The 3 Bs: Belhaven, Beaufort & Beaches

6:34 Sunset over Belhaven, NC

Belhaven offers several options for visiting boats: marina dockage, town docks with power and water, free town docks or anchoring. Easy in and out and a wooden breakwater that does a reasonably good job but not perfect since it’s not solid nor very high.

This visit we used the town docks at $1 per foot.  Immense quantities of water were required to wash all the green goo off poor Twins; thus we (Russ actually) spent the late afternoon hours and some the next morning, getting the boat, the dinghy, etc all clean again.

That was Wed Oct 11. The day before, when we left Atlantic Yacht Basin in Chesapeake VA, was Oct 10, the 7th anniversary of the beginning of our nomadic wanderings. Can you believe it? Seven years. Truly fortunate souls we are. And how to celebrate that, albeit two days late? Dinner at Spoon River on Thursday would do just splendidly!

That afternoon we walked through the couple blocks that comprise downtown; a variety of friendly shops, eateries, Chamber of Commerce, the Belhaven Memorial Museum (open 1pm-5pm) and the well-stocked ACE Hardware/Hand Picked Sister where one can purchase hardware, clothing, gift items, local wines and pillows! I found a dark charcoal gray short-sleeved top that I had to have to update my “wardrobe”. 🙂

Every other time we’d stopped in Belhaven, the museum visit just didn’t happen; this time we made it happen. Housed in the upper level of the former historic town hall, the current museum builds upon the original collection of Mary Eva Blount Way, or “Miss Eva”, who was an extremely avid collector. (1869-1962)

Her love of unique items began with a treasured collection of buttons, given to her by her mother-in-law. Apparently word spread that she loved to collect, and friends and neighbors began to bring her treasures from their own lives and travels. And the collections grew and grew.

The collection that started it all

She began to showcase her collections in her home in 1940 in an effort to aid the American Red Cross. By this time her collection had grown to more than 10,000 items. Lordy, how do you even count all that?

When she died in 1962, concerned citizens of Belhaven purchased the entire collection which included a fascinating array of unique and priceless artifacts from the county, throughout North Carolina and afar.  The Belhaven Memorial Museum officially opened in April 1965. Items range in time from the early 1800s to the 1960s; most portray life in and around Beaufort County, NC.

Free of charge, the museum relies on contributions from families and businesses.

Look at the metal- it’s an x-ray machine

Hair accessories made from human hair seem a bit squirmy. I know, what about a wig made from real hair? Somehow that doesn’t seem as weird. Maybe using hair as a decoration is what makes me feel uncomfortable with it.

Not sure I’d ever wear one of these. Would you?

Dinner at Spoon River, where we were remembered, greeted warmly, seated in the window table we love and served amazing creations!

A Baker’s half dzn stuffed oysters- look at the huge presentation platter!

Bread and a large quantity of lightly herbed butter is brought immediately. My favorite entree, Shrimp and Grits is no longer on the dinner menu, only offered at Sunday Brunch. However; I made a plea to bring it back to both the waitress (who seconded that notion) and the sous chef.

Tonight’s entrees and tomorrow!

Next stop, Beaufort, NC. (did you say BEAUX? Not BEW)  where we spent two nights at Homer Smith’s Docks and Marina waiting for the near-perfect day to head offshore down to Wrightsville Beach.

Classic yacht sighting along the way.

Tripletail was available and Tony promised we’d love it. Velvety smooth and mild like sole but a bit thicker; he was right. We selected one that looked like four meals worth and it was. The below photo isn’t great but you can sorta see the three “tails.”  I also added three pounds of fresh caught shrimp to the Engel freezer.

Perfect- will be dressed and waiting upon our return from shopping in the “new” courtesy van

Another first, the Beaufort Grocery- wow just wow and that was only lunch. We arrived just before 1 pm on Saturday, no wait yet but things picked up while we ate. Seated promptly, our server was friendly and patient with us newbies. She gave us a verbal explanation of the day’s specials; which included some wines by the glass. I wanted white (instead of my typical cocktail) and we were offered tastings of both red and white since Russ wanted red.  How great is that?

The owners, one of whom graduated from the CIA in Hyde Park, NY established the restaurant in 1991 where the Owens Grocery Store operated for many years. So that explains the name. Charles serves as executive chef and Wendy his wife manages the front and doubles as Pastry Chef. Trip Advisor reviews claimed a delicious Bourbon Pecan Pie. I went for it and due to its extreme size, was able to enjoy it over several days.  Ignoring the scale at the next Publix may be advisable.

A MUST stop when in Beaufort

Beaufort Grocery is well-known for several unique menu items and while we couldn’t try all, I think we got two of three: Sweet potato chips and gougeres, leaving the flaming Saganaki to simply be admired when neighboring tables ordered the cheese appetizer that I will order next time!

Sweet potato chips sprinkled with sugar, egg & bacon salad gougere, Russ: Shrimp Melt and SP chips

This year we are about one week ahead of last year, which is good except for warmer temps mean more insects and bugs. The really good thing is that more cruisers are behind us than “with” us, allowing easier travel (passing and being passed takes time) and no problem being where we want to be. A good amount of buffer days is beneficial for when one needs to hunker down for weather, take more time to sight-see or spend more time attached to a dock. 🙂

Sunday was a lovely day to be offshore and several others thought so too; power boats not sail. Dolphins popped up from time to time but the biggest surprise was the one who swan at our bow (s) for several minutes; seemed like longer but the camera time doesn’t lie.

 

Life IS Good!

 

Lovely creature.

The beaches: Wrightsville and Carolina. Can you say “dining and donuts”?  You know we can. We can also say “unplanned get together with friends!”

Our go-to dining spot in Wrightsville Beach is Tower 7 that just happens to sit one block from the dinghy docks. The menu revamped, and my favorite choice eliminated but the Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese was very satisfying; way more pork than cheese.

Good Morning. 7:10- time for early risers to get going

Carolina Beach is very close to Wrightsville but we needed a donut fix and a place to wait out a couple of rainy/windy days.

The seagulls love when the locals drag- when the net first goes in it stirs up lots of fish

The southern end dinghy dock was still under reconstruction so we tied up (oh I can’t say where) and walked to take care of a things- all food and drink related now that I think about it. The important stop was Wake ‘n Bake Donuts (Britts isn’t open off-season) and the last stop was lunch.

Lunch time!

Cruising friends who we last saw in Maine during the “RV” year sold their sail cat and found a remarkable home just outside the historic district in Wilmington, NC which is up the Cape Fear River a 30 minute drive to Carolina Beach.  Summer at the Maine lake cottage, winter in NC; I’m becoming envious.

So you know the power of Facebook, right?  Jim and Laurie- and if you are counting, this is Laurie #3!! -posted that they were driving down like now and I replied that we’d be waiting for them in Carolina Beach, but not really thinking we’d get to see them, as who the heck wants to drive even more after days of driving and then unpacking a Uhaul?!?!

Cheers to meet-up with friends at the Surf House. We are so lucky!

I was impressed that our waiter knew exactly how to make a NY Sour and he assured me the bartender would craft one worthy of my high expectations.

The Surf House nailed the New York Sour

And so we continue down the ICW; dining, drinking and searching for donuts.

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