Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Coastal Living rates 'em all

Coastal Living magazine's website, CoastalLiving.com, has compiled its "Best of the Coast" lists which includes such topics as "Best Seafood Dives" in America, "Top 10 Bike Trips" along U.S. coasts, "Top 10 Aquariums" and much more.

While North Carolina spots rated highly on some parts of the magazine's "Best of" lists, the state was shorted on others.

First, the good:
  • The Outer Banks ranked among the top 10 places for bike riding. "This ride would rank higher if not for wind and traffic," said Coastal Living. "The arrowhead-shape formation of barrier islands known as the Outer Banks thrusts way out into the Atlantic Ocean—usually beyond sight of the mainland. These narrow, flat strips of sand afford lots of water views, especially on the Pamlico Sound side. The ride’s difficulty depends on whether the capricious sea breezes provide a helpful tailwind or nasty headwind. The main road, two-lane Highway 12, lacks bike lanes or even much in the way of shoulders. Spring provides the best combination of nice weather and light traffic. A 28-mile lighthouse-to-lighthouse ride (plus a free ferry ride in the middle) runs from the famous Hatteras Light on Hatteras Island to the Ocracoke Lighthouse on the western tip of Ocracoke Island."
  • The "Scenic Cycling" topic notes Carolina Tailwinds on Ocracoke Island. The company "offers four- or six-day tours of North Carolina’s Ocracoke Island and Outer Banks in the spring and fall. The route snakes through scenic Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge and Cape Hatteras National Seashore. A luxury bike tour of the Outer Banks explores the northern coastal region of North Carolina. Riders may bring their own bikes or pay an additional fee for rental."
  • Beaufort was rated among the places with the best boardwalks. "If glitz and glamour aren't your forte, stroll down the boardwalk in this quaint North Carolina town. Friendly locals abound, as well as boaters who've docked their craft to get a better view of Carrot Island's wild horses, or to peruse an antique store or two. The view (and beer) from the Dock House is exceptional, and the live music and fresh crabs on a summer night can't be beat. "
  • And Cape Lookout National Seashore was voted among the top 10 National Seashores and Lakeshores. "The more-accessible Cape Hatteras National Seashore, just to the northeast, gets more attention, partly for the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. But the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, with its striking black-and-white diamond pattern, is pretty cool, too. And the three unbridged, nature-dominated Cape Lookout islands—North Core Banks, South Core Banks, and Shackleford Banks—show what the Outer Banks were like just a few decades ago, before strip malls and giant rental homes. Check out Portsmouth Village, an eerily well-preserved ghost town."

Those are the items that Coastal Living got right; however, N.C. beaches and beach amenities were left off the other categories:
  • Favorite Seafood Dives
  • Pocket Beaches
  • Off the Beaten Path
  • Top 10 Seafood Markets
  • Top 10 Aquariums
  • Best Seaside Drives

Got any thoughts on what N.C. spots could be included in these lists? Discuss it in the "Comments" section. Some suggestions?

  • Favorite Seafood Dives: Crab Shack in Salter Path and Island Grill in Atlantic Beach
  • Top 10 Aquariums: The new N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.



Anonymous said...

I'm not exactly sure what "pocket beaches" are, but if I had to pick one, I would go with the beaches off Shackleford Island.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call it a "dive," but what about 42nd Street in Raleigh?

HersheyGirl said...

For seafood dives, our family always frequented Captain Bill's Waterfront Restaurant in Morehead City, and Captain Charlie's in Swansboro. I don't know if Capt. Charlie's is even still there. For beaches, the favorite was always Hammocks Beach State Park (otherwise known as "Bear Island" to locals) southwest of Emerald Isle across the Bogue Inlet. (Accessible only by ferry or private boat.)

M. Lail said...

I'll have to try Captain Charlie's sometime (if it's still there). There were several "dives" out past Swansboro and Cape Carteret that were famous, but I'm not sure how many are still around.
Never been to Hammock's Beach, but have always been curious about it. Thanks for the heads-up!