I love Ocean Isle, North Carolina. It's the beach where I saw my children blossom. It's where I talk with God openly and freely. It is sand, shells, sounds, and the most calm ocean experience still available, I think.
The town itself consists of a small ocean museum, a town hall, a church. There are three restaurants and bars. (There IS a new restaurant/bar at the far west end of the island these days, but it's far enough away from the traffic circle that I don't consider it part of the town.)
There are three little shops for tee shirts and beach gear, a coffee/food shop, a gas station that sells bacon, eggs, shrimp, and bait along with the gas, multiple real estate offices, and a couple of non-chain motels. Only one highrise blights the view, and with a little practice I have come to not see it at all. All the other buildings are beach houses of varying sizes and values. If you want a Waves store, you have to drive over the causeway, off the island, to find that kind of (tacky) shopping experience.
We've just returned from a week in Ocean Isle. Our little house was supposed to sleep eight, but the three of us, Randy and I and my daughter Meredith, fit in nicely. One more person might have been too many, actually.
I didn't write Ramblings of Roamers all week because we didn't have Internet service. I did, however, religiously sit down and hand-write my travel journal each morning. It is all documented. I found out that I write more and do better detailing when I type. (Next beach house will have Internet.......)
I don't plan to copy my handwritten journal onto this site, but will just tell the major events, if I could call them that.
Picture me, no make-up except for mascara, a worn blue floppy hat covering my head, a bathing suit from the 80's, tired beach umbrella hovering over my head, book in hands, sitting in my also aged red and white striped beach chair (with the broken part barely hanging on.....), and you have the BEST part of the whole week. Silence, except for the sounds of waves, wind, and an occasional bird call. I sat just like that for most of the week. (The NEW swimsuit was in the suitcase waiting to be worn with people who might CARE what I was wearing........................) A few dips into the ocean each day, a few rides on my old boogie board, feet dug deep into the sand, I was in my element. Almost Heaven.
A shrimp boat or two went by throughout the week, and once I even lifted up my binoculars to get a good view of one called the Predator, only because it looked awesome from the shore. A one-footed sandpiper modeled for me at daybreak one morning. I photographed him because he wanted his picture taken, I could tell. It was only when he hopped away that I realized he really only HAD one leg. I went ass-over-tin-cup, as we used to call it, when one humongous wave shoved my boogie board and me upside-down on a very windy day. Those are the highlights of day beaching.
Sunrises were seen on two occasions, and sundowns were witnessed each evening. There are no words for either..................
Shrimp by the pounds, from the grocery on the mainland or from the shrimper himself at a roadside stand, were steamed and grilled at our little beach house. There were no leftovers..............
We ate dinner at Sharky's twice: Once with Meredith where we ate a white pizza, and once just Randy and I ordered the "World's Famous Sharky's Vegetarian Pizza," which I have been copying in my own kitchen since about 1984.............the banana peppers are key to the thrill of this pizza. I was pleased to find that mine tastes just like theirs.
We had dinner at The Giggling Mackerel once. I've called that place everything except its name, as I find it hard to remember, for some reason. I think I ate an appetizer there............chicken fingers. At some point, I realized that I was not hungry at ALL...........probably because we seemed to be eating nonstop. Meredith asked, occasionally, "When is the next feeding?"........which sort of sums it up.
Aside from three separate orders of fried calamari, (one at each restaurant), we went through two bags of salt water taffy, a bag of soft licorice, two packages of Oreos, a package of Vienna Fingers, two Pop Tarts, a dozen eggs, a pound of bacon, a small carton of ice cream, 24 bottles of water, many bottles of 55 calorie Budweiser, and a loaf of bread which we used for tomato sandwiches, tuna sandwiches, and toast.
One night we had a "luau" on our little front porch. Meredith assembled a kite that looked like a parrot, I produced beach art from the walls of our abode, we strung up some Christmas lights, brought out the low coffee table from the living room, and sat on beach chairs around the table while we ate grilled vegetables and shrimp from Chef Randy. Reggae music completed the scene. For dessert, we opened up Oreo cookies, used Randy's blow torch to roast marshmallows, smooshed them into the Oreos, and created what Meredith named "Smoreos." Yum.
Two days to get there: you know we don't do power driving. On the way we stayed in a Comfort Inn in Winston-Salem, NC, and on the way back Meredith and I stayed in a Red Roof in Wytheville, VA. Randy left the beach at the same time we did Saturday morning, but took his truck north to Nags Head to pick up his mother, who had flown there with his sister, from Texas. Fran will be visiting in Akron for three weeks before she flies home August 16th.
Meredith and I arrived home on Sunday afternoon about 3:30, and I've put everything away, done the beach laundry, grocery shopped, and caught up on my email. The bills are calling my name...............so I know that I am not at the beach anymore, Toto...................
I have a "tan"............I have "Beachwoman" Hair.............that look that screams "naturally curly" to anyone who sees it....................and I don't plan to tame it until the spell of Ocean Isle seems to fade away........
which I hope will be awhile yet................
copyright: KP Gillenwater