Let the Burger Wars Begin

Sampling burgers around the coast is a good way to stay warm.

Our ice age should end shortly, and maybe I can get back to cooking some of my own burgers.

Cold weather is good for one thing, stimulating the appetite. Last week we accepted the challenge of Sam Shipp, the owner of Ballyhoo's Island Sports Grille on Emerald Isle.

Sam had read my article declaring the burger cooked at the Fairway Restaurant as the best burger on the beach. He took exception to his burger not being considered, and he was right.

I take rating burgers seriously. In Roanoke, Virginia after numerous taste tests, I declared the Burger in Square as the finest burger vendor.

One of my previous careers was chasing 200 head of Angus cattle around the Canadian wilderness in New Brunswick, so I know my beef.

I'm glad Sam called. Not only have we found another great burger, but we have also added a restaurant to the list of places to enjoy a meal here on the Crystal Coast.

We were pleased to find Ballyhoo's has a broad menu, good service, cold beer, great food, and reasonable prices. Those $1 beers hit the spot.

However, I am not ready to declare a new burger champion. To make this fair, I have to eat at least three burgers before I am willing to crown a 2008 beach burger champion.

Also it is a little hard to compare Ballyhoo's burgers to Fairway's since Fairway has been closed for renovations for a month, and I have not had one of their burgers since September.

I will be headed over to Ballyhoo's for another burger this week while my wife samples some of their other food. We had some excellent wings there last week. I have high hopes that I can convince my wife to try the Grouper bites.

Fairway is supposed to open in early February so I can probably have this Burger War settled by the end of February.

Whichever way it goes, both burgers are already head and shoulder above any others I have tasted in the area.

In the meantime, while you're waiting for the official results, give Ballyhoo's a try, I know you will not be disappointed. The restaurant is even non-smoking.

Grumpy Weather

We have had some nasty weather here on the coast lately.

Today it rained most of the day, but I don't have the heart to change my main site and warn people from visiting.

I was working the Swansboro local businesses festival. As I get older, I find myself more suspicious of cold weather. I could live forever without any more ice and snow.

Weather causes far too many changes in my attitude. Even without winter storms, the currents by the point have made huge changes to the dunes. The place looks pretty weird with all of the fall sand disappearing.

Less than a week after getting my beach driving permit, most of the sand disappeared

Still it is one my favorite places.

This year we have seen the weather either very cold or very warm. There seems to be no happy medium.

Perhaps the sixty degrees that they are calling for next week will do the trick and snap me into the mood to go boating.

Frozen Gut

Last night was a cold night.

According to our gauge it was 22 degrees when I got up at 7 am.

It is now 35 degrees just before noon.

This would rank as one of the colder days we have seen since moving to the coast.

Fortunately there is no wind, so we didn't even turn on the fireplace this morning.

We keep the heat on 68 but my office which is upstairs and has a nice south facing window is already 72 degrees.

This morning I have watched frustrated Herons looking for open water this morning. I suspect they will have to wait until afternoon.

I don't plan on a lot of out of doors activity today, but I did manage to take a picture of our cove iced up.

Yesterday I did venture over to the beach and took this picture of the sun setting near the eastern regional access.


Rainy Day in the Cove

Today our rainy weather continued. It's true that we need the rain, so I will be happy that we are getting it.

Yet, it does not take much observation to notice that our ground is so saturated with this week's rains that most of the water has headed to the river.

We stayed in the mid-forties all day today.

Tomorrow we are not supposed to get out of thirties.

It could well be the coldest weather we have seen since we moved here eighteen months ago.

Based on my rough calculations, we are close to three inches in rain for January. I would say that is good start on restoring soil moisture especially considering our area close to the coast only got dry for two or three months this fall.

It looks like the snow promised for the area will mostly stay west of Highway 17 which is about sixteen miles from us.

It did not take any snow to get us curled up in front of the fireplace. We bought some take out Chinese on the way home from a quick trip to Morehead City, then we settled in to relax in front of the fireplace and watch a little Discovery Channel.

A rainy day is just as good an excuse to relax as a blizzard, you just have a few more options on what you can do.

