All posts by aholden

Roasting Oysters

During the winter months for those who have never had the chance to visit from Oct. 15th through March 15th there is something you need to do. My family tries to get together about once every week or two and roast oysters over an open fire outside over a drum or in an outdoor fireplace. We have some local connections to get them fresh by the bushel. I believe the cost last winter was about $33 a bushel. When I was a teenager, the cost was about $11 a bushel.

Some of you may say, “I have had them in the restaurants steamed.” When cooking and eating them over an open, it is a unique experience BIG difference in taste experience. Here are some tips if you ever want to try it:

Get a bushel of oysters and an old oil drum the with bottom cut out. Stick a few bricks under the bottom edges to raise the drum a few inches. Put small blocks of wood, a few broken sticks and some rolled up newspapers in the bottom of the drum. Next, you need to light the wood and newspapers and get the fire really hot and wait for it to settle down some. Take the fresh, shelled oysters out of the burlap bag and take a pressure washer or water hose and get all of the mud off to the best of your ability. After the fire backs down some and has burned for about 15 minutes or so, put about 35 clean oysters in a wire mesh rack to place on top of the drum with the oysters in it. As the oysters start cooking you will hear lots of popping, cracking and sizzling. This is the sounds of the oysters opening from the heat and the juices flowing out of them and falling onto the fire. About every three or four minutes you need to shake the rack to move the oysters around. Cook the oysters from about 10 minutes or so. Once the oyster shells turn an “ash” color they are likely done.

On the tables you have set up, you should have covered them with several layers of newspapers to absorb the juices. You then will have to pick though the oysters that have the shells open enough to stick an oyster knife in it to pry it open. Have a few different kinds of sauces ready to dip the oysters in. Things we like are vinegar, ketchup, horseradish sauce etc. Dip it in, and open wide!
Depending on how many people you have, depends on how many oysters you will need. Usually, we get a bushel and a half or so for about 6 or 8 people.

Due to the pollution in our rivers and waterways that have increased over the past few years, this practice of roasting oysters is slowly dying. Also, the over harvesting of oysters have really impacted the oyster population as well. Here is an interesting article that was in our local newspaper a few years ago. We all need to be aware that we do our best to help protect our water sources. The locals are all saying that in 10 years we will no longer be able to get fresh oysters out of our rivers. Let’s be able to pass the tradition on for our children to enjoy.

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Holden Beach Family Vacation

Family comes to visit Holden Beach!

Some of you have e-mailed me and asked where my family and I go for vacation since we live in paradise. Usually we do not go far from Holden Beach, but this year was a little different than usual. My wife’s brother, his wife and 2 kids came to stay 10 days with us at our house. Also, my wife’s nephew, niece and their mom came as well. That came to a total of of 12 people (5 adults and 7 kids under the age of 7).

They came out from Salt Lake City on the “big bird” and landed in Raleigh all full of great cheer and to have fun at the beach. We were really all anxious to see everyone since we have not seen them in about 2 1/2 years. My wife and I took our vacation time this year to hang out and entertain everyone. We really did a lot of things. One of the things we did for the kids was to take everyone to the Dixie Stampede in Myrtle Beach, SC. If you have never been there it is really a lot fo fun for everyone. They feed you great food and they have lots of horse riding, tricks, jokes and much more and they do it while you eat. It is inside and they have a large arena type seating. Go if you get the chance, but please call ahead to make sure your get a reservation first.

Anyway, back to the family fun! We spent most of the time at the beach since we could easily just walk down the street. The kids did not go everyday, but they did go a lot. Some days it was just so hot, you wanted to stay indoors. Other times we did some eating….and more eating….and a little more eating. I think I need to go on a diet now. While the kids were either playing with toys or at the beach, Hagoth (my wife’s brother) and I went and did our own things. One day we played 18-holes of golf at one of the local courses. We decided to play Lockwood Folly Golf Links. Now I will be the first to admit that he nor I are Tiger Woods….lol. I think we belong more on one of the local Putt-Putt courses. We did have a lot of fun making a few good drives and putts in between chasing and losing balls. I think I lost 5 balls on the first 7 holes or so. It is all about the fun (Insert sarcasm here)!

