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Archive for September, 2015

Waterfront Home Open House September 30

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Open House Wednesday September 30

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Pizza and pasta lunch will be provided

Also enjoy a tasty treat from the  Side Street Bakery

**Register to win 1 of 2 $50 Visa Gift Cards

5952 Dutchman Creek Road

This beautiful, meticulously maintained marsh front home has panoramic views of Dutchman Creek, tidal marshes, ICW and distant Caswell Beach. Architect designed plan with full living quarters, kitchen, dining and master suite on the first level. Direct access to the open deck, spacious screened porch and a relaxing sunroom completes the spa package. Two further bedrooms and bathroom on the upper level create a totally private family or guest area, complete with a study area and ample storage.

MLS# 686658
Listing Agent: Donald Howarth
Cell: 910-279-9398
Email: Donald@coastalrealtyconnections.com

See more about this  home. 

Best places Entertaining Dogs

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If you are “owned” by a dog, then you know how important it is to have the perfect home for your four legged friend.  Everything from the number of stairs to a fenced back yard can come into play when looking for the ideal home for your furry family members.  Most homes can be modified to accommodate special needs for pets but more importantly is the neighborhood pet friendly?  Some planned communities are thinking ahead and including dog parks as an amenity for residents to enjoy while some provide sidewalks and trails where you can exercise your dog on-leash.   Once you have pinpointed your area of interest, stop by a park or pet store and ask pet owners if they recommend any neighborhoods or communities that they know to be dog friendly.  Other pet owners are usually very happy to share information like their favorite pet store, veterinarian, groomer and their favorite place to take their own dog.  You can also drive around a specific neighborhood taking note of the number of homes with dogs or if there are folks out walking their dogs.  This is often a good indicator of a dog friendly neighborhood.  Keep in mind if you are considering a planned community or neighborhood with a Home Owners Association, you will want to obtain the Bylaws and Restrictions to make yourself aware of any rules that might not work for you and your pet.  Fencing for example, may be required to be constructed of certain materials or may have height restrictions. Just make sure you know what is or isn’t permitted.

If you are relocating to a whole new town, make sure that you inquire about local ordinances and license laws. Since animal welfare laws are different in every city, it will be important to know before you buy or rent, what is expected from you as a dog owner.  Certain cities in the country even have bans on particular breeds which may prevent you from living in city or county limits.  As always it is important to be informed!  Hopefully you are working with a REALTOR who should be able to help you navigate your pet friendly quest.

If you live in Brunswick or New Hanover Counties and are looking for a fun new place to take your dogs for some exercise and play time, there are a surprising number of options!  If you dog is considered part of the family, then you know how hard it is to leave them at home sometimes. Along the south eastern coast of NC, Oak Island is a year round, dog friendly beach.  Other area beaches allow dogs on leash only during certain times of the year, deemed as “off season.”  You might also be surprised to find out there are dog-friendly restaurants and bars too!  Here are some of our favorites!

Dog Parks

PM Pups at dog park shallotte approved (1)

Bald Head Island
North Bald Head Wynd

Oak Island Dog Park
Dolphin Street, between 47th and 46th Streets


Holden Beach Dog Park
146 Scotch Bonnet Dr
Holden Beach, NC 28462


Shallotte Dog Park
5550 Main St,
Shallotte, NC 28459


Town Creek Park
6420 Ocean Highway East in Winnabow  

Abbey Nature Trail
10200 Hwy 17 N
Wilmington, NC


Ogden Dog Park
Market St and Gordon Rd
Wilmington, NC, US
(910) 798-7620


Hugh McRae Park-Dog Park
1799 S College Rd
Wilmington, NC, US 28403
(910) 798-7630


Wilmington Dog Park
3405 Park Avenue (Within Empie Park)



Dog Friendly Restaurants and Bars (outdoor seating)


The George on the Riverwalk in Wilmington,         Front Street Brewery, Wilmington
Java Dog Coffee House, Wilmington                                     Rucker John’s on Carolina Beach Rd.
Brusters Real Ice Cream-Wilmington                                    Dairy Queen Wilmington
Lazy Pirate-Carolina Beach                                            Gibby’s Dock and Dine-Carolina Beach
Casa Matta-Carolina Beach                                             Seawitch Café and Tiki Bar-Carolina Beach
Fishy Fishy Café-Southport                                            Calabash Deli, Calabash
Fibber McGee’s-Sunset Beach                                           Shagger Jack’s-Oak Island
Inlet View Bar and Grill-Shallotte                                 San Jose -by Lowes Foods in Shallotte

Now get out there and have some fun with your furry friends!!!

Why we have the Cape Fear River Pilots

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Since Europeans first viewed the area, the river known ominously as the Cape Fear has been vital to the fortunes of both buccaneers and businessmen. History shows it was the pirate Stede Bonnet – by most accounts a poor sailor who already had been convicted as a pirate and pardoned – who may have realized the river’s name. After returning to piracy, he tried to escape capture in the early 1700’s by hiding up the Cape Fear. But he forgot the first rule of pirates – always have more than one escape route. Bonnet was caught as soon as the British reached the mouth of the river.

Union vessels didn’t have as much luck with the blockade runners of the Confederacy, who continued to escape capture and bring needed supplies back to the port at Wilmington during the Civil War. In fact, Wilmington was the last port open to blockade runners. When it finally fell in early 1865, it signaled the end of Confederate hopes.

