Best Cooler Packing Tips

There are quite a few blogs that claim to have the best cooler packing tips. Very well… I can agree that many do have valid points about prechilling the coolers, layering, and whatnot. The problem I’ve noticed is that most of these tips and tricks are targeted towards campers, not beachers. (Folks that go camping vs. those who go to the beach… I’m sure you were able to figure that out 😉) As you can imagine, there is nothing so disheartening as reaching into your cooler mid-day only to find its contents lukewarm. It is a sad state of affairs, I know,  but so avoidable! With a little preplanning, you will have the coldest, most well-stocked cooler on the beach! And, you know I’m going to teach you how!

Chill Out!

best cooler packing tips

There is a popular misconception that loading your pack down with bulky ice packs and pounds of watery ice is the only way to achieve maximum chill factor. This is simply not true. From my experience, ice packs and ice are only a third  of what keeps coolers coldest all day long in the summer heat. Packing techniques are, of course, another key element. Freezing food and drinks is the final key. Check out this list of freezable foods that will thaw just in time for lunch:

  • Fruits like grapes, peach slices, apple slices (tossed in a little lemon juice to prevent browning), cherries, & strawberries.
  • Yogurt tubes
  • Juice pouches (delicious slushies when they start to thaw!)
  • Water Bottles
  • This one is only for the adults in the group! Frozen bag of pre-made cocktail– This baby will help keep your cooler ice cold. If you happen to enjoy box-o-wine, remove the box, freeze the bag and voila… a lovely bag of wine cooler with a ready-to-pour spout! Or fill that bag up with any other cocktail mixture and enjoy your day in the sun. (Enjoy responsibly, especially on the beach!)

 

Wrap It Upbest cooler packing tips

Sandwiches or wraps? Well, wraps obviously! What is better than a full meal you can hold in one hand while tanning your legs? Nothing, that’s what. That being said, here are my reasons for supporting wraps over bread for picnic purposes. Bread gets squished very easily and has to be packed with care. Wraps hold together well  and can take a little abuse without getting  bent out of shape.

Also, anything that can be put on sandwich bread can be put on a wrap, and then some. Have you ever tried to stuff a sandwich full only to have it fall apart at the seems? (Once upon a time, I got so mad a peanut butter and banana sandwich because it refused to hold together. I picked it up and squished it between my fingers, cursing the sticky mash that oozed from my little hand… I was five years old. Took me years to attempt another one…) So yea, wraps are the way to go at the beach. Let us not forget that you only hand to have one relatively clean hand to eat a wrap! Here are just a few family-friendly wraps that will be just fine hanging out in the cooler.

Buffalo Chicken Wrap

best cooler packing tips

  • Chicken – Cooked, shredded chicken is best but frozen tenders or nuggets cut up work well too.
  • Buffalo Sauce – Use your favorite (Frank’s & Texas Pete are my favorite!)
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Lettuce & Tomato – Optional but oh, so good!
  • Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing (Or Blue Cheese crumbles) – Gotta have ’em!
  • Large Flour Tortillas

Mix the chicken, buffalo sauce (to spice preference), & cheese. Fill the center of your tortilla with the mixture, adding lettuce, tomato, & sauces as desired. Fold in the sides, roll it up, & wrap it tight in wax paper or foil.

 

 

Asian Crunch Wrap

best cooler packing tips

  • Chicken – Cooked, shredded chicken is best but frozen tenders or nuggets cut up work well too.
  • Coleslaw mix – Cabbage and Asian food go hand-in-hand.
  • Sweet Chili Sauce – Mae Ploy… I live for it!
  • Soy Sauce – Just a splash for flavor
  • Fresh Cilantro – It wouldn’t be the same without it… so fresh & delicious.
  • Fresh Green Onions
  • Roasted Peanuts – That’s the crunch!
  • Large Flour Tortillas

For every 2 cups of coleslaw mix, toss in 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce, 2 chopped green onions, & 1 tsp soy sauce together. Lay chicken on tortilla, adding slaw mixture, & top with cilantro & peanuts. Fold in the sides, roll it up, & wrap it tight in wax paper or foil.

