May 3

We wait until 9:30 to leave Hilton Head on a rising tide. When we pass Parris Island we know we are close to Beaufort, SC (pronounced Bufort with a long u and absolutely NOT to be confused with Beaufort, NC pronounced Bofort with a long o)!! Yes, they are touchy on this point. The Downtown Marina is right on the ICW and with currents, winds & wakes, I think it might qualify for what I like to call one of the “Rock n Roll” marinas. I think we sleep better with a little rock!!!

But it is located right where we want to be at the riverfront park and by the historical “old town” area. Beaufort is famous for its beautiful old restored antebellum plantation homes. Many movies have been filmed here including “The Great Santini”, “The Big Chill”, & “The Prince of Tides”. Two of the homes were used as the Union Headquarters & the Union Hospital during the Civil War. Over 7500 Civil War soldiers are buried in a cemetery here. The girls (Mary, Deb & I) took a quick orientation tour on our way to the store. Tomorrow we will explore! To the Sarvers for dinner.

 

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May 4

Beaufort must surely be the cradle of Southern Charm & Hospitality. Seems like every  house has a huge porch with cushy rattan furniture, rocking chairs, hanging baskets in bloom and swings just like my grandmother had on her porch. Children sat on the front steps or were in the rope swing that hung from the strong arm of a mighty oak draped in Spanish moss. I couldn’t stop taking pictures as I took my walk this morning. Oh yes, and the magnolias are in bloom, dahling! We met the Sarvers & the Koerners for a tour in a horse drawn carriage. Walter Gay, our driver, was a wealth of information. He knew his history & had a minor role in “The Great Santini” and worked on the sets of many other movies filmed here. “Forest Gump” did all his boat scenes here plus his mother’s house, the tree scene with Jenny (they have great trees here) and Jenny’s house, among others.  We had a great lunch at an outdoor restaurant and took a siesta this afternoon. We are going to Chuck & Claria Gorgen’s house tonight for a “Low Country Boil”. Loopers who we met on the Tennessee River 18 months ago, we promised to stop by on our Loop and here we are. Prime examples of Beaufort hospitality!!!!

 

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May 5

What a lovely dinner last night at the home of Chuck & Claria on Distant Island, a beautiful community just a few miles outside of Beaufort. Some might call it a “Low Country Boil” but we learned that in these parts it is referred to as “Frogmore Stew”.

We just called it wonderful & delicious. Their home & it’s setting was like stepping into a Coastal Living Magazine article and we enjoyed the Gorgens & their guest, Barbara & Olivia. There were about 8 Looper boats at the marina and some of us were up at 5AM to be ready for a slack tide. The current runs very strongly through this marina and we’re  laying along side our dock very close to the boat in front & in back. Between an incoming & an outgoing tide there is a precise moment when there is no current. We caught that moment to make our tight exit a little less hazardous! Had a nice 6+ hour cruise to Charleston with lots of twist & turns in our coarse. We are now secure at the Charleston Mega Dock with some mega Yachts! Wow! Got a soft rain for an hour or so to cool things off and then a planning sessions with “Headquarters” & “Good News” for excursions tomorrow. We cooked hamburgers on “Salvage Crew” and the girls brought slaw and baked beans. Why does food taste so much better when your on or near the water?

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May 6

Charleston has got to be one of the most gorgeous downtown areas in the country. Everywhere you look there is majestic beauty. The architecture, the courtyards, the flora & fauna, the sense of history with a southern flair make you wish the walls could talk. We caught the marina shuttle downtown this morning and walked down King street,  through the City Market, down to the Waterfront Park then south through Rainbow Row to the Battery. We took our time walking back uptown through the residential neighorhoods because we couldn’t help but stop & look through every wrought iron or open gate we came to. They all had lovely garden courtyards. Lots to see & do here. We are glad to be here for a little down time. Traveling every day or even every other day is working hard to have fun!!! (Are we getting sympathy from everyone here?) LOL!!!

But you do have to slow down and have some “nothing to do but chill” days! It was my turn to cook so I did Grilled Teriyaki Chicken and Melissa’s Peanut Butter Noodles for everyone tonight. “Headquarters” leaving us tomorrow.  We will see them further up the road I hope. Buck & Haldine Baxter on “Darling” came in today. It is good to see & visit with them again.  Life is Good!

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May 7

Marina shuttle takes us downtown at 10AM and we catch the first available horse carriage tour. Daniel was our guide today and relayed to us a lot of interesting information about Charleston. For instance, Charlestonians don’t consider someone to be a native until the 3rd generation. Up until then, you are considered to be from “off”. Daniel was 5th generation on his father’s side of the family but his mother was from Ohio. Daniel is considered to be “half off”!!! Got a lot of history on the area & learned a lot about Charleston’s fires, floods, wars, industry, crops, & politics. Crab cakes, gumbo, fried green tomatoes & she-crab soup @ Hyman’s Seafood for lunch.

Had just enough room left to stroll by Ben & Jerry’s before heading back for afternoon siesta. Mary’s son is flying her into Boston tomorrow to spend the weekend with her boys for Mother’s Day. Andy will be here with us and we will continue to sight see & get re-provisioning chores done. Grilled steaks for dinner!

