So, life on a small island on the coast of North Carolina is charming and different. Especially in the winter. It's a simpler life. There is silence all the time. In the morning, I hear birds, wind, and occasionally the soft putt of a fisherman's outboard. I drive to work, obeying the 25 mph speed limit, and I see people on foot and on bicycles - no matter how cold it is. I might see three other cars during my 1 and 1/2 mile commute, and the other drivers always lift their hand in friendly greeting, whether or not we know each other. I live in a village, not a town or a city. Many of the children walk to school and there are usually around 4 to 6 kids in each grade. I work in a realty office. Sometimes, co-workers bring their dogs or their children to work. Everyone takes turns holding the babies and feeding the cats that live on the front porch of the office. There is one restaurant open on the island right now. They have great pizza, seafood, and draft beer. Every week I go to the post office, the bank, and grocery shopping. Each stop is only a short walk away. There are two places to buy groceries. At the Variety Store, you can find magazines, books, greeting cards, clothing, and kitchen supplies in addition to food items. Conveniently, the hardware and liquor stores are next door. The Community Store has a great organic and health food selection to choose from, but I would go there just for the atmosphere of the nearly 100 year old building that has been so beautifully restored. I feel like I've stepped back in time when I enter and feel the warmth from the fire in the antique iron stove. The wood floors and hand-made wooden shelves and produce bins make it feel so quaint and homey. Brian rides his bike to work everyday. We walk our dog without a leash. We hear the church bells ring every day at nine, noon, three, and six. On our days off, we go to the beach, walk the nature trails, work on projects at home or on the boat, or go fishing. No street lights on the island mean that at night, the sky is as beautiful as it is when we're out sailing in the middle of the ocean. I feel more free on this little island that I cannot drive or walk away from than I have anywhere else I have ever lived. Brian took the ferry to the mainland today for a Doctor's appointment and some shopping. The ferry ride took a little over two hours. So, I have the house to myself tonight. The temperatures are in the 20's, so I have the faucets dripping so the pipes don't freeze. No worries, 'cause this cute little cottage by the water is warm and toasty!