Back in the US, Back in the US, Back in the USA!

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Old Glory was a welcome sight.

The picture isn’t very good, but the sight of the American Flag flying at Fort Macon by the Beaufort Inlet, N.C. was a grand welcome to the end of our crossing from the Bahamas to the U.S.

We have been out of U.S. territory for six months and off of the mainland for almost nine months. I was ready to be “home.” The contrast of Beaufort and the Caribbean is stark. That is not to say one is “better” than the other, but being back in our home country and enjoying the culture we grew up with is certainly agreeable!

Arriving for the Independence Holiday weekend accentuated the patriotic feeling of our return and gave us the chance to truly celebrate being American.

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American pride dotted the Beaufort neighborhoods

Beaufort is a darling town that feels almost Mayberry-esque.  For those too young to understand this reference, it feels old fashioned; it feels small town; and being American is a statement of pride.

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Alluring homes along Taylor Creek

The homes along Taylor Creek are very well maintained and the creek is a busy boating lane. Although we saw some very nice homes scattered throughout the Caribbean, the equitable, manicured waterfront and neighborhood homes here in Beaufort were a pleasant change.

We chose to rent a slip at the Beaufort City Docks and the experience has been excellent. The folks here are incredibly nice and very accommodating. In addition to great slips, free wifi, free water and consistently available electricity, Beaufort City Docks offers a free loaner car which we happily borrowed for provisioning.

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Rocking a 1995 wagon!

I felt like I was 12 years old again riding around in this old station wagon. I wanted to sit on the tailgate while Frank was driving like we used to do when we were young….but I’m quite certain we would have received a few tickets for that!

I had friends tell me that when we got back to the States and went to the grocery we would be overwhelmed. I wouldn’t say we were overwhelmed, but we bought WAY more than usual because we were so happy to find such rarities as seedless grapes, cherries, peaches and other fruits and veggies.  The plethora of options was delightful and hard to resist!

We Americans are spoiled by the plenty – and I kind of like it.

The neighboring boaters here are amazingly friendly. We have visited with many people and marvel at how open everyone seems.  One couple, Sue and Michael, had stopped on the docks for a few minutes before heading out to Carrot Island to meet friends. They kindly invited us to meet them, so we packed some snacks, grabbed Captain and headed over in Day Tripper.

Wow, boat picnic-ing is a popular activity for the 4th of July weekend! Just for fun we scouted out the scene before meeting Sue, Mike and their friends. We have not had to deal with tides and currents while sailing the Caribbean, so it has been interesting to see how the locals use those tides to their advantage. When the tide goes out, several sand bars appear and these become day stops/party spots for local boaters.

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One small section of day boaters and a lot of flags.

We completely enjoyed hanging on the beach with our new friends and hope to meet up with them later in the year when we begin working our way down the ICW. They will be back from their Caribbean charter and we want to hear all about it.

As one would expect of a patriotic small town, there was a July 4th parade. I loved watching the locals call out greetings from the sidelines to paraders.

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Pirates are big in Beaufort.

The wreck of Blackbeard’s ship was found near the entrance to Beaufort Inlet, so pirates play a major part in Beaufort celebrations and themes.

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Captain did not appreciate the large costumes or the skeleton on the bike!

I loved seeing these sweet, little kids jabbering away as they walked behind the large form of the pirate and the skeleton riding a tricycle. If you look, you can see two firecrackers walking down the street in front of the big pirate.

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Main Street (Front Street) is right off the docks.

Beaufort also is home to Shackleford Island where wild horses still roam today. This sanctuary is directly across Taylor Creek from our bow. Wild ponies roam the island undisturbed, eating the tender grass and drinking from fresh water lakes.

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A younger me would have tried to catch and tame one of these horses.

Frank and I toured Beaufort on our bikes. We had a great time coasting around without a bit of worry about traffic or road rage. The spokes on Frank’s wheel seem to be having issues as a couple of them broke. But my super handy hubby knows how to fix a broken spoke if he has spare spokes. Beaufort Bikes to the rescue!USA-8

Steve sold Frank the spokes and allowed him to work in the shade by the garage

Steve, the owner of Beaufort Bicycles, arrived here over a decade ago in a boat. He was thinking about returning to land and found the people in Beaufort the nicest he had every encountered. So, he bought a house, set up a bike business and has been here every since.  He is a great guy and if you need anything while visiting Beaufort, he will happily help.

