Category Archives: Lord St

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Southport NC
Posted by Bill

We hope you all had a Merry Christmas! Here is what has been happening since the last post…..

Most of the time has been spent on house related stuff. We sold or donated most of our furniture when we sold our house in Powell OH (Columbus area), so we have been shopping for new furniture. Thankfully, we are only a couple of hours from Highpoint NC, the furniture capital of the east, and we were able to knock off a few things during a trip there. In addition, Tricia is making all of our curtains and blinds, so we needed to find fabric and all of the hardware items. Most of the searching was online but you really need to see the material to know if it is good for your application. Then there is the ongoing construction of the house, which we pitch in to help if we have the skills, and also all of the associated decision making. This all led up to Thanksgiving. Our oldest daughter Sarah, her husband Pete, and 4 of the grandkids, all came to Oak Island for the week of Thanksgiving. Oak Island is about a 10 minute drive from Southport and has lots of beach rentals, and since the house was not done, we rented one on the beach and had a magnificent time hanging out with them. In Columbus, we lived about 20 minutes from them and got to see them on a somewhat regular basis, but we have spent several weeks at the beach with them the last couple of years, and it amazes me that the quality of the time we spent is so much better than when we lived close by! We just wish it could be more often!!!!

By the first week in December, we were able to start to have some furnishings delivered. We had a bit of a cold snap the end of the first week, and Matt made the push to get enough done on the house that we could sleep and eat there, and get off the boat. The following week we got a permanent occupancy certificate and started moving stuff from the boat and storage unit. We did a little bit each day. Tricia was able to start making curtains, and we put up sheets where we needed privacy. The middle of December led into the holiday festivities and the remaining construction work that was needed on the house was put on hold until January. It was really strange living in the house for the first 3 weeks. We have been living aboard for 3 1/2 years and just having the space of a house had us freaking out. Then being able to cook in a real kitchen with professional appliances:
And also having a decent sized bathroom, steps away! A refrigerator that is easy to get things in and out of…fast and reliable internet…the list goes on…all the things we take for granted in normal dirt dwelling. I have also found that I miss being at the marina and on the water. We have been so busy at the house and have not spent any time back at the boat. It will be nice when things slow a little and we can enjoy both the house and the boat.

We spent Christmas Eve with our friends Larry and Diane, and Christmas Day dinner with our friends Mark and Jane, and had a great time. Even so, we missed our families! There is a group getting together for New Years Eve, and I am sure a good time will be had by all!!! Next week is going to be very cold by Southport standards, and low temps will be in the upper 20s….brrrrr. We are glad to be in our house for that crap. By the end of January we hope to have all of the construction work completed, and all of our stuff moved in, and most of the curtains and blinds done!! Then the task begins to prepare for leaving next November. We are going to take everything out of the inside of the boat and give her a deep clean, then reinventory her for another trip south.

This blog was created to document the cruising lifestyle and keep our family and friends appraised of our shenanigans. I did some of the content about the house mostly for our family to see. Given that, I was not planning on taking more blog content on house related stuff, but I did create a gallery of photos on a cloud based service for our family to see some pictures. If anyone else is interested, drop me a comment or an email and I’ll be glad to share that with you.

Have a fabulous 2018!!

Fretting the hurricanes

Posted by Bill

There has been a lot going on since the last post. A couple of weeks ago, we along with Matt and Shirley on Sofia Jeanne, and John on Annali, took our boats south to Myrtle Beach to watch the eclipse. Myrtle Beach was in the 99% viewing zone. We stopped first at Myrtle Beach Yacht Club in the North Myrtle Beach area. We had never rented a slip there before. Really nice people, and a nice pool! We came in with winds over 20 knots and a strong thunderstorm closing in. The wind caught us when we turned into the slip and a concrete pier clipped the wind generator pole and dinghy. Dinghy was fine, but the wind generator pole got jacked up…nothing serious, mostly just embarrassing! We didn’t get to enjoy the pool because all hell broke loose with the storm, but we checked out some local dining options. The next day we went to Barefoot Landing and proceeded to have an two day eclipse party. It was fun. 20 minutes before the eclipse started, a giant black cloud moved in over us and it didn’t leave until 20 minutes past the eclipse…lol! Oh well, we still had a good time and a good party.

