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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Beers, Cheers & Chocolate on the Crystal Coast

As January wraps up and February is ushered in this weekend, you'll find some fun (and delicious) events occurring on the Crystal Coast. Grab some friends and get ready to enjoy a little beer, a lot of chocolate, and so much more!

Beers and Cheers in Beaufort
On Thursday, January 31 celebrate the end of the month and help plan ahead for the Beaufort Music Festival in May. The 6th annual Beers and Cheers fundraiser happens at Beaufort's Cru Wine Bar beginning at 7p.m. that evening. The event helps to raise money for the Beaufort Music Festival and also brings awareness to this popular, free event held in Beaufort each year.

In addition to supporting a community event, the evening is filled with fun and winter cheer which includes live music by Barefoot Wade, hors d'oeuvres served up by local restaurants, and lots of beer and wine. Bring a little extra cash to bid on silent auction items donated by local artists and be ready to win raffle prizes. 

Don't wait too long to purchase tickets because they usually sell-out quickly. Ticket prices are $25 in advance, $30 the day of the event (if there are any left). Tickets can be purchased locally at the Cru Wine Bar and Coffee Shop, Backstreet Pub, or online at the Beaufort Music Festival's website.

Carolina Chocolate Festival at the Crystal Coast Civic Center
This is the weekend to indulge in all things chocolate. This decadent event takes place on Saturday, February 2 from 9a.m. to 6p.m. and Sunday, February 3 from 10a.m. to 3p.m.

In its eleventh year, the Carolina Chocolate Festival offers chocolate in all its forms. Whether you prefer creative tortes and cakes, pure chocolate bars, luxurious liquid chocolate flowing from a fountain, or rich ice cream treatsyou'll find it here at the festival.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $2 for kids ages 5-12, and free for those under the age of five. Tickets can be purchased online at the Carolina Chocolate Festival's website. Be sure to check out the other events surrounding the festival such as the Evening Wrapped in Chocolate at the Beaufort Grocery, the Cocoa 5K Fun Run, the Chocolate Spa, the Chocolate Pro/Am Baking Challenge, and the Chocolate Drop Bingo. There's a little something for everyone, so be sure to bring your family and friends.

Plan to Stay on the Crystal Coast
Whether you're coming in for a long weekend or planning ahead for your summer vacation on the Crystal Coast, there is a wonderful selection of beach vacation rentals ready and waiting for you. Choose the location that's perfect for you and find all of the amenities you need to make your vacation complete. There is nothing that compares to a relaxing beach vacation. Nothing!

We can't wait to see you! If you're making travel plans, let us know when you'll be here on the Crystal Coast by dropping us a line in our comment section. Until next time!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

James Gregory "The Funniest Man in America" Comes to the Crystal Coast & More

Entertainment Magazine puts James Gregory "in a class all by himself" also noting that "his humor transcends all barriers". Come on out to Morehead Center on the Crystal Coast on Saturday, January 26 at 8p.m. to experience this world-class comedian's performance for yourself as he provides an evening of hilarity for all ages. He brings a clean, vulgarity-free show that is family-friendly... and funny, very funny.

James Gregory is known for his Southern drawl, his tongue-in-cheek observations of the absurd, and his unique knack for storytelling. The combination of these three results in a night filled with unending laughter. He focuses on the simple, common, and often ridiculous aspects of life and brings out the humor embedded in his talent as a storyteller.

Tickets for James Gregory "The Funniest Man in America" are $25 and can be purchased here. The Morehead Center is located on the corner of 14th and Arendell (Hwy 70 E) streets in Morehead City and is only minutes away from Emerald Isle and the Crystal Coast beaches.

Also on the Crystal Coast this Saturday, January 26 is Mac Daddy's third annual Winter Festival. Families can enjoy shopping for arts and crafts, jewelry, clothes, beauty products, home decor, and more. Kids especially like the face painting, games, and cake walk (just to name a few). The police and fire department are also on hand and live entertainment is provided throughout the day. 

