour.  There are two places to launch within the reserve and we opted for the second, after passing the white pelicans.



Bruce brought his fishing gear, intending to catch this time, rather than just fish.  But, it just wasn’t meant to be.  It’s not that he’s a bad fisherman; I used to watch him catch 6-10 bass in one hour off Coronado Bay, from his kayak.  And, that’s no fish story; it was a regular thing!  But, here, the fish just aren’t going to bite at much of anything when they are suffering from a sudden 10 degree temperature drop.

So, while Bruce fished, I chased around a blue heron and watched the egrets on the shoreline.  It was a gorgeous day and so quiet and tranquil.


After fishing, a swim workout, and a deli sandwich from Jerry’s, we headed for the Lighthouse in our kayaks in search of dolphins.  They were there the other day, so we figured our luck would be with us again.  Sure enough, before we even launched our kayaks, we spotted them, just 50 yards out.  FLIPPER!

The gulf was completely flat and winds were only 4mph; perfect for ‘yaking.  We paddled towards the pier and spent the remainder of the late afternoon paddling around a couple of pods of dolphins out for their evening meal.  A mother and baby, close by her side, didn’t seem to mind us at all; a surprise, since mothers are always so protective of their young.  At one point, Mom poked her head up by Bruce’s kayak to have a look, before swimming right under his boat.  He must have met her approval (how could she not???), because they continued to hang around the area.



A few times, the dolphins surfaced right by my boat, as well, before taking a dive right under me.  (Of course, every time, I was too slow at the trigger and ended up with plenty of photos of just a fin sticking out of the water…)  It was such a thrill, reminding me of the times I had paddled with the dolphins before; once in Long Beach and the other in Aransas Pass, Texas.

The main thing was that it was such a blast to be out there with the dolphins, so close to the shore, watching them feed.  At times, they would dart towards the shore chasing down their dinner; their speed and agility amazing to see.  We were having so much fun; we didn’t want to turn back when the sun was almost set.  For that hour or two, I was living that childhood dream.  “They called him Flipper,  Flipper, Flipper, …”