We rented a condo unit thru GMAC Rentals at Ocean Reef Condos, Unit 6A2.
Drive - from Quakertown, PA to Emerald Isle took aprox. 10.3 hours with stopping and traffic, due to the Labor Day holiday.
Before we picked up our keys, we stopped at the Lowes Food Store in CC before crossing the bridge to EI. This is a very nice store. They had anything and everything!
Check in - Was a breeze! They had a gazebo with two driving lanes on both sides to pull up to. No need to get out of your car to retrieve your keys for either check in or check out. It was great! They even gave us a little welcome gift (wine bottle cooler). Nice touch!
Condo - We were pleasantly surprised. The pics on the website were an exact match to what you see in person. It is a very well kept condo. There were no disappointments. This condo was central in the complex, actually right across the drive from the pool.
Beach - Very nice and wide. Water was a beautiful green/blue and clean! Sand is not white, but does get VERY hot with the sun, so be prepared to wear some type of shoes. No seaweed or "creatures" which made swimming nice. Waves were high a few days due to Gabrielle (tropical depression) stirring in the ocean, so we saw many surfers, which was fun to watch. Other beach goers were scarce due to the week. Only busy day was Sunday before Labor Day. But even with it being busy, there was still a nice space around us once we were set up with our chairs and umbrella.
With Gabrielle stirring up so many waves, lots of shells got kicked up on the beach, which was great. We were able to go shelling many mornings while we were enjoying the sunrise.
Grocery - Went aprox. 10 mins down the road one day to go to the Food Lion. This grocery was okay to pick up last minute items but I would recommend going the extra 10 mins. to Lowes if you need fresh great stuff.
Other - We bought fresh shrimp locally from a vendor selling out of her ice chests. Looks like she is there all the time. Prices were a little high, but to be expected being on the beach.
We went out for dinner one evening to Portofino's (Italian). Food and service were good for the money. Claim they are "wine bar" but they don't have a huge selection to get wines by the glass. We had plenty of food left over to bring back to eat for another night.
On our other nights, we cooked in the condo and also one night bbq'd steaks on the beach.
Ocean Reef Condos - As a whole, is a great complex. We know it is an older complex, but we were impressed with the maintenance. There was always someone out taking care of the landscape, the pool and the area around the pool was always clean. Plus you can tell all of the owners take great care of their places.
Emerald Isle - Was a great low key area for us. We enjoyed relaxing on the beach...morning, noon, and night. (shooting stars, just about every night!)
We would definitely recommend the area, rental company and the condos.
Feel free to email me if you have any questions.