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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friday at the Dock

There are a lot of pleasures that come with living here on North Carolina's Southern Outer Banks.

One of them happens to be the friendly people than inhabit our shores.  This past week was a really busy one for me.  I was juggling a number of things including home repair, yard maintenance, changes to the listing of our home in Virginia, modifying websites, showing property, monitoring repairs on a client's property, putting the finishing touches on the software for our new small business, and getting ready for a presentation on social networking at our local board of Realtors®.

On top of that I took delivery of my new I5 iMac and got it up and working at full speed while dealing with a problem with our boat.  Certainly having friends and neighbors to lean on made all of this much easier.  Having your boat not running is a crisis in a world where boats are part of life and the fall fishing season is just around the corner.  A fishing buddy took the problem of fixing the boat off my hands.

I was able to focus on the other items on my plate.  By yesterday afternoon around 4 PM everything was done except putting the center console back in place on the boat.  I did not do much other than hold it up at an angle while Brian, my fishing buddy, put the sealant under the edge of the console and around the screws.

Still it was nice to see it finished and reflect back on all the accomplishments from the previous week.  My presentation on Social Networking went very well.  I even recovered from the jammed copier at work which kept me from doing flyers exactly as I had wanted.

Standing in front of crowd with my MacBook hooked to a projector put me back into the world that I lived in for so long at Apple and later as a consultant for the National Lambda Rail.  Over the years, I have presented to some very high level folks whose names I will avoid dropping.  It is safe to say that I thrive in front of a group.  Doing presentations became second nature while at Apple.  I even had to fly out to Cupertino to do a few.

While I really enjoyed doing the Social Networking Presentation, it occurred to me as we were sitting on the dock yesterday "helping" with the final touches that would bring our skiff back to life, I would really love to stand up before a group and talk about our Southern Outer Banks or what is often called the Crystal Coast.

Like most of my presentations, I would start with some history, possibly discussing how the area developed with close ties to the land and sea.  I might even mention the 56th Annual Mullet Festival which was last weekend in Swansboro.  The festival tradition is alive and well here on the Crystal Coast.

Then I would likely talk about the present.  While like most areas, we would like to see a stronger economy, we did not boom as much as some areas south of here, so when things deflated we did not have as far to go.  We still have at most a handful of homes in financial trouble.  On top of that our area has seen many new businesses in the last three or four years.  Construction has started on a new Hampton Inn in Swansboro, and there was an announcement that Dunkin Donuts will build in Cedar Point.

At the same time Emerald Isle has extended its bike paths and improved the accessibility of their beaches. Both of the big regional beach accesses have handicapped accessible platforms for viewing the beach and ramps which make it easier for all of us older folks to enjoy the beaches.

The area has also seen a number of small locally owned restaurants open and thrive.  I really enjoy ChowdaHeads on Emerald Isle and Nicky's of Swansboro located between the White Oak River bridges.

When you add that to the Best Buy, TJ Maxx, Olive Garden, Buffalo Wild Wings, Starbucks, Harris Tweeter, and Panera Bread that have been built in Morehead City over the last few years, you get the picture of slow but steady growth.

In my real estate world I can feel some slight hint of recovery.  Three homes have sold in our small subdivision of Bluewater Cove.

While there are some resale homes available, there is only one brand new home left on the market in our subdivision. Steady growth looks really good when you compare it to some of the areas of the country which have not done so well.

Last weekend I hosted a client from California.  Her stories of the economic troubles of their California Valley made Carteret County sound pretty good.

A lot of what appeals to me about this area is the mix between the old and the new.  We can have a wonderful place like  Clyde Phillips Seafood at the same time construction is starting on a new concrete pier on Emerald Isle.  We can enjoy a wonderful small restaurant like the Fairway in Cape Carteret or the food and tradition at T&W's Oyster House while knowing that there is a brand new Olive Garden twenty minutes away.

I can shop in a modern Harris Teeter or Lowe's Grocery store and stop on my way home at Winberry's Produce Stand  for whatever local delights I might find including Bogue Sound Watermelons in October.

As is my custom in presentations, I would try to shed some light on the future.  I would probably start with a discussion about how I think the 158,000 acres of the Croatan National Forest and the 56 miles of the Cape Lookout National Seashore give us lots of hope for the future.

I might point to the 1778 Ringware home in Swansboro as a point of hope that the past and future can continue to co-exist here on the Crystal Coast.   The rebirth of Beaufort would likely get a bullet or two in my presentation.  The ongoing efforts to protect the wonderful White Oak River would also get a slide.

My talk would include some mention of the protections now in place to prevent out of control development like you see when you cross the border into South Carolina on your way to Myrtle Beach.  I suspect that I would mention the wonderful reputation and national awards that have come to the Carteret County Schools.

I would probably close with a recommendation that people visit the site which I maintain to showcase information and pictures about the area.  As my parting shot I would suggest that the only way to appreciate the area is to visit it.

I would then show this picture from last weekend and let it speak for itself.

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