If you picked the fall of 2011 as a time for an extended beach visit, I doubt that you could have found a better time.
While fall took a long time to arrive, by November 1, the signs of fall were clear.
The weather has been so nice that I have been trying to figure out how to bottle it for use in the winter. Of course every nice fall day makes the winter one day shorter.
It took until the morning of November 12 before we had a serious frost this fall, and even then my covered tomatoes survived. The freeze wasn’t even enough to bother our roses.
It has definitely been a fall that makes us feel lucky to be living here on the Crystal Coast. I have been torn between spending time on the beach and time out on the water.
With weather almost summer-like except without any humidity, I have enjoyed some great excursions to the beach. One afternoon it was 77 Fahrenheit.
There are days that I have started on the beach and finished on the water.
This fall has been a great time to go kayaking. I took the sunset picture to the right from my kayak near Hancock Point on the White Oak River.
Kayaking is one of my favorite fall activities. It just seems to fit the season. There are fewer people on the water, and it is not unusual to have the river to yourself.
Since the time has changed and the mornings have been cooler, taking my skiff for an early morning before breakfast ride down to Swansboro hasn’t been as appealing.
However, the air has been warming quickly in mornings, and there is nothing wrong with getting on the water by ten or eleven AM. I have managed to do that several times this month.
The week of November 7, I managed to split my time between kayak and skiff with the kayak winning the most hours because I have a special fishing spot that I can only reach by kayak.
With cooler temperatures around, it is also time to revisit some of our favorite hiking spots including the Croatan Trails where I took this marsh picture.
On our recent hike there, we got to see a deer fording a stream. It is rare that we come away from the Cedar Point Croatan trails without seeing something interesting.
It is one of our favorite places to walk in fall and winter. It is also a great place to go kayaking, but I never seem to make it there. There is too much kayaking water up much closer to our house.
If I were still into camping, the Croatan Trails Campground in Cedar Point would be my first choice for a fall camping spot.
While we have enjoyed some beautiful quiet times on the water and along the beach, we have seen our fair share of wind and swells on the river and large waves off the beaches this fall.
The combination of wind, waves, and fall light have created some beautiful scenes along the beaches. The fall winds and the after effects of Hurricane Irene have also resulted in some stretches of beaches being closed to vehicles because of erosion.
It has been interesting watching the rapid changes taking place in the area’s beaches. A month ago, a huge amount of sand disappeared from Emerald Isle’s Third Street Beach.
Last week the sand was back and Third Street Beach seemed to have more sand than it had all summer. Beaches are fundamentally unpredictable. It is one reason that we love them.
The final thing that has made this fall so special is the fishing. Last year the fall fishing season was not worth remembering. This year has been different. While I do consider fish optional to having a good time, it is nice to have fish in your backyard and to catch one now and then that qualifies as a meal like the trout that I caught on Saturday November 12. The trout made a delicious Sunday lunch.
If the lure of kayaking, empty beaches, and fishing is too much to take, you can find some quick links for planning a beach vacation at my Welcome to the Beach site.
If you have already made up your mind to come for a visit, you will find my updated Emerald Isle Travel Guide very useful. Though the activities are targeted to summer, most except swimming are still fun this time of year.
Why we love it here?
It is hard to say that any place is perfect. You have to accept a balance between what you like and what you don't like but can tolerate. All of that changes as you age. At one time I was close to homesteading in Newfoundland. That is a little too far off the beaten path for me in 2011.
For thoughts on where to live, I would steer you to my articles, Ten ways Carteret County met our needs, Why I love living in Carteret County, and to the Crystal Coast Electronic Village Homepage as answers to why we have chosen this area.
My Crystal Coast, Salt Water on Your Feet site also has a number of articles for people considering a move to the Crystal Coast.
You will also find links to lots of pictures and information at my new Crystal Coast Life introduction page.
If you could spend the day with me, you would understand how easy it is to enjoy our lives along the White Oak. Living in a small subdivision near Cape Carteret isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it is a great place to boat and relax. Bluewater Cove is truly what we were looking for in a place to live. It is close to services and even closer to the beach but not on the beach. We have a dock behind the house and are close to some great trails. I can ride my bike in the neighborhood and not face a lot of traffic.
I also use my kayak on the White Oak River and have learned to love exploring the river and surrounding waters with our skiff.
This area also has some great festivals like the Newport Pig Cookoff, the Emerald Isle Saint Patrick's Day, the Swansboro Mullet Festival and the Swansboro Oyster Roast. We continue to be impressed with the Emerald Isle Christmas Parade.
It is a friendly area with a great future. So right now it is the spot for us. I often write about the area in my other websites. If you are a very avid reader, you might find some similar content on multiple sites, but usually the content is fairly specific to the sites.
These are additional sites where you can find even more information.
Crystal Coast Life
Crystal Coast Life Blog
Crystal Coast Blog 09
Crystal Coast Blog 08
Some archived articles