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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!