Remember me? It’s been a while, I know. I always make the same excuses when I haven’t written in a long time. I’ll spare you.
I changed up the theme of the blog, something I usually do when I try to get into posting more.
It occurred to me that I have done a miserable job of writing of my travels (among other things) which prompted the change to the description of this blog and an update to the About section.
I’m pretty proud of all the travels I’ve done in the last year. Since Spain in 2015, I’ve realized I really like it. And now that I have the funds to do more of it, I find that I’m often thinking of the places I could go.
This year alone, I’ve been to Austin, SLC, Savannah, Ann Arbor, and the Outer Banks, not to mention my monthly trips to LA to see my folks.
Austin in January was to surprise my friend, Barbara, for her birthday and to attend her CD release show. SLC in January was to help my sister, Sandy, with her recovery from knee surgery. Savannah in May was me & Sandy’s annual sister trip (last year was New Orleans). Ann Arbor in July was to visit my friend, Laurel, for 4th of July. And Outer Banks in September was kind of a random one with my sister and her husband’s side of the family. It turned out to be really cool because everyone there had a sibling (except for one girl, but we all loved her so it was like she was family). It was me & Sandy (sisters), MT & Kevin (brothers), ‘the ladies’ (MT’s mom, Linda, and her two sisters, Jenni & Pat), and Janet & John (sister/brother – Janet is Kevin’s wife), then Holly is John’s girlfriend (but no sibling on the trip). Fun!
It really was a good trip. I was lucky to be with Sandy and MT as traveling companions because we had to traverse a 4WD beach to access the house and I doubt I would have been brave enough to do that on my own. We each flew from our respective homes to Chicago then flew together to Norfolk, VA before traveling by car the next day to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. That night we went to a seafood restaurant that had been recommended to Sandy. It was okay. We all overate as we were excited to be in vacation mode.
We arrived in Corolla, NC on Sunday (9/17), and as I mentioned needed to drive on the beach to go to the house. MT’s mom and her sisters had an AWD vehicle, not 4WD, so MT drove me & Sandy to the house, then went back to ensure the ladies were able to make it. It was nice to have some time in that big house with just the two of us so we could acclimate. We put groceries away, stocked the bathrooms with toilet paper, and generally got ourselves situated before the others arrived.
Hurricane Jose was still off-shore in the Atlantic which produced wind, rain, and ‘angry ocean’ as we came to call it for all of Monday and Tuesday. But our incredible 8-bedroom house was safe and secure with a long boardwalk that took us from the house directly to the beach where Sandy & I (with other people on various days) walked both in the morning and in the evening. The times between were filled with reading, word games, eating, drinking, and lounging.
After Jose moved on, the days were absolutely incredible. Warm and breezy. On Wednesday and Thursday, I went out with the group ‘to town’ to do some exploring. Wednesday was a trip to Bodie Island lighthouse (didn’t go up), and Thursday, we went into Corolla to the Currituck Lighthouse (did go up). I didn’t venture out the rest of the trip, except to the beach. I was pretty content to hang at the house while others chose to make the drive into town for groceries or for other adventures.
I should mention here that Corolla is known for the wild mustangs that live there. When we first arrived I wondered if we’d really see any, but then on Monday, we saw some. And then every day thereafter we saw them, one of them even coming on into the carport of the house! Each time we saw horses, it was awesome. I have dozens of pictures of them, as well as multiple shots of sunrise, sunset, and the house itself. Many pictures are similar, so I’ll just post a few from our days out.
On Friday, Sandy & I did some day drinking that was really fun. We hung out at the pool and got drunk. We took innumerable selfies. I had the liquid courage to get in the Atlantic (which is so warm!), but I wasn’t drunk enough to go all the way in, just enough to submerge [tbh, I was knocked over by a wave which caused me to go down and when trying to stand up jammed three of the fingers on my left hand]. Still, I was the only one of the ten of us who ever got more than their feet wet, so I feel pretty good about that. After the beach adventure, Sandy & I had a dance party on the boardwalk as the others prepared dinner. After the dance party, Sandy was done. I shoveled that dinner in my mouth like I hadn’t had food in weeks (prime rib with asparagus & mashed potatoes). Looking back, we made two drastic mistakes during our day drinking: no food and no water. What are we, rookies?
