A Travel Blog

You don't have to travel to faraway lands or exotic places halfway 'round the globe to see, do, and enjoy... we've found in our journeys just a few hours from home, beauty and grandeur and wonders to behold and these I would like to share...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Island Hopping

A couple years ago, my DH woke up at 1 a.m. on Saturday morning and said to me, "I gotta get out of this town, let's go somewhere!"

OK! was my response... we decided to sleep a few more hours, then hit the road... we weren't sure exactly where to go... it was late March, and the weather was starting to warm up but in March you never know when the weather will turn on you.

After a few hours more sleep, we got up and packed a bag, he asked me if I had a destination in mind... I did!

I am enamored of lighthouses, and have been to three, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina... Hatteras, Okracoke, and Bodie. When I was a little girl, I dreamed of living in a lighthouse... I don't know why, but I adore them and always wanted to visit just as many as I possibly can. So, just a couple hours away was Hunting Island Lighthouse, SC, and I'd never been there, here was my chance...

"Hunting Island," I stated firmly... "Well, OK, let's go"

We got out our trusty GPS and entered Hunting Island as our destination.

We decided to take the scenic route, staying away from the interstate for the most part and meandering through the small, low country towns of South Carolina...

We arrived at Hunting Island Park, the day was overcast and a little windy... the park was near deserted, which was great in our way of thinking, and the lighthouse was awesome! We climbed to the top and were able to see the beach, the inland waterways, wildlife, I was in HEAVEN!

We spent several hours hiking and driving around Hunting Island, then headed back toward the small towns of Port Royal and Beaufort, driving from island to island... Fripp, Lady, St. Helena... looking for lunch...

We stopped at a place called Gullah Grub on St. Helena Island and had a 'Sho Nuff" Gullah vegetable lunch... the wonderful owner of the tiny restaurant was so hospitable and welcoming, we enjoyed her Gullah accent and her cooking. She treated us like we were family come to dinner.

As we made our way to Beaufort, a rainstorm hit, but we were not deterred from the enjoyment of our spontaneous weekend away. We drove around historic Beaufort, enjoying the rain, the historic houses, the wonderful old trees, Spanish moss. We found a quaint little tavern downtown and went in for a glass of wine and a little drying off time, and watched the locals go by... it was so fun! Afterwards we went for a walk on the Beaufort waterfront, enjoying the boats and birds and people.

We asked around for a place to get a good, local steamed supper and were told that a place called Steamers was the place to go... we went and it was exactly what we wanted... I chowed down on Frogmore Stew... shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn in a spicy stew... DH went for the steamed oysters... Yummy!

We found a small motel at off-season rates and had a restful sleep, then headed to Hilton Head the next day for a little shopping at the Tanger Outlets and a visit to the lighthouse there... it was great, but so much more sterile and non-authentic as compared with Beaufort and surrounding islands. We did find a wonderful restaurant right on the inland waterway with shrimp boats pulled right up to its back door... Hudson's... enjoyed some delightful chowder and steamers there before heading back home to Columbia and reality...

That weekend we decided that since we aren't really "beach" people in the lay out in the sun, swim in the ocean, deal with wall to wall people and bumper to bumper traffic sense of the word... we would take our trips to the coast and the islands every year in March... this has proved to be a wonderful tradition for us!

Beaufort, however, and that spontaneous weekend, will always have a special place in my heart!

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