Winter did not give the Crystal Coast any frozen precipitation this year. Most residents were happy about that. Winter was a nice enough that it was hard to call it winter. March was windy and cool enough that it seemed like we were living on spring memories without any real spring.
Still this is North Carolina and spring eventually won. We got our garden in the ground and we have had a very pleasant run of weather. The exception being the unusual first week of April frost that scared us. It almost seems like the scurrying around for buckets to cover plants never happened. With the temperatures hovering near ninety the second week of June 2016, the only coolness has been a couple of mornings that we sneaked into the low sixties. No one is doubting that summer has arrived along with our summer guests.
As you can see from the wave pictures the water looks perfect. After four days of wading it over the last ten days, I assure you that our saltwater also feels close to perfect. There is just enough of a slight chill to cool you off on a hot day.
Both wave pictures were taken at Third Street Beach which is one of the secrets of the Crystal Coast that I unlock in our book, A Week at the Beach - The Emerald Isle Travel Guide. You can click on any picture to see a larger version.
The biggest difference in weather from last year at this time is that we have enjoyed relatively normal precipitation. That is a stark contrast to last year when the rains started falling and did not stop until the year was over. By October 2015, I was complaining about the over 37 inches of rain that we had received since June 1.
We have just finished a stellar Memorial Day Weekend. While we had the threat of Tropical Storm Colin hanging over us, that did not keep the crowds away. We did manage to get three and one quarter inches from Colin but not until June 7 long after everyone had headed home from Memorial Day. Since then we have enjoyed mostly blue skies and warm temperatures. I will remember this year's Memorial Day for a couple of reasons. There were two accidents on the bridge, one Friday afternoon and the second on Saturday morning. The first accident it took me forty-five minutes to make my normal run of ten minutes to the tourist bureau on the island. The second one was only twenty minutes.
However that was just a chance to enjoy the view from the bridge. Our waters look positively fishy at times (see the marsh above) but I will admit to a slow start to the fishing season. I have managed to eat only one 17" trout that was caught from my boat by a new neighbor. The handful of trips that I have made into the river have yet to produce any fish worthy of bragging. Still as the old saying goes, "A bad day fishing still beats a good day in the office" so I will keep dipping the paddle into the water.
Fortunately when fishing does not produce any excitement, I can go for beach walks. On June 13, I did my most recent hike on the Point at Emerald Isle. I managed to reach the mailbox the town has installed at the northernmost end of the Point. The hike ended up being 3.1 miles. I try to map the hikes so that I can compare the changes in the sand at the Point over the years.
Even with strong visitor numbers early in the season, the beaches here in our end of the Crystal Coast remain relatively uncrowded. That is the one of the reasons that I enjoy living here so much. Still when there is wreck on the bridge even the most optimistic of us can get a little impatient but I always have a camera with me. If I am lucky enough to be caught in stopped traffic on the bridge, I just take pictures like the next one of the Captain Phillips headed out after some shrimp.
So far it is a great start to the summer and we can only hope that the great weather lasts for the rest of the summer. We have seen a number of changes here on the Crystal Coast since last fall. Some new restaurants have arrived on the scene and some old ones have disappeared. The best way to find out about the changes is to pick up a copy of our Emerald Isle Travel Guide. It is only $3.99 for the Kindle version and it works on practically everything including iPhone and iPads. Paperback versions are also available.
June is a particularly great time to visit the Crystal Coast. Our produce stands are overflowing with wonderful goodies from our area's fields. The blueberries have been here for a while and the tomato crop should be in soon. We have been enjoying local beans, onions, squash and potatoes for a while. I suspect the local corn will be ready in the next couple of weeks.
If you need some encouragement to visit, I put together an online photo album of wave pictures that I took at Third Street.
For more quick information about the area head for our free online guide to Emerald Isle. If you are really interested in the area, our five star-rated 142 page travel guide is invaluable. It is available for as little at $3.99 for the Kindle version. The black and white paperback is $7.95 and the full color version is $19.99. Both are Prime eligible from Amazon. We released the book updates for 2016 on May 27. If you are in the area and want to have a look at a paper copy, stop by the Emerald Isle tourist bureau or drop by the bookstore in Emerald Plantation to purchase a black and white copy. The color version is available at the Emerald Isle Town Office. For more information on our books click on this link.
Why we love it here?
While no place is perfect, the Crystal Coast presents us with many options besides beaches that make life here very appealing.
Living by the water is not for everyone, but we really enjoy everything from waves on the beach to the warmth of an evening on the beach or even the power of the ocean you feel standing in the surf.
The magic of the river or our other waters is never far away. Sometimes the big water calls and other times I get seduced by the river and the fog. There are few places where you can have such wonderful November days on the beach.
In the summer there are times when the heat will not seem to go away but there are ways to deal with the heat or humidity and even escape our paltry crowds.
We typically have plenty of summer weather, but we do have four seasons here including some cold weather every few years. That just makes the other three seasons besides winter seem even nicer.
My Crystal Coast, Salt Water on Your Feet site also has a number of articles for people considering a move to the Crystal Coast.
To make life even better here on the coast, I would recommend a visit to our wonderful church home at Cape Carteret Presbyterian Church. We love to have visitors especially during our monthly fellowship luncheons.
Our quiet spot sheltered by Bogue Banks, the Croatan National Forest, and the Cape Lookout National Seashore is a very friendly and scenic area with a great future. Right now it is the spot for us and sometimes I think I am living in a time and place that cannot survive the pressures of the modern world forever. I am just happy to be here now and able to share it with my children and grandchild.
This is a link to a simple map of the area. There are more detailed ones in our Emerald Isle Travel Guide.