THE SPRING SAILING MIGRATION

Image from rudd.com (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/vacation-home-rental/oak-island/margaret-rudd-and-associates-inc-realtors/profile/)

Just as the birds migrate in the spring and the fall, so many people do the same thing – and often by boat. The Intracoastal Waterway stretches along the eastern coast of the US and offers them a much safer transport than the Atlantic Ocean. The intracoastal Waterway is what separates Oak Island and the other South Brunswick Islands from the mainland of NC. Those of us who live here are witness to these seasonal migrations along with that of the birds. I moved to Oak island more than 24 years ago and was so taken by the sight that I wrote a poem about it:

THE AWAKENING

Spring comes to the island,
not in the shape of green crocus spears
thrusting their tips through frozen ground and snow,
bursting with the energy of new life,
anxious to claim the spring.

Spring comes to the island,
not in the shape of daffodils
uncurling their golden trumpets,
playing a fanfare of beauty to usher in the season.

Spring comes to the island,
not in the shape of a robin,
it’s red waistcoat bursting with pride,
gathering twigs to build a new home
to feather its season of love and new life.

Spring comes to the island
in the color of white
shining in the sunlight,
in the shape of sails,
billowing in the March wind,
carrying the boats through the waterway
like their great white wings
carry the ibis out to sea.

Most travelers of the Intracoastal Waterway do not sail the distance without leaving their boats. Many make a road trip (or water trip) out of it and stop at interesting places along the way – sometimes staying overnight or longer. These folks take advantage of the available marinas scattered along the route. Southport has its share of these marinas. Here are a few for you to consider:

Deep Point Marina ( http://southport.insiderinfo.us/marina-boat-sales-service/marina/deep-point-marina/profile/)

South Harbour Village Marina (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/marina-boat-sales-service/marina/south-harbour-village-marina/profile/)

Southport Marina (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/marina-boat-sales-service/marina/southport-marina/profile/)

To Market, To Market…..

…to buy tomatoes and celery and radishes and strawberries and peaches and home made jellies and pickles and…..at a farmers market that is. What can be better than shopping in the open air for fresh fruit and vegetables, home made pies and cakes, jellies and preserves made at home from home grown produce. Home grown and home made food just tastes better – and it’s better for you. In Brunswick County, NC the climate is excellent for growing and the growing season is long – nearly year round. You can find farmers markets in nearly every little town. Here are a few:

Shallotte Farmers Market (http://oceanislebeach.insiderinfo.us/annual-events/may/)

Every Saturday from 8 AM until 1 PM in Riverside Park located in the heart of downtown Shallotte. You can stroll in the open air and choose from the freshest of produce as well as local crafts while listening to local musicians play.

Oak Island Farmers Market (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/annual-events/may/)

Breathe the fresh sea air as you make your purchases from local farmers and crafters from 7 AM until 1 PM every Monday. The music of the sea will keep you company and you can feel good about supporting the locals as you indulge in the best tasting fruit and vegetables available.

Southport Waterfront Market (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/annual-events/may/)

This farmers market is located on a bluff overlooking the Cape Fear River where you can watch sailboats tacking, ferries crossing, and people fishing from jon boats while you enjoy the live open air music. There is not a more pleasant way to shop for local, luscious fruit and veggies – and maybe even some lovely flowers as well. 

 

 

 

Ride the Tide

Oak Island, NC is an awesome place for kayaking whether on your own, with friends or in competition. The Oak Island Parks & Recreation Department has joined with The Adventure Kayak Company (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/boating-water-sports/kayak-canoe/) again this year for their annual Ride the Tide event. The event takes place on Saturday, March 29, on the Davis Canal, beginning at 9 AM at the recreation center which is located at 3003 E. Oak Island Drive. The Davis Canal takes you through one of the loveliest areas of salt marsh on the island where you can see wildlife and birds like the Great Blue Heron, egrets and Ibis. There will be a kayak float and a race on the outgoing tide from the recreation center to the Blue Water Point Marina (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/marina-boat-sales-service/). Awards will be given for specific age groups. There will also be a costume contest and a poker run. If you don’t have your own kayak, you can rent one for the event. The early entry fee is $20 and the first 75 paddlers to register will receive a free t-shirt. If you are interested in helping with the event you are welcome to volunteer. To register or to volunteer just call the recreation center at: 910-278-5518 or visit their website at: http://www.oakisland.com. 

The Arts…..Part 2

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The mission of the Oak island Art guild is: “to further the cultural arts for the residents of Oak Island, NC and vicinity; to provide workshops and/or instruction for members of the community; to cooperate with other community organizations in furthering the cultural arts; and to organize and participate in visual arts shows.”

The group meets at 9 AM in the Oak island Recreation Center on the second Friday of each month from January through October. After every meeting is a workshop designed for all levels of students which is open and free to the public and is presented by a guest instructor. These workshops may include drawing, painting, collage, pottery and stained glass among others.

I attended a ‘Paint Along’ with Jim McIntosh in February. Using watercolors, Jim is a plein air painter, so his subjects are of the outdoors and the local area. As a matter of fact, Jim sneaked onto the set of ‘Safe Haven’ when it was filming in Southport and started painting. He sold dozens of his paintings on the spot, some of them to the cast and crew of the movie. Here is one from that time entitled ‘Ryan’s Port Market’ which was a building erected specifically for the movie and torn down after filming was completed:

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Jim guides his students “to put on paper their feelings, intuition, and spirit of a subject.” Jim uses large and fast brush strokes, intense colors and teaches the use of value in painting. We all learned his process in painting a scene of the Southport, NC Yacht Basin which he drew and copied for us so that we could concentrate on learning his painting technique. I can’t say that my painting was wonderful but I had a lot of fun, learned new things and enjoyed spending time with my artist friends.

