More from Beaufort North Carolina!

Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center, Beaufort, Beaufort NC, NC Maritime Museum, Beaufort Food & Wine

I recently started a series about Beaufort, NC. You can catch up on the first couple of posts here & here. I haven’t written in a couple of weeks because I have quite literally spent nearly all of my free time working on an update to my book, Chasing Hope.

I switched the way my book will be printed & distributed. When I did, the old cover of the book would no longer work due to a variety of requirements from Amazon. But the process of updating was much harder than I anticipated.

So . . . I am behind. But back to post three in my series with more from Beaufort, North Carolina! The last two years I’ve attended the Beaufort Wine & Food Festival. I had said for a while that I wanted to go. I have a bad habit of talking and not doing.

Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center, Beaufort, Beaufort NC, NC Maritime Museum, Beaufort Food & Wine

As my 40th birthday approached {yes, I’m admitting how old I am} in 2016, I knew that I had to start making changes. So rather than just talk about going someday, I needed to do it.

The first event I bought tickets for in 2016 & 2017, was the Wine, Bread, Cheese & More seminar. I know! What could possibly be better? Not much, I tell you. Not much. If you’re a wine person, my guess is . . . you’re probably a food person, too.

This year’s seminar was even better than last years. The setting for the seminar is the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center. It’s on the water, just across the street from the North Carolina Maritime Museum. Though held in late April, the humidity has already started to seep in. But even still, it could not be a more beautiful setting. I mean . . . look at this . . .

Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center, Beaufort, Beaufort NC, NC Maritime Museum, Beaufort Food & Wine

I also attended the Vin de Mer Epicurean Village both years. There is a lot of wine and food happening up in there and it’s awesome! They describe it as organized chaos which is a great description.

Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center, Beaufort, Beaufort NC, NC Maritime Museum, Beaufort Food & Wine

Beaufort, Beaufort NC, NC Maritime Museum, Beaufort Food & Wine Festival, Vin de Mear Epicurean Village

Beaufort, Beaufort NC, NC Maritime Museum, Beaufort Food & Wine Festival, Vin de Mear Epicurean Village

Along with all of the food and wine, there are also cooking demonstrations. My first year, Clarke Merrell, the Chef and owner of Circa 81, did a live cooking demo. I saw most of the live cooking demos in 2017, too.

It even prompted me to try oysters with cucumber sake. I was proud of myself because that has not exactly ever been high on my list of must-try foods.

Though Beaufort is a tiny town on the southern Outer Banks, this event has not disappointed. Next year, my goal is to attend a wine dinner along with my favorite seminar and the Vin de Mer.

Beaufort’s Beautiful Homes

Beaufort NC Homes, Beaufort Waterfront Homes, Beaufort NC, Beaufort NC real estate, Front Street Beaufort NC

In my last post, I mentioned that I’d share more Beaufort, NC inspiration. I’m back today to share a handful of homes from Front Street. Beaufort’s beautiful homes can be found throughout the old town area.

But I do have to admit that I’m partial to the homes that face Taylor’s Creek and Carrot Island. Chasing Hope is set in Beaufort {as I’ve mentioned approximately 435,000 times}. Ava Cooper, the protagonist in Chasing Hopelives on Front Street in what she calls a “southern slice of heaven.”

Grayden Paul Park Beaufort NC, Beaufort NC, Beaufort NC waterfront, Front Street Beaufort NC
Grayden Paul Park on Front Street

When I first started writing this novel, I pictured several different homes along Front Street, for Ava. If you read the book you know that Ava’s family is wealthy – as is her interesting ex-husband. As the story took shape over the years, so did my vision for her home. The moving to a small town to escape/heal/grow, thing is not new in fiction. Heck, I did it in real life. 😉

What I didn’t want was for Ava’s life to take a complete departure from the life she once had. So . . . I kept her in a big, old rambling house. Not only was that what she had always known, but deep in her heart, she longed to have her stepchildren with her. Her dream to have a house full of kids and life was the real reason she purchased that particular Beaufort house.

Before I share a few more photos, I thought I’d show you a satellite view of Beaufort itself.

Beaufort Satellite View, Shackleford Banks Satellite View, Carrot Island Satellite View

This first photo gives you a view of Beaufort in the background from the Atlantic. Shackleford Banks is part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore {includes the Cape Lookout lighthouse} and is home to 100 of the areas wild poniesCarrot Island, which can be seen from Front Street, is also home to wild ponies.

Taylor's Creek Beaufort NC, Taylor's Creek, Carrot Island NC,

This is a view from one of the docks that looks out at Taylor’s Creek and Carrot Island. Most of the docks on this side of Front Street are private, belonging to the homes across the street.

Beaufort Satellite View, Beaufort NC, Carrot Island NC

Beaufort Satellite View, Front Street Beaufort NC

This third view shows you not only the docks in relation to Front Street, but gives you a good sense of the size of the homes. My favorite is next to the Beaufort Town Hall. Interestingly enough, that home was built by a doctor around 1905 {Dr. Charles Duncan House}.

