Elegant and inviting, Beaufort's historic inns capture the essence of an era when wealthy Southern planters found refuge on the verandas of stately mansions built to take advantage of the cool coastal breezes.
Today, these beautifully restored B&Bs offer visitors the pleasures of the past with all the luxuries of the 21st century.
Whether you choose to stay in a stunning antebellum estate overlooking the Beaufort River or a charming turn-of-the-century boarding house in the center of downtown, you'll have the opportunity to experience the rich history, romance and culture of the South Carolina Lowcountry.
Three of these spectacular inns are located on The Bluff, a neighborhood of waterfront homes along Bay Street. The oldest of the trio is Anchorage 1770, so named for the admiral who once owned it and the date it was constructed.
Originally built by William Elliott, a highly successful politician and planter, the house went on to be purchased by the rear admiral in command of the Port Royal Naval Station, who embarked on a major renovation of the home in the early 1900s.
In 2013, Frank and Amy Lesesne purchased the home and spent two years renovating and converting it into a B&B. Every room offers its own unique features, among them 13-foot ceilings, large bay windows, ornate plaster relief work, exposed timbers from the late 1700s and garden or waterfront views.
A block away is The Cuthbert House Inn, a 200-year-old restored antebellum mansion that once served as a summer refuge from plantation life. Named among the "Top Ten Most Romantic Inns" by American Historic Inns, this classic Southern mansion features elegant parlors and conservatories, antique-filled rooms and suites with private baths, formal Charleston gardens and expansive verandas overlooking Beaufort Bay.
Also on the bay is Two Suns Inn, built in 1917 as a boarding house and lovingly renovated into a warm and welcoming B&B. Breakfast is prepared every morning by resident French chef Henri and his wife Patricia.
In the center of downtown are several other great lodging options. The Beaufort Inn, a Victorian-style home built in 1897 as the summer retreat for a legislator's family, offers all the charms of a historic inn-heart pine floors, fireplaces, claw-foot soaking tubs, gardens, courtyards and verandas-with the comforts and amenities of a boutique hotel.
Along with the suites in the main house, the inn includes several historic cottages and homes, as well as a day spa and bistro catering breakfast for guests every morning.
Just outside of the downtown shopping district a block from the Beaufort River is the AAA Four Diamond Rhett House Inn. This 6,000-square-foot Greek Revival home with its two-story wraparound piazza was built by a member of the prominent Rhett family, whose name served as the inspiration for Margaret Mitchell's famed character Rhett Butler in the quintessential Southern film, "Gone with the Wind."
Guests of the award-winning B&B are welcomed with a glass of champagne and an assortment of other treats, including afternoon tea, lemonade and homemade cookies, evening hors d'oeuvres and homemade desserts.
The North Street Inn is another in-town historic home turned B&B. Built by Emil Lengnick circa 1907, this Queen Anne Victorian was strategically angled to get the most of the breezes off the water, offering guests a cool, lovely atmosphere to enjoy a vacation season after splendid season.