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Bejeweled at both ends by historic riverfront mansions and ancient live oaks, with a dynamic commercial district in between, Bay Street in downtown Beaufort seems a microcosm of the city: a place where Old South and New South peacefully coexist.
Spared by Sherman’s troops during the Civil War, Beaufort is among the South’s most well-preserved cities. Think quiet streets lined with antebellum homes painted in soft pastels, centuries-old oaks draped with Spanish moss, and historic churches set among residences and businesses.
I was nineteen the first time I ever drove over the drawbridge into Beaufort, North Carolina. Good Southern girl that I was, I had arrived for a debutante party. One look, and I was absolutely smitten.
First, let’s get the Beaufort/Beaufort confusion out of the way. Beaufort (pronounced “Bew-furt”), South Carolina, is a perfectly fine town—but not our destination this time. I prefer to head up the coast to Beaufort (pronounced “Bo-furt”), North Carolina, for an experience entirely different from the barrier islands south of Charleston: no palm trees, golf courses, or Lowcountry cuisine here.
With a name like The Rhett House Inn, it’s no wonder many guests think this bed and breakfast in the heart of the National Historic Landmark District of Beaufort, South Carolina, was named after Rhett Butler, the dashing anti-hero of Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone With the Wind.