 

 

Cranberry Turkey Wraps

  • best cooler packing tipsMandarin Oranges
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Apple – Peeled & diced
  • Nonfat plain yogurt – Greek or otherwise
  • Mayo  – Just a little dollop
  • Lettuce
  • Turkey Breast – Grab your favorite from the deli at Publix
  • Mozzarella Cheese – Sliced thin for sandwiches
  • Pecans
  • Large Flour Tortillas

Mix a little mayo with the yogurt and spread on the tortillas. Layer on the lettuce, cheese, turkey, fruits and pecans. Then… you guessed it, fold in the sides, roll it up, & wrap it tight in wax paper or foil. Naturally, depending on the size of your group, and who wants what, all of these wraps can be tailored to individual tastes!

 

 

Pack It Up!

best cooler packing tips

Packing frozen fruits in Tupperware protects them from squish-age, and helps them act as ice packs. The sandwich wraps should be fine wrapped in wax paper of foil, and then protected in a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Chips and whatnot go directly into the beach bag or dry storage pouch!

When it’s time to assemble your goods, keep in mind that cold air settles to the bottom of your cooler. It is a good idea to pre-chill your cooler in some way, either by filling it with “sacrificial ice”, or chilling it in the freezer (if you have access to a freezer big enough, that is.) I prefer the “sacrificial ice” method.

 

 

So, this is how the pros do it:

  • Fill your cooler with ice, up to 12 hours before your beach day (the night before will work just fine.) Let that bad boy chill…
  • In the morning, dump the ice… yes, just let it go, that’s why it’s sacrificial.
  • Add a layer of block ice on the bottom – Make your own by freezing water & salt in Tupperware containers or empty milk/juice cartons. Salt keeps the ice colder, longer!
  • Add your frozen water bottles & juice pouches to the cooler.
  • Layer your picnic food – Amazing, delicious wraps in this case!
  • Top with your chilled snacks – Frozen fruits, yogurt tubes, etc.
  • Add a light layer of loose ice or a few frozen juice pouches.
  • Anything that does not require refrigeration, I say pack in a separate compartment or toss them into your beach bag. The less that cooler is opened the better!

 

It’s not that I’m against ice packs, I just like the fact that you can leave whatever ice has melted right there on the beach rather than carrying back thawed ice packs. Remember, keep that load light. You will thank yourself later, I promise! And for the love of all that is beautiful and natural, please leave only your footprints! Bring a small trash bag to collect any garbage and take it off the beach when you leave.  The beach will thank you!

 

 

Vacation Smart, Not Hard!

 

best cooler packing tipsIn my noble pursuit to provide you with the best vacation information possible, I wrote this post especially for all my beach-goers. These here are the best cooler packing tips for a day at the beach, tried and true, and they haven’t failed me yet! And you, my vacationing friends, you are above squished, soggy sandwich and lukewarm yogurt! Take it from me, these tips will save you from some real headaches (and gross lunches.)

Of course, you can always leave me comments about your very best cooler packing tips and tricks… I’d love to hear them! Like I’ve said before, “Vacation Smart, Not Hard.” I stick by this statement with all my passion for vacation pleasure, and my disdain for things being more difficult than necessary. It’s the beach, not rocket science after all. You’re here to relax… and that’s just what you should do.

 

Until Next Time, Stay Salty!

Christine B.

Emerald Isle Coffee Shops

What’s the Buzz ⇒ Emerald Isle Coffee Shops

“Hello darkness, my old friend…”, yes, I’m singing to my cup again…my cup filled with delicious hot coffee from one of my favorite Emerald Isle coffee shops! Now, a good coffee shop isn’t too difficult to find these days, but going on vacation to a new place can certainly leave you in search of you’re next tasty pick-me-up.  Fear not! As always, I’ll faithfully lead you to the road paved with goodness… and caffeine.

