“Traveling is not something you are good at. It’s something that you do. Like breathing.” -Gayle Forman
I have not always been a beach person (shocking, I know!), but I have recently grown to LOVE the sound of the ocean crashing on the beach. I am still not a fan of tourist season at the beach, as I am not a huge fan of crowds, but I love walking along the beach and getting my toes in the sand. I have spent half of my life on the beaches of the Gulf Coast, believing these are the most beautiful beaches in the country. While I still believe these are absolutely beautiful beaches and that there is little to compare to the white sand and emerald water, I have recently discovered the East Coast and WOW! I know that not all of the East Coast is sandy and beautiful but I am learning that the Atlantic has lengths of beach that rival those of the Gulf, one of those beaches being Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina.
On a recent weekend trip to Ocean Isle, we stayed in Ocean Isle Inn which is a lovely little place with great views no matter which side of the inn you choose. On the Oceanview side, you have amazing views of the Atlantic ocean, and on the Soundview side, beautiful views of the Intracoastal Waterway. Our weekend was spent on the ocean side, sleeping with the balcony door open in order to listen to the ocean hit the beach by night and watching the sun come up and the seagulls fly (from the rockers on the balcony) by day. I love the Gulf Coast. I have since the first day I set foot on that beautiful sand as a teenager. But, oh how I love the SOUND of the Atlantic crashing against the beach! The sound is almost deafening down on the beach in high tide. That is a sound the Gulf could only give during a strong storm. The beaches here are darker but just as beautiful and enjoyable to walk. Although…Gulf Shores is probably the best beach for me at this moment in time, with their handicap access. 😉
I would love to give you a long list of fun things to do in and around Ocean Isle, but we spent our time enjoying the beach and indoor pool. As we went in February, we didn’t spend any time in the outdoor pool, but the weather was beautiful and we definitely enjoyed time lounging around it and watching/listening to the ocean. During the off-season, many of the businesses in and around Ocean Isle are closed, including the pier, making it a very boring place if you are looking for off-beach entertainment. So if you are interested in vacationing at Ocean Isle, be sure to check the hours of any of the businesses you may want to visit.
While I can’t tell you about the pier or the ice cream shops, I can tell you about Joey O’s Pizzeria. Yum, Yum and more Yum. When we first pulled into the parking lot a little after noon, seeing very few cars, we questioned our decision. Walking in the door and seeing only one person, we questioned it even farther but decided to give it a try anyway. My mom and I chose to share a Chicken Pesto Calzone, while my daughter and her boyfriend chose to share a Buffalo Chicken Calzone, extra large because they were pretty hungry, along with an order of boneless wings. …Unless you are feeding a baseball team, don’t order that much food. My goodness! at the portion sizes!!! The waitress walks out of the kitchen carrying a pizza pan the size of a beach ball, which we all thought was all of the food on one tray. Oh no! That was for only one calzone! The chicken pesto calzone was large enough to feed a hungry family of four! It is a mass of hand-tossed pizza dough, wrapped around chicken, pesto, mozzarella, and spinach. She disappears back into the kitchen and comes back with a pizza pan the size of a yoga ball in one hand, and carrying a basket of boneless wings in the other hand! The buffalo chicken calzone was approximately three feet of hand-tossed pizza dough, wrapped around chunks of what my daughter stated must be an ENTIRE chicken, with buffalo sauce, mozzarella, and ricotta. Everything was delicious and delivered to our table by an Italian lady, while a young boy waited on a table of ladies who came in shortly after we did. It looks to be run by a family and is well worth a stop to help support them! Another great stop is Sarah’s Kitchen where you can rub elbows with the locals while getting a delicious breakfast! Everywhere we went was full of friendly locals and beautiful sights and I am already looking forward to the next trip up. Maybe with the hubs this time. 🙂