Last week, our family went “outer” town, headed for the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Now this was a secret vacation for our children, Lindsay, Logan, and Luke. It was so much fun teasing them about where we were going and what we were going to do. They were good sports!
We woke the children up at 4:30 in the morning and were loaded in the car by 5:00am! We offered clues to our destination, such as direction of the sun rise and information on road signs. They figured out we were headed east somewhere in North Carolina!
Around noon, we arrived at Nags Head, checked into our hotel room, and headed to Jockey’s Ridge State Park for a picnic lunch, which Brad had packed for us. After a bite to eat, we headed for the sand dunes. Jockey’s Ridge is home to the highest, natural sand dunes on the East Coast. We took our shoes off, rolled up our pants legs and found ourselves running to the dunes. We climbed, rolled, crawled, and ran all over those dunes. Playing tag at the top of one dune was a highlight! The view from the top was gorgeous, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Pamlico Sound on the other. It was by far the kids’ favorite place!
Then we headed to the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills. We learned the Brothers’ first flight lasted only 12 seconds! If only Wilbur and Orville could see a space shuttle! We visited the museum, walked up the hill to the monument, and then the kids played on a playground airplane.
The next day, we drove down the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and passed through communities called Pea Island, Rodanthe, Waves, and Frisco. We stopped at the Bodie Island Lighthouse. There is a wonderful boardwalk there that leads out to the water. The scenery is beautiful. I had made up a scavenger hunt list and brought along paper bags so the kids could have a purpose in our nature walk. We found everything from animal tracks in the mud to seeds, pinecones, feathers, and shiny rocks. They loved this and got so excited when they found something on the list! After collecting our treasures, we got back into the car and headed south again. We stopped at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which has been moved away from it’s orginal location due to erosion. It’s amazing to think of all that went in to moving that thing!
We caught the 2:00 ferry to Ocracoke Island. The kids loved the ride and thought it was way cool to drive our car onto a boat! On the island, we stopped to view some ponies and crossed the street to see the beach. We visited the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse and then checked into our hotel. After skipping lunch, opting for snacks, we were all very hungry for dinner. Jason’s Restaurant had been recommended to us, and we went there for pizza, and it was very good! Since we ordered with our eyes and not our stomachs, we had a good bit of pizza left over. I ordered a piece of homemade key lime pie to go. Brad and the kids wanted ice cream, but after dinner we found the ice cream place closed, so we went to The Community Store and purchased ice cream bars out of the freezer section. The kids (all four) were delighted!
After a little souvenir shopping at the Pirate’s Chest, we headed for the ferry landing. We took the 2 1/2 hour ride to Cedar Island. This is where our left over pizza comes in the picture. Brad went to the car and pulled it out, and we all ate pizza for lunch in the inside lounge area, plus our snacks of carrots, gold fish, and chocolate chip granola bars.
On landing, we headed for Beaufort (Bow – furt), NC. I’m from South Carolina, and we have a Beaufort too, so I had to learn that the NC Beaufort is pronounced differently than the SC Beaufort. We spent the afternoon walking the water front and eating fudge. We decided to go into Morehead City for dinner and on the way found a wonderful playground for the kids to play and get some energy used up! Brad and I even found ourselves climbing, sliding, and swinging! As we ate dinner at the waterfront Sanitary Seafood Market and Restaurant, we witnessed the most gorgeous sunset.
We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast this night in Beaufort, and breakfast was brought to our room. The kids thought that was pretty nice…I told them not to get used to it! Outside the B&B, two swings were hung from the branch of a strong, low tree. Lindsay, Logan, and Luke enjoyed playing on these, while we loaded the car to head home.
We had a wonderful vacation. It was a great get-away and refreshing to our souls. It’s good to spend time with your family away from the distractions of everyday life!