Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Outer Banks


Fall is traditionally my favorite season.  Though I've reached a point in my life now now that I love and appreciate each season, cherishing something different about each one, there will always be something special to me about Autumn.  One of the things I really love about Fall is going to the beach, especially in the early part of the season where there is still a lot of activity but the crowds have died down, and the weather is still usually warm and nice. 

The last weekend of September, Mitchell and I went to Nags Head on North Carlina's Outer Banks.  Believe it or not, in 2 years of dating this was our first trip to the beach together as well as our first real vacation to an exotic location.  Even though it was only 3 days and 2 nights, we had a blast and enjoyed out stay in an oceanfront hotel room with a fabulous view.  The weather was supposed to be gorgeous and warm, but the remnants of a Tropical Storm passed offshore and caused a lot of wind and heavy surf.  This made for some chilly afternoons and evenings, but with sunny days and temps in the 70's, the weather was pretty nice overall.  At least it didn't rain.


Red flags mean no swimming in the heavy surf...view from our 5th floor hotel window...

We got to the beach about 4 pm Friday afternoon, checked in, had a quick nap, then went to Jeanette's Pier right up the road.   Mitchell had never been on an ocean pier before but he was ok with all the wind and big, rolling waves way down under our feet.  We walked to the end and back, viewed the gorgeous sunset from the pier, then went across the street to eat a nice seafood meal before retiring to our hotel room for the evening.  I love hearing the ocean roar so much that we left the balcony door cracked open all night and fell asleep to the sound of the crashing waves. 


Sunset as seen from Jennette's Pier..

Saturday we were blessed to spend some time with my friend and big sister Brenda, who came down from Virgina with her boyfriend Dave.  Mitchell and I got up, ate breakfast and took a walk on the beach Saturday morning.  At lunchtime we went over to the pier to meet Brenda and Dave and the 4 of us had lunch at a waterfront seafood restaurant.  Mitchell and I had never been on a double date before, so this was really cool, plus Brenda and I got to meet each others' boyfriends for the first time.  After lunch we rode around, hit some gift shops, then we all walked on the pier for awhile.


Brenda and I on the end of Jennette's Pier...

The wind was really blowing on the beach that afternoon, but the fish were also biting.  In the time we were out there we saw a 35" Red Drum caught and released, quite a few Bluefish, a Spanish Mackerel, various bottom fish and a few Skates.  This is a day I would have loved to go fishing, but with my friends there I couldn't and I really thought it would be too rough for fish this weekend so I didn't bring any equipment.  I guess with the warm, clear water the fish decided to bite even with all the wind and waves.  Below is a little video I took with my phone of the boys that caught the big Drum on the end of the pier.  In North Carolina, Red Drum can only be kept if they are between 18" and 28", so this one had to be returned to the ocean.
video

After we left the pier, Brenda and Dave left to go back to Norfolk and Mitchell and I went for some ice cream, did a little more shopping and drove down to Oregon Inlet where we drove across the Bonner Bridge to Hatteras Island and then came back across to see the Bodie Island Lighthouse.  It was getting dark by then so we went back to the room for awhile to freshen up and rest a bit before going for a few drinks and a late dinner at the Outer banks Brewing Station.  Brenda and I took a picture at the Brewing Station during my trip in May, which I talked about in my earlier post, Really Big Update.   Saturday night, Mitchell and I enjoyed a great dinner and as soon as were finished, some men removed our table and the spot we had been eating became a dance floor..:)  It seems that between 10 and 10:30, this place morphs from a bar/ restaurant into a dance club.  We sat at a table on the side for a little bit, but while I enjoyed the dance music, it was very, very loud and the bar was quickly becoming packed, so we went back to the room and called it a night.  I don't think that we are too old to enjoy the nightlife, but we were tired from a long, fun, Fall beach day.
Mitchell and I on the pier Saturday...
Bodie Island Lighthouse...


Mitchell wore the shirt I gave him for our anniversary Saturday night.  He loves this bowling shirt, similar to what Charlie Sheen wears in Two and a Half Men.
Saturday night I wore my purple pumps to celebrate the football win by East Carolina over North Carolina, earlier in the day.  I am also showing off an ECU No Quarter flag that Mitchell bought me at a sporting shop Saturday.  The ECU Pirates love to display this flag in the 4th quarter..:)
We awoke once again to the sound of the ocean Sunday morning and made it downstairs in time for the buffet breakfast at the hotel.  Then we took a walk on the beach and relaxed on our new beach blanket for awhile before going back to the room and packing up.  We always get late check out and it was after 1 pm when we left, then we went to one of my favorite restaurants for lunch, the Lone Cedar Cafe.  After eating some of the best, freshest local seafood available, I gave Mitchell a tour of more of the island and we ended up at the Avalon Pier.  The ocean was rough again Sunday and Mitchell found the experience of walking on the older wooden pier much different than walking out on the new, concrete Jeanette's Pier.  The pier's creaky planks sort of give a little under your feet and you can see the water below through some of the wider cracks.  Add to that the motion of the ocean moving the structure back and forth, and I will just say he didn't like it as good as the new pier.  I used to have nightmares of those old piers during storms, when waves can crash up through the planks and its hard to even walk with the shifting beams and wind.  We will probably stick to the new pier from now on....:)


Waterside dining at the Lone Cedar Cafe...
Sunday on the pier...
We went to some more gift shops and at 4 o'clock I wanted to see the Washington Redskins game on television so we went back to the Outer banks Brewing Station and had dinner at the bar while watching the game.  The Redskins actually won a game for the first time this season, then we hit the road for home as it was getting dark.  We got back a little late that night, about 10 pm, but we had really crammed a lot into one weekend so it was all very worth it.  

The only thing that could make the Fall beach experience any better is to go back again.  Tomorrow I am heading back down to the Outer banks to visit my friend Lisa Lesher, who lives 10 miles from the northern bridge at Kitty Hawk.  We had planned to go fishing, as I mentioned in my summer blog, Independence Day, but it looks like another weather system is bring both wind and rain this week, so we will just have to see about any fishing.  She also lives a short distance from Tidewater, Virginia, so I know we will be going there for shopping, meeting some friends and more fun stuff.  Stay tuned to see what all happens, as it is time for yet more fun here in Tammy World..:)






Video of Friday evening surf and sunset, as seen from Jennette's Pier in Nags Head, North Carolina....
video


The big one that didn't get away.  Hello from the Outer Banks.  Wish you were here!!