Sunday, November 18, 2007

Outer Banks: Been There, Done That, Dang it we forgot the T-shirt!

November 15, 2007

Hello Family and Friends,

Matt, Carter, and I (Amber) are currently driving in the car on our way home from The Outer Banks in North Carolina. I know some of you are thinking, “What, what, what . . . what the heck are you doing in North Carolina?!?” And to that I say, “Settle down I will tell you.” We have known for a couple weeks now that Matt was going to have this week off, because as I have stated before Matt only has to work 12 shifts this month while on ER. What we did not know was if my work schedule would allow us to go anywhere. Well, as luck would have it we found out last Saturday morning I only had to drop the kids to school Monday morning and Friday morning. So within a few hours Saturday morning I had a trip planned and reservations made to the Outer Banks, and I must add because we were going off season we got a kicking deal. So here is a little, or not so little travelogue for ya’ll (after all we were in the south):

Monday after dropping the kids we took off and made it as far as Williamsburg, VA where our friends Ryan, Leah, and Jack Miller live. They graciously after short notice let us stay the night with them. It is so awesome to see friends again. Thanks guys for welcoming us!!

Then after chatting a little Tuesday morning we were off again and made it to the Outer Banks a little before noon. On this first day we went up north to the Currituck Lighthouse and water life and waterfowl reserve.
The Outer Banks is a huge waterfowl hunting area and is where the area first began to receive most of their tourists. A huge portion of waterfowl congregate in this area before heading further south for the winter. The Currituck Lighthouse is the only one you could climb up. Carter loved hearing his echo and the bounciness of the climb as we headed up to the top. The view was also quite enjoyable. Later on that night we went swimming in the indoor pool and Carter couldn’t have been happier.

Thanks to our sweet boy who doesn’t know how to sleep in we were up bright and early Wednesday morning to walk the beach as the sun was rising. What a cool experience that was for everyone. There is something magical about the beach. Also, coming in the off season was really cool because we practically had the whole beach to ourselves. By the way, this beach was right out the door from our oceanfront hotel.

Our next adventure for Wednesday was heading south making our way down the coast. There was Bodie Island Lighthouse (we didn’t get a picture because Carter was sleeping and we didn’t stop in fear of waking him) and then the Hatteras Cape Lighthouse. This particular lighthouse has been named America’s Lighthouse because it is photographed so much. Then we got on a ferry and crossed over to Ocracoke Island. Matt loved the ferry and was giddy like a schoolboy. I am sure that is difficult for you guys to imagine. It was awesome to be in between the sound and the ocean and to see the vastness of both.

(This was our ferry ride back during sunset.)

Once on the island we saw the Ocracoke Lighthouse and stopped at the beach voted best beach of 2007. We haven’t been to a lot of beaches, but we thought this one was fantastic. It had a great mixture of extremely soft sand and great sandcastle building sand and none of the rough rocky stuff. This was the first time Carter got down to play in the sand and with the water and he was in little boy heaven. He LOVED the sand!!! He was absolutely covered in it from the very top of his head to the very tip of his toes and every centimeter in between. What was hysterical is that Carter had a really runny nose and the sand kept on getting stuck to it so he would have this long, stringy sand slime hanging off of his face. He crawled, ate, and dug in the sand as fast as his little baby body would let him, and of course laughing the whole time. The water was pretty chilly so we only waded in it and Carter thought that was pretty cool, but his true enjoyment came from the sand. While we were at the beach there was a cool fisherman there (this is a huge fishing area, I mean hardcore fishing). He
caught two sting rays and one little shark. He couldn’t keep them, but kept them long enough so we, especially Carter, could check them out and oooh and awe over them. Then he would literally kick them back out into the ocean. Another cool thing that happened while we were there, we had two different schools of dolphins swim by about a 100 yards out from the beach. One of the schools had to have at least 20 dolphins. It was remarkable to experience Mother Nature that up close and personal. As with the beach before, we were there almost by ourselves.

Thursday morning (which is today) we packed up and left the hotel. For our last fun adventure we went to the Wilbur and Orville Wright National Memorial. The Outer Banks is where they took their first flight. It was remarkable to hear their story and all that went into their aviation quest and to now look at where that has brought us. We got to walk on the grounds where it all happened.

Now we are on the road making the long, dreaded nine hour drive back home to Pittsburgh. Because Carter is napping I figured I better get this all written down before I loose the time and or memory to do it with. It is so fun to have a family of my own that can vacation together and start to build memories together. What a blast we had!! Can’t wait to do it again!

Love you all,

P.S. Not only are we in the ninth hour of our drive with two hours left because we decided to take a new way, and not only are we in the middle of a blizzard through numerous West Virginia mountain passes, and not only has Carter thrown up SEVEN times in the car, and not only did he have a big blow out going all down his leg, and not only did he pee all over the car when we were cleaning/ changing him because it was too cold to take him out of the car, and not only did he have his biggest throw up right after we changed him into his fresh, clean pajamas, but also as crazy as it sounds this was all worth our totally awesome trip!!
P.P.S. I put on a lot of great videos from the trip and in the description section I let you know where we are at, etc. Check them out, some are pretty fun.


The Nielsen Family said...

Can I just say, sometimes I absolutely hate blogger. I spent hours exactly placing words and pictures that went together making sure everything worked in the preview section and to my great dismay as soon as I posted it was all ruined and I was too tired and annoyed to fix it. Anyway, I just needed to rant for a section.

Bankhead's said...

I love the pictures of Carter in the sand and water! So cute and beautiful scenery! I hope Carter is feeling better, nothing is worse then a sick kid in the car, besides your all trapped together. Hope things turned out great in that area! Can't wait till you come home to visit, we will for sure get together!

Jeff and Alison said...

I am SOOOO glad you got a little family time away. We are in desperate need of some! My only question is: What kinda of job are you doing???? My mind is going wild with idea from my only hint*

Your pictures were all amazing. What a cute family. And by the way...I know a friend of your from here...Erin...but I don't know her maiden name. Check out her blog link on mine. She would love to hear from you :)

abradfordgardner said...

Amber! I'm so jealous of you guys! Did you know that the Outer Banks - specifically Corolla (where I think you stayed) - has been my family's vacation home since I was 8? I have the fondest memories from there. For the past two years we have gone down there for Thanksgiving with my aunt and uncle and this coming summer we'll be going back with my whole family when my parents get back from their mission. I'm so happy you loved it as much as I do!

Karin, Dave, and baby Evan said...

Awesome! I really envy your spontaneity (sp?). I wish I could just plan a trip last minute. How fun!

Heitmann Family said...

Sounds like a great time, except for the last part with all the bodily fluids.

karen and cameron said...

Hey Neilsen's!
We LOVE the outer banks! I am so jealous you got to go there. You can never leave without a t-shirt, bumper sticker, or salt water taffy!

Becky Thalgott said...

WOW!!! Awesome, you guys! Looks like you guys had a great time (so sad that Carter was so sick at the end, what a bummer!). I love your pictures of your trip. They are beautiful. My fav is of Carter sitting in the sand playing in it. You can tell he was in heaven. I think we may hit the beach the day after Thanksgiving and these pics got me all the more excited to go. Glad you guys got to have a fun vacation together! We miss you!

leah said...

your trip sounds like it was awesome! You got some great pictures. Your post makes me want to go back to the obx to see a fee more things that we obviously missed when we were there. It was fun to see you guys for a night in Williamsburg.