I’m hesitant to reveal this wonderful place, mostly because part of its allure is that whenever I tell someone my family is going to Holden Beach in North Carolina, the response is typically, “Where’s that?” That always comforts me. It means our secret is safe.
I pray Holden Beach never becomes a tourist trap. It’s no trap to me; it’s the pinnacle of freedom.
Since I was knee high to a grownup, Holden Beach, about an hour north of Myrtle Beach, has been my ultimate travel destination. For me, there is no place more precious than this North Carolina barrier island. The landscape is rife with memories, spanning from early childhood to the present.
When we first started going to Holden Beach in the 1980s, a drawbridge across the intracoastal waterway took you from the mainland to the island. Now there is a steeply sloped bridge that looks more like the Springfield exit on I-95 in Northern Virginia. But it allows the shrimp boats, that go out each morning and come back with seafood galore, to pass under it, so that’s fine by me.
After the nine-hour drive from Weyers Cave, Virginia, the sight of the bridge, a harbinger of a relaxing week on the beach, looms ahead like a rainbow. And like a pot of gold, it magically quells all quarrels that have spawned during the trip. It’s as if once we cross the bridge, any wrongdoing is forgiven because we have a week of love and fellowship and, most of all, fun to enjoy. Holden Beach casts a spell, and suddenly who took whose shorts or who crossed whose line in the car no longer matter. Because we’re here.
When I was a teenager, and my parents would allow me to bring a friend, increasing our vacation-bound brood to nine (I’m the oldest of six kids), the two of us would sit on the deck, the ocean breeze whipping through our permed hair, and talk about love and our hopes for the future.
“I’ll honeymoon here,” I remember telling my friend Kristin.
“No you won’t. You’ll want to go somewhere exciting,” she’d said. But she was wrong.
On July 27, 1996, my new husband and I began our marriage at an oceanfront cabin called “Lifesaver.” Nearly seventeen years later, I have no regrets about not going somewhere “exciting.” Neither does he. When you’re with the person you love more than anything in the world at a place you love and have visited nearly every summer of your life, for what more could you ask? Seriously.
- Daily Prompt: Tourist Trap (dailypost.wordpress.com)