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Old 09-18-2010, 07:11 AM
 
Location: Cape Carteret, NC
713 posts, read 3,472,342 times
Reputation: 543

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Recently a thread posed the question, if you have found your personal paradise why not keep quiet and save for it yourself?

So will telling the story of the Crystal Coast destroy the very reasons that we like the area?

I actually look at this from a different perspective. If you make people aware of the area's greatest attributes, then likely you will attract people to the area who also value those things, and might help protect them.

So what do I value most about the Crystal Coast? First of all I value the access that we have to the water and the vistas of the water itself.

Secondly I value the small town nature of the area and its somewhat rural nature.

I love the fact that the seven mile drive from our neighborhood on the White Oak River to the first public beach access on Emerald Isle takes me by the green open spaces of a golf course, a horse pasture, a number of large fields which rotate between grain, corn, and soybeans, parts of Croatan National Forest with its many pine trees, the marshes of Pettiford Creek, Bogue Sound, and finally the Intracoastal Waterway.

I also really value the personal nature of the area. I love knowing the people at Redfearn's Nursery and the people at Winberry's Produce. It's fun to go talk to the guys at Clyde Phillip's Seafood when we want some really fresh fish or some wonderful local shrimp.

Writing about these local businesses that are my favorites actually helps get out the word about them. They depend on word of mouth advertising so a few lines on the Internet just spreads the word a little farther.

Is getting out the word about the small towns going to turn them into cities.

Actually I doubt that is going to happen for a number of reasons. The first is that the Crystal Coast is less accessible than the Wilmington area. That area is a straight shot down Interstate 40. In order to get to the Crystal Coast you either take a drive down Interstate 40 and get off at exit 373 and take a leisurely tour through the farm county of Beulahville and Richlands to suburban spread of Jacksonville and Cape Lejeune or you follow Route 70 and its many stoplights. The fact is that it takes a little more effort to get to the Crystal Coast.

Sometimes I like to think that the extra effort is outweighed by our backdoor which comes down the northern Outer Banks to Ocracoke Island and Cedar Island. You have to hop a couple of ferries, but that is a small price to pay for the unique scenery of Down East Carteret County.

The next and most important reason we won't become over crowded is that there just are not any large scale employers in the area except the military bases. If you factor in the recently tightened development rules, I suspect that it would be very unlikely that we will see any new large scale developments in the near future. There are plenty of unsold lots on the Crystal Coast.

The truth is that the Crystal Coast is less well known that the northern Outer Banks when it comes to tourists and has fewer services than the Wilmington area so it occupies a rather unique spot.

I think most of us are very happy that the Crystal Coast is a rather self-contained region. We have all the services that most of us need, but there is nothing wrong with a small stream of new people coming to the area. We keep getting a few new services every year, and we are also getting better water access because of the additional people.

In our subdivision in the last year there have five new homes either started or built. One of them will be right beside our home. Am I upset over having another neighbor? Absolutely not. When I bought in the subdivision, I knew that someone would be building beside us in the future. We had four years with a neighbor on just one side. If you could see all the silt fences in place for the new construction, you might get an idea why I don't think large scale developments are much of a danger here. I think our subdivision now has 47 homes. That's just a nice number, and the building will stop when there are another twenty or so homes.

I have lived in places which were very tight knit with few outsiders and places which have a lively mixture of new people and old timers or natives.

I prefer the lively mixture. The very tight knit place we lived was on the shores of the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever lived, but it was not exactly the most friendly.

Through my writings about the Crystal Coast, I have made lots of new friends and some of them happen to be newcomers to the area.

My writings and photography have also helped me meet some very interesting long term residents like the mayor of Emerald Isle who ended up helping me write my guide to Emerald Isle (http://coastalnc.org/emeraldislenctravelguidecd - broken link).

Paradise is more than just a place, it is the people and the place. I don't have any desire to be the last person in paradise. I also hope our area will keep changing and growing. I would love to see a Target in Morehead City, and I can also dream about having a Whole Foods or a Fresh Market. I also wouldn't mind a daily newspaper and one that had a bit more balanced view of the world. Our course I am perfectly happy without those things too. First on my list would be a nice new movie theater outside of Jacksonville.

In the meantime, I can read lots of newspapers online, and the new Harris Teeter in Morehead City is a close second to other stores. I also get to enjoy the Grandin Theatre in Roanoke, Va on my trips there.

So if you value the same things that I do, small towns, water access, quiet beaches and good fishing, put the Crystal Coast on your list of places to consider. Maybe we will run into each other in one of my favorite area restaurants or walking the beaches. I am likely the guy wearing the deep blue tee-shirts that say "Carteret County, A Secret to Share." I had those shirts made a few years ago for myself and some friends so there are few more of them scattered around. My next batch is going to say "Everyone needs to believe in something, I believe I will go fishing".

If you want more of a city life, try the Wilmington area. If you want non-stop development, try South Carolina.

But don't worry about ruining our "paradise," you might be just the people we need to help protect it.

