There's been rain but there has also been wonderful weather
This is the fourth Crystal Coast newsletter of 2014 and I am excited to get it out before the end of July. It is hard to believe that the Fourth of July has come and gone. The holiday had some extra excitement since we got a visit from Hurricane Arthur just days before the Fourth. Fortunately Arthur was very kind to us and the only thing we lost was the Swansboro fireworks which were canceled.
We did end up with a traffic backup on Highway 58 that extended for nearly six miles north to T&W's Oyster House. Apparently everyone just delayed their travel plans for one day because of Arthur and all of our visitors showed up at the same time. Beyond that one traffic jam, the holiday weekend was a great success with blue skies and warm temperatures.
All the precipitation since the middle of June has been something of a challenge. We have received around 17 inches of rain in those six weeks and that includes almost five inches that we got the week of July 21. So far the rain has come down in quick heavy downpours so it has still been possible to enjoy the beaches. Last week was a challenging week, and the first weekend in August looks like it is going to bring us two to four more inches of rain.
Beyond rain, the big news in the area has been the battle in Swansboro over Walmart's attempt to open a store there. First Swansboro passed a moratorium on big box stores and then enacted an ordinance banning them. I chimed in with my opinion, Not Every Local Business Deserves To Be Saved but I had no expectation of changing any opinions. There has also been some discussion about Swansboro's new transient boat dock next to Saltwater Grill. The construction has been finished for a long time and the docking facility was supposed to open by Memorial Day. We are at the end of July and it is still closed. There is no quick resolution in sight according to an article in the Jacksonville paper today.
Speaking of newspapers, The Tideland News, our Swansboro paper, did a press release on our Emerald Isle travel guide and published an article of mine about the oyster rocks near our home. I wish they could have spelled my last name correctly, but I forgot about it when Amazon put the paperback version on special for $14.65 and made it Prime eligible.
Mostly I have focused on summer activities that usually occupy my time in July. I had a great hike at the Point on July 19. I was truly impressed by all the changes especially the new inlet in the picture on the linked post. Kayaking remains one of my favorite things to do when the wind and weather cooperate. My kayaking trip on Saturday July 13 was truly scenic. If it is possible, I had an even more beautiful one on July 30 when I snapped the picture of the White Oak River at the top of this newsletter. The even better news is that I caught a couple of trout out on the oyster rocks that day and one of them was a nice 16.5 inch keeper that turned into a great dinner for my wife and myself.
Of course I have not neglected our skiff. I have managed a couple of early morning trips to the marshes to try to entice some fish. The day before I caught the trout, I took a quick trip down to Swansboro. As you can tell from the photo album attached to the post, it was a picture perfect trip. Going down the river at over 30MPH is my idea of a perfect lunch break.
In restaurant news, Swan's Burro opened. It is located at the corner of Highway 24 and Front Street. The short story is that they did a great job renovating the old Nicky's space but it is not my favorite of the three restaurants that have opened this spring. This is our full review of the restaurant. The name has also caused some controversy in Swansboro. Apparently some residents view the name as disrespectful. There is lots of controversy in Swansboro this summer but it has not stopped any of us from enjoying all the water in the area.
We also tried and enjoyed Santorini's Mediterranean Grille. Our review, Santorini's Mediterranean Grille, The Best Restaurant Not In Our Travel Guide, gives you a pretty good idea of how we feel about the foot there. However, Santorini's has been very busy since opening and parking has been challenging so we have not been back for a while. We will have plenty of opportunity to eat there as the summer crowds thin.
We also reviewed Angie's Lighthouse Cafe on Highway 58 in the location that previously housed the Fairway. We have been pleasantly surprised by the food and service there. Visitors have not discovered them yet. The food is very good, reasonably priced, and served quickly. Parking is also not a problem. We have yet to hear of someone having a less than stellar experience there. They are packed for breakfast on the weekends. A friend proclaimed their omelets better than the ones done by Mike's on the Island. I will have to try that myself before I buy into that claim.
Lil Johnny's Crab Shack has unfortunately moved on from the Salty Air market to Onslow Beach.
Beyond that, our beaches remain as crowded as usual. There is still plenty of time to plan a vacation to enjoy our warm waters before summer slips away completely. I am hoping my trout marks the end of my summer fishing doldrums and that fishing will improve steadily into the fall.
If you are interested in more about our beaches, you might like my post, Waves on the Beach. I also continue to add more content at my Life Along The Crystal Coast site.
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Thanks so much for taking the time to read about the Crystal Coast and Emerald Isle. We are happy to have you as part of the group of people who love our piece of paradise.