Hooray! Hilton Head, Bluffton, Beaufort all made Southern Living’s Best of the South

Watch: A virtual visit to Beaufort’s waterfront

Jeff Kid shot this video of Beaufort's waterfront "with three cameras over four days, two seasons and three times of day."
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Jeff Kid shot this video of Beaufort's waterfront "with three cameras over four days, two seasons and three times of day."

Beaufort County got a lot of love in Southern Living’s The South’s Best 2019 awards.

Although Hilton Head Island was the only town in the county to be crowned champion of its category, other nearby cities were highly ranked.

Beaufort and Bluffton both made top 10 for The South’s Best Small Towns 2019.

Beaufort was ranked second — behind Beaufort (“Bow-fort,” not “Bue-furt,” as we say), North Carolina — still making it the best in South Carolina. It had won the category in 2017.

The article said the “dreamy” town continues to raise the bar, adding new reasons to come for visitors and transplants alike.

A new 200-foot dock off of Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in Beaufort opened Friday, May 4, 2018. City of Beaufort

It credited the downtown Waterfront Park with being one of the main attractions with its restaurants and shops that are accessible by car or boat. It also listed the Reconstruction Era National Monument, the Pat Conroy Literary Center, the Spanish Moss Trail — which is expanding, vintage plane tours 1,500 feet over Beaufort and its Sea Islands, and a new waterfront park coming to Lady’s Island.

Bluffton came in eighth, and Southern Living says you’ll fall in love with the town.

The “moss-draped village” on the May River grew from 3,000 people to 15,000 in less than 20 years. Locals credit the town’s appeal to the “Bluffton State of Mind,” the article said.

Bluffon is to South Carolina as Austin is to Texas: “A little funky and quirky, laid-back, and dedicated to staying that way,” Charlie Clark, vice president of communications for the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce and Visitors and Convention Bureau, told the magazine.

The view from Old Oyster Factory Park in Bluffton. Katherine Kokal, The Island Packet.

Clark said Bluffton offers so many amenities — like culture, art, proximity to beaches, small-town way of life, restaurants, shopping, and outdoor activities — that can’t usually be found in towns of similar size, including its town-wide oyster roasts.

The article specifically mentioned the Church of the Cross, which it called one of the most beautiful churches in the South, Calhoun Street and The Promenade’s eclectic shops and galleries such as the Bluffton General Store and Jacob Preston Pottery, and a slew of restaurants including The Cottage, Bluffton BBQ, The Bluffton Room, Old Town Dispensary, and the Bluffton Oyster Factory.

Anchorage 1770
A significant restoration to a historic building in downtown Beaufort led to the opening of Anchorage 1770 in 2015. The Victorian mansion has centuries of riveting history, and was even used as a hospital during the Civil War. Anchorage 1770 is an inn with 15 rooms in the main house, in addition to a two-bedroom cottage behind the building. Submitted photo

Other categories Beaufort County ranked in included:

Beaufort’s Anchorage 1770 was named seventh in The South’s Best Inns 2019 category, moving down two rankings from last year.

Bluffton’s Montage Palmetto Bluff and Hilton Head’s Sea Pines Resort were both named The Best Places to Stay in Every Southern State for South Carolina.

Hilton Head’s Palmetto Dines Oceanfront Resort was named The South’s Best Wedding Venues by State for South Carolina.

The April issue featuring all the South’s Best 2019 winners hits newsstands on March 22, and a full list of categories and winners can be found online.

Bluffton has 10 buildings -- two churches and eight homes -- that survived the Civil War and remain standing to this day. All are located in Old Town Bluffton. For those wishing to view them, the Heyward House Historic Center at 70 Boundary St., w

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Lana Ferguson has covered crime, police, and other news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college newspaper.

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