In August of 2017, we moved to Kernersville, North Carolina. Coming from Florida, we've spent plenty of time at the beach, therefore, the fresh allure of the mountains kept us heading West for most of our local adventures.
We're more captivated by the mountains and live closer to them, but nonetheless, we decided it was time to head East for some coastal adventures!
Our first stop, was Sneads Ferry, a nice town of about 10,000 people located along the New River where it meets with the Atlantic Ocean. As fans of unique accommodations, we reserved a night in a camper through Airbnb. On my birthday last year, we slept in a remodeled school bus in Provo, Utah (also through Airbnb).
We were pleasantly surprised by the nice, clean camper. After opening the door and seeing birthday decorations, we knew we made the right choice in our booking!
Travel Tip: If it's a special occasion, like your birthday or anniversary, let people know! Just like you would for dessert at many restaurants, let your Airbnb host, hotel, etc. know the occasion and maybe they'll throw in something special for you. Don't expect anything, but be grateful if something is offered.
The camper had the kitchen table pictured above, couch, full kitchen, full bathroom, comfortable queen bed, and an outside swing with an outdoor shower in the works!
Upon arrival, Tim, the Airbnb host messaged us and mentioned he and his wife and friends were at their Friday night dinner spot, Rick's Restaurant and Sports Bar. He asked if we wanted to come eat with them. We thought, "Sure, why not?"
They saved us a couple seats and we shared stories, laughs, a birthday celebration and great food, including bacon-wrapped shrimp and fresh crab dip. Tim and Cathy have been in the area for years and shared some helpful local knowledge about places to explore and other restaurants to check out.
They actually created there very own Facebook page, Sneads Ferry Village News, (with over 10,000 members), to keep the community connected. They take pride in their beautiful community and love to share it with others.
Also, if you've never booked through Airbnb before, we definitely recommend it. The link below can give you up to $55 off your first trip!
After dinner, we took a late-night walk on North Topsail Beach. We got spooked by some ghost crabs that were by the water's edge, buried beneath the sand, waiting for unsuspecting baby turtles to walk by. We also came across a protected sea turtle nest, but we weren't lucky enough to see any action.
The next morning, after eating a snack breakfast in the camper, we headed to Topsail Beach for some sunshine and shark teeth. We got plenty of sun, but struggled to find shark teeth. Typically, they're within the shell beds near the waters edge, but it was high tide and there weren't many shells exposed for whatever other reasons, so we only found a handful of small teeth and fragments.
We played in the sand and relaxed for a bit before packing up to head towards Topsail Steamer in Surf City.
"Topsail Steamer offers seafood steam pots prepared with fresh local seafood, meats, veggies and home-made seasonings to take home, steam, eat and enjoy! Our Bay Buckets® come in a “one-time” use pot with “easy to follow” instructions." - https://www.topsailsteamer.com/how-it-works/
There's also a location in Wrightsville Beach and another planned for Ocean City, NJ. The good news is, if you live in the continental United States, Topsail Steamer will ship a bucket straight to you!
First, let's take a look at the menu.
Topsail Steamer buys all of their fresh seafood from local fisherman.
The owner, Danielle Mahon, has done an excellent job creating and designing the look of Topsail steamer. She has partnered with a local bakery to offer pies, cornbread, and more. There's also merchandise for sale such as hats, shirts, beer koozies, and special sauces.
Now to make our way up the coast to Gloucester, NC. We drove 1 hr and 50 minutes Northeast to "The Gloucester House" which we found on Airbnb. It's a beautiful, older style home with multiple rooms for rent and a backyard to camp in.
They let us use their grill and we fired up the burners and put our bucket on top. You can use water to steam, but if you want to have some extra fun, grab some tasty beer and use that instead!
With consistent heat from a stove, it may take about 30 minutes to steam, but on the grill, we left it for about 40 minutes while we took photos of the property and taped our complementary roll of paper to the picnic table by the water.
We hadn't eaten a proper lunch on this day, so we were stoked for the feast to come. The Gloucester House has many interesting animals, including 2 African Pygmy Goats. I took this photo of "Edna" while our food was steaming and it accurately depicts how we were feeling in this moment!
Time to eat! So much deliciousness. The Classic seasoning we ordered was very tasty. The crab legs were probably our favorite and we dipped them in the included butter and dipped the shrimp in the included cocktail sauce.
We ended up having plenty left over, so we brought it in the house and offered it to our Airbnb host, Pat and the other guests who gladly accepted. Pat ended up sending her husband to buy a bucket the next day!
We highly recommend Topsail Steamer and have included the link below if you'd like to check out the site and place an order.
We opted to camp in the backyard of the Gloucester House, so after dinner, we set up our tent in the backyard - just feet from the edge of Sleepy Creek. Before bed, we enjoyed the lovely outdoor shower they've built for guests.
We woke up in the morning to the turkey just a few feet from our tent door. As I mentioned earlier, there's quite the gang of interesting here, including 2 African Pygmy goats, 3 peacocks, 1 turkey, several chickens, roosters, 2 dogs, swans, and 2 cats.
We headed back down towards Emerald Isle: part of North Carolina's Crystal Coast and the southernmost part of the Outer Banks.
We enjoyed our time at the beach playing in the water and digging in the sand. There are several other outdoor activities you can do around here: fishing, boating, birding, and golf.
Time for lunch at Flipperz Family Bar & Grill in Emerald Isle. Flipperz has a fun-loving atmosphere and also features a outdoor screened porch for guests to relax before seating. The decor is bright, fun, giving off great beach vibes.
Each morning, they bake their very own sourdough bread that we enjoyed with our seafood bisque. The bread was soft and sweet and the bisque was creamy and delicious. We also tried the firecracker shrimp which had the perfect amounts of sweet and spicy and dipped in ranch, they were a 10!
For our entrees, we ordered crab cakes with hush puppies and a Mahi-Mahi sandwich. The crab cakes were tasty, especially dipped in tartar sauce, and the hush puppies were great with some butter. The fish was fresh and the home made chips were great dipped in ranch.
Flipperz is also known for their desserts. They have a few staple desserts, such as their Flippin' Brownie, and other limited time only options, such as specialty pies. We ordered the Flippin' Brownie which is huge with a warm brownie covered in ice cream, caramel sauce, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and a cherry on top. So good!
Our server, Michelle, was excellent. We also got to know the manager, Kathy, and she was so friendly! It's no wonder this place has been a success for nearly two decades.
We also visited the Fractured Prune Doughnuts when we were in Surf City. You can choose from tons of glazes & toppings to make a doughnut the way you want it. We enjoyed eating our doughnuts outside on their patio overlooking the water and bridge.
Other fun activities in the area:
Topsail Beach & Island: Known for having some of the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises, finding shark teeth, and hundreds of sea turtle nests.
Cape Lookout National Seashore: Enjoy primitive beach camping on the shoreline. Campfires, sunrises, lighthouses, and the crashing waves.
Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center: You can purchase tickets to go on a nighttime tour of turtle nests.
Ocracoke: Take a ferry to this enchanted island with 16 miles of pristine, undeveloped beaches. come with your family to swim, fish, relax, or explore.
Shackleford Banks: Venture out by boat or ferry and see hundreds of feral horses, scallops, crabs, and various sea animals.
Thank you for reading and we hope we have inspired you to get out there and Quench Your Adventure!