local dining on the crystal coast

Local Dining on the Coast

local dining on the crystal coast

Local Dining on the Coast

As a coastal girl born and bred in Carteret County; I have a salty palette and know a thing or two about local dining on the coast; where to go and where to avoid. Our seaport community offers up so many options for treating our taste buds. I generally get to dine out with some friends of mine once a month and we always choose a locally owned restaurant, of course!

Pictured: Lauren, Shawna, Allison & Me at Front Street Grille in Beaufort

Pictured: Lauren, Shawna, Allison, and Me at Front Street Grille in Beaufort


Dine Like Locals

Allison, Lauren, Shawna, and I have known one another since birth, so this time together is always filled with laughter remembering some story of the time I did this or that time you did that. We are now Moms, juggling our home and professional lives. When we gather it’s as if the stars have aligned and we have never missed a beat.

What I remember most is riding my bike all over Beaufort as a kid. We would ride bikes from our neighborhoods and get together at Famous Pizza (RIP) in the Beaufort Square Shopping Center on Saturday to have the best pizza buffet any 12-year-old girl has ever had. We would laugh and carry on about stuff that 12-year-old girls find funny. I can’t remember but I’m sure Allison could tell you everything we talked about, she never forgets anything! After lunch, we would go to Rose’s for the latest single tape (I’m an 80’s child). The point of this is that we have been dining in Beaufort and beyond since we were 12 and we know where the food is fresh and where the food is good. We’re basically honorary Food Critics.

Happy Cakes

Allison is a property manager at Bluewater in the Atlantic Beach office. She is smart as they come and procrastination isn’t really her style, it’s mine. For example, it’s April 21st and I’m just writing my first blog post for the month. Allison and I may be different as night and day we still fight over which is better HoHo’s (gross) or Swiss Cake Rolls (delish) but we do share a love for Happy Cakes Oreo Overload and Cookie Dough cupcakes. Take our advice and have one while you’re here, you won’t regret it. Happy Cakes makes their cupcakes each day, no leftovers. There’s a calendar of flavors of the month so you can decide which day you want to swing in for your taste of choice.

Island Grille

dining out at Island Grille

Pictured: Me and my sweet husband, Benji at Island Grille for our Anniversary.

If you’re here on a Tuesday you MUST go to Island Grille in Atlantic Beach. Located on Money Island Drive, it’s a small establishment so make reservations. The Buy One, Get One special is a long-standing favorite. You can order the fresh catch special and the Filet stuffed with feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, smoked bacon, and fresh basil, finished with a roasted red pepper cream sauce, chef’s potatoes and vegetable or my favorite the Seafood Trio which is cold water lobster meat, lump crab and sea scallops with Roma tomatoes, artichoke hearts and fresh baby spinach tossed in a basil cream sauce over linguini with shaved parmesan. Do yourself a favor and go there.

Front Street Grille

Sunset view from Front Street Grille

Sunset view from Front Street Grille at Still Water.

The next suggestion is Front Street Grille at Still Water in Beaufort. It’s waterfront. Do you really need more information than that or will waterfront work for you? Outdoor dining and COVERED outdoor dining, how’s that? They have indoor dining year-round as well. The sunsets at this place are Zen-like. Trust me on this. I have lived on the water my whole life, sunsets still take me away. Front Street Grille is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday and offers a Sunday brunch as well as dinner. The night we went ordered the Black Angus Cheeseburger which has smoked bacon, pimento cheese, onion, pickles, lettuce, tomato, parmesan truffle fries. Us southern girls love some pimento cheese. It was marvelous, you must try this! FSG also has the Rhum Bar. You can have cocktails at sunset to accompany your very own Zen moment. 

curb appeal, capitalize on curb appeal, curb appeal for your home

Capitalizing on Curb Appeal

curb appeal, capitalize on curb appeal, curb appeal for your home

If you’re looking to add some real wow factor to your home, consider capitalizing on curb appeal. Spending time making the outside of your home more appealing will take your home’s curb appeal to a whole other level. Your home will turn heads and be the envy of the neighborhood. 

In this blog post, we’ll share some tips on how you can start capitalizing on curb appeal.

Start With The Big Picture Vision

If you’ve been planning any major renovations to your outdoor areas, now is a great time to get started. With warmer weather on the horizon, you’ll be motivated to get it done before the heat of the Summer comes around. Whether you’re looking to add a retaining wall, clean up your driveway, or just add a few flower beds- there’s no better time than the Spring to get started on these outdoor projects.

When we say focus on the big stuff, these are projects that can take at least a day to complete, and anything you might need a few extra hands to help out with. When it comes to a few certain areas, you’re much better off consulting with a professional who has the skills and tools required to get the job done right. These include large tree removal, a custom driveway or paved walkway installation, and landscape lighting. Although you may find yourself paying a little more for these services, the return on your investment can go a long way when it comes time to sell your home- not to mention the cost of having something go wrong if you were to handle it yourself.

