A Blog about Finding Inspiration

"We have a wonderful world to be inspired by and each new day is like an adventure into the unknown, where things that require a second glance can be captured in time on a canvas for anyone to enjoy forever." (Louise Corke)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Exploring the Southern Coastline Jan 26-29 08

Rving at HPSP
Bruce and I took our first RV trip of 2008.  January has been a bit coldish here in Pawley’s Island, so Sat the 26th we decided to drive Southward in search of warmer temperatures.   Our first stop was in Walterboro South Carolina, which hosts the South Carolina Artisan Center.   
South Carolina Artisan Center
 The center has some of the finest examples of arts and crafts that we have seen to date.  We would have lingered longer in the area, but President Bill Clinton was in town to make a campaign speech for Hillary.   Needless to say, that generated an enormous amount of extra traffic.  So we decided to push on.

Beaufort Harbor
Continuing South along the coast we arrived in Beaufort County about 3 pm.  The nearest RV stop was Hunte Island State Park.  As it turns out, it is also one of the best places we have ever camped.  We spent to next day exploring the island and the surrounding natural areas. The Island is a semi-tropical forest which borders the Atlantic Ocean , Everywhere I looked there was a scene begging to be painted.   
Shrimp boats at Lady's Iisland
  There are miles and miles of estuary on the leeward side.

Hunte Isle SP  nature trail through the estuary
 The park itself has miles of white sandy beaches, with the skeletal remains of  a maritime forest that is being swallowed by the Atlantic Ocean called a Boneyard

Boneyard Tree roots
 Which afforded me endless opportunities for reference photos.

and boasts a real lighthouse which you can climb to the top of.      It seems to be a little known jewel as there were very few visitors (at least in January) to either the beach or the lighthouse. 

Views from atop the lighthouse

On Monday we visited the nearby surrounding communities. Beaufort County is composed of sixty-five islands.  Hilton Head is its most famous.  Frankly we were not impressed.  HH Island is now completely developed with most of the property locked in gated communities. Access to their famed beaches was hard to find.  Like most planned communities, at first blush it seemed attractive, but soon began to feel artificial and shallow.  We won’t go there again.

One of many of Beaufort mansion
The town of Beaufort on the other hand, was beautiful.  Beaufort's history spans back to the time of Spanish explorers. From museums to churches to a house used as a headquarters for the Union Army during the Civil War to the first school for freed slaves in South Carolina following that war. The streets are lined with ancient oaks, and elegant ante-bellum mansions.  The main street historic district has at least a dozen good art galleries not to mention good eateries right on the Inter Coast waters.   We plan on returning to see the town in spring when the marshes green up, and the azaleas are in bloom. 

Friday, January 11, 2008

Hobcaw Barony Bird Watching 1 '08

We were up bright an early on Friday, January 11th  for a bird watching event at  the Hobcaw Barony Reserve.   

The Reserve is at the North Inlet – Winyah Bay. 

  It is a vast area of virgin forest and marshland which is open to the public only through docent led tours.   We had signed up for a bird watching tour in the hopes of meeting other conservation minded folks.  As it turns out, the birding was poor that day; we only  saw  one bald eagle, a red meringer, a common loon, a dozen white pelicans (they rare in South Carolina), lesser and greater yellow legs,  red wing black birds,  yellow rumps, and a few other common woodland species. Even the herons and storks were no where to be seen.  The views of the vast  pristine marshland, made up for the lack of birds.  

Hobcaw Fire-watch Tower
Clam Bank Landing Road
Clam bank Landing
Since we were driven in vans to the birding sites, there was no exercise to speak of, so I  can’t quite count this an artists date.  On the other hand, the social contacts were outstanding.  and I got a zillion reference photos of this off limits  paradise.