The Beaufort Inn consists of the main Inn house and surrounding cottages. The main Inn House is a classic example of Victorian architecture with front wide porches and curved rear porches designed to catch the soothing sea breezes. Guests have been welcomed to the Inn for more than 100 years. Built as a summer retreat for his family by attorney and Congressman William Sidney Smith in 1897, the Inn has been completely restored and renovated with modern amenities. The main house contains guest rooms and event spaces and is surrounded by lush private gardens.
The Beaufort Female Benevolent Society Cottage
The Society was formed in 1814 to help and to educate destitute children. The Society built the Cottage in 1895. The cottage has been home to The Clover Club, which founded Beaufort's first lending library in the cottage. The lending library led to the formation of the public library system which has its' headquarters just across the street from the cottage. A separate attached cottage served as an infirmary with an outdoor waiting room. The society sold the cottage in 1982 and continues to use the proceeds to provide relief to people in need. Renovations were completed in 2003 when the cottage became part of The Beaufort Inn . An internet search of Beaufort Female Society yields copies of minutes, details about the cottage and other items of interest.
The Edmund Rhett Law Office Cottage
Edmund Rhett drafted The Articles of Secession that led to the Civil War in this building. Along with his brother Robert Barnwell Rhett, Edmund was known as one of the "Fire-eaters" that advocated for secession as early as 1844. In classic Beaufort fashion, the building also served as voter registration center for decades during which untold numbers of freed slaves registered to vote at the same site where the words leading to secession and the US Civil war were first put to paper. Relocated to its' current site at the request of The Historic Beaufort Foundation, The Rhett Cottage is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2009.
Noted guests of The Beaufort Inn include Julia Roberts, Paula Zahn, Bill Cowher, Jimmy Buffett and Bruce Babbitt.