Those who know me, know that I am a weather geek/fanatic. Weather fascinates me, and during hurricane season I watch every tropical disturbance, no matter the probability of becoming a storm. When Irma was approaching the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean, it was first forecast to come directly into the Cape Fear River inlet, which is where Southport (our home) is. The path shifted around a bit for a week, but we were still in the “cone of uncertainty”, which means we could get our asses kicked. Last Thursday and Friday had very calm winds and we were still in the cone, so we took the sails off the boat in preparation for the worst. The storm wasn’t supposed to hit us until Monday (today), so I delayed taking all of the canvas off, stowing the dinghy, and all of the other prep.
On Saturday, the path shifted far enough away from us that we were not in the cone, and all of the forecast models were starting to show the same path. Winds were only supposed to be in the high 30 knot range (mid 40s MPH), and we have been through plenty of that type of weather, so we decided to leave the dinghy and canvas on. It has been blowing from the mid-20s to the mid-30s today, and just a little rain so far. We have many friends in Florida and feel terrible for everyone that is suffering from the devastation. We are hearing that many of the places that we cruise to each year have sustained severe damage. One friend in Marathon posted that Boot Key Harbor has been devastated and half the boats are gone (there are several hundred moorings in there). This is the mooring field that we stay at, and is the place where the locals take their boats for hurricanes. Our hearts go out to those that have been affected. We are so fortunate to have been spared the brunt of Irma.

As far as the house goes…work continues on the inside. Almost all of the walls are now covered. In keeping with the historic time period that the houses in our neighborhood were built, we are doing ship-lap wood walls, which takes much more time than sheet rock. It also generates lots of nail holes, which Tricia and I have been covering with putty. We have used over 9 thousand nails on the walls so far, so we have our work cut out for us! We also have many “built-ins” that take quite a bit of time, and we still have a couple of months to go until the house is done…still shooting for November. Here is the latest round of pics:
Master bedroom:
Entry way and partial living room. The opening on the far right side of the picture is an office area that will have sliding doors hiding all of the mess:
Built-in above the fireplace for a TV:
Kitchen cabinets:
Pantry cabinets:

A few weeks ago we hauled the boat and had the bottom painted. It had been 3 1/2 years since the last paint job and it was badly needed. I waxed the hull and did some below the waterline maintenance while she was out.
Slime bottom at haulout:
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Nice, clean, fresh paint at launch:
While working in the boat yard, we had a visitor crawling out from under the boat:
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Thankfully, he wasn’t interested in us!

Where has summer gone?

Southport NC
Posted by Bill

Wow…mid August already! The last 2 weeks have been crazy busy, mostly with selections for the house, but we have gotten a lot done. They are painting today on the outside:
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We went with a gray exterior with white trim, and a dark blue color for the exposed rafters around the house and porch. The porch ceiling is a special light blue color that is used to deter insects, and it is amazing how well it works:
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Inside, all of the rough ins are done, and this week the ceilings were completed and they got a start on the walls:
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Master bed room with rafters (looks amazing!):
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Master bath with rafters:
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Again…the fit and finish of the work is incredible. We have a TON of light fixtures, switches, outlets and vents, that all of this wood has to go around, and the workmanship is fantastic. The front steps and walkway were also completed this week:
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It is really coming together and it fits right in with the historic homes in the neighborhood…very cool. We have most of the vanities and plumbing fixtures picked out, the kitchen cabinets have been designed and ordered, a copper gas lantern has been ordered for the front porch, a historic style door bell was ordered, a special spice rack door has been designed and ordered, and we have finalized the counter tops. Lots of agonizing over options!!!!

Thankfully, we finally spent a day at the beach and a day at the “low tide island”. The beach is so close, and we couldn’t believe we hadn’t spent any time there!!! The “low tide island” is a shoal in the Cape Fear River that is exposed at low tide. Lots of people go and hang out with beach chairs, and we took the dinghy over for an afternoon:

We need to do more of that!!

This weekend we are going to take the boat to Myrtle Beach for a few days and run down the Waccamaw River to Butler Island to see the eclipse. It will be the first trip we have taken since we got back into Southport from our trip south, and we are really looking forward to it. I’ll try to get some pictures to post.

