Beaufort makes Smithsonian Magazine's top 20 small city list

With acclaim for its natural beauty and rich cultural history, the Beaufort area earned a good showing on Smithsonian Magazine's Best Small Towns To Visit list.

Here's an excerpt:

It's pronounced "BYOO-furt," and the place is about as Southern as it gets; the state was not only the first to leave the Union, but the first meeting to draft the Ordinance of Secession, which made the state’s resistance official, took place in Beaufort at the Milton Maxey House, a white edifice with two levels of front porches and columns. Like many local 19th-century planters’ mansions, Milton Maxey still stands partly because the American historic preservation movement gained steam a century ago in South Carolina. Today the landmarks make up a National Historic Landmark District, shaded by oaks and glossy magnolias: a 1798 arsenal; the First African Baptist Church, in continuous use since the 1860s; the Federal-style Verdier House. The Center for the Arts at the University of South Carolina, Beaufort, brings plays, concerts, art exhibits and independent films.

Port Royal, south of town, arguably even more historic than Beaufort, is the site of Spanish and French forts that ultimately fell to the English, and home port of the trawlers that provision area shrimp shacks. Beyond, another bridge crosses to Parris Island and the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, where the Parris Island Museum is open to visitors, as are stirring graduation ceremonies at Peatross Parade Deck, with Marines in dress blue and flags waving.

Here's are rundown:

  • 1). Chautauqua, NY
  • 2). Healdsburg, CA
  • 3). Williamsburg, VA
  • 4). Steamboat Springs, CO
  • 5). Woods Hole, MA
  • 6). Marietta, OH
  • 7). Beaufort, SC
  • 8). Sedona, AZ
  • 9). Nebraska City, NE
  • 10). Lanesboro, MN
  • Check out the full top 20 over here.