Thursday, April 5, 2012

Finding Forest Gump

We left Beautiful Beaufort this morning, but before I tell you all about I must backtrack to Isle of Hope.  Some friends suggested we stop there for a night or two, instead of another Savannah marina, and we sure are happy they did.

Gusty thunderstorms crossed the area soon after we tied up at Isle of Hope Marina on Saturday. When the rain let up a bit we took the marina loaner car on a shopping trip, picking up some local BBQ for dinner(advertised as 'The Best in South", is wasn't , but it wasn't bad either).

Sunday morning dawned sunny and warm and we set out to tour  Wormsloe, home of Noble Jones who arrived in Georgia in with James Oglethorpe and the first English colonists in 1733. The tabby ruins of is home,  and his gravesite are on display, along with Living History Camps. Wormsloe was one of three plantations built to protect the young colony from Spanish invasion.

The first thing you see upon arriving at Wormsloe is the allee of Live Oak Tees stretching for almost a mile along the dirt driveway. It is the very driveway where Forest Gump ran off his braces in the movie by the same name. Run Forest Run!

Later in the afternoon we walked along Bluff Drive, the 1800's summer playground of Savannah's elite and discovered the true charm of Isle of Hope: A row of picket fence lined cottages, stately homes, dogs asleep on porches, live oak trees dripping with spanish moss, magnolias, children swimming in the river, white azaleas, being greeted as if we were neighbors.  It was like a page from Southern Living Magazine or a scene from a movie.

Beaufort truly is a movie star:  The Big Chill, Prince of Tides, and Forest Gump were all filmed there. It is quintessential low country: stately homes lining the water, where the families of wealthy planters would spend their summers to enjoy the breezes and avoid the heat, humidity and mosquito borne diseases on the plantations; massive live oak trees, some with trunks ups to 12' in diameter,; lush gardens, tended with care; and marshes as far as the eye can see.

Beaufort boasts a lively waterfront  park lined with porch swings suspended from ivy covered arches,  a green where we watched a spirited bocce game, brick walking paths, and an amphitheatre where on summer nights they screen locally filmed flicks. Restaurants over look the park, with a row of shops just a block away.   A bit off the beaten path was The Chocolate Tree, where I picked up a box of chocolates just like Forest did (the shop made his box for the movie)-- and what I got was a delicious assortment. I hope Tom Hanks enjoyed them as much as the Cap'n and I did. I also purchased a handful of suckers made by Parkside Candies, a childhood haunt in Buffalo, NY.

While on a walking tour guided by Jon Sharp, a former Hollywood actor who "shipwrecked " in Beaufort 20 years ago, we were shown historic homes owned by the Cap'ns ancestors as well as homes occupied by famous movie stars while they were in town for filming. Unfortunately, in the early 1900's fire destroyed over 40 ante-bellum homes. Despite that loss, the town is still full of homes built in classic West Indies style, situated to catch the prevailing summer southern winds, with high basements, double staircases known as 'the welcoming arms of the south' and wrap around porches.

We'll be back to Beaufort......

(PS; pictures to follow)

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