By Caramia Valentin, special to The News-Times
BEAUFORT — This year was to be the 60th anniversary of the Beaufort Historical Association Old Homes Tour, now cancelled, where the community comes together to admire 12 of Beaufort’s historic private homes, 10 gardens, local churches, artists’ studios and authentically-restored buildings and grounds of the Beaufort Historic Site.
The Old Homes Tour is a tradition beyond the locals, people travel from across the country to Beaufort every summer to enjoy it. Executive Director of the Beaufort Historical Association, Patricia Suggs, recounted a touching story of a mother and son who look forward to coming together every year at this event as part of their family tradition.
The event for the 60th anniversary has been selected as one of the top 20 events in the Southeast for the month of June by the Southeast Tourism Society. This is a prestigious award that shows just how special this event truly is to people.
Since this large event brings a swarm of tourists to the Beaufort area, the cancellation of it could potentially affect businesses in the area. Co-owner of Clawson’s 1905 and Aqua restaurant’s, Joey McClure, exclaims that the weekend of the Old Homes Tour event is a busier time than usual for them.
“It is one of the busier weekends of the summer,” said McClure. “We look forward to that especially since it seems to be really hot that time of year so people like coming in for lunch to get out of the heat after the tour. We’re going to miss the fact that it’s not going to happen.”
Events such as these are known to contribute largely to the local economy as they attract visitors, but the safety of the public is at the top of everyone’s minds as they deal with the current pandemic.
“It’s very hard not to have the tour this year, but it’s even harder right now to imagine not having this very large event in Beaufort,” said Suggs. “In 1959, the town was unable to prepare for their 250th anniversary celebration. Rather than let this special occasion go uncelebrated, the next year the town had a huge party to celebrate the 251st anniversary. This celebration energized the town’s residents to recognize the beauty of their homes and led to the restoration of many of their wonderful historic properties. It also led to the formation of the Beaufort Historical Association. Postponing this year hopefully will help us treasure what we have in this town even more.”
People can still honor the event by making a donation online to the Beaufort Historical Association and show support for the Old Homes Tour Honorary Chairs and the 12 dedicated homeowners who have been preparing since last year to have their homes showcased in this event. Longtime residents and sisters, Molly Willis and Ann Carter are the two Old Homes Tour honorary chairs this year.
“Ann Carter and Molly Willis are two of those treasures that have been instrumental in the growth of tourism in the Town of Beaufort,” said Suggs. “as well as both of them always seeking to do the right thing for our visitors and residents.”
Both sisters are honored to be selected as the honorary chairs of the Old Homes Tour, but Suggs exclaims that the association is so pleased to have them involved.
“We are the ones that are honored to have had these two sisters so involved over the years,” Suggs said. “From Ann Carter’s special caramel cakes to Molly’s humor that makes us laugh every day at the Beaufort Historic Site, we have been truly blessed to have them as part of the Association.”
This popular event is a large fundraiser for the Beaufort Historical Association. On its website, www.beauforthistoricsite.org, donations can be made and there is also information about the homes that were to be featured as well as information about the honorary chairs, the Kickoff Party’s Bartender Challenge and the Old Homes Tour’s featured artist, Lynda Harris.
To keep up with the constant updates, follow @thebeauforthistoricsite on Instagram or call the Historic Site at 252-728-5225.