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Size Matters: Why Beaufort Does it Better

This winter my kids experienced real snow for the first time in Bluffton County South Carolina. Flashbacks to my childhood waking up to a light blanket of snow, the anticipation of school being cancelled and a day of sledding and snow angels. Pure magic. But the real magic for me came a few days later when we ventured out to the small town of Beaufort, SC. The Main Street was charming and the shops were quaint and lovely, but the real stand out was the waterfront park behind the main drag. And that's when I realized, size matters because sometimes small is better!

If you're a regular reader of my posts, you know that I've been working on activating the waterfront in our fair city, Miami. The fragmented ownership along Miami's waterfront, even among publicly owned segments, makes it difficult to achieve a continuous promenade. That's why I was so happy to revisit Beaufort's lovely Chambers Waterfront Park. It's entirely owned and managed by Beaufort and has been delighting residents and visitors since 1970. So let's see what makes so good...

Let's start with one of the entrances leading to the park. Beaufort's main street runs parallel to the waterfront with wide brick paths that run in between the buildings and to the park. The buildings on either side of the path are designed to draw people through the space with cute shops and cafes that even wrap around the corner and face the river. You can see that the path above is short. It cuts through the depth of one city block--about two building deep. Small is good.

Here's another view of the corner cafe with a better view of the back patio that faces the river. It's a simple and clever design to activate the waterfront. It doesn't have to be big to make an impact.