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Thursday, January 24th, 2013
Listening to the radio this morning, I hear that it’s 13 degrees in New York City, but it feels like 4. As I grab a thicker sweater, my mind drifts to warmer days—specifically a weekend in October I spent on Emerald Isle in the Southern Outer Banks in North Carolina. I arrived late at night, and though I couldn’t see the beach when I got to the house in which I’d be staying, I was greeted with the sound of the waves and the refreshing smell of the salty air.
The view from my room.
After a restful night’s sleep, I awoke to a view of the sun rising over the beach. Ah. Heaven! I would’ve loved to have sipped coffee on my room’s balcony, but there was no time to sit and stare (plus, there’d be time for that later. I soon realized that staying in a rented beach house, with it’s mix of privacy and luxury, is a nice change of pace to my usual resort vacations). After a quick breakfast with a few fellow journalists who were also touring N.C., we were off to the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Once there, I gazed at the various swimming creatures, pet a couple rays in the touch pool, and took part in the Sea Turtle Rescue exhibit, where I assessed the ailments of a (plastic) turtle and diagnosed it with hypothermia. How appropriate. I’d welcome the blanket I used to treat the little guy now!
Me, posing at the aquarium!
Later that day, we took a boat ride to Cape Lookout National Seashore where we had a picnic lunch on the beach to fuel our 207-step climb to the top of Cape Lookout Lighthouse. From our new perspective we gawked at the gorgeous view of sand, sparkling ocean, and the wild horses galloping on a nearby island.
Looking at the lighthouse before our climb. It wasn’t as strenuous as I expected!
After our descent, we got back on the boat and headed for home. About midway back to shore, a team (school? Pod?) of dolphins surrounded us! The playful fellas jumped and squeaked, seemingly pleased to pose for our cameras.
Click to watch a video of the dolphins!
The following day we got up early and headed to Hot Wax Surf Shop for a stand-up paddle-boarding lesson. Don’t let the picture fool you—we did make it out on the water! We were doing great, despite it being all of our first times, until the Coast Guard cruised by and knocked us all down with the waves created by their boat! There was no harm done, though, and we all had a good laugh, got back onto our boards, and continued paddling.
The beginning of our lesson.
After drying off and freshening up, the gang headed to historic Beaufort (the third oldest town in North Carolina) where we heard about the history on a double-decker bus tour. It’s a quaint town right on the water that started as a fishing village. (Side note: If you’re a fan of fishing, the Outer Banks is the place for you! I took a run on the beach each day of my trip and dodged happy-looking fishermen, -women, and -children the whole way.) Okay, back to Beaufort: Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time to spend there but other highlights are the Maritime Museum, tours of restored historic buildings, and a yummy fudge shop (okay, I may have made the time to sample some fudge).
The group in front of the double-decker bus.
Later that evening, we were treated to a 5-course catered dinner at our vacation house, where we raised a glass to a great stay in North Carolina!
Categories: GoodyBlog | Tags: beach, Beaufort, Cape Lookout National Seashore, Crystal Coast, dolphins, Hot Wax Surf Shop, lighthouse, North Carolina, North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, stand-up paddle boarding, vacation
Monday, April 30th, 2012
Taking kids to the beach: What’s not to love? You spend a lengthy period of time putting sunscreen on every possible surface, you drag all of your family’s stuff to the most ideally located spot, you no sooner set it all up when someone needs to go to the bathroom, you return to the beach to requests for a drink or a snack, the drink and/or snack drops in the sand, you can’t take your eyes off your child(ren) for a second as you assume the role of their constant playmate and/or manage their fears of the water, and when it’s time to leave your children are covered in a thick coat of sunscreen mixed with sand that refuses to budge from their skin. (Or is that just my typical routine?)
I can’t help you with any of the irritations of going to the beach with young children–except for one. Get yourself Sand-Off, a mitt that wipes sand off your child’s skin. After trying it out in Florida last weekend, I’m here to tell you that it works! The terry cloth mitt is filled with baby powder, the secret ingredient for removing sand. I was already using baby powder to help slough the sand off my girls’ skin, but there were two problems with my method: I was going through pounds of the stuff, and I was making a giant mess. Sand-Off keeps the powder contained, and comes with a plastic storage bag, too. Each mitt lasts for between 30 and 40 uses; you can buy 1 for $8, 3 for $22, or 6 for $40.
