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Beaufort, South Carolina

     Beaufort was founded in 1711 by the English and named after Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort (1684-1714).  The town is preparing a gala celebration for its 300th birthday which will begin December 31, 2010. The town’s actual birthday is January 17, 2011.

     Beaufort is the second oldest town in South Carolina and is one of the few cities with its entire downtown designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a historic district.  It was a perfect destination for an exciting, visual history lesson.

     Beaufort was very prosperous and aristocratic in the 1700s and early 1800 thanks to cash crops including rice, indigo and cotton. Most of the magnificent, antebellum homes were summer homes for the wealthy plantation owners.

     During the Civil war the Union Army and Navy troops invaded Beaufort and the Confederate families fled the town. The town was not destroyed because the homes and churches were used as hospitals and places to house the troops and officers by the Union Army and Navy troops.

     Beaufort was occupied by the Union Army and Navy troops for the duration of the Civil War and for years afterward as the federal base of the South as Gen. William T. Sherman made his “March to the Sea.”

     Beaufort grew and flourished once again in the 1900s because of the development of shrimping and fishing industries. The population grew fast and tourist started coming to experience the magnificent sights the town had to offer.

     The town invites you to walk or take a horse drawn carriage ride down its tree-lined streets, the old live oak and palmetto trees dripping with Spanish moss.  You become absorbed in its rich history and letting your imagination soar as you wonder what life was like “back then,” when you see the gracefully restored historic homes.

      As you walk around downtown’s tree-lined streets and admire the many historic homes, you might think, “This looks like a movie set.” Well indeed it is.  Several major motion pictures, including Forrest Gump, The Prince of Tides, The Big Chill, Forces of Nature, the Great Santini and Chasers, just to name a few, were all made in Beaufort.

Sea Island Carriage tour. Our driver, Desiree and Buck, the gentle horse

As you walk around downtown’s tree-lined streets and admire the many historic homes, you might think, “This looks like a movie set.” Well indeed it is.  Several major motion pictures, including Forrest Gump, The Prince of Tides, The Big Chill, Forces of Nature, the Great Santini and Chasers, just to name a few, were all made in Beaufort.

    In Forrest Gump, the town loved Tom Hanks and Beaufort resident Marlena Smalls played Bubba’s mother while her singing group, the Hallelujah Singers, all members of a local Beaufort church were in the movie, In The Prince of Tides, the town did not care so much for Barbara Streisand.

     The Lowcountry (named so because of the tidal effect) of Beaufort offers so much: history, food, art, fishing, golf and a great place to relax in one of the many restored, historical bed and breakfasts.

 Movies filmed in Beaufort:

  • The Great Santini. Filmed in 1979-Cast: Robert Duvall, Michael O’Keefe, Blyth Danner.
  • The Big Chill----Filmed in 1983---Cast: Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, Meg Tilly, JoBeth Williams.
  • The Prince of Tides---Filmed in 1990----Cast:  Nick Nolte, Barbara Streisand, Blyth Danner, Kate Nelligan.
  • Forrest Gump----Filmed in 1993---Cast: Tom Hanks, Sally Fields, Bobin Wright Penn, Gary Sinise. Beaufort resident Marlena Smalls plays Bubb’s mother and her singing group, the Hallelujah Singers (all members of a local Beaufort church)
  • The Jungle Book---filmed in 1994—Cast:  Jason Scott Lee, Cary Elwes, Lena Headey, Sam Neill, John Cleese
  • Chasers—Filmed in 1993—Cast:  Tom Berenger, William McNamara, Erika Fleniak, Crispin Glover, Dean Stockwell, Gary Busey, Marilu Henner, Dennis Hopper
  • Something to Talk About---Filmed in 1994-1995—Cast:  Julia Roberts, Robert Duvall, Gena Rowlands, Kyra Sedwick, Dennis Quaid.
  • Last Dance—Filmed in 1995—Cast: Sharon Stone, Rob Morrow, Randy Quaid, Peter Gallaher.
  • G.I. Jane—Filmed in 1996—Cast:  Demi Moore, Viggo Mortensen, Anne Bancroft, Jason Beghe.
  • Forces of Nature—Filmed in 1998---Cast: Sandra Bullock, Ben Afflick, Joe Don Baker, David Strickland, Blyth Danner, Maura Tierney

Plenty of golf and tennis, bicycling.

Gullah:  The Gullah culture---a mix of West African, European and Native American culture—describes the lifestyle of West African slaves living in the Lowcountry, isolated from the mainland, before the Civil War.  The term is used to describe the language and culture which continues to exist today. 

Sweetgrass Basket: A traditional coiled Gullah basket is made in the South Carolina Lowcountry and on the Sea Islands.  The sweetgrass basket art form was brought to this country in the latter half of the seventeenth century by West Africans who adapted the basketry traditions of their homeland to the available materials to make work baskets that were needed on the rice plantations.

Lowcountry:  The coastal areas of Beaufort, Jasper, Allendale, Colleton and Hampton Counties.  A stretch of sea islands and coastline that is affected by the tides.

Spanish Moss:  That fluffy, beard-like stuff you see dangling from the trees.  It is actually part of the pineapple family, and it does not harm trees.  Called an epiphyte, Spanish Moss takes the water and nutrients it needs from the air and what falls directly on it.

The Beaufort Arsenal Museum. Built in 1798, it was the home of the Beaufort Volunteer Army.

Dave sitting in one the art sculpture pieces

Ann, also enjoying one of the art sculptures

Boats can use the Intercoastal Waterway to come to Beaufort

Prince of Tides tour boat

A restful and relaxing waterfront



The moss on the trees is not a parasite

Beaufort freed slaves built the First African Baptist Church in 1865

Beaufort is home to House of Representatives Member,Joe Wilson

Dave and Dick checking out materials in the Joe Wilson's window

Herb garden in the heart of town

Copyright © 2008-2015 DeeDee MacDonald

Reader Comments...
2010-12-04 09:18:56
"Dee Dee - great article.

        - Dick & Ann

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