Budget Travel is running a contest about America's Coolest Small Towns in 2012. If you live in eastern North Carolina and are on any social network, there has been plenty of encouragement for people to vote for Beaufort in the contest which ends January 31, 2012.
While most of us along North Carolina's Southern Outer Banks and particularly the Crystal Coast portion of it are well aware of why Beaufort is such a great place to visit, there are people who know little about the town and why we would like to see Beaufort win the contest.
I have a number of reasons that I would like to see Beaufort win the contest, but mostly I am rooting for Beaufort because it really is a great place to visit.
When we first visited Beaufort for our thirtieth anniversary back in 2003, I was struck by the wide main street, the charm of the historic district, and the inviting boardwalk along the harbor. As I have written in a number of articles, Beaufort is a beautiful place, and it inspires some beautiful artwork from people like my friend, Mary Warshaw.
The friendliness and sense of place that you feel when visiting Beaufort were a big part in our decision to make Carteret County our home.
While we don't live in Beaufort, we don't live very far from it as you can see on the area map. From our home in Bluewater Cove we love to make quick visits to Beaufort. I am especially fond of wandering the streets of Beaufort in early summer.
Whenever we have visitors to our home in Cape Carteret, we almost always include a visit to Beaufort in their agenda. I absolutely love the Maritime Museum, and my wife enjoys browsing in the Front Street shops. Even I enjoy visiting Scuttlebutt, the great maritime bookstore with lots of fantastic charts, maps and other nautical things.
On our first visit to Beaufort, we took a ride around the waters of the area on the Water Bug. It was a great introduction to the area, but it was just a first taste of how much fun access to the water brings to Beaufort area visitors.
We have taken several water tours on some of Beaufort's bigger boats. We even used Beaufort as our base during a visit when we drove up to Harker's Island and took a ferry over to Cape Lookout. Of course, you don't even have to make that effort. There are several boats based in Beaufort that will take you to Cape Lookout or almost any of the other islands. You can even choose sail power or paddle yourself to some of the closer islands by kayak.
We have even taken our own skiff up the Intracostal to Beaufort and Shackleford Banks. Not surprisingly considering all the water in the area, I have also enjoyed some great fishing in the Beaufort area.
Perhaps the thing that I like the most about Beaufort is that you can park your car and have fun for days without ever having to get back in the car. We have enjoyed many trips to Beaufort. When staying overnight, we most often enjoy the amenities of the Beaufort Inn.
There's nothing like starting the day around the fireplace with a piece of Katie's breakfast pie. I have even had my fishing guide and friend, Captain Tom Roller of Waterdog Guide service pick me up at the dock behind Beaufort Inn.
After breakfast, we often stroll down Front Street and enjoy Beaufort's great main street which always makes me think that I am back living in the fifties and sixties when life was a little simpler.
Lunch and dinner choices abound in Beaufort. We have enjoyed great meals at the Spouter Inn and Front Street Grill. Both of those restaurants are on the water. Beaufort Grocery Store has also provide us with some very tasty meals, but there are plenty of other choices within walking distance in Beaufort.
What I have written above is just a summary of why I think Beaufort deserves your vote in the best Small Town to Visit in 2012 contest. Go to any of my other blogs and search for "Beaufort," and you will find lots of other reasons.
However, hopefully I have convinced you to vote for Beaufort already and maybe even to come for a visit. We would greatly appreciate your vote and love to see you find out why we all love Beaufort.