While You’re Away
Happy New Year to all of you, and thanks for checking out our new website!
It’s Patrick from the office here to fill you in on all the off-season Crystal Coast happenings. I hope you all have been enjoying your winter and are eagerly anticipating the Spring as much as we are. Although it feels a lot like Spring here at the beach, we’ve still got a short month plus a few short weeks until we open back up for camping. We’re all back at work now, enjoying our final few weekends off while we still can. If you need anything, you can reach us in the Reservation Office from Mon-Fri, 9 AM-5 PM. If you haven’t already reserved your spots for this summer, you better ‘Get on it, dog-gone it!’ We still have some availability, but if you’re picky about your spots and dates- the sooner you call the better chance you’ll have at fishing your wish!
In the meantime, I’ll assume you’re all anxiously counting down the days, so I’ll try and catch you up on all the happenings around the island while it’s ‘locals only’ time. With that being said, let’s start at The Point and work our way down the beach.
Finally, you can enjoy the breathtaking sunsets over Bogue Inlet without getting all sandy. The town recently built a nice staircase and bench seating area next to the popular access for permitted beach drivers. You’ve still gotta walk (or bike) a bit to get there, either from our Park (about 2.5 miles), or you can park at the small gravel Parking Lot at the intersection of Coast Guard & Station St and walk a few blocks. If you can’t resist taking a stroll down to the waterline, please be careful of the Bird Nesting area. For those who may have never seen a sunset at the Point, make a Point to do it next time you’re here!
Enjoy all the sand now at the Point, because all those awesome houses once had to be protected by sandbags.
At the end of last year, I heard a rumor going around that there would soon be a Frisbee Golf Course at Emerald Isle Woods. That rumor has been confirmed by the wonderful people of the town’s Parks and Recreation Department. Volunteers are currently laying down tee pads for a 9 Hole course, with hopes to make it a full 18 if it catches on. I think this could be a big benefit to the island, and I hope people take advantage of it! I’d be happy to play alongside or show anyone how to play when it’s all done. For the unfortunately uninformed, Emerald Isle Woods is within a short walk or bike ride down the path from the park. Currently there are some awesome Nature Trails, picnic areas, and a Sound-side dock with kayak launch. I’ve been hanging in my hammock out around that area and seen a Bald Eagle, so keep your eyes peeled and your cameras ready next time you’re out and about!
Nature buffs can enjoy a day spent in the woods. Might want to bring some bug spray!
A big building is going up quickly right down the street at the Islander Hotel & Resort. No official word on what exactly the building will hold, but I think they may be upgrading their banquet area. Considering the Crystal Coast has become a very popular beach wedding destination, this would make a lot of sense. They have a great spot for receptions along the beach, but having an indoor space is always a good back-up plan. The Islander is the closest hotel to our campground, and can be a great place for family or friends to stay if our Rental Units are already booked!
The Islander Suites is currently under construction as they add a big addition.
A lot of people reacted to the photo I shared from the intentional wreckage at one of the island’s best restaurants, Rucker Johns. They’ve got their work cut out for them because they play to re-open in March. One thing’s for sure, whenever they do get it all ready, the locals will be running back before it gets too packed. Can’t wait to see what they’ve done with the place; It’s always a gathering place for Birthdays, anniversaries, or any other reason you can find to celebrate with their delicious croissants!
Right across the fountain from RJ’s, a new watering hole is brewing up at Island Time Tavern. The space used to be occupied by the Irish Pirate, but changed hands at the start of the new year. If the name has anything to do with the ambiance, it should be the perfect place to hang out and enjoy a cold beverage. Hopefully they will continue the trend of hosting live music, trivia, and karaoke nights to provide an extra excuse to indulge in a few beers. We sure will miss the Irish Pirate come March 11th for the annual St.Patrick’s Day Festival, but maybe the new spot will be transitioned in by then.
By now, you also may have heard that the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier is undergoing some major renovations. They’ve demolished the ‘Bo-Gimlet Store’ (as the locals used to say) in order to rebuild it to the same height as the ‘Surfs Up’ Restaurant that’s been vacant for years. They’re also rebuilding the actual Pier structure from the water-line back over the sand. Once the new Store is finished, the necessary septic permits to operate the restaurant should be accessible, and hopefully that will be open soon! From what I’ve heard, the town is also planning to widen Bogue Inlet Drive, while adding a continuation of the bike path to that street as well.
