In the heart of town, the Beaufort Historical Association strives to preserve local history and educate the public about the area’s unique coastal heritage.
Started by a nonprofit group in 1960, the Beaufort Historical Association owns and operates the Beaufort Historic Site, a two-acre complex that includes eight historic buildings, ranging from a 1778 primitive cottage to the apothecary shop and doctor’s office of 1859.
Tours of the historic buildings, the Old Burying Ground and historic district aboard a 1967 open-top double-decker bus are available.
The Safrit Historical Center, which acts as the visitor’s information center for Beaufort, also houses the Old Beaufort Shop, where visitors can purchase gifts, toys and handcrafted items created by local artists.
The following are offered on a daily basis:
Guided tours of historic buildings and houses: Daily tours of authentically restored houses and buildings are led by docents in period dress Mondays through Saturdays at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tours begin at the Welcome Center 130 Turner St. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12 years old.
Double-decker bus tours: Another option for visitors is to see Beaufort’s historic district from atop the association’s 1967 English double-decker bus. Lively narrated tours impart folklore to passengers. Scheduled tours run from April through October at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; and at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Tours depart from the Beaufort Historical Association’s Welcome Center and tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12 years old. The double-decker bus is primarily used for tours; however, the bus is also available as transportation for weddings and parties.
Old Burying Ground tour: Majestic live oak trees enshroud the historic gravesites within this cemetery listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Guided tours are offered from June through September at 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. Thursdays and 5:30 p.m. Fridays. Brochures for self-guided tours are available year-round in the Welcome Center at 130 Turner St. Tours are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12 years old.
Mattie King Davis Art Gallery: The oldest art gallery in Carteret County features the artwork of more than 100 local and regional artists. Open year-round, the gallery is located in the historic Russell House, circa 1732, on the grounds of the historic site. Diverse works in both medium and style are available for purchase.
Throughout the fall, a number of visiting artists will be highlighted in the gallery.
Don’t forget to go into the gallery through November and December to get holiday gift and decorating ideas.
The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
The Old Beaufort Shop: Located in the Beaufort Historical Association’s Welcome Center, the shop has select mementos of hand-woven rugs and place mats, carved duck decoys, hand-dipped beeswax candles, hand-woven baskets, children’s toys, unique gifts, pirate memorabilia, seasonal items, books on Beaufort and North Carolina and selected antiques.
Members of the Beaufort Historical Association receive a 10% discount on Old Beaufort Shop merchandise.
As well as events that are hosted year-round, the Beaufort Historical Association holds special events throughout the fall and winter months.
Similar to Harvest Time, Kindergarten Thanksgiving is open for kindergarten classes to reserve a spot to see how meals were prepared in Colonial times. Students will see open-hearth cooking, butter churning, weaving, spinning and visit the Colonial gardens.
The event is from 9 a.m. to noon Monday-Friday, Nov. 4-8, and Monday-Friday, Nov. 11-15.
The Beaufort Historic Site turns into a community market from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, with art, handmade crafts, holiday gifts, pre-loved treasures, antiques, clothing, food and more. There is no admission fee for the Jumble Sale. Vendor information and applications are available by calling 252-728-5225 or by going online to beauforthistoricsite.org.
Community Thanksgiving Feast
A traditional turkey dinner is provided by some of the area’s finest restaurants to be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24. Served at the Beaufort Historic Site, dinners are available for take-out or to enjoy on the historic site grounds. A favorite for locals, as well as visitors who return year after year, this is typically a sold-out event, so organizers recommend you plan ahead. Tickets are $25.
Beaufort Holiday Artwalk
Retail stores, restaurants and the Beaufort Historic Site will be featuring holiday sales, refreshments and entertainment from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, leading up to the Christmas Candlelight Tour.
A wide variety of art from regional artists will be showcased throughout many of the downtown shops, galleries and restaurants. The artwalk will begin at The Beaufort Historic Site. Artwalk maps will be available at participating locations.
Christmas Candlelight Tour
Enjoy the spirit of the holidays while touring decorated private homes in Beaufort and walk the streets to delight in the decorations that reflect the homeowner’s personal styles.
The Christmas Candlelight Tour is from 5-8 p.m. Dec. 14. Tickets for the Candlelight Tour are $20 per person.
Guests can enjoy the decorated homes aboard the double-decker bus and sing along with carolers from local churches as they travel to their destinations.
For further information on any of the Beaufort Historical Association events, Beaufort Historic Site tours and educational programs, visit beauforthistoricsite.org or call 252-728-5225.