From the veranda of the Cuthbert House Inn, you can watch the tide retreat through tall marsh grass, exposing oyster beds, and spy dolphins playing in Beaufort Bay. A breeze rustles Spanish moss draped on live oaks that front this gracious Federal house. The inn has six guest rooms, some with plantation-style four-poster beds and cast-iron soaking tubs. The Eastlake Suite fireplace mantel bears graffiti carved by Union soldiers: one reads "Joel Dudley, Brighton, Mass. Nov. 28th 1862." For your breakfast in the Conservatory, which has a water view, try the inn's "Georgia ice cream" (cheese grits), fried eggs, sausage, and fresh breads. If it wasn't there already, your allegiance is guaranteed to shift south of the Mason-Dixon line.

CUTHBERT HOUSE INN, 1203 Bay St.; 800/327-9275 or 803/521-1315; doubles $145-$165, including breakfast.