So, what does it take to become one of the greatest Emerald Isle coffee shops, anyway? Delicious brew, of course, and a relaxing environment to enjoy it!

Along with many avid coffee fans, I appreciate a selection of good quality menu options and signature offerings.  All the Emerald Isle coffee shops serve strong espresso shots, creamy mochas and smooth iced coffees, yet the question still remains… where do the locals go? We go where the coffee is good, the treats are tasty, and the service is friendly.

Each of the charming Emerald Isle coffee shops have their own signature style and flair, yet all are equally satisfying.  Allow me to introduce you to your next cup of happiness…

Stir It Up

Emerald Isle coffee shops

This little gem in the Emerald Plantation Shopping Center serves up some seriously tasty refreshments and treats. Stir It Up has a wide variety of drinks available, frappes being a big summertime seller.  My personal recommendation is the Mexican Mocha Frappe, a most heavenly frozen combination of ice-cold chocolate with warming cinnamon. Delish!

The Milky Way Frappe is another winner. Honestly, who doesn’t love chocolate and caramel… yum!  With a slew of flavor combinations available, there is definitely something for everyone, including the kids.  The baked goods on display are so delicious, convenient, and individually packed for an easy grab and go treat. Grab the little ones a hot chocolate and a cookie, and see those smiles appear!

4J’s Cafe and Bake Shop

I’ve raved about 4J’s Cafe & Bake Shop in the past and I’ll rave about it until the cows come home! Drink options are awesome and they offer so much more than just coffee. Their smoothies are to live for, especially with the variety of protein options. My favorite is definitely the Angela smoothie, an awesomely light yet filling blend of strawberries and chia seeds (I add banana… oh-so-yummy!) The options are vast, so discovering your favorite should be breeze. 

4J’s, of course, gets it right with coffee as well! They offer personal pots, hot and cold signature blends, and the tea selection here gives them bragging rights among other tea rooms in the area… 42 teas to choose for your infusion pleasure! The imported products offered vary from kitchen tools to oils and seasonings, and much more.

The proprietor is originally from NYC, so you know he does it right when it comes to baked goods. This is the only place around offering Brooklyn-water bagels, along with the other fantastic pastries baked up fresh each morning. If you’ve never experience a Brooklyn-water bagel, you absolutely must! I guarantee you won’t be sorry. Get their early or pre-order bagels for the next morning… they sell out quickly (and yes, they are that good!) Specialty cakes and pastries are also available to order… the perfect way to celebrate a beach vacation. Check out the 4J’s website for their great selections!

Muttigan’s K9s & Coffee

Friendly staff members set the welcoming tone while they prepare one of the best coffee drinks you’ll ever enjoy. They have refreshments for kids as well, and even offer the Pup Cup (whipped cream with a cookie treat topping just for the fur-babies.) The hot Mocha and the Flavor of the Day brewed coffee options are my personal favorites. You can taste the quality in each sip! (Check out their Swansboro location, as well!)

Half of this shop is dedicated to high quality pet supplies and gifts, while the other half is dedicated to refueling, reconnecting, and relaxing with your favorite friends, furry or otherwise. The impressive menu showcases the owners passion for quality products, proven in all aspects of this establishment. In addition to coffee, they offer an assortment of locally baked goods, along with a selection of craft beer and wine. Coffee connoisseurs and pet lovers are head-over-heels for this awesome java hut, unique among the Emerald Isle coffee shops. Seriously, this place is so cool… and pet friendly! In fact, it was rated as one of America’s Coolest Stores 2018 by Pet’s Plus Magazine. They certainly earned it, too!

Emerald Isle Coffee Shops

There is deep peace in sipping coffee while the ocean lulls you into total euphoria. It’s always Coffee O’Clock somewhere on Emerald Isle!

Until next time, Stay Salty!

Christine B.

