I’ve just returned from my first trip to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, or OBX as you’ll see when you visit. OBX can be found on tshirts, stickers, can coozies. Each July my family spends a week together either at the mountain house or some other location, usually a beach. This time we chose the Outer Banks as most of us had never visited. I was so excited! I have read Jenny’s yearly trip reports of her visits to OBX (she drives all the way from northern NY!!) and have picked up lots of tips. I was especially excited to see some of the wild ponies!
We all met up over at Marc & Sara’s house to caravan down to the beach. Their dog Ally really wanted to come with us. Jake & Joey were so excited to get going! The ride down started fine until the storms set in. And followed us all the way to the beach! I have NEVER driven through such weather. We stopped a few times and got soaked each time. When we stopped at McDonald’s for lunch the power went out. Twice. When the highway went down to 2 lanes and the creek/river/whatever on the side was up as high as the road I was a nervous wreck! I was gripping the wheel so hard my hands ached once we arrived! Momo rode with me and we listened to a book on CD most of the way down. I grabbed 3 books on cd (I keep wanting to call them books on tape) and Momo picked the first one. So we listened to Maneater by Gigi Levangie Grazer. It was narrated by Uma Thurman. We made it through most of the CDs and it was pretty entertaining so far but we switched to music for the last couple of hours of the trip.
Papa & Gigi rented a house for us all to stay in. As we had never rented a house at OBX we didn’t realize when the house ad said “oceanside” it didn’t mean it was on the beach. It just meant the house is on the ocean’s side, not the sound side. So our house was a bit of a haul from the beach. But it was in a great location otherwise. It was in Corolla (pronounced Co- raw-la). We were just right around the corner from shops and restaurants and the movie theatre. The house was the perfect size for our family. Marc, Sara, Jake, Joey, Papa, Gigi, Momo & I were there. CSP was supposed to come but he was transferred at the last minute and they wouldn’t let him off work. Sucked. I hated going without him but the house was already rented. We had 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths. Marc & Sara’s bedroom was perfect. It had a bunk bed for the boys and a double bed for the parents. The kitchen/dining/living rooms were all open to each other. The dining room only had 4 chairs which was weird for a house that can sleep 10. Oh, and there was a ghost. The first night he shook Momo’s bed. Then again the 2nd night. By the 3rd day he’d visited Sara and shook her bed. Gigi got a bed shaking and they could hear someone walking around when everyone was in bed. Spooky! By the end of the week though, we’d figured out it was just the house swaying on its stilts.
We arrived on Saturday and left the following Saturday. Marc & Sara and the boys left Thursday morning as Sara shot a wedding Saturday so they had to leave early. It was HOT all week. And we had some pretty nasty storms. Luckily the storms were at night. And really lucky for us is that Papa & Gigi bought a gazebo/tent thing kind of like this one. It is amazing the difference this tent/gazebo made. The walk from the car to the beach was blazing. As soon as we’d step into the shade under the tent, it went from 7th level of hell hot to beachy pleasantly warm. God Bless You Papa & Gigi and your gazebo/tent! That is the main reason I didn’t turn into a lobster. That and the bottle and a half of sunscreen I went through! Here’s the view from under the canopy.
We spent lots of time at the beach but we also toured around the area. Our house was just down the road from the Currituck Light House so one morning we all went to visit it. This photo is from the website. I was a horrible photographer on this trip! I totally forgot my good camera on this outing and can you believe never even saw the light house up close! I did see it from the road though. Near the light house was the old Corolla school house and on its grounds they were offering wild horse painting. Jacob painted a horse to take home. Joey wasn’t all that interested. The proceeds from the horse paintings go directly to their conservation. If you’d like to see some of the wild horses, check out this video I found on YouTube. After the horse painting we split up. The boys spent the day together and so did the girls.
For girls day we started out by going to lunch. We found the Bad Bean Taqueria over at Tim Buck II shopping center. We had a fabulous lunch followed by some souvenir shopping. Later in the afternoon we went to see Inception. O. M. G. WHAT a fabulous movie! We all loved it. During the movie a storm raged and the power went out and the movie stopped a couple times, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the movie. The theatre is really cute there. Very old school. And almost completely staffed by Eastern Europeans which was interesting. It was the same at the grocery store and most of the gift shops. It’s like a plane touched down in Russia, picked up an entire village, and dropped them off in the Outer Banks. I wonder what makes them all want to come to NC?
