OBX Vacation 2018

YES !!!  This post has been in the draft bin since 08/2018 !!!

 

For the third time in the past five years, the Bacon family has gone to the Outer Banks for our vacation.  As we did the previous year, we stayed the night in Beckley, WV for the night and split the drive into two days.  As much as I hate having to add 2 days and a couple of hundred dollars to the trip, I just can’t do this non-stop!

001This was our first day there and we arrived late afternoon.

 

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After a quick trip to the  beach on our first day, we headed south to hit some shops.

One of my daughter’s favorite stops.

“Buxton Village Books” in of course Buxton, NC.

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A nice, small little bookstore.

Kind of a nice change from the big box retailers.

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I could never get tired of beach days like this !

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Leaving Hatteras on the ferry to go to Ocracoke Island.  It’s about an hour ride and we took a chance with the weather.

And what a chance it was.  It rained and rained and rained.

Instead of parking and walking about, we had to drive station to station.

We did have a fine lunch (more on food later).

 

I really shouldn’t complain about weather on vacations because not every day should be expected to be bright and sunny.

And you know there’s a big BUT coming here !!!

The above video shows how it rained for literally THREE STRAIGHT DAYS !

It was a warm rain and there was one day when I went to the beach in the rain and stood waist deep in the surf with my sieve looking for shells and glass and the such.

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WOW !!!!!

That’s what “early morning” should look like !!  The monsoons finally ended.

 

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The Bacon Sand Fortress of the beach.

Unfortunately, we built it too high above the tide range and it was not swallowed by the sea before we left.

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Little girl happy to be on the beach.

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Ahhhhhh, now that’s a nice sunset over the Pamlico Sound.

Pamlico Sound:

 

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Little girl getting some more summer reading in.

She gets bored with the beach after a couple of days.

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We did not go out on the Avon Pier last year so we thought we would this time.  Just $1.00 !!!

“I’d pay a dollar for that !”

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Long view of the Avon Pier.  I can’t imagine standing out there all day fishing, but people do.
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July 27 was our last night and as I was going in and out packing the car, I saw that the moon was real funky.  As it turned out, it was a blood moon and a total lunar eclipse.  Pretty cool.

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Beckley, West Virginia is about the half way point for driving.  In Beckley is “Tamarack”

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Not really sure how to describe the place, but it has a lot of hand crafted art and the such.  A nice place to stop and look through. (The kind of place chicks like to look around)

FOOD:

We arrived at our condo about 4 pm and unpacked the car.  We then made a trip to the Food Lion and bought most of our food for the week including a very nice frozen pizza for dinner.

This year I decided to spend just cash while on our trip and brought about $700 with me.

I play an online “game” called “Wheresgeorge.com” and I typically only spend “G” series one dollar bills and five dollar bills.  Got a few good hits from this trip.

As far as food and eating this year, it was quite different.  Previously, we would eat out perhaps only once since we were usually too tired from being on the beach all day and way too tired to get cleaned up!  But since it literally rained for 3 days, we ended up eating out quite a bit and “WOW” did the food bills run up quickly.

1_BoJangles

BoJangles:

We ate at Bojangles in Beckely, WV after a very full day of driving.

All I can say about the fried chicken at Bojangles is, “GOD DAMN !!”

Great,great,great fried food for a chain restaurant.  And I cannot forget about the biscuit.  Another food masterpiece for a chain.

2_Fish n Chips

Open Water Grill:

Open Water Grill was literally a stone’s throw from the condo.  Now, the original website I found for OWG did not have a menu on it and when I googled around, I found a Yellow Pages site that had the menu.  My daughter was excited that  there was BBQ brisket on the menu. (Our last vacation last year was to the Wisconsin Dells and we had dinner at Paul Bunyan’s and we had the BBQ brisket and she was quite taken with it.)  Well, turns out that menu was from 2015 and there was NO BRISKET !!!!

My daughter ended up getting chicken tenders and hush puppies.  They were really good she said.  I got the fish ‘n chips.  They are made with the catch of the day and I’m not sure what it was, but it was very good.  The crust was kind of a combination of breading and batter.  When cut with a fork, it didn’t all crumble and fall off.  Came with an unusual spicy kale slaw that was good.

This was an expensive dinner.  With tip it was about $70.  That’s how the food bill adds up quickly !

3_Oyster Poboy

Ocracoke Oyster Company:

We took a rainy day trip to Ocracoke and we already had planned not to eat at Howard’s Pub.  Not that there was anything wrong with eating there, but we felt like “been there, done that” and wanted to go somewhere else. So we did.  I ordered an Oyster Po Boy.  These oysters were great.  Not greasy and not over cooked.  A really good sandwich and great onion rings but I have to take some points off for me having to ask the server to bring the remoulade. It’s a Po Boy !!!!!

4_Clam Strips

Burger Burger:

We stopped here on Thursday after going to the Avon Pier.  They had quite an extensive menu of burgers and seafood.  I had the fried clams and the were great.