Rental Homes on Emerald Isle

Getting the Worm

The early bird gets the worm… a wise statement, indeed.  As far as I can tell, this rule of thumb holds true for most things in life.  Hence, consider the rental homes on Emerald Isle as the proverbial “worms.”  From the large Isle Treasures to cozy little condos, rental homes on Emerald Isle are some of the most popular in the world.  Early vacation planning ensures you are able to select from a wide variety of properties.  Planning ahead also allows for ample preparation time, especially important when renting a vacation property.  If it sounds like the pressure is on, fear not.  I’m here to guide you, my dear vacationer friends.  Here are a few tips to help you plan the best beach vacation yet!

Rental Homes on Emerald Isle: Choosing the Right One for You

Begin searching for your ideal rental property as soon as you decide to visit the Crystal Coast.  During the course of the year, most rental properties on the Isle fill up with reservations quickly.  Therefore, planning a year ahead of time isn’t a bad idea!  Each of the rental homes on Emerald Isle have unique personalities.  Take time to view pictures and descriptions of the ones that may work for your group.  Doing this will give you a better idea of what you will be walking into.  Room layout, kitchen size and dining arrangements, and accessibility all play a factor into what works best for your group.  Of course, we know our properties best so allow us to help when the planning process gets a bit overwhelming.

Plan Your Activities

Learning the lay of the land is the best way to maximize your coastal experience.  Whether you’re an avid angler, a nature lover, a history buff, or a foodie, there is something here to peek your interest.  While planning your trip, read about everything the area offers.  Ask members of your group what they are interested in experiencing.  This will help determine what activities your group will enjoy best.  Consider the charter fishing tours that leave out of Swansboro, Morehead City, and Beaufort.  These towns are not only beautifully historic, they also offer excellent waterfront shopping, dining, and sightseeing for all those who don’t quite have their sea legs.

rental homes on emerald isle
Cedar Point Nature Trail

For all you nature lovers, this coastal area provides many opportunities to enjoy serene beauty.  Popular natural areas include the Cedar Point Tideland Trail and the Emerald Isle Woods Path.  The Elliot Coues Trail at Fort Macon is another local favorite.  Additionally, Fort Macon is just one of the many historical sites worth visiting on Bogue Banks, along with the Historical Society in Morehead City.  Young people will enjoy the hands-on historical experience along with many other activities tailored to the youth.  We are always happy to offer many other suggestions for everyone in your group, including the young people!

Plan Your Meals

Most travelers wait until they are on the Isle to go grocery shopping.  As I’ve witnesses a thousand times, fighting crowds of hungry road warriors is rarely pleasant.  Regardless, people have to eat!  If you didn’t know already, groceries can be ordered online and delivered to rental homes on Emerald Isle!  Can you imagine the stress and confusion this can save, especially when travelling in with a large group?  Lowes Foods To Go offers the option to shop online and either pick up or have your food delivered.  Having the members of your group specify what they would like in the refrigerator can help avoid a lot of hassle.  Island Dawn Errands is another excellent resource when you need to handle personal and business errands.  Friendly and reputable, Dawn will get it done!  Plan to use these services and save yourself a major headache.

Of course, being on vacation also means dining at some of the best local restaurants in the area.  From fine dining to casual family meals, you’ll find the best of everything on the Crystal Coast.  The fishing industry on  our coast supplies restaurants with the freshest seafood available.  The creative chefs cook it up to reflect their own artistry.  Take time to look at menus, read reviews, and plan where you would really like to dine.  When the question finally comes up of “Where do you want to eat tonight?,” you’ll already know!

Items to Bring to Rental Homes on Emerald Isle

Many newcomers and first-time renters are under the impression that rental homes on Emerald Isle are like hotels.  They are indeed alike in many ways, and also different in many ways.  Hotels offer the convenience of turn-down service and mini bottles of shampoo and lotion.  Beach rental houses offer the privacy and room to accommodate an entire family with room to spare… try that in a single hotel room.  Rental homes on Emerald Isle provide a home away from home, a place to cozy up and relax.

