Looking up and down the east coast, there many nice areas for retirement.
I have visited as far north as Newfoundland, lived in Nova Scotia, and considered living as far north as Assateague on Virginia's eastern shore.
When it comes to the south, I visited as far south as Charleston, and thought about living as far south as Oak Island in North Carolina.
To the west, we lived in Roanoke, VA on the side of Twelve O'Clock Knob mountain for twenty years.
That is a tremendous amount of territory with which to be familiar. Also for many years, the only place I would vacation happened to be North Carolina's Northern Outer Banks. I stayed in places ranging from Corolla to Ocracoke.
When we went to pick a place to live, western Carteret County won hands down.
So what exactly did I see in Southern Outer Banks that I could not find in any of the other places?
Actually it was not just a single thing that persuaded us to put down some roots along the Crystal Coast. A combination of things attracted us to Carteret County, and eventually reality in what we could afford caught up with us and brought us to the western side of the county.
First I found a rather unique mix of people living along that strand of sand that runs from Beaufort to Swansboro. There were a good number of outsiders and still some people living in the area who were natives. Surprisingly they seemed to get along well.
Second the area reminded me of the small town in North Carolina where I grew up in the fifties. There were still some areas where you could walk to things.
Third in spite of being an area of small towns, there seemed to be an increasing number of modern services. The modern services seemed to be coming to the area to take advantage of the summer visitors. That they stay open all winter provides a level of service that you could only dream about in many areas.
Years of living in Nova Scotia, taught me the "fun" of driving all morning to get a certain size bolt or what I have come to regard as a basic service.
The fourth reason the area appealed to me has to be water access. Here along the Crystal Coast you are not limited to ocean, sound, or river. You have them all, and even multiple examples of each. Also the water here is not what I would consider dangerous water. There is plenty of easy boating and kayaking available.
The fifth reason we liked the area is that the people living here seem to be active. From walking the trails of Croatan National Forest to the short trail in Emerald Woods, there juare an abundance of hikers. Not only do people hike but they turn out in droves for local festivals which really add a lot to the local color.
Sixth on our list was the education system. We have always found that a quality school system contributes a lot to making an area a better place to live. Carteret County schools have a reputation for quality. We often run into people who move here because of the school system.
The seventh thing to sway us was the reasonable cost of living. While home and car insurance have turned out to be more expensive, the huge savings in property taxes and lower utility costs from the temperate climate have been a reason to get excited. We find it 30-40% cheaper to live here than in Roanoke, VA.
Number eight on the list would the climate itself. We have practically no snow. The falls are long and mild. The winters are brief and hardly require a coat at least in the mind of an ex-Canadian. Spring is long and sometimes windy, but I still manage to get my first ripe tomatoes around the first of June. It is a great place to live if you love being out of doors, the Crystal Coast is a great spot to enjoy the outside worldk.
Reason number nine for living here is that we found the type of home we wanted in a desirable area with the features we needed, and it was a reasonable price. Carteret County has a tremendous variety of homes available in a multitude of settings. We wanted a new home on the water where we could have a lift and easily go boating. We also wanted some neighbors so we would not be isolated. We found the right home, in the right setting, in Bluewater Cove. Actually we found more than we were looking for since the area is also great for biking and walking. I also do not mind being across the cul de sac from the swimming pool and the action of the boat ramp.
Finally the tenth reason we put down roots on the shores of the White Oak River is that this feels like home. People are friendly. They look you in the eye. They talk to you, and they remember you. We love the area. While no area, this one included, is perfect for everyone, western Carteret County is one of the nicest spots I have ever found.
It is a great place to live and a wonderful place to host guests. From the history and charm of Beaufort to the wide sandy beaches of Emerald Isle, I have not found a house or place that I would rather live. When I slide my kayak into the waters behind our home, I am mindful that I have stumbled upon a personal paradise.
There is not much that I would add to the area that is not on its way. The list of area additions since we moved here is long but includes Best Buy, Panera Bread, TJ Maxx, and Bed, Bath, & Beyond. We are getting a new radiology clinic next year in Cedar Point. Apparently we will also have a Walmart. Of course I would rather have a Target, I suspect we will see one of those in Morehead City in the not too distant future.
Life is good on the Crystal Coat. Come visit.