The Winter Festival runs from 10a.m. to 5p.m. Mac Daddy's is located across the bridge from Emerald Isle in Cape Carteret. More details can be found here.

Thinking about a beach getaway? Emerald Isle and the beautiful Crystal Coast offer great vacation rentals any time of the year. In addition to the gorgeous beaches, there's always plenty to do during your time here. Make your plans now! We hope to see you soon!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores: Free Admission & Food Drive on Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is always a treat to visit any time of the year. With its five galleries, 40 exhibits, free programs, boardwalk, nature trails, and gift shop there is plenty to see and do. One trip is not enough!

Photo Courtesy of NC Aquarium at PKS
The Martin Luther King Jr holiday on Monday, January 21 is one of the two times throughout the year where visitors gain free admission to the aquarium (Veterans Day is the other one). Take advantage of this fun and educational opportunity to see the shark tank, visit the Living Shipwreck exhibit, touch a sting ray, and explore the underwater world as it comes alive in front of you.

As with any other usual admission day, the aquarium is open from 9a.m. to 5p.m. and is full of dive presentations, live animals programs, feeding demonstrations, and so much more. Leave time for a stop at the on-site Dairy Queen and the gift shop, too.

As a way to return the favor, bring an item or two for the food drive that is in progress that day, which benefits the Martha's Mission Cupboard in Morehead City. The mission needs some help restocking its shelves after the busy holiday season. The local pantry assists families going through hard times throughout the entire year. Suggested items that are usually in demand are the staples that include cereal, peanut butter, powdered milk, canned fruit, canned vegetables, dried beans, rice, crackers, and similar items. If you intend to donate, please check the expiration dates to make sure the items can be used. Food drive donations are not required for the free admission but are certainly appreciated.

As we soon head into the month of February, don't forget that the Crystal Coast is also gearing up for its annual Carolina Chocolate Festival on February 2-3. Events leading up to the festival are beginning now! On Saturday, January 19 a brand new event kicks off this year called MexiCocoa. From 5-8p.m. at the Morehead City Train Depot, event goers can sample an array of Mexican dishes from the birthplace of chocolate... Mexico! Mexican and craft beers, wine, and bubbly are also on hand. Tickets are $25 per person and can be purchased here.

Any time of year, the Crystal Coast offers plenty of events, festivals, and things to do. Our beautiful beaches and stunning shorelines welcome you any and every month of the year. Off-season Crystal Coast vacation rental specials can be found this time of year, so browse the possibilities. Any time of year is a great time for a beach vacation! We hope to see you soon!

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Crystal Coast Wedding Salon, Showcase, Venue Tours & After Party

Photo Submitted by Melissa Clark James
Last week's blog we gave you some tips on planning a destination wedding on the Crystal Coast. In addition to the Crystal Coast Bridal Fair happening this weekend at the Civic Center, there's another wedding planning event catering especially to brides who want to choose the Crystal Coast as their destination wedding location.

The Crystal Coast Wedding Salon offers a weekend of wedding planning events on January 18-19 in Atlantic Beach that includes the main event, which is the The Crystal Coast Wedding Showcase, as well as event venue tours, an after party, and more.

The Crystal Coast Wedding Showcase
The wedding showcase is the place where brides-and-grooms-to-be can meet with wedding vendors in relaxed, reception-style setting. The Crystal Coast Wedding Showcase takes place on Saturday, January 19 from 1-4p.m. at the Coral Bay Club in Atlantic Beach. 

If you don't care for the larger crowds found at bridal fairs, this is the venue for you! All-access tickets include admission to the showcase or tickets for the showcase only can be purchased online at a 20% discount.

Event Venue Tours
On Saturday January 19 from 9a.m. to 1p.m., guests depart from the Coral Bay Club in style by enjoying a limousine tour to venues throughout Beaufort, Morehead City, and the surrounding beach areas. Sit back, relax, sip some bubbly, and enjoy the ride.

