Waters that give the Crystal Coast its name

Waters that give the Crystal Coast its name

We are at the middle of August and here on the North Carolina coast we are expecting a stellar beach week. Certainly the number of visitors already here will increase just with the pressure of this being the last week before school starts in many areas. If the weather looks to be as good as it has been this second week of August, then we are going to have a lot of folks contemplating one of modern days questions that is actually a nice problem to have.

That challenging decision for some families is whether to go to the beach or enjoy some time at the pool.  I say this with the full knowledge that there are many dedicated beach goers who come only for the beach and could care less about a pool.  However, there are plenty of pools here on the coast and a good number of folks will have to face this decision.

We are blessed to have this choice between jumping waves on the beach and relaxing in the pool. However, deciding between the two can divide some families right down the middle.

There are good people who are not fond of having sand cover much of their body. There are others who find the idea of swimming in a small self-contained pool crazy when there are miles and miles of ocean and plenty of waves to jump.

As someone who enjoys both, I am going provide my perspective as a coastal resident and a longtime lover of both beaches and pools.  Maybe I can help reduce some of the tension which has no place in a vacation.

First off let me say that I often enjoy both pool and ocean in the same day. Sometimes I manage to go to the pool, visit the beach, and come back for a night swim in the pool.  I am fortunate to not have to deal with teenagers when it comes to getting to the swimming pool but I have watched them at our neighborhood parties when they are torn between being cool teenagers and just giving it up for some real pleasure in the pool.

We live in a small subdivision ten to fifteen minutes from the beaches of Emerald Isle. I can see our neighborhood pool from my office. It takes me less than five minutes to walk over to the pool from our home.  I wish I had more time to take advantage of it but some of us still have day jobs.

I am one of those people who does not enjoy a crowded pool. We are lucky that our pool except perhaps on a hot weekend afternoon is rarely crowded. I tend to enjoy the pool mostly in the mornings and often I have it to myself.

Often in August our pool water is so warm that I rarely visit until the nights get a little cooler. This year July and August have not been as hot so the pool is a perfect place to cool off.  One of my pool observations is that many people who are not fond of pools are really just not happy with crowds of people being at a pool. If you give them a chance at an empty pool, you can often covert them to a person who loves a pool at least at the right time of day.  Having a pool to yourself is truly an advantage if you are renting a home with a pool even if the pool is small.

When it comes to beaches, I happened to have married a lady who is not particularly fond of getting sandy. I am one of those people whose fun at the beach can be measured by the how big a pile of sand that washes off my body in the driveway when we come home.  That also means I rarely feel the need to use a beach where you can get hosed off when you are done.

We solve our dilemma of two different beach personalities by going to beaches where we mostly walk along the edge of the surf. We often do it late in the afternoon when the crowds and heat are gone. Typically we go on a falling tide so that my wife will not be surprised by a wave that might get her wet. I usually carry a towel in our car so she can brush the dry sand off her legs.

We are old and independent enough that my going alone for a morning swim does not bother my wife any more than me taking a couple of hours to hike the Point at Emerald Isle does.  My wife is also not fond of being in water that is over her head or of even being in a bathing suit.  However, when our six-year old granddaughter visits, she can be attracted to the pool.

We are lucky that our pool has a shaded porch with rocking chairs.  It is the place that my wife retreats when she has had enough sun and dangling her feet in the shallow end of the pool. If you do not enjoy sitting on a porch rocking chair in the breeze by a swimming pool on the North Carolina coast, there might not be any hope for teaching you relaxation.

My wife and I have also had a couple of enjoyable beach trips that involved us hitching a ride on a beach taxi and being delivered to a remote area and then being picked up later. It is great way to see an area which might require some serious hiking to see. I wish we had a vehicle taxi system like that at the Point on Emerald so my wife could visit the area.

Getting our six-year old granddaughter away from the neighborhood swimming pool for a trip to the beach is sometimes a challenge.   We know she will have a great time when she gets there as you can see from the first picture on this post.  Her mother has been known to dangle the offer an ice cream cone on the return trip home.  That always seems to work.

I will not pretend to have a solution for getting today’s teenagers to the beach, it was hard enough twenty years ago when mine were that age.  They will eventually come back to the beach and remember how much they loved it.

While they might not enjoy roasting in the sun on a towel perhaps the challenge of hiking the Point might click with them.  There is plenty to do here in addition to having a pool or beach day.  Unfortunately many of the young folks take their electronic world with them so it does not matter where they are. They should be wave catchers instead of being plugged into their iPods.

However both kayaking and boating which are high on my agenda especially since we can do both twelve months out of the year can attract the attention of the young.  Paddling on a board is also a good activity that is popular with younger folks.  I will admit that kayaking and boating are often just excuses to go fishing for me but that has been a life-long addiction.

Our area is a place where it is pretty easy to do it all even if you just visit.  If you enjoy outdoor activities like I do, the Southern Outer Banks are also a great place to live.  It might have been wet in the middle of the summer but we are having perfect beach weather now as you can see by these photos from a couple of recent evenings on the beach.

Beyond beaches and pools, try to arrange a boat ride when you visit.  I doubt a visit to our area is complete without one.  You can always just get a ride on the ferry to Hammocks Beach.  You can make memories there that will last a lifetime as you can tell from these pictures.

With a boat on a lift behind our house, I am lucky in that I can sneak out before breakfast for a boat ride to the marshes. Coming back and taking a quick dip in the pool is not out of the question. I have done both and finished before 9AM. Some days I can add a hike around the marshes at lunch and maybe a little later even a kayak ride out to the oyster rocks. Next on the agenda would be a ride over to the beaches and perhaps an early evening visit to the pool.  You are guaranteed to sleep well after a day like that.

You are also guaranteed to have fun here on the Crystal Coast if you take the time to enjoy both time on the beach and by the pool.

Our most recent Crystal Coast newsletter went out a few weeks ago and can be read at this link, Stunning Weather.  Summer Is Here was the previous edition of the newsletter.  You can also read what has been happening in the last few months on our Southern Outer Banks site or visit my my homepage for more links.

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