I’m Going to Change my name to Virginia Bruce….

…..because I feel I’m starring in the remake of The Invisible Woman.


I emailed TWO different realtors in two different parts of the North Carolina shoreline we plan to scour, The Outer Banks and the beaches off Wilmington NC, like Figure Eight Island, in each case making reference to a specific home that interested me and asking for either a return email or a phone call. I explained that I am a NYer looking to leave so perhaps that’s the X factor that turns NC realtors off. I’ve read more than one review of coastal towns where old time residents say things are RUINED by the invasion of New Yorkers who move down. I can relate. I’ve certainly seen the invasion of NYers in RI (well CT residents mostly, but just as bad) and we do bring a certain je ne sais quoi when we move south of the Mason Dixon Line.

But still, isn’t the job of a realtor to sell me something or at least show me what’s available? That’s what I thought but maybe I’m wrong. I don’t feel I should make a phone call to follow up. I’m assuming they are not interested or worse, they are both Luddites who don’t read their email.

I had never heard of Figure Eight Island, or any of the beaches off Wilmington for that matter, until I read an article in a North Carolina tourism magazine. Kure Beach. Carolina Beach. Bald Head Island. Wrightsville Beach and the farthest north, a private enclave, Figure Eight. All gorgeous. As for Figure 8, I was put off right away reading that it attracts tons of A-lister Hollywood celebs, and even Al Gore, yikes, but then I saw the houses and thought hey, maybe what that island needs is a huge Trump yard sign to mix it up.

Look at this perfect perfect perfect beach house. Blue on the outside and more blue on the inside but not too blue. The only blue that’s too much is the price tag, way over my budget but wow, this would be a dream come true. The photo gallery in the link is better than the YT video but the video gives you a better sense of where the property sits relative to the beach. Protected, far back enough it seems not to get flooded in a hurricane. What say you Earth Image?


The video…


Not only have I not heard back from either realtor, I had to call the town police today for a non-emergency reason and the lieutenant to whom I wanted to speak had his voice mail on. I left a message about 11:40 this morning. No call back. Now SEE why I’m getting an Invisible Woman complex? What’s it all about Alfie??

Maybe I’m too nice?

19 thoughts on “I’m Going to Change my name to Virginia Bruce….

    1. Not completely but I want to see and deal with NC first. As I look at it, I have friends with houses in Florida where I can comfortably mooch – even readers here, like EarthImage and when Riverside Dog Walker moves. I’m good for a week at each I guess. I have my Iowa family in New Smyrna beach eyeballing an adorable house to buy there to add to their multi-home portfolio. That’s two more weeks and a dear friend in Vero that’s good for another two weeks, maybe three if I chip in for good bourbon. That’s six weeks free. That’s MY Florida economic plan. 🙂

      1. Per conversation with the builder today, final inspection for certificate of occupancy is scheduled for Jan 3. Now all we need is some furniture. Not taking any from our CT house. Working with the designer to organize this and ultimately it will be great, but we may have just Caspar mattresses and lawn furniture for a bit. We will look at the infinity pool if we feel sad. And watch weather reports from NYC, which is a major Florida pastime in the winter. Moving probably second half of January.

        1. Your move works perfectly with the timing of our visit. Thanks. We will take the air mattress and you and Mrs. RDW can have the floor. OK?

          I’m so excited for you guys. And it makes sense to not take furniture with you. A new home. New furniture. New zip code. New outlook on life. Three cheers.

  1. Here’s my advice- ask a trusted realtor perhaps in Greenwich for any connections he might have. When you find a listing check out the broker for # of recent sales at what % in what period of time. You can tell if he/she is showing houses or playing tennis with her time.
    If you don’t get a call back within no more than 24 hours, name goes off the list.
    The blue property looks very nice but it has stairs. Lots of stairs. Lots of maintenance and lack of privacy. Only worth pursuing if you pick the right numbers for tomorrow. Judging by your and my track records, I’d have to say that’s unlikely.
    People don’t return phone calls. They don’t reply to an RSVP. I don’t care what the reason is. I have no problem going up the ladder- if I can. And therein lies the problem. Sometimes you can’t go above the person who ignores you.

    1. I thought of that, asking Chris for recommendations. But in the instance of Figure Eight, rather than calling the Sotheby’s guy whose listing it is, I emailed the one and only agency ON Figure Eight Island, the people I would trust for honest conversation and being a buyers broker. So much for that idea.
      The blue house has an elevator!!!! One of my hesitations of houses on the OBX are that they are five and six stories tall. That’s daunting for old bones. Not having ever stepped foot on any of these beaches, only time will tell what the privacy issues are.