Before you relax though, there are a few things you will need to pack.  At least begin making your list ahead of time.  Be sure to include things like paper towels, toilet paper, trash bags, and dish soap.  All of our properties have either coffee makers, a Keurig, or both.  Be sure to bring filters and your favorite hot beverages!  Also, bring shampoo & conditioner, bath & hand soaps, and all other toiletries.  Many properties include linens with weekly rentals, so double check if you will need to bring linens as well.  If so, be sure to have a correct bed count and know the sizes to bring!  We can help answer any questions about the properties and amenities.

See You Soon!

With all of that being said, I hope you start planning your trip to the Crystal Coast today!  Rental homes on Emerald Isle are available for families and groups of every size and vacation budget.  Let us help guide you to the one that will work best for you.  If you have any questions about the area, activities, and anything else, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email.  We know the Crystal Coast and welcome you to it with open arms.  We’ll see you next summer!!

Until next time, Stay Salty!

Christine B

 

Winter Rentals on Emerald Isle

Bye Bye Summer

Winter on the Crystal Coast is that special time of the year filled with festivities, great food, amazing fishing and, of course, available winter rentals!  Summer crowds have dwindled, yet the gorgeous coastal scenery flourishes.  Weather on the Isle during the autumn and winter months is very mild, with average temperatures ranging anywhere between the mid-40’s to the mid-60’s.  Beach-combers and fishermen alike enjoy the serene beauty of the Crystal Coast in winter.  One visit during the off-season will certainly enlighten you as to why the Crystal Coast attracts visitors all year long!

Reel ‘Em In

Anglers know that autumn fishing on the Crystal Coast is prime!  With it’s recent remodel, Bogue Inlet Pier provides an exceptional fishing experience.

winter rentals
Bogue Inlet Pier

Folks from around the state come to cast their lines and reel in the wide variety that runs up the coast.  Ask the locals about recent seasonal catches along with where to pull them in!  So far this year, we’ve fried up sea mullet, pompano, spot, & trout, just to name a few.  Not only is it rewarding, it’s a lot of fun for the whole family.  Replace smart phones with fishing poles and see a whole new side of your family!  Your kids might even thank you for an amazing experience!

Yum Yum!

Searching for your next scrumptious meal in the off-season take little to no effort!  Local restaurants stay open year-round serving hot, fresh and delicious meals.  When cold breezes and snow flurries head your way, you head our way!  Grab a bowl of steaming Seafood Bisque at Flipperz, served with amazing homemade bread.  Visit Marty down at Captain’s Kitchen food truck for the best fried seafood anywhere.  Of course, you can always grab takeout from our fabulous local eateries to bring back to one of our winter rentals!  All in all, dine in comfort while watching the waves roll in!

Winter Rentals Just for You

Emerald Isle winter rentals are available now, and are priced to fit any vacation budget.  Enjoy the tranquility of “Island Living” during the off-season months by resting easy in one of our cozy Shorewood properties.  Altogether, our wide variety of beach homes are sure to delight!   By all means, take part in the many festivals and event happening during the winter months.  In essence, we encourage you to live like a local during your visit!  Call us today to plan your next vacation to the Isle!

Until next time, Stay Salty!

Christine B.

 

Morehead City: Gem of the Crystal Coast

What’s All the Hubbub?

Nestled on the banks of the Beaufort Inlet, Morehead City is where tradition meets advancement.  As a matter of fact, this bustling seaside hub has been a hot spot for commerce & tourism for over 150 years!  Rich in culture, customs, and folklore, Morehead is a nerve center of inspiration.  Artists of all mediums find the coast to be a muse, of sorts.  Writers and musicians from around the world have found their calling on the Crystal Coast.  Edible inspiration is found everywhere, served up by local chefs showcasing their individual styles.  Art galleries and antiques shops filled with hidden treasures line the streets of Downtown Morehead City.  By all means, delve into the many sights, sounds, & flavors of this thriving city-by-the-sea!

