It is hard to say anything but “What winter?” when someone asks about our winter this year.
There has been no ice in the gut behind the house this year and no snow on the ground.
While a lot of places have had a nice winter, this has been a really great one here on the Crystal Coast. I have hardly worn a coat while retrieving the newspaper.
Even in a bad year winter never stays very long with us. This year has been even better. It never came.
With days warm enough for relaxing beach walks this January, it has been easy to appreciate the essence of coastal living, wind, water and sand.
On January 29, I calculated that our area has only endured 32 hours during the month when the temperature was below freezing.
I managed to have some magic January beach days including a great walk around the Point which is typically a pretty cool spot in January.
Other than my hands getting cold on one walk at Third Street Beach around the middle of January, cold has not really been a part of our equation.
We have hardly had enough cold, windy weather to even drive the herons into their hiding places.
Usually I skip kayaking for all of January and sometimes all of February. That has not been the case this year.
Not only have I been out in my kayak, but it has been pleasant for the time of year. It was mid-January when I took the sparkling water picture.
One afternoon I went out wearing just a long sleeved tee-shirt, and I was very comfortable even out on the river which is usually windy this time of year.
I have also had my boat down to Swansboro a couple of time this winter, and I didn’t have to dress like an Eskimo like I did last winter.
A ride down the river when the water is hovering around 50 degrees is still a cool proposition, but considering it is still winter, I cannot complain.
It has actually been a very quiet winter back along Raymond’s Gut.
Our fall lettuce has continued to produce, and now some of the lettuce that I planted in January is up and growing.
I did some weeding in our yard the last few days of February. and I am pleased to report that I got to wear shorts and a tee-shirt while working. I even worked up a sweat in the warm February sun.
The only danger this time of year is that with the weather so warm, it is hard to resist the call of the water. As we go through the time of year when we face low waters and windy conditions, my mind knows I should stay at the dock, but it is hard when the air temperature is in the mid to upper seventies.
With March on us, we are fast approaching the kick-off events for the season, The Swansboro Oyster Roast and the Emerald Isle Saint Patrick’s Day Festival. Once those events are here, no one would even argue with my assertion that the coastal winter is on the down slope.
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. You might enjoy my post which talks about why Beaufort, NC is a great place to visit.
There are lots more links to pictures and regular events on the coast at my Crystal Coast Links page.
More general information about the mainland is available at this link to a post about the area from Swansboro to Cape Carteret.
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