Heart of Summer, July 20, 2009
There have been some perfect beach days in the last few weeks.

This week we have started out with some showers, and I suspect we will be chasing blue skies most of the week.

I cannot complain too much about the rain since we needed it, but now that we are at over three inches for the month of July, we could do with sporadic showers for a while instead of taking up a day.

With some of the country seemingly unable to find summer, we really do not have much to complain about here on the Southern Outer Banks.

We have already enjoyed enough blue skies, warm waters, and hot weather to declare this summer and even a pretty good one at that,

We have also seen very good crowds coming down for summer holidays..

This picture of Bogue Sound was snapped while we were caught on the bridge in a line of traffic of folks checking into our area rental homes.

The economy has kept a little of a damper on the visitors, but the consensus seems to be that we are having a good season.

Certainly one would think that from the looks of the parking lots at the local restaurants during the evening hours.

Earlier in the week we went to visit Crunch, the alligator snapping turtle, who is paying a visit to the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

We stopped for lunch on the way and found and unexpectedly large crowd at one of our favorite restaurants.

We have also had our fair share of walks on the beach.

Our most recent one was to visit the area just east of the Point on Emerald Isle.

The wave action and sand accretion has turned the area into a veritable playground for small children.

There is a broad shelf of sand followed by a quiet shallow pool of water just off the beach. It seems to be a very safe area for children to play under the watchful eyes of their parents.

We had a great time wading around ourselves. Certainly there were a lot of people having fun there. You can reach the area by parking at the small parking lot at Station Street on Coast Guard Road just before it runs into Inlet Drive.

Then walk over to Inlet Drive and choose one of the access points and make your way towards the Point. We usually take a left on Inlet and go to the eastern most access and then walk back towards the Point.

Do not believe any of the Google aerial photos. The area changes too quickly for Google. As I indicated in a post last winter, there is plenty of sand at the beach vehicle access at the sharp cure on Inlet Drive.

We also managed to visit Beaufort last weekend. It was a stellar day to be on the water as you can see from this picture snapped from the Beaufort boardwalk.

While the waters around Beaufort were crowded, the streets had just a nice number of people walking around.

We saw staff setting up for the 300th anniversary dinner. I would have enjoyed going, but at $100 per ticket it was a little more than my budget could stand.

Beaufort is a fun place to visit because it draws people from all over the country. The docks always have a number of very fancy boats which are fun to watch.

We also always enjoy looking at what is happening with the historic homes of Beaufort. Here are some pictures from our visit.

Fort Macon was another journey we made one day last week. Because it is right on Beaufort Inlet, it is a great place to watch the boats come and go.

This trip we got to watch a couple of tugs wrestle with a big ocean going barge. Eventually they got the barge moving like they wanted to and one of the barges went off to do something else.

I snapped this photo just before the first tug left. The towing tug was well out of the picture. It would have been neat to know where the tug and barge were headed.

After our Fort Macon visit we wandered back down the beach and stopped at Third Street beach to snap a few pictures.

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It is also the time of year for Bogue Sound watermelons. We have enjoyed a couple so far. One was seedless and the second one seeded. Both were delicious.

If you have waited this long, you will be rewarded with lower prices. The melons are now just $4.99 which is a significant drop from the early season price of $7.50 for a melon.

Along with the watermelons, we have enjoyed lots of fresh tomatoes, corn, potatoes, and beans. Our tomatoes after a strong early start are catching their second wind.

If you love great vegetables, now is the time to visit the produce stands. By the time you get to August, we are on the downward slope for vegetables here on the coast.

Even the tiny tomatoes that I planted in mid-June have started producing. It is hard to believe that you can put something in the ground in mid-June and eat something from it in late July.

I am hearing from my some of my friends in the Boston area, that their vegetables are very slow this year. Even our friends in central NC, Northern Va. and around Roanoke, Va are complaining about their gardens.

So far I have to rate this as an A+ growing season on the coast. We have even had timely rain. The rain has kept the grass growing without a lot of irrigation. Fortunately I find mowing the grass is just another way to enjoy the out of doors even if there are a few spiders in the grass.

The rain has made us even more of a green paradise than usual.

We have not neglected the boat. We regularly spend time
out in the White Oak River where we snapped this picture. It was just one of those quick trips that we sometimes do after dinner.

It is fun riding out to enjoy the sunset. Boating takes some work so you need to get all the pleasure you can out of it.

We also managed a day on Bogue Inlet. Actually all I do on Bogue Inlet is to catch the same 14.75 inch flounder over and over, but I still have fun and am expecting my flounder to grow some before the season is over.

I credit the consistency of my catches with my newly enlisted, old fishing reel which has turned out to be like a long lost friend.

I am happy to report the weather, water, and area have combined to make for some magical times already.

From the looks of all the people having fun on the water, I would say that summer has been a success.

There is still time to join the party.