Monday, November 19, 2007

A last look at Beaufort, N.C.

My mother, sister, niece, and I had lunch in Beaufort again yesterday. We sat outside in the warm sun on the deck of a restaurant on the town waterfront, with a nice view of water, docks and boats. My sister know the chief cook at the restaurant where we ate, and he treated us to a nice meal. That was a good surprise and a very nice gesture on his part.

This is what my mother calls a "shotgun" house. It's one of the
more modest dwellings along the Beaufort waterfront these days.


Beaufort is one of the most picturesque and cosmopolitan places along the central coast of North Carolina, because it is a popular stopping-off point for people traveling by boat up and down the East Coast. For example, today at lunch there were two men at the table next to ours who were speaking French. From their accents, I could tell they were Canadian.

A monument to the county's Confederate soldiers in the Civil War

This area is a birder's paradise. Yesterday I saw egrets and a blue heron in the marsh behind my mother's apartment complex (she sold her house two years ago and moved into a retirement complex). There are flocks of geese and ducks flying overhead all the time, headed south. And there are so many sea birds — gulls, terns, cormorants, plovers, sandpipers, etc. etc.

I think these are cormorants flying low over the surface of the sound.

There are a lot of big old live oak trees along the N.C. coast. Their thick, arching limbs make sensuous shapes overhead and their branches and leaves provide much needed shade in the heat of summer.

Live oaks on the grounds of the Carteret County Courthouse

Beaufort is the county seat, and the big brick courthouse was built about 100 years ago. The county's population has doubled or tripled over the past 40 years, when development started in earnest. Retirees flood in, looking for a mild climate, low prices, and good recreational facilities.

The Carteret County courthouse in Beaufort, N.C.

One of the most impressive houses on Front Street in Beaufort is one that was home to the Carteret Academy, a boarding school for girls whose families lived on the N.C. Outer Banks in the 19th century. The classrooms were on the ground floor with dormitory rooms on the upper floors.

The Carteret Academy, a building that dates back to 1842

The ground floor, in brick, was built under the original house some 25 years ago, if memory serves. More and more old houses around Carteret County are being elevated so that they can withstand floodwaters. Newer houses are often built on tall pilings for the same reason.

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Starting Wednesday 21 November, I'll be blogging de nouveau at Living the Life in Saint-Aignan.

1 comment:

chm said...

It's interesting to note how two different languages find their special way to express the same idea. In French, live oaks are chĂȘnes verts. The French express the notion of evergreen with "vert", and the English by "live" which means that they don't look dead in winter as other oaks do.
Thanks again for that very enjoyable digression from the life in Saint-Aignan and...bon voyage!