• Beaufort Lifestyle Magazine

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Story By: Mary Ellen Thompson

Photos By: John Wollwerth

John Potter appears to be a very down to earth guy – affable, businessman, family man, dedicated, excellent skill sets, Chief Executive Officer, Board of Directors, all those concrete things; and he is. Yet, his cerulean blue eyes give him away at first glance – his primary element is water. John has won more awards and trophies for sailing than Neptune could tuck under the seas, and he does it with the help of his wife, Cheryl, and daughters Megan and Emily who are both instructors, love sailing, and have inherited his passion for racing.

John had a total of eight National and North American championship wins in the past year or so, and these are just a sampling:

J 105:

Overall Winner of BYSC Santa Elena Regatta – April 2016 – Beaufort SC

VX ONE:

North American Champion – 2016 VX ONE North Americans – September 2016 – Holland, MI

VX ONE Winter Series – February 2017  – Sarasota FL

Charleston Race Week – May 2017  – Charleston SC

Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club (BYSC): The A. Mills Kinghorn Sailing Award for sailing excellence in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001,2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016.

The first sailboat John remembers was his parents’ Holiday 24, but his first boat was given to him when he was eight by his dad, who was going to Viet-Nam. That was an eight foot Optimus Pram and he would take it out of Palm Harbor, FL and into the Gulf of Mexico “to go sailing and fishing every day.”

After graduating from high school in Fairfax County, VA, John experienced a few years of a close to an idyllic balance of work/play. “I put boats together in Newport, RI in the summer, Annapolis, MD in the spring and fall, and Ft. Lauderdale, FL in the winter. We would wait for the boats to come in on ships, and when they arrived we would assemble them; in between we would windsurf.”

The longest distance he has ever sailed was when he was 22, and at the suggestion of his father, went to Singapore to help bring a Formosa 51 back to the US. John took a correspondence course in celestial navigation and as part of the crew, accompanied the two owners and one of their wives on the journey. It turned out to be quite an adventure. Before they could leave Singapore, John was sent to Jakarta to get the necessary permit which needed three signatures for sailing in those waters, but he could only obtain two. Unbeknownst to John ahead of time, as it turned out the boat owners were being deported and there was a deadline on when they had to leave port, so off they went hoping the paperwork wouldn’t be necessary. The first leg of the journey took them to Cocos Keeling Island, which is a territory of Australia in the Indian Ocean. But on the way there, on the third or fourth night out, they passed by Krakatoa, an active volcano in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra, which was erupting as they passed by. John remembers how beautiful the two week layover on Cocos Keeling was. From there, the next leg of the journey took them to Reunion Island, a French island, between Madagascar and Maritius for another two week stop over. Between Durban and Cape Town, South Africa they hit what John says was the worst storm he’s ever experienced with three and a half days of wind sustained at 80 knots. In Capetown, John got off the boat having had enough of the owners and the provisions which, he makes a face as he remembers, “were cans of minestrone soup and communist Chinese chicken curry with feathers and bones.” He got on another boat and went as far as Barbados before flying home.

After that trip, “I ended up on the west coast of Florida. I lived in New Port Richey, went to school part time at St. Petersburg Jr. College, and dealt in Windsurfer brand sailboards in addition to whatever work I could find on bigger boats for some of the dealers in the Clearwater area. I spent a fair number of long weekends in Ft. Lauderdale where my parents still maintained an office selling Tayana brand yachts out of Taiwan.” In between times, he taught windsurfing which is a sport he still loves. “I just got another wind surfer and I’m going to teach my daughters.”

Opportunity took John to Annapolis where he started his own company, Ocean Outfitters.  Unfortunately, John explains, “Ocean Outfitters got caught up in the ‘Luxury Tax’ debacle in the late 80’s. This was where the Federal Government imposed a 10% tax on yachts and associated equipment costing more than $100,000. This new tax decimated businesses like mine.”

After a foray into the building business in Virginia, John and Cheryl considered moving to Charleston to get into the building business there.

That, however, didn’t happen; the Potters came to Beaufort instead where they have been for 25 years. “Larry Naylor talked me into coming here to help run a propane and ice business. Larry spent most of his working career in the ice business. Triangle Ice used to be a collection of manufacturing plants throughout the Carolinas. Jake Hickman was the common thread through all of these plants and had partners in most of them. Larry became one of these partners sometime in the mid 80’s and was involved with a plant in Spartanburg as well as the one here in Beaufort. They purchased the plant in Savannah a year or two before I got here. All of the Triangle Plants, except for ours, were purchased by Reddy Ice around 2005. My brother in-law, Rob Neall, and I bought out Larry in 2007. We purchased the ice plants in Hampton and Walterboro from Cummings Oil Company three years ago. We have since gutted and automated both plants. One of our vendor’s helped with the design and sold us the equipment and we did the entire installation in house.” How are his mechanical skills with all that machinery? “I can build or fix anything after being involved in the boat building business.”