End of July update

Southport, NC
Posted by Bill

We have had a busy couple of weeks again, since the last post. There has been great progress on the house, and we have had several visitors to the area (one of the reasons we love it here). As for the visitors…a couple of our traveling partners and good friends, Mark and Jan on the other Island Bound, came for about a week. Their boat is still here in Southport Marina, and they came down from Kentucky to hang out. Then we attended the wedding of our friends Ben and Marguerite, in Chapel Hill.
Ben and Marguerite
It was a great road trip, an absolutely beautiful wedding and reception, and we had a really good time. I haven’t drank that much beer in a long time, and it bloated me out like a pregnant lady, but we ate well and had lots of fun. There were several other good friends there from D dock (Ben and Marguerite have their boat there with all of us) which contributed to the fun. We are all very happy for them!! After that, we met Tricia’s brother Rob and wife Sue, with nephew Patrick, and their aunt Doris, in Wilmington. Doris lives near by and the rest were vacationing in Topsail Beach. It is always fun to hang with them! Then we visited our good friends from Ohio, Andy, Kevin and Scott. They were hanging out at Kevin’s condo in Myrtle Beach, which is only an hour away, and it was good to catch up with them. Then we drove to North Topsail to visit with our close friends/family, the Hiltys. They were on vacation and we had a great time catching up with them.

The exterior of the house should be done this week. The inside has been roughed in for electric, gas and plumbing, and all we need outside is the front steps, paint, and the metal roof. Here is how it looks now:
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We have had many people walk by the house while we have been there. Everyone tells us how great it looks. We couldn’t be happier!!! The quality is superb! In the next couple of weeks the interior will start. Wood ceiling first, and then wood shiplap walls…just like the old days! The decisions on everything related to the build have consumed us. There are several unique aspects to the interior that have taken quite a bit of our time, but we think it will end up being very cool.

Long time…no blog

Southport NC
Posted by Bill

Wow! A lot has been happening! Since my last blog over a month ago, we have made significant progress on the house, have been settling in to a “dirt dweller” mode of living, and made a short run to Ohio to get our lake house ready to sell, and move all of our crap in storage to a storage facility in Southport. As a part of all of that, we realized we needed a more practical vehicle than our 1994 Jeep Wrangler and bought a new pick up truck. We also rented a 26 foot U-haul truck and drove it from Ohio to North Carolina…that was a trip I never want to repeat! Many thanks to Pete and Sarah for helping us load up in Ohio, and to our friends Larry and Dianne, and Matt, for helping us unload in Southport. I think I am getting too old for this crap!!!!

As for the house…..
Around mid June, they finished the foundation:
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Then a few days later they laid the trusses for the first floor:
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From there, it didn’t take long to frame the rest of the house:
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This week, they got the exterior doors and windows in, and Matt is working on the front porch:
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We selected Marvin Integrity windows and mahogany wood doors, and we are very happy with the quality of both!

This week, the heating and air, plumbing, and electrical guys will be here to do their thing. The bad news is…we need to have our plumbing and lighting selections completed, and decisions made for where everything is going to go…yikes! In the past month we have visited several showrooms and spent countless hours on-line looking at all of this stuff, trying to narrow down our options. Matt and Shirley have been a tremendous help, and have great taste and ideas, which has made the process less stressful.

I have had 3 other homes built in the past, but I have never seen anything close to this level of quality of construction. Matt and his crews have done an excellent job. The construction is tight and solid, and they have used top notch materials.

In addition to all of the house activity, we had visits from our good friends from Ohio, Jim and Laura, and also our youngest daughter Jessica, her husband Eric, and four of our grand kids. It was really great to see them, and show them around Southport. We weren’t able to get them out on the big boat, but they really had fun riding in the dinghy:
Over the 4th of July, our good friends and traveling partners from Byrd Ketcher, Kurt and Sharon, along with Kurt’s sister Kim, and husband Mark, all came to visit. A good time was had by all!!!! There was a lot of activity associated with the 4th, as the North Carolina 4th of July festival is held here every year. As you can see…we have had a busy month and a half!!!

312 N Lord Street – Footer


Last year we bought an old house…a turd…and had it demolished. It is in an area of Southport NC the locals call “Old Town”, and is on one of the first 100 lots in Southport. We were lucky to get it as they are in very high demand. I’ll attempt to document the construction process in a series of dedicated posts.

Background: When we left Ohio on our boat, one of the goals of our adventures was to evaluate places along the east coast to settle back down after our cruising was done. We wanted the following: Walk or short drive to the beach, walking distance to our boat slip, not too cold in the winter, walking distance to shops/bars/restaurants, not a big city but close to big town amenities. Southport was in the sweet spot. We also wanted a house with very little yard, small square footage, but big enough to entertain and to accommodate visitors. The preference was a new build versus existing house. Having scored a prime spot in historic Southport, we are building a house that will have the same architecture as the homes that were built here 100 years ago. We are fortunate to have two of our closest friends building for us, MW Custom Homes. Matt and Shirley have their own construction business and are a great team. Matt has built hundreds of homes over the years and done many restoration projects. Over the last three years, I have watched him, and occasionally helped him, build three homes in Southport, and let me tell you…these guys are GOOD! If you need a house built in this area, you need to talk to them.

