Location: Holden Beach
Why Do I Make This Claim?
- Unlike left coast beaches, you can actually get in the water without a wet suit. When my wife and I moved to San Diego years ago, we drove over to La Jolla as soon as we could arrange it. Very excited to be in such a beautiful area on such a beautiful beach, I ran out into the ocean…stopped suddenly and discovered I could walk on water to get back out of there. All bodily functions had already shut down.
- Unlike Florida, you can walk on the sand on North Carolina beaches. On one trip to Fort Lauderdale the hotel had to set out sprinklers to water a path along the sand to near the water line. Otherwise the sand was so hot it was on the verge of tranforming into glass. Not very healthy for bare feet. After that we made sure we brought sandals.
- Myrtle Beach? Very nice. Very crowded in season. Hotels vs. cottages.
- North Carolina has numerous beautiful beaches that are family beaches. Quiet, rental homes instead of hotels, and a dirth of “party beach” stuff.
For years we spent an annual week on Oak Island at Long Beach. It was a straight shot to the end of I-40 to Wilmington (where we could tour the Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier), then a drive along some of the more crowded and, to me, less desirable NC beaches, to Southport. There we enjoyed one of our favorite activities, riding the Ferry from Fort Fisher to Southport. From there to our rental cottage on Long Beach.
Over the years the tide came in closer and closer to the cottage until it got to where we could fish off our deck at high tide. Then, on September 17, 1999, Hurricane Floyd struck Long Beach causing a lot of destruction.
In 2000 we saw that they were making some drastic changes at Oak Island, putting in a big sand berm between the cottages and the beach. A lot of sand was brought in or dredged to extend the beach again. This left a big trench between the new berm and the cottages, and the berm was so tall you could no longer see the beach from the cottage. Worse, there was no longer direct access to the beach. Now you have to walk to the nearest public access point, each spaced about 180 feet.
To add more pain, when it rains hard, knee deep water ends up in the trench along the cottages, so you have to wade to get around unless you walk along the road.
It was just too much. We are not second row beach goers or, normally, hotel beach goers. If you can’t walk down the steps from the cottage onto the beach, it isn’t a beach trip. There is a practical aspect to this, especially with children along. With direct access to the beach, family can come and go as they please and easily get anything needed. You can see your family from a rocking chair on the cottage’s deck. At a hotel, or the new Long Beach experience, one has to plan and pack for the “day” at the beach.
So we scheduled a couple of days in November to check out other nearby beaches that had not been ruined to find a new rental cottage. We spent time with my in-laws on Holden Beach and Ocean Isle, getting sack fulls of keys and checking out a lot of candidate cottages. It’s fun to see the variety and anticipate the next year’s favorite week—and we sure got in our stair stepping exercises. We finally settled on a cottage on Holden Beach.
Alan Holden Realty
For several years we rented from Alan Holden Realty. We enjoyed the cottage and its ideal location. A great many fond family memories and photos came from those years. Be we never enjoyed Alan Holden and staff’s attitude toward its customers. They are the biggest renters on Holden Beach and seem cocky as a result. If there is a problem they may or may not do something about it and really don’t care one way or the other. We always arranged for early check in on the first Saturday (1pm vs. 4pm). But Alan Holden’s policy is to not release the keys before 1pm even if the cottage has been cleaned and is ready to go. And then they aren’t ready when 1pm comes around, so we always ended up getting to the cottage later than expected. A minor irritation exacerbated by anticipation and, more so, by the “we don’t care” attitude that comes along with it.
So this year, with more of the family joining us, we needed a larger cottage. When we came down in November to find a new cottaage, we determined to rent from a company other than Alan Holden. We found just the right place through Hobbs Realty. We were also pleased to discover that their customer service attitude is much nicer. Then, the coup d’état—we arrived a few minutes early and they checked us in with no big deal.
The week always ends way too soon. One of these days… two weeks.
Copyright 2011 FrictionFactor.com