      Hey, speak for yourself about the unlikely chance of winning the lottery. I got $4.00 last draw!! 🙂

  2. Maybe best to be there in person?
    Choose your viewings via bike and chopper and/or bateau?
    Just saying. Internet real estate?
    Go to ground! I forget what that means.

    1. Figure Eight Island is private, gated. You can’t get in without an invite. Otherwise, yes to seeing houses from the beach. Agree that’s the best way to get the lay of the land. That and a drone?

  3. I’ve so wanted to comment, but so little time lately….

    The problems I have with the blue house (other than the price!!🤑) are the lack of privacy–seems like the neighbors could have a nice view of the hot tub, upkeep seems high and it’s a rather formal looking house for the beach. Everyone would love the bunks for the kids, though! I’ll be eager to hear you you find the outer banks. Hubs is not ready for Florida (as primary residence) yet, he thinks it will age us faster🤔 And I certainly feel older than my age already…

    I was talking to an expat swede the other night and noticed how much reverse culture shock I’ve had moving back. One of my big issues in Sweden was unfriendliness/ coldness of people. The hard truth upon moving “home” is that people here are crazy shallow. Sure people will smile….and say hello…..and pretend to like you. But it’s all just a facade. So, I’d really like to find a place where people are friendly, as well as real–check your ego at the door. Sadly, anywhere with loads of New Yorkers/ Connecticut/etc is going to be the same bullshit in a better tax climate.

    Bah, maybe I need another Christmas movie to restore my faith in humanity….

    1. I’m talking my book here, but one of the things I’ve come to appreciate about Sarasota is that it isn’t just a warehouse for old people. I think 25% of the population is in their 60’s or something of that sort, but (1) their are plenty of younger people around, helped I’m sure by more modest housing prices once away from waterfront and chi chi condos (2) there really is a vibrant business community, and (3) most transplants are from the midwest. They aren’t high maintenance NY/CT types with attitude. You will find all those types on Florida’s east coast.

      The amount of building going on in Sarasota is staggering. That does give me some pause. The secret is getting out I guess.

      1. I know….we have a spot in the northern keys that we love. Fairly sane people for the most part, but it does not represent reality, and getting any work done ….well, it’s called keys disease..

    2. You and Swanton are on the same page about lack of privacy but when I’ve looked at images of the Outer Banks, whoa, those houses are like an inch apart and in a row of a thousand. The OBX beaches have many areas where cars are allowed on the beach and brings that party element old farts like us might not like. I thought the blue house was at least a bit removed, was in a gated community, and only had a neighbor on one side. Of course, that empty lot surely means something bigger will be built soon and then I’ll feel like a house sandwich.

      As for maintenance, I don’t know that the blue house has them but they make a new cedar shake that can be stained at the factory and requires no maintenance, no repainting. I agree that a painted cedar shake would require much painting and lots of $$$ every year. The salt water does so much harm.

      You hit the most important nail on the head – finding a community where you feel welcome and not surrounded by your neighbors from back in NY. No easy feat. That’s why I think we’re better off in NC – fewer go there than to Florida. Only time will tell.

      Are you ready for Christmas? The boys still believe?? I hope yes.

      1. Not quite ready. The decorations are done, but still have shopping, lots of wrapping and cooking plans to tend to….we are going into the city to see the nutcracker this weekend👯

        The big guy “knows”, but the little one believes!

        1. The Nutcraker is such a wonderful tradition to do. My sister and her family have been going for over 40 years without missing once. Enjoy.

          Cooking plans? What do you hope to make?

  4. I find calling and talking to people on the phone gets much better responses than emailing. People know you’re real and take you more seriously.

    I do wonder about the practicality for retirement of these coastal homes built on stilts or over garages requiring hiking up and down stairs.

    1. I agree that talking on the phone gets much better responses BUT I felt in the instance of a first conversation, considering the length of what I had to say, it made more sense to introduce myself in an email. What I was doing. Where I was looking. What I was hoping to find. What I needed to know. Etc. From there, I had expected a phone call back.

      There’s no doubt houses on stilts on the ocean that can be blown away with tons of stairs makes ZERO sense for retirement. But I’m anything but logical. What can I say? Maybe when I walk in a few of the stilt homes I’ll come to my senses and buy a double wide inland in Florida. 🙂

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