Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Emerald Isle Beach Trip

After May's attempt at a family vacation in the mountains, we got a second chance to have another vacation after David's accident. Actually we had planned a 5 day trip to the beach and then extended it soon after the accident. David is walking around fairly well now, still without a lot of mobility so he has to limp, but has a little less pain. We head to Emerald Isle at the Holiday Trav-L-Park campgrounds for 9 nights in which my mother-in-law will join us for 5 of those nights. I guess for most people that might be a nightmare - being stuck with your mother-in-law, in a small space, for that many consecutive days but thankfully she is very easy to get along with. She is working on her masters in school and has very little time or money to relax these days so we decided to have her come along. It worked out even better than I thought because she was a big help with the kids so that David and I could enjoy a few things by ourselves.

The weather was great - just a few afternoon thunderstorms that didn't last very long. The very last day Tropical Storm Cristobal had threatened to have us stay inside all day, but it spit out a few showers and strong winds in the morning and then cleared up for us to enjoy the rest of the day.

Good friends of ours and our children were staying in a condo with their extended family next door to our campground which was great. We got to see and play with them on the beach, but not be tied down to doing everything with them. I highly recommend vacationing with other friends, but staying in different places at least for long periods of time. It frees up both families to do what they want on their schedule, but with the flexibility to hang out whenever. It made such a difference on the beach when our kids had somebody else to play with that they knew besides us. Unfortunately one of their children got sick while down there so we had to stay away for a few days to prevent our children from catching anything. Plus they are Emerald Isle connoisseur's and could tell us the places to go and not to go. One great recommendation was a Drive - In eatery called Big Oak a few miles away in Salter Path, NC. They are only open for lunch and are known for their shrimp burgers. I was originally thinking this was going to be minced shrimp formed in a patty and thrown on the grill. Instead its tiny fried shrimp with coleslaw, tarter sauce, and ketchup on a hamburger bun. Makes my mouth water thinking about it.

David and I love Emerald Isle now because of their cool 12 mile round-trip bike path along the island. It pretty much started at our campground and went for a ways down the beach where you didn't have to worry about cars hitting you. David towed the kids in the bike trailer and it was flat so it was a nice and relaxing ride, even with his bad foot. He just loved the fact he was on a bike again and I loved that he wasn't near the main road. On one of those rides I was trying to be funny and held on to the kids trailer so that David had to pull all 3 of us, but I lost my balance trying to lift off and crashed in front of some folks having coffee on their front porch. Luckily I just got a really big "boo-boo" as Stacy calls it, on my knee. Stupid mistake for trying to be funny, but I learned my lesson.

Bryce's big entertainment for the week was catching sand fiddlers - they look like little crabs, but bury themselves in the sand. This was David's task every time we went down to the beach. Bryce also got to stay up late one night to watch the movie Cars at the outdoor theatre in the campground. We kind of regretted that the next day as his sleep deprived little body went into random temper tantrums and meltdowns. My mother-in-law also got to learn how early of a little bird he really is. His wake up times ranged from 5:45 - 6:00am every morning, no matter how early or late he went to bed. At least he didn't wake up Stacy whose wake up time is usually around 8am. David was great at getting up to entertain him until the rest of us got up.

Another adventure was the visit to the aquarium where they got to touch sting rays and horseshoe crabs and look at some sharks as well as a ton of other fish. Bryce also got his first pet, two hermit crabs since David and I are allergic to cats and dogs. The stores now paint the shells they live in so we picked up a spider man shell, which he named Lettuce. I know what you're thinking, why, but remember he's 4. The other one's name is Rocky, not tomato or carrot, just Rocky. He has dropped them a couple times, but so far they have survived. One has even changed shells probably in hopes of Bryce not knowing where he went.

Overall we had a great trip. We loved the campground and facilities. Everything was kept clean and neighbors were respectful and nice. I always hate to come home after we've had a good time, especially knowing my extra set of hands (David) has to go back to work, but the one thing I will miss most is feeding my kids outside for every meal. Why don't I do this more back home! There is barely any clean up - no sweeping of floors or food stuck to something it shouldn't be. Oh well -back to routine. Thanks for reading and I look forward to telling you about our next trip.