Beaufort and Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina

CAUTION: This blog may contain more lame jokes than normal.

Thanks to Facebook, I discovered that one of my cousins (my second cousin, once removed, to be exact) was staying in Hilton Head at the same time we were.  My family is good about having massive family reunions, so chances are, that no matter where we travel, there is a relative pretty close to us at all times.

We made arrangements to meet Jeanette and her husband Jim, and their “gang” at a restaurant in Beaufort (that’s byu-fort, as opposed to the town in North Carolina, pronounced bo-fort) one evening.  Jeanette and her husband are really lovely people, and it was great to spend some quality time with them, and to meet their friends.

An evening with a great cousin.

An evening with a great cousin.  I had to fix some red-eye here; my apologies, if you mistook us for zombies.

The next day, we returned to the area to hike at a state park and investigate the town of Beaufort, an antebellum gem.  So many of this small town’s historic buildings remain untouched since before the civil war.  While reading up on local lore, we discovered that my mom’s favorite movie, The Big Chill, had actually been filmed in and around Beaufort.  We tracked down the mansion where Harold and Sarah lived, and took some paparazzi-style photos through the wrought-iron fence surrounding it.

The Big Chill Mansion, AKA Tidalholm.

The Big Chill Mansion, AKA Tidalholm.

Apparently, this home is now on the market – at the bargain price of $4.5 million!

As I’ve said, The Big Chill was my mom’s favorite movie.  Coincidentally, it was playing while my mom was in the hospital, laboring with both my brother and my sister (it was released after I was born), and it is located on Laurens Street, and my sister’s name is Lauren…

Next on our agenda was Hunting Island State Park.  A visitor’s center greeted us just inside.  Two resident alligators lived just outside.

The female gator, in her swampy environs.

The female gator, in her swampy environs.

Eric and I hiked through the surreal environment – something like a prehistoric forest surrounded us.

DSC_0109

Straight outta the Mesozoic Era.

Holy tree.

O, holy tree.

Eric wasn't the only "fungi" around.

Eric wasn’t the only “fungi” around.

Like most of coastal South Carolina, here a marshy area buffers the inland from the erosive effects of the ocean.

Marsh

Marsh-a, marsh-a, marsh-a.

A little farther out, we found the beach!  It was high-tide, so most of it was underwater, but we enjoyed the view of driftwood and debris.

Hunting Island beach.

Hunting Island beach.

The park is home to a nice nature center, with lots of exhibits and some live animals.  We particularly liked this gorgeous gal.

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She followed us around her enclosure, and interacted with us. She seemed quite happy.

The last sight for the day was the obligatory lighthouse.  Lighthouses abound in the Carolinas, so we have seen quite a few thus far.  Each has a unique character and history, in addition to its own blinking pattern and paint job.

Lighthouse door.

Lighthouse door.

Thanks for traveling with us through coastal South Carolina.  Hope you enjoyed it!

-H

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