The After Party at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores
Saturday wedding planning fun concludes with an after party at the Aquarium from 7-11p.m. It's a chance to dine and dance the night away under the sea. 

Photo Courtesy of RD Decker Photography

Set in true wedding reception style, guests enjoy a fully catered meal and open bar. The night is not complete without DJ music and dancing. It's also a great chance to network with the vendors and to meet others who are planning their destination wedding. There are gifts and door prizes given away all evening, as well a chance to win a Caribbean vacation for four.

Ticketing Information
All access tickets are $20 per person, $30 per couple. All access tickets include admission to the Friday Night Welcome Reception, admission to the Crystal Coast Wedding Salon, admission to Wedding Venue Tours (limo seating is limited), and admission to the Salon After Party, as well as a luxury Swag Bag and the chance to win hundreds of dollars in door prizes.

You can find full ticketing information for the Crystal Coast Wedding Salon event here. The event sells out quickly, so advance purchase is required. It may also be helpful to read the Frequently Asked Questions page for more information on the event.

Where to Stay on the Crystal Coast
If you're looking for a nice Crystal Coast beach vacation rental for a long weekend, Emerald Isle is just a hop, skip and jump from Atlantic Beach and all of the wedding planning festivities coming up in the next few weeks. Vacation rentals are available in all sizes and styles so whether you're bringing your fiance or your entire family, there are plenty of accommodations to choose from. 

After taking the wedding venue tours, you'll be close enough to everything to go back and revisit your favorites or set up appointments to further investigate your options. Don't forget that Emerald Isle vacation rentals make lovely wedding and reception venues!

Have you held your wedding on the Crystal Coast? Do you have any advice for someone who is planning a destination wedding here? If so, drop us a line in our comment section. We love hearing from our readers!

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Crystal Coast Wedding Planning 2013

Are you planning a wedding this year? If so, congratulations! Have you thought about having a beach wedding? Soon-to-be brides and grooms from all over the country come to the Crystal Coast for their destination wedding. It's easy to see why with the area's untouched shores, stunning coastal setting, and endless wedding and reception options for that special day.

Whether you're searching for a waterside wedding location, a luxury beach home, or local venues that offer wedding and reception facilities, we have it all here. There are plenty of event suppliers to help you with your special day. Not to mention the picture-perfect settings for all of your wedding day photography.

Photo Submitted by Mary Frances Phillips
A good start to your planning would be to attend the Crystal Coast Bridal Fair on Saturday, January 12 from 10a.m. to 3p.m. at the Crystal Coast Civic Center in Morehead City. In its 20th year, the Crystal Coast Bridal Fair is the largest bridal event on the coast of North Carolina. Enjoy over 50 of the area's top wedding professionals all at one venue. They are available to discuss their products and services with you, as well as answer any questions you may have in the planning of your big day.

Their are plenty of activities slated for that day including fashion shows featuring the latest wedding styles and trends, caterers on-hand providing samples of their fabulous fare, florists and floral samples, wedding photographers, live music, and so much more. The show offers prizes, free samples, and discounts. Don't miss it!

There are also other great local resources available that cover a wide range of topics, trends, and lists of  local vendors that will help with every last detail of your wedding day. Be sure to check the online version of Bride & Groom. Another helpful online publication is Crystal Coast Bride. These are your handbooks to having the perfect Crystal Coast wedding. The 2013 edition of these publications can also be picked up locally at many of the area businesses or at the Crystal Coast Visitor Center in Morehead City. 

Sun-Surf Realty is also happy to help. Let us know about your big day and we can help you find the perfect size accommodation in Emerald Isle for your event. We can also help with any special needs or interests you may have on that day. 

Photo Submitted by Renee Ritchie
We hope this helps in planning your 2013 Crystal Coast wedding. We know you'll find the local businesses and resources very helpful when it comes to all of your wedding planning needs. If you are planning a 2013 wedding on the Crystal Coast, tell us about it in our comment section. When? Where? We always love hearing from our readers!