Give it a shot (or slap) this summer–I bet you’ll be hooked.
Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
I’m not sure where you are located, but the temps here in New York have dropped. It’s the perfect time of year to take a sunbreak, and last year I found just the place.
St. George Island, a 28-mile barrier island, sits four miles off the mainland, with the Apalachicola Bay on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. According to Dr. Stephen Leatherman’s (aka Dr. Beach’s) annual survey, the tiny island claims to be the sixth best beach in the world! I have to agree…it’s breathtaking. The nine miles of undeveloped shoreline features some of the best shelling. If the kids are lucky, during May and August, they might get a glimpse of a loggerhead sea turtle.
Besides the beaches, there’s great fishing, nature trails, canoeing, and kayaking in shallow Apalachicola Bay. Journeys offer some great kid-friendly adventures. For $40, you can hop on a boat to scout for dolphins and visit Little St. George for a hermit crab race. Snacks and drinks are included. Local rental agencies such as Resort Vacation Properties offer loads of private accommodations. For $5 (per person, per night) you and the family can also rough it and camp at Gap Point in the island’s state park. Watch out for the “cat faces” left over from when the pine trees were turpentined. Hope y’all get to visit!
Photo: Lou Kellenberger, Franklin County, TDC
Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
Even though some kids are going back to school, summer’s far from over! From Memorial Day through Labor Day, there are 99 days of summer (we counted!), which means we’re dedicated to bringing you tons of ideas to have fun, keep cool, and stay safe every day until September 5.
There are still plenty of summer days left, so make sure to sign up for the Daily Parenting Tip newsletter to receive special summer features from us and our partner, PBS Parents.
Get through the heat wave by keeping your kids hydrated and making unique and colorful ice pops. Or seek the shade and stay indoors to create dazzling crafts that will catch the sun.
For more summer inspiration, here are our favorite ideas to get your family through the rest of summer:
Don’t forget to visit our 99 Days of Summer page for more recipes, crafts, travel, and safety ideas!
Categories: Crafts, Food, GoodyBlog, Time for Fun, Your Child | Tags: 99 days of summer, backyard camping, beach, crafts, daily parenting tip, pbs, pbs parents, recipes, summer, summer safety, toys
Wednesday, January 27th, 2010
I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Atlantis in Paradise Island for the official opening of their new kids’ club, Atlantis Kids Adventures. Designed for kids ages 3 to 12, the 8,000 square-foot complex combines the latest in interactive technology with old-fashioned imaginative play.
My 5-year-old daughter, Jane, was in a bit of a grumpy mood the first time she stepped on the cool touch-screen floor—on which lizards, fish, and pieces of popcorn scatter about when you step on them—and she couldn’t be dragged away for 45 minutes. Here’s a picture of her playing with a similar wall screen.
Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
My daughter’s (and my) new favorite bedtime book is called Wave
by Suzy Lee. It tells the story of a little girl’s afternoon at the beach. At first she’s hesitant, watching the surf from a safe distance, before she finally gets curious and decides to splash around merrily. Eventually, she gets hit by a big wave and comes out startled, with drenched clothes. But the wave leaves behind so many cool things (shells, sea stars) to look at and play with until finally it’s time to go. What’s unusual (for a guy who works with words and a 3-year-old who loves to use them) is that there’s not a single word in this book. Simple, beautiful illustrations tell the whole story, leaving it to you or your child to narrate. It truly recreates a day at the beach from a young child’s eyes—and when we went to one last weekend, my daughter spent much of the time recreating this amazing book. It proves the old axiom: A picture’s worth a thousand words.
Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
It’s hard to chill out at the beach or pool when you’re stuck lugging tons of gear along with you. Make the load more manageable—and give your kid extra sun protection—with this cool multifunctional beach chair. The best part? It’s on sale right now for $19.99 at JCPenney.