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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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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Santa by the Sea & Holiday Camps at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

During your stay in Emerald Isle, there is always plenty of family fun in and around our Crystal Coast towns and beaches no matter what time of year it is. December is no different.

Santa by the Sea at the NC Aquarium
Bring the family to a one-of-a-kind event where the North Pole collides with the Bogue Banks beach town of Pine Knoll Shores (which is just a short coastal drive on Salter Path Rd./Hwy 58 from Emerald Isle). On Friday, December 14, Santa by the Sea at the North Carolina Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores offers children the chance to have a one-on-one visit with Santa as they share their "wishes in front of the fishes". 

In addition to a personal visit with the big man in red himself, each child age 12 and under receives a professional 5x7 photo to take home courtesy of FOTO FX. Parents will be happy to know that additional prints are also available for purchase. 

The fun doesn't stop there. Included in the admission price that day are magic shows featuring Bill Frost, snack preparation for Santa's reindeer, and elves working with the kids on holiday crafts to take home. Don't forget to leave time for Mrs. Claus as she reads her favorite stories. 

It's an action-packed day. Since space is limited, advanced registration is suggested for this popular event. Tickets are $9 per person and can be purchased online or at the door from 5:30-8:30p.m., if there are any tickets left! The aquarium closes for regular admission at 2p.m. that day.

Holiday Camps at the NC Aquarium
Photo Courtesy of NC Aquarium at PKS
Speaking of special events at the aquarium, it's a great time to plan ahead for the Holiday Camps offered by the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. If you're here over the holidays, the kids would love to experience this wintertime adventure which combines fun and learning in an amazing environment. The camps are designed for children in grades 2 through 5 and include outdoor activities, discovery labs, crafts, behind-the-scenes action, and so much more. 

The Holiday Camps run from Wednesday, December 26 through Friday, December 28. Each day focuses on a different set of animals. December 26 is Cold Blooded Critters: Reptiles and Amphibians, December 27 is Coastal Creatures: Fish and Invertebrates, and December 28 is Fur and Feathers: Mammals and Birds. 

The camps run from 8:30a.m. to 2:30p.m. New for this year is the option to register for one day, two days, or all three. The cost is $35 per day or $100 for all three days. Space is limited and advance registration is required. Don't forget to pack a bagged lunch, bring a bottle of water, and wear closed-toe shoes!


Photo Submitted by Chad Winstead
Will you be here on the beautiful Crystal Coast over the holidays? Tell us what's on your agenda in our comments section! We love hearing from our readers.

We hope your December is off to a wonderful start. We look forward to seeing you in our towns and on our beaches in the very near future!

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Historic Beaufort ArtWalk & Candelight Homes Tour

When vacationing in Emerald Isle, a day trip to the historic maritime town of Beaufort is a must. Its unique charm and ambiance draws visitors again and again to its beautiful waterfront and through its tree-lined streets. 

Saturday, December 8 offers the ideal opportunity to take full advantage of a day in Beaufort. In addition to its usual charm, visitors get a glimpse into the historic homes, inns, and bed and breakfasts of the area decked out for the season, as well as art receptions and open houses at many of the downtown locations. Let's take a closer look on what's going on in beautiful Beaufort-by-the-Sea this weekend.

Beaufort ArtWalk
Featured Artists Courtesy of the Beaufort Historic Association
From 1-5p.m. on December 8, enjoy nice selections of varied styles with artwork from regional artists as they are showcased throughout Beaufort's shops, galleries, and restaurants. 

The Beaufort ArtWalk begins at the town's historic site located on 130 Turner Street. Maps are available throughout the town in participating locations. Featured galleries on the tour include the Mattie King Davis Art Gallery, Aqua Restaurant, The Backstreet Pub, Beaufort Grocery, Clawson's Restaurant, and The Cedar's Inn and Restaurant.

Beaufort Candlelight Homes Tour
After the ArtWalk, continue spending the evening in Beaufort as the historic homes in the area open their doors and invite you to step back in time and enjoy the holiday hospitality of the season. From 4-8p.m., visitors can delight in the festive décor and decorations in period style.

The Beaufort Candlelight Homes Tour includes stops at the Beaufort Inn, Old Seaport Inn, Ann Street Inn, Inlet Inn, and the Josiah Bell House. Also included on the tour is the Ann Street Methodist Church which features special holiday music for your listening pleasure. Private homes are also on the tour as you stroll the candlelit streets. Join carolers on the English double-decker bus for a free ride to the destinations. 

Tickets for the tour are $12 and are available at the Beaufort Historic Site. During the day, free tours of the Beaufort Historic Site's houses decorated with Christmas décor are available in addition to narrated tours of Beaufort on the double-decker bus from 11a.m. to 1:30p.m. The bus tour tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for children.


Monthly Rentals Offered by Sun-Surf Realty
No matter what time of year you choose to vacation in Emerald Isle and the surrounding Crystal Coast area, there's plenty of coastal beauty to behold and a wide selection of local events and activities to suit you and your family's interests. 

Did you know in the winter months that Emerald Isle offers monthly vacation rentals? What could be better than an extended beach vacation? Not much!

Have you vacationed in Emerald Isle during the month of December? What did you do? What did you see? Tell us about it. We always love hearing from our readers. 

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