When asked what fascinates him about the ice business, John replied, “The ice business represents my only foray into actually manufacturing a product. I hate wasted motion and this is the only thing I have ever done (other than sailboat racing) where I have absolute control over the process.” One might find it interesting that for a man who spent much of his life on the water, he came to be in the business of water.

Even with his love of racing, it took the Potters five years to join the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club. “I quit racing dinghys in 1976. I still did a lot of sailing that was associated with my profession as well as a fair amount of windsurfing. I got my Captain’s license in the early 80’s and did a lot of deliveries up and down the east coast as well as the islands.  But Al Hefner got me out on a Force 5 and I won two races in the Water Festival Regatta. On my second day of racing, Guy McSweeney sailed by me and asked, ‘Who the hell are you anyway?’ We joined the club where I have been Commodore three times and am currently Chairman of the Board.

“I do a lot of racing, I want to do a lot of it as long as I can. When I stop winning, I’ll quit.”

What is the one thing he loves most about sailing? “Tough question. Let me start by saying that I really don’t care much for relaxing and, by extension, really don’t care much for sailing. I am more than just a little competitive. I love racing sailboats. It is one of the most challenging sports on the planet to become good at. It is what I do best. I am not able to focus fully on anything except racing.

“The VX One has become my primary boat. I will sail just about anything.” The list also includes a Laser, MC, JY15, Melges 20, Sonar, and J105. “I have too many boats – I had eleven but I’m down to six now. However, seven of us are buying a 12’ Waszp, which is an offshoot of a foiling moth, and will travel at 30 knots. The hull is lifted above the surface by the foils so there is very little drag.  You’re going faster than the wind so you actually create wind. I haven’t sailed a foiling boat yet.”

The greatest lesson he’s ever learned sailing, John says is, “Whatever environment you are in, don’t fight it. Learn to make it work for you.”

Clearly a man who makes the most of his time and energy, John is also interested in promoting sailing by supporting programs that teach people to sail, how to get around a race course, for both juniors and adults. He says the best advice he has for up and coming sailors is: “Win the start and build your lead. Don’t make enemies on the race course. Don’t talk trash and fly below the radar. There are more but those pretty well cover it.” Considering his expertise, it is advice to take to heart. And keep your eyes on the river for John sailing that Waszp that will look like it’s flying.

PARTICIPATES IN CATHOLIC HEART WORKCAMP

Catholic HEART (Helping Everyone Attain Repairs Today) Workcamp is about SERVICE, CONNECTION and LOVING OTHERS. It all started in 1993 in Orlando, FL with 100 participants and has grown to over 13,000 serving in 2016. CHWC provides parish youth groups, teens and adult leaders service opportunities to restore homes and HEARTS, feed the hungry, lift the spirits of children, bring joy to the elderly and disabled and offer assistance while partnering with social agencies. Their aim is to provide nothing short of amazing Catholic Mission Trips! Each Workcamp is equipped with a summer staff, director, manager, musician, nurse and priests to celebrate mass/confession. It is a youth friendly Christ centered Week of caring for others. Catholic HEART Workcamp faithfully and enthusiastically serves the Roman Catholic Church and its teachings and is an excellent opportunity to “love the least of these”.

United Way of the Lowcountry is proud to have coordinated the 18th Annual Catholic Heart Work Camp.  More than 350 students from across the nation visited the Lowcountry to lend their time and talents to help make life better for elderly, disabled, and families in need throughout Beaufort and Jasper counties.

The students arrived on Sunday, June 18 and worked through Thursday, June 22.  Friday was a free day for the students, allowing them the opportunity to enjoy the amenities of the Lowcountry, including beach visits, touring, and other activities.

Coming from all over the country, these student volunteers started their work day around 8am and ended each work day around 3pm.  These students, along with 100 plus adult leaders and several local volunteers worked together on at least 55 projects throughout the community, with the work ranging from yard work and minor repairs to installing handicap ramps.

“These young people make a big impact in just a few short days by doing simple home repairs including painting, yard work, cleaning, repairing screens, and anything else that is difficult for an elderly or handicapped person to accomplish.  With the impacts of Hurricane Matthew, there is a big need for these types of services and we’re excited to have this wonderful group of kids in our community to help us meet the needs of our neighbors,” said Bethany Marcinkowski, United Way of the Lowcountry’s Vice President of Education Impact.

Several local volunteers with skill and building experience handled the larger, more complicated repair jobs at various sites.  Hilton Head Glidden donated all the paint, as they have every year since the first group of HEART work campers arrived in 1999.

