Here on the east coast of the United States, summer is coming to an end. In most places in North Carolina the kids have started back to school. The days are getting shorter but still have high’s in the 80’s and the water temperature is perfect for swimming. The morning starts off with the clearest of blue skies and the light is perfect for photographs. For beach lovers Labor Day is traditionally the last beach weekend of the summer. Back home in the middle of the state, swim clubs with outside pools, pull out the tarps and cover them over. Even down here, the shop windows are sporting Halloween decorations, and a few have Christmas things on the shelves.
The crowds at the beach were plentiful during this last weekend but from now on, there won’t be the long lines at the seafood restaurants and the boat traffic will taper off on the waterway. It’ll be easy to get over the bridge on a Saturday as there won’t be as many trying to check in to their rental places. The loggerhead turtle nests are almost empty, the strings and warning signs protecting them have been put away till next summer. The last baby turtles will be making their way to the water in the next couple of weeks. I hope we’ll be able to see them again this year. It’s an amazing sight for children of any age.
September has always been our favorite month to be at the beach. It might be the light or the soft breezes or the quiet times or the lack of crowds. Shrimp are being caught out in the waterway so a dozen of those and some flounder will be on the menu here tomorrow night. Tonight we had the best tomato pie. It’s a recipe from dear friend and “cook extraordinaire” Kathy and it’s a winner every time! Arch and I have spent some time in the waterway today too. Our old dock roof finally gave up the ghost and we’ve been trying to salvage the pieces that are floating over to our neighbor’s. Two huge pieces of roof are now tied up to one of the oak trees out front waiting for the chain saws. Arch had to wait until high tide to wrest them off the oyster beds and float them back to our beach. We’ve discovered that the roof was made from heart pine which I guess should be no surprise since it was built over 70 years ago.
All around the coast of NC you’ll see festival signs popping up trying to get those who love the beach down for one more fling. The Blue Crab festival, the Oyster Festival, and several art shows sound tempting but as we have no heat in this old place – we will be back home missing this place like mad when the weather gets too chilly in early October.
Last weekend was an art festival in Oak Island up the road about 30 miles or so. Up early to beat the heat and the crowds and find a decent parking place; the air was filled with the scent of kettle corn – interesting at 9am! Shaved Ice and Italian gelato stands had early risers in line, ham biscuits in hand furnished by the Oak Island seniors. There were many crafters and it was nice to just take my time wandering into each booth. (Read that as no husband in tow) So many people making jewelry now – a few pretty pieces using shells were tempting. A couple of booths had slat baskets with painted borders. One gal had painted a HUGE tail of a fiberglass fish – she said it would be perfect for a child’s room but although it was wonderful looking – it would take a mighty big room to hold it. Homemade candles and soap booths smelled nice but not what I was looking for. A man had carved wonderful herons from driftwood and they were very tempting but too dear in price.
At last, something caught my eye and kept it. A couple had lovely stained glass pieces that were so different than anything else at the festival. And as the light shone through these pieces, they became even more beautiful. A jellyfish with long milky tendrils on a watery blue background was exquisite. She had used a very old piece of iridescent depression glass as the head of the jelly making it luminous and glowing. Another one that stood out was a ship’s wheel cut from amber glass with a center small china dish featuring the old Bluenose schooner. It was more than I wanted to spend but just too hard to resist. And tucked close to the bottom of the display was a perfect little piece for one of our daughters who loves the sea like I do. Plus the couple was so nice – both retired to the beach and each making very different and distinct pieces. What’s a girl to do?
Of course I wanted to know more about the Bluenose and Google was ready with all sorts of information. (Provenance is always important around here.) The Bluenose was a combination racing ship and fishing boat – quite a mix! She was built in Nova Scotia and launched in 1921. Apparently she was built in response to a defeat by the Canadian fishing schooner Delawana by a fishing schooner Esperanto out of Gloucester, Mass. She lost a few races in the beginning but soon started winning and no one could touch her for 17 years. So amazing that she could fish cod with the best of the regular fishing vessels as well as race. She came to a sad end in the late 1940’s after she’d been sold to be used as a freighter in the West Indies. She ran aground on a coral reef off Haiti and could not be saved. The Bluenose was so loved that she was commemorated on a postage stamp in Canada and she’s shown on Nova Scotia license plates. In fact, Nova Scotia was awarded the “Plate of the Year” for best new license plate of 1989 by the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association.
There are so many wonderful festivals that happen in the fall and it’s always amazing to see the talented people who have worked so hard on their crafts in preparation. Hoping that you’ll make time to check out a couple of these in your area – they are most definitely worth it!
Happy Memory Making, Anne
Background: Blue Skies and Hot Sun
Stained glass in frame: Carolina Starfire, LLC, Sally and Tommy Edge, Glass Artisans out of Shallotte, NC.
Images of the Bluenose: Google
Font: Monograms Toolbox, Amperzand