A Perfect Kiawah Day

We had an awesome day on Kiawah today! Starting with breakfast of our freshly baked chocolate croissants (bought them frozen from Kudzu Bakery yesterday) and fruit salad (from the unbelieveable Harris Teeter at Freshfields – that was a new one for us, but we love it!) and then on to our hours spent on the beach this afternoon. Kim even saw a baby turtle hatchling make it to the ocean on her walk this morning! Later, we biked down to our old family hangout, which has been torn down and replaced by a HUMONGOUS house (and the one we stayed in was 10 bedrooms!!). We also saw two other homes we had rented before we found the big one. Good times! We had dinner at Red’s at Bohicket Marina where we watched the sunset. Back on Kiawah, we stopped at Mingo Point to see the rest of the sunset – the perfect day!

Baby sea turtle hatched at Kiawah

From OBX to the Low Country

14 – 17 September 2015
Atlantic Beach NC to Kiawah Island, SC

Monday’s boat ride out to Shackleford Banks and to Cape Lookout was incredible!! We saw a whole harem of wild mustangs and their stallion and some colts. These beautiful horses are descendents of Spanish mustangs brought to the New World centuries ago. We watched them feed and water for about 15-20 minutes and got some good shots.

While we didn’t go to the beautiful Cape Lookout lighthouse, we certainly saw it. It was not open for us to climb to the top, so we opted to beach the boat out at the point of the Cape and do some shelling. We saw some dead jellyfish on the shore, but we also saw a live moon jelly in the surf! We collected a few shells and picked up some trash, then waded back to the boat. Jess saw a school of mullet swim by, so he threw out a net and snared them. He also caught some tiny pompanos, but we threw them back.

I can’t begin to tell you how beautiful the day was – blue skies, warm sun, calm sparkling water – it simply doesn’t get any better!! Our four hours was up way too soon! If you are in the Morehead City/Atlantic Beach area, we highly recommend a Crystal Coast Ecotour with Captain Jess! Tell him the Sassy Sisters sent you – contact him at http://www.crystalcoastecotours.com/

It was time to head south, so we stopped at El’s for shrimp burgers and onion rings on the way out of town. A perfect farewell to the gorgeous Crystal Coast! Thanks again, Diane!!

Our next destination was Ocean Isle Beach for a visit with my dear friend Anne and her husband Arch at their ‘step back in time’ beach cottage. Of course, we had to stop along the way to tour the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington. We only had 90 minutes and we didn’t come near finishing the tour of this huge ship – we never made it out of the ‘belowdecks’ area! Another day…

We got to Anne’s just in time to eat a bite of her scrumptious lasagna before she and I had to be on a p2P phone call. After work, we all played a few rounds of dominoes – so fun! It was a full day, and by bedtime we were in our sweatshirts as temps dropped into the 50’s. Did I mention that Anne’s beach house is neither heated nor air conditioned? Perfect sleeping weather!

Tuesday was meant to be a work day for me, so Kim went off to sit on the beach at OBI while Arch went to work on ‘decrapifying’ my new laptop (it was a demo gaming model – plenty of stuff to delete!!). Anne and I worked on presentations for Forever LIVE (can’t wait – less than a week away!!) until we three girls went to run some errands after lunch and give Arch some peace and quiet. We may have had an ice cream treat while we were out… We all went up to Holden Beach for dinner at Provisions and then it was back to work for Anne and me.

Wednesday morning we took off for Pawley’s, but we stopped on the way to have breakfast at the Sea Captain’s House in North Myrtle and then we took a spin on the Sky Wheel. We got our exercise though, as we parked about a mile away from the restaurant so we could get some steps! It was after one before we left, but it was a short ride to beautiful Brookgreen Gardens.

We started off by feeding the turtles (thanks for the crackers and the tip, Anne) and then we went to the welcome center to get our bearings. We had hoped to do the ‘Trekker’ tour, but it was full, so we opted for a boat ride instead. We had a little over an hour, so we made our way through the Low Country Trail and learned about life on a rice plantation in the antebellum South. Next, we ambled through the ‘zoo’ and loved watching the cutest and liveliest otters I’ve ever seen! The foxes were also a big hit! The boat ride was pleasant and informative, but not too exciting. We did see a couple of gators though. It was just about to start raining by the time we got to Pawley’s. We stopped by the Sea View Inn in hopes of finding a vacancy, but no luck…oh well – there was a Hampton near by.

