With Thanksgiving fast approaching, thoughts here on the Southern Outer Banks are quickly turning to the holidays. I used to work for a Carteret County firm that had a slogan for our area, "Life is different here."
There is some truth in that. While many places seem to gear up for the holidays. Coastal North Carolina seems to gear down. Locals who have been hosts to beach visitors all year seem to take pleasure in getting some return for their hospitality. It is not unusual for a significant number of coastal dwellers to take the roads and head inland.
It is a good time to go. Most of the east is still without snow at Thanksgiving. That will not be same at Christmas. Still it is actually a great time to come visit the coast. Our grown children will be visiting us for Thanksgiving. They love the cooler temperatures and the absence of crowds which they get plenty of in Northern Virginia.
Our beaches are almost empty except for some fishermen. The blues and golds that dominate our area make sunsets and actually most of the day a treat as long as the sun is shining. While early November of 2012 has been a little weather challenged, so far Thanksgiving week looks like it is going to be great.
The peace that comes to the area waters takes some of the pressure off of the holidays. (Unless my wife reads that statement, and then I might be pressured to get in the skiff and go for a long ride.)
I find it easier to relax and enjoy our company here on the coast. There is not enough serious shopping to make it even worth considering a Black Friday trip. You would have to drive to Wilmington, and no one wants to go over the edge of the earth to do that. Actually if you went shopping on Black Friday down here, it likely would not be nearly as crowded as it is in most places. Our big event is the Emerald Isle Christmas Parade. It is definitely a trip back to a better time.
Bogue Sound along with the ebb and flow of its tides is a big part of life here at the coast. That doesn't change with the holidays. As I crossed the bridge over to Emerald Isle this morning, I saw someone in the water working at getting a mess of oysters. I also saw a shrimp boat headed down the Intracoastal Waterway. I should stop by Clyde Phillips Seafood between the bridges and get a pound or so for the weekend. The shrimp this time of year are especially nice.
The fishing has been good and there are not many empty places among the favorite trout spots. Along the waters that are parallel to the local roads, you don't have to look hard to find someone wetting a line. I saw a lot of rods out today in anticipation of less than desirable weather for fishing later in the weekend.
If the weather holds tomorrow morning, I'll likely slide my kayak in the water and paddle out to one of my trout holes. If the winds are not cooperative, I might stay in our inlet and try for one of the puppy drum that have been around most of the fall. It is a good time to be out on the water. We rarely have crowds up on the White Oak River. This time of year except for the warmest days which might bring out a boat or two, things are getting to look a little deserted.
That lack of crowds is fine with me. It gives me time to count my blessings and truly be thankful for the amazing area where I am privileged to live. There is a lot to be said for living with the 158,000 acres of Croatan National Forest at your back and the 56 miles of Cape Lookout National Seashore's beaches on your flank.
The other flank is covered by the Marines who can be a little noisy at times but even they finally seem to winding down for the holidays. Of course the Atlantic Ocean to the south of us cannot be ignored, but so far she has treated us well this year. We are very thankful for that.
Each time I take the bridge across Bogue Sound, I know in my heart that there are few places in the world that can rival the scenic beauty of this area. To be able to enjoy a peaceful holiday here without getting on the roads is real treat.