May 25 – Fri
On Friday May 25th, we traveled from Swansboro North Carolina to Beaufort (Bo-Fert) North Carolina. Don’t call the city Bu-Fort, that is the South Carolina neighboring city with the same spelling.
The trip from Swansboro to Beaufort was a short 28 miles, but took us about 5 hours due to delays in gettin’ pumped out & fueled.
I knew that our Beaufort marina would not have fuel or pump out, so I called a few neighboring marinas and found one which offered both services. When we were very close to the initial marina I had spoken to, I called to let them know that we were on the way in, and they said that their dock was now full with big boys getting a lot of fuel and it would be a 1-2 hour wait.
So we had to scramble and find another marina prior to our destination of The Beaufort Yacht Basin Marina. We did find another fuel/pump out marina, but it was not so close, thus it was a 5 hour trip vs the 3-1/2 hours we had planned.
We did arrive at The Beaufort Yacht Basin about 1:30pm.
We were welcomed in to Beaufort by the harbor master & one of the nicest guys we have met on The Loop, a southern gentleman named Jerry Gaskill. We also met Joe, the owner of the marina. The marina is very new having been rebuilt in 2016. There is a very nice captains quarters, new floating docks, free laundry, and complimentary use of a very nice golf cart to check out the town upon arrival. Jerry & owner Joe showed us their plans for expansion in the coming years including a hotel & park type area
It was our last 2 days with the Hinman’s after their 11 day stay, so we wanted to hit the ground running in Beaufort. We took advantage of the golf cart that Jerry had offered us to get to know the city. The downtown Beaufort area was a short 3 blocks away from the marina, but the downtown Front Street was pretty long. The golf cart was a pretty sweet mode of transportation.
Our initial goal was to get some information about a nearby island which was supposed to have wild horses that are descendants of horses going back to early explorers of the British, Spanish, and French in the 1500/1600’s.
Jerry advised that we would probably be able to see the horses on Carrot Island, near the end of Front Street.
So we headed over to the main drag “Front Street” and went on a 45-60 minute ride. We passed all the downtown restaurants, bars, and gift shops. Then the sights turned into a nice residential area. All the while, we had the riverfront and nearby Carrot Island in sight.
About 45 minutes into the ride, we did in fact see the Wild Horses on Carrot Island. The video below is a little grainy because I had the zoom on 6 power.
Wild Horses Video = https://youtu.be/fWAARJgYxpw
After about a one hour ride down & back on Front Street, we parked the golf cart and went over to the riverfront boardwalk in search of a lunch venue. We ended up at a place called The Dockhouse. We ate lunch on the 2nd floor balcony.
The balcony offered great views of the riverfront & the nice boats in the Beaufort City Marina. I attempted to get in to City Marina, but had called too late. The Yacht Basin turned out to be the better choice anyway due to all the traffic on the main waterway rocking all the boats in the marina. The Yacht Basin where we were at, was only 3 blocks away in a protected harbor.
After lunch we went back to the boat, cleaned up, and then headed back into town on foot. While leaving the marina, we saw a private charter boat who had just returned from a successful fishin’ trip with some nice Mahi-Mahi. The lucky young fisherman said that it was his first big catch. He said that it took about 45 minutes to land it and that he almost had to ask for a tap-out for relief from reeling in the fish.
The walk into town was a short 3 blocks. We started out visiting a cool gift shop called Tidal Treasures, but had a goal of finding a hidden away “locals” bar called The Backstreet Pub.
The Backstreet Pub was as advertised , a hidden treasure – it took us about 20 minutes to find it in the back alley, behind The Clawson Restaurant. Even after finding it, it was in a courtyard surrounded by a large brick wall and gate, and seemed like it was not even open. The team was nervous !
Once inside, we ordered drinks, and sat along the old-time bar. The bar was very high, they must have had some tall cowboys back in the day. The bar also had a really cool mirror surrounded by exotic wood-working and marble.
Research on the bar says ;
A century-old former bakery, believed to be the oldest building in Beaufort built about 1870 completely of brick.
The Pub now hosts an interesting mix of locals, vacationers, sea captains, and deep sea divers. It remains a favorite stop among sailors who cruise along the Intracoastal Waterway. Over the years, pieces of nautical memorabilia from their journeys have covered the walls. It’s no wonder, The Pub has been called the “friendliest, funkiest little bar from Maine to Venezuela.”
