Crystal Coast

An Abundance of Special Places

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There is a newly updated (March 2015) version of this post at this link.

No matter where I have lived, I have always had a special place or two where I could visit and find some peace and renewal.  Here on the Crystal Coast we are especially fortunate because there seems to a special place around every turn.

When we lived in Nova Scotia during the early seventies, there was a place high on the hill behind our two hundred year old farm house.  It was quite a hike, but the view of St. Croix Cove was worth it. 

Though we owned a lot of land there, this particular spot was not part of it at first.  I eventually traded some pasture land for this piece of wild land.  The view and the acres surrounding it meant a lot more to me than a few acres of pasture.  read more »


It is spring, and my tomatoes are in the ground

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If you are living in the South and not taking advantage of the great gardening weather, you are missing a big part of what makes life here so special.

Just a little gardening can make you feel like a native Southerner.

There are few things that I enjoy more than a tomato sandwich made with one of my own homegrown tomatoes. 

I grew up with my mother growing unbelievably tasty tomatoes around our house near Lewisville, North Carolina.  Mother was still growing tomatoes well into her eighties when she lived on Pine Street in Mount Airy, NC.

I have faced some really challenging tomato climates in my life.  The north shore of Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley barely had enough heat to produce tomatoes by September.  read more »


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Coastal Winter on the Down Slope

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While some areas of the country have to endure cold dreary days during winter, at least here on the Southern Outer Banks, we often have clear blue skies with our cool temperatures.  Sunshine makes a huge difference.

Even more important is that we can count on the sun really warming us as we near the end of February.  In general this has been a nice winter with few shots of really cold weather. Our daily temperatures don't have to rebound nearly as much to escape winter as they did last year.

With few exceptions, Alaska being one, winter has not been nearly the fierce beast in North American that it was last year when the media declared it the coldest winter in 100 years on the Carolina Coast.  It was a serious winter, and I am glad we did not get another one like it this year.
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Why is Beaufort, NC a great place to visit?

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I have updated and re-written this article as of April 27, 2014.  You will find it at Beaufort, NC, A Great Place To Visit.
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Budget Travel is running a contest about America's Coolest Small Towns in 2012.  If you live in eastern North Carolina and are on any social network, there has been plenty of encouragement for people to vote for Beaufort in the contest which ends January 31, 2012.

While most of us along North Carolina's Southern Outer Banks and particularly the Crystal Coast portion of it are well aware of why Beaufort is such a great place to visit, there are people who know little about the town and why we would like to see Beaufort win the contest.
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Summer Images Save A Rainy Day

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Saturday January 21, 2012 was a damp, gloomy day with fortunately not a lot of winter attached to it.

However, it was just rainy and windy enough to keep me from my afternoon exercise of walking around the marshes here in Bluewater Cove.

My walk isn't a very long one.  Unless I do a lot of doubling back and a few laps on the road which isn't visible in the old Google aerial photo, it is hard to even get in two miles of walking.

Still a few minutes out in the fresh air under what is usually a brilliant blue sky is a great antidote for the winter blues.

Keeping winter out of my head gets more difficult when I miss a few days of walking.  This Thursday I was busy catching up on some correspondence, and Friday we went to Morehead City and Beaufort.  The highlight of the trip was a barbecue lunch at Smithfield's and seeing some Mergansers in the Beaufort Harbor.
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Where the herons go to hide

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There is an updated version of this post at this link.

One of the amazing things about the Crystal Coast of North Carolina is that we have enough space and water to have some really big feathered friends living nearby.

Our home which borders Raymond's Gut is just off the White Oak River.  It is a very sheltered spot, and I often measure the nastiness of storms by the number of egrets or herons seeking shelter.  We had a great egret stake out some ground not far from our kitchen window during Hurricane Irene.

When it is really cold, the competition for the fishing grounds behind our home can become fierce with blue herons and great egrets vying for positions in the nooks and crannies of the marshes.
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Don't pinch, the weather might change

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You can few an updated November 2014 version of this post at this link.

I still have memories of the 2009 and 2011 fall seasons which were not exactly up to my standards of fall at the beach.  Admittedly I have some high expectations of beach weather, but the weather on the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina usually delivers.

Having some lingering warmth in the fall is to be expected along the Carolina coast near Bogue Sound, but it usually isn't this consistent.
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