Here is a sketch of what we are building:
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Front porches are a big thing in Old Town, and we really wanted a second story porch in addition to the first story one, but the second story floor plan would be compromised, so we opted for a first story porch only. A couple of days ago, Tricia, Matt and I cleaned up the lot. We cut the grass, pulled weeds, cut down vines and saplings along the fence line, and raked the debris into yard bags. It has been YEARS since Tricia and I have done that kind of work (no yard work living on a boat…lol), and we were worn out! Then we helped Matt lay out the house in preparation for the footer. I have never done this before, and found it fascinating. Measuring from the lot line pins, we used re-bar stakes and string to lay out the outline of the footer, and then painted orange lines on the ground. When finished it looked like this:
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Then the next day they dug the footer trenches:
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The next day they tamped the trenches down and then poured the footer the following day:
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Next week they will lay the foundation.

The “turd” is no more

Southport NC
Posted by Bill

Tropical storm Hermine passed right over us, brought a lot of rain, and we measured winds up to 40 knots. It was a couple of days of hunkering down in the boat, watching movies and stuff like that. I am glad we were in a marina, so we had shore power and a protected safe haven (no Southport pun intended…the movie Safe Haven was filmed here, and everyone uses it for commercial gain…lol). We had a really nice week of weather afterwards, did some more work on the boat, visited our secluded beach, and had a great party weekend over Labor Day.

Secluded beach with fellow D dock slip holders:

This week they demolished the “turd” of a house we bought. I have never watched a house being demolished and I was amazed at how accurate the guys were with the steam shovel. It looked like a hungry dinosaur as they picked apart the structure in sections. The cinder block and brick had to be kept separate because that rubble went to a different dump than the rest of it. Here are some pics of the process:







As of today, the building is gone and most of the trees and brush are gone. They will bring in some dirt to level out the lot, and we will be ready for the building process to begin. That won’t be until next spring, when we get back from the Bahamas. As soon as it stops raining (from approaching tropical storm Julia) I will take and post a pic of the empty lot.

Congratulations….we bought a turd

Southport NC
Posted by Bill

When we set off on our cruising voyage, one of the primary goals was to evaluate places to live on the coasts. Our major criteria were: 1) A short drive to the beach, but not necessarily on the beach; 2) Within walking distance to bars and restaurants; 3) Within walking distance to our boat, if not behind our house; 4) Not necessarily in a large city, but close to big city amenities.

We weren’t really ready to buy a house again, but we found that Southport continues to feel like home to us. We have been looking at real estate for the last couple of years, and almost 10 years ago when we first came here. One thing we have realized….the market is crazy here. The prices are lower than any other coastal sea port towns on the east coast, but in the last 4 years, the market has been catching up very fast. There is a part of Southport that is considered “old town”, especially the first 100 lots in the original town called Smithville. The old town lots are all taken, and when they come up for sale, they sell within a day. We quickly realized that to meet our criteria, we needed to move NOW, quickly, as soon as opportunity presented itself. We also ultimately wanted something that had a small yard, and somewhere that we could build a new house. In the last couple of years we have missed out on several opportunities where we were outbid, as we had a hard time wrapping our heads around the prices that things were selling for, but we grew to understand that this is an east coast, waterfront seaport, that demands a different price than we were used to. We finally found something that pretty much satisfied all of our criteria, and at a decent price for the current market. The house needs to be torn down as it is a disaster…but the location and lot are perfect. It is 3 blocks from the Southport waterfront, 4 blocks to the marina, and 2 blocks to downtown Southport, and on one of the 100 original lots. Our good friends Matt and Shirley can build us a small Low Country style home that will look like it has been an original historic Southport home, and we will stand a good chance of making a decent profit when we sell it. It is very close to the Carolina beaches, so hopefully we can provide a stopping place for friends and family when they vacation to their favorite vacation spots. The current plan is to tear the existing house down this summer, and build something new next summer after we return from the Bahamas.

Lord St Map

The turd:

We closed on Friday, and today we had someone come and take the appliances out. Next, Matt will have someone give us a quote on demolishing the house and hauling it off. Searching and buying this place has consumed quite a bit of our time since we got back in town. Hopefully we can get busy on some boat work in the next few months! Stay tuned.