Picture of students using computers in the library

Sand Shark Night on the Town

December 07, 2013

Last night I attended Main Street Beaufort, USA’s 28th Annual “A Night on the Town”. This Beaufort event takes place downtown along Bay Street and Freedom Park, just a hop and a skip away from our USCB Historic Downtown Beaufort Campus.

Beaufort City police block off the Bay Street road which becomes full of Beaufortonians-their visitors, carolers, street performers, fried shrimp stands, and all sorts of other southern food delicacy tents.

Parking is usually a challenge but even if you are forced to park far away --it is a gift awaiting to be unwrapped as you are in Beautiful Beaufort, South Carolina! --which as you may have already heard, is often deemed: “Paradise!”

…Paradise or not, in Beaufort we can most certainly guarantee you will enjoy a walk on this land. Your eyes shall be bathed in beautiful scenery, your nose awakened by scents of fresh night air and marsh, your skin cradled by the perfect night time temperature, your mouth ever moist watering over the new foods, and your ears if not entertained by the click clack of the horse carriages and southern accents melting in the air-are entranced this night with the holiday sounds emitted by the Parris Island Marine Band.

Not too shabby ehh?

Well this night my sister and I ventured into “A Night on the Town” with high ambitions. It just so happens she and I are not only “Window Shopping Gurus” but “Cookie Tasting Connoisseurs,” and in being so we found ourselves very busy this Friday night. Typically we are “Purchasing Gurus” –but we also happen to both be on a budget this week, still we delighted in the downtown stores being open late and their providing of free cookies-- as tradition holds: to rev up our holiday spirits.

The first store we entered into was “Village Treasures”…Now, what I perhaps love about Beaufort the most may just be how quickly people pick up on this hospitable nature deal we have going on down here. When you walk into a place in Beaufort (whether you’re an out of towner or they are) there are inevitably greetings both abundant and sweet-- “hellos” and “how are yalls?!”, and if you ask me, the world may just be a much better place with more of these sincere and gracious exchanges practiced!  After our greeting exchanges, my sister and I maneuvered our way through the shop.

The conversation between us in the shop sounded something like this: “Ooooo look at this, hey, hey, look at this! Hey–look at this! Oh LOOK at this, hey did you see that?! I like tha---ooooo look at this, hey look at this!” That pretty much sums it up... The store was chock full of an arrangement of antiques and vintage style furniture, decor, jewelry and much more-- when they say they have something for everyone there, they truly do. “Village Treasures” was essentially like walking into a treasure box. The first room my sister and I hit we found ourselves gorging on cookies, and well done “Village Treasures" on top of your magnificent store you truly outdid yourself by providing an awesome cookie selection! We applaud you!

One room my sister, Kathleen and I landed in had these teeny, tiny, white shoes. I think my sister and I were both staring at them so hard that they might have caught fire because a woman sitting behind us began to talk about the shoes while both our gazes were fixated upon them. She said the shoes were from the 19th century, and went on to teach us that the average foot size of a full grown woman was about a size five in that time era, the shoes were wedding shoes which in addition had no distinguished right foot or left foot as the shoes were made to be worn on either. They were simple, soft, and elegant --but looked rather like something out of a story book or for a doll. Following this curious treasure our eyes landed on some very fetching and adorning jewelry in a price range much affordable, increasing its “treasuriness” to our eyes. Yes “Village Treasures” kicked off a great night indeed...

As we ventured through the rest of the stores and night we found ourselves lost in seas of people, my sister and I began making faces of distress across each store room we found ourselves in--as if to seem like we were being swept away by the crowd. We took great pride in critiquing some store’s cookie selections, but gave “Deals” the Irish Store Downtown (with a fantastic array of Irish made jewelry, décor, and clothing-- ran by the only Irish woman I have ever met) props for laying out (Beaufort's famous foodie) Steve Brown's cookies!

My sister and I took part in a wide range of events in which she and I laughed at funny socks (who knew socks could be funny?!), were dazzled by local Southern artists, adored imported goods from all over the world, bowed down to a wall of Tom shoes, flipped through books sweetened by age, rummaged into every bucket, box, and table of trinkets, stared upon glistening jewelry, modeled some very stylish purses, read both amusing cards and mugs, petted every stone / clay / wooden carved animal we saw, and tried on some furniture we pretended we could afford. In addition we ran into fellow Beaufortonians, a very precious Great Dane, Santa Claus, one elf, and a lot of kids with these lightsaber instruments which frankly I became worried that somebody was gonna poke their eye out!!! (be sure to click for a classic Christmas movie reference!).

My sister and I spoke upon this admirable tradition Beaufort has, its rich history, its vibrant spirit, and all the beauty this town immerses us in. A lot of times people desire to leave the town they were raised in, both my sister and I left for some time in exploration, yet here we found ourselves back, embracing the lifestyle the low country brings, engaging in the hustle of southern charm, and navigating through all the diverse accents, styles, paces, interests, expressions, passions, lives- that Beaufort opens its doors and docks to, and shares. There we were, walking down the sidewalk to the car, taking in each moment, and finding one moment to sit on a small stone wall across from the Beaufort River, to take in the moonlight that glistened on the water. What made the night most complete was the Grandfather wearing a Santa Hat and his little grandson clutching his hand who walked by us capturing the tradition, the love, and the joy of this night.

“A Night on the Town” is indeed a long standing tradition of the community, embraced both by students and visitors new to the town, and welcomed annually by long standing residents. A joyous, delightful, adventure filled, and even educational evening, “A Night on the Town” is one of the many gifts of Beaufort.

ps. may shops be warned!-- my professional cookie critic sister says: “if you are gonna put out Chips Ahoy --don’t bother, I can smell them from a mile away...” and I am personally a Steve Brown or Chocolate Tree fanatic myself!

To the best of Beaufort!

Another beautiful night on the town!

Yours Truly: "A Night on the Town" Sand Shark Fan,

                                                                                      Erin Dailey