North Carolina January 17, 2017
The One North Carolina Town That’s So Perfectly Southern
When one thinks ‘southern,’ what normally comes to mind? For me, I think hospitable, laid back, regal yet humble, tied to the land and also tied to the culture of the place they call home. While in general, North Carolina is indeed a southern state, some towns just radiate that certain charm. The town of Beaufort has mastered it.
Located on the inner banks, Beaufort is only 2.7 miles and surrounded by nearly a mile of water. As the third oldest town in North Carolina, the history dates back long before first settlers made their mark. Today, it’s one of the most visited towns on the inner banks.
While there's plenty of competiton along the coast for the 'quaint small town' factor, Beaufort remains a true hidden gem among other, more popular tourist destinations. Due to this, it's allowed the town to keep the charm and history intact which both visitors and locals love.
Long before the appearance of European settlers, the Coree Native Americans referred to the land of present day Beaufort as "Cwarioc," or "Fish Town." Settlers first purchased the land around 1709 and by 1713 a Craven County merchant had hired a surveyor to lay out the town plan. As a thriving port, of course, Beaufort attracted many pirates. The most notable was Edward Teach AKA Blackbeard and his former lieutenant Stede Bonnett. Blackbeard was said to frequent the "Hammock House" in Beaufort. Ironically enough, the same lure that attracted him also led to his demise. Blackbeard ran his ship, Queen Anne's Revenge, near the town - some say as a tactical, planned maneuver. Today, you can view archives from the ship at the NC Maritime Museum in Beaufort.
After the time of the pirates, Beaufort turned into a thriving city in the 1800s. Street names like Anne, Queen, and Moore (after Colonel Moore) still stand today - nodding to the Revolutionary past. Beaufort's busiest street, Front Street, wasn't fully constructed until the 1800s but still retains its popularity today. The name reflects the waterfront location that also makes Beaufort so scenic and ideal.
Even as the times changed, Beaufort changed with them, while still a popular port it also became a commercial fishing hub which today, is still a main income and economy of the town.
Beaufort is perfect for both the history and beauty buff. Featuring a mix of historical houses, sights, and also some full-on pirate cruises allowing you to shoot cannon balls at your enemies.
Many of the homes, building, and landmarks that reflect Beaufort's historic past still stand today. Located along Front Street, breathtaking homes and places of business are just steps from the water. There's also a number of restaurants to dine at that include some of the best seafood in North Carolina. Popular destinations include...
Beaufort Grocery Company for lunch...
The Spouter Inn & Restaurant, where you can enjoy THIS view while dining.
The Spouter is a popular dinner spot, but get here early during warmer months for a prime seat!
Not far from Beaufort a 15-minute ferry ride takes you to Shackleford Banks. Roam the beach with wild horses and enjoy a taste of the Caribbean in North Carolina. Shackleford is home to the clearest water in North Carolina and white beaches. Be warned there's no running water or electricity on the island, but it's the perfect place for a beautiful day trip.
A popular spot for boating, fishing, grabbing a drink by the water, shopping, dining, history - and really just hanging out. One of my favorite aspects of Beaufort is that when you're here, you truly do live by the tide. Life moves at a slower pace, you relax while feeling like you've been transported to a small, hidden gem along the inner banks. Beaufort is so perfectly southern, but also offers so much more.
Beaufort is such a beautiful place, I never grow tired of visiting here! Have you been here or live here now?
Beaufort was also included on another one of our lists, the
10 most charming small towns in the state. Did your town make the list?