Here are a few more of Beaufort’s beautiful homes:

Beaufort NC Homes, Front Street Beaufort NC, Front Street Homes Beaufort NC, Beaufort NC Waterfront Homes

Beaufort NC Homes, Front Street Beaufort NC, Front Street Homes Beaufort NC, Beaufort NC Waterfront Homes

Beaufort NC Homes, Front Street Beaufort NC, Front Street Homes Beaufort NC, Beaufort NC Waterfront Homes

Beaufort NC Homes, Front Street Beaufort NC, Front Street Homes Beaufort NC, Beaufort NC Waterfront Homes

Beaufort NC Homes, Front Street Beaufort NC, Front Street Homes Beaufort NC, Beaufort NC Waterfront Homes

Beautiful, right? If you enjoy info on architecture in towns like Beaufort, this blog has some interesting info about the mix of styles you can find in town.

All of them share the gorgeous view Ava spends a lot of time looking out at, as she fights her way through her grief to healing and hope. It’s a good town to sit for a while and do just that.

Beaufort Docks, Beaufort NC, Carrot Island,Beaufort Docks, Beaufort NC, Carrot Island,

I’ll be back next Sunday to share one of my all-time favorite Beaufort experiences!

P.S. I took all of these photos during some of my many walks around Beaufort.

Beaufort-by-the-Sea

Beaufort NC, Beaufort NC waterfront, Clawson's 1905 restaurant

In June, I released my first novel, Chasing HopeYou can enter to win a copy of the book, here. My favorite novels draw you into the setting – not just the story itself. Southern Writers do this better than anyone. While I am not sure I’m up to par with some of my favorite writers, I do hope that when my readers have read the book, they can imagine the beauty of the area and the charm of the town.

Chasing Hope is set in the small coastal town of Beaufort, North Carolina {aka Beaufort by the Sea}. I thought I’d do a quick series on a few of my favorite things about Beaufort. Before getting to that, Beaufort shares a name with Beaufort, South Carolina – home to one of those Southern Writers I mentioned above. Beaufort-by-the-Sea is pronounced like Bow-fert, whereas Beaufort in South Carolina is BYOO-fert.

Beaufort NC, Beaufort NC waterfront, Beaufort NC boardwalk

Beaufort is one of my favorite places. I spent more time than I’d like to admit sitting at a table, at the now closed Taylor’s Big Mug, drinking coffee, looking out at Front Street, and writing. Besides the charm that’s clear when you drive over the draw bridge into town, it’s also a great place for people watching.

My view one afternoon while writing . . .

Beaufort NC, Beaufort waterfront, The Dock House Beaufort NC

Here are a few of my favorite spots in Beaufort . . .

The Dock House

The Dock House, The Dock House Beaufort NC

I can’t say they have the best food. But it’s an awesome view and a great place to eat, sip a drink, and sit a spell. There are a few more photos on Foursquare. I also did some writing there, too! After all, Ava lives just a quick walk from The Dock House. 🙂

Clawson’s 1905 Restaurant

Clawson's 1905, Clawson's 1905 Restaurant & Pub,

The Fudge Factory

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Rocking Chair Book Store

Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could sell my books in this store?

Olde Beaufort Farmer’s Market – If it was closer, I’d be at this farmer’s market every Saturday! You can find their Facebook page, here.

farmer's market, Beaufort Farmer's Market, Beaufort NC

The Old Burying Ground

The Burying Ground highlights 300 years of history. It’s an incredible spot to visit – not only because of the history but it’s a beautiful location that reminds me so much of what I love about my coastal North Carolina home. The photos below are some that I’ve taken on my many trips to the Burying Ground.

Beaufort NC, Beaufort, Old Burying Ground

Beaufort NC, Beaufort, Old Burying GroundBeaufort NC, Beaufort, Old Burying GroundBeaufort NC, Beaufort, Old Burying GroundBeaufort NC, Beaufort, Old Burying Ground,

If there’s any chance you’re making your way to the Outer Banks or Cape Lookout on the Southern Outer Banks, make sure you stop in Beaufort. Next time, I’ll share a few of my favorite homes on Front Street, including the handful that inspired Ava’s house.

Eastern NC is my Muse

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I once wrote a blog post about how my fiction writing abilities dried up when I moved back to California, from North Carolina. When I finally got back to NC in 2012, my muse? Totally revisited me. P.S. If you’re a writer and haven’t seen “The Muse” with Albert Brooks & Sharon Stone . . . you MUST.

Chasing Hope  is set in the small coastal town of Beaufort. Beaufort won my heart in 2001 when I moved to Eastern Carolina the first time. In 2012, Beaufort won a little contest which named it the “America’s Coolest Small Town” by Budget Travel. Read a feature here.

