Tours this weekend will give residents and visitors a chance to learn about and peek into some of the most historic, beautiful and, in some cases, exclusive homes in Beaufort.
The Parish Church of St. Helena has a weekend of events to coincide with the 56th annual Spring Tour of Homes, Lowcountry Plantations and Gardens. It starts with a walking tour in downtown Beaufort from 3 to 6 p.m. today. Tickets cost $40.
"The thing that's very unusual is the oldest house in Beaufort is on the tour, and I don't believe it's ever been on the tour," publicity coordinator Marcia Stewart said. The oldest house is the Thomas Hepworth House, built in 1717.
After the tour, a free, public organ concert will be performed at the church at 505 Church St. by Jonathan Dimmock, a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, Yale School of Music and Yale Divinity School. He has performed across the country and world, including at Westminster Abbey in London and the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City. The concert is part of the church's yearlong tricentennial celebration. It is the oldest church in Beaufort.
"We're just trying to present some opportunities for the community that they just normally don't get a chance to hear -- or if they do, they have to pay for it," said Jan Pringle, co-chairwoman of the church's tricentennial committee.
Though the concert is free, donations will be accepted to help pay for a trip to England next summer by the church's Royal School of Church Music in America youth choir for boys and girls, Pringle said.
A second tour of plantations will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and will explore properties ranging from Civil War-era to modern working plantations. Properties include McPhersonville, Huspa, Pinckney Retreat, Old House and Tomotley. Tickets cost $60.
Both tours include lunch and entertainment. Tickets are available until 4 p.m. today at www.sthelenas1712.org or by calling 843-524-0363. Tickets also can be purchased from noon to 4 p.m. today at the Parish Hall at 207 Newcastle St., ticket coordinator Marcia Seymour said.
Walking tour tickets purchased online or by phone can be picked up between noon and 4 p.m. today at the Parish Hall, and driving tickets can be picked up between 9 and 11 a.m. Saturday at Regions Bank, 69 Robert Smalls Parkway.