The kids were restless. The wife was upset (perpetually, it was starting to seem). I checked the bank account– it was fine and healthy. I made a list of chores and things to fix up around the house, but it turned out that the house was in great shape. We were all eating just fine, the fridge was fully stocked, our bills were all paid; still, despite the fact that nothing was “missing,” I could tell that something was definitely off kilter…
Soon, it came to me in a burst of realization… it came to me that we were halfway through the summer, and we hadn’t traveled at all. Six weeks into the season, and we had yet to venture further than around an hour or so out of town to visit my cousin. How could I have been so blind? No wonder there was such a strange feeling; we were all getting cabin fever!
We love our home, but familiarity breeds contempt, and I decided that it was due time that the lot of us get out of dodge, and try somewhere new. Naturally, my wife was keen to the idea– can you blame her?
That night, and for several nights afterward, my wife and I stayed up for at least an extra hour before going to sleep, researching potential destinations on our respective tablets. We decided that it would be best if we stayed within the United States this time around, and that we did not want the drive to take any more than one day, (definitely less than two days), as our sons are 4 and 6 and– well, no explanation required.
At first, she wanted to visit some of the major Atlantic cities, like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. I was not supportive of this idea, I said that the kids were so young, and that these major cities were due to be wildly busy in mid-late August. I suggested that we consider visiting family down in Florida, but she said it would be too hot; I conceded, that is a fair assessment. Within a few days, I suddenly remembered the story of a dear friend of mine, who, not long before, had given me some great advice about a potential destination.
“Honey,” I began, while my wife’s head was directed at the screen of her tablet, with a furrowed brow.
“Yes, honey, what is it?” She asked, sternly.
“What about the Outer Banks?”
Suddenly, after days… weeks… what felt like years of bickering, the answer was that simple. We agreed that we would spend our family vacation that summer at the Outer Banks.
I’d heard from a trusted friend that that the beaches, the parks, the history, the food, and people who spend their summers over around the Outer Banks were top notch, and that it was a bit of an undiscovered gem for the Southern-Atlantic coast. I called up my friend who had recommend the trip to me before, and, without hesitating, he said I was in for a treat:
“Hoo boy! The Outer Banks! Great choice! For your rental, don’t forget to call Twiddy & Co., they actually specialize in Outer Banks vacation rentals. They treat us well every time. Tell ‘em I sent ya!”
Time passed, and before we knew it, we were packing up the Sedan the next day. We had a rough plan for the trip, but we wanted to leave some of the specifics open to spontaneity. The boys and I were very excited; I had them all jacked up and ready to toss around the frisbee and the football on the amazing beaches. The wife? She had packed a few books that she’d been meaning to read for a long time, and she was more than ready to relax on the sand. Thanks to Twiddy & Co, we were matched up with our ideal vacation rental, and we were all very impressed and pleased with the house we stayed in. It was an oceanside house in Frisco, which was totally idyllic. The boys were elated to be sharing a great room down in the basement, and my wife and I had our own bathroom, complete with a jacuzzi, in our upstairs suite. It would be fair to say that we were elated, too.
But how were the Outer Banks, you ask?
To put it simply: we absolutely loved the trip.
We did everything we could; from a leisurely walk around the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge on Roanoke (yes, there are alligators!), to Corolla Adventure Golf & Bumper Cars, to the Children at Play Museum at Kitty Hawk– not to mention everything in between! The beaches, by the way, are gorgeous. Particularly fantastic was Coquina Beach, in Nags Head, and another (complete with lifeguards) in Ocracoke. There was also a very nice and quiet beach in Duck. My wife also loved the Elizabethan Gardens in Roanoke, and I was quite partial to the offerings of the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. Fort Raleigh was actually named after famous British figure Sir Walter Raleigh, and Roanoke Island was the home of the Lost Colony, which was Queen Elizabeth I’s first attempt at a permanent British settlement on American soil.
Also, call it the spirit of the vacation, but the boys were completely willing to eat the delicious seafood that we put on their plates. As well as the classic local seafood, we treated ourselves to great pancakes, bagels, and tacos on the trip, and we made sure to eat at a wide variety of local spots. We could not arrange a babysitter, but my wife and I have discussed the possibility of coming back by ourselves, as we heard that a lot of the high-end seafood restaurants are absolutely to die for, and apparently a few of them are totally worth their steep price!
We met other families. The kids were able to play on the beach with other kids, my wife met other women who held many similar interests, and I was able to relax, tip back a couple of beers, watch sports and have some fun with a couple other soon-to-be geezers like myself.
When it was time to leave, the boys were exhausted, but so were my wife and I. Still, we didn’t feel like we wanted to go. The four of us could all agree that we had a fantastic time, even if our youngest was asleep in the back seat. My wife and I are still talking about where we will rent, eat, and relax when we return to Outer Banks. Absolutely tremendous.