Thursday, July 8, 2010

Outer Banks in North Carolina - Part 1

I had what has to be one of the best vacations ever.  The only thing missing was Ryan.  Madre, Erin and I along with Landon spent 8 glorious days on the Outer Banks in North Carolina. 

Erin, Madre and I started planning this trip before Landon suddenly arrived and I decided not to cancel, but to bring him along. And I'm so glad I did.  He was such a good little baby and it was fun to have Madre and Erin spend a little more time with him.

Mom and I left on Saturday morning and stopped in St. Louis, Nashville and then finally landed in Norfolk.  Landon did pretty good on the flights.  He did have a blow out on the first leg of the trip, and many, many spit-ups, but he never did cry on the flights which was a relief.  Mom and I got in, got the rental car and went shopping for food for the week at midnight.  The pickings were slim as Madre would say. The store shelves were quite empty and we were super hungry so we wanted to buy just about everything they did have.

The next morning we picked Erin up at the airport. She had a bike race the day before so she took the red eye and flew all night.  We stopped at church in Chesapeake and then made the drive down.  We found our rental house, checked in and cranked up the air.  It was SO HOT and HUMID! We started wondering if we were going to be miserable all week long.  Later we found out that it was way hotter than normal and a record high had been set that day. 

Our house was 10 feet the from the water...not the ocean, just on the sound side. But the sunsets were amazing across the water.

We unpacked, napped, and took a walk that evening down to a pier and watched the sunset and then were attacked by mosquito's.

The next day was our biggest day there.  Lots of plans, from 7am until late that night.  We drove down to the Southern part of the Outer Banks (about 1hr drive) to Cape Hatteras.  Our first adventure was to climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  Mom and Erin went first while I waited below with Landon.  Erin climbed down and waited in the entry way and then climbed the 268 steps again with me.  It was the perfect day to climb as it was overcast and cool.  I can't imagine climbing up that many stairs in the heat of the day in August. Ugh...

Next we drove down to catch the ferry to take us across to Ocracoke Island.  We waited about an hour for our turn on the ferry.  Then the ferry ride was 40 minutes.  We saw an island that Trent might want to buy, it might be all he can afford. I had a picture, but I'm not sure what happened to it.  It was about 50 feet by 20 feet and on the ferry ride back it was under water.

Once across, we stopped to see the famous Banker ponies. One was sickly, skinny and had a huge sway back.  

 We had a delicious packed lunch and then went down to see/find the Ocracoke Lighthouse.  And after Cape Hatteras, it was not as impressive.  First, it was hard to find.  Second, it was really hard to find. Well we found it by driving towards it, it was hard because there were NO SIGNS to point the way and it is in a total residential neighborhood.

We went to the Blackbeard museum, but decided we didn't want to pay the admission for something that was probably going to be lame.  Instead we hit a few tourist stores and bought a magnet, playing cards and a thimble.

We headed back and went to Roanoke Island to see the play the Lost Colony.  First we waited forever for the only available parking spot and then had a nice dinner of bagel sandwiches in the park next to the Roanoke Marsh lighthouse. 

Then we headed to the play.  I needed to change Landon's diaper, but there was no place to do it at the play. So I walked back out to the visitor center, but it was closed. I ended up changing his diaper on a picnic table on the parking lot.  So as cars were pulling in for the play, there was my cute baby with a super poopy bum, back, legs and yes even feet on a picnic table naked while I tried to swat the mosquito's away from him in between wiping all that poop off.  It was quite the task.  We actually had extremely good seats at the play. It was an outdoor amphitheater and we were on the 8th row, center section.  Mom made sure we had an isle seat. I was really worried about Landon fussing and being up so close to the front.  But we did okay. I just had him in the Baby Bjorn and he slept most of the time.  There were all kinds of loud noises during the play, music, guns, etc and he startled and started to cry several times, but I was able to calm him down before he was too loud.  It was a really good play and I must have dozed during this part of my US History class because I didn't remember learning anything about the settlers that disappeared on the island. By the time we got back to our house it was 11pm and we had been gone since 7am.  We were tired, but what a fantastic start to our trip.