BEAUFORT, SOUTH CAROLINA – “QUEEN OF THE CAROLINA SEA ISLANDS”
Beaufort, S. C. was called the most aristocratic town of its size in America – the “Newport of the South” - before the War between the States. A city of rich history, Southern hospitality and casual seaside charm, the “Queen of the Carolina Sea Islands” was discovered by the Spanish in 1514, claimed by the French in 1562, and chartered by the British in 1711. Beaufort enjoyed great prosperity in the eighteenth century as indigo and rice plantations thrived, and Sea Island Cotton became one of America’s most profitable exports. As a result, Beaufort became one of the most elite towns on the eastern seaboard, rivaling those in the North. Historic antebellum mansions grace the downtown area, and giant shady live oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss provide an ethereal canopy to the city. Many of these mansions and historic sites have been the sites for films, including “The Prince of Tides”, “Forrest Gump”, ”The Big Chill”, “The Great Santini”, and “White Sqall”.
CLICK HERE TO TOUR BEAUFORT’S MANY MOVIE SITES.
Today, tabby ruins, historic forts, elegant homes, majestic plantations, Native American relics and names, and Gullah culture and cuisine are reminders of Beaufort, South Carolina’s 500 year history. Horse-drawn carriages make their way slowly through the narrow, shady streets of the historic district, which is one of only three National Historic Landmark Districts in South Carolina, and shrimps boats can often be seen gliding pastthe award-winning Chambers Waterfront Park, designed by internationally-renowned landscape architect Robert Marvin, with the day’s catch. Depending on the time of year, the marshes change from a brilliant green in summer to shimmering gold in fall, and velvety brown in winter. The beauty of the town and the graciousness of the people that have made Beaufort their home leave an everlasting impression on visitors, many of whom choose to stay. While strolling down Bay Street or in the Waterfront Park, you will always receive a warm and friendly greeting from those you meet.
A few of the many movies filmed in Beaufort:
Beaufort, S. C. Festivals and Activities
The Beaufort Water Festival, the Beaufort Shrimp Festival, the Beaufort Gullah Festival, and Much More – Great Celebrations All!
Beaufort is known for its many wonderful festivals. These festivals include the Beaufort Water Festival held every July, the Beaufort Shrimp Festival held every October, the Beaufort Gullah Festival held every May and the Beaufort Music Festival held every May. Also of interest, the Beaufort S. C. Historic Foundation conducts their Beaufort Tour of Homes every Fall and St. Helena’s Episcopal Church hosts the spring Home and Plantation tour.
The mission of the Beaufort International Film Festival is to enliven the community by fostering and developing a rich appreciation for the art of filmmaking. It is also an opportunity to showcase the beautiful “film-friendly” region of Beaufort and the Carolina Sea Islands. For the past quarter of a century Beaufort has served as the backdrop for more than 20 major motion pictures, to include Forrest Gump, The Big Chill, The Prince of Tides, and many more. www.beaufortfilmfestival.com
The Beaufort Water Festival is a spectacular 10-day event that brings thousands of people to the waterfront (and the water), and promotes the natural beauty and charm of the South Carolina Low Country. During the Water Festival, people from all walks of life come together in celebration of its rich history and southern hospitality. From the Water Festival’s long-ago inception of afternoon races on the river, the festival has grown into a major South Carolina event that provides many wonderful things for each family member to enjoy. www.bftwaterfestival.com
The 18th Annual Beaufort Shrimp Festival: October 5 – 6, 2012
The Low country has so much to offer: beautiful coastlines, rich history, and the abundance of the sea. The Beaufort Shrimp Festival celebrates all of those (but mostly shrimp). The Shrimp Festival is held each October in Beaufort’s beautiful Waterfront Park. There is always music, events, fun and, of course, more ways to enjoy the freshest, finest shrimp anywhere. Free public concerts feature local and national talents. www.downtownbeaufort.com
The 26th Annual Beaufort Gullah Festival: May 25 – 27, 2012
The Beaufort Gullah Festival celebrates the heritage of the Gullah people of the S. C. sea islands. First held in 1986, the event drew approximately thirty-five people. Today, the festival is held the weekend before Memorial Day, and brings 70 thousand people to Beaufort over the course of its three days. The Gullah Festival is a family-oriented, non-alcoholic celebration, and has become the gathering place for all types of reunions, community groups, and friendly gatherings. Festival activities include such entertainment as jazz, blues, reggae, and gospel music, storytelling, dance, arts & crafts, food court, vendors market, educational forums, teen summits, beauty pageant, art shows, museum displays, dances and plays. www.gullahfestival.org
A Taste of Beaufort: May 4 – 5, 2012
Located in Chambers Waterfront Park, this annual festival brings Beaufort’s wonderfully varied restaurants downtown to showcase their cuisine. Sample the many different tastes of Beaufort! From local seafood to ethnic food offerings, you are sure to find a new favorite dish! Food and drink vendors accept tickets that you can purchase at the ticket booths for $1 each. Food items are then sold for 2-7 tickets. Live music at the Pavilion Stage and children’s activities, including inflated jumpers and slides, in the playground area of the park. Check back for updates; usually held first weekend in May. www.downtownbeaufort.com
A Night on the Town: December 7 – 9, 2012
Usually held the first Friday of December, downtown Beaufort businesses start the Christmas season by staying open late for your shopping pleasure. Entertainment by local choirs, dance groups, and clubs.
Plus, the official Beaufort Christmas Tree lighting with Santa himself and a performance by the Parris Island Marine Corps Band immediately following the official lighting. Great fun for the whole family. www.downtownbeaufort.com
Light up the Night Boat Parade: December 8, 2012
Join Beaufort Sail and Power Squadron and Main Street Beaufort, USA as we celebrate another festive holiday season and the magical display of decorated boats ambling up the Beaufort River in the Light Up the Night Boat Parade at the Waterfront Park. Bring the family to watch the enchanted display of decorated boats and enjoy hot chocolate provided by The Greenery, Inc. Prizes will be awarded for the best decorated boat in 6 categories. www.downtownbeaufort.com
Spring and Fall Festival of Houses and Gardens: Spring: May 4 – 5, 2012; Fall: October 26 – 28, 2012
During the Spring and Fall Tours of Houses and Gardens, visitors are invited to explore Beaufort from a rare vantage point: a selection of private homes, gardens, and plantations normally not open to the public welcome visitors inside. The houses represent three centuries of diverse Beaufort architecture, stretching from Revolutionary times to the 1930′s, for which the city is justly famous. These self-paced walking tours offer a distinctive opportunity to observe how contemporary lifestyles are lived within the framework of our unmatched architectural heritage. The Fall Festival is hosted by The Historic Beaufort Foundation; the Spring Tour is hosted by St. Helena’s Episcopal Church. Every two years, The Historic Beaufort Foundation and The Beaufort County Open Land Trust host a very popular tour of Auldbrass Plantation, the only plantation ever designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, arguably the greatest architect in American history. Located about 20 miles north of Beaufort, this priceless historic and architectural gem was almost forgotten by time, but was rescued and meticulously restored to Wright’s original specifications by its owner, film producer Joel Silver and Wright’s grandson, Eric Lloyd Wright. Tickets for these very popular tours, which draw visitors from around the world, sell out far in advance; plan ahead and watch the websites above for information about the next tours.