Southern Hospitality

Southern Hospitality is alive and well down here in Beaufort, North Carolina. Even the dolphins are kind and courteous, playfully leading us towards the bascule bridge which would allow us into Taylor  Creek. The dolphins helped to improve my mood, I was feeling slightly bent out of shape having to leave Ocracoke Island too early. In fact, I thought it would be a good idea to just call Ocracoke our home for the winter.  A borrowed bicycle took me down narrow quiet streets lined with cedar and palm trees and a flock of fat, waddling ducks hurried out of my way. In Ocracoke there was a perfectly sized grocery store where Santa Claus was visiting to take pictures with the town kids. We settled in very quickly at the Ocracoke Bar & Grill, the owners Sean and Laurie set us up with some free drinks and their kitchen put out the best (local!) fish tacos I've ever eaten. Thankfully Colby isn't a big fan of fish, so I didn't have to share. Something surprising, O bar featured surfing competitions and videos on their televisions every night, which was very exciting for Colby. After I had been out exploring one afternoon, I arrived back at the boat to find my clothes hanging in the breeze..Colby had done our laundry by hand, which truly made my day and I found to be quite romantic.

I spent so much time roaming around in a state of bliss that I failed to photograph all the magical things we encountered...The only two photographs from Ocracoke we have are these:

Colby left his mark

And I cuddled an Ocrakitten. (read about them at OCRACATS)

And then we arrived in Beaufort, North Carolina in time for Colby's twenty-sixth birthday...Elizabeth, from the coolest coffee shop we have ever seen (Shoutout to all the ladies of CRUBAR!) found me a birthday candle, Mary from Backstreet Pub gave me leftover homemade red velvet cupcakes, and I sang happy birthday in my best Marilyn Monroe voice (replacing Mr. President with Mon Capitaine.....of course). 

We have been in Beaufort for quite awhile now. When we see you all in person we shall tell you all about it, until then just have a look:

At the North Carolina Maritime Musuem..

Colby found "The Captain's Liquer Chest" display

I quite liked an old bell retrieved from the wreck of Queen Anne's Revenge, BlackBeards pirate ship.

A sperm whale skeleton...I touched the preserved heart!

Such gentlemen at the museum! Tom from the Museum even drove us around, showing us important places. He showed us the entrance to the Olde Burying Grounds, which I explored myself one balmy day...

Little Girl (1700's)
Died during an ocean crossing
Buried in a barrel of rum

Nancy Manney French (1821-1886) & Charles French 
A Love story, Nancy fell in love with Charles, who was her tutor.
They were not allowed to marry. The postmaster was ordered by Nancy's father to intercept letters between the lovers. Years later, they finally reunited and married..Nancy died six weeks later of consumption.

Captain John Hill (1817-1879)

The form that fills this silent grave
once tossed on oceans rolling wave,
but in a port securely fast,
He's dropped his anchor here at last


And a Sunday afternoon stroll through the Rachel Carsen Reserve..

He must know 
about tides and rips and eddies,
bar and channel markings
and day and night signals;
he must be wise in weather lore
and he must be sympathetically familiar
with the peculiar qualities of his boat
which differentiate it from every other boat 
that was ever built and rigged.

-Jack London from 'Small Boat Sailing'

Wild horses here. 
Can you find Jenny Ives in the background?

Today it is Christmas and tonight is our third night at the Ann Street Inn in the Duke of Beaufort Suite. We drank wine and talked on the sprawling, twinkly lit porch with Donna the owner of the Inn. She is from the town where Tabasco hot sauce is made, and she is truly what we imagine to be a Cajun Queen...elegant, honest, fiery, fancy, polite, creative...with a smoky, southern accent. 
And don't worry, we ate well too. We were invited by Dave, Beaufort's only town building inspector, to his home for Christmas dinner with his lovely, laughing family. Dinner was absolutely delicious and when I wasn't eating, talking or laughing, I was playing with their dog Natasha, a cuddly, chubby schnauzer.  Colby and I both are struck by the kindness we have received from the people in the town of Beaufort. We have received free lettuce from a farmers market, a little lady gave us holly (which we stuck in an empty can of coffee and made into our boat Christmas tree) and mistletoe, a bakery owner gave us a free slice of coconut custard pie, people have donated bicycles, Denise at the Historical Society gave me a free tour of the old jailhouse on Christmas Eve, and I even found some day work on a fishing boat also here from Maine...

I can't help but want to be nice too.