by Christine Carpenter
North Carolina’s Southern Outer Banks (SOBX) represents one of the few remaining natural barrier island systems in the world. Strung together with 85 miles of silken coastline—56 being the protected Cape Lookout National Seashore—the Crystal Coast is both a place and a state of mind set apart from the ordinary.
This chain of islands is a culinary lover’s dream-come-true with a mixture of eateries tailored to suit any palate on any budget, from tasty seafood shacks to waterfront pubs to fine dining bistros. Thanks to the Carteret Catch program—a joint venture between local restaurants, retailers and fishermen—the Crystal Coast features a “fish to fork” initiative, serving only seafood caught that day by local fishermen. For the past 400 years this program has supported more than 85 privately owned restaurants—no restaurant chains allowed—that overflow with delicious local flavor.
But even if you’re not a foodie, tales of swashbuckling pirates, Civil War triumphs and tragedies, and deeprooted maritime heritage are sure to entice history buffs. Glimmering waterways welcome eco-adventurers with stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking and world-class fishing. And for the shopping enthusiasts in your crew, unique treasures await in every charming town that dots the Crystal Coast.
by Peter A. Janssen
If you’re cruising east of New York City this summer, think about a stopover at Port Washington on Long Island’s North Shore. With its large marinas and mooring fields, waterfront restaurants and marine services, “Port,” as locals know it, is one of the major boating destinations on the East Coast. It’s worth a visit whether just for an overnight if you’re heading farther east, say to Newport, or even up to Maine, or as a destination in its own right. And it’s easy to get to. In fact, Port Washington is only about four miles east of the Throgs Neck Bridge, marking the entrance to Long Island Sound. “We like to say we’re Exit One on the Sound,” says Steve Wachter, the general manager of Brewer Capri Marina, a massive full-service waterfront complex in Port Washington.
An affluent, commuter suburb, Port Washington has a lot going for it. For openers, it’s a pretty spot where stately waterfront homes with long, sloping greenswards grace the shoreline, particularly on the western—or Great Neck—shoreline. When I lived there many years ago, we used to enjoy sailing by one that had his-and-hers seaplanes out in front. If Gatsby comes to mind, there’s a reason. Indeed, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote his classic while staying in Great Neck, which he called West Egg, looking across the bay to Sands Point—the most affluent section of Port Washington—where his Daisy was staying in East Egg. If you want to indulge your Gatsby-type impulses today, there’s Rodeo Drive-type shopping only 15 minutes away by car, while Manhattan itself is only 36 minutes away by train.