Beaufort was the area that first attracted us to the Crystal Coast. As a special treat for our 30th anniversary, I booked a weekend at one the best B&Bs in town. That was several years ago, and I think the handwriting was on the wall even after that first visit. There was something special about Beaufort and Carteret County that kept drawing us back to the area. Beaufort is still a favorite spot to visit. We often take visitors for an afternoon of Beaufort dock walking. While we live on the other side of the county near Swansboro, it still only takes us thirty-five minutes to drive down to Beaufort. It is a great place to visit because you can park your car and walk to everything.Almost everyone who visits Beaufort falls in love with the beautiful white homes along Front Street. Walking down the street, you get the feeling that they have survived many storms and seen a lot of history. In some respects Beaufort is all about history.
From the historic site with its restored buildings to the grand homes whose exteriors look much as they must have in colonial times, Beaufort exudes history. I love the old court house surrounded by live oaks. Beaufort's wide main street takes you back to a different time.
The one thing we always do when we visit Beaufort is walk along the boardwalk by the docks. I am always amazed by the variety of boats that range in size from small skiffs to large research vessels.
I have never been to Beaufort when Town Creek did not have several sailboats anchored in it. Part of the attraction of Beaufort is that the town and its harbor are a popular stopping point along the Intracoastal Waterway. There is always someone new wandering the docks or eating in the restaurants.
Of course when it comes to restaurants, Beaufort has some great ones including Beaufort Grocery, Blue Moon Bistro, Front Street at Stillwater, Sharpie's, Spouter's, and Nethouse. There is something for every taste preference among the Beaufort restaurants.
We also enjoy the shops along Front Street. I have a couple of favorites where I can kill some time while the ladies get serious about shopping.
When we get bored with walking especially in the summer and on warm weekends, you can catch a boat tour or a boat trip to Cape Lookout. We have enjoyed tours on the tiny Waterbug and the much larger Mystery.
My of favorite spots is the Maritime Museum. It is the only museum that I have seen which could entertain my son who is almost thirty. It is a great place to wander around especially if you need a break from the warmth of summer. The shell collections are amazing.
If you need a first introduction to the Crystal Coast, Beaufort is a great place to get it. As I watched the sun slide down behind the Duke Marine Research Laboratory, I am pretty sure I could still hear some sails flapping in the wind.
For some of the recent history of Beaufort read my article, Beaufort, An Unforeseen Rebirth .
For a few pictures of Beaufort visit this Picasa Web Album from our recent visit.