The famous Bogue Inlet Pier is expanding their Store to open the Surf’s Up Restaurant
Right by the Pier, Salty Dogs Pet Boutique is moving across the street (next to Wings). Word on the street is that they’ll also be expanding into a pet-friendly coffee shop! (I’d probably advise against ordering a Cappuccino for your Chihuahua). Nonetheless, remember that when you bring your pets to play at the beach, they’re on vacation too! Treat them to a new treat, or collar or any of the other cool products they have to offer.
If you continue walking down the bike path toward Atlantic Beach, soon you’ll stumble upon EI’s newest restaurant, Isle Fry Seafood. The freshly painted red building where Chowdaheads stood for years offers local seafood and more served up on-the-go. You can also dine-in, but space has always been somewhat limited. Take it right outside, or for a real treat- down to the picnic table at the end of Cedar St on the Sound-side. I missed the Grand Opening, but will be sure to give you my thoughts whenever I get down that way to try it out. In the meantime, you can check out the menu on their Facebook page and drool over the sandwiches they’ll be serving.
We always look forward trying out new restaurants around town. Especially when they offer fresh and local seafood!
Not much else new to be seen through the sleepy little towns of Salter Path, Indian Beach, and Pine Knoll Shores. Still, these are beautiful areas that I will try and expand on next time.
Last time I ventured down to Atlantic Beach, I noticed a new business in the Atlantic Station Shopping Center that could potentially be a lot of fun for families looking to combat a rainy day at the beach. Battle Works offers tactical laser tag for adults and kids ages 12 and up. Their website explains it as not your typical glow-in-the-dark arena, but more of a video-game like experience. Not necessarily my cup of tea, but I know a lot of kids from the park could kill some time in there. It’s held in the far corner of the big shopping center with Food Lion, where West Marine used to be located.
If you never made it down that way last year, I would highly advise you also check out the new mini-golf course and the skate park the town of Atlantic Beach recently put in. This can be an awesome place for kids of all levels to practice their skills, or just hang out and see how it’s done.
I can’t forget to mention a few big projects that we all can look forward to sooner or later. First things first, our side of the Island will be happily welcoming in a new grocery store. Publix will be setting up shop next to the Emerald Plantation Shopping Center, opening in Spring 2018. Anyone who has been to the Food Lion on a Friday or Saturday afternoon in the summer can understand how happy the locals are to have an alternative.
With that being said, there will have to be some adjustments made on Hwy 58 to allow for a different traffic pattern. We may soon start to see what could be the first of many roundabouts located in front of Hot Wax Surf Shop & Goose Creek Growlers. For the sake of all the 40’+ motorhomes and 5th wheels we get coming through here, I just hope the Coast Guard Rd. stoplight is here to stay.
On the far end of the island, one of the most popular locations known as the Atlantic Beach Circle is scheduled for a major overhaul. I don’t know all the details involved, but I think there will eventually be a new high-rise hotel where the circle stands now.
The Atlantic Beach Circle will be looking a lot different in a few years.
Lastly, and sadly, some may notice some new construction when passing through the little town of Swansboro. There will be a Walmart Super-Center located off Hwy 24 soon enough. I know there are many campers that will enjoy the convenience of not having to drive to Jacksonville or Morehead City for who knows what, but I’m personally not a fan for many reasons. More optimistically speaking, there will eventually be a Bojangles in the Boro- and there’s also now a Jersey Mike’s! Shout-out to Point Pleasant, NJ where it- and I were both born.
That’s all I can really think needs to be said for now. As for any major projects going on here at the HTP, you’ll just have to wait and see for yourself! I hope this note finds you all feeling excited about the unlimited possibilities of the new year. If you can’t wait until March to see our smiling faces, you can find our booth at the Richmond International Raceway for the RV Show Feb. 10-12th, or at the Fairgrounds in Raleigh for the North Carolina RV Dealers Association Show Feb. 24-26th.
Best wishes from the beach,