WHEW! We’re back! After 2 days and something like 16 hours on the road, we’ve finally made it back home from Spring Break. Thank goodness!
We’re busy trying to settle back into things here with laundry (definitely my *least* favorite part), mail catch-up (both snail and email) and unpacking, so to keep the memories of the good stuff alive, here’s a quick recap of the past week instead!
Last Friday after school, we loaded up the kiddos and hit the road singing for the Outer Banks of North Carolina where Hoyte’s cousin, Ken, and his family invited us to spend a week at their beach house. We got there late Saturday afternoon after stopping for the night in West Virginia. Ken and his crew were waiting to greet us and we walked almost immediately to the ocean, just 100 yards or so away. It was the boys’ first time seeing the ocean and they were beyond excited – that is until waves wiped out both Turner and Carson in one fell swoop and they ended up with mouthfuls of water and sand. They weren’t nearly so thrilled after that, poor kids, but they would warm up to the idea later in the week…if only the weather had done the same.
Sunday was a lovely, if windy, day and we all took a morning trip to Cape Hatteras (about 40 minutes away) to see the beautiful lighthouse there and grab some lunch. Along the way we made a couple of stops along Pamlico Sound (literally, Hatteras Island is only ½ mile wide, so you’re at the beach on either side in just minutes) where we watched some crazy people brave the cool temps and try their hand at kite boarding and wind surfing. The kids loved watching them leap into the air as the kites gave them loft and then laughed hysterically as they crashed and burned! We made it back home for the littles to take a quick nap while Ken, Hoyte, Max and Ethan
bundled up against the wind for some fishing off RodanthePier in the Atlantic. They ended up catching fish after fish – mostly dogfish (in the shark family) and skates (kin to Stingrays). Ethan was SO wide-eyed at it all and would have stayed out there all day if we had let him! Thank goodness the older boys realized just how cold it was and brought them in before they turned to human popscicles!
Monday, Ken and his crew had to return to their house, but before they left, we made a trip about 30 minutes up north to visit Roanoke Island and the NC Aquarium there. The kids loved the exhibits, especially getting to pet the rays and starfish in the kids’ zone. Carson & Hallie were fascinated with the big tanks & that shark that kept circling around putting on a show for them.
Since we were having some weather issues, we took Tuesday and went to Bodie Island Lighthouse only a few minutes away and then traveled on up the coast to Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills were we went to the Wright Brothers’ Memorial and got to see the site of the first flight. The Bodie Light was absolutely beautiful as it just had a fresh paint job. I even convinced Hoyte to make another stop on our way home to get more pictures of it on a prettier day. (Obviously this photo was from that day ;))
The Wright Memorial was fascinating. There was a full-scale replica of their glider and you could see the actual hill where they took off in their glider. There is a monument on top of that hill now and a stone marker at each point where they landed during their four flights that day. You could see how short of a distance they really went but how much it impacted our lives today. In the museum section, they had a timeline of flight and the caption that got me most was “from first flight to the moon in just 66 years.” It’s unbelieveable when you think about it that way, huh?
If you couldn’t tell, the NC coast is known for it’s lighthouses (and I have a particular fascination with them). There are actually 5 that stretch probably a 120 miles or so along it’s coast line. Four of them are easily accessible (the fifth is so far down on the Island chain and is only reachable by boat) and we got to 3 of them. So on Wednesday, we visited the Ocracoke Lighthouse on Ocracoke Island, just south of the Cape Hatteras Light. The fun thing was that to get there, you had to travel 40 minutes by ferry. The boys were all over that thinking it was so very cool to put our van on a boat for a trip on the water. I would have loved to spend more time there as it’s the prettiest little fisherman’s village, but with the ferry schedule, we only had time for a quick lunch and checking out the lighthouse (the smallest one of the 5 by far and one we almost missed it was so hidden!)
By Thursday we finally had some nice weather and managed to see the sun again so the boys got to build their sandcastles on the beach. We stayed on the sound side to avoid a bit of the wind, but it was a beautiful day. When they were done, we went back to the pier so Turner and Carson could see the fish that Dad and Ethan had caught a couple days before. They weren’t nearly as impressed as Ethan was, however! Later in the afternoon, we went back to the beach after the tide was going out so I could get some obligatory “beach pictures” (even though they were less than cooperative - Ha!), to pick up a few shells and so they could chase the waves a bit more.
Friday of course was by far the prettiest day of the bunch (it’s always the day you leave, isn’t it??!) so before we packed and cleaned up to head home, we spent the morning on the beach watching the surfers, collecting shells, drawing in the sand..and then pouting all the way home because we had to leave.
It was so good to have a vacation…but why is it that you seem to need a vacation to recover from your vacation??!