Thursday, October 3, 2013

Beaufort, N.C. Day 2

Day 2 of Beaufort. I decided to explore more of the town. The Beaufort historical site offers a double decker bus tour that takes you through the historical section of Beaufort.

Who said you couldn't experience a little of England without being in England?

Beaufort is filled with history. Many of its houses date back to the 1700's. The residents of these houses are required to keep the exterior looking as they did back when they were first built. This means that a lot of houses are painted white.
One of this house's residents was Jacob Henry, the first Jewish member of N.C. Legislature. He lived here in the 1800's.

The Sloo House (1708)

Owins-Bedford House (1730) 

A myth that still persists is that Blackbeard lived in this house. Even if it isn't true, the house is still beautiful.

After the bus tour, I decided to have lunch at the Spouter Inn. Besides being on the waterfront, it had delicious food.
The outside of Spouter Inn

The view wasn't bad either.

Gumbo with cheese toast

Spouter Chowder
They also had amazing pastries!

 As I mentioned in my previous blog, my second day in Beaufort was focused on the wild horses that inhabit the islands nearby. Beaufort has several small islands within boating distance. Carrot Island and Shackleford Banks are the most well known for their horses. Shackleford Banks' wild horses are descendants of Spanish horses who survived shipwrecks. Carrot Island's horses are wild horses from the Rachel Carson Reserve who have lived on the island since the 1950's. Both islands encourage visitors to walk around and experience the wild horses up close.   

Unfortunately because of the government shutdown, Shackleford Banks was closed to the public.  So, after lunch, I went on a water buggy instead and viewed some of the horses on Carrot Island.

Our ride

One of two stallions we saw. He is munching on cord grass.

Another shot of the same horse with less glare.

Another stallion was grazing nearby.

The horses are incredibly smart and self-sufficent. One amazing fact about the Carrot Island horses is that they can sense when quicksand is nearby and intentionally avoid grazing in these areas. I also saw a stallion and his harem. Unfortunately we were too far away for me to take a picture. 

I did see some interesting things other than horses.
An Ibis hanging out on Carrot Island

An interesting boat

The colored flags running vertical each signify a letter and spell out Beaufort.

While I was disappointed that I didn't see the Shackleford horses, the ride was both fun and educational. I have a greater appreciation for wild horses. They are a lot smarter and more resourceful than we give them credit for. 

After the boat ride, I had cocktails and appetizers at the Queen Anne's Revenge.

Queen Anne's Revenge

I liked how the inside looked.

Blackbeard's Bloody Mary. It had Artisan fresh made Bloody Mary mix and it had Blackbeard in its name.

Mozzarella wrapped with Baked Proscuitto. Yum!

That night, I went to dinner at the Front Street Grill and the Rhum Bar at Stillwater. This restaurant was on the waterfront as well and had delicious flounder. 

The restaurant's sign

Rhum Bar Punch. I felt like I was in the islands. 

The day was eventful and exhausting, but well worth it. The next day, I had a few hours before I had to leave Beaufort so I decided to visit Beaufort's old burying grounds. The grounds were deeded to the town in 1731. 

Samuel Leffers (1736-1822) an early school master. He wrote his own epitaph:
"Praises on tombstones are but idly spent, 
A man's good name is his best monument."

Sarah Gibbs (1792) and Jacob Shepard (1793). Sarah was married to Jacob, a seaman. He went out to sea and was presumed dead. After an absence of several years, Jacob suddenly returned and found that Sarah was married to another man named Nathaniel Gibbs. They agreed that Sarah would remain married to Gibbs as long as she lived, but must spend eternity at the side of Jacob Shepard.

"Crissie Wright" Common Grave. The grave is for the soldiers who froze to death after the wreck of the ship in January 1886. Apparently, we weren't the only ones here to see the graves.

The grave of Captain Otway Burns (1775-1850). One of North Carolina's greatest heroes in the War of 1812.

Girl in Barrel of Rum. A girl of an English family wanted to see her homeland. Her father decided to take her but promised her mother that he would bring her back. On the way back to Beaufort, the girl became ill and died. Back then, those that died on ships were buried at sea. The father couldn't bear the thought of not giving his daughter a proper burial and breaking his promise to his wife. He bought a barrel of rum from the captain and placed her body in it so that she could be buried in Beaufort.

