YouTube Channel Launch: Visiting North Carolina’s Crystal Coast

We’ve lived in North Carolina for more than a decade and there’s so much in this state we haven’t seen yet. Recently, we decided to fix that by getting out to see all inpsiring, amazing, and quirky things in this great state.

Of course we want to document these trips to mark the times and places where we made these memories by making videos and posting them to YouTube.

So I’m very excited to announce that this long-dormant blog is back and it has expanded to YouTube and Instagram!

Our first trip took us to New Bern, NC, but there’s no video for that trip. We visited the Tryon Palace historic site, which is a full-scale replica of the royal governor’s residence in colonial North Carolina. It’s a lot like a small version of the Colonial Williamsburg, but they don’t really allow videography. We also tried to record our trip around the city on a historic trolley tour, but it wasn’t very interesting in person so it wouldn’t be much good on video either. Despite that, we will go back and make another video because there’s so much else to see and do in New Bern.

With a bit more planning and experience, we headed furhter east to visit some of the best spots on the Crystal Coast, a length of the North Carolina coast that is southwest of the famed Outer Banks, and northeast of the bustling Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington areas.

Our first stop took us to Morehead City for lunch at the Sanitary Fish Market and Restaurant. This is one of those “must do” places, and it didn’t disappoint. The walls are covered with photos of locals and famous people alike. There’s memorabilia and nautical flair everywhere. The menu was almost all seafood provided by local fishing boats, and the hushpuppies were some of the best we’ve ever had.

After picking up some salt water taffey and T-shirts, we headed over the bridge to Atlantic Beach. There was a steady 30-mile wind blowing onto the beach and the surf was rough, but the sand was very nice. We didn’t stick around too long, but we knew we will be back. We decided to travel lenght of Bogue Island from Atlantic Beach through Pine Knoll Shores and Emerald Isle to see what types of accommodations and attractions are nearby. We made a note to go back to visit the Civil War-era Fort Macon State Park.

After doubling-back on the mainland, we drove back up to historic Beaufort, NC (pronounced bow-fort unlike the South Carolina version which is called B’you-fort). The day was getting away from us, so we only had enough time to walk up and down Front Street, grab an ice cream at the General Store and find a geocache at the history museum. With lots of ferries and sound tours launching from Beaufort’s docks, there will be more for us to do when we return for sure.

One last note, an emergency bathroom stop on the way home brought us to a great little roadside restaurant near Wilson, NC that we will have to go back to again. It’s called Bill’s Grill, and it has some of the best fried okra I’ve ever tasted. The burgers weren’t bad either.

We already have three other video trips in the can that we will release weekly. Where do you think we should go? We like off-the-beaten-path as much as tourist traps. Let’s us know in the comments.

Thanks for reading and watching, and as we say in the videos, “Come along with us!”


The Beach and I Are Not Friends

The beach and I are not friends, but we tolerate each other. Let’s say we have and understanding.

20110619-021704.jpgWe just wrapped up a weekend in a very nice Wilmington hotel where we visited both Wrightsville and Kure beaches on North Carolina’s Cape Fear Coast. It was a mixed experience. We had lots of fun with the kids in the sand and surf, but it comes at a cost that is almost unbearable for me. I’m just not a fan of lugging half a living room and a galley kitchen to sit and bake on the sand.

This all goes back to when I was a kid and it was just me and my mom. We would venture to the beach for a day and I would be done by about lunchtime. About that time she would be turning her chair to get a better angle on the sun.

We would bring her trifold chaise lounge that weighed 15 pounds, a metal cooler that had a 1962 vintage. All I got was a towel and a plastic pail and shovel. Lunch consisted of soggy and sandy tuna sandwiches and soggy chips. Boo-hoo, right? Call the whaaaaaa-ambulance! Yeah, yeah.

Well, it sucked, and I’ve hated the beach most of my life because of it.

Not all of my beach experiences are bad ones. I have lots of good memories on the beach, even as an adult and a dad.

So now I have a challenge to figure out what it is I like about the beach. I’m beginning to realize that I like to put on sunscreen before I get there. While there I want something to do like build a sandcastle or go on a seashell hunt. And I want to bring as little with me as possible. That last part is crucial. I also want to find a beach that is a reasonable drive, has nearby parking, and isn’t too crowded.

Because all I really want is my kids to have good memories of their childhood’s on the beach so they will one day enjoy the beach with their own kids.