Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Beach and The End of Summer

We went to the beach with our son back in the first week of May -- it feels like so long ago now.  We like to go early before everything gets so crowded, but I think this is the earliest we've been since our son was in pre-school.  He finished his final exams around May 4th, and we took our vacation a few days later so that he could go with us.  He had to get back to school because he was working as a Resident Advisor on campus both sessions of summer school.

While we were there in May, I did a post on Historic Wilmington, which you can read HERE.  I wanted to do another post showing some pictures we took around the island and on the beach.  I'm posting these this weekend, because to most of us, Labor Day weekend symbolizes the end of summer.  As I mentioned in my Wilmington post, I love houses.  There are so many interesting houses, both old and new, at the coast.  I don't think these pictures are as pretty as they normally are because we had overcast skies almost the whole time we were there this year.  But as my DH says, "A rainy day at the beach is still better than a sunny day at work."

These first homes are in a development adjacent to my in-laws' house.  I always like to walk or ride the golf cart through there, because I love to look at the houses.  A pretty wooden bridge over a pond and fountain marks the entrance to this neighborhood.  You can see how overcast the sky is in these pictures.

This first house is possibly my favorite in the development; it reminds me of a storybook cottage, with it's cottage design and charming landscaping.

Here it is from the front...

The next house is hard to see because their trees and shrubs have grown so much over the years; I suppose they wanted the shade and the privacy. It's three stories counting the bottom level.

I love the pink garden butterfly and the pink geraniums on the front porch.

Can you see the starfish in the glass above the door in this next house?

The next house has been here for about 20 years, and during that time, the shrubbery has grown so much.  I was disappointed when we tried to get a picture because the shrubs are hiding some of the architectural features, namely the pretty steps leading up to the front porch.  This is what I think of as low-country style architecture.  A steep, sloping roof with dormer windows, front porch running the length of the house, and sweeping steps (hidden by the shrubs, or course) up to the porch.

This next house is built somewhat in the manner of Charleston houses.  It's built practically on the marshes of the intracoastal waterway, so we were only able to get a picture from the side.

If you notice the taupe colored door on the bottom left of the house, these are a prominent feature of Charleston homes.  It's an interesting feature -- a door that leads to an open front porch rather than to the interior of the home.

The next house is actually a better example of low-country style, and thankfully, it's not hidden by lots of landscaping.  I'm thinking the houses built in the real low country of the deep south probably are built a bit higher off the ground, with more steps leading up to the front porch.  I really LOVE this house!

On this particular day, we had driven the golf cart to this neighborhood in order to take some pictures.  Just after we crossed the pretty white bridge, we had our wildlife adventure.  I happened to glance over to the right, and this is what I saw in front of the big, pink Oleander bush --

Our son was driving the golf cart, and I called for him to stop.  A debate quickly ensued between my husband and I about whether or not this fellow was real or someone's peculiar idea of a lawn ornament.  My husband tended to think it was not real -- it stayed completely motionless while we got out of the cart and stared and pointed.  And it still didn't move when my husband got his camera out.  I was convinced it was real.  I pointed out how leathery its skin looked (you know, like those belts, shoes, and purses you can buy).  ;-)  Animal lovers please don't be offended, I don't own any alligator leather accessories (just sayin' folks).

This guy was also sitting next to the pond; I wonder if he was starting to feel like he might wind up as lunch.  I was kind of worried for him.

While we were debating and taking pictures, a resident came over the bridge and we pointed to the alligator.  She stopped and told us it was real.  By this point, I was starting to agree with my husband; it hadn't so much as batted an eye.  Then before we could bat an eye --

He's definitely real.  Do you think the turtle's relieved? :)

So that was our wildlife adventure.  These gators are actually pretty common in that area, but it's always interesting to see one (as long as there's a pond between it and me).

We saw some pretty pink and yellow Snap Dragons..

and some pink and yellow Lantana in the neighborhood.

