I was lucky enough to keep my boat in Essex in the late ’90s at Brewers Dauntless Shipyard & Marina, where I had an unobstructed view up the river toward Hamburg Cove and Gillette Castle. I’m a southerner and this was the first time I lived above the Mason-Dixon line, yet I felt that I had died and gone to heaven boating in New England. Great place, good people, and fantastic times at the Pearl and the Griswold Inn. Some of my best friends are still in Essex and I will always look at my time there as among the best moments in my life. I live in North Carolina now and I have to tell you about a town that reminds me a little of Essex. It’s Southport, where I plan to retire, a quaint fishing village with a history that goes back to the Revolutionary War. It is a town listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was a safe haven for pirates in the 1700s. It sits on the confluence of the Cape Fear River, Atlantic Ocean, and the Intracoastal Waterway. With four marinas and excellent, all-weather ocean access, it has become a popular stopover for those snowbirds “doing the ditch” or going offshore. While I will never be able to replace my memories of Essex, Southport is now my favorite homeport. Check it out and I think you will agree.