“This program’s mission is to revitalize communities and beautify homes of the elderly, the disabled, and those who cannot afford needed repairs,” said Marcinkowski.  “This falls right in line with United Way of the Lowcountry’s Community Impact agenda, which includes working to meet the basic needs of our neighbors by transforming substandard homes in to safe living conditions.”

The United Way of the Lowcountry’s mission is to mobilize resources to solve human problems.  Their vision is to be the leading force for social change to improve basic needs, education, health, and financial stability outcomes for the citizens of Beaufort and Jasper Counties.

Story By: Cindy Reid

Photos By: Susan DeLoach

Friends, Families and Traditions

Meet Jason Berry, Commodore of the 62nd Annual Beaufort Water Festival. Yes it’s that time of year already, time for the biggest and best water festival on the southern coast. After 62 years, the Water festival has gone through many changes and, as always, this year promises to be bigger and better than ever! The Henry C. Chambers downtown waterfront park hosts the Water Festival from July 14 through 23. The Opening Ceremony takes place Friday July 14 with music provided by the Parris Island Marine Band and there will be fireworks at dusk. The event is free of charge, in fact many of the events are free and enjoyable for all ages. And, in a break from tradition, this year there is no charge for the Tuesday night concert!

There are many sporting events that take place from now, up to and during the Water Festival. You can check the website for further information on those events and to stay updated throughout the week of nonstop fun.

Beaufort Lifestyle recently caught up with Commodore Berry and got the “inside scoop” on this year’s Water Festival.

Traditions play an important role in the events but the Water Festival stays current by adding new and exciting events from time to time. What is new or different at this year’s Annual Beaufort Water Festival (BWF)?   

We are always trying to improve what we do every year, and this year I think we have done a great job of making some great changes.  We will be bringing back the ski show on the first Saturday, a longtime favorite for all.  The air show will be bigger and better this year.  Tuesday night has changed and will be an honor to all of our heroes, locally and abroad.  It will be called “Hometown Tuesday” and is now free to all with local band “Bootless” playing.  The big change is Thursday for “Low Country Supper” night.  We will have our traditional supper served with the “Whistlers” performing.  Then we will have nothing but local bands.  Opening act will be Eric Daubert, Broke Locals as the main entertainment and then our big announcement; we are bringing Candace Glover in for a special guest performance.
One of the Commodore’s many tasks is to design the popular annual tee shirt. Tell us about this year’s tee shirt design.   

This year’s t-shirt is special to me, just as sure as I am all others have been to past Commodore’s.  What makes it so special to me is that this year’s t-shirt was designed by my daughter-in-law, Devon Berry.  She and I had many discussions and then put our ideas down to canvas.  I believe it captures what everyone appreciates when they come to the water front park. The view, scenery and the memories we all share. We couldn’t believe the overwhelming positive response we have gotten from the public.

How long have you been involved with the BWF?

14 years.

 

How did you first get involved?

I transferred to Beaufort in January 2000 as a Navy Hospital Corpsman Chief.  I have always been very involved with volunteering in the local community wherever I went. So, when I arrived at the Naval Hospital and asked around what was important to the community that I could volunteer for, I was told about many opportunities.  However, it just so happened that the command Master Chief of the naval hospital at the time was Bob Bible, 2011 Commodore, and he made a very convincing suggestion that I could do great things for the Water Festival.

 

Why did you continue as a volunteer with the BWF?

There are many reasons why I chose to continue to volunteer with the Festival, but the one that makes me most proud, is the fellowship of this organization and how it strives to improve the community.  It’s like when I became a Chief in the Navy.  It is very hard to explain what brings folks together to put on such a large undertaking every year, but the bonds that are made with the volunteers, the community and the sponsors are why I continue every year.

 

What is your BWF favorite memory? 

Wow, this is such a hard question but overall it’s when I walk through that crowd during opening ceremonies every year.  I feel so much appreciation from the crowd that is there to enjoy this event every year. Just to see everyone coming together smiling, laughing, dancing and enjoying themselves is the most memorable and fulfilling experience. I personally feel such a sense of pride being a part of it every year.

 

What is your favorite event?

The Opening Ceremonies.

 

What entertainment do you have lined up for this year?

This year has several changes and a couple of big names that I am sure will be exciting for everyone. Concert in the Park is always our big event for the week, and this year we have lined up national recording artist Aaron Lewis, along with opening act Jordan Rager. Also appearing, local band Steel Rail Express. Monday night wouldn’t be Motown Monday without Deas Guyz, and this year Hometown Tuesday night will be FREE, featuring local band Bootless. Wednesday night is our traditional talent show featuring local acts.

Thursday, Low Country Supper night, I am sure will be a favorite this year. We will have our traditional “Whistlers” performing. Then opening act will be Eric Daubert and Broke Locals as the main entertainment and then our big announcement, we are bringing      Candace Glover in for a special guest performance.  Friday night, we are bringing back “The Band Punch,” if you missed them last year during Commodore’s Ball you don’t want to miss them this year. Keeping with tradition, Saturday night will be Commodore’s Ball featuring The New Royals.