Recently Linda and Kevin contacted us via this blog and shared with us their love of sailing and told us they are buying a Helia! One conversation led to another which eventually led to them agreeing to drive to Beaufort to share drinks and dinner with us. Linda and I hit it off immediately and not long into our conversation, we realized we both grew up in St. Louis, MO. Then things got really weird…. turns out, Linda and I both graduated from the same all girls, Catholic high school! (Though she is TEN years younger than I am.)  YEP, low and behold, we two St. Joseph’s Academy grads have found each other through sailing.  What are the chances?!

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Frank and Kevin with two (St. Joe) Angels!

If you are interested in chartering a brand new Helia, Counting Stars will be available this fall!

I write this blog primarily because I enjoy it but also so we will have a journal of some sort whenever this adventure concludes. I have learned from my past that I am not a ‘scrapbooker’ and I stink at putting together paper journals. This electronic medium is a bit time consuming when we have slow internet, but I like to think that if someone is interested in the cruising lifestyle, they can get a little feel for it from our blog. Finally, I write so our family has an idea of what we are doing and where we are.

I never imagined that other people might reach out and contact us because of something they had read in this blog.  I am very flattered just knowing that someone is reading what I have written and I am thrilled that we have actually met a few people because of this blog.

SO, if you have the inclination, we would very much like to hear from our “readers out there.” You are welcome to ask questions about sailing, our boat or whatever piques your curiosity.

Before I get this question several times over….. yes, Captain does go to the bathroom on the boat. We have a piece of astro turf she uses – but she doesn’t like it and much prefers real ground!

Thanks for reading! We would love to hear from you…

Posted on July 6, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Welcome back Frank and Mary Grace. I hope to see you soon. I have enjoyed reading about your adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beverly Hudson Schneider

    Too funny! We drove the same loaner when we were there 4 years ago!

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  3. Welcome back Captain. I have been reading your blog since you left. We lost our Bailey just before you left so this has been a treat for us. Sue and I are nearing our retirement and then we will be on our way in our Catalina 42, Little Wing (Little Wing is a song too like Let it Be). We plan to get a new dog and start over again. Although we have been sailing for 30 years, the adventure we have planned is a little un-nerving for Sue, so Captain has been helpful. We will be heading “down the ditch” from New Hampshire in 3 more years so I will be hoping to have as much fun as you. Thanks for writing.

    Ric

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ric. Thanks for responding. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your dog, Bailey. Having Captain aboard adds a layer of complexity and a layer of fun. Like Sue, I was nervous about the change but it has gone surprisingly well and we have met a lot of really nice people. Wishing you the best as you plan and prepare.

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  4. Knew you would love Beaufort! Don’t miss the Back Alley Pub! AND Chasing Stars is going to be our neighbor at CYOA in St. Thomas! Big Papa Lulu is currently chartered there and we noticed a new Helia Maestro, Chasing Stars on the schedule for this fall. Please feel free to forward my email as we can relay our (great) experiences thus far with CYOA.

    Best,
    Allen & Linda Dobbs
    S/V Big Papa Lulu

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  5. Hey! Welcome back to the states. Love Linda and Kevin’s boat name. Chasing Stars…brilliant minds and all that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It was wonderful to meet Mary Grace and Frank and discuss the boating life and all things about the Helia. They were wonderful hosts and we really enjoyed their company. Big Papa Lulu- we will be neighbors and we hope to talk and meet you someday too. By the way, our boat name is Counting Stars from the “One Republic” song so no competition to Amy and David! Probably just a typo given that Let it Be is friends with you. We also keep up with your “Out Chasing Stars” Blog too. What a fantastic resource it has been.
    Linda and Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

    • DANG! I can’t believe I combined Counting Stars and Out Chasing Stars! I have corrected it!! Sorry Linda and Kevin and sorry Amy and David!
      Sounds like you guys will get to know Big Papa Lulu soon too. We look forward to hearing about your maiden sail on Counting Stars when we (hopefully) meet this fall.

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  1. Pingback: Back in the Pack Down the ICW | Let It Be

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