Sometimes, a routine day in the yard is all you need to spruce up the outside of your home. Before you get started, make sure you have all your materials squared away and in proper working condition. If you’re in need of any tools or machines, in particular, make a list of what’s needed and then inventory your gardening supplies (flowers, fertilizer, pine straw, mulch, etc..) It’s easier to grab everything you need at once at the end of the day than get frustrated and have to head out into town right during the middle of your project. Also, make sure you have plenty of cold drinks to last you through the day, and of course, a few adult beverages to enjoy when you finish up and enjoy the rewards of the work you just put in.

Don’t Be Afraid To Get Down and Dirty

It should be fully expected that when cleaning up your yard, you’re going to work up a sweat, but you also might need to dress accordingly for your clothes to accumulate some dirt. Start your focus with any flower beds you might have where weeds have built up over the months, or plants are just not living their best life. Think about what type of plants would be best designed for space, and what fits your budget at the time to make the best decision for your flower beds. Palm trees are a pretty common occurrence among high-end homes throughout The Crystal Coast and can make for a great low-maintenance addition to an empty yard.

Pine straw is a popular feature in most flower beds along the coast- it’s cheap, easy to lay down, and lasts a decent amount of time. Depending on your existing structure, mulch could always be an option- and rocks may not be the cheapest option, but probably is the easiest to maintain. Anything you can do to avoid exposed sand/dirt will go a long way in keeping your property clean and presentable at first glance. Grass can be difficult and expensive to grow right along the beach, but a healthy mixture of dirt, sod, and consistent water can help do the trick.

This is also a great time to focus on any pests you might have lingering around your homestead. Fire ants and moles are two of the most annoying and damaging animals to most yards in our area, but the local hardware stores are usually stocked with plenty of ways to prevent these nuisances from calling your home theirs as well. Deer are pretty prevalent in our coastal community as well, and can wreak havoc on your freshly planted flower beds- For that reason, it’s usually recommended to keep potted flowers on your porch or deck (Hanging plants is also a great option if you’re front entrance allows it). You can also choose the plants that help to deter deer.

Finding the Right Way to Deter Deer

Perennial “Deer Deterrent” Plants

  • Aster
  • Fern
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Iris
  • Lamb’s ears
  • Lavender
  • Lupine
  • Mint
  • Phlox
  • Oleander
  • Fountaingrass
  • Rosemary
  • Salvia
  • Thyme
  • Verbena
  • Veronica

Deer Deterring Trees

  • Cedar
  • False Cypress
  • Hackberry
  • Hawthorn
  • Japanese Maple
  • Magnolia
  • Oak
  • Palm trees

Deer Deterring Items for Your Yard

  • Thorny branches
  • Floodlights
  • Hidden fishing lines
  • Sprinklers
  • Reflective surfaces
  • Fences
  • Netting

Apply Some Pressure and Maybe Some Paint

One of the most visually satisfying things in the world is seeing all of the dirt and grime that has accumulated over the years vanished from your front porch, steps, and driveway. Pressure Washing is by far the quickest and easiest way to get this dirty job done. Not all power washers are built the same, but chances are – they’ll get the job done. Whether you’re using electric or gas, it’s very important to exercise caution throughout this process. Depending on how comfortable you feel doing it yourself, it might be in your best interest to pay a professional to take care of this dirty job for you. Most crews usually have their own portable tank, with plenty of hose length for any job. If your whole house is looking a completely different color than its original paint job- it might be time to bite the bullet and have the whole thing done. (If you do choose to take care of it yourself, make sure you’re protecting your feet, eyes, and hands from any misfires). Pro-Tip* The recommended PSI for decks and home exteriors is around 1500, while around 3000 PSI is necessary to get your driveway sparkling again.

If your front porch is mainly made of wood, chances are you’ll have already made your mind up in the paint vs. stain debate. Re-evaluate your decision to make sure it’s showing the home in its best light, and still in line with your budget. Regardless of what you choose, chances are that you’ll need to redo the process every few years to keep it looking fresh. White paint is great but will show the effects of wear and tear before almost anything else. If your wooden porch is uncovered, adding a stain is probably your best option to keep you and your guests safe in bad weather conditions.

Your front door should also be a topic of discussion during the curb-appealing process. A unique color can make a home stand out from the crowd and initiate a great start to home showings to potential clients. If you decide to choose something out-of-the-norm, be sure that it flows with the rest of your house in some way or another. Regardless of your decision, be sure to take your time and do the necessary prep work. A few coats should do the trick, and if there’s any leftover paint- use it to cover a few new flowerpots and continue the color trend throughout the entranceway. New doorknobs and locks can also make a big difference on the first impression, especially if they’re sticky or becoming corroded. Keyless entry has been a big trend in the housing market recently, and simply re-programming an entry code can make it that much easier for new buyers to secure their new home after the sale.

Reduce the Yard Art

A lot of people living on the coast love to display unique items around their house to showcase their various interests and random things they come across. Derelict boats, bikes, can really make a home stand out among the crowd, but there’s a pretty fine line between adding style to your lawn and creating the illusion of a junkyard.

