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Sand Castles

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My son discovered these beautiful works of sand art on the beach this weekend. We never know what we’ll find on our beach walks; on this particular walk we found shells, sand dollars, sand castles, birds, and jellyfish. After exploring for an hour or so we settled down to make our own sand castle, which, of course, because he is a five-year-old boy, involved a reproduction of Batman’s head.

I’m always surprised by how engrossing sand-castle building is, and how the simple act of  dripping wet sand, scooping out little waterways, and sculpting buildings, all the while sitting in the warm spring sun can leave you feeling relaxed and clear.  It’s a bit like meditation and a lot like going on vacation.

Here’s hoping you get lots of time to play in the sand this summer.

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The Perfect Getaway — Off Season Carolina Beach

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This year for our anniversary my husband and I packed our bags and headed just 20 minutes from our Wilmington home to Carolina Beach, where we got married six years earlier. I love Carolina Beach in the fall: warm days, cool nights, and the beach belongs once again to the locals, the fishermen, and a few vacationers. Days are still warm enough to sip a cocktail at the Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar, and if you’re lucky (like we were) you just might see a pod of dolphins jumping in the waves.

On Saturday we woke up early, watched the waves from our balcony at the Sea Ranch Motel (one of our favorite Carolina Beach motels) and then walked down the beach to the boardwalk, talking to fishermen along the way. We ate breakfast at the Gulfstream, a local favorite, and then headed back to the beach.

Time slows down in Carolina Beach. We spent our weekend walking, talking, and eating at some of the beach restaurants on the island. (Hint: Havana’s Sunday brunch is one of the best in the area, and Fort Fisher is a great place to find a bit of solitude by the water.) I can’t wait to go back.