Celebrate Seasonal Freshness with Outdoor Markets in the Brunswick Islands

Summer is the prime time for fresh, local goods in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. The area’s outdoor markets take place throughout each week so you never have to be without seasonal fruits and vegetables, whether you’re a local or a visitor. In addition to produce, the markets are filled with artists and artisans showing off their creative talents and offering pottery, photography, handmade goods, and homemade snacks and desserts. Topping off the perfect outdoor market scene, local musicians can also be found playing at several of the events, making these must-do summer and fall activities.

Southport Waterfront Market
Wednesdays through September 6, 2017; 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Fort Johnston Garrison Lawn, Southport
http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/1217

Local artisans come together by the Cape Fear River to offer fresh and local produce, baked goods, arts and crafts, and more. Enjoy the shade of ancient Live Oak trees with music and entertainment.

Oak Island Farmers and Artisans Market
Mondays through September 4, 2017; 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Middleton Park, Oak Island
http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/1306

Market-goers can pick up fresh produce, homemade goods, like cakes and jam, as well as a variety of handmade crafts, like jewelry and potholders.

Ocean Isle Beach Waterfront Market
Mondays through September 11, 2017; 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
East Second Street, Ocean Isle Beach
http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/1359

Held in the town center’s grassy field, feel the ocean breeze while shopping for local and homemade produce, baked goods, crafts and more.

Sunset Beach Waterfront Market
Thursdays through October 12, 2017; 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Sunset Beach Town Park
http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/1378

Set by the Intracoastal Waterway, the bustling market features local crafters and artists with their homemade treasures and original art. Shop for fresh produce from local farmers, fresh catches of the day, seasonal flowers and plants, and much more.

Shallotte Farmer’s Market
Saturdays through July 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Mulberry Park, Shallotte
http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/1278

The open-air market is filled with fresh, local produce, arts and crafts, and more. Entertainment by local musicians makes this market a must-visit on Saturdays. Four special seasonal markets will also be held during the fall and holiday season.

To see a full schedule of the outdoor markets and other events in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, visit www.ncbrunswick.com/events.

Find Seashells by the Seashore in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands’ 45 miles of scenic beaches provide plenty of opportunities for discoveries of coastal treasures along the way. Beachgoers going for a stroll are in for a treat with the variety of seashells found in the area – just keep a careful eye toward the sand.

To help with your next Brunswick Islands shelling excursion, below is a guide of just a few of the shells and other treasures you might find on your outing. Just remember to leave the seashells and creatures in their home if they’re still alive!  Shelling Tip: Be aware of the tides and schedule your shelling adventure for low tide.

Angelwings
Resembling the wings of an angel, this shell can get up to about 5 ¾ inches long with 30 sharply beaded ribs.

 

Olive Shells
These shiny, cylindrical shells can grow up to around 2 ½ inches long, and North Carolina is the Northernmost location where they are found in the U.S. 

Olive Shell

True Tulips
The large, spindle-shaped shells have smooth and shiny exteriors and can get up to 9 ½ inches in size.

True Tulip Seashell 

Sand Dollars
Sand dollars are not seashells but sea urchins.  Sand dollars that are safe to take home are white in color from being bleached by the sun. If you see a sand dollar that is darker in color and has tiny spines that resemble hair, please return them to the water.

 

Starfish
A starfish is not actually a fish, but an echinoderm, which is related to the sand dollar. Starfish can live for up to 35 years in the wild and should be handled gently.

To learn more about the shells found in the Brunswick Islands, visit the Museum of Coastal Carolina in Ocean Isle Beach. The museum features impressive displays of beautiful shells from the region and plenty of volunteers that can tell you more about them and even help you identify the shells you found on the beach. Visitors to the museum can also view shark jaws and teeth, and see live sea stars and urchins.

To get shelling and plan your visit to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, visit www.NCBrunswick.com.

Welcome to Calabash: “Seafood Capital of the World”

Seafood Capital

“Good Night Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are…”

 

Fans of classic television and radio will remember star Jimmy Durante and this infamous phrase, but not many know its connection to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands.

Legend has it that while visiting Calabash, Durante was feeling a bit under the weather. A local restaurateur offered to fix him something to make him feel better. When she did, he told her he’d make her famous, and from that day forward, he closed each and every show with this tribute!

Fast forward to today and Mr. Durante would be right at home –  still delighted to find delectable shrimp, clams, fish and oysters coated in a light batter, quickly fried to lock in freshness and served up in very generous portions!  This is dining Calabash-style, and the reason the town has earned the title of “Seafood Capital of the World!”  Restaurants from coast to coast have tried to replicate the style, but there is nothing like the experience of enjoying it in its home town of Calabash.

Calabash seafood

As you drive down to the docks that line the Calabash River, restaurant after restaurant beckons – family-owned and each holding their secret recipes tight! Enjoy a bucket of oysters, platter of Calabash shrimp, crab, flounder and even a full menu for land lubbers, if you must.

Calabash waterfront

Check out this list of dining options that any foodie or seafood aficionado will appreciate:

Beck’s Restaurant

Calabash Seafood Hut

Capt. John’s Seafood House

Capt. Nance Seafood

Dockside Seafood House

Ella’s of Calabash

The Boundary House

Waterfront Seafood Shack Market and Eatery

Insider Tips:

After a filling meal of local Calabash seafood, a stroll along the docks is the perfect way to walk off those generous portions and take in the ambiance of a working waterfront.

Try a scoop (or two) of Calabash Creamery’s Cow-a-Bash Crunch ice cream named one of “50 irresistible ice cream flavors” by USA Today.

