We arrived home in the rain last night after eight hours in the car (we did stop for meals along the way). Since the only perishables we had were the left-over pizza slices from dinner, we each grabbed an armload to carry in and the rest waited to be unloaded in drier weather today. About all we had the energy for was to wade through the mail pile before flopping in front of the TV to doze before hitting the sack!We started the week off a little rough. That's our friends' vehicle on a lift 15 minutes after we left home! One new tire and our little caravan was on our way again. So, running an hour later than planned , we headed down the road to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. All in all, it was another great week at the beach! Our gang consisted of only four couples this year but we had some terrific meals and lots of laughs. We had the best weather we've had in years although Friday was rainy and we did drive in light rain most of yesterday to get home. The house we rented was fabulous and the ocean view was great. We watched the dolphins right in front of the house several times a day and they weren't just passing through. They'd stop and feed for a bit, close to shore, putting on a real show for us each time. Unfortunately, the zoom lens on my camera just isn't good enough to get them for posterity. We had numerous kite boarders each day and a couple of surfers came out each morning although the sea was so calm most of the week they pretty much used their boards like rafts to lie on in the sun. Last time we were in Nags Head, we were disappointed to learn one of our favorite restaurants had closed. The Big Guy and I had eaten there for many years and had introduced our gang to it the year before. So we were really excited to find it had reopened after a short hiatus to regroup and it is still run by the same family. The owner actually took time to come out and chat with our crowd and thank us for returning. If you're ever in the Outer Banks and want some terrific seafood, take the time to drive over to Wanchese on Roanoke Island for lunch or dinner at The Fisherman's Wharf and be sure to say "Hi" to the Daniels family for me. They serve fresh seafood direct from their own fishing boats which you can watch through the windows. The view of the sound is fantastic from their dining room. (Oh, and they have the absolute BEST hushpuppies known to mankind!)
Another surprise returnee was the original Christmas Shoppe in Manteo (also on Roanoke Island). Two years ago, this humongous house filled with all things Christmas (and a little Halloween) closed their doors after many years of year-round holiday cheer. Well, they're back!! Many, many rooms on the first floor feature tree ornaments, Christmas decor, paper goods, china, jewelry, collectibles, an art gallery of original art - many created there on the Outer Banks, and so much more that will fascinate you for hours. The second floor has the largest assortment of Halloween ornaments, decor and such I've ever come across. Be sure to allow plenty of time to roam through this attraction. We hand fed the seagulls and grackles on the deck. The grackles stayed close whenever they saw someone on the deck, often hanging over the edge of the roof above us and, literally, begging for handouts.
Like all vacations, the time passed much too quickly and there were so many things we didn't get to before it was time to pack up again. In past years, we've visited the northern part of the island to climb the lighthouse at Corrolla and see the wild ponies, played mini-golf , some among us have also played real golf on the island, gone off-roading on the lower beaches, and a few of the hearty have climbed Jockey's Ridge (the largest living dune on the East Coast). We've visited the Wright Brothers Memorial and toured the museum there, too. This year, we mostly sat and relaxed. But then, isn't that what vacations are for?
Tomorrow, I'll announce the winner of the funny caption giveaway from last week and tell you what they're winning. That was fun and I hope to do it again. Believe me, with some of the strange photos I take, I'm bound to come up with some others appropriate for strange captions!