The next day Sara, Gigi & I went out to stop at a few shops. We explored the area a little first and came to the end of hwy 12 which is where the 4 wheel drive area starts. We were caught up in a stream of traffic and the next thing we knew….I’d gotten Blanca (my normally very capable Toyota RAV4) stuck in the loose sand on the beach. All the 4 wheel drive vehicles flew past us as we came to a wheel spinning stop. As we got out of the car, and started learning the lesson that SUV does NOT equal 4WD, a couple of sheriff’s deputies pulled up on little 4wheeler thingies. One of the first things one of the deputies said was “OH MY GOD WOMAN! YOU HAVE GRAPES ALL OVER YOUR FEET!” We all looked down at Gigi’s flip flops. Just then the nicest man in the world pulled up in his 4×4 and offered to pull us out of the sand. All the men sprung into action, popping off this part of my bumper and screwing in an eye hook while I paced and worried that I’d have to spend tons of money on a tow truck and endure the wrath of CSP when/if he found out I’d gotten Blanca stuck in the northern most stretch of beach of NC. Truck man turned his truck around and faced Blanca then roped the two vehicles together. We put Sara in the driver’s seat since she weighed the least and Truck man pulled her to the closest patch of hard packed sand. Then the sheriffs helped Sara let some air out of the tires while one of the deputies made a pass at her! Go Sara! Then the deputies gave her strict instructions to floor it and not slow down. Gigi and I made our way back to the entrance to the 4×4 area as Sara came FLYING by in Blanca, bouncing like a kangaroo on a trampoline. The next morning Marc refilled my tires and put Blanca back the way she was. Whew!
Most nights the entire family would play games. We had the best time! We played Cranium Wow (my favorite game ever), Mexican Train Dominoes, Beer Pong (without the kids of course), and a beach themed Pictionary. We all came up with the clues and drew on a dry erase board I bought at the dollar store. There was a tv in the living room but we didn’t watch it that much because of all the game play. SO much fun! Momo taught us all how to play beer pong and we had a ball! We are a very competitive family of mostly non drinkers. But get us on vacation and put us at a beer pong table and we can get a little wild! I can’t wait to teach CSP how to play!
The week went by very quickly and next thing we knew it was Thursday morning, time for Marc, Sara, and the boys to leave. That day was spent at the beach again and things got really interesting. I was out in the water when I noticed a dark, slick spot. I swam closer and it was a jellyfish! I turned to tell the boogie boarder about the jelly fish when the ocean made me its bitch. A huge wave came and knocked me on my ass. My sunglasses flew off (I think a dolphin swam off with them) and my top just about came off. The girls almost made an aquatic break for it! I took that as a sign that my time in the water was over for the moment and went back to the canopy. In the next 20 minutes or so the most bizarre thing happened. Hundreds and hundreds of jellyfish swarmed the beach! They were globbing around in the shallows and washing up on the shore. Along with the jellyfish came millions of midges. It was so gross, all these bugs washed up on the beach. All the swimmers got out of the water and lined up on the water’s edge just watching the jellyfish. It was quite a sight! Kids were scooping up all the dead jellyfish and playing with them. That seemed dangerous to me. We packed up for the day and headed inland.
After a late lunch and a nap Papa & Gigi went out for a romantic dinner while Momo & I went to dinner at the Tomato Patch. I had the best meatball calzone. Then we met up with Papa & Gigi at the movie theatre and saw Twilight: Eclipse. It was fun oohing and ahhing over all the cutie wolf & vamp boys. The next day was Friday, our last day. We spent the day at the beach then returned after dinner to see one last sunset. We packed up a little bit, watched a creepy show on one of the cable channels called Killer Ants, then went to bed. The next morning we were up extra early as we had to drop off the key to the house by 10am. The drive home was much more tame than the drive there. We stopped for lunch at a fabulous place on the sound. Momo & I finished listening to Maneater then started listening to Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie. An hour in and we’d wished we’d listened to this one first. So cute! Should totally be a movie. We finally made it home. So good to be home and get puggie kisses! It was so good to see CSP when he got home from work. More photos from OBX here!