We spent a nice chunk of our June in North Carolina for a family vacation at the beach and visiting Greensboro. This was the first time we had been back since moving to Iowa two years ago. The 3,200 miles we logged in our 11 day trip was worth the memories and beautiful images that I have been revisiting. This lovely beach is on Ocracoke Island.
We reached Ocracoke Island by driving south along the barrier islands on NC Highway 12. This is the longer route, but it is very scenic, taking you over the Oregon Inlet bridge, through the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and past numerous towns and several lighthouses, depending on how much of Highway 12 one travels. In our younger years, Eric and I rode the entire stretch from Nags Head to Ocracoke and back to Nags Head by bicycle. We were trying to race a nasty March storm and rode the whole 80 miles back from Ocracoke to Nags Head in one day. I can still feel the sand blasting my face along this stretch of desolate road.
The kids were exhausted of the car and itching to get out and see the scenic surroundings. We stopped at a beach access point before the ferry to Ocracoke, near Avon. The girl is running full speed ahead to reach that ocean!I call this one anticipation. It will become an artwork at some point.
The urge to be a part of the ocean was just too much – she was soaked and sandy by the time we were done. This girl’s water-loving viking heritage will call her to the coast too.
After a fantastic seafood dinner (truly one of the best I have had) at the Dolphin Den, in Avon we boarded the ferry to Ocracoke. This little guy slept for the first part, but awoke to seagulls, waves, and his excited sister. We had enough evening light for a selfie.
I do not think it is a coincidence that ferry sounds like fairy. There is something magical about these boats.
We got off the ferry and continued our drive onto Ocracoke. This stretch is one of my favorite roads on earth. I even immortalized it in a painting a few years back, I will have to dig that out of storage.
Once on Ocracoke, we took things slow. We spent some time at the beach. This is the very beach where the most recent North Carolina shark attack happened, actually in the exact spot we were swimming in the water too. Shudder.
We ditched our car and opted for our cargo bike. The kids enjoyed watching the small planes land and take off at the airport.
On our bike ride to the Ocracoke Lighthouse, we found this little fellow crawling across the road. I had never seen a hermit crab just out walking before.
The Ocracoke lighthouse is always a little shocking to me, in its stark white form.
Greta was more interested in the marmalade cat that was grooming itself just out of her reach.
The small winding roads, cloaked in live oaks are always a treat on sunny hot afternoons. I feel like I have stepped back in time.
I love this sign on Old Howard Road. It truly needs a y’all in there, though.
We got take out from Thai Moon and it took it to the picnic area just outside the Ocracoke Visitor Center to watch the ferries. It was one of the nicest and breeziest spots on the island, outside of the beach.
We enjoyed a breakfast at Dajio. This is the massive apple pancake which had thinly sliced apples, caramelized, on the bottom of the most perfect fluffy hotcake. My sailor dressed daughter is enjoying the fruit and yogurt parfait. I would also recommend the shrimp and crab omelet. Heaven on a plate.
We enjoyed dinner at the Jolly Roger with our friends from Greensboro. This marina and restaurant has excellent seafood and terrific hush puppies.
After three glorious nights of being at the ocean, we left by Cedar Island ferry to mainland. I felt a little squashed up inside, not knowing when we would be back to this place I love so much. I actually keep it as one of my locations on my weather app on my phone. I love to see its steady 70° rainy afternoons when snow is pounding and drifting in Iowa. The almost three hour ferry ride back was a nice slow way to say goodbye to the coast.
I may or may not get around to blogging about Greensboro. My days since returning have been filled with my babies having birthdays, finishing up a grad class, jury duty, and germs.