In spite of supposedly being one of the main music venues in town, and being the host of a 30 year old music festival every year – they did not have music on this Friday night.
So we asked around about music, and ended up back at the place that we had lunch – The Dockhouse. The Dockhouse had a very good 3 piece band called Bobby Webb & Company, playing mostly new country but also singing some of their original songs. The crowd was quite lively, dancing along the boardwalk. My favorite song was a song that said something like “money can’t buy everything, but it can buy me a Boat”.
Buy me a Boat Video = https://youtu.be/REioHt4cAfA
My dinner on Friday night was = 3 Captain & Cokes , a Reese’s Cup Pie, and half of Ginger’s Lava Cake.
We called it a night about midnight.
It was a long fun day with ; traveling from Swansboro to Beaufort, fueling/pumpouts, golf cart ride, wild horses, gift shops, the Dockhouse balcony lunch, the Backstreet Pub, a dessert-based dinner, drinks, and music.
May 26 – Sat
Saturday was a big day, it was the last full day of the Hinman’s visit.
We started the day with the normal coffee & showers (separate events).
While I was showering, Dave walked over to the fish company next door to the marina.
The fish company was called the Homer Smith Seafood Company.
The boat below, the Croatan, had just arrived back in port after 3 days at sea.
Check out the photos below of their bounty.
It was a beautiful hot day in Beaufort, so we decided to go on a dinghy ride along the Taylor Creek, which separates downtown Beaufort from Carrot Island. We also had visions on pulling up to Carrot Island in search of some more Wild Horses.
During the ride on Taylor Creek, there was a lot of boat traffic on the Memorial Holiday weekend. We saw several interesting vessels.
> The first one was a small 3 Man Viking Ship = https://youtu.be/GiJI7dLWxno
> The second one was a larger Pirate theme Tour Boat = https://youtu.be/6Y3dDrRhx64
Shortly after the boats above passed, we saw a long pier on Carrot Island, so we pulled the dinghy onto the island for some exploring.
Our first encounter with the island was hundreds of little crabs.
When we stepped off of the dinghy, we could see the little crabs scurrying away to their holes in the sand.
> Crab Video = https://youtu.be/WDFRG896X4Q
********* make sure to watch the Crab Video above , it is very cool *********
After playing with the little crabs for a while, we continued our exploration of Carrot Island, which we learned also was part of the Rachel Carson Nature Preserve (I believe no relation to our friends Jeff & Robin Carson).
I forgot to remove the key for the dinghy motor, so I had Dave run back to the boat to get the key. Have you ever seen Baywatch, does he look like David Hasselhoff ?
Ok, back to the story !
We walked down a long pier above the marsh and discovered several educational postings about the island and its inhabitants, sponsored by the Rachel Carson Program.
We found educational postings about the ; Living Shoreline, Birds, and the Wild Horses.
OMG – when we read the poster board about the wild horses on Carrot Island, we discovered that they were imposters, phoney ponies, not true descendants of the Wild Mustangs of the 1500’s.
The Hinman’s demanded a refund !
Further research on the subject reveals the following ;
The Wild Mustangs dating back to heritage in the 1500/1600’s is actually on Shackleford Banks Island, about 5 miles away, but the open water was too rough to go by dinghy on this day.
Shackleford Banks Mustangs
The Shackleford horses have often been referred to as ponies because of their size, but they are true horses. DNA studies prove they are descended from the Spanish mustangs brought to the Carolina coast by explorers beginning in the early 1500’s. Turned loose from shipwrecks, or left behind when explorers had to flee failed attempts at colonization, they spread out all along the barrier island chain as they grew in numbers.
They have survived in the wild, isolated on Shackleford and other coastal barrier islands away from the mainland for almost half a millennium.
Carrot Island / Rachel Carson Reserve Wild Horses
Like the wild Shackleford mustangs, Beaufort’s wild horses can only be reached by boat, where they have free run of the main area of Rachel Carson Reserve. The reserve acreage is not suitable for human habitation and has extremely little fresh water, which is mostly ground water the horses find by digging.
