Yes, it's that time again - I'm home and I'm sharing the beauty of the beautiful Lowcountry, specifically Beaufort. I feel like a representative, these days, for the South Carolina tourist board. What can I say? Christmas in Beaufort is something everyone should see. Founded in 1711, Beaufort is a town that is full of rich local history, and during the holiday season it all comes alive for tourists taking in the local lights and fabulous main street Christmas shopping.There is a reason Beaufort has been named one of the 25 best small towns in the South, and it doesn't start and stop with Christmas, but for the present day we'll just talk shop for the holiday season.
Let's start with the street lamps covered in twinkling lights to make them look like lit candy canes. Or perhaps the nice notes left on all the parking meters that more or less say "Merry Christmas, the parking's on us." For me, it's the little things, like the fact that when I'm shopping and buying in Beaufort, shopkeepers find no problem with leaving their shop to help me deliver goods to the car. Could you ever imagine that in London? A shopkeeper leaving their shop, customers shopping, the register unattended, etc etc? I have minor anxiety attacks just thinking about it. But this is beautiful Beaufort. The general public aren't general. People know and trust each other. This is small town living at its finest.
The real highlight of any Beaufort Christmas visit, however, would have to be the beautiful decoration on some of the country's oldest and most beautiful homes in Historic Downtown Beaufort. This is truly a step back in time and one that deserves a bike tour, or a brisk walk, camera in hand. For those of you visiting for the first time, I recommend the horse and carriage ride. There is so much history found in this part of town and tour guides give you the full scoop.
So basically here's your to-do list for Beaufort at Christmas:
1. Go house hunting (yes -move here!... or just hunt for your dream home and photograph it to death for an inspiration board).
2. Shop til you drop. The shops here have the best gifts for Christmas. I've loaded up on everything from grits to paintings for presents this year - all tucked nicely under the tree now as I write. The shops are all one the main street in downtown, so there isn't much messing about. Straightforward shopping is the name of the game here.
3. Eat! You have to have breakfast at Lowcountry Produce (try the sweet potato pancakes) and lunch at Plums. But truly, you can't go wrong at any establishment in downtown. Southern food... it's dangerously good everywhere here!
4. Last but not least - grab a coffee and swing by the waters. Yes, there are big swings (for adults) right on the water so you can watch as the boats go by. If you time it right, there's a great festival once a year where the boats parade their Christmas lights. It is truly a sight to behold.
Now, I'm off to enjoy the local treasures. Hopefully see you around this year or next... but make sure Beaufort is on your list of places to visit. It's home for me, so I'm biased. But, oh how I love this place. Here's a sneak peek at what you're missing...