A trip through the Carolinas

We had decided to relocate from Virginia, but we had not yet settled on where we wanted to move to, and we had read a number of interersting articles about the Carolinas. So we decided to combine a trip of investigation, with some R&R and some fun. Since we had never spent any time in either North or South Carolina, we thought that planning to spend time in various locations in both states would be appropriate.

Beaufort NC

The first area we decided to investigate was Beaufort, NC. We liked the idea of maybe being next to the Atlantic Ocean on the east side and Pamlico Sound on the north side.

Beaufort has a nice harbor, however, it is a very small town with not much in the way of shopping, culture or entertainment.

As you can see here, the dominant architectural scheme is southern/old-school.

After we finished exploring Beaufort, we drove down to the City of Wilmington and checked into the Riverview Suites Hotel. Right on the river, close to a number of restaurants & shops.

Wilmington NC & USS North Carolina

Our hotel was directly across a channel where the USS North Carolina was moored. It is a "living museum" and me being an ex-Navy guy, told the family that we ought to go over and visit the ship.

We gave the ship a thorough examination, and tried out everything we came across. Fortunately, the the ship's guns were not loaded.

Jeremy tried out every gun we found, and became adept at learning how they worked.

I had just gotten through explaining to Chelsea how large the shells were that these guns used. She is astounded at the size of these gun barrels!

Chelsea was amazed at the size of the chow hall galley mixing bowls.

Amazingly, the size of the crew bunk areas had not changed from WW2 to the time that I was in the Navy. As you can see here, the bunks and lockers look just like what I had on the ships I was on.

USS North Carolina Quick History

USS North Carolina (BB-55) is the lead ship of the North Carolina-class battleships and the fourth warship in the U.S. Navy to be named for the State of North Carolina. It was the first newly constructed American battleship to enter service during World War II, and took part in every major naval offensive in the Pacific Theater of Operations; Its 15 battle stars made her the most decorated American battleship of World War II.

It was constructed at the New York Naval Shipyard to the Washington Naval Treaty standards, which were meant to limit future arms races - at a cost of $76,885,750. Compare that to the costs of today's Navy ships & aircraft, ie; a single F-35 costs $85 million and the USS Gerald Ford (CVN-78) has cost 12.9 billion dollars to date (costs continue because the ship has not yet entered service).

The North Carolina is 730 feet in length, 108 feet in width, weighs 40,000 tons fully loaded and was capable of a top speed of 28 knots. The ship was armed with 9 sixteen inch Mark 6 guns, 20 five inch guns, 15 quad 40mm anti-aircraft guns and forty eight 20mm anti-aircraft guns.

Only two ships of the North Carolina class were built - BB-65 North Carolina and BB-66 Washington. The reason for this was because once WW2 was underway and it became clear that the Japanese Navy "fast battleships" were considerably faster than the North Carolina class (and quite a bit larger) and the U.S. Navy decided that it required a larger class of battleship and the Iowa class battleships were born.

For any Navy Combat Ship enthusiasts out there, go read about the Iowa class battleships with the above link, they were the last of their type!

 The above information was extracted from Wikipedia.

Myrtle Beach, SC

Our next stop was Myrtle Beach, SC where we were renting a friend's rental unit right on the beach.

We spent a considerable amount of time on the beach, where Jeremy honed his skim board technique. He had to have spent six hours per day, all week long, skimming until he had it perfected.

Here is Jeremy, showing how well he is able to ride his skim board.

A better picture of Jeremy catching a good ride.

We visited a very popular go kart track, so we could all go racing.

If you didn't want to hit the beach, there was a pretty nice pool where you could hang out and not have to get sand between your toes.

Jeremy did not use the pool much at all, he continued to skim for as long as the sun was out.

Our next stop was Beaufort, SC where we planned to visit some people that we used to work with at TNS in Reston, VA.

Beaufort, SC

Because Beaufort, SC was another area that we were interested in potentially moving to, we took a look at some properties for sale.

Beaufort is a city on Port Royal Island, one of South Carolina’s coastal Sea Islands. It’s known for its antebellum mansions, especially in the downtown historic district.

Yet another house we looked at, looks almost colonial doesn't it? This type of architecture can be found throughout the area.


We returned to Virginia with the mind-set that the areas we had visited were not areas that we were interested in. In most of the areas, the school systems were not highly rated and life in a small southern town is quite a bit different than what our children had been used to in Virginia.

Since we had been visiting Florida frequently, this trip made up our minds that our next move was going to be to Sarasota.

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