We opted for an early dinner at the cozy Chive Blossom Cafe – great suggestion, Dana and Laura!!! FANTASTIC food! I had a Fried Green Tomato Napoleon (with pimiento cheese and red pepper jelly) followed by Mahi Mahi with zucchini ‘spaghetti’, sweet corn, and a tarragon sauce. Kim had grouper with a warm potato/lobster/corn salad and some fried okra. Oh, such good food!! We splurged on dessert, sharing a warm chocolate brownie topped with coconut ice cream and strawberries. MMMMMM! There may have been cocktails involved as well….

Thursday morning we drove back up the road to the Huntington Beach State Park to walk on the beach. The sky was threatening but we didn’t care – it was the beach, and it was almost deserted! After our walk, we toured the Atalaya Castle, the Spanish Moorish style winter home of the Huntingtons (owners of the four plantations that became Brookgreen Gardens). Learn more about them and Brookgreen here: http://www.brookgreen.org/

It did start raining while we were touring the castle, so we took that (and the fact that we were hungry – no breakfast!) as our cue to hit the road. We stopped in Georgetown and found the Atlantic House Restaurant, where we met Roz (best chef in the low country!) and had a delightful lunch of Jalapeno Pimiento BLTs and Black-eyed Pea Salad. We may have shared some pound cake and strawberries for dessert.

After lunch, we walked along the waterfront and then went to the Gullah Museum. It was so interesting, but had we known we would be there for over an hour (listening to Andrew tell us about Gullah history), we may not have gone in! Thankfully, it was right across the street from the Kudzu Bakery, so we were rewarded! Another good call, Dana, Laura, and Anne!

And now we are in our most favorite place for a few days! More later!

A Lovely Lazy Weekend

12 – 14 September 2015
Ocracoke Island to Atlantic Beach, NC

Saturday morning, still on Ocracoke, we had a delicious breakfast at Dajio, along with a bus tour of older folks (mostly women) who we ended up seeing for most of the rest of the day. After breakfast, it was time to board the ferry (our second crossing with no incidents, thank you very much!) headed for Cedar Island and points beyond. This trip took about 2.25 hours to go 23 miles across the Pamlico Sound. Kim read her book and I colored in my new coloring book, and we sat outside on the stern deck until it started spitting a little rain.

It was raining in earnest by the time we reached shore, so we headed for Beaufort, right behind our bus tour friends. Thankfully, we made it to Finz and downtown Beaufort before they did, somehow. Since the rain stopped, we had a breezy lunch outside where we could watch the comings and goings on the river. After lunch, we walked around a bit and then visited the Maritime Museum, where there is quite an extensive collection of Blackbeard the pirate’s history. The shipwrecked Queen Anne’s Revenge has been recently found nearby, and lots of very cool artifacts were on display.

Once we’d seen enough, we took off for Atlantic Beach and got settled in our luxury (no kidding!) accommodations thanks to dear friends Diane and Louis. Thanks, y’all!! We settled in and watched some football, and just when we thought it was safe to go out (and have Tennessee keep the lead they had built), we went to Amos Mosquito for a late supper. Alas, we should have stayed home longer, and my alma mater managed to snatch defeat straight from the jaws of victory. Ugh.

Sunday morning was gorgeous! We went to Cox Family Restaurant for breakfast, and then Kim went to the beach while I played a little catch up and worked all afternoon. I didn’t even watch football!! We had dinner at Island Grille and I did laundry and we managed to get repacked and back in order. It was such a relaxing weekend and nice to just stay in one place for a bit and enjoy the days!

Monday we were up bright and early to load the car and then meet Captain Jess of Crystal Coast Ecotours for a boat trip out to Shackleford Island and Cape Lookout. We had a fruitless search for a nice place for breakfast and in desperation found ourselves at Dunkin’ Doughnuts just in the nick of time. By 9 AM we were on a boat on the MOST BEAUTIFUL early fall day – the air was slightly crisp and the sky was a gorgeous blue with not a cloud showing. The sun was out and the sound was like a lake – the perfect day for a boat ride!

