By Lanier Laney
The editors of National Geographic Traveler magazine have lauded Penn Center and Beaufort’s Gullah culture with a spotlight on the Rhett House Inn as one of the ‘Top 20 Best Trips’ in the world to make in 2015. The Rhett House Inn’s Gullah chef Beverly Mayo’s breakfast is detailed in the article online. Chef Beverly says writers of the magazine found her through rave reviews on TripAdvisor.
“I was shocked and thrilled. It’s an honor to be in there because that’s a nationwide magazine, and a lot of people read that magazine,” Mayo said.
Mayo is well known for her Southern breakfast and famous grits, for which preparation begins the night before.
“To us, food is love…you put your love, heart, and soul in it, and that’s what makes the difference; the ingredients follow,” says Chef Beverly who grew up in the local Gullah tradition cooking with her mother and grandmother in Sheldon. She remembers her grandmother making sweet grass baskets by the stove while also turning bread or churning butter.
“At Christmas, we would all cook and give each other presents of beautifully presented food and Christmas cookies,”she adds.
About working at the Rhett House, Chef Beverly says, “The Rhett House has a wonderful spirit, and our guests are our first priority. That’s why I love it so.”
She’s had guests from all over the world tell her ‘they’ve never tasted grits like hers before.’ Her secret? She uses chicken stock instead of plain water with cream and butter and adds Gullah seasoning at the very end. The recipe is online at www.rhetthouseinn.com. For Christmas this year she made cinnamon pancakes in addition to her renowned sweet potato recipe. The complimentary breakfast comes with a nightly stay at the Inn.
The historic Rhett House Inn, built in 1820 is celebrating its 150th anniversary as an Inn in 2015 and has been a AAA Four Diamond Inn for the past 19 years.
Rhett House Inn owners Marianne and Steve Harrison are justly proud of Chef Beverly and the Inn being singled out by a national magazine online. “I am so glad that National Geographic Traveler recognized the wonderful African-American Gullah history and its rich ongoing culture we have in this area; it’s what makes it so special and unique to live and visit here. I also thank them for their kind words about The Rhett House Inn and Chef Beverly’s breakfast. Our staff works very hard to give all our guests the best Southern Hospitality experience possible,” says Marianne.
For more information, please call The Rhett House Inn at 524-9030 or visit 1009 Craven St. in the historic district.