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Ring in the New Year in Emerald Isle & The Crystal Coast

There aren't too many days left in this year. As 2012 wraps up, we hope you are immersed in fun, family, and festivities. In last week's blog, we told you about the New Year's Extravaganza: Crystal Coast Countdown 2013. The activity-packed event starts this week, so don't forget to make plans to attend as much of it as you can.

Right here in Emerald Isle, there's plenty of fun and excitement to be had. This Friday, December 28 from 11a.m. to 2p.m., stop in at the Emerald Isle Parks and Recreation Community Center for a scavenger hunt. The Emerald Isle Scavenger Hunt takes place along the multi-use path. It's a free event that promises tons of fun. Teams are allowed to have up to four people, and you must have access to a digital camera to participate (cell phones are highly recommended as well). Prizes are awarded for first, second, and third place. Plan to join us!

Also occurring in Emerald Isle at the Parks and Recreation Community Center is a live reggae performance by Selah Dubb. Bring your beach blankets and chairs on Sunday, December 30 and make yourself comfy for the performance which runs from 2-4p.m. Known for their original, high-energy sounds combined with uplifting positive energy, this trio presents modern day surf-reggae-rock stylings for your listening pleasure.

Start the year of 2013 off with a splash! The Penguin Plunge is an annual Crystal Coast favorite and occurs on January 1 in the cool (okay, cold) yet refreshing waters of the Atlantic Ocean in Atlantic Beach. In its tenth year, this event is not for the faint of heart. The Penguin Plunge begins at 1p.m. at the Circle, and the proceeds benefit local charities. Registration can be done onsite the day of the event beginning at 10:30a.m. Last year, 647 people took the plunge. Let's break the record again this year! 

In addition to all of your holiday and New Year's plans, we hope you remember to start planning your 2013 Emerald Isle vacation here on the beautiful Crystal Coast. It's never too soon to start planning ahead for your next beach vacation. We'll see you next year!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Crystal Coast Countdown 2013: Five Days of New Year's Countdown Celebrations

We know you'll be busy in these upcoming days preparing for the weekend and next week's holidays, but we wanted to share with you some exciting things going on here on the Crystal Coast as we lead into the New Year of 2013. We hope you plan on spending some time with us in vacationing in Emerald Isle and enjoying the surround Crystal Coast area. 

Crystal Coast Countdown 2013
The Crystal Coast Countdown is in its second year of bringing communities together and celebrating the start of the new calendar year. This year's event runs from Friday, December 28 through Tuesday, January 1. 

The Crystal Coast Countdown packs a ton of family-friendly fun and spreads it throughout our Crystal Coast towns including Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Beaufort, Pine Knoll Shores, and Newport. There are a variety of venues and activities ranging from indoor to outdoor, day and evening events, and a wide array of things planned to suit every age and interest.

The Crystal Coast Countdown schedule of events contains so much, we can't possibly cover it all here. We can assure you that you'll find a nice mix of cultural and artistic offerings including musicians, storytellers, scavenger hunts, dance groups, tours, artists, and so much more. 

Other popular events include Morehead City Port tours, Bonfire at the Beach, Reggae concert, Resolution (5K) Run, Children's Celebration Fun Station, New Year's Eve Scramble Golf Tournament, Pirate Plunge, Crab Pot Drop, Battle of the Sands sandsculpture contest, and the famed annual Penguin Plunge. Also, don't forget about the fireworks! Where else can you bring in the New Year like like this? No where!

It's also a good idea to get a Dis-Countdown Card that offers some amazing discounts throughout the rest of December at participating local merchants. Dis-Countdown Cards are only $5 and can be purchased at these local retailers.

Where to Stay During Your Crystal Coast Vacation
Don't forget to book your beautiful Emerald Isle vacation rental so you and your family can enjoy the coastal pleasures of the area, while also taking in the special year-end events. There are always plenty of seasonal discounts and specials on Crystal Coast accommodations this time of year, too. Make your plans now!

Will you be bringing in the New Year with us on the Crystal Coast? If so, let us know in our comment section. We hope to see you soon!

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