Morehead City
Beautiful Morehead City

 The Birth of Morehead City

Governor John Motley Morehead envisioned the development of a large port city on the coast. He traveled to Carteret County in the mid-19th century, interested in studying the Beaufort Harbor and Port.  Fortunately, the 29th governor found the location to be quite impressive!  Governor Morehead purchased 600 acres from the Arendell family, giving birth to Shepard Point Land Company, formed in 1857.  At that time, Morehead was occupied by 300 individual families when finally incorporated in 1860.  Developers and first leaders of Morehead City have name streets named in their honor.

Community is Strength

Morehead City thrives on community interaction and involvement.  Events held throughout the year benefit many causes in Carteret County.  Residence and visitors come out in troves to take part in the support of our community!  This is just another reason to plan off-season vacations to the Crystal Coast (hint, hint!)  Morehead City proudly hosts annual events including the North Carolina Seafood Festival and the Carolina Chocolate Festival, not to mention the legendary Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament.   These prominent, non-profit events have raised millions of dollars to help strengthen our community.  Additionally, they have helped provide support and awareness for many Carteret County charities.

In addition, Morehead City is home to several world-class postgraduate programs and research organizations.  Equally, Morehead is also home to the lovely waterfront campus of Carteret Community College.  Notable parent schools include UNC Chapel Hill, NC State, & Duke University.  Morehead is a highly active hotbed for higher education.  Students can excel while studying in this gorgeous area.  When they need a break from the books, the beach is a hop and a skip away!  All in all, education and community are major focal points on the Crystal Coast.

Morehead City Eats & Treats

Dining on the Morehead Waterfront is a vast journey in variety.  Spanning from traditional southern fare to fine dining, the choices are endless!  Local chefs combine fresh ingredients to create unmatched flavors unique to the Crystal Coast.  Local bakeries bring people back time and time again with fresh, homemade goods.  Poke your head in to any of these gems and savor the best of the coast!

In any event, take time to explore the rich history and culture of Morehead City.  Step back in time at The History Place and sip tea at the Infusion Café. Certainly, be sure to grab a treat at Sugarloaf Island Bakery and the Spouter Inn!  Furthermore, take time to meet the locals and ask questions!  Take in the sights, sounds and flavors of the Crystal Coast!

Until next time, Stay Salty!

Christine B.

Best Seafood Near Emerald Isle

Rumor Has It!

Word was spreading like wildfire about a new food truck opening on the Isle.  Rumors stated that the new Captain’s Kitchen food truck began serving some of the best seafood near Emerald Isle! Moreover, I heard they were even serving a shrimp burger that could rival the most dyed-in-the-wool local eateries!  Truly a bold statement indeed. Understandably, I was curious.  In fact, we were all curious!  I thought it would be best to get a first-hand peek at what all the fuss was about, being a connoisseur of all things worth eating.  What an experience!

Best Seafood Near Emerald Isle

In taking the drive to Salter Path, a “$5 Shrimp Burgers” sign came into view.  Unceremoniously situated in the Island Encore Consignment parking lot sat a small food truck.  best seafood near emerald isleAs I tentatively stepped towards the truck, a friendly face peeped through the little window with a warm smile and a kind greeting.  I smiled and paused to quietly study the menu. Asking a few questions first, I decidedly chose the Shrimp Burger, the Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich, and the Monster Fish Sandwich.  Marty, the friendly face in the window & Captain’s Kitchen proprietor, talked me into getting the fish sandwich.  I’m glad I did!  A giant piece of farm-raised catfish lay between a soft bun, topped with just enough creamy coleslaw. Tender, buttery catfish melted in my mouth, needing absolutely nothing to compliment it.  Impressed is an understatement and I will certainly order it again in the future!

The same goes for the $5 Shrimp Burger.  Stuffed between the same soft, tasty bun was a gigantic pile of fresh, plump shrimp. Two good sized sandwiches could be made with the amount of wonderful shrimp put on just the one… seriously!  My little one ate the loose shrimp for dinner and had an entire sandwich left over for the next days lunch!