Unlike North Carolina’s other three groups of wild horses, the Beaufort horses’ lineage is not isolated to the bloodlines of the Colonial Spanish Mustangs, though they surely carry some of that historic heritage. These horses are descended from stock kept on these islands in the 1940s by the Beaufort doctor who then owned the land. The original herd consisted of “Banker Ponies”, along with some domestic breeds – mainly Quarter Horses. Though they are today considered “feral” horses, many of them plainly exhibit the characteristics of the wild Outer Banks horses descended from the spanish mustang stock that first arrived on these barrier islands as far back as the early 1500’s. In fact, some of these horses carry the primitive markings of the most ancient of wild horse breeds and types.
These primitive markings consist of a “dorsal stripe” or spinal stripe, that runs along the spine from ears to tail, and sometimes leg bars as well.
There you go = No Refund !
After horsing around at the Rachel Carson Reserve, we loaded up in the dinghy and headed down Carrot Island to a location where there were MANY boaters having a fun day on the Carrot Island Shoreline (about 5 miles away from the Nature Reserve). I think me & Dave both pulled a muscle attempting to flex our biceps so hard for the photo-op.
We walked the beach for about an hour, visited with the locals, & tossed the football.
It was a wonderful day !
After a few hours on Carrot Island, we crossed over to the Beaufort mainland and had lunch at Finz Grill.
After lunch it was time for – guess what ? Si Senior, La Siesta !
We turned up the music on the boat quite loud, turned the AC systems on High, and had a wonderful refresher for the night-time activities.
> Mike took a 20 minute siesta.
> Dave took a 40 minute siesta.
The girls did not take siesta, they needed more prep time for dinner than Dave & I !
For dinner we headed in to downtown, to a place called the Clawson’s Restaurant. It is the biggest restaurant in town covering two large buildings.
History of the Clawson Restaurant reveals the following;
The original Clawson’s grocery store was owned by Charles and Mary Clawson who were immigrants from Sweden and Ireland. Clawson’s claim to fame back then was as a bakery & grocery store. Its origin is where the Backstreet Pub is currently located, behind the current restaurant. The Backstreet is believed to be the oldest building in Beaufort built about 1870 completely of brick.
The original Clawson’s grocery store sold canned goods, fresh produce from local farmers and fresh baked goods from “The Bakery” out back. The reputation of these baked goods grew throughout the East Coast as sales to boat crews that navigated the Intracoastal Waterway increased. Local delivery was available to town residents in the form of a carriage drawn by horses known by such names as “June Bug” and “Dragonfly”.
Clawson’s Grocery & Bakery’s business prospered for many years until the Great Depression struck. Mr Clawson paid his creditors but his customers could not pay their debts to him, forcing the closing of Clawson’s Grocery & Bakery in 1934.
Clawson’s grocery building was purchased thereafter and served as home to several businesses including a hat shop (there is a picture of it in the stairwell), a dress shop, & a children’s clothing shop. By the 1970’s it was unoccupied and was sold on the courthouse steps to pay bills.
The building was bought and renovated into a restaurant in 1977 by Candy and Bill Rogers. The Rogers chose to use the namesake of it’s original owners as the restaurant name.
All of our meals were fabulous, I had a Grilled Swordfish with Shrimp, covered in a spicy sauce, with pineapple chunks. I don’t remember what the others had, but all commented that their meals were great.
May 27 – Sun
Sunday was a sad day.
It was departure day for the Hinman’s.
We had a lot of fun in the last 11 days, with a lot of Mike & Dave acting young again.
The Hinman’s experienced a little taste of Looping Life, having participating in ;
> 11 days
> 6 Ports
> About 210 Miles
They were very generous guests, having paid many of the restaurant tabs & Uber fees, as well as leaving a large present hidden under the alarm clock in the bedroom.
A special thanks also to Ginger’s mother, who funded our last meal at The Clawson Restaurant, via Ginger’s birthday present – a card given to her by her mom before they departed Michigan.
Farewell Kids !
Thanks for the great visit & new memories.
> 1 night in Oriental North Carolina (Tue)
> 2 nights in Bellhaven North Carolina (Wed, Thu)
> 1 night in Columbia North Carolina (Fri)
> 2 nights in Elizabeth City North Carolina (Sat, Sun)
> The Great Dismal Swamp !