 

Tell our readers something they may not know about the BWF

It has been voted and recognized as one of the best top ten festivals in the Southeast United States and is the longest running 62 consecutive year all-volunteer festival in South Carolina.

 

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in San Antonio Texas, and raised in a small town named Boerne, much like Beaufort.

 

How did you come to live in Beaufort?

I transferred in the Navy from Afghanistan.  After a few years, Beaufort became the town I chose to retire in after serving for 22 years.

 

Anything else you would like to add?

I would just like to recognize the many volunteers that come out and put in their time to help this organization continue.  Even if you are a first-time volunteer, coming out just for a couple of hours, you are GREATLY APPRECIATED, every job is important.  After all, that’s where I started out at first, and look at me now.  Also, I would like to give another special thanks to all the sponsors.  We couldn’t have the opportunity to volunteer without the support of all the local businesses that sponsor.  Thank you all and I wish everyone a very Happy 62nd Water Festival. It will be the best Water Festival yet!

Story By: Cindy Reid

Photos By: Susan DeLoach

This year’s 62nd annual Beaufort Water Festival tee shirt is a gorgeous sunset scene, looking from the waterfront park out to the Beaufort River. It’s a scene of shrimp boats and pleasure boats, blue skies and orange sunset. Bold yet tranquil, it speaks to anyone who has ever spent an evening watching the sunset at the river. This year’s motto, “Families, Friends & Traditions” is cleverly splashed in deep blue on the side of the graphic, alongside the Beaufort Water Festival logo and festival dates.

Devon Berry, the tee shirt designer, has a very personal connection to the Water Festival. In addition to being the daughter in law of this year’s Commodore, she says “I have beautiful twin girls and an amazing husband that are featured in the silhouettes on the back of the shirt design. Our girls were born opening day of the festival 3 years ago!”

Devon says, “I studied visual arts at the North Carolina School of Arts and I’ve always been interested in creating artwork in many mediums. I’m looking forward to seeing my first “wearable” artwork around town this summer. “And see it she will, as the tee shirts are always a big seller and many people collect the shirts from year to year. Devon says, “I wanted this year’s shirt to have a bold and graphic design that would appeal to everyone. Of course the setting is in the downtown waterfront park where our amazing festival takes place.”

She continues, “To me, the best part of the Water Festival is getting together with family and friends to make some memories and to have a great time. “ she says, “We all meet up along the water’s edge and wait for those magical opening night fireworks to kick it all off.”

Magic is the stuff Water Festivals are made of and this year’s tee shirt is magical too!

Story By: Mary Ellen Thompson

Photos By: Paul Nurnberg

The Friday that Hurricane Matthew was heading in this direction, Daniel Gambrell, Park Manager for Hunting Island State Park, left Hunting Island under the evacuation order. He was allowed back on the island on Monday to assess the damage that had occurred to the park. “I thought I was kind of prepared from the news reports, and then seeing all the sailboats on the runway at the airport. The access to the Harbor Island Bridge had washed out so it was difficult even getting to the island, but when I got here…” He just let that sentence hang, because there probably were just not any words to describe what he felt. Daniel was accompanied by Park Director, Phil Gaines, and Coastal Regional Chief, Ray Stevens. They couldn’t get into the park with vehicles so they walked from the road through the water, under and around the fallen trees, to the campground. Trees had toppled onto the camp store; the restroom buildings, even the toilets, were filled with sand from the storm surge.

Daniel remembers, “We saw one of the largest bucks I’ve ever seen in the park, standing on a small elevated piece of ground. He looked like he was saying, ‘Hey, you guys, you have no idea what just happened here!’ It took us four hours to get to the lighthouse from the park entrance; we were wearing hip waders because the water was so deep. We tried to walk to South Beach and turn left to get our bearings because even Ray, who lived in this area for a long time and was Park Manager for sixteen years, couldn’t recognize where we were. When we got to the beach, the tide was high and there was a washout that we couldn’t get through so we walked back inland and around until we found the lighthouse. When we finally saw it  – it was perfect! That was a special moment for us to see it standing so proud; it gave us hope.

“After Phil and Ray left, I was there with just one other person for the next three days trying to cut through the debris. On Tuesday, I was walking down the road to the campground; so much water was going across it that it sounded like a waterfall, I looked ahead and saw two alligators swim across right in front of me! They didn’t even give me a second glance; the storm didn’t seem to affect the animal population.