Stick with things that have true meaning to you. If you love birds and want to have a birdhouse, feeder, or birdbath outside your front door- do it! These are things that everyone can understand, and with some simple routine maintenance, can add a sense of charm to your coastal cottage. If squirrels get the word and start snacking on your seeds, try and avoid the temptation to erect a squirrel proofing system underneath, and just remove the problem.

An old wooden boat nicely propped up with colorful flowers on the inside can be the cutest thing a potential buyer has seen throughout their buying process. On the flip-side, a rusty trailer with a mildewed boat and no motor can make a potential buyer say- would we have to pay to move this thing out of here? Keep in mind, that there is absolutely no shame in storing your boat in your driveway or designated space in your yard- it can actually be a great leeway for lookers who might start to get the wheels turning on buying a boat of their own along with your home. Just keep in mind that if you don’t use it, or keep up with it a few times a year- chances are it’s losing value and cluttering up valuable open space around your home.

Designated areas for activity (sandboxes, swing sets, gardens, cornhole boards & soccer goals) can be a great way for potential buyers to visualize their families enjoying the spaces you’ve created. Just make sure that outdoor amenities are safe and well-kept throughout the year.

Clean the Screens (and Everything Else While You’re At It)

Don’t forget to take care of the little things that can make a big difference. You’ll want your home to have a light and airy feel for yourself and guests upon arrival, and having clean windows is crucial to capture that essence. With dirty window screens, sills, and trim is a two-sided issue- it’s definitely not one that you want to overlook. Garage doors, light fixtures, gutters, and any seating areas you have around the front of your home should also be cleaned and painted if necessary.

If you happen to have a screened porch, you’ll want to make sure that the entire screen system is attached and any holes are patched if possible. The ever-popular Carolina Room windows should be thoroughly cleaned as well, even if the room isn’t visible from the front because it’s a natural gathering space for potential buyers and guests.

Water Safety on the Crystal Coast

Water activities like swimming and boating are a fun way to cool off in the hot summer months. Accidents can happen in a matter of seconds in a few inches of water, whether it is in buckets, bathtubs, pools, lakes or the ocean. Ensure you and your family’s safety with multiple layers of protection.

Basic Precautions
  • Establish rules for your family: Teach kids to ask permission to go near water, and when they’re in the water, have them stay close enough to make eye contact with you.
  • Use the buddy system: Teach kids to always stay with a buddy and never play in the water alone.
  • Check weather forecasts, and keep an eye on changing conditions: Water conducts electricity, including lightning, so stay away from water if you hear or see a storm.
  • Protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays by applying sunblock and reapplying often: Hats, sunglasses and clothing provide added protection.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water. Adding lemon or instant coconut powder provides electrolytes beneficial to hydration. Lightheadedness or nausea are common signs of dehydration and overheating.
Smart Swimming
  • Enroll kids in swimming lessons: Studies have shown that children ages 1 to 4 may be less likely to drown if they have had formal swimming instruction.
  • Never leave kids unattended: Supervising adults should be focused on the kids without distractions, such as reading, texting or visiting with other adults.
  • Keep kids away from pool drains and suction fittings: These fixtures can create entrapments—when the force of the suction holds the body against the fitting or when an article of clothing, jewelry, hair or limb gets caught in the drain.
  • Don’t let kids hyperventilate: Kids often breathe rapidly or deeply before breath-holding and underwater swimming contests. This can lead to passing out and drowning, known as “shallow water blackout.”
Beach Practices
  • Direct kids to a designated, supervised area to swim: teach them to stay within sight of a lifeguard or supervising adult.
  • Check the water’s depth before you let kids jump in: Make sure hidden rocks, sharp shells or other hazards aren’t present.
  • Check the surf: Watch for dangerous waves and signs of rip currents. Some examples are water that is discolored, choppy, foamy or filled with debris, or moving in a channel away from shore. Undertows and big waves can be deadly, even for strong swimmers. Get free of a current by swimming parallel to shore; once free, swim diagonally toward shore.
  • Teach kids the meanings of colored beach flags and to obey them: Coastal communities across the globe have adopted a flag-warning system developed by the United States Lifesaving Association in conjunction with the International Lifesaving Federation. If warning flags are up or if the surf looks rough, keep kids out of the water.
Smooth Boating
  • Always equip kids with a life jacket that fits properly: The jacket should be snug enough that it won’t slip over the head, and the straps and buckles should be securely fastened. Inflatable toys and water wings, which can deflate or slip off, are not recommended as substitutes.
  • Avoid harm: Teach kids to stay away from propellers and not to jump off the front of a moving watercraft.
  • Don’t overload a boat: If it turns over, teach kids to stay with the boat until help arrives.
  • Radio: Keep a radio on board to check weather reports.
  • Beware of “boater’s fatigue,”: When wind, noise, heat and the vibration of the boat combine to wear down kids when they’re on the water.
Vacationing with at a Home with a Pool
  • Use “touch supervision”: With young children, make sure you are close enough to reach them at all times.
  • Walk: Teach kids to walk, not run, around pools or on docks.
  • Discourage unsafe horseplay: Pushing or holding others under water is not recommended.