Saturday, September 16, 2006
Actually, we were there a week.
Every September, my most WONDERFUL parents rent a house for us all in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It is, most definitely, the highlight of our year.
You may be wondering why we plan our NC vacation for September every year, considering this is the peak month for hurricane activity in the region. To this I say, Bah! We live on the edge! The added dimension of excitement and suspense as we watch the Weather Channel in the weeks leading up to the trip just make it that much more fun. And every year, except one - we have hit it just right.
This year was no exception. A week after Ernesto, the roads had a bit of water on them, but we had beautiful weather all week long.
There was a little rain on Wednesday, but that's the day to visit the lighthouse and the nature center and go shopping anyway. And you never know - you could go to the beach in July and get a week of rain just as easily as in September.
The best part about going in September is that we have the place practically to ourselves. Most everyone else is back to school by now, so we cyberschoolers need only pack up our laptop and a few books and go! The kids didn't do a lot of work, but enough to keep them legal. Uno had a whole science unit on Oceans this year, so we immersed ourselves (literally) in waves and tides and marine life.
This was the first year that we've had a dog to bring along. Rocky wasn't too sure of the ocean at first, but he sure loved chasing those birds! Every day, he got a little bolder, and by his last visit to the water, he was jumping through the (smaller) waves and digging up crabs to eat. When he didn't come with us to the beach, he lounged by the pool or relaxed in the house.
Considering we chose a large pointer instead of a small, cuddly lap dog, we were expecting Rocky to be some kind of great Adventure Dog.
When he didn't dive happily in the ocean right away like the other Adventure Dogs on the beach, we decided to try him out in the relative calm and safety of the pool at the house. I guess no one told Rocky that his breed was designed to swim - he did not like the pool one bit. We tried to coax him in a few times, but he never did (voluntarily) get wet.
The house itself was great! This was our first year in this particular house, but I'm sure we will choose it again. It was just over the dunes from the beach, it had a pool and hot tub, and plenty of space for everyone. It was so relaxing. My parents really helped out a lot with the kids (including taking them in their van 8+ hours each way) so Savageman and I got to spend time alone for a change. We didn't bring much stuff with us, so there was hardly anything to clean. And my Dad loves to cook, so he took care of all the shopping and meals for the week.
There was a loft overlooking the living room that was the perfect base of operations for me, my computer and my yoga stuff. I planned the science courses I am teaching at the homeschool co-op this semester and designed for myself a mini-course in writing fiction. I also finished reading a whole novel, listened to another in the car, and bought another at Beach Bag Books and Music, a wonderful little place in Corolla where Sara and Ken, the owners, on separate occasions chatted with us about favorite books and music. Their gigantic Newfoundland, Finnegan, lounged at Sara's feet. Savageman bought several local interest books about the Outer Banks.
Then came the highlight of the trip for Savageman - he and I took his truck off-road and drove up the beach to the North Carolina / Virginia border.
There, we saw some wild ponies and we wandered in search of a special monument he had researched extensively.
"What is this fabulous monument we drove all the way out here to see?" I queried, thinking it must be something really special, considering the effort we were putting into the search. A fallen Civil War hero, a famous discovery, or an old shipwreck, for example.
"It marks the border of North Carolina and Virginia," he replied.
Although we never did find the #$%^&$! memorial honoring the most excellent NC/VA border, we did have a good adventure following the wild ponies. And driving on the beach itself is always fun, although I'm not really sure why.
Playing on the beach was great too. Savageman dug his traditional hole, although this time, he dug it too far up and it never did fill with water at high tide as in previous years. He had a good time sitting in it, though.
We all really liked boogie-boarding this year, especially my parents!
We could go out to where the water was fairly deep and dive under the waves, then go a bit further out and suddenly we would be standing on a sandbar and the water would be knee deep again. Boogie-boarding at the sandbar was even better, and we spent hours at it.
We took several cute pictures of the kids, one of which will wind up on our Christmas card this year. Probably the only stressful time on the trip was trying to get the 3 kids and 1 dog to stand still and smile while I was losing the light I wanted. Oh well, we may end up using the one of them in the tree anyway.
This year, we were sadder than ever to have to leave. It was a perfect week, and it already seems like so long ago. Only 50 more weeks to go until we can go back...
Posted by Kath at 10:50 PM