Sunday, September 18, 2011

Summer Vacation - Nags Head, NC

Nags Head, North Carolina is my absolute favorite vacation spot.  I fondly remember trips there from my childhood.  Honestly, I don't think we really went there more then 2 or 3 times...but it's one of those places that really sticks with you.  On this particular occasion it had been 10 years almost to the day since I'd been there.  The situation was virtually the same, except this time I was an adult, married, with 2 small children of my own.

We left home on Friday in the afternoon.  We lucked out because both kids napped for the first few hours of driving.  Both of them travel really well, I can't complain, but 3 or 4 hours in the car is rough with any small child.

Path over the dunes by the hotel
I'm forever in my wonderful aunt's debt!  Bonnie vacations in Nags Head every September  and adores my children, so she insisted upon getting us a room for 2 nights in her hotel.  Were it not for her, we probably wouldn't have gotten to do this at all....or would have at least had to get a room a ways away from the beach.  Even in the off-season, rooms aren't cheap!

The hotel was just on the backside of the dune so we immediately got to go walking on the beach after chucking our bags in the room and checking out the view from Bonnie's 5th-floor balcony.

No surprise, Dani was taken with the huge waves.  She and Aaron played in them for probably an hour before heading back in to get cleaned up and ready for dinner.

She's wet because a wave knocked her over

Day 2 brought bubbles on the balcony and shopping before a full-fledged beach excursion.

Two of my favorite places to visit while in Nags Head is Jockey's Ridge State Park and Kitty Hawk Kites.  Because it was a hot and very sunny day, we put off the trip to the Dunes til later that evening, but the Kite Store was a nice air conditioned distraction.

I picked up a reasonably priced basic kite for $12 and then a lovely cooperative board game called Mermaid Island (for Dani's upcoming 3rd birthday) from Peaceable Kingdom.  After checking out there, we headed for the local Sweet Frog location and enjoyed some frozen yogurt before hitting the beach.

Outside the Kite Shop

I literally PUT the kite into the air.  No running or help required.  It was that easy.

Recent storms stirred up a lot of impressive shells

Building castles

Oscar had this vacation thing down

I must say, taking 2 small children to the beach is exhausting!  Getting them and all the various paraphernalia that children require there and back again damn near killed us both!

Being at the beach was lovely, however.  My husband, Aaron, has only been to the ocean probably one other time in his entire life.  He was born and raised near Fargo, North Dakota.  Beaches are NOT something they have out there!  Dani, needless to say, had a blast!  Oscar mainly slept, but that's just fine for a 3-month-old.  I mostly took photos and helped Dani look for shells and rocks in the sand.  I packed knitting and several books to read, but I didn't really get much of an opportunity to either knit or read.

By the time we were done playing in the waves and had drug all the stuff back to the hotel, Aaron and I were ready to collapse!  We ended up putting off the Dunes til the next day.

The Dune from afar

Arrrgh!  Pirate baby.  Yep, I forgot his hat.
Putting off going to the Dunes til day 3 (our final day) was a mistake.  We ended up going at noon, I wasn't prepared at all, and it was just too sunny for the littles.  Oscar was probably the biggest obstacle on that venture.  At 3-months-old he already weighs at least 16lbs!  It's a lot to carry...particularly UP a very LARGE sand dune.  In the end, we didn't go beyond the wooden observation deck.  I really wish we'd been up for it the night before!  At dusk it would have been perfect.  Oh well, there is always next year.

We ended up leaving for home a lot earlier on Sunday than we had expected.  Dani was tired and missing home.  She really didn't understand the whole hotel thing.  Nighttime was not fun.  She had a really hard time falling asleep in a strange place (something she definitely got from me!) and our laptops refused to play the DVD's I'd brought along for downtime in the hotel room.  The 2nd night we borrowed Bonnie's laptop which would play them, which was a lifesaver!  Again, the kids napped in the car for most of the way home.  I did too!  When I woke up I had a headache from hell and we stopped for a pretty terrible lunch at Denny's before making the last hour of the trip.

In all, it was a great little vacation.  The sleep issue was something of a bummer, but I imagine another year will make a world of difference on that front.  :)

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