At 5:49 this evening my mom and I had the following text conversation:
Within the half hour, the Mister and I had the following conversation:
Irony can be cruel. I can't help feeling like it's my fault a little bit for sending the negative energy their way. Whether the "mechanical trouble" was the result of my bad attitude or not, I am happy to share that they have loaded onto a different bus and are on their way again. He should be here around 4 o'clock in the morning. I would like to speculate about what other occurrences (e.g. - a wild emu escaping on the interstate, Justin Bieber leading police on a high-speed chase through the Southeast, a UFO landing directly on top of their bus, etc.) may keep their arrival from actually happening this time, but my creepy prediction of this last complication has aroused my superstitious side. So, I'll be keeping my thoughts on the matter to myself from here on out and holding out hope that maybe, someday, I'll see my husband again.
With that said, I thought tonight would be a good time to share a little of our honeymoon week. It's a little self indulgent - I know. But I'm missing Chris, there's snow on the ground, and it was 7 degrees this morning when I woke up, so there's really no better time to relive the last time we were at the beach.
After our reception, we headed to the O'Henry Hotel in Greensboro, NC. It is a beautiful, historic hotel. There were fluffy white robes. We ordered over $50 dollars of room service as soon as we arrived because we were having too much fun to eat at the reception. The french fries were fried in truffle oil... enough said.
After eating our complimentary breakfast on a lovely patio beside a murmuring fountain the next morning (and feeling like royalty), we loaded up the car and drove 2-3 hours to catch our ferry to Ocracoke Island, NC. To be honest, I selfishly don't like sharing my love for Ocracoke because I don't want other people to know about my all time favorite vacation spot I visited with my family growing up. I worry that if too many people hear about the quaint fishing island, it will lose its charm. But I take comfort in the fact that Ocracoke isn't for everyone, as it is devoid of chain businesses (the village of Ocracoke doesn't allow commercial building permits) and a two hour ferry ride is required to reach the island. I was even worried that my new husband, who had never been to Ocracoke, would find the island boring. With it being September the week we visited for our honeymoon, Ocracoke was even more quiet than it is during tourist season in the summer. Luckily, Chris fell in love with Ocracoke too. While for some people going to the beach means staying busy the whole time, shopping at outlets, and nice dinners out, Chris and I are not that way. We are the type of folks for whom going to the beach means hitting the sand right after breakfast, staying out till you're too sunburned and hungry to stand it anymore, showering, finding dinner somewhere with good beer and food, walking to get ice cream while the sun is going down, then getting up the next morning to do it all again.
We spent the first two nights on Ocracoke at the Castle Bed and Breakfast. It was our first experience with a B & B, and we really enjoying getting to know the staff, lingering over delicious breakfasts with people we had just met (of course we found Army and hometown ties with other guests because it is a small world after all), and learning the story behind the house built by an odd but lovable local legend named Sam Jones. We were made to feel truly at home during our time at the Castle. Although I did love the elegant, vintage furnishings, I will admit I had to sleep with a lamp on and woke Chris up in the middle of the night more than once because the quirkiness of the house and the old decorations made me feel a little uneasy while I was trying to sleep. You know that feeling you can't put your finger on, you just feel unsettled? The view of the island's harbor, Silver Lake Harbor, from our room was stellar though. Sunsets on Ocracoke are the best I've ever seen. They are only rivaled by the night sky on Ocracoke in which you can see stars you didn't even know existed.
The first day we were there, Chris decided to buy a cheap fishing pole and some bait. On one of his first casts, he caught a big ol' fish, and he was hooked (pardon the pun). The rest of the trip included a whole lot of fishing... but no other fish rivaled that first one he reeled in.