Since then, though, most seagoing traffic hasn’t needed an escape route – merely a North Carolina berth. That meant the Cape Fear River in Wilmington, and the deep water harbor at Morehead City. When North Carolina’s first major port development began in the 1850s at Morehead City, harbor pilots began bringing in ships through Beaufort Inlet.In Wilmington, the river pilots became crucial during the Union blockade of the South during the Civil War. They would steam down the coastline and bring back needed supplies to the port, making Wilmington the last port open to blockade runners.Graphic Cape Fear Pilot Assoc (2)

In the years before modern dredging and channel deepening of the river, known ominously as the Cape Fear, captains used local pilots to maneuver the sandbars at the entrance of the harbor and of Frying Pan Shoals, more than 20 miles offshore. “Think of the captain of a large ship at Cape Fear as a blind man entering an immense, strange house, cluttered with unfamiliar furniture and other hazards, with only one entrance and one exit,” writes Jim McNeil in Masters of the Shoals.

Because of the pilots’ daring runs and narrow escapes, they often were romanticized in publications as “dandies of the town,” according to an article excerpted in Masters of the Shoals. “They wore fine ruffled shirts, tight fitting boots, long black coats and plug hats,” the author writes. “Every boy hoped someday to become a pilot.” “Without pilots, captains would be burdened. There is so much paperwork involved in every port visit, and (captains) go to so many ports around the world that they can’t know each river and port,” says Kirby. Federal regulations say that all “coastwise seagoing vessels propelled by machinery and subject to inspection” must be under the direction of a qualified pilot, along with vessels “not authorized by their certificate of inspection to proceed beyond (a specified) boundary line which are in excess of 1,600 tons, propelled by machinery and subject to inspection.” In more understandable terms, that means: “Every freighter, every big ship you see coming in this port has got a pilot in it,” said Scott Aldridge, river pilot and former president of the Cape Fear River Pilots Association.

In the Port of Wilmington 90 miles south of Morehead City, eight river pilots guide ships from a sea buoy in the Atlantic Ocean, past Bald Head and Jaybird shoals, and up the Cape Fear River.
“You have to navigate all the turns and bends in the river,” said Wes Kirby, then president of the Wilmington/Cape Fear Pilots Association. “Every bend has localized shoaling.” As river pilots bring the ships close to their berth in the Wilmington port, the docking pilots take over and use tugboats to push the vessel alongside its berth. Docking pilots also use tugs to undock vessels and turn them around so they can head down the river and out to sea.

Pilots have been around North Carolina ports for hundreds of years.

“Without pilots, shipping would come to a halt.”

sourced: Cape Fear Pilots Association – Wilmington,NC

When Empty Nesters Downsize

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Graphic for Empty Nester Blog (2)Life is a journey. Couples buy the big house when they start their families. But when their kids fly the coop, they’re stuck with a too-big house that no longer meets their needs or fits their lifestyle. The thought of starting over can be daunting.

Over the years after helping scores of empty-nesters downsize, we’ve found that folks sometimes lose their way during this phase. Here are our top three tips to help keep everyone on track:

• No one loves your stuff as much as you do.
The first three things we tell empty-nesters to do to get their home ready for market is to de-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter. It’s amazing how many things one can accumulate over a lifetime. As we age, we also tend to hold onto things as they connect us with our past. We know first-hand. We lost our dad almost 20 years ago, and to this day, our mom still refuses to throw out any of his belongings. Unfortunately, things that we think are important to our children may not be, and things that we think are disposable may have tremendous intrinsic value to our loved ones.

Here’s how you can fight the urge not to purge:

• Hire a professional. If you have found excuses for the last 25 years not to purge, it’s unlikely that you can do this alone.Many of our clients work with professional organizers and/or estate sales companies to help them get through this process. A professional organizer can help you sort through decades of paperwork and belongings in an organized and systematic way. A professional estate sales company can help you sort through which items have value and which do not, and then sell them for you.
• De-clutter on the front end. If you get something new, throw something old out. One in, one out. If you have too much stuff, change the ratio. For example, if you buy a new shirt, get rid of two or three old ones.

The good news is that de-cluttering is a cathartic process. While the journey of de-cluttering can be emotionally difficult, our clients routinely feel free and less burdened when they are done. In fact, the vast majority of our clients tell us that they wish they had done it years earlier.

• Move when you can, not when you have to. Don’t stay too long.
It’s easy to do. You’ve raised your family in a home, and have a lifetime of memories there. It’s a growing trend for empty-nesters to modify their homes — by installing elevators and creating wide spaces to accommodate wheelchairs, for instance — to meet their needs as elderly people. Unfortunately, not every house can be adequately modified. And modifications can’t erase all the unneeded space in the family home.

It happens way too often — elderly homeowners start to lose the ability to maintain the house, whether for financial, physical or other age-related reasons. That’s when bad things start to happen. Some people refuse to leave their multi-level homes, despite the advice from their doctors and often, their spouse and/or grown children. It usually takes a calamitous event — such as a tumble down a staircase, an illness or injury or financial ruin — to force the issue. By then, it’s far more difficult, painful and almost always financially sub-optimal. If your loved ones are raising these issues with you, take them seriously and be honest with yourself. After a certain point, being stubborn is not just about engaging in an existential conversation with your grown children, it can be downright dangerous.

Have the tough conversations while everyone is healthy. No one likes to talk about estate planning. It brings up very tough conversations and intergenerational differences and conflicts. We get it. However, it is infinitely easier to have these conversations when everyone is healthy and the conversations are more “hypothetical.” Once someone is diagnosed with a terrible illness or has their health deteriorate, the last thing anyone wants to do is to talk about estate planning.

Bottom line: Have meaningful conversations with your loved ones while everyone is healthy, and understand who really wants what. It’s much more fun to gift things while you’re alive and healthy, then after you’re gone.