Plan Your Visit to the 37th Annual North Carolina Oyster Festival

North Carolina Oyster Festival

October is the start of North Carolina’s oyster season, and the magnificent mollusk has been revered in the state for centuries as an important source of food in the coastal areas.  The 37th Annual North Carolina Oyster Festival, returning on Saturday, October 21, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 22, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., is the state’s official celebration of the oyster.  During the Festival, North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands will celebrate all things oyster as a section of Ocean Isle Beach is transformed into a walking district, filled with a variety of foods, crafts, music and more.

North Carolina Oyster FestivalAt this year’s celebration, test your oyster shucking skills in the North Carolina Oyster Shucking Championship where the area’s fastest shucker will earn a cash prize, as well as the opportunity to compete in the National Oyster Shucking Contest in Maryland.  Not up to competing against the professional shuckers?  You can enter the amateur division.  If you are an advocate of the motto “you can never have too much of a good thing?” Put on your stretchy pants and participate in the Oyster Eating Contest! Continue to delight your taste buds at the Oyster Stew Cookoff, featuring delicious samples from some of Brunswick Islands’ best restaurants. Work off some of the calories you have consumed on the dance floor and compete for the top spot in the Shag Dance Competition, whether you’re an amateur or more experienced dancer.

In addition to copious amounts of fried and steamed oysters, festival-goers will have the opportunity to sample an array of foods for every palate, from crab cakes and BBQ, to pizza and sweet treats. Visitors can also admire a wide variety of crafts and artwork available throughout the festival grounds, including handmade furniture, stained glass, wood carvings, sculpture, pottery, leather goods, and jewelry. Don’t miss out on the live music, bring your chairs and enjoy the lineup featuring popular beach bands, cover bands, and everything in between.

Admission is $5.00 for adults and free for children under 12, so bring your family and experience a not-to-be-missed tradition in the Brunswick Islands!

To learn more about attending the 37th Annual North Carolina Oyster Festival, visit http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/north-carolina-oyster-festival-ocean-isle-beach-nc.

 

Tim Cate: The FORE Father of Golfing the North Carolina Coast

north Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is known as North Carolina’s Golf Coast, where championship courses have been designed by such greats as Arnold Palmer, Rees Jones, Fred Couples, Dan Maples, Willard Byrd and Hale Irwin.  Each offers a wide range of settings, from marsh to maritime forests, to lakes, streams, beaches and the Intracoastal Waterway, and each is unique in its design and playability.

One designer, Tim Cate, who may be lesser-known outside of our area is worth noting. In fact, he is quite renowned along the coast for his sustainable golf course design that completely incorporates the natural terrain, providing an artful challenge for golf enthusiasts.

We like to think he’s a best-kept secret, just like our area.

Cate says this, “Unlike the South Carolina courses, this is a unique region with a bit of a roll to the land, which provides some wind break off the water and opportunities for interesting layouts. We have beautiful beaches and low-rise development, so the area has been left in a more natural state.”

In 2010, Golf Digest named a golf course in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands “Best design by an architect you’ve never heard of.” Golf course architect Tim Cate, a resident of Sunset Beach, attended West Virginia University and the University of Georgia, graduating with a degree in Landscape Architecture. He then spent eight years under the tutelage of course design greats like Willard Byrd.  According to Jamie Roderick, General Manager of The Thistle Golf Club, “Cate doesn’t just move earth. He carefully designs his courses, then supervises like a virtuoso, taking advantage of the lay of the land as it is being sculpted by the construction crew.”

For your next North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands’ vacation, consider one of these several award-winning, Tim Cate-designed courses…

Cape Fear National 

Cape Fear National in Leland is the newest golf course in Brunswick County. Among its prestigious awards, Cape Fear was named among the top “11 best courses you can play in NC” as named by Golfweek magazine. Expect to see ornate grasses, drive-through waste bunkers, two waterfalls and over 1,500 linear feet of bridges as you weave through 18 holes of exceptionally conditioned golf.

Cape Fear National, No. 13According to Director of Sales and Marketing, Brad Walker, “There’s really a wow factor here at Cape Fear National. Week after week, we receive rave reviews on the overall conditioning of the golf course, the surrounding natural landscape and the quality of our A1/A4 Bentgrass greens. Tim Cate’s attention to detail is impressive and he is an expert when it comes to local landscape in Coastal North Carolina.”

The “Big Cats” Courses 

Ocean Ridge Plantation in Sunset Beach offers four championship “Big Cats” golf courses – three designed by Tim Cate.  The three Tim Cate courses each has it’s own unique character and feel, but with the unifying Tim Cate signature design features incorporated into their layouts for the thrill of the hunt.

Two courses of note are Tiger’s Eye and Leopard’s Chase. Tiger’s Eye is distinguished by dramatic 60-foot elevation changes reminiscent DSC_0718_LC 4 smallof the North Carolina sand hills and a stunning combination of natural waste areas, native grasses, wildflowers, pine and oak trees and water, including Carolina bays, two waterfalls and marshland typical of a coastal environment. Leopard’s Chase offers stunning natural beauty playing along expansive natural wetlands and features dramatic elevation changes heretofore unseen along the coast.

