Thursday, July 3, 2014

Simply...Sunset Beach

I have been vacationing at Sunset Beach, NC, since I was 12-years-old. It started with long weekends with my parents that stretched into an annual week at our favorite house to weeks with my own family and children. We've always had a good time, but for some reason this trip was special. We actually thought of trying a new beach this year, but our favorite spots and familiarity with the area lured us back.

It began when we arrived at our rented beach house. The kids and I excitedly got out of the car, finally after nearly three and half hours of "are we there yets". The aggravation of the car ride seemed to blow away as I inhaled the salty air. It was if the sea was welcoming me back. We hurried up the stairs and opened the door to be greeted by green and blue walls that reminded us of the water nearby. The boys picked their bedroom with blue and white striped walls, and the room adjacent to the boys' made a perfect master retreat with a brightly colored comforter and curtains. I put our bags down. I was ready to relax.

Sunny days, warm nights and an occasional thunder storm, we were blessed with amazing weather. Our days began with leisurely breakfasts followed by making sandwiches, applying sunblock and heading down to the beach. A short walk to the beach filled with beautiful sites. Sunset Beach prides itself on it's protection of sea life and dunes. We walked over a wooden bridge surrounded by trees and flowering green plants. We walked through a mini jungle until the trees parted and the dunes emerged leaving us standing on the white sandy beach. It was an "awe" moment as we stared across the surf and off into the horizon where the sea meets the sky.

Nearly every day we experienced the sand between our toes as we built sandcastles and jumped waves. Between our beach romps, we enjoyed North Carolina seafood at our favorite restaurant, Dockside. It is a quick drive to the small town of Calabash which is nationally known for its seafood restaurants. Broiled or fried; it's served fresh with complimentary hush puppies. Afterwards, it's a tradition to walk on the dock outside the restaurant and look at the shrimping boats. It's another reminder of how fresh dinner was as we catch the scent of fish and salt water.

No beach vacation is complete without gift shopping for t-shirts, shells and fudge, and once again Calabash is home to Callahan's Nautical Gifts. The store stretches over a block with a Christmas shop on one side to kitchen accessories on the other with all the trinkets you expect to find at the beach in middle.

Diets tend to take a vacation, and so instead of my regular Greek yogart stand-by, I splurged and enjoyed ice cream and a little candy. Sunset Beach offers two fun spots. A newer place, Candy Island, that my son refers to as the bubble store because it's almost magical bubble blower fills the parking lot with bubbles and all around the brightly colored candy store with an assortment of candy plus Sunset Slush classic Italian ice. Our long time favorite How Sweet It Is is a delightful ice cream shop
located next to the "old bridge" which is fun to explore with an ice cream cone in hand.

It was a wonderful trip, and I savored each moment whether playing on the beach, eating ice cream or just enjoying a quiet moment. I feel like I left a piece of my heart on that sandy beach, and I can't wait to go back and watch the sun set again.

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At July 4, 2014 at 4:03 PM , Blogger Tanya @ Moms Small Victories said...

We haven't been to Sunset Beach but it looks wonderful. Glad you had a memorable and relaxing vacation in your home away from home.

At July 5, 2014 at 10:13 AM , Blogger Rachel Withers said...

Tanya, it is wonderful. So relaxing. Hope to get back again soon.

At July 5, 2014 at 2:03 PM , Blogger JaelCustomDesigns said...

your trip sounds amazing! I've never been to sunset beach. I'd love to visit. I've been to Ocean Isle and Wrightsville Beach. I'm adding this to my staycation list. Thank you!

At July 6, 2014 at 12:26 PM , Blogger Rachel Withers said...

Sunset is right around the corner from Ocean Isle. You'll really enjoy it.

At July 16, 2014 at 3:50 AM , Blogger Sarah Pleasants said...

Yes, you captured it! That was a great read!

At July 16, 2014 at 8:08 PM , Blogger Rachel Withers said...

Thanks, Sarah. I'm glad you enjoyed it.


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