“All six of the ranger residences were in reasonable shape. My family came back on Friday; we didn’t have power or water until then although I had a generator. You realize that you can do without electricity but not having water is another issue; we were able to get out and get water and bring it back in gallon jugs. Everything seemed so quiet – no noise from traffic on the road and even the wildlife seemed to be especially quiet at first. I would sleep for awhile and then get up and go back to work.

“My wife, Jana, and daughter, June, had left on Tuesday so by the following Friday it was exciting to have them back, and they were happy to be back. At four and a half, June was too young to understand what had happened but it was hard for my wife to see the damage and devastation because she loves the park so much. Born right before we came here, June grew up in this park. She loves the Nature Center; it is by far her favorite place on the island, not just because of the animals and the programs, but she loves the staff.”

The Visitor Center and Nature Center buildings didn’t suffer damage but the walkway to the Visitor Center had to be rebuilt and the pier at the Nature Center was pretty much destroyed. Now it only extends to the edge of the marsh and can’t even be used for fishing. The Nature Center became the hub of the park as they used it for offices, and it was the first area to re-open to the public.

The campground is still closed and it is hoped can re-open mid to late July. The camp store was saved; it had been flooded with six inches of standing water, but was able to be renovated. The two restrooms in the front were demolished, the four in the back were renovated, and the dune system was washed out. Of all the camping spaces, 88 were lost, with only 100 remaining. Prior to the hurricane, the campground generated about $1.5 million in revenue for the park, and the gate about $900,000.00, so close to half of the campgrounds revenue will be lost. For reservations that had been made, efforts are being taken to transfer them to another park if so desired, refunded, or changed to a different date.

The immediate focus is now on the North and South Beaches. The restroom building on the beach at South Beach had to be demolished, but the newer restroom on the back side of the parking lot, at the north end of South Beach is still there. The changing rooms and shower towers are still in the parking lot, but the access to South Beach is temporarily different as you have to turn right before you get to the beach and go along the back side to the far end of the parking lot and then loop back around. Cabin Road is gone, and the dunes are gone here also.

There is about a 150 foot breach where the ocean now comes into the lagoon about halfway between South Beach and the southern end of the island, at low to mid-tide you can still walk across it but not if the tide is any higher. It has, in effect, created a separate island at the southern end. There is some interesting history here as the origin of the lagoon is generally misunderstood. In his book, The Road To Hunting Island South Carolina, Nathan Cole relates the history of the island being turned into a county park with the assistance of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) back in the 1930’s. He says, “The CCC also changed the landscape of the island. A saltwater lagoon was dredged at the southern end of the island. The lagoon was opened to the sea so that it could be affected by the tide movement and allowed a large variety of ocean fish to find shelter in the gentled water.” A different source of information says that the lagoon was created by sand dredging in 1968 as the first in a series of attempts at beach renewal programs. In 1997, Mr. Cole made this prediction: “If a category three or four hurricane hits the island, the conditions are right for a new inlet to be cut from South Beach to the lagoon, thus creating a new, smaller island.”

At North Beach the dunes are also gone but the picnic shelter, the lighthouse gift shop and the lighthouse compound are all in good order. Daniel says the largest oak tree in the park fell on the one remaining cabin for rent behind the lighthouse. It has been totally renovated and is as bright and shiny now as a brand new copper penny, and has reservations for the next thirteen months. North Beach is a guarded beach with three lifeguards on duty at a time and sometimes people on foot; The Beaufort County Sheriffs Department also helps to patrol on busy weekends. There are no lifeguards on South Beach where you can surf or fish.

When asked what we can expect in terms of going forward, Daniel explains, “We are concentrating on the day use beaches first, then the campground. The use of a shuttle is still being explored. We have parking issues – we can get to maximum capacity and have to close the park when we still have room for people but not any more cars. The trails are all clear; flooded from the rains right now but all good. There isn’t any timeframe yet for repairing the pier or the marsh boardwalk. Programs at the Nature Center are being held including the Junior Ranger program, and the Ultimate Outsider Program where participants get stamps from the 47 state parks and get to experience all the differences of the parks. The loss of the dunes is of great concern and we’re hoping for a beach renewal this coming winter.”

On another note, Daniel explains that Little Blue (the last cabin on stilts that was standing out in the ocean) had been scheduled to be taken down before the hurricane because it was a safety and environmental hazard; the storm made its condition worse. The State Park Service paid for its excavation which was done at low tide while the park was closed for repairs.

“Recovery has been amazing,” Daniel explains. “The park staff, Friends of Hunting Island, local legislators, state park staff working in Columbia; it’s been a group effort. We’re working with FEMA and our insurance companies trying to get the reimbursements.

“Through the process of getting the park ready, we realized we were missing

something: visitors. Hearing voices and children playing, that was what was missing. People who haven’t been here before think it is beautiful; people who know the park see all the changes.”

