“We have hot apple cider. With or without rum”

Tucked just a block or so down from the waterfront of Beaufort, NC (pronounced bo-fert) on Queen Street you’ll find the Beaufort Grocery Company. This December afternoon was crisp and sunny, cool enough for a skillfully wrapped winter scarf, but not so cold to require a jacket.

Decembers in North Carolina are like that. You can be wearing shorts, running on the beach on Monday, and then be bundled up for a romantic dinner on the water on Friday night.

That’s how this week has been!

But this Saturday afternoon was perfect. Beaufort was filled with people who had just finished enjoying the holiday parade. More were coming into town to decorate their boats for the annual Crystal Coast Christmas Flotilla Boat parade. Still others were ducking in and out of the cool little shops to find unique and fun gifts for themselves and others (I picked up a few goodies for myself!)

But…back to the Grocery Company. Don’t worry, there was no cereal aisle!

The staff was very friendly. The dining room carried the scent of all things warm, flavorful and comforting. It was like walking into your Italian grandmother’s kitchen, although the lunch menu had a very good selection ranging from fish to soup to lamb and more.

I was there for lunch. While the Damn Fine Gumbo sounded pretty damn fine…I took one look at the Sonnamabeach sandwich, thought of my husband’s grandfather, and ordered it up!

Oh man. All I can say is imagine all your favorite Italian meats, melted cheese bubbling at the top, rolled into a perfectly baked piece of garlic bread. It was like sinking your teeth into your favorite pizza. But better. Much better. The sandwich was topped with the perfect mix of seasoned greens.

On the side – sweet potato chips. These are hands down the best I’ve had (maybe because they are sprinkled with just a hint of that crystal sweetness!).

Did I eat the whole thing? Almost. Even the pickle.

Did you say ‘Shopping?’…

After lunch I strolled through the streets and did a little shopping. You can’t go wrong spending an afternoon here. I dare you leave without falling in love with something.

It could be something from the shops, a taste of homemade fudge, a cup of coffee at the café overlooking the water, or just a never-to-forget moment pausing to admire the shimmering water dotted with boats of all types and Carrot Island just a stone’s throw away.

One of the shops I visited was Beaufort Linen Company. Not only is the owner Christina Baker and her husband an absolute delight, Christina has excellent taste. You will want to touch everything in there because the fabrics are pure heaven.

You’ll find top of the line sheets, tea towels hand embroidered by an 80-year-old local, special items for entertaining, sleepwear you’ll want to wear all day, lotions and soaps form Archipelago (I love the coconut hand crème –after massaging into your skin, your hands feel like silk and the scent is wonderful!), and so much more.

I actually made two leisurely laps around the store to take in all the sights, smells, and fabrics…and I’m not a big shopper!

You’ll notice a lot of walking and bike riding in Beaufort. Even when the weather is chilly! It’s such a great place to explore either way. If you want a little guidance as you roll through the streets, consider a tour with Hungry Town Tours. You can peddle up an appetite then sample culinary delights offered by the town’s hidden treasures (that would be the chefs!).

Be careful…this little seaside village may just capture your heart!…

When you Go:
Beaufort Grocery Company
117 Queen Street
Beaufort, NC 28516
Beaufort Linen Co.
331 Front Street
Beaufort, NC  28516
Hungry Town Tours
400 Front Street
Beaufort, NC 28516
*note – if you’re looking for a special time to ride, just ask! They may be able to accommodate you. That’s Southern hospitality for you!
 Carrot Island
(accessible only by ferry, kayak or boat…well-known for its wild horses)
Island Ferry Adventures
Crystal Coast Christmas Flotilla
*check the Events tab for the current year’s information

Closest Airports
Coastal Carolina Regional Airport (EWN)
200 Terminal Drive
New Bern, NC 28562
*About 40 miles from New Bern to Beaufort
Albert J. Ellis Airport (OAJ)
264 Albert J. Ellis Airport Rd.
Richlands, NC  28574
Near Camp Lejeune / Jacksonville
*About 47 miles from Jacksonville to Beaufort
Wilmington International Airport (ILM)
1740 Airport Blvd
Wilmington, NC  28405
*About 104 miles from Wilmington to Beaufort