5_Shrimp Poboy

Burger Burger:

We hit Burger Burger two nights in a row.  There was enough interesting food on the menu that I think I could have eaten there everyday.  This time I had an outstanding Shrimp Po Boy

Epilogue:

I already know that the 2019 vacation won’t be to the Outer Banks.  Most likely just take a quick, local trip.

 

Howard’s Pub: Ocracoke, North Carolina

This was the third of the three restaurants that we ate at.

Howard’s Pub North Carolina

200The wife had a crab cake and hush puppies.

201My daughter again surprised me by not ordering chicken tenders and ordered a hot dog and mac & cheese.  My daughter has learned that when the menu says “Macaroni and Cheese”, she needs to check if it’s Kraft mac & cheese.  Kind of a rip off if they serve the Kraft, but this was not Kraft and she said it was very good.  Her lunch was served on a souvenir “Frisbee.”

202I had the fried oysters.  The french fries here were very good.

Of the three places that I had the fried oysters, these were the least best.  This was bar food.  But to say that these were the “least best” of the three is like saying you had to date the second runner up at the Miss Universe pageant!

Vacation !!

Taking vacation time for me is not completely unusual, but for this vacation, I actually took two consecutive weeks off.  That is something I haven’t done for many, many years.  It’s not that I don’t want to, but I would hate to be gone for two weeks and have the big guys in the corner office notice that the world kept spinning on its axis while I was away. (In my last several yearly reviews, I put down that I was responsible for keeping the world rotating and so far it looks like they bought it.)

Of the 16 days I was off, (including weekend days), 10 of them were spent on the road.  We left the Chicago-land area on a Friday evening to do most of the fifteen hour (980 mile) drive overnight to miss most of the traffic. (A word to you clueless drivers out there, USE YOUR CRUISE CONTROL!!!!)

Our destination was New Bern, North Carolina.  My parents let us use their time share points and that’s what we ended up with.  Historic downtown New Bern is a fantastic place but we were there to go to the BEACH !!!!!

It was about an hour drive everyday to get to the beach, but it was a very pleasant drive and it was well worth it.

2015_New_Bern_003What an incredible beach !!! And there was miles and miles and miles of this beach !!

2015_New_Bern_011Here we have Camp Bacon base camp setup on the beach.  I felt like a pack mule lugging most of this gear to the beach.

2015_New_Bern_021Here is the bacon offspring working on one of the many sand castles we built.

2015_New_Bern_183Another one…………

2015_New_Bern_210Endless digging in the sand opportunities.

2015_New_Bern_195One the best days, there were almost 5-6 foot waves.  Totally cool !!

Here I am with my daughter (I’m not the one on the red one piece)

She was a little apprehensive at first about going out into the waves, but she got over that pretty quick and she really liked jumping the waves.  We brought a small “boogie board” from home with us but it wasn’t big enough for me to ride but my daughter had a good time riding the waves in.

2015_New_Bern_224The surf conditions.  No “Sharknado” warning.

2015_New_Bern_296Now, these next bunch of photos may bore some of you to death, but there was an absolutely great state park that had a fort.

Fort Macon

Above is a model of the fort that someone had made.  I have included a number of photos because it is hard to get the scope of the fort with just one picture.

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The weather was FANTASTIC !!! Everyday was 100 degrees and 100 % humidity.  Yes, to me that is perfect weather.

Here comes the big BUT……………

The one day we made plans to travel to Ocracoke Island, it rained.  Above is a photo of the ferry we took to the island and the coming storm.

Because of the logistics of driving and ferry rides and the ferry schedule, we already knew that we were pushing it to get there and back.

2 hour drive to get the 10 am ferry

2 hour ferry ride to Ocracoke

X2 getting back

Now, we had the choice of taking the 4 pm ferry back to the mainland or the only other choice was the 9 pm ferry. Taking the 9 pm would mean not getting back to our room until about 1 am.  We didn’t really like that option.  So we decided on the 4 pm ferry meaning we were on a really tight schedule.  Another factor in this is that you need to have reservations for the ferry times, otherwise, taking the “standby” option would not guarantee a spot on the ferry.  I do have to say though, the ferry operators did a great job of loading the ferry to get everyone on.

Of course it started to rain just as we got to the island.  Being noonish, we stopped for lunch (post on food in the future).  After eating we drove a few miles to a beach.  Ocracoke is basically one ginormous beach (on the ocean side) and you can’t throw a dead cat without hitting a beach.  It was only drizzling at that time.  We walked a bit on that beach, my wife and daughter  were very intent on finding “sea glass” along with their other shells.  Still drizzling, we left after about 20 minutes.  Looking at the radar on the phone, it looked like it might clear up after a couple of hours, so we made the decision to try to “ride it out” and get the 9 pm ferry home.

Long story short (yeah, too late for that), it didn’t stop raining until about 7:30.  It was a loooooooong day of driving and being in the car for little reward.

OBXWay too much car time !!

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But HEY !!!

The next day was back to being fantastic !!

2015_New_Bern_487I would not get tired of this !!

FOOD:

We only ate out three times. (Food posts to follow soon I hope)