If you prefer cooking up your own seafood, you can buy freshly caught fish and shrimp right from the docks along Calabash’s waterfront. Or you can catch your own by going out on one of the charters that leave from Calabash.

‘Tis the SEAson in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

The holidays are here again, and it’s time to get in the festive spirit – what better way than with an island getaway? In North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, a white Christmas has a whole new meaning when you get the beaches’ pristine sand between your toes and take in the sound of the ocean waves. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year with both sunrises and sunsets over the blue water.

For a twist on your holiday, head to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands and make new memories and traditions with loved ones. These seasonal events and experiences are a must-add to your holiday wish list.

Replace Gingerbread Houses with Sandcastles

img_6632Forget the messy icing and sticky candy, and create your mansion masterpiece with powdery sand and decorative seashells. Enjoy the mild weather and spend your holiday break on the beach with stress-free access from a beachfront rental home with plenty of space for the extended family.

Shop Coastal

From The Christmas House in Southport to St. Nick Nacks Christmas Shop in Callahan’s of Calabash, you can find Christmas ornaments and mementos for everyone, all while enjoying the scenic coastal towns of the Brunswick Islands.  You can also find countless unique gifts with a coastal theme in the many gift shops and art galleries located throughout the island and inland communities.  Or for the golfer in the family, try the well-stocked pro shops at the over 30 golf courses in the Brunswick Islands.

Upcoming Holiday Events:

Southport Winterfest
Friday, December 2nd – Sunday, December 11th

img_2480-wmHistoric Southport goes big for the holidays with its 10-day Winterfest celebration, featuring a range of events and activities for the whole family. The schedule starts off the weekend of December 2nd with the Christmas in Song event, followed by the Tree Lighting Ceremony in Franklin Square Park on December 3rd. The week’s activities include the Annual Cookie Contest, Costumed Holiday Tour, Winter Craft Festival, Historic Home Tours and much more. For the full schedule, visit http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/644.


Oak Island Christmas by the Sea Parade

Saturday, December 3rd

In a celebration of the wonderful weather and the holidays, the Christmas by the Sea Parade steps off at 2:00 p.m. and invites spectators to enjoy floats with festive decorations traveling 2.4 miles through Oak Island. Awards will be given to the floats based on color, the best theme, overall beauty and originality. http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/202


North Carolina Christmas Festival and Parade

Saturday, December 10th

The 24th annual North Carolina Christmas Festival and Parade will take place at Leland Town Hall Park with the goal of inspiring unity within the local towns and communities, and providing family fun to all! The parade kicks off at 10:00 a.m. with the festival beginning immediately after at 12:00 p.m. The event will feature craft and food vendors, along with children’s entertainment, and music and dance performances to celebrate the season. http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/542


Southport Christmas Flotilla
Saturday, December 10th

img_9316-fb-southport_tonemappedSpectators can cheer on their favorite vessel illuminated in twinkling Christmas lights as the boats travel upriver to Kingsley Park beginning at 7:00 p.m. Boats will illuminate the night all the way “From the North Pole to Southport.” Awards will be given at the end of the evening to vessels with the most creativity and variety of decorations. http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/279

For a complete list of events and to plan your holiday getaway to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, visit www.NCBrunswick.com.

Celebrate Thanksgiving in the Brunswick Islands

Create new traditions this Thanksgiving and replace turkey with fresh seafood and changing leaves with changing tides. Thanksgiving in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is guaranteed to be a holiday to remember with endless opportunities for quality family time without the usual holiday chaos. Who needs football when you can watch the sunset over the ocean before a post-dinner nap? (OK, some of you may still want to enjoy watching football in your spacious beach rental).

img_0796-sunset-oct-caswell-beach

img_1947The Brunswick Islands offer activities for all ages and interests with outdoor adventures to explore, local shops to browse, history to discover and much more. The destination is also home to a range of beachfront rental homes, ideal for families of all sizes, with spacious kitchens and plenty of room to celebrate the holiday with stunning coastal views.

For those looking to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast without the stress of cooking, you’ll find a range of unique restaurants in the Brunswick Islands from traditional Calabash style and fresh-caught seafood to international flavors and casual American fare, several with waterfront dining.  And yes, some restaurants will also be serving traditional Thanksgiving fare.

After a day of thanks, find your Christmas cheer with holiday events, perfect for continuing the fun through the long weekend:

Ocean Isle Beach Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting
Friday, November 25th and Saturday, November 26th

The seaside celebration begins with the Tree Lighting on the Causeway on Friday at 5:00 p.m. where attendees are invited to bring their best singing voices and holiday cheer, complete with hot cocoa, coffee and other goodies. The fun continues Saturday with the Christmas Parade from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., where spectators can view golf carts and other vehicles dressed up for the season, decked with lights, tinsel and garland. Santa will also be awaiting visitors at the Ocean Isle Beach Fire Department beginning at 4:30 p.m. http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/360

Ocean Isle Beach Flotilla
Saturday, November 26th

Take the Christmas celebration dockside to view boats of all sizes dressed up for the holidays. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., spectators can view twinkling Christmas lights in this dazzling over-water parade on the Intracoastal Waterway. From illuminated snowmen to fishing Santas surrounded by festive palm trees, this is a not-to-be-missed beach tradition. Parade judging and an after party will follow at local favorite Sharky’s Restaurant. http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/499

img_5783-oib-flotilla-lo-res

Step away from the holiday stress this year and spend time with family with the ocean as your backdrop – you’ll be thankful you did! To learn more about planning your Thanksgiving beach getaway, visit www.NCBrunswick.com.