Throwback to the Crystal Coast
As summer comes to an end and I reflect on my various travels this season, I got inspired to share more on a North Carolina beach town that I visited for the first time this past year! In fact, I've been twice in this one year and both times were so fun and memorable, I wanted to share. I also feel inspired to share because I'm love having my new blog to round up all of recommendations in one place!
Just to clear it up! Morehead City, Atlantic Beach, and Beaufort are all nearby in this area. The first time I went, I was on a media trip and the second time, it was for a wedding. My boyfriend and I attended one in Emerald Isle, which is also nearby. It was neat to go back after learning so much about the area on a group media tour last Fall.
[Background: If you're confused what they are, it's basically when a group of journalists, photographers, influencers, etc. go on a trip with a planned press itinerary to learn more about a city. We capture it and later share with our online following.]
I'm going to start by flashing it back to my first time to the coast on Friday, October 17th, 2017. Can't believe it's been almost a year! This was a cherished memory of last year because it was a milestone in my journey as a blogger to get invited on my first travel opportunity. On it, I got to meet and spend time with some cool, creative, and talented people to say the least! We all stayed together in an extravagant beach house provided by Bluewater Vacation Rentals. It would be seriously perfect for a bachelorette weekend or big family reunion. It was a dream home.
The first day of our tour we started with the coolest adventure I might have ever done. We went kayaking to see wild horses. I read before I went that it's one of the most popular excursions to do in the area, but I had no idea how much I was actually going to enjoy it. The horses in their natural landscape was stunning. The company, Beaufort Paddle, that led us to them made me feel comfortable and taught us a lot. The horses are located on the Rachel Carson Reserve or locally known as Carrot Island. So, I loved hearing the history and passion that went in to save them and their habitat.
After we spent our morning there, we headed to the boardwalk in Beaufort to indulge at a waterfront restaurant, Blacksheep. I loved the patio seating and it was a perfect place to admire the scenery of the ocean with lunch or dinner! I ordered a salad to start and an Italian sandwich. It was so YUM!
Right on this same boardwalk are the cutest bikes I have ever seen. I loved their clever names and bright colors! They are not only the perfect photo-op for Insta, but also available for rent. You can also schedule a tour with Hungry Town Tours to learn more about the town. Beaufort is filled with historic houses that we were able to see on our bus tour. They of reminded me a lot of Charleston since it is also on the water.
We finished off this perfect first day with a sunset cruise and popped champagne! Riding through the ocean at night on this incredible boat was so fun. They were custom-made Carolina style sport fishers to be exact. The blonde and brunette pair below, Kath and Rebecca, are from the blog @thecrystalpress and they are so fabulous! I had so much fun chatting with them about fashion and all things chic.
The next day was just as beautiful! We rode a ferry across the water to Shackleford Banks to see more wild horses. During the ride, we had a breathtaking view of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. I absolutely loved the distinctive black and white diamond pattern. It was so interesting to hear some facts about the lighthouse, like how it is located on the southern most point of the Outer Banks.
After we got off the ferry, we went to Beaufort for lunch at a popular spot that the locals love. It is a French bistro cuisine by name of Beaufort Grocery. I got a delicious crab crake sandwich with lettuce and tomato on a crispy croissant.
Later that night we went on a ghost tour! I was excited yet anxious listening to all the legendary stories that have been passed down all the way from the Colonial and Civil War eras. We were able to see some of the houses that have been there for years. The architecture was so beautiful; it amazed me at how preserved they were and still looked just as good. As for the night life, we had a few favorite spots our group enjoyed. Those places were The Arendell Room, the Barnacle Bar, and the Idle Hour Biergarten; also a fun place with karaoke is Amos Mosquitos.
Fast forward to 2018 and the weekend of June 15th when I returned to the Crystal Coast for a friend's wedding. I gathered a few more food and shopping suggestions for you all in case you plan on visiting NC's gem!
We were mostly busy with wedding activities during the nights, but we managed to try a few places during the day when we had free time that weekend. We relaxed and sipped on day drinks at Crab's Claw *link the website* located on Atlantic Beach. With Caribbean vibes and a rooftop view of the ocean, it can't get any better than that. I'm all about views by the water, so I was digging this! Good picture spot too ;)
On our way out of town on Sunday, we brunched at a tapas place suggested to us by family friends, and let me tell you, it was SO good. Circa 81 was one of the best brunch locations I have ever been to and would definitely recommend it. Next time, I want to try it for dinner because they have a variety of small plates that look delicious.
Both of my trips, I stopped in Beaufort Linen Co. *link website* They sell my absolute favorite candles ever. The brand is Caldrea. They are just so good, I'm addicted! For a "thanks for watching my dog" gift, I bought my mom my go-to scent, Sea Salt Negori. It's one of those candles that fills up the whole room with it's aroma even before you light it!
These were just some of the highlights from two incredible trips I had at the Crystal Coast. This historic town just never fails! I'm already trying to plan a time to go back! I love that it's right here in the Carolinas.
*Fun side note* Some of the Nicholas Spark movies have been filmed here, and I can definitely see why!
It was fun to relive the memories and spill all the details with you guys. I always enjoy hearing your input too, so feel free to drop restaurant or shopping suggestions in the comments! I got a lot of DM's of go-to spots from you guys while there that I want to visit next time if I get the chance. Stay in touch!
Thanks for reading, friends.