Although we were sad to leave the Castle, we were also happy to get out of the B & B atmosphere to a hotel where we would have a little more space and not have to adhere to as much of a schedule. The next place we stayed was Edward's of Ocracoke, and we would recommend it to anyone. It was awesomely retro, clean, and cheap (and they offered a military discount!). The only reason we won't be staying there next time we visit is that we'll want to bring the dogs, and there are no pets allowed at Edward's. Other than that, it's five stars if you're looking for somewhere comfy and neat to sleep without a bunch bells and whistles. We also especially liked that it was centrally located, making it a short walking distance from everywhere in the village.
With it not being tourist season, not very many restaurants were open. We gave almost every place that was open a try for one meal or another. We settled on what I already knew though - for breakfast, Pony Island restaurant is the place to go. And for lunch and dinner, you can never go wrong with Howard's Pub. We frequented both places several times during our four day stay on the island.
A pitcher of Mother Earth Weeping Willow Wit in Howard's Pub pint glasses = Heaven on Earth to me
We discovered one really cool place that I had passed before with my family but had never gone inside. Zillie's Island Pantry has chilled craft beer, a cigar selection, wonderful snacks like high quality cheese and crackers, and a big front porch where you can enjoy your purchases. We didn't find it till the last day we were there, so we wish we'd discovered it sooner, but we can't wait to go back! Zillie's was definitely right up our alley.
After four days on Ocracoke, we boarded an NC State University (my alma mater!) themed ferry to continue our NC Outer Banks journey to Hatteras Island.
Chris loves museums and educational stuff like that, so we wanted to visit the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. It is known as "America's lighthouse" and was moved 2,900 feet in 1999 to avoid it falling in the ocean due to beach erosion. On the way, a Google search indicated that the park was closed, so we were just going to do a drive-by. But once we got there, it turned out the park was open and we got to climb the lighthouse and visit the museum. Definitely a nice surprise!
Here we are at the top! Chris hates this picture (sorry, honey!), but it's the only photo of the two of us together from the whole honeymoon.
From the lighthouse, we headed to Kitty Hawk. We had decided to spend our last couple of nights there because Chris had never seen the Wright Brothers Memorial and it is something you can't miss if you're in the Outer Banks. We stayed at a Days Inn that didn't look too bad on the internet, so we could save some money (most hotels at Kitty Hawk were over $200 a night). The accommodations were okay but nothing to write home about. The room was very small and did not give off an especially clean vibe. It was somewhere to sleep though and we saved a buck or two.
Although we really enjoyed the Wright Brothers Memorial, we were a little disappointed with Kitty Hawk as a whole (Chris kept asking if we could go back to Ocracoke). Everything felt very commercialized and the sand on the beach was rocky and riddled with cigarette butts. It didn't help that there was bad weather coming in, making it unsafe and scary to swim. There were two highlights though: 1) We got to meet up with some good friends one day who live in Virginia near Kitty Hawk. 2) Just down the street from our hotel, there was this really original restaurant and brewery with good food and even better beer. The Outer Banks Brewing Station uses a wind turbine to power it's brewery and we hung out there both days we were in Kitty Hawk.
From Kitty Hawk, we were able to take a bridge back to mainland North Carolina and head to my parents' house to pick up our dogs. The six night trip was just long enough; we had a great time, but we were ready to get home. We were greeted in Burlington by a big welcome home sign in the front yard (including puppy paw prints) and a dining room table full of flowers from the reception.
That was a very brief description (that left out a lot of details) of a week that was truly perfect. Although we would have of course loved to travel somewhere in Europe or to a luxurious resort for our honeymoon, this laid back Outer Banks trip ended up being ideal and low key, just like we wanted. The weather was wonderful and we were able to enjoy being together without a bunch of fuss over keeping a schedule, flying, or anything like that. We can't wait to go back and do it again, except we'll probably stay on Ocracoke the whole time next vacation, as we did the touristy Outer Banks requirements on this trip.
I'll close with the obligatory awkward hand photo my mom asked us to send her while we were gone because she didn't get a good look at our rings during the wedding festivities.
Have a fantastic Friday!