These wild horses grazing on the islands near Beaufort, North Carolina are a good sign that we are well along the path to our summer season.
Beaufort is one of our favorite places to visit, and we usually try to head over at least once during the spring to see how things have changed.
We made the trip over on Sunday, April 26, 2014. Beaufort like much of North Carolina’s Crystal Coast only changes a little each year.
That is just another thing to love about the area. A few businesses come and go, but the town like the rest of our coast remains much the same as we found it when we visited for our thirtieth anniversary in 2003.
We had a great lunch at one of our favorite spots, walked the docks, ate some ice cream, stopped by the Maritime Museum and watched a few wild horses grazing in the distance.
The biggest change in town aside from the oleanders on the causeway having a tough winter is the National Park Service has changed the world for the ferry services that used to take people to Cape Lookout.
They awarded the contract to provide ferry service from Beaufort to Cape Lookout to one vendor. Some vendors are focusing on other things and some like our favorite, Calico Jack’s, on Harkers Island have closed.
On our way back to the Cape Carteret area we stopped to take a peak at the Nina replica sailing ship docked in Morehead City near the Sanitary Restaurant.
With good weather becoming the norm instead of the exception, the beach has been calling my name.
I have managed a couple of trips over in the last thirty days with the longest hike being on March 27, when I took this set of pictures. Checking out the Point to see how much the sand has moved since my last trip is one of my favorite ways to connect with the beaches.
I also found time to head up to Third Street Beach for short walk just last week. Of course this time of year the beaches are uncrowded and the water is still too cold for swimming, but there seem to always be a few hardy souls out looking for shells or just enjoying the sounds of the waves.
This last week of April I have heard some reports of fish starting to show up in the surf. We have been eagerly awaiting their arrival. The creeks are full of bait, but edible sport fish have only just started biting a little.
Our inlet, Raymond’s Gut, has been very appealing with beautiful blue and reflected clouds.
With the waters warming quickly, there has been nothing to stop me from heeding the call of the river.
We are lucky to live where we do because it only takes ten minutes of paddling to get out into the White Oak River. If the river is too rough I can usually find shelter just outside the mouth of our inlet.
If it get really rough and that can happen quickly on a shallow river almost two miles wide, I head back into the Inlet. I love to fish the oyster rocks in the river, but I usually have more luck in May than April so I manage to be patient this time of year.
Part of the plenty to do and magic in the area during spring is planting of our gardens and being prepared to harvest the first strawberries.
Though we did not get the very first strawberries, we managed to pick 11.5 pounds of strawberries in under fifteen minutes on April 28. We have a fridge full of freezer jam and continue to try to eat up the rest of the great local berries.
We already have green tomatoes on some of our plants and expect to have lettuce in our dinner salads as April slides into May.
The race is on to get the first ripe tomato. I already have a cherry tomato turning and a couple of regular tomatoes that look like they could be ripe by the third week in May. Considering the cold spring, I am very pleased with the progress.
I wish the fish were coming along as quickly as the gardens.
I got my skiff serviced in early March, but that was more to avoid the crowds than anything. I did have any expectation of success with any fishing.
There is plenty of time to catch fish. A lot of days I sneak out in the kayak for an hour before lunch or dinner. Sometimes I bring home lunch or dinner. Fish sometimes go from the water to the frying pang in under thirty minutes and that is with ten minutes of paddling.
Another of advantage of living along the White Oak River is that the river never gets crowded. The zig and zag of the river’s channel keep most people in the easier to navigate waters just off the Intercoastal waterway.
I try to make at least one trip down the river each week until I start fishing the marshes near Swansboro. Then I am usually on the river three or four times a week. I am expecting that both boating and fishing will be going strong within the next week to ten days.
If my stories has tweaked your interest, please check out our new $3.99 Kindle book, “A Week At the Beach - The 2013 Emerald Isle Travel Guide.” If will not be long before we start getting those perfect beach days that are so common near Emerald Isle.
If you what an overview of the information that I provide about the Crystal Coast, visit my Life Along The Crystal Coast Page.
Many locals will tell you that there is no better way to see the area than through my eyes and their extensions, the lenses of my cameras. If you would like to see some of those pictures of the spectacular scenery in our area, check out our recently published $2.99 Kindle book, 100 Pictures, 1000 Words, A Crystal Coast Year. It is worth clicking on the link just to see the free sample of seven pictures. I picked the best 100 pictures from the over 40,000 that I took last year. Kindle reader software works on just about every platform including iPads and iPhones.
If you would like to subscribe to my monthly Crystal Coast newsletter, just scroll to the bottom of any 2014 post on my Crystal Coast Life blog and register.
Perhaps you have had enough of the beach. If planning a visit to the Canadian Maritimes in the heat of an American summer sounds good, then you need a little Maritime travel advice to get your wheels turning. You will find just what you need in our A Taste for the Wild book. We lived in the Maritimes for sixteen years and still have a fond spot in our hearts for the area.
Nova Scotia is a paradise of blue and green and as long as you are not planning a dip in the water or a trip by boat. I was never able to find a spot as calm as Bogue Sound can be. However, you will find little to complain about in a place where Americans, even those of us from the South, are most welcome.
I like to say the book is worth the $2.99 just for the story about our honeymoon on the barrens of Newfoundland where my wife was convinced that we were close to being lost forever.
Our only book not available in paper back is 100 Pictures, 1000 Words, A Crystal Coast Year. Because of the high quality color photography, it would be too expensive in a print version.
All of our other books are now available in print from Amazon and a new print version of our Emerald Isle Travel Guide will be out in early May 2014.
A Taste for the Wild, Canada's Maritimes
The Road to my Country
A Week At The Beach, The 2013 Emerald Isle Travel Guide
The Pomme Company
If you are interested in more information about me, check out the about me section of my main website.
It has links to many other places where my writing is posted. You can also visit this site to see what I have recently published, or if you are interested in the technology side of the world, visit this list of articles that I have written for ReadWrite Web or if you care to see my thoughts on the latest issue that compels me to start typing visit my View from the Mountain site where I have been writing since 2004.
More general information about the mainland where I live is available at this link to my Swansboro to Cape Carteret area page.
You will find some helpful area details that might make folks think you are a local, but for the real local experience and information head for our travel guide.
Why we love it here?
It is hard to say that any place is perfect. However, for those who think a walk on the beach is better than a trip to the mall, the Crystal Coast is hard to beat.
While living by the water is not for everyone, it has worked out well for us. If you are considering living on the water, you might want to read my post, Life By Coastal Waters.
For thoughts on where we have chosen to live, I would steer you to my articles, In the Wildness of our surroundings there is peace, Community, America the not so overfull, and Why I love living in Carteret County
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 we have found a wonderful church home at Cape Carteret Presbyterian Church.
Our quiet spot sheltered by Bogue Banks, Croatan National Forest, and the Cape Lookout National Seashore is a friendly area with a great future. Right now it is the spot for us.
This is a link to a simple map of the area. There are more detailed ones in our Emerald Isle Travel Guide.
You can find an introduction to the area and links to most of my other blogs at this link or visit this page for the basics.