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Thursday, February 26, 2009

At the Center of Family Memories

There are lots of reasons for wandering off from the home where you have lived for the last twenty or more years. The house can be too big. The city might have lost its charm. Perhaps the old neighborhood is too crowded, or your friends have all moved away. Maybe you just need a change. Perhaps you have an unfulfilled dream that still is calling you. Or it could be that you have consciously decided in this time of never ending entertainment on television that you want something different than a media room as a backdrop for your family memories. There is no one reason that gets a family thinking about a place on the coast, but one of the reasons that is often there is the desire to have a place where a typically widely dispersed modern family can get together and spend some quality time making real memories. The Crystal Coast is just that kind of place.
So what makes the Crystal Coast a great place for making memories? I think it is a long list beginning with the unique local events that draw people from far away to our county. Perhaps the first one of those special events that I attended was the Swansboro Oyster Roast. I doubt that I will ever forget my first Oyster Roast.

I had the privilege of standing next to an older gentleman who had driven several hours to be with his daughter and her new husband at their first roast. He had previously lived in Swansboro for many years, and I still benefit from his expert instruction and sage advice to "stop eating oysters when you feel like you can eat just one more."

Last year we had some friends from Roanoke, Virginia down for the Oyster Roast. They went away amazed at how the whole community from teenagers to the elderly get involved and enjoy the event.

We have a whole list events from the Mullet Festival to the annual Christmas Parade and Saint Patrick's Day Festival on Emerald Isle. Even the town birthday parties turn out to be special. Last year was Emerald Isle's 50th, this year is Cape Carteret's.

Beyond events, the magnificent natural area that is home to the Crystal Coast provides an environment that draws people out of their homes into activities they might never try in another area. Just think of how many people who ride a bike at the beach each year but never ride one at their own homes. Then there are the magical beach walks, jumping waves, or those visits to one of the unique local restaurants. Special memories are not very hard to create here on the coast.

While the beaches and restaurants are special, the local people are just as unique. People who have lived here for years take on a special attitude that helps others to enjoy and appreciate this area. While people might not appreciate their own environment, a boat ride with a local who loves the area waters can really open the eyes of people to the importance of our marshes and shallow waters as the ocean's nursery. People can come away from the Crystal Coast with a better appreciation of the web of life that is on display here on the shores of Bogue Sound.

Then there is the weather. While we have had a cooler than normal winter, there is little doubt that our climate here on the coast encourages people to get out on the beach or on the water. From late spring until late fall, the out of doors is a paradise here on the coast. When the water turns those beautiful shades of blue, it is hard to resist. In fact people do not even try, they find a way to get on the water. Families load up their skiffs and head off to their favorite piece of private sand.

Finally, I think even our topography helps make this an area that facilitates the making of memories. While it might not be apparent at first glance, consider where you would rather wade on the beaches, along Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy where the tides are 28 feet and the shores are rocky or here on the Crystal Coast with our shallow water and generally gentle tides. Getting off a skiff onto one of our beaches and anchoring the skiff is not a huge challenge. Even the miles of shallow water and marshes provide great kayaking in an environment which is relatively safe.

These are just some reasons to look at the Crystal Coast if you are looking to find a place that makes creating memories easy and fun. Most people who visit the Crystal Coast know from the memories that they carry home with them, that this is fertile ground for building reminders of the great times that families can have.

The chance of building those memories is one of the big reasons that we moved here. We already have some great ones. I still remember our first father's day boating trip in 2007. Two of our three kids made it down, and they still talk about the fun we all had.

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