NC vacation: Mountain vs beach

Gary Speed fishes from the beach at Sunset Beach, N.C.Ethan Hyman

Asking someone who lives in North Carolina whether they would rather travel to the mountains or to the beach is the vacation-planning equivalent of a Myers-Briggs personality test.

The most random predilections — a taste for saltwater fish over freshwater fare, for swimsuits over sweaters, for goofy golf over a well-groomed Bermuda grass-covered course — can help sort the beach bums from the mountain folk.

“Beach. Definitely. I’m a beach person,” said David Slyck (pronounced “slick”), who moved to Emerald Isle, off Carteret County, nearly two decades ago.

At the time, Slyck was a special-education teacher for the Department of Defense, and he took a job at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville. He had never even been to North Carolina.

“I had no idea where I was heading,” he said. “Then I got here, and as soon as I saw Emerald Isle, I said, ‘That’s where I’m moving.”

The mountains are fine for some people, Slyck said, but for him, there’s nothing like a stroll along the ocean’s edge.

“If I’m upset with someone or something, I walk on the beach and I kick the sand and sometimes I use a few curse words. After I’ve kicked a few grains of sand around, I forget what the heck I was mad at,” he said.

Now retired and pursuing a second career as an artist whose main medium is car parts from early 20th-century American models, Slyck says for him, beach weather is a major attraction.

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