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Monday, December 28, 2009

The Holidays Are a Little Different

I spend a lot of time writing about how special the Crystal Coast is. From the early North Carolina spring to the lingering warmth of the late fall, there is no doubt that the Crystal Coast is a great place to spend time with your family and to make some great memories. My wife and I moved to the area just so our extended family would have lots of great reasons to visit us. It has worked out really well for us. We have had some amazing visits which will live on as special memories. All I have to do is close my eyes and think about Bogue Inlet in late June. In my mind's eye, I can get the water just the right shade. I can feel the heat and smell the ocean. We had a couple of wonderful days out in the Inlet in June that I will never forget. It is a pleasure to be able to flip your mind back to one of those memorable days when your current temperature is well below freezing. However, even I will admit that when it comes to the end of year holidays, who is with you is more important than where you are.
Over the last few years we have flipped around and tried holidays both at the beach and in the mountains. It turns out that as long as we can get all family members together, we end up being happy no matter which place we choose.

Of course even in the winter time, being at the beach can be a significant advantage. That would especially be the case this year. We actually hurried home this Christmas to our place on a mountain above Roanoke, Virginia. We managed to arrive about an hour before the snow began on Friday, December 18. It snowed for about twenty-four hours. When it was done we had twenty inches of snow.

Having spent many years in Canada, I am no stranger to moving snow. However, twenty inches of snow is a lot of snow even in Canada. It took me a while to make any progress on our driveway. Had I been on the coast, I could have gone for a nice hike after the rains and still gotten my exercise without nearly as many aching muscles.

Being snowed in for a few days is a nice change once in a while, but we worried a lot about our family making it safely to our house. It was over forty-eight hours after the snow stopped before we were plowed out. Our road was passable only after a chain equipped road grader made it up the hill where a standard truck snow plow had failed. We had wisely stocked up on food and emergency supplies before we got to the house so we were fine especially once our family members made it safely up our hill in Roanoke.

However, the plows ended up putting so much grit on our road that we have worried about our granddaughter who is only sixteen months old walking on it. Likely with the storm we would have been holed up with rain beating on the walls at the beach. However, you do not have to shovel rain, and rain is a whole lot warmer than snow. Also once the rain stops, you can go for a nice walk usually.

As I listen to the cold winds howling outside our mountain home tonight, part of me wishes we had managed to have our holiday on the coast this year. While we had great fun in spite of the weather, I could have used a little less weather. There have been some moments that I wished for some fifty and sixty degree temperatures where a nice hike could have given us some exercise and some family space.

As we wind down towards the new year, there is not really any doubt in my mind where I would rather spend most of my time. The Crystal Coast long ago won my heart. I am a realist though, and I will sacrifice location in order to be with family sometimes.

I am looking forward to the new year. We only have to get through January and February before the warm Carolina sun starts making its presence known. I can hardly wait, but for the moment I am going to transport myself to Bogue Inlet on a warm June afternoon.

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