May 2, 2016
Day 15 and 16: Beaufort, Beauty, and Spanish Moss
Today we were supposed to go to Savannah. But I could not go! Yesterday, while walking around Beaufort, I had an allergic reaction to the Spanish Moss and, perhaps, mold that is everywhere. I kept sneezing and could not breathe through my nose. This is one of the hazards of travel. You never know if the flora, fauna, or water will start a war against you. Sometimes they overtake you and you end up coughing your brains out all night. Fortunately, I did not need to go to the hospital but today I am weak and still coughing.
Beaufort is a beautiful little town with historic buildings and huge antebellum mansions. There was a church on every corner. No–sometimes there were three churches together on one street. (Tom says that in Appleton, Wisconsin there is a bar on every corner.)
I photographed the Beaufort Baptist Church-huge-and people just kept coming through the doors. They were all dressed up in heels and suits and hats.
Right down the street was a very small African American church. It seemed odd that both of them existed on the same street!
We had lunch in the old Beaufort Bank and enjoyed the quaint southern city. My soup was made with Old Bay spice, interesting taste!
On the way back to the campground, we took a side trip to Fort Fremont Historical Site. We expected something different than we found. Fremont was a fort that was built to defend the USA during the Spanish-American War of 1898. It never saw combat and now sits in disarray. Everything was gone except cement earth works where they hid the canons.
We entered the Fort through a rusty gate. The place was dusty and had the look of an abandoned dump. It reminded me of places that a driver we had hired in Cambodia took us to on the west side of Phnom Penh. It was a bit creepy and had the feel of underdeveloped countries.
By accident we stopped at the Penn Center, a school set up to educate freed slaves. This was another parallel universe experience. I had seen in Sierra
Leone, W. Africa, many compounds/Christian missions set up like the Penn Center, with a circular drive and buildings around the circle. Tom googled the name and right-on, I was correct. It was named for the Quaker activist William Penn. During the civil rights movement it was a haven for activists and today is still engaged in peace movement activities.
Back to the campground.
Hunting campground is run by the state of South Carolina. It looks more like a refugee camp than a campground. They pack hundreds if not a thousand souls into the area (over 200 sites). I met one fella who had been at the campground for 28 days. It is a rag-tag experience. They encourage snow birds to stay at least 30 days. The site next to us changed hands in a couple of days with probably 12 people with the first group and 10 with the second group. Packed like sardines, there is no room for privacy, and peaceful moments have to be found on the beach or on the ride to to the grocery store. The showers are below grade in every way.
Hunting promises WIFI but it flickered like a dying bulb and was never really strong or present. At&T phones clicked on and off. The beaches are not as beautiful as those in Florida or around Caribbean islands. The sand is stoney and a bit dark. At the southern end of the beach is a graveyard of trees that must have been uprooted by a hurricane. Tom loves the beach and swimming in the ocean. I will pass!
If you need cash, visit Johnson Creek Tavern (with excellent seafood), and steal all the dollar bills off the walls and ceilings. You will make a haul!
Off to the lighthouse this evening!