I think we went to the coast more often than the mountains, but no one was keeping a score card. People worked hard and the summer vacation was a welcome period of relaxation especially back in the days before iPhones, Blackberries and Droids.
Probably ten years ago when I still worked for Apple Computer, I made one of my many trips to Cape Hatteras. The Lighthouse Motel where we stayed did not have phones in the rooms. There was no computer access, and my AT&T cellphone had zero reception on Hatteras Island. It was a great way to unwind and get away from the modern world.
Now that I live along North Carolina's Southern Outer Banks some of my friends still at Apple would argue that I have gone on permanent vacation in spite of my efforts to continue making some money. I will admit that some days end up being ones that you can only hope your vacation will have. Those Crystal Coast kind of days as I like to call them are pretty special, but I think they are more a function of where I live than how much I work.
When I lived in Roanoke and wanted to go kayaking, I had to put my kayak on the car and drive thirty minutes. Sometimes in the summertime, I arrived at my kayaking spot at the same time as an afternoon thunderstorm. If I wanted to go biking, I had to put my bike on the back of the car and go to some place where it was safe to bike. After some recent construction even the trails on the mountain behind our home became difficult to reach.
None of this was lost on us as we looked for a place to spend the next ten to fifteen years. We spent a lot of time looking because we wanted a spot where our home was in the middle of the fun. We found lots of things to do here around Emerald Isle, Cape Carteret, Cedar Point, and Swansboro.
Our spot in Western Carteret County in Bluewater Cove on the banks of the White Oak River is about ten minutes by water from the Intracoastal Waterway and ten minutes by car from the beaches of Emerald Isle. The move also put us in a place where I could slide my kayak into the water from my backyard. A bike ride starts with me climbing on my bike in my garage. On top of that we now have a skiff on a lift behind the house. It is a quick way to the watery paradise hiding along North Carolina's coast.
I can go fishing and still be at work by 9 AM. We can take a boat ride and watch the sun slide into the water. Of course being in a place this wonderful means that people love to come here on vacation.
Even that is not a problem, we do not have the accommodation density to get really crowded. Even today, just a few days after the week of the Fourth of July, it only took me seven minutes to drive the 1.5 miles of the main part of the town Emerald Isle. I was in and out of the grocery story in about twenty minutes which is pretty good considering the parking lot was packed. I have found that if you master the self-checkouts, you rarely have to wait, That tactic worked just fine today.
Some of the people coming for a vacation are still wound pretty tight even after half a week here. You can tell by how they drive in the parking lots, and the speed they go through a grocery store. Still I see plenty of people who have figured out how to relax and enjoy their time at the beach.
We don't mind our visitors, they help make it possible for us to live in such a wonderful place. I wish they all could have a few Crystal Coast days and perhaps enjoy some time out on the water.
We have found that time moves differently on the water. Often hours feel like minutes as you lose yourself in the beauty of your surroundings. We try never to have any hard deadlines when we are on the water. It somehow spoils the mood if you have to be somewhere at a certain time.
When you are on the water, it is better to let the water determine when it is time for you to go home. Most of the time, something other that your watch will get you on the way home. I would not have it any other way.
I am proud that my watch tan line disappeared years ago.
This is a link to pictures of one of our recent boating trip, and this link is to pictures of a nice beach walk. Maybe spending a few minutes with these slides will speed the decompression needed for a successful vacation.
As you can tell from the pictures, there is still room for visitors, and the almost indescribably beautiful waters are guaranteed to cure most of your problems at least while you stay with us.