DECEMBER ON THE island was a gift of mild sunny days as autumn weather lingered, to some out stayed her welcome, as we all were waiting for the bracing wintry frost and cold that signifies Christmas is here. A new Christmas tradition was born as we celebrated family gatherings outdoors on oceanfront decks or sound side screen porches, bare legged, barefoot children, adults dressed in short sleeved attire, not a festive wool garment in sight. There was no gathering around a toasty fireplace this Christmas Day on Emerald Isle!
With the new year came our first true chilly days with temperatures proclaiming that winter has finally arrived on the island. Beach winter solstice is truly a special time on our island as we take grateful rest after so many months of welcoming our rental guests and homeowners with charming North Carolina hospitality. All that graciousness takes a lot of energy and enthusiasm! Now is the time for long quiet solitary walks on the beach and to appreciate the quicksilver, flat calm seas in that moment at dusk when the tilt of the earth grants us liquid, garnet sunsets. For now, our sun is setting over the ocean for these winter solstice weeks. Soon the sunsets begin their nightly progression around Bogue Inlet on the western tip of Bogue Banks until sunsets, by summer solstice time, are best viewed from a Bogue Sound dock.
Plan for a winter interlude at your island home soon. Find that sunny, out of the northeast wind spot on your south facing deck and tilt your face up to the sun. Dream of summers long ago and the spring just a few months away. This year on the Christian calendar, Palm Sunday shares the same day as the vernal equinox, the first day of spring. With Easter’s arrival is the true beginning of beach vacation rental season and the return of our vacationing guests. Like migratory water birds on the east coast flyways, we will see our island population increase by first hundreds and then thousands of visitors.
We know more mild winter days are ahead, tailor made for walking the outside of your property to assess landscaping needs, long planned enhancements for summertime living, even the oft postponed necessity for exterior painting, replacement windows or adjusting failing doors from too many years of our maritime weather. When short, chilly February days keep you indoors at your beach home, walk room to room and make lists to plan those refurbishing items to replace the old, the tattered and faded furnishings that have reached the end of their useful life at your beloved cottage that will soon welcome your paying rental guests.
Beach winter solstice, our time for rest and renewal. Springtime is coming and Easter is the earliest it can be. Ready your island home for your returning guests so it will be as fresh and invigorating as the wild dogwood trees budding along Bogue Banks in late March and the return of the warm southwest breeze.
Julia Batten Wax
Owner, Emerald Isle Realty