Foodie Love

Now, some foods in this world are so delicious, you pause after the first bite just to consider the piece of heaven in your mouth.  The Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich had this exact effect on me… absolutely amazing.  Thinking there were two small crabs between the bread, I peeled back the top bun to rearrange my sandwich.  Imagine my joy when I discovered one huge crab… the biggest soft-shell crab I’ve ever seen in life, fried to perfection.  The first bite of crispy crab elated my taste buds and I settled into pure euphoria.  Bite after juicy bite was bliss and as I popped the last crunchy piece into my mouth, it was like saying goodbye to an old friend.  Need I even say more?  Get one in your mouth as soon as possible!

Supporting Local Business

Although Captain’s Kitchen has only been around a short time, it is all the rage!  Marty gets his seafood locally and fresh, each bite proving it.  Many of us locals have been around seafood our entire lives and we know whats good, what tastes fresh and what doesn’t. Captain’s Kitchen is truly serving some of the best seafood near Emerald Isle.  The pride and humility this establishment stands for is evident in the offerings and prices.  Let us work together as a community to support our local businesses, especially the ones that feed us!  Go visit Marty and the guys at Captain’s Kitchen… you will be thrilled you did!!

 

Until next time, Stay Salty!

Christine B

Waterfront Restaurants Near Emerald Isle

How about this weather…?

Dining at waterfront restaurants is a novelty and a treat, but also a vacation destination. Of course, the thought of enjoying a waterfront meal in February would seem a little bone-chilling, right?  In reality, winter on the Crystal Coast is as unpredictable as the Atlantic Ocean.  Due to Mother Nature having been so kind, Emerald Isle has seen an unusually mild winter.  As a result, people have been lured out of hibernation and onto the decks of some of their favorite local waterfront restaurants.  In light of the fortunate weather, go catch a warm breeze and a cool drink at one of these fantastic local spots!

Let’s Eat… Waterfront Restaurants at their finest!

View from Waterfront Restaurants: Amos Mosquito's
View from Waterfront Restaurants: Amos Mosquito’s

Amos Mosquito’s sits on the edge of Intra Coastal Waterway, serving a southern-inspired menu.   Featuring dishes ranging from seafood to steak to sushi and more, Amos Mosquito’s provides a great dining experience.  The décor creates a fun “down in the bayou” ambiance and, equally comforting, the food tastes like it came straight from grandma’s kitchen (if grandma were a culinary institute graduate.)  Dine waterfront for a sound side experience and remember, Sushi & Karaoke Night is every Thursday!

Spouter Inn is located in Beaufort and is a favorite among local waterfront restaurants.  Spouter Inn’s lunch menu offers a wonderful variety of delicious sandwiches, salads and soups.  Dinner showcases fresh seafood, steak & chicken, and tapas-style appetizers, all prepared to perfection.  If you do nothing else, try their desserts from the on-site bakery! The éclairs, napoleons, creampuffs, cakes, and cookies are ALL to die for!!!

From Chef to Table…

View from Saltwater Grill
View from Saltwater Grill

Saltwater Grill is in Downtown Swansboro, overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.  The cuisine offered here reflects the expertise in which Chef Martin Berndt uses. He highlights the freshest seafood, along with lamb, beef, chicken, and beyond.  As a result, Saltwater Grill offers so many wonderful flavors- it takes more than one trip to enjoy it all!  The 2-story deck and waterfront patio area provides a relaxing setting to eat, drink, and socialize.

Ruddy Duck sits on the beautiful Morehead City Waterfront. Asian, Caribbean, and traditional Southern influences are blended together to offer some of the most palate-pleasing dishes around!  Frog Legs, Asian-style duck, burgers, seafood, and pastas are just a few fabulous meals that keep people coming back!  Considering the lovely views, delicious food, and cold drinks, it’s no wonder Ruddy Duck is a local favorite.

Now for something a bit more casual…

Finz Grill is located in Beaufort, across the street from the North Carolina Maritime Museum.  The menu is fun and casual with a great variety of sandwiches, burgers, seafood, and more.   Finz offers views of Shackleford Island directly across the way from their a shaded waterfront deck.  You might even catch a glimpse of the wild horses on Shackleford!

