Blogging from the Carolina Coast

BEAUFORT, N.C.–Eastern North Carolina doesn’t get the respect or recognition it deserves. There are a dozen or more delightful little communities dotting the coast of the Pamlico and Albemarle sounds. Beaufort has a beautiful historic district laid out in a classic grid-street layout, with charming clapboard houses dating back to the ante-bellum era. It doesn’t have the spectacular mansions seen in the Battery in Charleston (which I’ve seen) or even Savannah (which I’ve seen only in “The Garden of Midnight and Evil”) but it’s relaxed, informal and not excessively impressed with itself. Sailing yachts and power boats pull up to the dock along the boardwalk giving the land-lubbers like myself something to drool over, fantasizing at the idea of living on a boat, off the grid, foot-loose and fancy free.

Tomorrow, we drive an hour and hop on the ferry to Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks. Ocracoke is so remote — so far from population centers and accessible only by ferry — that it remains largely unspoiled. But the village is absolutely charming, not overrun with chain restaurants, t-shirt shops, putt-putt golf courses and all the other hyper-commercialized dreck that has ruined Nag’s Head and Virginia Beach. The beaches on Ocracoke Island are the most beautiful on the East Coast and among the most beautiful in the world: broad, white sands, brushed by the waters of the Gulf Stream, unspoiled by development of any kind. You don’t need a car for anything — except to get there and to reach the beach. Otherwise you walk or ride bicycles. It’s one of my favorite places on earth.

If there’s Wi-Fi access on Ocracoke, I’ll report back in. If not, well… I’ll be soaking up rays on the beach, kayaking through the wetlands or dining on bourbon pecan chicken at the Back Porch restaurant. Adieu!

(Photo credit: Eddie Myers Real Estate.)

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One response to “Blogging from the Carolina Coast”

  1. Ray Hyde Avatar

    You are right, Jim. I spent four years living on a boat and (mostly) off the grid. Beufort is just one of many fine small towns along the coast. Check out Oriental, Belhaven, and Edenton, not to mention Elizabeth city.

    My ships cat went galley west in Edenton, but she was returned by a kind townsperson who said ” She had to be from the marina, because I knew she wasn’t a local cat.”

    That has been my definition of a smll town ever since. For the Virginia version, try Bivalve.

    As for something to drool over, happiness is where you make it. Most of the time I floated around down there I had two shirts, and if the crab trap didn’t produce, I might not eat. It was the happiest time of my life.

    But aren’t the beaches in Okracoke National Seashore? Aren’t they the perfect example of what I have said here so many times?

    If you want to preserve something, raise the money and buy it.

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