When we first arrived in Virginia my wife and I both thought that we’d need more than one day at Chincoteague. After one night we both had the same thought…that on day was enough. We would have high-tailed it at first light, but we wanted to sleep in and eat at a restaurant highly recommended…and worth the wait.
Our next leg would take us on a six hour drive to Emerald Isle, North Carolina. One of the coolest sitings of the trip for me was unexpected and brief. As we were driving along U.S. 17 I something flew into my field of view to the right of the road in a nearby field. When I looked a saw a BALD EAGLE sitting in the field. A BALD EAGLE! I had seen the majestic bird in the National Aviary, but never in the wild. When I yelped about the siting only my son was quick enough to spot it too. I wasn’t in a position to stop.
One thing we wanted to do on the long long long drives was to try to see many different things. Not far from our second destination we were passing the city of New Bern. I had never heard of it, but it had been the setting for at least one Nicholas Sparks book that my daughter loved so we stopped. It was a Sunday so there wasn’t much going on, but we walked around town for an hour (I don’t even think we went inside of a store). Two things about New Bern from our short visit. New Bern is the birthplace of Pepsi and the town is adorned with bears decorated in various ways. Oh and they have a beautiful waterfront.
New Bern was probably an hour from Emerald Isle and we were all anxious to get there. My wife made reservations at what is probably a time-share or condo where folks rent out their spaces when they are not using it. The photographs on their website made it look like an older yet clean property which can be typical of beach vacation spots. Our challenge was that we were not staying for a whole week and places that only rent for shorter stays were few.
When we arrived we were treated to a beautiful property that looked like it had been remodeled within the past few years. The actual place was WAY better than what was shown on the internet. I am not sure how they didn’t take newer photographs and post them. We had a great room/apartment on the first floor with a window facing the beach and a beautiful patio.
We checked in and of course after our six hour drive we went for a drive to check out the island and its many beaches. Though not a long island it took a few hours (with stops) and we found some fine dining places to visit later and believe it or not there were souvenir places there too…I did not buy a t-shirt!
My family used to take beach vacations when I was very young. I don’t remember much from those trips, but we took one to Virginia Beach a few years ago. Beach vacations are not for me. For me I liked getting up in the morning when it was cool and going for a walk along the beach. Yes I like long walks on the beach. The hours between ten and five were hot, sweaty, and sandy. In other words unpleasant – for me. This was followed by a pleasant dinner with my family followed by another long walk along the beach. Repeat the second day. Repeat the third day…
There was some excitement when a couple held their wedding on the beach in front of our place. They were staying in the next condo and we watched them prepare though we did not attend the ceremony. Surprisingly many folks stood around gawking at the couple and probably getting in many of their wedding photographs. I found this rude.
The highlights for me, besides being with loved ones (I have to say that right?) were a brief view of a dolphin pod swimming along the coast, a pretty sunrise, and these cool little birds that fly along the shore. The birds suddenly hover and dive into the water for some sea morsel. I was fascinated by them and spent much of my walks trying to get a good shot of the action. Most people were oblivious to them and more interested in collection shells. I too participated in shell collecting, but that got tiresome after the first day.
I also developed a child-like fascination with pelicans. Every time I saw them flying I had to stop and gawk and take pictures. There is something about the way they fly. I don’t know if it is prehistoric or futuristic. I don’t know how many times I exclaimed that “pelicans are so cool.” They are by the way!
Somehow we actually accumulated more stuff while at Emerald Isle when I had to buy beach towels that we forgot and a beach chair that my wife wanted. We actually had to abandon some things there because, even with my extreme packing skills, we just couldn’t fit them in. I cannot say that I was sad to leave even though I started to enjoy the beach more. If I had to do it again I would look for a place that had cooking facilities available. Even though I like to cook I would not necessarily want to spend my vacation cooking and cleaning, but the area offered many opportunities to buy really fresh seafood. One disappointment was that I really didn’t find a place with a great seafood dish. The next trip will have to include butter, garlic, and crusty bread.
Next Stage 3.