Great Fall Weather, Unusual Times
I have written about so many great falls on the Crystal Coast that it is easy to lose track of all the great years and probably easier to remember the not so great years. We have had a couple of wet ones but the worst of course was 2018 which brought us Florence which damaged many properties over on the beach and even some on the mainland. The next fall, 2019, Dorian came a little close for comfort but Cateret County was spared. This year Iasias fortunately missed us. While there is still time for another storm to spin up, we can see November on the horizon and so far we have had a very good fall.
Everyone has a different way of rating fall seasons. I measure fall by the amount of rain and good weather that we have. When the weather is nice, I am able to take some great pictures. Given those parameters, the fall of 2020 has been good to us so far. We have had adequate moisture here on the mainland. Emerald Isle itself has been a little drier, but that is better than flooding. Fall has been very pleasant without the excess rain that we have gotten a few years. We have also been pleased with some very comfortable temperatures interspaced with lingering humidity. It has not gotten cold yet. We are still picking tomatoes.
We have enjoyed the fall (and the summer). It has been nice even with our efforts to quarantine ourselves by going out only when necessary for groceries, prescriptions, and appointments that cannot be put off. We still have not eaten inside a restaurant or gone back to church yet. Life goes on and seems normal until you scratch below the surface. Most of our scratching beneath the surface has been gardening. It is a great pastime during a pandemic. You get food, exercise, and a sense of accomplishment. Our efforts, with the help of all the compost I make, produced a great garden which we have gradually put to bed this fall. For the first time in years, we decided to not plant fall lettuce and other plants. We just did not have time since we put our home back on the market as we continue to hope to move closer to our grandchildren. It is not easy during a pandemic.
I expect the Town of Emerald Isle has been pleased because the beach house rental market has remained strong well into fall. Fishermen also seem to be having a good fall. The fish are biting enough that we have enjoyed a drum and trout even though I have not had time to fish. It helps to live among generous neighbors.
My random observations of bridge traffic and the Publix parking lot on the Island confirm that there are still plenty of beach visitors here even as October ends. In spite of the rising Covid19 numbers, people seem to feel the beach is safe. Carteret County's total case numbers since the pandemic began are now at 1,102 cases. We are averaging about fifteen cases per day. That compares to the 35 total cases that we had at the end of May before the beaches opened. Roughly two hundred eighty-six cases are in the Emerald Isle-Swansboro zip codes. Given the numbers, we still feel that our place on Raymond's Gut continues to be a safe and warn spot especially as we get closer to winter. It is rarely cold enough here in the winter to keep us inside.
While some people would consider the forests, corn and soybean fields near us an impediment to civilized life, that is not the case these days. I no longer even worry about Halloween trick or treaters complaining about how far back our house is from the street. Perhaps in the days of Covid19, that distance and all the land without houses are an advantage. I know that I am more comforted than ever by the woods and water behind our house. (picture by Justin Whitt Lighthouse Visuals).
As far as I can tell the only business to close up shop in the area is the Quiznos at the Carteret Crossing shopping area in Cape Carteret. Most other things seem to be running as normally as you can in these times. The grocery stores are well stocked, the garden stores are full of fall flowers, the restaurants appear to be thriving if I measure them on their parking lots, and even Neuse Sporting Goods has a good crowd whenever we drive by on our errands. While I once worried about the Crystal Coast's businesses when the pandemic first arrived, it appears that the pandemic has been good for beach visitor traffic.
I have not managed to get out to the beach when the light is as nice as it was in these 2019 photos of Third Street, but we have had plenty of beautiful days like that. The pandemic has kept me very busy doing my day job of helping to build fiber networks to improve Internet connectivity. Still I have gotten some great pictures even some that are not of our four marsh kittens that continue to entertain us during the pandemic. The kittens are a positive change that came about because of the pandemic. My album of kitten pictures is far more than anyone beside me would want to see. My gardening album is not nearly as large.
Hopefully we still have a lot of great fall weather ahead of us. November is typically my favorite month especially for fishing.The water is warm and the air is still cool. Even back as far as 2011, I was writing about great fall weather on the coast.
One of the best ways to appreciate the Crystal Coast is to look back on some of those great falls. I would like to offer up fall web pages with pictures that I did for fall 2014, fall 2015, fall 2016 and fall 2017. Most of these web pages feature pictures that expand when you click them. The fall of 2015 even turned out fine after a summer with over 43 inches of rain. If you have choose just one fall, try 2016, it was particularly spectacular.
So the message from the Crystal Coast is that even with the humidity that so many folks fear, we made it through another summer in good shape. Like every other place, we remain worried about the rising number of cases of the coronavirus. I continue to see high levels of people wearing masks in the few places I visit so I remain hopeful that the numbers will head downward. If you are stuck inside and need something to read, you can find more of my articles at this link or I would love for you to try one of my books.