You may want to attend the next workshop which will be held on Friday, March 14. The subject is Collage and Mixed Media presented by Judy Harris and Marti Fann, both members of the Virginia Collage Society. Below are examples of their work:

Judy Harris:

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Marti Fann:

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You will learn geli printing, tissue stamping, photo transferring, texturing with stencils, making stamps and staining and decorating tissue paper. Just show up, be sure to wear old clothes, have fun and take home a finished collage.

The list of required supplies found on the Oak Island Art Guild Website is as follows:

Photocopies of photographs (must be actual photocopies; not copies from inkjet printer)
Craft paint or acrylic paint
Paper towels
White tissue paper
Brayer (if you have one, otherwise we have some to share)
Small canvas (3-5 in square)
Subsrate (something sturdy like canvas board or heavy weight watercolor paper)
Glue (Modge Podge or gel medium)
Scissors
Scraps of decorative papers, old music sheets, maps, dictionary papers, etc.
Foam rollers from the dollar store
Brushes (old ones for gluing, others for painting)
Jar for water

Ahhhhh, Love

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Valentine’s Day will soon be here. It’s a time to celebrate those we love in ways that we often forget throughout the rest of the year. We get caught up in the tasks of our everyday lives and don’t seem to be able to find the time for the small gestures that mean so much. Roses and Valentines and candy are sweet and are definitely appreciated, however, time is the key. Time to talk about hopes and dreams and long term plans. To say thank you for all that you do. The one Valentine tradition that gives us the opportunity to share that time is a quiet dinner together away from everyday distractions. A time during which we can look at each other – tell each other – I know you. I love you for all that you are.

There are many fine restaurants in Brunswick County, NC where you can enjoy a scrumptious meal for Valentine’s Day and enjoy that bit of time together – just the two of you. I have listed some of them below, but remember to make reservations. Even those restaurants that don’t require them usually do on Valentine’s Day.

On Bald Head Island, NC try Mojo’s on the Harbour. Here, you can have a steampot – and in addition to shrimp, crab, and other shellfish, you will find steak, pork and chicken as well as fish like flounder, tuna and salmon on the eclectic menu. Ask about Italian specials and their gluten-free menu. Mojo’s has a full bar, offers wine by the bottle or the glass, serves cocktails and has Guinness draught.

Live Oak Cafe is an excellent choice for an intimate dinner in Southport, NC.  American nouveau cuisine using only the freshest ingredients is the basis for their eclectic menu. From starters to entrees, you will be pleased with dishes such as crab dip, Cajun-marinated fried alligator bites, low-country gumbo, shrimp pasta, grilled rib eyes, marinated pork tenderloin and more. In addition, there is an excellent wine list with selections from Australia, California and Argentina, among others.

Perched on the South Harbour Village Marina on the mainland portion of Oak Island, NC you will find Joseph’s Italian Bistro. Since 2003, Joseph’s has been providing Italian style meals using recipes handed down from his mama. Everything is homemade including the breads and desserts From antipasta to pasta to seafood to chicken and veal, the food is scrumptious – and the desserts are to die for.

For a more casual atmosphere and ocean views you can choose Paradise Cafe on Holden Beach, NC. Sit among the palm trees, tropical birds and local artwork hanging on melon-colored walls and enjoy appetizers, burgers, pizza and hot subs. You will also find local seafood and Caribbean and Greek Island dishes. Be sure not to leave until you have enjoyed a Paradise Sunset, the house drink.

Sugar Shack in Ocean Isle Beach, NC features authentic Jamaican home cooking. The house specialty is a huge steak, marinated, slowly grilled and richly flavored. Other offerings include award winning baby back ribs, a grilled mango tuna, spiced-just-right crab fritters, homemade soups, great burgers and nightly specials, such as lightly fried coconut shrimp served with mango-pepper marmalade. Then you just need to top it all off with a luscious slice of homemade Key lime pie. Guinness and Red Stripe beer are served.

Many tables at Twin Lakes Seafood Restaurant in Sunset Beach, NC offer a panoramic view of the region’s most picturesque watercourse. The Twin Lakes menu features many different seafood, beef and poultry combinations and preparations, such as fried, sauteed, grilled, broiled or blackened. The seafood is never long out of the water and everything is prepared by an award winning chef. Irresistible desserts are available as well.

Calabash style seafood restaurants abound in Calabash, NC but for a change of pace you may want to try the Grapevine Restaurant & Lounge. At the Grapevine, the motto is “A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and us together.”  You will find yourself in a comfortable old world atmosphere with a menu to match. For example, you may choose Seafood Prosciutto Pasta, Mediterranean Pasta or Mediterranean Grouper. You will also find Original Calabash Style Seafood Platters and there are more than 30 wines from which to choose.

Eddie Roamanelli’s, in Leland, NC, serves some of the best American Italian fare in the region. The menu offers a variety of salads topped with dressings made in-house as well as Italian appetizers like Toasted Ravioli and Mama Romanelli’s Calamari topped with pepperoncinis sauteed in oregano butter and diced tomatoes.  Entrées include Eggplant Rollatini, meaty housemade Lasagna and flavorful Rigatoni Ala Vodka. You may also choose sandwiches including American favorites like Prime Rib Dip and Smoked Turkey Club and Italian classics like the hot Italian Sandwich.