Saturday was recovery day for us which worked out well since some of the group actually left to return to their homes and others went out for an excursion. Sandy & I had the house to ourselves again which proved a lovely kind of closure to the vacation.
I feel like I should also mention food. This vacation was not really typical because there was not a lot of eating at restaurants. Because the house was remote, we had to have groceries because it was not a simple run to the store type of situation. The first night (Sunday), we had cold cut sandwiches and snack type food. On Monday, a few people went back to town to get more groceries as the boys had grand ideas for meals. They came back with fresh dauphin that they grilled, plus we had steamed clams, and salad. Tuesday morning, Janet made a great sausage, egg, and biscuit casserole. For lunch we had shrimp that Kevin had bought. That night, Sandy & I teamed up for grilled burgers and hot dogs with chips and salad. She also made spaghetti sauce for the next day as we knew we’d be going out during the day so the sauce could simmer in the crock pot all day and be ready to just add noodles in the evening. Wednesday was an outing day and me, Sandy, MT, and the ladies went to lunch at a place called Blue Water Grill in Manteo that was pretty good (I had a PBLT – pork belly, lettuce, and fried green tomato sandwich). That night, as mentioned, we had yummy spaghetti. On Thursday, we all went out for a day trip and had lunch at a great place called North Banks which was really yummy (I had fried scallops that were divine). That night was just leftovers as we were getting to the end of our stay and needed to eat the food we’d brought! I’ve covered Friday’s food (or lack thereof). Saturday night, again, was just eating what was in the house as some of the folks had left the house. I also want to give John & Holly props because they arrived on Wednesday, but they made breakfast on Thursday (breakfast burritos), Friday (breakfast sandwiches), and Saturday (pancakes).
On Sunday, we were up early and MT was leading the charge on getting the house cleaned up (much of which had been done the day before) before we took off. He drove his mom’s car out to the beach because there were some serious sand dunes that had to be conquered to get out and MT’s mom was unsure about getting over. MT did a great job. He took the boardwalk back to the house then we left the house, meeting up with them on the beach where they followed us up the beach to the gas station where their tires had to be refilled.
From there, me, Sandy, & MT took a drive south to see more of the Outer Banks. Our destination was the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. We arrived only to find out they had closed the observation deck 15 minutes before we arrived due to high winds caused by Hurricane Maria which was moving north after absolutely devastating Puerto Rico. We didn’t think it was worth climbing the lighthouse to just be able to look out the door from inside the tower. After that we we were hungry and stopped at one of the first places we saw which was called Fatty’s Eatery. I was not thrilled with the place at all, décor or food-wise, but it was fine. We all had crab cake sandwiches with different sides (fries, potato wedges, onion chips). MT was tired, so I drove us back up north and on into Norfolk. For dinner that night, we went to a place recommended by Barbara called No Frill Bar & Grill. We took a Lyft to avoid dealing with traffic & parking in the Yukon Denali we rented. The food was good (I had the seafood trilogy), but we were all tired and feeling the end of vacation blues a bit.
The next day, we were up early and went to the airport where we took a quick flight to Baltimore. There we both had about a 2 hour layover so we decided to get some food. Sandy chose what turned out to be a great place called the Flying Dog Tap House. We enjoyed a delicious, leisurely lunch before saying goodbye and heading to our respective gates to head home.
So this post turned out to be super long, which is usually what happens when I start writing. If you made it to here, thanks and congratulations!
It was a fun, relaxing vacation in a new part of the country for me. Next trip is to Austin (again) in November. Before that, my favorite month, October, is just around the corner plus baseball playoffs, more reading, and hopefully, more writing.