It’s a special place and I still dream of owning a house downtown. Someday . . . maybe I will!

Here are a few photos of this gorgeous little town.

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Good Wine & Great Chow

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My first event at the Beaufort Wine & Food Weekend was awesome — the Wine, Bread & Cheese seminar. The second, “The Truck Stops Here”? Not great. The majority of the food was fried which is a total non-starter when you can’t eat gluten. There were simply not enough “food trucks” providing food to make the price of admission worth it for me, taking into consideration the fried thing.

As a result of my frustration from Friday night, I’m not going to lie . . . I was not even a little excited about Saturday. But I went to the Vin de Mer Epicurean Village {at Front Street Village} anyway. I’m happy to say that it was awesome. It was much more organized than the food truck event. There was simply no possible way for me to try every wine {although I’m sure there were some there that tried}. And while I was a little overwhelmed at where to start, I came up with a sort-of-ish plan to start with the whites, working around the tent and sampling the awesome food in between.

Here’s what I did enjoy {that I remembered to write down or snap a photo of}:

Charcuterie, Charcuterie Board, Cheese, Southern Foods

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My favorite eats were:

  • Sesame Seared Tuna from the Channel Marker
  • Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Cream and Caramelized Onions {and ugh…I can’t remember where this came from}
  • Asian Pulled Pork Taco with soy-ginger slaw and sour cream from Circa-81
  • Spring salad with strawberries, feta & basil-peach vinaigrette (Olive Oil & Vinegar from Beaufort Olive Oil Company made by Chef Merrell from Circa-81.
  • The fish & shrimp stew from Sammy’s Seafood House & Oyster Bar
  • The Charcuterie board from Southern Foods

Circa 81, Clarke Merrell, tapas, cocktails, Beaufort Wine and Food Weekend

I only saw one cooking demo – from Chef Merrell of Circa-81 {And Dank Burrito. And Beaufort Olive Oil Company.} but it was fun. I learned a few things from the demo. Like for instance, did you know that when you buy extra virgin olive oil from the grocery store, it may have as little as 15% extra olive virgin oil. The rest could be . . . anything. Eww. Kind of annoyed about the olive oil I purchase at the store. I also learned that clear bottles should be avoided which is a shame since I bought clear glass bottles for my olive oil and vinegar.

Chef Merrell made a spring salad that we were able to sample. I had a taste of a really good Sauvignon Blanc, with it, that I cannot remember the name of, for the life of me. Nonetheless, it was a fun demo and like I mentioned, I learned a few things. One of the things I enjoyed about the chef’s presentation was his advice to try stuff out when you’re cooking taking a “no rules” approach. I like that.

Before I forget, I also loved the Gin &  Tonic from Mother Earth Spirits out of Kinston. P.S. I’m a cocktail fan but I had never had a Gin & Tonic before. I’m a new fan. I bought a bottle of Crude Bitters – Rosemary, Grapefruit & Peppercorn. I can’t wait to try it. I also had a sample of their Orange & Fig. So good!

bitters, Crude Bitters,

Overall, it was a really awesome experience. I had a ton of fun. I have been to quite a few wine dinners, tastings, etc., over recent years. But this was the first time attending a wine & food festival of this type. There are things I would do differently next year for sure. But mark my words, at the very least I’ll be back for the Vin de Mer Epicurean Village next year!

Beaufort Wine & Food Weekend – Wine, Bread, and Cheese Seminar

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Today I went to the first of a few events I’ll be attending as part of the Beaufort Wine & Food Weekend. As an awesome 40th birthday present, my friend Jackie bought me tickets to the Wine, Bread & Cheese Seminar as well as Saturday’s Vin de Mer Epicurean Village. I bought myself a ticket to the “Truck Stops Here” food truck rodeo.

This was seriously one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given! I had such a great time. The event was at the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center which is part of the Beaufort Maritime Museum. The view was awesome. And it was a super fun location for an event like this.

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I arrived early, along with quite a few others and we watched as the room was set up.

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Because this is the first event I’ve attended during the Beaufort Wine & Food Weekend, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The event exceeded my expectations. The only criticism I had is that I would have liked it to be a little longer. Nonetheless, it was a great experience.

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The cheeses offered were so very good. Southern Food’s Cheesemonger, Sasha Shreders, chose cheeses I have never had before and probably am not likely to have again for some time. However, I learned a lot and confirmed that cheese, is in fact, proof that God loves me.

I’m not sure I could pick a favorite if I had to though the Shakerag Blue and Brabander Goat Gouda were pretty amazing. The wine was excellent and paired perfectly. I only bought three bottles (my budget and wallet thank me). I’m saving the Petite Sirah for a special occasion.

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After the event was over, I spent a little time walking along the waterfront and sat for a bit, enjoying the view across Taylor’s Creek. Overall, it was a great way to spend a few hours of my vacation. I am looking forward to the next two events!