While we were out TRYING to play golf, the ladies took the kids to ride the Southport Ferry to Ft. Fisher to go visit the NC Aquarium at Ft. Fisher. My kids always love going! They got to see the sharks, turtles and pet the sting rays in the petting tank. If you have never been, please take some time to drop by one afternoon and see what wonderful things they have. When everyone got back from the aquarium and we got back from golf, we all were exhausted. Time to eat again!
The next day Hagoth and I had to pay the piper for our excellent golf game. We let all the mother’s go and get pedicure’s to help them relax for the long stressful day they had before. I think when they got back home with their lovely feet, we needed pedicure…..or something to help US relax…lol.

Well, the 10 days came and went fast and we did so much in so little time and we still never got close to doing it all. Hopefully they can come back to visit us very soon and stay with us again. We really enjoyed having everyone in our house and it is so quite now. If we could just get everyone in their family to move out here then that would be great!! By the way, after that long but fun 10 day break from work…….I think I need a vacation now to recoup 🙂 So there you have it folks. We love Holden Beach so much that we stay home for vacation.

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Water Safety Reminder

It is that time of the year again when Mother Nature wakes up more and likes to flex her muscles to show us who is TRULY in charge..lol. Since the hurricane season is getting more in gear now I wanted to remind our visitors of a hidden and silent killer that is just a few steps off the beach. I am talking about Rip Currents. Most people can not spot them with unless you have a trained eye. I just wanted to touch on what causes the deadly currents to form and how to avoid getting in trouble if caught in one.

These currents usually form when there is a Tropical Storm or Hurricane a few hundred miles off the beach. As these storms blow they send out swells well ahead of the storm as the storm pushes forward. Think of it pushing your hand though the water slowly and you will notice the small wave in front of your hand. That is how a storm sends good surf to the beaches. The storm is “pushing” water to the beach.

Now……when these swells cross over the sandbars and reach the beach the water from the waves gets caught or trapped between the beach and sandbars without a way to get back to sea. When enough water gets built up, the water breaks a small channel in the sandbar that is underwater and the water rushes back out to sea very rapidly. The “break” in the sandbar is what causes Rip Currents to form.

Things to remember:
1) Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
2) Never fight the current.
3) Think of it like a treadmill that cannot be turned off, of which you need to step to the side.
4) Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle — away from the current — towards shore.
5) If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. 6)When out of the current, swim towards shore.
7) If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help.

NOTE) Holden Beach does NOT have lifeguards on duty. Please be careful and swim at your own risk.

For a good demonstration of how a rip current works and how to get out of one, please visit this Water Safety site. Click on the “View Flash Presention” in the middle of the page and turn up your speakers.

Remember to come visit our website for information on Vacation Beach Rentals and our Beach Property for sale.

Thanks and please have a very safe vacation while visiting with us!!

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Memorial Day Weekend is coming…..

Well, it looks like another Memorial Day in Holden Beach NC is coming around again. It is hard to believe that another rental season is just beginning. The winter months here at Holden Beach go by so fast. Most people think that since it is in our off season, that we get a chance to relax and rest before the summer jumps right on us. Actually, we are extremely busy during these months of September all the way through March or April.

We start off not long after Labor Day getting all of the updated house information from homeowner’s for the upcoming year. As these are coming in, we also must go out and retake new pictures of homes that have been painted, and had renovations. As this information is safely filed away into a brochure folder, we continue to help owner’s make repairs and upgrades to their homes. We really get a lot of pressure to get this updated information to the brochure printers just before Thanksgiving since it takes a few weeks to get them printed. Our goal is to have our vacation rental guide in the mail in early December. Right after Christmas we have about 3 days to make corrections in our database of all the changes that each home has had since the end of the last rental season. This is a very time consuming and strenuous.

It seems that right after New Years Day…….the phones start ringing. Everyone who received a brochure, went and shared it with their families over the holidays. Now they have their lists of homes they want to rent. The phones never really stop ring until around Memorial Day. There is a slight break but only for a very short time. Then before you know it, it is SUMMER! The summer months are extremely busy as always and we never really get a chance to breathe. So you see……living at the beach is not just all vacations. But we do love living here and helping people like you make memories here at Holden Beach.

Please don’t forget to remember what Memorial Day really means. Let’s remember all of those who have died while serving our wonderful country. If it were not for them, we would not have our freedom. Thanks to all our veterans out there….