Another Two Lighthouse Day: Hatteras and Ocracoke

Hatteras Island to Ocracoke Island, NC

We didn’t tarry this morning in our DELUX accommodations and we were soon standing in a long line at the Orange Blossom Bakery waiting for our breakfast orders, which we scarfed down on the porch. Once nourished and ready to face the day, we went to the Hatteras Lighthouse.

Unfortunately, we had just missed the 9/11 remembrance, which we realized as we saw multiple fire trucks leaving from the lighthouse. Turns out that each year, on this somber anniversary, the firefighters run up to the top of the 286′ lighthouse (tallest one in America) in FULL GEAR. Trust me, it was hot enough and hard enough to walk up it in shorts! However, once again, the view from the top was totally worth the exertion to get there.

We walked through the museum at the keepers’ quarters and then we’re off to the ferry dock, bound for Ocracoke island. The ride over was about an hour long and uneventful.

Once on Ocracoke, we continued our journey down Hwy 12, stopping once to see the wild ponies and the beach. We found our home for the evening at the Edwards Guest House, settled in, and set off on foot to explore the village.

We popped in at a few shops, but we mostly slaked our thirst with a few chilly ones. We walked down to the Ocracoke Lighthouse, which is still operational after opening in 1873. Too bad – we couldn’t walk up it…

We had a lovely dinner at the Flying Melon, and we could have qualified for the early bird special…seriously, people with little kids were arriving for dinner as we left to walk home. Kim rocked for a bit on the porch while I checked emails and such. It was another good day!

Two Lighthouses and the First Flight

Corolla to Hatteras, North Carolina

Today was a busy day full of wonderful experiences! Believe it or not, we started our day by exercising. When I can’t walk tomorrow, blame Kim! After burning off two bites of last night’s fantastic cobbler, we packed up and went in search of breakfast. Our first choice, Flip Flops of Corolla, was closed up tight, lights off, doors locked, even though two signs on the door noted that it opens for breakfast daily at 7:00 AM. Hmmmm.

We backtracked to First Light in the TimBuck II shopping center (love the name, huh?), then we were on our way to Whalehead (http://www.visitcurrituck.com/…/whalehead-historic-corolla…/) While there, we visited the NC Wildlife Conservancy, Whalehead estate, and the Currituck Lighthouse. Whalehead is a huge gorgeous house built by the Knights in the mid-1920s. Art Nouveau in style, it was just fascinating to tour! Totally worth the $3 senior admission fee!!

The Currituck Beach Lighthouse is 162 feet tall and was built in 1875. We climbed all 214 steps to the observation deck at the top, where we were rewarded with a 360 degree panoramic view!

From here, we drove through the historic village of Corolla and then walked on a boardwalk through the forest to the sound. By this time, we were hot and tired and needed to be on the road, so we took off for Kill Devil Hill and the Wright Brothers Memorial National Park.

The park was great – fun exhibits in the visitors center and restored versions of the Wright Brothers camp and hangar, along with markers denoting the liftoff point of the first manned flight and the places the first four flights landed. Overheard by a tough looking biker guy: “We can go home now. I’ve seen where man took flight!” And he was serious and so excited to be there!

The nugget of the day for me was realizing that Americans set foot on the moon only 66 years after that first flight! How remarkable is that?!? We trudged up Kill Devil Hill, glad it’s now covered with grass and not a dune, and that we weren’t dragging our glider up there with us, to see the memorial to Wilbur and Orville and to pay silent homage to them and their dogged pursuit of their dream.

It was almost 5 before we set off for Hatteras, realizing we wouldn’t make it to Ocracoke today. We stopped by a Sonic in Nags Head for a well-deserved iced tea, then went south. Before crossing the Oregon Inlet bridge, we drove by the Bodie Island lighthouse and its horizontal black stripes on white. After that, it was a straight shot down Highway 12 to Buxton and the ‘quaint’ Hatteras Island Inn. Kim remains less than impressed.

Dinner was at the Sandbar and Grill, where we were told we could watch the sun set. It had other ideas though, and disappeared behind the clouds.

