Quintessentially Lowcountry: Belamy Curve is a breath-taker for all who near

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Quintessentially Lowcountry: Belamy Curve is a breath-taker for all who near

By MARTI COVINGTON mcovington@beaufortgazette.com 843-706-8147
Published Friday, November 6, 2009   |  476 Words  |  news

It might be the sharp, right-angled convergence of Carteret and Boundary streets that forms Bellamy Curve in Beaufort, but it's the stunning, open view of the Beaufort River that makes the road a favorite route for many.
"I drove down Boundary Street past the different shops and everything, and figured I was coming to the end of the town," said Tony Ansley, an amateur photographer from Jacksonville, Fla., visiting downtown Friday afternoon.
"Then, all of a sudden -- bam! There was this amazing shot of the water. I nearly crashed my truck trying to dig my camera out."
Ansley isn't alone. Visitors and natives alike often look at Bellamy Curve as an ideal spot for a photo, said Carlotta Ungaro, president of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Her first glimpse came more than five years ago when she visited Beaufort with her then-boyfriend, now-husband, Maurice.
"I have views on both sides, Bay and Carteret," Ungaro said of her office, inside the chamber building that sits on the curve. "We see tourists looking out the windows ... all the time stopping and taking pictures."
The chamber office was once home to the Bellamy Inn, which opened in the early 20th century and gave the intersection its name, according to Evan Thompson of the Historic Beaufort Foundation.
But the coveted space on Bellamy Curve has been many things since it was built in 1870 as a private residence for the Conant family -- icehouse, funeral parlor, antique shop and real estate office, among others.
County Councilman Paul Sommerville, a lifelong Beaufort resident, remembers the days when the curve was home to a Gulf gas station and auto parts store. A road along the curve took him from Pigeon Point to his elementary school, which is now the performing arts center for the University of South Carolina Beaufort.
"It's a favorite spot of mine because I used to walk there every day of my life," Sommerville said. "We'd play marbles there, too."
Parishioners from the predominantly black churches on St. Helena Island would tie their bateaux at the curve and conduct baptisms.
"This was a really reverent thing," said Sommerville, who watched the ceremonies as a wide-eyed child. "You'd go down there and you had all these folks in their white robes, and they were down there having baptism services right there at Bellamy Curve. It was just really an awesome experience."
Deanna Webber, a Texas native enjoying the cool weather Friday at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in Beaufort, found Bellamy Curve an impressive sight.
"I have some family in Savannah who like traveling along the coast, so I've been to Beaufort a handful of times in the past few years," Webber said. "That view right there -- it's gorgeous. It never gets old."