At the intersection of Highway Fifty-eight and Twenty-four, looking straight ahead, I could see the bridge that crossed the Bogue Sound. My anticipation grew more and more as we approached the bridge. I could not stop smiling. As we drove on the bridge, I could not decide which window to look out. Both sides were beautiful views of the sound. What once was a view of the sound became a view of grass and trees when the bridge ended. As I looked to the right and in between the trees, I saw the green “Welcome to Emerald Isle” sign that welcomed me “home”. It has been a long fifty-one weeks of waiting, and the wait has finally come to an end.
After passing many beach shops with colorful window displays of swimsuits, and towels, we stopped at Emerald Isle Realty to retrieve our keys. At last we pulled into our cottage’s driveway. We unloaded our car, and soon our driveway filled up with four vehicles.We unpacked while our family’s four other cottages filled up with ten or so more relatives each. My relatives either made the twelve-hour drive from Pennsylvania or a short trip from other North Carolina towns. Once unpacked, I put on my swimsuit and headed to the beach.
I crossed Ocean Drive and made my way onto the beach access boardwalk. All around me I could hear the sound of crickets, and I could hear the waves crashing even though I still could not see them yet. As I walked along the boardwalk, I could hear the thumping of my flip flops hitting the boards beneath me with each and every step. Reaching the end of boardwalk, I stopped and took off my flip flops and looked out over the beach. I have seen this sight a million times before, but every time feels like the first. The sight was just breathtaking. I felt the warm wind whip against my body. To my right, I could see the Bogue Inlet Pier about a mile away. To my left, the beach stretched out for miles until it looked as if the beach dropped off the Earth. In front of me, the ocean looked extremely bluish-green with some lighter spots where sandbars formed. The ocean rolled up and down till white crests formed and the wave crashed over. This created so much sea foam that raced toward the shore along with the water. Little birds near the water’s edge ran away with their tiny legs as if the foam and water chased them. I took a deep breath and sniffed the air filled with the scent of the salty sea.
After locating our family’s row of bright beach chairs and umbrellas, I began down the steps. I could not wait to feel the sand on my feet. I have waited way too long for this. I stepped off the last step and onto the sand. I felt the tiny grains of sand between my toes. The sand felt so soft and looked mostly white with some black grains; in fact, it looked as if pepper spilled into the sand. I stood there playing with the sand between my toes. I took a couple more steps toward my family of fifteen or so sat, and my feet felt as if they were burning. I made the mistake of taking off my flip flops before I reached my family. The sand was so hot from the blistering afternoon sun. My pace quickened. Once I got to my family, I threw my towel down and ran to the water. My feet went into the water first, and the water felt cold, but once the water reached up to my waist, the water felt nice and warm. The ocean seemed pretty calm. Suddenly, a big wave came and started to break. I had no time to react and was taken under. The wave tumbled and tossed me around. I knew at some points my legs were sticking straight out of the water. If any bystanders saw this, I bet they would have a chuckle. Once the wave died out, I came back up gasping for air.My nose stung from the salt. The taste in my mouth was dry. I could taste salt, and tiny grains of sand crunched between my teeth.
After my unplanned gymnastics show, I made my way out of the water and up to my family. When I reached them, I could smell the sweet coconut and banana scent of suntan lotion. I sat down on my beach chair, relaxed, and watched my little cousins collect shells along the water’s edge.
After a few hours in the sun, I packed up my belongings and headed for the cottage. The wind coming off the ocean slowly disappeared as I made my way closer to the cottage. I reached the cottage and jumped in the outside shower. The feeling of rinsing off all the grains of sand that glued to my body felt great. My hair no longer felt like crispy, fried chips, but was now smooth and silky. As soon as I entered, I could smell the delicious aroma of the ham dinner cooking.During the week we take turns cooking dinner, and tonight was my mom’s turn. All eleven relatives staying in our cottage came up for dinner.
After dinner, my cousins from another cottage, my brother, and I wanted to walk the pier. The sky was clear overhead, and thousands of stars could be seen. The full moon just started to rise and reflected bright orange off the ocean. Lightning could be seen off in the distance over the ocean. This was pretty common during the hot summer months. Thunderstorms popped up like popcorn. Many people walked along the beach; searching for crabs, walking to the pier, or just enjoying the warm night.
Afterward, my whole family and I sat out on the sun scorched deck to continue our relaxing day which will be repeated tomorrow and the rest of the week. We reminisced about the previous years at the beach, how we could not believe this was our 30th year to visit Emerald Isle, and how our family considers Emerald Isle a second home.
Written By: Past Guest