It turned out that water views and access to water were key to our decisions.
Examining what we went through is a good way to see how we decided what we wanted.
First I have a long history with the area. I have a picture of me fishing on the point at Emerald Isle in 1969 so I guess the seeds were planted early.
The real turning point for us came in 2003 when we started our search for a place to give us a new perspective on life. I was winding down my second career which was approaching twenty years at Apple Computer.
We wanted a place where suits were almost never used, the traffic did not have a report, and where people still took the time to get to know each other.
Our search started in the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, but we could not find a place that did not make us feel isolated or have the potential for snow and ice so we quickly started looking at the coast.
We traveled from Chincoteague on Virginia's Eastern shore through Virginia beach down through our old haunts on the Northern Outer Banks to Nags Head, Hatteras, and even Ocracoke.
While I have a "Route 12" sticker on the back of my car, the thoughts of that narrow strand of asphalt being our only lifeline to civilization quickly pushed us farther south to Southport and Oak Island.
In the early nineties we had some magical vacations on Bald Head Island, but we knew that prices had skyrocketed there, and that it seemed to be a hurricane magnet. When we visited Southport in 2004, it just did not seem to have the active lifestyle that we wanted.
Later when I found out about the NC Super Seaport, I was glad that we had rejected Southport. I cannot imagine how the area is going to keep its character and become a huge seaport. We lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia with a long distance view of one of its container terminals so we have a pretty good idea what kind of traffic they generate.
In 2003, we had visited Beaufort, NC for our 30th anniversary. I had fallen in love with the place, and its history. Unfortunately we were not ready to buy a property then.
After living on a mountain top and spending much of my adult career in Northern Virginia, I found it refreshing to be able to walk to many restaurants and shops.
My wife had one requirement for living on the coast. She felt like if we were going to be here, that we had to be able to see water from our home.
The one thing that I wanted was a way to go fishing easily. We finally realized that we could not afford to do either of those things in Beaufort because it had become such a popular area with many people.
It was only then that we found water views and reasonably priced water access is why western Carteret County and the Swansboro area of Onslow County are so popular.
While we still absolutely love visiting Beaufort, I am still glad that we are where we are. We never found a water access community as nice as Bluewater Cove in the Beaufort area.
One of favorite activities is hiking either on the beach or on trails. It turned out that beach access is much better in western Carteret County. We can be on the beaches of Emerald Isle in about ten minutes by car. We also are close to a number of trails in and around Croatan National forest.
Having an affordable place where we can have a boat on a lift is part of our dream that has come true. That along with the ability to slip my kayak in the water whenever I want makes living here a great pleasure.
The area has everything else we need from grocery and hardware stores to medical care.
Still it was water access and views that sold us on the area.
When we can be in the Intracoastal in ten minutes and out Bogue Inlet in another ten, it is hard to complain.