Carolina Dreamin’ – In Alaska

The “Bucket List”, Starring Morgan Freeman & Jack Nicholson, has become almost an iconic mantra for folks heading towards retirement. Often I hear clients say that they have compiled a semi-formal list of places to visit or personal achievements to accomplish.

This past week I was fortunate enough to check off a line item that appears on many bucket lists – an Alaskan Cruise. Although a veteran cruiser since the late 70s, cruising the icy cold clear waters of the Pacific after the summer of oppressive heat most all of America has endured this past summer, seemed ‘refreshing’.

The first step, if in fact you are considering an Alaskan voyage, is to research the different itineraries offered by the cruise ship lines. Here are a few very basic tips about your choice of itineraries:

1. You can do an Inside Passage Northbound from Seattle or Vancouver and wind up getting off the ship in Anchorage 7-10 days later. This itinerary will stay out of open waters the majority of the trip and visit ports like Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, Sitka and usually a day at a glacier

2. You can also consider a Southbound Inside Passage, which departs from Anchorage/Seward and heads south for 7-10 days.

3. Or, you can do a 7 day up and back cruise out of Seattle or Vancouver. On this journey, you will have to hit open seas (which were relatively calm on my trip) in order to cover all the necessary nautical miles between Seattle and Alaska, which is about 850 miles. This equates to a good day and a half at sea in both directions and yet still covers ports like Skagway, Juneau and Tracy Arm – which is a Fjord that leads you to Sawyer Glacier.

We flew into Seattle a day prior to our departure and had a spectacular day there considering its rainy reputation. Mt. Ranier was clearly visible and we took the obligatory Seattle Space Needle ride for a panoramic view of Puget Sound and the city skyline. If you are not a regular visitor of this part of the country, what will surprise the average visitor is the sheer number of coffee shops. My heavens, no wonder everyone is sleepless in Seattle!

As for our cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas, it was smooth sailing and nearly perfect weather. In fact, the Captain said our day in Juneau was the clearest of the entire summer, and so I donned shorts virtually the entire trip – except to the specialty restaurants on board. Skagway and Juneau are rather interesting ports of call especially if you live on the coast of Brunswick County, NC and Victoria BC was far more inviting and attractive than I had been led to believe.

Several highlights of the trip included seeing whales spouting water high into the air and even seeing one Humpback breach off our port side of the ship. We also saw seals, dolphin, mountain goats and a bald eagle and all in their natural environment. The most impressive ensory spectacular is traveling up Tracy Arm Fjord towards the Sawyer Glacier. Here the ship is wedged in between two steep snow covered cliffs with waterfalls everywhere and the water below us reaching depths of 300’ – 900’ per our Captain. As you approach the glacier, the number of iceburgs floating by increase and what is amazing, so do their impressive blue hues.

With respect to your outlay for the cruise, it is not nearly as bad as one might think. I was fortunate enough to use some frequent flier miles for my airfare and hotel, so the basic cost of the cruise was merely $100/day (per person), which is an incredible value given what you are experiencing. Plus, I came in second on the ship wide Black Jack tournament in the casino, so that helped ease the pain of the jewelry I purchased for my girlfriend.

So if you are thinking of booking an Alaskan cruise or checking off another Bucket List To Do item, do your research and enjoy yourselves because heaven only knows that you deserve it! (PS Back in the 1990s when only 5% of all Americans had experienced cruising, this author was a columnist for the largest cruising website in America. Today, nearly 20% of Americans have fallen in love with cruising)

Due Diligence Period – how it can help a Buyer


If the debacle of 2008 taught the real estate industry a lesson, it would have been that Buyers need to be better protected. Too many groups took advantage of a thriving economy and got greedy. However, it appears that those days are over – that is, until the next generation comes in and does the same thing!

In North Carolina, the real estate contracts were revised after much deliberation/discussion between Realtors and Attorneys. The intent was simple: First and foremost, protect the Buyer!

Today when a Realtor writes up a Purchase and Sale Agreement in our state, there is a section for your Realtors to provide you the Buyer with a Due Diligence Period. This is new to our contracts and it is a wonderful benefit for the consumer. Historically a contract here between Buyer and the Seller means that the Buyer must accomplish several tasks such as Home & Termite Inspection and of course, secure a commitment letter from your lender of choice in a specified time frame.

What has basically changed is that for whatever reason the Buyer decides to withdraw from the contract, they can do so without penalty and walk scot free, providing there was no agreement reached on the contract about non-refundable Due Diligence money. If you are a Seller, this can be frustrating however, the North Carolina Real Estate Commission was successful in rewriting the contract to be more protective of the Buyer.

One particular situation where this can be of use to a Buyer is when you feel you are 80-90% committed to a property but perhaps need a little extra time to secure additional answers/information. Go ahead and enter negotiations and if successful, execute the contract while knowing that your Realtor has engineered you a 100% guaranteed escape clause. Doing so might mean the difference of successfully securing your Dream Home or letting it slip away. If you have any additional questions about the Due Diligence period, please contact your Realtor.

Carolina Dreamin’

Premiere Edition by Douglas S. Terhune

In the Spring of 2007, I swam upstream and fought a quickly deteriorating real estate landscape by opening Carolina Plantations Real Estate in an old junk store that I renovated on Hwy 17 in Ocean Isle Beach. In 2011, our real estate team topped $13,000,000 in sales, landing us in the top 20 real estate firms in Brunswick County. We sold more real estate in Brunswick Forest & Brunswick Plantation than any other firm in 2011 and continue to be among the leaders in Sandpiper Bay, Crow Creek, Ocean Ridge, Rivers Edge, SeaScape, RiverSea, Winding River, Waterford and many more. The key to our success is our visibility visa vie our top rated website, as we are almost always #1 on the search return for the plantations here in Brunswick County.

Since the acquisition of Plan View Design in the summer of 2008, Plan View has grown to be the #1 custom home designer in Brunswick County. We work with over a dozen local builders but most importantly, we offer our clients a service that nobody in Southeastern North Carolina can. We design your Dream Home in full color 3D, which allows you not only to see your home before you break ground but, you are an integral part of the design with your feedback. And our home designs have earned more blue ribbons than any other firm in Brunswick County.

Today we are launching a website that arose from years of working with clients considering our area for retirement and/or, for a second home. And instead of spending years attempting to write a book and chasing publishers 24/7, I have created – which provides you with thoughts & ideas on “How to Retire”. As you are well aware, retiring is the last major (unknown) frontier for most of us and in this age of information, I believe we have compiled something unique.

The Retirement Handbook presents you with stuff you may find useful along your path to retiring. Areas of concentration include 6 GeoCenters, Medical, Retirement Trends, Beginning Your Search, Financial Calculator and more. Retiring is a very scary word for millions of Americans as there is no school to attend or degree to be obtained. You are on your own and until now, there has not really been a road map to help guide you.

Carolina Plantations Real Estate, Plan View Design and The Retirement Handbook will show up on your pc at the beginning of each month visa vie our eNewsletter, Carolina Dreamin’. Our goal is simple –“provide you with the information you require to make a well informed decision”.

We encourage your thoughts and comments and on behalf of the best real estate sales and home design teams in Southeastern North Carolina (Pam Silberman, Nancy Boston, Christopher Columbus Creekmore, Pat Coye, Carolyn Rosenberg, Court Terhune, Haley Wilson, Daniel Stiling and myself), we wish you a continued pleasant summer. If we can ever be of assistance, we’d be honored to do so.