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Some of my great memories of Holden Beach

Wow! How things sure have changed here at Holden Beach during my lifetime. I was born in Wilmington in October of 1972. My parents were living here on the island then, in a house that they built on the east end of the island on Shrimp St. My Father (Alan Holden) was then teaching school in the local high school and coaching many sports at the time. My grandparents, John F. Holden and Johnsie M. Holden lived only about a block away from me so I could walk over any time I liked. You may have seen their house. It is the only one story brick home on the island.

Anyway, I remember going over the their house when I was about four years old and watching “renters” come to their front door to pick up their house keys. They did not have many homes to rent but only a handful. My grandfather actually built most of the homes that he rented out himself. They use to sit and tell me about all kinds of cool stories. Did you know that around the 200 OBE block of Holden Beach there use to be a very small air strip? There was no airport building or anything like that, but just a long field of grass for private planes to land on. I was not around then, but I have seen pictures of it.

One wonderful memory that I have, was the many times I walked down to the beach at night and watch the locals pull in their fishing nets. Some of the local fisherman had these little shacks build directly on the strand that had a small stove and some ice chests etc. Just the basic things that were needed by them to pass the time. There might have had some blankets, lanterns, fish knives etc. Most of the time there was a fire buring out in front of the shack. Near this fire was a small table about 4 feet high and about 2 feet square on top. On it, was a large powered winch that would pull in the nets that went far out into the surf for about 50 to 75 yards out. Usually it was at night when they would pull them in. Boy, when they powered up that winch there were all kinds fish in the nets. There were Spots, sharks, Mullet, and just about everything else. We would pull the fish off the nets and throw them into buckets as the nets were coming in. I was just a little fella, and some of those fish were kind of scary for me to handle. Usually for dinner, the adults would take a few of the fish and clean them immediately. Then they would put some batter on them and fry them right there on the beach strand along with some hush puppies. Talk about some GOOD eating.

My grandparents told me how hush puppies got their name in this area. I was told that the women would be making cornbread for their families and they would usually have a little bit of batter left over. So while they were cooking, the dogs in the backyard would always be barking and begging for something to eat. So the wives would fry up the left over batter and thow them to the puppies to keep them quite. So…..it was done to hush the puppies. Now you have hush puppies. So, the next time you are out dining at local resturants, think about the puppies barking for some food.

I never knew what good memories I was making back in those days. My, how we have changed the way we do things here. If you want to read about some other neat stories by my grandparents Holden Beach History has a lot of them. You can buy those books that were written by Mr. and Mrs. John F. Holden directly through us. He was one of the original founding fathers of this quite, “Family Beach” that we all love so much.

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Holden Beach Day at the Docks Festival

Day at the Docks Festival!

Day at the Docks was Great!!

Day at the docks went very well last week. We had beautiful weather and lots of good times. There were fun things for the kids to do as well as for the adults. I am not sure how many people were here over the weekend for the festival, but the turnout was great.

My kids really liked the kite demonstration that comes every year. There were about 30 really cool kites flying and on display for all to enjoy. They were not your average kite though. Some were 15 feet long and had every color you could imagine. And the best thing about the festival, was that when you were tired of looking at the kites, you just had to cross the street from the beach to get to the nice arts and crafts that were on display to buy. Hopefully next year the weather will be just as good. Plan ahead now!

Holden Beach real estate and vacations!

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Holden Beach Blog

Welcome to the new Holden Beach Blog sponsored by Alan Holden Vacations and RE/MAX at the Beach. We hope you find the information we put here to be insightful, interesting, informative, and entertaining. We will try to update this blog as often as possible. I will make this first post about the upcoming festival this weekend here at Holden Beach.

Day at the Docks is held every year in early spring. The dates are Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29 from 9am-4pm. This festival is a way for Holden Beach start off spring and the opening of beach season. There will be tons of the food, lots of crafts and entertainment. It is really a lot of family fun for everyone to enjoy.

The location is on under the Holden Beach bridge on the island side. So hop in the car and come on down and see us. Bring the whole family and stay a night or two! Find more rental information at Holden Beach rentals.

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Welcome to Holden Beach! Our First Blog Posting

The folks at Alan Holden Vacations are specialists in family vacation rentals at Holden Beach– one of the top 10 family beaches in the US. After all, the Holden family have been here for a while. (Holden family ancestors bought the island paradise from England in 1756 for 50 shillings.)

We’ll make regular postings in this blog to help keep you informed about Holden Beach and the surrounding area.

Please check back often as we tell you more about one of the best family vacation spots on the east coast.

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