Finally, after months of intense work, Daniel and his family can enjoy the park that is their backyard, again. Daniel smiles as he says, “I’m a full time daddy. We love fishing, being outdoors, cooking on the grill, and spending time with friends and family.”

You can still see the effects of the storm – fallen trees, leaning trees, trees propped up against others, cut tree stumps, yellow caution tape in some areas, backhoes and other equipment moving through the park, dark standing water along the roadside and on parts of the trails. But no one seems to mind as they head toward the beach with their towels, coolers and chairs in hand. Hunting Island State Park has opened its gates and we again have access to one of the most beautiful places we know, with many thanks to the hard work of all the volunteers, park staff and Daniel Gambrell.

Story By: Cindy Reid

Photos By: Paul Nurnberg

Take a trip, a trip back in time to when the neighborhood restaurant was truly a family run restaurant, a restaurant that served authentic local food at a great price.

Welcome to Sea Eagle Market & Good Eats, where old fashion value meets tidal rivers  and salt marshes, a place where fresh Atlantic seafood and local sourced food are served six days a week .

Sea Eagle Market & Good Eats is actually two businesses under the same roof, on one side is the fish market where you can purchase fresh caught fish and seafood to bring home and on the other is the restaurant where fresh seafood is cooked six days a week. The entire business is owned and operated by the Reaves family, who have been providing South Carolinians with fresh caught seafood for twenty-five years. This is Craig and Jana Reaves second restaurant, and as owner Craig Reaves says, “It is pretty crazy!” Craig laughs, and says “Seriously we are passionate about fresh, locally caught seafood and we wanted to open a spot where you can get a good meal at a reasonable price. A place that was like the restaurants of the past in all the best ways.”

Located at 2149 Boundary Street in Beaufort, Craig says, “The building sat empty for six years. When we first visited the space, it seemed too big for us at 5,200 square feet; but, as we drew the floor plans for the renovations, we quickly utilized all the space. We’re glad we were able to renovate a building that sat vacant for so long, which was good for us and good for the town.” Recently, honored by the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce with the Civitas Award for Community Stewardship; Craig said serving the Beaufort community “Is an honor and it is humbling.”

Fan Favorites

Craig says his current favorite dish on the menu is “The Caesar Salad topped with blackened tuna. You can also get it topped with shrimp, salmon or chicken. My Dad, Laten Reaves, loves the Deviled Crabs.” He continues, “Although shrimp baskets are king around here; we also have a great flounder sandwich; the Palmetto Pride, named after my brother’s shrimp boat. It is a fresh flounder fillet topped with coleslaw. It started as a special and was such a hit, it has now been added to the menu.”

Craig said he recently found a local sustainable source for the popular delicacy, Soft Shell Crabs, so customers can enjoy them beyond their traditional short spring and fall seasons.

Of course, you will find all the favorite seafood dishes on the menu that make Beaufort different from other coastal towns; like the famous Lowcountry Boil, also known as “Frogmore Stew” (shrimp, sausage, corn and red potatoes), fried blue crabs bathed in a garlic butter sauce, a Shrimp Burger topped with Captain Craig sauce, a crab cake made in house with fresh picked lump crab meat, and a whole whiting fish split down the back and fried to perfection.

The menu has something for everyone. It includes some traditional offerings like BLT, Grilled Chicken, Wings, Burger, Soups, Salads and a few items just for the kiddos like mini corn dogs, grilled cheese sandwich, chicken fingers and popcorn shrimp.

Seafood Choices

Probably the most popular choice for customers are the seafood baskets. You can order them in a variety of ways, so it is just the way you like it. You can choose from one to three seafood items, and they will be cooked to order (fried, grilled, or blackened) and accompanied with your choice of two homemade sides and hushpuppies. The sides alone are worth coming in for, especially the mac n cheese which is simply the best in town.

Another unique aspect to this seafood restaurant is the open steam kitchen in the front dining room. You can watch steamed items like shrimp, snow crab legs, little neck clams and blue crabs cooked right before your eyes. Just smelling the seasonings from the pots makes your mouth water.

The restaurant is doing well in spite of the Boundary Street construction happening all around it. Easier access to Sea Eagle Market and Good Eats is coming soon with the nearby traffic signal at Carolina Cove.

Craig says, “The shrimping season has been real good this year, the best I have ever seen, so come down and pay us a visit!”

Friday, July 14

Festival Arts & Crafts Market 

Location: Promenade at Waterfront Park

Event Details: Noon – 7pm

OPENING CEREMONY

Sponsored by The Preserve at Port Royal

Entertainment: The Parris Island Marine Band & Fireworks at Dusk

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: FREE EVENT | Gates open at 6pm, Ceremony at 7pm | FREE Shuttle Service from the Beaufort County Government Center

Saturday, July 15

Raft Race

Sponsored by CPM Federal Credit Union

Location: Waterfront Park Seawall

Event Details: 8:30am – Noon

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park

Event Details: 9am – 7pm

Bocce Tournament

Sponsored by JoCo Construction / Sea Island Elevators

Location: Waterfront Park Main Field

Event Details: Play starts at 9am

Badminton Tournament

Sponsored by A.C. Harvey’s Screen Printing

Location: Waterfront Park Stage Field

Event Details: Play starts at 9am

Children’s Toad Fishing Tournament

Sponsored by Plair Enterprises, Inc.

