We moved to the mountains of Southwest Virginia well over twenty years ago.
It turned out to be a great place to raise a family. Of course families grow up and move away. In 2003 & 2004 we started looking for a place to write the next chapter in our lives.
That place turned out to be the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina. The area is also often called the Crystal Coast. We have enjoyed living on coast as much as we did living in the mountains.
We still visit the Roanoke Valley at least once a month and often spend a few months there. You will find over five years of articles about life and life on the mountain at my View from the Mountain blog.
There are now articles about the coast interspersed with the writing, but it is still a great source of information about living in the Roanoke Valley.
Below you will find my May/June 2012 update for my Southern Outer Banks website. If you have a hard figuring out whether you want the mountains or the coast, take time to read this article, Beach or Mountains.
Last year our only rain in May was one quarter of an inch of rain on May 7, 2011. The heat also came early.
Then we didn’t get any more rain until June 20 when we got six tenths of an inch of precipitation. By late June last year, we had swamps burning.
This year significant precipitation has fallen on at least twelve days during this May. The total rainfall at my dock in May 2012 was close to six inches.
Unfortunately nearly three inches of that came with sub-tropical storm Beryl which produced a tornado in western Carteret County.
Amazingly no one was hurt, but there was significant damage in our area. The only silver lining was the rain which fell.
When you combine the rain with generally seasonable temperatures and a lack of really windy conditions, the growing season has been exceptional.
That was record for me, and I have been growing tomatoes for a long time.
The moderate overnight temperatures have kept conditions nearly perfect for our local produce. It is only recently that the local strawberries have disappeared and been replaced by blueberries.
We’re at June 5 as I write this, and I noticed when driving by Winberry’s that they are advertising fresh local corn.
The weather has also been great for walking on the beaches and enjoying the area’s waters. May 31 was a nearly perfect beach day.
With my youngest daughter and granddaughter helping, we built sandcastles by the water.
Eventually I found a soft spot on the beach in the bright sunlight. While my granddaughter played in the wet sand and waves with her mother, I enjoyed the magic of the moment.
The slope is so shallow on the beaches to the east of the Point that it is prefect for teaching a three old how to play in the waves.
The pleasantly cool ocean waters were all that we needed to stay comfortable. My youngest daughter stayed with us for eleven days at the last of May. It was a great visit.
The weather was a pleasing mixture of cool to warm mornings with temperatures mostly in the mid eighties by afternoon. You don’t get much better beach weather than that.
We also enjoyed fresh local shrimp and crab along with all the local vegetables and berries. It is hard to beat the combination of great weather and good local food.
Our inlet which leads from our subdivision to the White Oak River has been especially nice early in the morning and late in the evening.
With the inlet and river temperature in the upper seventies, it has been possible to enjoy the river whenever time permitted.
One of my favorite runs with our skiff is down the White Oak and across the Intracoastal Waterway to the marshes by Huggins Island.
I love going to that area. My luck fishing is generally as good there as it is anywhere, and most importantly I can be there in a little over ten minutes.
Also if you know where to look on the horizon, you can see the backside of the beaches at Hammocks Beach State Park on Bear Island.
The view of the marshes is worth the trip even if I don’t catch anything.
While the tornado associated with Beryl shocked us all, the damage was limited to a relatively small area instead of the widespread damage that we saw with Hurricane Irene.
The beautiful sunsets on the river have helped to remind us of Mother Nature’s gentler side. If you live as close to Mother Nature as we do, there are going to be some challenges along the way. So far we aren’t in a drought this year, and we are thankful for that.
We should be able to enjoy our relatively uncrowded beaches for another week or so before we get our summer visitors.
This first full week of June has ushered in some cooler weather. With cooler than normal temperatures, our heat pumps will have a rest. Time will tell if the cool weather is good for fishing. So far the last week in May looks to have been a better beach week than the first week of June.
Picking an early beach week is always something of a gamble. Still a week at the beach is always better than a week at the office.
If tales of kayaking, roomy beaches, and fishing at your doorstep are too much for your city-bound soul 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. The activities are targeted to summer at its peak, but even swimming is fun this time of year on a warm day. You might enjoy my post 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 where I live 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 2012.
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.
Reading those articles lets you spend a virtual day with me. You can feel for how easy it is to enjoy life along the White Oak. Living in a small subdivision near Cape Carteret isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but we have found it to be a great place for boating, relaxing, and learning to appreciate the world around us.
Our area is close to services and even closer to the beach but not on the beach. We have a dock behind the house, and there are some great trails nearby. I can ride my bike in the neighborhood and not face a lot of traffic. We’ve even found a great church home at Cape Carteret Presbyterian Church.
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