During our 9 months living aboard and 7 months of travel from May to October we docked or anchored Joy Girl in 86 different locations. We cruised 3,100 nautical miles (3,584 statute miles) in 10 states and 2 countries.
Naturally, people ask us “What were your favorite places?” We asked the same question of other boaters when we started and many said, “Oh, every place is different. We loved them all!” Hmmmm. We can honestly say we didn’t love them all (Atlantic City comes to mind), but there were enough great spots that it was difficult to whittle it down to just a few.
So, in David Letterman tradition, we’ve created Joy Girl’s Top Ten List of Favorite Spots. One caveat: Craig and I don’t agree on all of these, so the nominating spouse will be duly noted if there is a disagreement.
Drum roll, please…
10. Door County, Wisconsin. Captain Craig nominated this area as he loves Wisconsin, and Door County in particular, which is comprised of tiny resort towns nestled in lush forests on the shores of Green Bay. Niki was less thrilled and thinks Craig is still romanticizing the Wisconsin of his youth…
Door County cliffs
9. Charlevoix, Michigan. Michigan was such a surprise to us, we didn’t expect such beauty. Charlevoix is like a little seaside town with a beautiful beach, a huge lake to cruise in (Lake Charlevoix), and an adorable town with plenty of shops and restaurants. We visited a couple of times.
Lake Michigan Beach at Charlevoix
Canal from the Lake to Charlevoix
Mushroom House designed by Earl Young
8. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Who doesn’t love Hilton Head? Thoughtfully developed and designed for tourism, it’s a hotbed of fun, beauty, beaches and great seafood. We were blessed to have 14 guests on Joy Girl during our three month stay, including three cousins (two live on the island) and my aunt and uncle who own a timeshare there. We fell in love with it.
Entrance to Shelter Cove
Shelter Cove Marina
7. Beaufort, South Carolina. This magical little town was our second destination on Joy Girl. Fortunately, it was close enough that we returned several times with different guests. With its antebellum mansions and Live Oaks draped in Spanish Moss, it’s like living in a dream.
Wisteria hung all over the place
Enormous Live Oak trees were everywhere
6. New.York.City. What a vibrant and surprisingly beautiful city with gorgeous architecture (new and old), plenty of parks, and American history on every corner. The city girl in me loves New York! Small town boy Craig would prefer never to return…sigh…
Brooklyn Bridge and Freedom Tower
5. Charleston, South Carolina. Niki flipped out over this gorgeous place and fought for higher ratings, but Craig was a bit less thrilled. The historic “Holy City” is filled with breathtaking homes (one more beautiful than the next), lovely parks, charming restaurants in historic buildings…the whole place glitters with southern charm and style.
So many stunning homes
Charleston City Market
4. Mackinaw Island, Michigan. Mackinaw was our first glimpse of Michigan and she amazed us with her Caribbean-blue water, white beaches, Victorian architecture and sense of fun. Horses and bikes only, no cars. She’s Michigan’s Crown Jewel, and deservedly so.
3. Roanoke Island/Outer Banks, North Carolina. The Outer Banks will steal your heart. Manteo on Roanoke Island is simply adorable and across the bridge there are white beaches, capes that stretch sand bars out into the ocean for miles, zillions of shells to collect, Kitty Hawk, Hatteras, wow. We loved it all.
Cape Hatteras lighthouse
View of the Cape from the lighthouse
Fish Heads Bar & Grill – not ON but OVER the water.
2. Benjamin Islands, North Channel, Ontario, Canada. The pristine beauty and get-away-from-it-all feel of these little islands cannot be overstated. Pine trees, rock islands, and clear, emerald green water make it a place to sit back, relax and relish the splendor. It is the mountain beauty of Colorado with gorgeous water added on top.
Had to get on one of those islands!
Niki on Croker Island
Joy Girl at Croker Island
1. Bald Head Island, North Carolina. We both agree that this island, two miles off the coast of Southport and only accessible by boat, is the number one place we would like to return to and spend a good bit of time. It’s quiet (no cars) with uncrowded beaches, lovely homes overlooking the beach, giant swathes of sand that lead out to Cape Fear, beautiful shells and it even has a nice grocery store. We are brokenhearted over the destruction Hurricane Florence brought to this area and pray for their quick recovery. Unfortunately, I hadn’t caught my photography stride yet so I don’t have many good photos of Bald Head or the Outer Banks…
Bald Head Island Marina
Beach with lovely homes
Cape Fear. The sand bars reach out 20 miles. Because of all the shipwrecks, the Coast Guard was born here.
So, th, th, th, that’s all folks! If you follow this blog, you’ll receive new posts when we put Joy Girl back in the water next May. Cheers from Colorado for a great winter!