Coastal NC

VOL13ISS1 2017

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10 THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — CAPE FEAR NC | VOLUME 13—ISSUE 1 CAPE FEAR LIVING Cape Fear Living BY LYNNE BRANDON The mighty Cape Fear is 200-miles long and the only North Carolina river to run into the open ocean. Writers, artists, film makers and poets spend time preserving a place in North Carolina like none other – the Cape Fear region named after the Cape Fear River and its scenic beaches and towns. Professor at UNC-Wilmington, author and historian, Philip Gerard, describes the mystery of the Cape Fear River and its scenic waterways on pages that become novels. Gerard's words compel wandering types to get on the river and other waterways which define the region, and to relax and reboot away from the frenetic pace of life on shore. "Between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic lies a special landscape, full of creeks and tidal estuary and salt marsh and precious little high ground," said Gerard. "To really see it you have to look from the water. Ride the broad back of the current past the Wilmington waterfront, or better yet, slip into a tributary like Island Creek off the Northeast Branch, gliding under overhanging branches where an anhinga perches, wings spread, silent as wood. Or, paddle through the Three Sisters in the Black River among cypress that are more than a thousand years old." The populous state of North Carolina is one of water — one acre out of ten is water. The state's coast is where much of the region's water-based geography is found in the form of rivers, lakes, barrier islands and beaches. The lure of water entices tourism, industry and plain folks who set down roots. On land the focus turns to sandy beaches, coastal communities, parks, maritime forests and nature preserves. Outdoor and nature enthusiast Jason Frye takes advantage of the region's surf and turf near his home in Wilmington. Frye takes to the water to kayak, canoe or boat and on land enjoys a good old fashioned night of camping. "Camping on Masonboro Island Reserve, a thin, 8.4-mile-long barrier island just a short paddle or boat ride from Wrightsville Beach, is bucket-list stuff," said Frye. "The island, an estuarine research reserve, is utterly undeveloped and boat-accessible only, which means plenty of room to spread out and find a private campsite, surf spot, or patch of sand. While Masonboro isn't totally free from light pollution—face east for the darkest skies—on clear nights, you can lie down on the dunes or in your tent and see the best star show in town." Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Figure Eight Island, Carolina Beach and Kure Beach are found in New Hanover County. For many the coastal lifestyle begins with the beaches which are plentiful in the region. An air of mystery surrounds the five-mile long Figure Eight Island eight miles from Wilmington. The island is accessed by a private bridge that crosses the Intercoastal. Visitors, residents and often celebrities are seen walking on the beach, looking for shells and relaxing with family and friends. Shell Island at the northern end of Wrightsville Beach is celebrated for its beauty and privacy. The island which blends into to the bigger beach was noted in the 1920's for first allowing African-American sunbathers. For those who want to devote the day to bird watching, the Audubon Society gives birding tours throughout the year, including the Bird Sanctuary on the north end of the beach. Brunswick County and its scenic barrier islands draw tourists and locals each year to Caswell Beach, Sunset Beach, Oak Island, Southport, and other coastal towns. Towns and islands in Brunswick County act as an aphrodisiac for beach loving travelers. The laid-back island lifestyle promises days outdoors under the sun or nights under the stars. Lighthouses, scenic landscape wrapped in a bit of mystery intrigue visitors to "come and see." The Brunswick Islands celebrate their differences and play up their assets. Days are spent on the water, sunning or exploring an island. Shallotte River Swamp Park takes you via zipline over the Carolina marshes and 100-year-old cypress trees (there's also an epic aerial adventure park). Seafood is bountiful in these towns and nowhere is it more highlighted than in famed Calabash where the >> scenic, serene, seafood, and surf

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