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PostMichael Sullivan's Favorite World City (Michael Sullivan, USA, 06/12/18 4:45 am)
After visiting many fine and wonderful cities around the world both large and small, it has become too difficult to pick a favorite as there are so many fabulous, diverse places. So I decided my pick a town I really like in the USA which is Beaufort, North Carolina, which is about 20 miles and one traffic signal from where I live and I get to enjoy it regularly!
The reasons are:
1. A great climate with the four seasons but usually has fairly mild winters. A few hurricanes now and then and humidity prevails in the summer, but beautiful sunny, breezy weather most of the time. Beaufort is a small town with population around 4,200. It's only a mile from the Atlantic Ocean and is separated by barrier islands or Outer Banks. Local people are very friendly, laid back and hospitable as their Beaufort roots go back a long way.
2. Great seafood restaurants with several located right on the water (Intra Coastal Waterway or ICW) and, when in season, serving the biggest, meatiest softshell crab I've ever eaten. Specialties are shrimp, crab, flounder, oysters, tuna and "hush puppies"!
3. Eating on the waterfront you can watch, along with all the passing boats, the wild horses frolic on the barrier islands that were originally brought here by settlers in the 1700s. They have a roundup periodically to thin the herd and it's possible to purchase some of these horses.
4. The town has several historical sites including many homes built in the early 1700s that are kept immaculate by the people who live in them. They all have plaques on them indicating their age and to whom it belonged originally. Most homes have a "widow's walk" above the top floor where the wives of the sea captains used to watch for the great ships returning and hoping their husband was aboard. There is a Maritime Museum with all sorts of past seafaring equipment and history, plus you can accompany your young lad/lass to its workshop where they have a kit to build a small 8 ft. wooden boat in one day.
5. Beaufort has many artists and they sell their works in the various art galleries or upscale restaurants. They have a very popular duck hunting decoy festival on Harkers Island in December, and folks come from all over the world to participate. Many new residents now coming to Beaufort to retire have been successful in their prior life, so they buy or build upscale homes. Homes on or near the water are expensive as available, buildable waterfront properties are getting very scarce.
6. Beaufort's picturesque boardwalk from Memorial Day till Labor Day bustles with tourists and the restaurants have outside bars where musical combos provide nightly entertainment for the predominantly nightlife crowd. There are many bed and breakfast accommodations in Beaufort and the surrounding area. Beaufort has no hotels.
7. In June, Beaufort annually hosts the "Big Rock Blue Marlin" fishing tournament which is one of the biggest sport fishing tournaments in the US. From this they donate $3 million to charity.
8. Beaufort and the local area harbor some of the most expensive yachts and sailing ships on the East Coast. It also is a favorite RON spot for yachts and vessels heading north or south on the ICW so it's always a treat to see several new transient boats tied up to the city's docks and piers.
9. Tours are offered to the barrier islands/Outer Banks and to the Cape Lookout lighthouse. If you visit Harkers Island which is close by, there wasn't a bridge to the island from the mainland till after WWII so it was isolated but still today many of the locals speak with an Elizabethan accent called "Down East." Harkers Island was known for building excellent wooden fishing boats. A 45-minute tour of the Beaufort's downtown waterfront is offered on a 97 HP London double-decker bus! The tour conductor is a charming southern belle with a deep Southern accent! She is known as the "Mouth of the South!" She's worth the tour all by itself!
JE comments: The Sullivans invited us to one of Beaufort's seafood places a few years back, and it was marvelous. I remember Michael teaching us the crucial distinction between Beaufort, North Carolina (Bo-fort, as in Beauregard), and Beaufort, South Carolina, which is pronounced Byoofort, like beautiful. (I had to double-check that.)
I want to go back! Of course, the best part of any visit to the Havelock-Beaufort-New Bern area is spending time with Michael and Nicole Sullivan.
France has both a Beaufort and a Belfort. I've been to the latter, with its splendid fort guarded by an enormous stone lion (symbol of the city).
Picking Your Favorite City? Don't Try to be Rational
(Tor Guimaraes, USA
06/13/18 5:12 AM)
I am enjoying watching my WAIS friends squirming intellectually to declare their choice of "best" city.
The best way is to use your left brain. Imagine how you picked your life partner, the love of your life. Is she or he prettiest? the smartest or most talented? Or the most in any of a large collection of important attributes? That does not work, does it? You picked your lover because s/he looked attractive at first glance, when you kissed her/him you were kissed back, and it felt wonderful. S/he may have a few warts but they disappeared in comparison with the wonderful bouquet of nice things you receive when you share time together.
Cities like San Francisco, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Kyoto, etc. are all wonderful and full of life. Selecting your city should be very similar. Someone may look at my favorite city (Venice) and say the damned town is sinking, it's old, and in some places stinks. Each city has a personality, perhaps not as clearly defined as a person, but much easier to define than a country. That is why I could pick Venice but have only been able to pick a few "best" countries: Portugal, Austria, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Japan, and Switzerland.
I particularly enjoyed reading Michael Sullivan's post because for the last several years our family has rented a beach house in the summer. We seem to like North Carolina and over the years have rented from the northern tip of the Outer Banks all way to Sail Beach. My son and I have explored the area just south of the Outer Banks and stopped in Moorhead City which we enjoyed very much. We missed Beaufort up to now but after Michael's description I already asked my wife to target Beaufort for next summer. It seems really nice.
JE comments: Isn't the left brain the logical side, and the right side intuitive and emotional? I never knew how they figured this out in any case.
Few would place Bogotá on their list of "best" cities, but it has a bustling vibrancy and an intellectual vibe. I have some pics to share (next).