We will see what things look like tomorrow morning. Maybe I will have a picture of coastal snow to post.


Calm Intracoastal Waterway

We were driving back from our sunset chase this evening.

I noticed how neat the sky was at Cedar Point boat ramp so we pulled in to add a few photos to the ones that I had taken over at the Swansboro bridges.

Fog does strange things to light. It was so mild out that it was a lot more fun taking pictures than it was earlier in the week.

There is nothing like sixty degrees in January to make you start thinking about spring.

Considering that we got this snapshot from our friends in Roanoke, Virginia, I think I will hold off on planting the tomatoes a while.

It is January, and most years the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina get snow. That is why I am living on the coast.

As I look at this picture I will remind myself that today we were thirty degrees warmer than our mountain friends.

Winter hasn't impacted us too much. On the way back from the sunset chase we got some shrimp from Clyde Phillips Seafood and enjoyed what I call perfect shrimp before dinner.


Thunderstorms roll across the area

Yesterday on the beach the skies were cloudy. This morning we are getting rain which we need and thunderstorms.

The weather is changing. From the forecast it looks like next week will be significantly cooler than this week.

We cannot complain. This has been a spectacular run of weather with lots of great time on the beach.

I guess we have to go back to our "winter" and look forward to warm days in the future.

Houses on the point

We took advantage of the warm weather and went walking yesterday just off Inlet Drive in Emerald Isle yesterday.

I wanted to get close to the Point so I could see what the beach is doing.

According to what I have heard, the large wide beaches are moving towards the Point which would be a good thing since there isn't much left of the beach over there.

It is hard to believe how fast this has changed. I bought my permit to drive on the beach and went over to the Point and noticed the beach was getting smaller. A week later the access point was closed.

I am really impressed with how wide the beach is just down from the Point.

It will be interesting to watch this since I do not have a house there.

The cold sound of silence

This morning when I rolled out of bed, it was clear that Raymond's Gut behind our home had ice on it.

The thermometer read twenty degrees. That is the coldest day I have seen here on the coast.

The good news was that the wind has stopped. When I snapped the picture last night, the wind has slowed only briefly. I suspect the cold clear air has something to do with the intensity of the colors in the picture.

Later in the evening when we pulled into the Bogue House along with several other folks from the area for a nice evening meal without any effort on our part, the wind was a serious part of cold.

I managed to walk in with just my sweatshirt, but when we went back to the car and discussed the possibility of going to the grocery store, it was quickly voted down in favor of heading home and relaxing in front of the fireplace.

Today I went down to Morehead City to get my NC driver's license. I was a little amazed to be taking a pencil and paper test in this age of computers, but I managed to get through it.

Fortunately I had found a neat website which had a much better study guide that NC's very boring driver's manual.

If you need a link to it, send me a note.

At least the weather had moderated a little so it wasn't so cold getting in and out of the car.

I have to be careful since I just talked to former neighbors of ours in Canada. Our farm in Tay Creek, New Brunswick was often snowed under.

Still I was surprised to hear that they have six feet of snow on the ground. Our friends reminded us that they had seen that much snow since the winter of 1976 which was our third year on the farm.

I think they can keep it. I am looking forward to those warmer temperatures that are predicted for Monday.


Bogue Sound Sunset

I did manage to stick my nose outside this afternoon.

Actually I think standing on the point at Cannonsgate is more than that.

It qualifies as sticking my whole body into the cold wind.

The good news is that this cold weather is only going to last a couple of days.

It was already 30 degrees Fahrenheit earlier in the evening so I expect a cold night.

The Cold Weather Arrives

The skies are a beautiful blue and the waters look pretty nice.

However, today has been the coldest day that I have seen since moving to the coast.

The temperature has not reached forty so our high is going to be in thirties.

On top of that the wind is blowing.

I am headed out to catch some sunset shots. A nice sunset always helps me forget the cold.

The knowledge that we will be have a warm meal including some of my wife's famous cornbread does not hurt either.

Hopefully I will have a nice shot to post later in the evening.