Sunset Beach - Withstanding Change


I grew up visiting the shores of Sunset Beach, NC each summer. My parents would pack up the car and fill it to the brim with beach supplies, groceries, and me and my two sisters. After exiting the highway, we would drive through the town of Calabash. As soon as we crossed the famous drawbridge over the intracoastal waterway, we knew we had arrived.


We spent our days on the beach, building castles and riding the waves. We spent our nights eating fried fresh seafood, visiting the shops of Calabash, and playing games at the beach house.


I have fond memories of my dad at Sunset Beach. He loved being out in the water, reading on the beach, and laughing with our friends who joined us each year. I miss those moments.


I had not been back for 20 years or more until I visited in November, 2019. The town replaced the drawbridge of my memories with a new modern bridge. There are new walkways to cross the dunes. Despite these changes, the essence and heart of Sunset is still intact. The houses lined up on Ocean Boulevard are still standing strong. The pier remains intact. Sea oats are still blowing in the wind. As I stood on the beach, I could close my eyes and remember how it felt as a child to visit each summer. In mind’s eye, I was running into the ocean, wading in the tide pools, and searching for sand dollars and shells.


I am grateful this natural small spot on the Carolina coast has not changed. It is comforting this magical place has stood the test of time and weathered the storms. In many ways, change is good. But with Sunset, I am glad to find it the same.


Copyright 2016 Lori Lankford
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