Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Beaufort/Moorhead City, N.C.

White Pepper left Charleston on a beautiful Sunday morning of July 6, 2008. The weather was excellent so we headed offshore to the Moorhead City inlet 200 n. miles to the NE. Fair winds and a following sea pushed us right along. The only problem was a few thunder storms as we approached Cape Fear.

After that the weather was gorgeous. This was to be White Pepper's last day at sea for several years. The winds were 10-15 knots on the starboard quarter. The waves were gentle 2-3 foot smooth rollers. It was almost as if the ocean was try to seduce us back. "Have I been so bad? See how beautiful I can be? Those bays and rivers you are going to will never make you happy. I never meant to hurt you. Please don't leave me." As dawn broke on the 8th we entered the Moorhead City inlet with very mixed emotions.

We skipped Moorhead City which is actually quite industrial and immediately turned into Beafort just a mile to the north. Beafort is for sailors. There are mooring balls and anchorage in Taylor Creek. The town itself is quite historic. It is the third oldest town in NC. It also has a dynamite nautical museum that boasts of being the most visited museum in North Carolina. I can see why. There is a restoration shop that you can visit and an extensive nautical library. Entry is donations only.

The historic district is nice. Most of the old home are made of wood. With a fresh coat of white paint I can not tell the difference between a house built in 1750 and one built in 1840. By the way James Taylor owns one of the old homes and is said to actually live in Beaufort. We did not see him.

We met lots of characters on the water front. One fellow, Marty, drove us to the Piggly Wiggly and was quite gracious. Thanks. We hiked in the Rachael Carson nature preserve. Older reader will member Rachael Carson as THE founding member of the green movement from her book "The Silent Spring." She did some of her early work in the dunes here.

Finally, we pulled up anchor and turned into the ICW. I was determined not to let Cape Hatteras have a shot at us. Oriental, on the Neuse River, was next.

An apology

First an apology about the lag in posting. The Acer computer crashed after a Vista/Windows update in Beaufort, NC. The crash was so total that I had to send it back to the factory for service. Since then we have limped from public library to public library for internet access. Also the old Olympus camera quit. Actually the camera works fine, but the buttons are so salted up that we can't download and erase any of the pictures. I am going to send the camera back to the factory for cleaning. In the meantime, we have just bought a new 10 mega pixel fully waterproof and shock proof Olympus. Hopefully this new camera can stand the cruising life.

I am now able to use my daughter's computer while we live with the kids. The White Pepper is in Deltaville, VA undergoing repairs and a refit. Deltaville is in rural Virgina, and I mean far away. It has a great reputation for boat repairs. There are two West Marine stores, 29 marinas, and 6 full service yards in a town of 800 people. It's hot in the boatyard so we are living in Manassas, VA for the time being.

We have had an eventful trip from Charleston, SC to Deltaville. I will gradually try to catch up on the posts and add the pictures when they are available.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Charleston! Forget New Orleans

White Pepper arrived in Charleston Harbor Monday morning exhausted. We had picked Charleston as it was at the limit of our fuel consumption and weather window. Little did Jan or I realized what a jewel Charleston is. This is a wonderful town to visit and vacation.

The downtown is only a mile from the City Marina, but they provide a courtesy shuttle. All of Charleston is preserved and historical. Much of the history is pre-revolutionary as well as Civil War era. The town was once the 3rd largest city in America and the preeminent city of the South. Over the centuries it has reinvented itself as party central. There are museums, world class shopping on King Street, fabulous restaurants in the Low Country tradition, and extended happy hour on East Bay St. Charleston is often called the "Holy City" there are more churches per square mile than any other city in America and there are even more art galleries. Some of the churches are among the oldest in the country. There is one church were Geo. Washington attended services, and the Episcopal Church--St. John the Baptist--has the graves of three of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

We threw ourselves wholeheartedly into the tourist thing. We took carriage rides, we took a culinary tour, and we visited Fort Sumter. Jan went to the farmer's market Saturday morning. We had some of the best dining I have ever had. On the night of the 4th of July we watched a spectacular fire works display from the water front park.

Another feature of the city is the remarkable number of young people about. There are 5 higher ed. centers closeby. The city seems overrun by kids working summer jobs or just out partying.

The comparison with New Orleans is inevitable. Charleston is so much cleaner, nicer, safer, and more interesting that I would never chose New Orleans over Charleston to visit. There is a French Quarter here, but it does not smell of urine and beer. We walked everywhere without a concern. In New Orleans I have called a cab to cross Canal Street.

The fellow with Jan in one of the pics is Eric Hyman, owner of Hyman's, the most popular restaurant in Charleston. I promised him a spot on the blog. He is the fourth generation Hyman to do business in Charleston and really nice guy.

We have stayed days longer than our plans called for. The weather remains unsettled, but we have to move on. Sunday morning we will start up the ICW for Morehead City, NC. We will both be very sorry to leave this surprising place.