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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Life Is Simpler at the Beach

One of the most appealing things about living along the Crystal Coast is that life is simpler here. While it would be impossible to remove all the modern annoyances that can make life so challenging in this century, where you live does make a huge difference. We just had visits from our two daughters. One lives near Charlotte, NC, and the other lives near Washington, DC. The younger of two delayed her departure from the area as much as possible. She told us that she wished that home was just a street or two away. We were talking about it after she left, and we decided there was more to her wanting to live here than just being close to family. Life in a small town beach area strips away some of the modern day distractions. I like to think it is intricately related to four things which are very important to life here on the Southern Outer Banks.
The people living along the Crystal Coast set the tone for the area. It is an open question as to whether the inhabitants are a product of the environment or the area just attracts friendly people. It is probably a combination of both, but I know we have found people here in Carteret County to be incredibly friendly and helpful.

It makes a huge difference if you are dealing with people who are basically easy going and happy to see you. If you have ever been in an environment where people are always too busy to see you, you will immediately notice the difference.

Along with the citizens of the area, three other elements play key roles in our lives here on the coast. The first is the water which is often the reason most people have come to live in Carteret County. In a place where there is more water than land, it is fairly obvious that water has a huge role to play in our lives.

From providing income to some commercial fishermen and recreation to countless sport fishermen and boaters, water has a huge impact on our life here on the Crystal Coast. We often end up structuring our lives around good days on the water.

With no large population centers, our clear, clean waters make a wonderful playground which most of us are devoted to enjoying. Recreation is never far away, and for the most part if someone needs to take time for a great day on the water, people in the area understand. After all, the chance to enjoy the water is one of the reasons we all came to the Crystal Coast.

When you have days like last week when the water takes on a deep emerald color, and you could pilot a bathtub down the coast. it is really hard to be mad at anyone.

After our clean waters, sunshine is also critical to our simpler life. Having lived in Nova Scotia where fog can linger for weeks, I know all too well how much fog and clouds can mess up your outlook on life. Eventually things just grind to halt. With the extra dose of sunshine that the Crystal Coast gets in the winter, we usually have little trouble maintaining a positive outlook on life. Just the fact that it is usually warm enough to spend time outside in the winter is a big boost. Of course there are winters like last year's that challenge even us on the coast.

Along with sunshine, blue skies also play a role in the more relaxed environment of the Crystal Coast. When you wake up to one of those beautiful Carolina blue skies, the day just seems to go better.

My oldest daughter would argue that we have other things which distinguish us from the more harried metropolitan areas. She lives in Northern Virginia, and I had to laugh when she wanted to go to our Ace Hardware over on Emerald Isle. She wanted to buy four screws and about three square feet of screen. She told me that she would never attempt something like that in the ultra-busy Home Depot in Reston, Virginia. At our Ace, she had a couple of people taking care of her needs.

She also maintains that even our parking places are at least twenty five percent bigger than they are in Northern Virginia. My comment was that we have some even bigger ones designed for boats.

Finally I think she was completely won over by the unhurried breakfast that we had at Ballyhoo's on the Island. Breakfast in most cities is a speed contest to see who can do it the quickest with the least impact on their day. Thursday she was surprised to find her favorite Yana's pancakes on the plate at Ballyhoo's. She said it was a real treat to enjoy a relaxing, unhurried breakfast that took away the need for lunch.

As Bluewater's billboards have often said, "Life is different here." Much of the complexity of modern life stays out of Carteret County as we focus on friends, emerald waters, enjoying the sunshine, and blue skies.

If you are burning the candle at both ends, we can make it easier to give that up. One of the first things to disappear after we moved here was the tan line for my watch. I quit wearing the watch because it seemed that time flowed a little differently. My life seemed to remain orderly without any need of a watch.

As I am fond of saying, Carteret County is a special place, but it is also a secret to share.with those whose lives have become too harried. Even in the heat, there is nothing better than summer in the South along the coast.

(Note- I am slowly migrating over my 2010 posts to Blogger- you can read them now at another Crystal Coast Life site which is hosted on one of my domains)

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