When I retired from a 30-year teaching career in Fairfax County, Va., right outside of Washington, D.C., I knew right away I wanted to move to a beautiful beach somewhere south ... but where?
My husband was still going to work for a decade, so I knew I had to scout out places on my own on the coast from Corolla, N.C., all the way down to St. Augustine, Fla. I spent a week at Amelia Island, Ga., been to Jekyll Island; Kiawah Island; Emerald Isle, N.C.; Sunset Beach, N.C.; Duck, N.C.; and other beaches on the East Coast.
Close friends suggested we try Fripp Island near Beaufort. With my daughter still in college, my young son, husband and I headed to Beaufort for the Waterfront Festival and stayed at the Two Suns Inn. What a magnificent time we had, and I instantly loved Beaufort.
We took a horse and carriage ride and learned about the history. Our first taste of shrimp at the festival was heavenly. We rented a home on Fripp Island and knew this was the place for us.
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That was six years ago. My husband and I came back over the years to search for property and stayed at the beautiful Rhett House Inn among other fine places. We ate at the Beaufort Inn and Plums, Saltus, Blackstones and attended a service at St. Helena's Episcopal Church. The people were so friendly and helpful; I became attached to this way of life.
The people are what make this place enjoyable. Our friends who suggested Beaufort have since bought a lot and now are settling on a beautiful house. In 2006 and 2008, we had a "Big Chill" week on Fripp with 12 to 14 of our closest college friends and are now planning a 2010 week this spring.
Heading back to the D.C. area for a few more years until my son graduated from high school, I realized how much I miss Beaufort and Fripp and dreamed of the day I could return permanently. I moved here Oct. 1 and am renting a place as the house is being built. In just a few weeks, I have met so many people and have never experienced such a busy social life with groups on Fripp, St. Helena's Church and artists that I have met at local pubs.
Here I am with my chocolate lab, Sassy, living my dream, and I don't ever want to leave!
We bought property and are building our dream house, loving the weather and no traffic, and looking forward to living in paradise forever.