A Northern’s perspective on the Lowcountry

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By Lee Scott

“Welcome to Beaufort!”

I have heard that phrase so many times since moving here. It is often said with a warm, friendly Southern inflection that I enjoy hearing.

Lee Scott
Lee Scott

“Thank you!” I say enthusiastically because I love hearing it.

Then it is usually followed by the phrase, “Why did you move here?” I’m sure it is one of those questions easily asked, but sometimes hard to answer.

The response that I usually give is, “We like the area. We love the waterways, the food and the greenery.”

But the truth is that Beaufort reminds me and my husband of Annapolis, Maryland, our hometown, but the Annapolis of 25 years ago before people discovered the city and before Baltimore and Washington, DC, started to spill their population into our small town. The historic buildings, the old churches and cemeteries and the art are all very familiar to me.

We moved here because it is beautiful, the weather is wonderful, the people are friendly and the community has the small town flavor that we love, an atmosphere that we find comfortable.

After only a few months here, I am slowly getting familiar with the town. I have learned that I don’t leave the house without a hat, my suntan lotion, my Skin So Soft or some other bug spray.

I have learned to use one of those silly window shades for my front window if I am going to be leaving my car out in a parking lot for long. (No, I don’t have the ones with the eyes, but feel free to let me know where I can get one!) I seek shaded spots in the parking lots. I have learned to keep my windows open a few inches to let the heat out of the car while I am in the grocery store.

I have learned that no matter how much my cocker spaniels whine about going with me for a ride, I cannot take them in the car when the temperature is 90 degrees.

I have learned not to fake a Southern accent because it just sounds horrible. Speak normal and the Southern accent will slowly slip into your life. I know this because I am originally from Rhode Island and I know how accents can change. You can pick up the local accent fast enough, don’t’ push it.

I have learned that I have to carry a sweater with me because of the transition from the heat to the air conditioning. There is so much I have learned and so many things that I want explore.

The first few months have been wonderful. The people have made all the difference. And from this Northerner’s perspective, I feel welcomed to Beaufort.

Lee Scott, a writer and recent retiree, shares her everyday observations about life after career.  A former commercial banker responsible for helping her clients to reach their business objectives, Lee now translates those analytical skills to her writings. She recently moved to St. Helena Island with her husband and two cocker spaniels. She enjoys boating, traveling and reading.