Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Creative Ecology

Husband and I recently moved to North Carolina.  As a native Southern Californian, I'm always interested in investigating "beach culture" in other parts of the country.  We live pretty close to the Atlantic, so I did a little research and came across Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach.  Fort Macon is a Civil War fort where a month long battle transferred control of the fort and by extension the North Carolina coast to the Union Army. 

Fort Macon is now a 398 acre beachside state park.  With a lucky break from cold winter weather, we loaded the dog in the car and headed to Fort Macon State Park.  Though I will always favor the steep cliffs and rising waves of the Pacific Ocean, I admit that North Carolina has some beautiful beaches.  Part of the charm of east coast shorelines come from sloping sand dunes covered with tall golden grass and soft white sand.  The Atlantic Beach community appreciates the importance of the sand dunes, not just for their charm but for their more practical purpose of protection from tropical storms. 

The Atlantic Beach community came up with what I thought was a clever and creative ecology project.  After Christmas Fort Macon State Park offered its beaches up as a Christmas tree cemetary.  Instead of watching a tree rot on the front curb only to be hauled away to a trash heap, residents could drop off their trees at the state park. The trees will serve as a base for building up the sand dunes, protecting and enriching the beachfront.  Scores of Christmas trees lined the beach in semi scroll patterns.  I love when items can be cleverly recycled, and when a community comes together to enhance its natural beauty!

Aside from its creative use of holiday decor, Atlantic Beach is a fun outdoor day trip, especially in the winter, when the beaches are free from crowds of sun-bathing tourists.  Dogs are allowed; ours had a blast romping around the sandy beaches.  People fly kites, climb the rocky jetties, and collect colorful shells scattered over the beaches (one thing west coast beaches lack).  I'll defintely be back, perhaps for a run, or maybe even a picnic!


  1. I love this J! I also have come to love the new coast where I live. Its so beautiful when you can look at the ocean, turn around and see the mountains! My in-laws have a place in Pine Knoll Shores, which is right near Atlantic Beach. Its a nice area. I hope NC treats you well while you are there :)


  2. yay! I think of you while I'm here in your home state often :) Funny how we switched states!