Thistle Golf Club

The clubhouse at the venerable Thistle Golf Club in Sunset Beach is of traditional Scottish design, filled with the antiquitClubhouse-Twlght[1] smallies, original documents, trophies, ledgers and other memorabilia from the original 1815 Thistle club on Edinburgh’s revered Links of Leith. In similar Scottish tradition, architect Tim Cate provided windswept fairways, heather-covered hillsides and generous rolling Bentgrass greens, earning a 4 ½-star rating by Golf Digest.

With 120 miles of fairways and 45 miles of wide, un-crowded beaches, free from high-rise Microsoft Word - Document1development, dedicated golfers as well as families can all find their paradise. With over 30 golf courses in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, you could stay for a month and play one course each day. Perks to golfing in Brunswick Islands include more than 30 hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts and golf resorts, as well as countless seaside and inland vacation rental homes and condos for every style and budget.  If golf is your vacation focus, our local golf packagers can arrange for the perfect visit. View a video here about Brunswick Islands’ golf.

The North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands’ Golf Guide is the perfect tool to get your dream golf vacation started.  To order a printed copy of the Golf Guide and/or to sign up for emails click here.

10 Tips for a Carefree Beach Vacation

Father and family at beach

make your beach vacation even more fun and carefree this year with these 10 tips:

 

Focus on the Here and Now

Leave the phone in your room or at least put the phone aside for awhile. Spending some time away from social media and technology can set the tone for a calming, carefree beach vacation. Focus your attention on being in the moment, reconnecting with loved ones, and enjoying the natural beauty of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands.

Don’t Over-Book Yourself

DSC_8026_OAK ISLAND_CHAIRSVacations are about you and your fellow sojourners. Be sure to leave space in your schedule, entire days even, to wake up, feel the crisp ocean breeze caress your face and let the wind be your guide. Being married to an itinerary has its benefits, but that relationship can quickly become a burden. Hang loose, go with the flow and make North Carolina’s Brunswick Island’s your home away from home.

Connect with the Family

Be sure to plan activities that are memorable for the entire family. Strengthen the bond between your loved ones by using vacation time as not just a distraction for you and your children, but also as a means to grow closer as a family. Activities such as watching baby sea turtles hatch, taking a swamp boat eco-tour, enjoying a boat or ferry ride in the Intercoastal Waterway, or taking a dolphin adventure cruise provide families with the perfect combination of education and fun for all ages. Bring the family together and learn something new too!

Eat Fresh, Eat Local

IMG_0028_fb_edited-1Stressing about your vacation diet (or lack thereof)? You are not alone. Reduce appetite anxiety by eating fresh and local. North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands has long been known for it’s bountiful seafood.  A highlight to any visit is sampling the local flavors so recognizable to the coastal area. Our local fishermen harvest a variety of top-quality seafood, including shrimp, blue crabs, grouper, flounder, oysters and clams. Many visitors take advantage of the opportunity to not only select and prepare their own seafood during their stay, but also return home with these fresh delicacies from the sea. For information on local seafood retailers and wholesalers, visit here.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

DSC_0140_OIB Paddlebaord_LRThe signature of a beach holiday may be top-notch R&R, but that doesn’t mean vacationers shouldn’t venture out of their beach chair. Break the mold and instill a little adventure into your next seashore soiree. North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands offers a buffet of bold activities that challenge you to try something new such as charter fishing, SUP and surf lessons, scuba diving, zip lining through natural swamp habitat and more.

Don’t Stress Over Packing

For some vacationers, stress can stir before wheels even hit the pavement. The worry over items potentially forgotten or left behind can consume the journey and create an anxious ambiance. The North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands traveler knows to ditch these woes and takes comfort in the abundance of stores and business housed on each island and surrounding mainland. Anything you could need and more can be found at any one of the area’s many shops.

Have a Rain Plan

DSC_0010_OIB_Touch Tank_LRIn every life a little rain must fall. And sometimes that happens while you’re on vacation. Reduce stress and anxiety by having a rain plan ready in case wet weather decides to visit the beach with you. Guests of the Brunswick Islands can find indoor entertainment at a number of intriguing attractions such as the NC Maritime Museum at Southport, Museum of Coastal CarolinaOld Brunswick County Jail MuseumSilver Coast Winery and more. Research opportunities ahead of time to ease your weather woes by guaranteeing a 100 percent chance of fun.

Enjoy The Off-Season

The heat of summer is a hot time to take a trip to the beach, but milder temperatures and fewer people during the spring and fall are also enticing to those looking for a secluded adventure on the beach. For a heightened sense of having the beach to yourself, book your trip before Memorial Day or after Labor Day.  You and your family and friends and can also take advantage of off-season rates during that time.

Feed Your Soul

10299079_10152150216753155_1534309948012022730_nOn your next trip to the beach, make an effort to indulge your soul by seeking out activities that are true to your spirit. Whether you attend an outdoor religious service, watch the sunrise over the ocean, or take a long walk along the beach, North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands provides countless opportunities for beach-goers to please their personalities. Relaxation doesn’t merely involve sitting still, but also rejuvenating the soul and getting in touch with who you are.

Keep It Simple

Central to a carefree beach vacation is a commitment to keeping things simple – walks on the beach, eating ice cream or hunting for seashells. The beauty of a beach vacation is in the natural setting’s mystical way of creating an environment brimming with charm and subtle treasures. The seemingly simple days can be the most stunning and leave you with lasting memories and nothing but love for sun and sand.