Last edited by dsobotta; 09-18-2010 at 07:27 AM.. Reason: left out link
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Old 09-18-2010, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Morehead City, NC
1,676 posts, read 5,356,742 times
Reputation: 1244
A little over 20 years ago Carteret County formed their Travel & Development Bureau. The purpose of the TDB is to promote the Crystal Coast. It is primarily funded through a hotel/motel room tax.
On average the TDB gets $1,000,000 each year to spend on promoting the Crystal Coast.
I reckon an extra article or two won't hurt.

Belks, Roses, K-Mart, McDonald's, KFC and Hardees were about all of the chain outlets I remember in the area when I showed up. Hardees went out of business due to a lack of business.
Oh yea-There was a Red & White Grocery store on the beach (Where all of the real estate offices are currently clustered together on the Causeway).
It had brown vegetables, green meats and all the essentials for the beach goer of that time period-beer and cigarettes!

Things sure have changed.
Bill
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Old 09-19-2010, 03:31 AM
 
Location: Greenville, NC
2,078 posts, read 5,041,037 times
Reputation: 1160
Don't worry bill, neither of us will live nearly long enough to see East Coast (Washington, Baltimore, Philly) style congestion. It may seem bad but until you've sat in a 20 mile rolling backup, you've never seen the numbers of people it takes to cause that kind of congestion.

The simple fact is ENC is simply too far and too remote from where the money is.

I used to live very near to the South River in Anne Arundel County, MD. It was right at the end of my street. I would often take friends out on the river to crab, fish and just boat around. The numbers of million dollar plus homes on that river alone astounded us. I used to service a good number of them. And there are plenty of those rivers in that area. And plenty that haven't been developed yet.

It's going to be a very long time before they get to ENC.
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Old 09-19-2010, 06:11 AM
 
3,071 posts, read 7,821,248 times
Reputation: 2068
I don't know, I can see little inconveniences pop up all over, Back roads and shortcuts that are still back roads, but the secrets out about them have gotten out or more peopel moved to the area so you have heavier traffic and faster speed limits, or just outright speeding the road can't handle. Thinkinbg about a few roads between New Bern and Havelock that fit this description. In some cities there have been roads built, or rather extension to roads built so you can get through town without experiencing the crush of beach traffic. This road seems to be getting almost as bad as Arendell depending on time of day/year. Speaking of MHC there.

There may be no larger scale employer than the military, but the military presence is growing larger. Both Cherry Point and Camp Lejeune are having units be re-assigned there due to BRAC. Including civilian jobs moving from Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Willow Grove, PA to NADEP* at Cherry Point. In addition when the new F-35s are fielded that will bring about 1,200 additional personnel with them not including their families. The Marine Corps itslef has increases it's end strength by over 20K in the last couple of years, a significant number of them landing in Eastern NC. With these comes businesses to cater to the increase, you didn't think all that stuff popping up in MHC was just for the tourists did you

Currently, a US 70 bypass is being constructed so people from the interior to the state can get to the area a little quicker. They've already built the Johnston County portion and are currently working on the Wayne and part of the Lenoir County portion. When this is complete people will be able to get to Atlantic Beach in under 2 hrs from Raleigh, vice the almost three now.

Just playing devil's advocate. I'm often suggesting down east areas myself but I'm not naive enough to believe the way it is, is the way it will be. Heck, I've already seen many changes since I was a kid growing up in the area. Many for the better, but not all. Also, I think the Marine Corps, with it's huge environmental buffers coupled with the size of the bases, and the Croatan National Forest and it thousands of acres are the biggest boon to "protecting" our area of NC. That said, I do sometimes find myself hesitating recommending certain beach accesses, parking, and routes to travelers on the board and even new arrivals might have to get it in PM if at all.











*which is already the largest and highest paying civilian employer east of I-95 payroll of over 300 million for about less than little less thn 3.4K civilian workers. Fleet Readiness Center
Quote:
Today, FRC East is a modern industrial complex that has considerable impact on the economy of North Carolina and the communities surrounding the air station. With an annual payroll of nearly $300 million, the facility is North Carolina’s largest industrial employer east of Interstate 95.
Fleet Readiness Center
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Old 09-19-2010, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Cape Carteret, NC
713 posts, read 3,472,342 times
Reputation: 543
Smile Still we have lots of space

I just drove down I40 from Greensboro on Saturday night. Lots of times we will travel on Saturday because traffic is lighter. Sometimes we will go up I77 and I81 from Charlotte to Roanoke, and there is very little traffic which considering how much there is during the day and most evenings is amazing.

Well yesterday evening (Saturday) I40 was slammed with traffic. It never stopped moving, but some of it was often moving at 80+ miles per hour.

It thinned a little as we got off Exit 373 and hit 24 East. Even then on 24E the traffic was more than it normally is late in the evening. Only after we got east of Jacksonville, less than ten miles from Swansboro did the traffic finally lighten up.

When we turned up Route 58 just before 11 PM there was almost no traffic as is normal late in the evening this time of year.

I remain thankful that we are a little harder to reach, and perhaps that only the people who really appreciate the area will make that extra effort.

I can remember back to the fifties when I40 was first being built in the Piedmont area where we lived. You got on the road and it was almost empty.

The stretch between Greensboro and Raleigh is a far cry from those days. I hope it never gets that way down here in Carteret County.
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