Location: Waterfront Park Seawall

Event Details: FREE EVENT | 10am – Noon | Ages 12 and under only | Bring your own rod, reel and tackle | Bait provided

Sponsor’s Expo

Location: Waterfront Park Pavilion

Event Details: FREE EVENT | 10am – 2pm

Shrimp Boat Tours

Sponsored by Sea Eagle Market

Location: Waterfront Park Seawall

Event Details: FREE EVENT | Noon – 4pm

Ski Show

Sponsored by Sports Clips

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: FREE EVENT | 1pm & 3:30pm

CONCERT IN THE PARK

Sponsored by New Country Bob 106.9

Headline Entertainment: Aaron Lewis

Opening Entertainment: Jordan Rager

Also Appearing: Steel Rail Express

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $30 | Gates open at 7pm, Show at 7:15pm | No strollers, coolers, outside food or beverages or professional photography | No Refunds | FREE Shuttle service from Beaufort County Government Center | Children age 5 and under FREE

Sunday, July 16

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park

Event Details: 9am – 5pm

River Rally

Sponsored by Butler Marine of Charleston

Location: Local Waters

Event Details: 9am – 1pm

Children’s Day

Sponsored by Coastal Orthodontics

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: FREE EVENT | 11am – 3pm | Featuring Games, Activities, Shows, Bounce Houses and Prizes

Shrimp Boat Tours

Sponsored by Sea Eagle Market

Location: Waterfront Park Seawall

Event Details: FREE EVENT | Noon – 4pm

TEEN DANCE

Sponsored by John 3:16 Project

Entertainment: DJ Donna

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $10 | 6pm – 9pm | Gates open 6pm – 9pm, No entry after 8pm (NO RE-ENTRY ALLOWED) | Ages 13 – 17 only, ID Required | Clutch Purses Only (6” x 9” size) | Please Wear Appropriate Clothing | No refunds, outside food or beverages, or coolers

Monday, July 17

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park

Event Details: 10am – 7pm

MOTOWN MONDAY

Sponsored by A&R Dock Builders, McElveen Bail Bonding and Lime Lite Salon

Entertainment: Deas Guyz

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $15 | Gates open 7pm, Show at 8pm | No refunds, outside food or beverages, or coolers | FREE Shuttle Service from the Beaufort County Government Center | Children age 5 and under FREE

Tuesday, July 18

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park

Event Details: 10am – 7pm

HOMETOWN TUESDAY

Sponsored by Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce

Headline Entertainment: Bootless

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: FREE EVENT | Gates open 7pm, Show at 8pm | No outside food or beverages, or coolers

Wednesday, July 19

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront

Event Details: 10am – 7pm

TALENT SHOW

Sponsored by McDonald’s

Hosted by: The Preceptor Omega Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $10 or FREE with Official 2017 62nd Annual Water Festival T-Shirt | Gates open at 6pm, Show at 7pm | No refunds, outside food or beverages, or coolers | Children age 5 and under FREE

Thursday, July 20

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park

Event Details: 10am – 7pm

LOWCOUNTRY SUPPER

Sponsored by WastePro USA

Headline Entertainment: Broke Locals

Opening Entertainment: Eric Daubert

Special Guest Performance: Candice Glover

Featuring: The Whistlers

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $15 | Gates open at 6pm | Supper served 6pm – 7:30pm | No refunds, outside food or beverages, or coolers | Children age 5 and under FREE

Friday, July 21

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park

Event Details: 10am – 7pm

Bed Race

Sponsored by Lohr Plumbing

Location: Corner of Bay & Harrington

Event Details: $25 entry per team | 4:30pm check-in | 5pm start time | Same day registration based on space availability

RIVER DANCE

Sponsored by City Electric Supply

Entertainment: The Band Punch

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $15 | Gates open at 7pm, Show at 8pm | Must be 18 or Older with Valid ID to attend | No refunds, outside food or beverages, coolers or strollers | FREE Shuttle service from Beaufort County Government Center

Saturday, July 22

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park

Event Details: 9am – 7pm

Water Festival Grand Parade

Sponsored by Moss, Kuhn & Fleming

Organized by: The Beaufort Lions Club

Location: Downtown Beaufort

Event Details: FREE EVENT | 10am – Noon

Non-Profit Expo

Location: Waterfront Park Pavilion

Event Details: FREE EVENT | Noon – 4pm

Air Show

Sponsored by Executive Flight Training

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: FREE EVENT | 1pm – 4pm | Stunt Planes | US Coast Guard Search & Rescue Demo

