Rainy Daze in Beaufort

What to do when a thunderstorm threatens to ruin a summer vacation weekend at the beach? Grab the rain jackets and go…
by CC Parker

How could it rain this weekend? My nose is pressed against the glass; no boat traffic on Taylor’s Creek. The Carrot Island horses graze across the water, enjoying the reprieve from the tourists. We vacationers, however, want our sunshine! And with a house full of young adults, what am I to do? 

Historically, on a day like this, we’d march the gang to the NC Maritime Museum, then hop over to Fort Macon and the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. But now my kids are in high school and college. Thankfully, this crowd sleeps in, which means one less meal to consider and more time to ponder the situation. 

My husband, the early riser, has already enjoyed an all-American breakfast at the Beaufort Café, no fair-weather crowd to slow down his meal. Back home, he claims the couch and the remote. He has his rainy-day plan. 

Slowly, slowly, the kids emerge. 

“We’ll make lemonade from lemons,” says my daughter. “Let’s go shopping!” We toss on rain jackets and off we go. No walkers to dodge on Front Street, no line for almond croissants at Ciseaux.

Besides the whipping wind and the spitting rain, it’s quiet. We dip into a new home-décor shop and peek into a café; we try kombucha from a food truck. 

There is a stir of activity. We find the famous North Carolina chef Vivian Howard putting the final touches on the setup for a tasting for her “Viv’s Fridge” ready-made pickup meals. She is lipsticked and calm, despite her two children horse-playing nearby, an imminent downpour above her wobbly tent, and the crowd that’s quickly assembling.

I note that it’s odd for her to be all alone with all that food — her assistant ran to the Piggly Wiggly for a key ingredient for the salad she’s preparing. Soon, the assistant is back. The salad is delicious, the horseplay does not escalate and it does not downpour. 

We move on to the Calypso Cottage, an island-inspired boutique; the owner is serving champagne, just for fun. We run into friends. We return home with a nautical knot that will serve as a door opener, a woven clutch, a floppy hat and the store’s signature bug spray. 

Back at the house, my husband has maintained dominion over the TV. Our feral third child has cycled with a friend to Big Daddy Wesley’s for bags of fructose corn syrup and monosodium glutamate.

Our college male and his friends have taken a rainy run, visited a gym for some weightlifting and eaten lunch. Now they’re showered and antsy. 

We make a command decision and head for The Backstreet Pub. Tucked into a windowless brick building on Middle Lane, it takes a moment for your eyes to adjust when you enter. A fire burns in the corner.

Our spirits soar. The kids and I take the spiral staircase up to the dart boards and chess games on the second floor. And just when the kids think things can’t get any better, I whisper three simple words: Buds on me. 

The kids give a cheer, and soon our party of six becomes a party of 10. I don’t care. There’s no raining on this parade.

This article originally appeared in the August 2023 issue of WALTER magazine.