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May 8

Another beautiful day in Charleston and we used it for P&P (Planning & Provisioning). Spent the morning researching points North to plan our route for the next 2 weeks. We have Cruising Guides, Looper’s Published Lists of Favorites, and the info that comes in on the daily e-mails from the Loopers who are ahead of us on the Loop. We also stay mindful of how many miles away the next marina is located.  We really prefer not to travel over 40-50 miles a day on the days we travel. But sometimes that doesn’t work out. Keep in mind that we travel an average of 10mph. I called to make reservations and found that 2 of our “preferred” marinas were already full for the nights we needed them. Found suitable plan B at those locations and got ready to make the Store Loop (Walmart, CVS, West Marine,Home Depot, BestBuy, Publix). We split the cost of a rental car on a weekend special with Andy. He took Mary to the airport this morning to fly to Boston for Mother’s Day with her boys! We have learned to make the most of having 4 wheels (car) rather than our usual 2 wheels (bicycles). We loaded up on water, cokes, beer & wine. You never know when your next opportunity will present itself! The small “American Cruise Line” ship that is docked just across from us has lovely balconies. Imagine our surprise to find that Don & Peggy Byron, who we know from Birmingham, are staying in a cabin overlooking the “Salvage Crew”. We had a nice visit with them this morning.  Andy & Sharon off “Finally Fun” stopped by this afternoon. We haven’t seen them since the Abacos. Brad was Channel surfing this afternoon & came across an episode of “Living Small in a Big World”. It was filmed in the Abacos & we recognized all the places they were. Between that & seeing Andy & Sharon, it made us long for the blue water and realize once again how blessed we are to be making this incredible trip & these fabulous memories.  Andy, Brad & I had a great meal at King Street Grille.

 

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May 9

It’s Saturday & that means Farmer’s Market at Marion Square! Lots of veggies, flowers, art, crafts, canned & gourmet foods, and people out enjoying themselves.  We stocked up on the above mentioned and then headed out in search of a place to get my hair cut. That accomplished, we turned the car over to Andy so he could work on his list of chores. We bicycled downtown and stopped for an Italian Ice on the waterfront. The College of Charleston had graduation ceremonies today so the whole town was buzzing & busy & filled with proud parents. I fixed grilled lamb chops for the guys tonight. A nice relaxing day. I have a great appetizer recipe for you that Mary introduced us to & we have loved. It is fantasic, simple, economical, easy, quick and never fails to get compliments: 

Fire Crackers

½ Box saltine crackers  (2 sleeves)
1/2 cup Canola oil                                       

½ Envelope Ranch Dressing (Original) 
1T Red Pepper Flakes              

Put Crackers in large zip top bag. Mix Ranch dressing, canola oil, & red pepper flakes.

Pour over crackers in bag and roll around to coat them.

YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE HOW WONDERFUL THESE ARE. You can use a cheese spread or cracker dip, but you don’t really need to.  They are Great by themselves. Let me know how you like them!!!!!!

Both American Cruise Line ships left today. One going North & one going South. We got to know several of the sharp young people crewing for their Captain’s license on those ships. Good luck to Mike, William, & the others. Makes us proud to see you going after your dream.

 

 

 

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May 10

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! We love you! Andy, Brad & I visited the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown at Patriot’s Point today. Also saw the 322 ft diesel powered submarine USS Clamagore. I think everyone should see these ships & the documentary films about the men who lived, worked, & fought on them. Gives real perspective to the saying “Freedom don’t come free!”  Bicycled downtown & got a few drops of rain, but the gray cloud passed well to the North and the wind just cooled things down, and that was welcomed. Back on the boat, Andy & Sharon from “Finally Fun” came by for cocktails and then Brad took me to a Mother’s Day Dinner at Water’s Edge on Shem Creek.  There's a menacing dark cloud moving this way & we can hear thunder. We could still get a storm tonight.

 

 

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May 11

Had to replace another 8-D (huge) battery in the boat today. We have 3 of those and this was the 2nd one to go bad in the last month. All 3 were new when we left home last fall.

We think the charger is “over” charging & have made corrections that we hope will correct this problem. “Salvage Crew” has been performing so well so far. We are ready to move on up the ICW tomorrow to Harborwalk Marina in Georgetown, SC.  Mary, back from Boston, and I visited the local Harris-Teeter. It’s a wonderful grocery store and we should know, we have become grocery store connoisseurs on this trip. Brad & I bicycled over to the Charleston Museum this afternoon. I bought a jar of Colonial Kitchen Charleston Gumbo at the Farmer’s market Saturday (just add shrimp) so we had that along with Seared Sea Scallops over Argula w/Chimichurri Sauce. It was delicious! I have a cookbook called “Seafood Twice a Week”.  I’m thinking of writing one called “Seafood Twice a Day”! This is our kind of feasting!!!

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May 12

A cold front passed through in the night & we got up to “long sleeves & sweat pants” weather this morning. Although the winds were suppose to get up to 25mph today, it was still pretty calm when we left the dock before 7AM. Good thing, because Brad had to do a mega backing job to get us out of the inside Megadock area. Nice cruise of almost 7 hours to get to Georgetown and mostly uneventful. There is a Great Northern Migration going on right now and the boats were lined up going through the ICW. More traffic than we are used to. The English Loopers behind us got into quite a twit when they spotted an alligator sunning on the bank. It was funny to hear them on the radio excitedly apologizing for suddenly doing a 360 in the channel. Arrived early afternoon and walked through the little historic town area of Georgetown. It’s quite nice and tomorrow we may do some serious shopping. Mary cooked a fabulous meal for us for dinner. The flank steak was enhanced by the Tomato Chutney she bought at the Kudzu Bakery & Gourmet Store here.  I bought the Lobster Bisque and famous ½ cooked Cheese Biscuits which will be a great meal for another day!!!!Gee, sometimes I feel like we are eating our way around the country! OK, so what’s so wrong with that???????

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