This post was originally written October 10, 2011 and was updated in March 2015.
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. The Crystal Coast is an especially blessed area of south facing beaches that starts just east of Atlantic Beach and runs west along Bogue Banks to the Point at Emerald Isle. Along those beaches and just inland along the rivers and marshes from Beaufort to Swansboro 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 I bought 140 acres when I first moved there in 1973, this particular spot was not part of it. 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.
When we moved to New Brunswick and started farming with a large cattle herd at Tay Ridge Farms, there was a high ridge beyond our back field. In the seventies and early eighties, it also required a long hike. There was no road like there is today. What you could see was miles of unbroken wilderness.
It was a place that you could literally lose yourself to the embrace of wilderness. In fact two friends, Harvey and Charlie, both in their seventies were once helping me look for a stray bull from our herd. Both had been born in Tay Creek and wandered the woods there all their lives. Harvey had spent his whole life working the farm which we had purchased in 1973. That cloudy day, far up the ridge, the three of us were lost for a few minutes.
It was an interesting experience standing in the middle of miles of wilderness and not knowing exactly which way was home. There was no real danger, just some time to imagine what if. Even with a bad guess, we would have run into a road in twenty or thirty miles, but fortunately we finally got our bearings.
Even after that episode, the ridge remained a special spot for me, and I have never stopped wandering the woods. I have had other special places like the magnificent trail that I maintained on the mountain behind our home in Roanoke, Virginia. Our great Labrador retriever, Chester, and I created a lot of wonderful memories on that mountain.
Though scenic beauty is not an absolute necessity for a special place where you can lose yourself in the moment, it certainly doesn’t hurt. We’re are blessed on the Southern Outer Banks to have land and waters that can stretch your imagination and pull you into the moment.
Perhaps for that reason, I don’t seem to be limited to one spot that inspires me here in Carteret County. I have a number of them, and some that are very easy to reach.
In fact just driving across the bridge from Cape Carteret to Emerald is a good place to get a quick shot of inspiration. The view of Bogue Sound from the Cameron-Langston Bridge is often enough to get me through a tough day.
If I want to go hiking, I can be inspired by the marsh at Croatan Trails in Cedar Point, or if I am lucky enough to have time for a walk on the beach, I can hike around the ever changing sands at the Point at Emerald Isle. The sands at the Point never stop moving (2011 and 2012 hikes, 2013 hike, January 2015 visualization), and not surprisingly the scenery there, like the snapshot with the post, is always inspiring.
Wading in the water at the Point can cause me to lose all track of time. At the Point time doesn’t really seem to matter. All that is important is the water, the sand, the winds, and the sky.
Closer to home, I can easily lose myself after a ten-minute paddle to the middle of the White Oak River. The scenery there can be beyond breath-taking. The White Oak River has more than one special spot as you can see from this photo album from the fall of 2011.
Further a field, but still on the water, I love the marshes near Swansboro. One of spots is in the channel there, looking across the marshes towards Bear Island.
The waters behind Bear Island are home to one of the places that inspires me the most. The view from there across the marshes to Swansboro will take your breath away.
There are other really neat spots that work for others and not just me. I really enjoyed watching my youngest daughter fall in love with Bogue Inlet and the shallow water beaches there.
Sometimes I get all the inspiration that I need standing on the dock behind our home and listening to the taunts of one of the neighborhood Kingfishers. The view there is a familiar one to me, but it is also ever changing.
You might just find a special spot of your own from the links on my page of Crystal Coast attractions.
Read more at Life Along The Crystal Coast.