Sunset Beach, North Carolina

Sand crunching under our shoes as we walk the beach at low tide, a gentle breeze blowing off the water, and seagulls calling, all remain in our memories from one year to the next. The call of the sea is truly a “fever” my husband and I share, just as in John Masefield’s poem, Sea Fever:

“…I must go down to the seas again, for
the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that
may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the
white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown
spume, and the sea-gulls crying….”

I learned this poem in junior high and loved it before I ever saw the ocean. One day of spying starfishes in tide pools, learning to body-surf in foamy waves, and watching seagulls crack open shelled creatures—I was hooked.

Sunset Beach, North Carolina is a barrier island separated from the mainland by the intercoastal waterway. Half of the island is a bird refuge with no development, the other half with narrow roads bounded by beach houses, no high rise development allowed. It is the perfect vacation spot for us as we invite east coast friends and relatives to visit, and as you have seen in previous blogs, enjoy the arrival of spring blooms. In addition, we love the sunsets, somehow magnificent on this bit of south-facing beach. Looking south we see the orange glow and looking east we see a wonderful purple hue. You can see us walking at the edge of the water.

Strolling along the edge of the sea at low tide can be matched only by a hike in our Rocky Mountains. Low tide reveals a hard-packed strand that we walk for miles, each day finding new amusements, one day several cannon-ball jellyfishes, the next day a horseshoe crab, and the next day the fins of dolphins cavorting just off shore. 

My absolute favorites are the tiny birds the locals call “peeps,” a species of sandpiper that seems to be racing back and forth on wheels, stopping abruptly to peck the sand for miniscule prey in front of waves ebbing and flowing. A vacation would not be complete without an exploration of local cuisine. A restaurant named Gravy Southern Eatery is one of our favorites. The photo shows the building, a rustic barn-like structure. Inside, a warm, welcoming staff make everyone comfortable in the casual atmosphere. I love the menu offering a “vegetable plate” made from a choice of sides, one being peach cobbler, a mouth-watering gooey delight. Of course, the menu presents local seafood, and many traditional southern comfort foods.

The Boundary House is another favorite with its seafood, steaks, and prime rib served in a high-end ship-themed setting of polished wood with ceiling lifeboats, actual replicas of those on the Titanic. The grandfather of the current owner was born on the day the Titanic sank, so therefore, the family’s interest in that ship. No visit would be complete without a girls’ afternoon high tea at the Calabash Garden Tea Room. The tiered dish with tiny ribbon-wrapped sandwiches and homemade scones are to “die for.” Antique tea cups with a huge selection of tea top off this gourmet delight.

Last but not least, the area around Sunset Beach is a golfer’s paradise with numerous courses and some formidable alligators! The diversity of courses, some with marshlands, others with forests, and others next to rivers’ banks all provide scenic and challenging holes. My husband, Rich, has numerous choices each day he plays golf. His hardest decision for five weeks is which course to play, Thistle Golf Club being one of his favorites. Yesterday he played with his brother who got a hole-in- one, the ultimate dream for golfers. Thanks for checking out my blog. Next, we’ll go to New York City to our granddaughter’s international ballet competition. Stay tuned!

Linda Lundgren