After the burial grounds, I went to the Beaufort coffee shop for a quick breakfast.

Front of the coffee shop

It has a nice coffee house feel.

Tropical Smoothie and just made cinnamon buns? Yes, please.

And of course, I had to try a chocolate bar that has Beaufort in its name.

After the coffee shop, I headed back home. I loved my little adventure to Beaufort, NC. I felt like I stepped back in time to the age of pirates at the maritime museum and was closer to nature with the Carrot Island Horses. Beaufort has definitely earned its title of "America's Coolest Town" in my mind.

~A. E.  Keener

Interested in my adventure? Click the links to learn more:

~Beaufort Historic Site:

~Spouter Inn:

~Water Bug Tours:

~Rachel Carson Reserve:

~Shackleford Horses:

~Queen Anne's Revenge:

~Front Street Grill and the Rhum Bar at Stillwater:

~The Beaufort Coffee Shop:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Beaufort, NC Day 1

This past week, I took a quick trip up to Beaufort, North Carolina. Beaufort (pronounced Beau-fort and not to be confused with the one in South Carolina) is the third oldest town in North Carolina. Established in 1709, Beaufort is located in North Carolina's Inner Banks region and was recently voted "America's Coolest Town" in Budget Travel Magazine.

A picture of Beaufort's Front Street

A View from the Waterfront.

I was there for Beaufort's two main attractions: Blackbeard and Wild Horses. My first stop was the North Carolina Maritime Museum, one of three maritime museums in North Carolina.

Fresnel Lens is a compact lens developed by French Physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel for lighthouses.

A Compressed Cork Life Preserver

Gold Life-Saving Service Medal. This medal is the highest award that was bestowed for the saving of life in peacetime.

The exterior and interior of an observation chamber

Along with nautical themed artifacts, the museum boasts a collection of relics from the Queen Anne's Revenge, one of Blackbeard's ships. In 1718, it is believed that Blackbeard intentionally ran the ship aground off the coast of Beaufort. In late 1996, a private marine contractor discovered the remains of the ship. Some of the artifacts are now displayed in the maritime museum.

A detailed model of the Queen Anne's Revenge

A model of the Queen Anne's Revenge Wreck Site

Without this bell, no one could prove that the wreck was actually the Queen Anne's Revenge.

Lead Shot was the most common artifact found at the wreck site.

Ballast stones recovered from the Queen Anne's Revenge. Ballast stones were used on ships to help keep them balanced. When ships were finished with the stones, the citizens of Beaufort would use the ballast stones to stabilize their houses.

Pisdale tube on the right, window glass panes, and lead window cames on the left. 

Concretion is hard substance that encases many artifacts at underwater sites including the wreckage of the Queen Anne's Revenge. Because it binds surrounding sediment, shells, and other artifacts, concretion makes it difficult for conservators to remove the artifacts.

A final attraction of the maritime museum is the skeleton of a sperm whale that beached itself nearby.

Meet Echo, the sperm whale.

Another angle of the sperm whale's skeleton.

The heart of Echo preserved with the process known as Plastination. 

Next door to the Maritime Museum is the Watercraft Center. In this facility, the art of wooden boat making is shown. They even have classes for visitors.

The outside of the Watercraft Center

The interior of the center.

Another angle of the interior of the center.

That night, I ate at a wonderful restaurant called the Old Salt Restaurant and Oyster Bar. 

Outside the Old Salt 

The interior of the Old Salt had a rustic feel to it. 

The meal was excellent.

Sweet Pea: Three Olives Cherry Vodka, Cranberry Juice, and Pineapple Juice 

Fried Oysters. They were shucked and fried on the spot for us. So delicious!

Flounder en Papillote: Parchment poached with fennel, roasted tomatoes, herbs, white wine, and lemon butter.

Old Salt Sea Brined Fries. They are brined in salt for 24 hours before serving.

After adventuring, Old Salt was a perfect end to the day. I went back to the hotel to rest up for my next day in Beaufort which I'll continue in the next blog entry. I'll give you a hint for my next blog: it has to do with horses.

~A. E. Keener

Like my adventure so far? Here are a couple of links if you want to know more:

~North Carolina Maritime Museum:

~Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center:

~Old Salt Restaurant and Oyster Bar: