Pedal, walk, nosh or sip your way through 300 years of Beaufort's history. Among Walking, Bicycling, History and Culinary & Food Tours is a special tour inspired by Nicolas Sparks novels. CulinaryTours sample Beaufort’s best eateries including fresh seafood. From pirates to shipbuilders and historic homes, our local guide reveals a side of history like no other.

Welcome to "America's Favorite Town"

     Officially established on October 2, 1713, Beaufort, North Carolina has an old-world, southern charm, steeped in maritime history and the adventure brought by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.
     With world-famous fishing, North Carolina's Crystal Coast is famous for its local seafood. Beaufort is no exception. 
     But, the sea is only where our cuisine starts in our historic seaport.
     Boats dot the waterfront, from private yachts and massive sailboats to trawlers bringing locally owned restaurants "fresh from the docks" sea fare. Cozy inns line the harbor, inspiring Nicholas Sparks to set several of his novels in Beaufort, including A Walk to Remember and The Choice. 
     In Beaufort, you'll find unique shopping, casual to world-class dining and overnight accommodations in our historic inns and B&Bs.

Beaufort's many accolades
  • "America's Favorite Town" Travel+Leisure Magazine 2014
  • "Coolest Small Town in America" Budget Travel Magazine 2012
  • "Best Yachting Town 2012" Yachting Magazine
  • USA Today’s Charming small towns of the South 2014
  • In Top 20 of "America's Quirkiest Towns" Travel+Leisure 2014
  • #2 of "America's Most Romantic Towns" Travel+Leisure 2014
  • "America's 10 Most Beautiful Hidden Gems" Budget Travel  2013
  • One of the "10 Great Coastal Boardwalks" Coastal Living

About Us and Why "Hungry Town"

We LIVE here, LOVE it, and want to SHARE the BEST of Beaufort with you.  

We’re passionate about sharing Beaufort and created tours we would  want to take ourselves. Our guests learn where the locals go, where the  locals eat, and hear unusual stories and great Beaufort history  that you might not hear on a typical tour.

Our Beach Cruisers Bicycles provide the perfect laid-back way to tour Beaufort ... OR you can "step back in history" with our NEW Walking Tours. 
Want to snap a few pictures of a historic home, wild horse, or unusual landmark? We’ll pull over whenever possible. We keep our bicycle tour groups small 
(usually 2 to 8 tour guests) so that everyone can have a great experience.

We're in the hospitality business, so we take fun seriously!  

 Hungry Town Tours is owned and operated by Beaufort residents - hospitality and culinary professionals Betsy and David Cartier. Betsy will be your tour guide. With her background, and being a lover of history, Betsy will provide you with a unique insight into the local scene.

We love Beaufort history and its unique collection of historic homes. 
It was a natural for us to choose an early Beaufort "name" for our business.
Likely an early draft, with spilled ink - "Hungry Town" or "Hongry Town"  were written in several places on this only surviving copy of the first town  plat - the scribbling possibly a comment on the state of affairs in the  planned town - officially laid out and named October 2, 1713.

Join Hungry Town Tours as we Toast the Coast

March 22-28, 2015, Hungry Town Tours will offer special Beaufort Culinary Bike Tours as we celebrate "Toast to the Coast" Restaurant Week.

Tour and sample several of Beaufort’s best restaurants all in one trip by bicycle. We’ll start at the waterfront and pedal through the historic streets, stopping at several of the best local culinary treasures. Inside, you’ll nosh and sip on some of the most delicious flavors on the Crystal Coast. You’ll enjoy delicious seafood, wine tastings, and more! We’ll give you the inside scoop on the restaurants and people that make them great. 

Your guide will share stories about Beaufort’s unique history, with a particular interest in the many ways that food (and the search for it) has shaped America’s favorite town. 

The Beaufort Culinary Tours take place year-round. However, this tour will be featured as part of the Toast to the Coast Restaurant Week celebration. The tours will take place Monday through Saturday from March 22-28, 2015 starting at 12 p.m. Make your reservations now. Limited availability. Telephone reservations available daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 252-648-1011. Interested in a walking tour? Just ask us.

Hungry Town Tours promotes restaurants with locally-sourced food that allow for an enhanced guest experience for those visiting Beaufort. We pride ourselves in working with restaurants offering fresh, local products that support our local fishermen and farmers.

Hungry Town Tours is proud to be a member of Carteret Catch. The organization's mission is to sustain the livelihood and heritage of the Carteret County fishing industry through public marketing and education.  You'll learn more on the Beaufort Culinary Bike Tour.

For complete details the Toast to the Coast Restaurant Week with Hungry Town Tours, click here.

Beaufort set for annual Mardi Gras celebration - February 21, 2015

If you’ve never been to a Mardi Gras Celebration for Fat Tuesday, the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the fasting of the Lenten season; you don't have to look any further than Beaufort, North Carolina. 

Beaufort's annual Mardi Gras on Middle Lane is set for Saturday, February 21, 2015.  The event starts at 2 p.m. and runs until 6 p.m. but you'll want to get there early.  Here's why...

Middle Lane is home to Beaufort’s annual Mardi Gras celebration, the highlight of which is North Carolina’s Shortest Parade.  It's a true display of Beaufort’s quirkiness. 

The  parade of "krewes" in costume tossing jewelry and charms for everyone is not to be missed.

The Sweet Potato Queens (a group of women, aged 40-70 who dress in elaborate costumes and perform choreographed routines in every parade and event held in Beaufort) are always a festive group in the parade.
The crowds fill Middle Lane in anticipation of the parade starting at 3 p.m., with the crowning of the Mardi Gras King and Queen.  If you're late... there's always next year.  It's that quick.
Mardi Gras on Middle Lane is a community supported event that's become a popular street carnival filled with Cajun music & jazz! 
Music will be provided by Gumbo Lily and All Night Long Jazz. 
Local restaurants will serve New Orleans's style food and drink.  Be sure to bring the kids along for the face painting and mask making experience under the tents. You can even challenge your “krewe” to a round of boules or cornhole in the gaming area.

It's no wonder that Beaufort was named to the list of "America's Quirkiest Towns" in September 2014 by Travel + Leisure Magazine.

The deadline for "Krewe" registration is Wednesday, February 18, 2015.  Sponsored by the Downtown Beaufort Development Association.

Why a Few Different-colored House Plaques?

John M. Wolfe House circa 1895
According to Mamré Marsh Wilson, when the 1907 Train Depot and the 1908 Post Office & Custom House were plaqued, the buildings were less than 100 years old. 

J.E. & E.C. Whitehurst House circa 1892
In order to distinguish these plaques from the standard ones, they were painted with a brown and mellow-gold border. These plaques, and those of a few houses plaqued the same year, were referred to as the "80-year plaques." The plaques on the Train Depot and Post Office & Custom House have since been changed to the standard blue-and-silver design. However, the plaques on the J.E. & E.C. Whitehurst House, and the John Wolfe House next door on Orange Street, remain the same, the owners choosing to keep them due to their uniqueness.  

Not long after the founding of the Beaufort Historical Association in 1960, then president Dr. John Costlow went to Miss Elizabeth Merwin about designing and creating a plaque to mark houses over 100 years old. Their goal was to encourage resident’s interest in promoting the significance and value of their old homes. Miss Merwin, classically trained in heraldry, created a watercolor design—the same one in use today. 

Elizabeth Merwin, designer of the plaque, lived with her mother Sophia Merwin at 306 Ann Street. Born in Beaufort in 1918, Elizabeth attended the Corcoran School of the Arts and returned to Beaufort in 1938. She worked on Piver's Island with Dr. Herbert F. Prytherch at the US Marine Fisheries but still found time to create "Coat of Arms" for local families and even one for Miss Annie Morton's dog "Beans."  Miss Merwin also designed the windows of St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Morehead City. 

Culinary Tours Support Local Fishermen

What do many local restaurants have in common with Hungry Town Bike Tours?  They all participate in the "Carteret Catch" program, a branding campaign for the Carteret County fishing industry that brings the catch to the consumer and assures end users that what they are purchasing is locally caught.

Photo courtesy of "Carteret Catch"
     Fishermen, distributors, markets and even restaurants are likely members of the organization. But a sightseeing tour company? 

     "Our culinary bike tours promote restaurants with locally-sourced food that allow for an enhanced guest experience for those visiting Beaufort," stated David Cartier of Hungry Town Bike Tours. "We pride ourselves in working with restaurants offering fresh, local products that support our local fishermen and farmers."
     As a member of "Carteret Catch," Hungry Town Bike Tours provides a unique means of connecting the consumer with the producer, not only by educating them about seafood indigenous to North Carolina, but illustrating how it gets from the boat to the table and letting visitors know exactly where they can be sure to find the local catch.  READ MORE

Buy Local Seafood: Learn What's in Season!

With Carteret County, North Carolina's 300-year history of fishing communities, Hungry Town Bike Tours is committed to supporting our local fishermen.  

    Buying local seafood products supports a culture and community of folks who define the character of the Carteret County coastal region. For these men, and women it is not a job; many grew up in families of fishermen and possess a dedicated understanding of the resource that provides them with a sustainable way of life.  

When you're visiting the Southern Outer Banks and want to enjoy great seafood, there’s always something "fresh and in season." Here on the Crystal Coast, locals are even luckier to have access to fish and shellfish any day of the week! 

On our Beaufort Culinary Tours, Hungry Town Bike Tours is proud to ensure that our tour participants receive fresh local seafood. We also want to help educate people regarding the best season to purchase their favorite seafood. 


All of the literature in this post is available to 
Hungry Town Bike Tours participants


Seasonal Seafood Charts provided by North Carolina Sea Grant and North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries.

Seafood Availability Chart compliments of our friends 
at North Carolina Sea Grant.

NORTH CAROLINA SEA GRANT provides research, education and outreach opportunities relating to current issues affecting the North Carolina coast and its communities. Since 1970, North Carolina Sea Grant has prided itself on being a valuable resource for scientists, educators, local officials, government agencies, coastal businesses and the public to find unbiased, scientifically sound information about the state’s coastal ecosystems. 

Early Morning in Beaufort Harbor After an Overnight of Shrimping

How many historic homes are there?

Coming 2015
Wanting to know how many historic homes there actually are in Beaufort, we asked Beaufort artist and historian Mary Warshaw. Citing her upcoming book - North Carolina's Historic Beaufort-A Unique Coastal Village Preserved - Mary noted, "there are accounts of 285 Beaufort houses, plus many buildings and sites at least 100-years old.  

"153 of the historic homes are currently plaqued with the name of the first known owner/builder and/or the longest occupant, along with the approximate original date of construction. However, when determining the names and dates for many early plaques, evidently decisions were made from oldest lot deeds, whether or not houses were built. In my book, existing plaque names and dates are provided, but when more evidence has been found, including deeds, wills or onsite inspections, that is also added."

Some of the oldest houses include the (early structures embedded in) 
the Gibble House circa 1772, the Allen Davis House circa 1774, 
the Walpoole House circa 1778 and the Jacob Henry House circa 1800.

Hungry Town Bike Tours has worked with Mary Warshaw to ensure our tours are as accurate as possible and based on Beaufort's authentic history.  

Purchase Mary's first book, PORCHSCAPES - The Colors of Beaufort, North Carolina at Hungry Town's Welcome Center. 

Or order online and we'll ship it to you.  


