Once More to Ocean Isle Beach, NC

January 2, 2008
By Taryn Roussel, Ivoryton, CT

As we drove down the long stretch of warn-in family beach houses lining the edges of the beach and marshes at Ocean Isle Beach, NC, I knew right away that this would be a place that would steal a piece of my heart. For the past three years, my family, along with six other close families, has stayed in an eight bedroom house, owned by one of the families, that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Not only have I been able to go through this experience with my parents and their friends, but four of my best friends were also there. Yes all the girls piled up into one room may seem like a disaster waiting to happen, but getting past the cramming and sharing, experiences, bonds, and memories were made and will be remembered forever. Someday in the future I will return once again to Ocean Isle to recollect on past happenings and create even better times.
To me Ocean Isle was never the typical vacation destination. It was a small town, that gave off a personal almost at home feeling between the hundreds of beach houses locals lived in and the amount of privacy a group got even just while being on the beach. No hotel or complex was holding anyone back. You were free to roam around the three story house, pool area, and surroundings whenever you feel and actually believe to be safe. From twelve in the morning to twelve at night, this feeling of safety was as if you were the only person on earth and freedom was enduring. Everyone you see on the street was a friendly face. Hello’s and how are you’s must have been the two phrases used most on this island, for you talked to each person you saw as you passed them during a jog or walk. A whole new world can be seen down in the south as compared to our New England town. They live so much slower and more relaxed. To me, being down there taught me to enjoy life a bit more by not worrying about what you don’t have, yet embracing what you do have. Life can be wasted by living too fast in the moment because sooner or later you will miss it.
That first drive down the center of the island is like your first time on a rollercoaster. People to your right, people to your left, the streets are filled with bikers, beach goers, surfers, family picnics, and much more than you can imagine. That two minute car ride down the main street was single handedly an exhilarating experience in itself. Not only the first drive, but every drive after that down this stimulating street of thrill, a new element to the life around can be seen.
It’s hard to comprehend how much I would actually give to feel that warm breeze coming off the ocean in the early morning when I would sit on the third story balcony off our room and watch the sun rise. At that point you feel like nothing negative can touch you. You are above all and don’t need to worry, especially when the people you are closest too are around you. My friends and I would all gather in the early morning and late at night to gaze up at the rising sun or the stars overhead. Taking a long walk on the beach at night has a view that no painter or photographer will be able to capture in its fullest potential for a perfect sight. The way the moon hit each bump and wave on the ocean’s surface sent light shining every which way. The magnificence I felt whenever I saw the natural environment will be a tough sentiment to follow for nature viewed on this North Carolina island, is one in a million and has different odds and ends from other destinations.

Visiting this island has given me more characteristics and views on life, but has also brought out my own self even more. My interests, from the smallest detail to the obvious points, I see the week spent here in my self. I have turned into such an outdoorsy girl, especially when it comes to being by the water. Right from the moment I woke up and stepped out onto the warm sand of North Carolina, I felt whole. That hot sun beating down onto my bare skin gave off a soothing and tranquil state. No need even for a towel to create that barrier between your body and the ground, lying down on the natural earth was a gift in itself. The sand molded to your body and wrapped itself around you like a soft blanket. Rising up from that sand heated by the Carolina sun and running into the frigid ocean is the most refreshing sensation possible. Some may describe this feeling like everything is drained away that has no need. Everything that brings you down emotionally and mentally is pushed aside at this moment and the water takes the place of grace and covers you completely.
Ocean Isle’s beautiful environment was not the only pin-pointed happiness of the three vacations spent there, the families getting together and being with each other for a seven straight days was one of the finest parts. Those family dinners at night when about twenty people would all scramble in the kitchen getting food and finding a seat was a place where jokes and stories were learned, where laughs and sadness were mixed emotions, and where game night cards was a routine activity. Every year there are various card games where a certain amount of money must be placed in the center of the table by each player in order to participate. The winner of that game gets all the money entered in the middle of the table. I can remember winning twice this past year and when you win, you get to keep all the money entered into the game. No matter if you win or lose, it’s that fun within in the game that matters. This competitive side of the vacation could be seen within different aspects throughout the day. One evening my four friends and I made the mistake of declaring “war” with our fathers. Now it was not known what this particular “war” would consist of. The next day was a battle of pranks that led up to the “world’s largest” water fight. The inside of the house looked as if a flood ran through all three floors swamping anything and everything in its path. Nowhere else would a happening such as this occur and have it be acceptable and looked at as one of the more hilarious occurrences between family members.
Looking back over all of the recollections that occurred in the past three years at this favorite home away from home, I wonder how it will change from now to the next time I arrive. From small changes like the rooms redecorated or quite larger changes such as the size of the beach, anything might be a possibility. Even if the physical aspects of the environment become altered, the memories are impervious and in no way can be transformed. Ocean Isle Beach, NC is not just a memory, but a life that I would dream of living beneath the tepid sun during the day and beneath the brilliant moon during the cool night.

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