Emerald Isle provides everything you need to have a great family vacation, in addition to having the entire Crystal Coast to explore.  Furthermore, there is a big wide world out there surrounding our little town.  Above all, no matter where you are, a scrumptious meal on the table, cold drinks in hand, and family together makes life good.

Until next time, stay salty!

Christine B

Local Restaurants for Every Taste

What’s for Dinner?

As far as I’m concerned, eating well is the top priority on any vacation. No, I’m not talking about eating soggy sandwiches from the cooler. I’m talking about exploring the vast & unique dining options available on the Crystal Coast! We have everything from amazing comfort food to fancy fine dining, and EVERYTHING in between. Have a large group? No problem. Looking for a romantic evening out? Even less of a problem! You cook and clean all year, right? Let someone else take care of that while you’re on vacation. Finding new and delicious places to dine is truly one of the most fun aspects of traveling, is it not? Now go out, explore the town, and chow down!

Local Restaurants Loved by Locals

  • Rucker John’s is a family go-to, serving up crowd-pleasing favorites.  The Kicked-Up Nachos are my personal favorite (amazing nachos dressed to the nine & topped with buffalo shrimp…oh yea.)  They serve everything from steaks and seafood to pastas and chicken. Along with the other Emerald Isle restaurants, this place is wallet and family-friendly and highly recommended for a night out with the kids!
  • T&W Oyster Bar has always been a local favorite, serving delicious oysters and fresh seafood to the Crystal Coast for generations. Sitting a little bit off-grid with a real local vibe, this place offers fried and broiled seafood platters, hushpuppies and, of course, oysters in a relaxing setting where you can simply dig into a good seafood meal and enjoy time with the family!
  • Flipperz offers a great variety of family fare in a relaxed island setting. Their made-from-scratch seafood bisque served with freshly baked bread will keep you coming back to this local favorite year after year.  Make sure you check out their adjacent shop, Madras & Khakis! Oh, and they have a sister restaurant, “The Trading Post”  located where the old Mike’s Place used to be.
  • Kathryn’s Bistro & Martini Bar is island fine dining in it’s glory. Although a little pricey, you know my motto is, “You get what you pay for.” Indeed this is the case at Kathryn’s. They are known for their delicious food, excellent service, and of course, martinis! Leave the kids for an evening (with a sitter, of course) and get to Kathryn’s… you deserve!

Comfort Food Anyone?

  • La Plaza Mexico is the best Mexican restaurant on the Crystal Coast.  Preparing each dish using fresh, delicious ingredients, La Plaza Mexico is a perfect place to gather and relax after a day on the beach.  The kids, of course, will love the cheese dip and chips.  Mom and Dad will love the relaxed vibe and great prices! (The Alambre Texano is my favorite!)
  • Great Wall is a favorite local restaurant for Chinese food on Emerald Isle.  Fresh, quality ingredients go into every dish prepared by some of the nicest folks around. (Love the Singapore Rice Noodle dish…yum!)  A traditional American Chinese food menu with a few delicious surprises makes Great Wall a serious crowd-pleaser!  Everyone gets what they want; you win and so does your wallet!
  • Shark’s Den is considered a sports bar, but it’s really so much more than that. Shark’s Den offers a full menu of great eats and cold brew. You’ll find unique appetizers, creative burgers, salads, sandwiches and more.  Check out your favorite sport team while munching on Duck Wings. Wash down a plate of Fried Pickles or Voodoo Onion Rings with an ice-cold beer from their great On-Tap selection. Oh, and it is kid & budget friendly, so make sure you go say hello!

Rest, Play, Eat

Local Crystal Coast restaurants are plentiful, so take your time to explore all that the Isle has to offer. Feel free to call Shorewood for other suggestions, and know we’re always happy to help guide you into total vacation bliss.  When you’re here on the Isle rest well, play well, and eat well.  After all, that is what vacationing is all about!

Until next time, stay salty!

Christine B.