The beautiful Old Burying Ground is included on Our Historic Beaufort Tours

     In June 1724, the trustees of the town of Beaufort deeded Old Town Lot 91 "to the wardens of the Parish of St. Johns and the rest of the Vestrymen." This acquisition of land is the earliest date indicating the use of the present burying ground. Although the earliest legible date of death is 1756, many of the older markers have no dates, or inscriptions are illegible. The burying ground was enlarged in 1731, when Nathaniel Taylor gave Old Town Lot 81 to the inhabitants of the town for that purpose. The cemetery was enlarged again when the Baptists acquired part of Old Town Lot 72 in 1851, and in 1853 when the Methodists bought part of Lot 71 for a new church.     
     Surrounded by a concrete wall, with recessed panels between posts topped by simple spheres, the burying ground is shaded by many gnarled live oaks whose branches are covered by resurrection ferns, which revive after each rain. It is crowded with markers of various designs, including table stones, obelisks and official military markers. Best known is that of Otway Burns, War of 1812 naval hero. A large box-like stone marker is embedded with cannon believed to be from his privateer Snap Dragon; erected by Burns' descendants and unveiled in 1901. 
     Many of the older graves have simple vertical cypress slab, some seventeen designs in all, each with weathered, lichen-spotted texture. Another common grave treatment is the construction, in front of a stone marker, of a grave cover of brick, usually about two feet in height, which protects the grave from being washed out in the sandy soil. Some are rounded and some are of a gabled configuration, but all run the length of the coffin. MORE HISTORY & IMAGES

If these walls could talk - a great reason to book a historic homes tour!

    Early Beaufort was influenced by those who traveled the seas. Trade with the West Indies and Colonial ports helped develop and provide a cultural influence unlike that of inland North Carolina—thus the growth of not only a unique maritime heritage but also an unequaled collection of architectural treasures.
     In 1970 Tony P. Wrenn wrote, "A dozen or more cases could be made for the stylistic importance of individual structures there. It is the surviving complex, however—the juxtaposition of era to era and style to style, and interrelation of streets to each other—which gives the entirety an importance that transcends the value of any individual structure. A word might be said about Beaufort's compactness, and relative completeness, within the context of the surviving 1713 and 1816 street plans."

The 1940 photograph by Thomas T. Waterman 
Historic American Buildings Survey - Library of Congress
     In 1941 Thomas Tileston Waterman, author of The Early Architecture of North Carolina, described the Caribbean connection and Beaufort's porches: "At Beaufort, porches are seen in the form most reminiscent of Nassau, St. Kitts, and Bridgetown, the Duncan House on Front Street being a good example. Here a two-story tiered porch covers the front of the house and is protected by a shed extension of the main roof. The posts are in the form of crudely-turned Doric columns, not unlike those seen in some of the Spanish islands…The fact that the North Carolina porch treatment came from the Southward and not from Virginia is attested by almost complete lack of porches of the sort above the border…"
     During the Civil War, Federal occupation of the town and the use of Beaufort harbor as a vital coaling and repair station for the Union Navy may have also been a means of protecting these houses; some were abused but none were destroyed.
     As noted in the 1997 Ruth Little Survey, the two house types most closely identified with Beaufort are the 1-story side-gable house with engaged porch and its 2-story version. The 1-story type is referred to as a Coastal Cottage; the 2-story type as a 2-story Beaufort-style House. The defining characteristic is the engaged porch. "Beaufort has the largest number of these early coastal cottages, and their variations, of any historic town in eastern North Carolina." - From Mary Warshaw's upcoming book North Carolina's Historic Beaufort - A Unique Coastal Village Preserved - coming early 2015. 

Learn more about Beaufort's historic homes with Hungry Town Bike Tours. 
Offered are a number of bicycle and walking tours for you
to choose from including:  Hidden Beaufort Tour, Historic Beaufort
Walking Tour, Historic Walking Tour & Lunch,
and Legends & Lore of the Sea.