To the Outer Banks!

Graham to Corolla, NC

Today we got to spend more time with Elliot – mornings are so fun when you don’t have to rush! Of course, not rushing meant we had to forego some Dana time….. We got to Durham about an hour after we had planned, so we popped in on the Mah Jongg game to say hello before heading to Monuts for breakfast.

If you haven’t made it to Monuts (where Magnolia Grill used to be on 9th St) yet, do yourself a favor and get over there! See photos and drool.

Since we had to go to Raleigh anyway, we decided to go to the Capitol. It will win no awards in our book, other than being the only ‘Capitol’ we’ve been to that didn’t appear to really be the Capitol. It was a museum where very little legislating or adjudicating takes place. Hopefully some governing does….

Our next stop was Manteo, but we arrived there the same time a thunderstorm did, so we crossed the bridge for the Outer Banks and turned left. We ate an early dinner (no lunch or snacks) at The Blue Point in Duck.  We were lucky to find a room at the Hampton in Corolla, and it was right on the beach.

After dinner, we walked on the beach until well after dark. Oh, it’s good to be on the Carolina coast again!

Raleigh

NC State Capitol, Raleigh 2015

Exploring my New Old Home

Yesterday we spent most of the day exploring downtown Durham. Our morning started out taking care of sweet Miss E and delivering her to ‘school’, and then we met friends Laura and Dana at one of my favorite hangouts, Bull Street Market. Kim and I shared a toasted avocado sandwich and a grilled mac & cheese sandwich with bacon – both come with our high recommendations! We shared some gooey butter cake and even had some leftover to share with Dave.

After lunch, Kim got a pedi while I hopped on a work call, then we ran into Target for a few things (most of which I accidentally left at Dave’s…). From there we went downtown to check out a few of the MANY places new to Durham since we left five years ago.

First stop was the new Durham Hotel and its super fantastic rooftop bar! While the bar didn’t open ’til 5:00, you can go up to the bar until 3:00. We enjoyed the view and the place looked like a fun and potentially hoppin’ place!

We walked down to Bar Virgile, but it wasn’t open, so we continued down past the beautiful DPAC and strolled around the American Tobacco campus, where we enjoyed the rushing water and the people watching and window peeping – we even checked out the Burt’s Bees hive!

We walked up to 21C and spent a good while taking in the art installments there (and the see through bathrooms – take a wingman – door #1 is cranky!!) Our next stop was The Parlor, where I had salted dark chocolate with cookie gravel and malted cinnamon ice cream. Kim also had the chocolate along with salted butter caramel. Mmmm – so good!!

Back we trekked to Bar Virgile, which was totally hopping (it opens at 4:00). Kim had a drink with peaches that was yummy and I had a custom crafted drink with Hendrick’s, St. Germaine, basil, and lime. We shared some spiced pecans and dried cherries, lingered over our drinks, and then moved on.

Once we were back at Dave and Markee’s, we all went to The Eddy in Saxapahaw for dinner. I had a watermelon salad and a chili rellano and Kim had the vegetable plate. We were all pleased with our choices!

Once home it was bath time and bedtime for Elliot – so much fun!! It was a full and fun-filled day back ‘home’!

Crossing Two Favorite States

We had a relaxing day yesterday – lazy breakfast with friends in Memphis, then a lovely drive to Nashville on Hwy 100. No trucks, no traffic, no accidents, no road construction – it was heavenly!

We stopped for a visit to Chickasaw State Park, where Rex and I first met back in the summer of 1972, and then we went to Henderson (Rex’s home town) and stopped by the prayer garden at his old church, had a bit of silent prayer and conversation with his parents and our relatives at the cemetery, and did a drive by of the house where so much love was shared by the McCallum family.

In Nashville we got to see Kevin and Laura, and Laura’s mom even put us up for the night! What a fun day!

Lots of miles to cover today, so we stuck to the crowded interstates. Breakfast in Nashville, a quick stop at Kay and Kyle’s for a visit, and one pit stop were our only breaks, but it was so worth it to have Elliot come running out for a big Happy hug!! David fixed us a delicious meal and we’ve spent the evening chatting and watching football. Oh, and fun bath time and bedtime with E!

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