COMMODORE’S BALL

Sponsored by Mike’s Marine Repair

Entertainment: The New Royals

Location: Waterfront Park

Event Details: $10 | Gates open at 7pm, Show at 8pm | No refunds, outside food or beverages or coolers | Children age 5 and under FREE

Sunday, July 23

Festival Arts & Crafts Market

Location: Promenade at the Waterfront Park

Event Details: 9am – 3pm

Blessing of the Fleet and Parade of Boats

Sponsored by The Past Commodores of the Beaufort Water Festival

Location: Beaufort River in front of Waterfront Park Seawall

Event Details: Noon – 2pm | FREE registration | Boats must register to be eligible for prizes | All applications must be at the judge’s table prior to Noon

Festival Ends – 3:00 pm – 

See you next year!

Sophisticated, elegant, chic. Successful, professional, knowledgeable. These attributes perfectly describe Cora Bett Thomas, a true Southern lady and real estate dynamo. Cora Bett started selling real estate in 1974, which lead to her founding her own company, Cora Bett Thomas Realty, in Savannah in 1994. After many successful years selling property along the “100 Mile Coast,” Cora Bett Thomas Realty opened an additional office in Beaufort in 2009, which continues to grow and thrive in today’s market.

Originally from Scotland Neck, a small town in Halifax County North Carolina, Cora Bett had a career in merchandise buying that brought her to Savannah, Georgia in the 1970s. Her life took a dramatic turn when, as she says, “I married an architect builder and we were buying blocks of property in Savannah. After a time we felt we could get better service by selling our property ourselves so I got my real estate license and I started making a living selling real estate from that time on.”

The “100 Mile Coast” includes the stretch of coastal Georgia and South Carolina known as the Lowcountry. Those who find themselves drawn to visit the Lowcountry soon find themselves drawn to live there. Within the “100 Mile Coast” are a variety of neighborhoods; each with their own distinctive appeal.

After decades of success, Cora Bett attributes her company’s longevity to their deep knowledge of the area and their personal way of doing business. She says, “Our business model is not what most do. We are extremely connected; we understand this hundred mile coast, which runs from Beaufort, South Carolina to the Florida line. Cora Bett Thomas Realty is a member of five Multiple Listing Services (MLS’s) covering Savannah, Beaufort, Bluffton, Hilton Head and down to the Sea Islands of Georgia. Our office can sell anywhere in the area. We are a ‘one stop’ place because we really know this market.”

Cora Bett says the heart of her company’s philosophy is centered on the customer. She says, “An agent’s job is to interview the customer and find out what they like. Is it tennis? Gardening? There is so much more to ‘home’ than bricks and mortar. What is special about their home is the lifestyle. That is what we help our customers define and find.”

Beaufort is the jewel in the crown of the Eastern Seaboard

When asked ‘why Beaufort?’ Cora Bett says, “I loved it from the day we stopped here many years ago. Probably my favorite place in Beaufort  is the Point, it was the first place I visited and  I know  it well. But I really can’t pick just one because there are so many beautiful hidden, secret neighborhoods all over Beaufort! It is a very special place; it is a small town with sophistication. There is such a diverse population of people, from the military, to writers and tea rooms! There is some of everybody here and that is what makes it very special. Beaufort really offers everything.”

Why do people choose Beaufort?  She says, “It is a great small town, go in any direction and you will get something different. While working with our customers, we see they want what Beaufort has, which is essentially authentic living. It is all about a real community life.”

Cora Bett Realty is there for real estate shoppers, beyond the nuts and bolts, as Cora Bett says, “We will show you the ropes, and expose you to all the things Beaufort has to offer. We make the introductions. We take a customer and we make a friend. “

Your home will be featured on the very best web sites as we push our luxury home sales listings to over 150 websites.

“And we are invested in technology.” Says Cora Bett, “We offer cutting-edge technology and personalized support, Matterport 3D property views, and an in-house graphic design and marketing team. We have a very highly trafficked and sophisticated website, online marketing, and social media programs and support”. She says, “We are always open to additional agents that have the same work ethic and are caring about people. We are an ‘agent centric’ office, we utilize all the marketing tools available and we invest in our agents, which makes them extremely successful.”

Cora Bett continues, “I want the readers of Beaufort Lifestyle to know the agents, the special people who sell here. Our agents specialize in people. That is what this is all about; relationships are what the customer is all about. It is a people business.”

Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates has over 30 years of experience helping clients in Beaufort. Her team is the choice for your Beaufort South Carolina real estate needs.

www.corabettthomas.com