And finally, some pictures of the ocean and the beach.

 More gray skies.

Can you see the fishing boat way out on the horizon?

These last photos were taken in the evening.  The fishing boat has its lights on now.

A touch of pink in the evening sky...

I'm linking this post to Seasonal Sundays hosted by The Tablescaper and to Pink Saturday, hosted by Beverly at How Sweet The Sound.  I hope you'll stop by and see all the interesting posts there.  As always, thanks for stopping by The House at Forest Manor!  I look forward to your visits and comments.  Hope you enjoy this holiday weekend -- the official end of summer.

I'm joining Susan and the other bloggers at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday.



  1. Hi Denise, once again I felt as though I was right there, sitting in the golf cart, because of these fantastic photos. It looks like a beautiful development, I hope they did OK with Irene.....although I would have hightailed it out of there as soon as I saw that 'gator! xo,

  2. Wow, a real gator sighting! How excited, I think. Dianne

  3. Oh I so love the first house on your tour...I could move right in! I shudder to think how Wilmington faired during Irene~ New Bern's flooding and then Highway 12 that was broken apart stranding those who didn't evacuate have consumed the airways so I have heard about Wilmington, but hopefully all those beautiful homes are still intact. Love your gator shots :-)

  4. Beautiful post. I think the gator is better than a guard dog. I remember watching them at the zoo when I was a kid and they didn't move.

  5. The houses and landscapes are so pretty. I looked at your post on Historic Wilmington, NC and drooled over the historic homes. The wrought iron fences are so pretty. Great photos of the wildlife..yikes!I haven't heard how they fared with Hurricane Irene.
    Hope you have a great Labor Day,

  6. Great post. What a lovely development. So neat to have the varied architecture and such beautiful bridges, but frequently visiting gators would freak me out! Gorgeous beach scenes. Great to have you be a part of Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

  7. Oh wow All beautiful houses. I think the first is my favorite. Just gorgeous.
    I love all your photo's also the ones on the beach, beautiful blue sea.

  8. What beautiful homes! I love the beach shots too. That alligator surprised me I wasn't expecting it! I bet you weren't either.

  9. I am glad you invited me over, Denise. Your photos are gorgeous. Love that house too and the gator photos. I have seen a lot of gators in FL in the wild too when we lived there. Your lantana pic is lovely!...Christine

  10. Thanks for sharing so many lovely homes and sights. I feel like I just took a trip there. Nicely done. I appreciate your comment and visit.

  11. Thanks for stopping by, My Old Historic house. I love the Southern look of your home. I am your newest follower. Richard

  12. What lovely homes. Your pics are great, and yikes on that "lawn ornament"! :)

  13. wow,, love the houses. Your pictures are so pretty. love the evening shot.. well let me say if that lawn ornament moved, I'd have to change my depends! Thank you very much for your well wishes for the parents.. They are both doing very well. xo marlis

  14. Great tour. Such nice homes. The alligator would have been a little scary.

  15. Just getting to this. I loved the tour. The houses were just BEAUTIFUL and my favorite shot of all was the second one down where you can see the bridge and the house. Just plain eye candy.

    Loved your shots of the gator. My mom's neighborhood used to have gators in two of its ponds when I was a teen. They finally got rid of them because the ducks kept disappearing. Well, duh!

  16. Wow!another amazing post! I really admire your photographic skills and the subject of your pictures... I love looking at houses and architecture always fascinates... these houses are all amazing especially the house with the bridge and the pink butterfly looks so beautiful. Love your gorgeous beach shots and the snap dragons are so huge!!A "gator" that moves in my yard will make me real nervous!!!! that is an amazing capture! Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with us and for your loving comment on my "flowerscape" Always a pleasure to have you visit me. Happy Weekend!~Poppy

  17. Such a great capture of Wilmington! I love the style of the homes, and your alligator story is hilarious :) Looks like a great vacation - love the DH quote. XOLaura



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