It’s ‘Black Friday.’ Just the name is enough to send chills up the spine if you are the kind of person who does not like crowds. It is billed as the day to get great deals for your holiday shopping, and that may be the case, but the personal cost is great. Personally, I would not even consider camping out in the cold in an effort to be the first person in the store and grabbing for the items I want before someone else can get them. To me, it really does not fit into the spirit of the season. Fortunately, for me and others like me, the NC Brunswick Island towns are small and offer local shops with a variety merchandise where we can find unique gifts for our loved ones. The town of Southport, for instance, has instituted a ‘Shop Local’ weekend. It’s easy to participate. You can even sleep in if you want to as the stores keep regular hours, opening at 10 AM. You will not have to push your way into the shops and you will be greeted with smiles and true southern hospitality, including refreshments in some cases. You will also be contributing to the local economy and to the livelihoods of local residents. The variety of shops is amazing including a shop that specializes in Christmas items, jewelers, clothing shops, art galleries, kitchen shops, oriental shops, pet shops, and more. Here are just a few suggestions:

At Bullfrog Corner you will find everything children from educational toys to puzzles to stuffed animals to dolls and much more: (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/shop/southport/bullfrog-corner/profile/)

At Cape Fear Jewelers, you can purchase the unique Southport Bracelet as well as any other jewelry you can imagine: (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/shop/southport/cape-fear-jewelers/profile/)

At Sole Searching you will be delighted by shoe styles that you will never find in chain stores as well as funky purses and other accessories: (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/shop/southport/sole-searching/profile/)


There are many words that describe thankfulness, many ways to show thankfulness, and many things to be thankful for – especially in the NC Brunswick Islands. Water is everywhere here. From the Atlantic Ocean to the Cape Fear River to the Intracoastal Waterway to the many lakes – it surrounds us. It contributes to the saline scent of the maritime environment – something we miss when we travel. It provides venues for entertainment including; sailing, surfing, swimming, paddle boarding, boating, canoeing and fishing. It’s a virtual playground. It’s also exceedingly beautiful to contemplate. The towns are bird sanctuaries. We can hear the birds singing as well as the breezes singing through the trees – even with our windows closed – instead of the sound of traffic roaring past. The climate allows us to spend an inordinate amount of time outdoors walking, biking, hiking, running, on the water, by the water, on the beach, in a hammock. Even when the temperature dips, there is always the wonderful sunshine. What’s more, our towns, the county, the state have had the foresight to set aside large amounts of natural spaces for our enjoyment. Parks abound in Brunswick County, NC. Whether they are small, with a few trees and a bench or two, or hundreds of acres, they are here for our enjoyment. Here are a few for you to explore – and while you are at it, remember to be thankful for the air you breathe; for the fact that you woke up this morning; for your legs that allow you to walk; for your eyes that allow you to take in the beauty around you; for your lungs that allow you to breathe; for smiles and hugs and even for setbacks that eventually lead you to better things.

Brunswick Nature Park (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/sports-fitness-parks/parks/brunswick-nature-park/profile/)

Waccamaw Park (http://oceanislebeach.insiderinfo.us/sports-fitness-parks/parks/waccamaw-park/profile/)

Ev-Henwood Nature Preserve (http://leland.insiderinfo.us/sports-fitness-parks/parks/ev-henwood-nature-preserve/profile/)


It’s less than two weeks until Thanksgiving – the one day each year that is set aside to remind us to be thankful for this amazing life we are living. Yes, every life is amazing – just the fact that we are alive makes it so. And though we know we need to be thankful every day, we sometimes forget how important that is to our happiness. So, having this one day as a reminder is helpful in getting us back on track. Many of us have plans to spend the day with family – some of whom we may only see once a year. We want to feed them the best to celebrate our kinship. The grocery stores are full of turkeys, and cranberries, and sweet potatoes and pecans and pumpkin pie filling. However, for those specialty foods – those yummy extras that we may not have time or talent to prepare, we can look to the local shops. One of the things we can be thankful for in the NC Brunswick Islands is the number of local specialty shops available to us.

Check out Greenlands Farm Store (http://leland.insiderinfo.us/shop/bolivia/greenlands-farm-store/profile/) for locally grown organic produce and products, gluten free goodies and more.

The Maritime Market (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/shop/bald-head-island/the-maritime-market-cafe-and-deli/profile/) offers everything you may need for your Thanksgiving feast as well as a Thanksgiving Oyster Roast on their side porch on Friday, November 28 (reservations are required)

At Crazy Cake Chicks (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/restaurant/bakery/crazy-cake-chicks/profile/) you will find some very special goodies and they can be made to suit any special diet (gluten-free, no sugar, etc.)


Southport’s Water Tower District encompasses several blocks located on North Howe Street near the water tower. Nearly all, if not all of the shops in this district are locally owned. Shopping here anytime is an excellent choice that supports the local economy, however, shopping here on November 14th and 15th for the Christmas Open House is exceptional. Six shops in the district will be offering specials as well as refreshments. The six shops participating in the open house are: Anastasio’s, Boo & Roo’s: (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/shop/southport/boo-and-roos/profile/)

Four Legs Good, Howe Outrageous: (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/shop/gallery/howe-outrageous-art-gallery-and-marketplace/profile/)

Talefeathers and Wild Bird & Garden. During the open house, you can pick up a ‘passport’ at any of these shops; have it stamped at all six shops and you will be automatically entered to win up to $140 in gift certificates. If you also have dinner at Mr. P’s Bistro: (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/restaurant/southport/mr-ps-bistro/profile/)

(also locally owned and in the Water Tower District) any night November 10 – 15, you will double your chances to win. Good luck!