Come celebrate the freezing and/or hibernation of Eastern North Carolina's mass mosquito mob! This week on ETC we're highlighting a few local hiking trails on the water. With the bugs away we head to Emerald Isle - a stretch of sandy beach along the NC Atlantic coast east of New Bern and Jacksonville.
Emerald Isle is our local beach. While it's mostly residential with large beach house rentals, there are a few public areas like this one to hike and launch a kayak. Emerald Isle Woods park is close to the bridge onto Emerald Isle and has plenty of parking near the entrance (and some further in). Several short trails crisscross the woods, many leading to a small fishing pier and kayak launch.
The kayak launch sits in view of the mainland bridge and offers great paddling in the Bogue Sound. It's a little bit of a walk from the parking lot to the kayak launch and you may want to pull closer to drop off your gear before you park. We are thankful to have our Innova kayaks when we launch from this site - they're easy to carry in a pack to and from the car.
Emerald Isle Woods is a great place to launch paddling trips heading towards Bear Island and the end of Emerald Isle, along with trips to Swansboro. Currents and wind will have a huge impact on paddling from this spot, as the Bogue Inlet is right around the corner, bringing water from the ocean in and out of the Bogue Sound. Also, the amount of gear you have could be a challenge as the kayak launch isn't right next to the parking lot. That said, the floating kayak launch with rollers (pictured above) is the best and the park is very accessible when you arrive on the island and need a quick hike or paddle.
~Paul & Amber ETC
With fall quickly changing to winter it's nice to get outdoors while there's still daylight. This week on the blog we'll be highlighting a few easy and enjoyable Eastern North Carolina hikes (with water access in case you want to sneak the kayak along).
The first is the Cedar Point Tideland Trail, located in the Cedar Point Recreation Area, just off the highway near the mouth of the White Oak River. This hike is near Swansboro, the town of Cedar Point, and not too far from the bridge that takes you to Emerald Isle.
The parking lot for the trail and boat ramp includes numurous spots for cars, trucks, and trailers. Small-craft flat-bottomed motorized and non-motorized boats (canoes & kayaks) shove off from the boat ramp near the end of the lot. Fresh water and bathrooms are located nearby.
Two trails wind through coastal forest and on boardwalks over the salt marsh. The wetlands are host to a variety of plants and animals including deer, raccoons, and several bird species. Both trails are short - .6 & 1.3 miles.
The Cedar Point Tideland Trail is a quick hike near the water with big opportunities for paddling. The boat ramp here is a great launch point for exploring nearby Jones Island (ETC post coming soon) and gives you sheltered access to the Intracoastal Waterway. The Cedar Point campground, open all year, is a nice stopover on paddling trips coming down the White Oak River (also an ETC post coming soon!). Check out the quick links below for more information on the Cedar Point Tideland Trail and stay tuned to the blog this week for a few more Eastern North Carolina Coastal trails!
~Paul & Amber ETC
Cedar Point Recreation Area brochure
Other Boat ramps in Carteret County
Forest Service Site with more info
Let's face it. There are two types of people in this world: those who dream that they live in a small tight-knit community like the fictional town of Stars Hollow on the Gilmore Girls TV show, and, well, everyone else. It reality, it takes a group of like-minded community leaders to reinvent a small town and turn it into a quaint place where people love to spend their time (and money). New Bern, NC is, or at least is becoming, one of these places. Now, I'm not sure if Stars Hollow had a cemetery, but if they did, it would look just like the Cedar Grove Cemetery in New Bern.
The Cedar Grove Cemetery is located just off of quaint, walkable, bustling, downtown New Bern. The cemetery was established in 1800 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The graves, statues, and trees on the property are impressive. Cemeteries aren't usually places you'd take a stroll on a nice day - but this one is.
The best-best-best time to visit the cemetery is during the New Bern Historical Societies' annual Ghostwalk. This event is a self-guided walking tour through historic New Bern. You walk from houses to churches to the cemetery, and are entertained by talented actors telling historic, factual stories about the character they have embodied and about the site they are stationed at. It is a ticketed event, however, once you've got your ticket you simply grab a map and explore the sites you want in any order. We always stop by the cemetery - forewarning: it gets a little crowded during the peak hours. Ghostwalk is not a haunted house - it's an entertaining and educational outdoor museum-like walk for the whole family.
The best part about it? While the Ghostwalk actors aren't really real, the Stars Hollow-vibe is. You'll be walking the streets of historic New Bern and rubbing shoulders with the community as they continue to reinvent a great, quaint, little town on the river.
~Paul & Amber ETC
P.S. - I couldn't write about the cemetery and not mention the spooky legend of the Weeping Arch...gulp...watch out as you enter the front gate!