Vacation 2013 – Duck – Day Seven

Day Seven’s itinerary:  beach? pool? kayaking, return kayak, pack and clean a bit

Even overcast mornings have great viewsThe pups were into a routine…out early then back to bed for another hour or so.  Breakfast was one last group eat so we could use up as much of the food as possible so we didn’t have to pack it for the drive home the next day.

Pengster And The PuppyThe forecast for the day had been overcast with a chance of rain, so the prospects of getting to the beach were slim.  Likewise, most of the adults weren’t really interested in the pool, but it wasn’t difficult to convince the girls to go shopping.

We took our time cleaning up after breakfast, hung out on the deck for a while and ate lunch at the cottage to save a bit of money and to consume more of the food.  Pups On DeckIt only took all week, but the puppies finally got brave enough to come out on the deck and approach the railing.

We headed to the Timbuk II shopping center in Corolla and were easily able to find a covered parking space -in case it started raining.  We wandered around through a number of shops, but ultimately ended up with only one bottle of Shipwreck, a red blend, by Sanctuary Vineyards’.  I did find my favorite store in the area, though:  TarHeelTradingCompanyTar Heel Trading Company.  Why is it my favorite?  Simple.  Everything in the store is made in the U.S.A.  Yes, I’m one of those who actually looks to see where products are made before I buy them.  If they are made in China, I only buy them if I really need them.  I am only one person and can’t change the trade deficit myself, Couple Of Signsbut I’m hoping others will eventually get in on it.  I don’t expect it.  I’m hopeful, not stupid.

We finished shopping and got back to the cabin in time to take the kayak back to the place from which we rented it.  Since we were all cleaned up, we decided to just put in the back of Poppop’s pickup and drive it back.

It was getting near five and we had decided we were going to drive out to a little place called the Rundown Cafe on the beach road in Kitty Hawk.  Since it was a Saturday and we didn’t know how busy this place normally gets, we decided to head out there a bit early.  On the drive there, we passed miles of bumper to bumper traffic heading into Duck and Corolla -the normal weekend check-in traffic during “peak season”.  Heading out took no time and we got seated immediately at the restaurant.

RundownCafeRundown Cafe is a Jamaican-themed restaurant and they had cool, island looking art on the walls, and served food that you might find on the island, including fruity cocktails.  I got a beer and the other adults got one or two of those cocktails each.  Apparently, our decision to get there a bit early was a good one, because the restaurant filled up quickly before we’d gotten our food order in.  The food wasn’t anything special.  I had decent flavor, but nothing was “Wow!  I’ve got to come here every time we come to the Outer Banks” good.  That said, the waitress was really nice and the whole experience was a good one.

Knowing traffic was going to be horrible heading back to the cottage, we tried to kill some more time by going looking for the cottage that my wife’s grandparents used to own.  This succeeded in burning up almost an hour between the short trip to the street it was on and the driving back and forth up and down the road because no on e could recall the address and the fronts of all the cottages/houses had changed.

We were hoping we’d spent enough time for the traffic to clear out a bit for the drive back, but we weren’t so lucky.  It took between thirty and forty-five minutes of sitting in stop and go traffic to finally make it back to the cottage.  We put on coffee, packed as much as we could, and cleaned a bit before retiring for the evening.

Vacation 2013 – Duck – Day Six

Day Six’s itinerary:  Awful Arthur’s, Morning View

Apparently, the early mornings were just the dogs getting used to the cottage routine because they’ve been back to their normal waking time since the second day…thankfully.  They actually slept until almost 0800 after their initial outing around 0600.

We had group breakfast again this morning, consisting of pancakes and scrambled eggs.  We chatted about plans for the day and decided on a trip to View from Awful Arthur's BarAwful Arthur’s for lunch.  My wife and her brother, Bubba, have been going there with their parents since the were little kids.  It’s a bit of a dive bar, but the food is good and it’s very well known by Outer Banks locals and regulars.

We had to take two vehicles to the restaurant, so Poppop took Bubba and the two younger girls to Wave Riding Vehicles while my wife, Nana, and our older daughter, and I headed to Awful Arthur’s since it was about lunch time and I had no idea how busy they’d be on a Friday.  Turns out we could have gone to WRV with the others.  Everyone enjoyed their meal.

After lunch, Bubba took his daughter back to the cottage with a short stop by the playground in Duck while the rest of us went driving around, planning to NagsHeadWoodsNaturePreserveget to the Morning View Coffee Company.

Along the way, we came upon the sign to the Nags Head Woods Nature Preserve.  My wife had read about this place so we decided to check it out.  It’s a pretty cool little patch of woods with trails to walk on that we’ll be sure to check out on one of our future visits to the Outer Banks, but we weren’t all dressed in the right shows to hike and didn’t have bug spray.


We left the Nags Head Woods and went to the Morning View Coffee House.  We all got a drink and sat around the coffee house, enjoying the smell of the coffee and beans while I helped Nana get her new tablet hooked up to the wi-fi to download some important apps, which we couldn’t do at the cottage due to the crappy Internet service.  Before we left, I also bought a pound of coffee.  Morning View is my favorite coffee house.  Too bad we don’t live closer.

We stopped by Food Lion to pick up some food for that night’s dinner and headed back to the cottage.  Bubba had already packed up his and his daughters stuff and loaded his car.  He chatted with my wife and his parents for a few minutes before he left with his daughter to go home.

My wife, daughters, and I took a few trips out on the kayak before getting cleaned up for the day and getting busy on dinner.  While at Food Lion, we had picked up some match-light charcoal so we mixed some of that with the other charcoal and got the fire going easily.  Before long, dinner was ready and we enjoyed another evening of chatting around the table followed by a pot of Morning View coffee, then bed.

Vacation 2013 – Duck – Day Five

Day Five’s itinerary: beach, pool, Duck boardwalk, kayak, Taco Thursday

All the dogs decided to wake up around 0545 to be taken out.  When we got back in, though, the upstairs was still dark and quiet so I put them back in their crate and got back in bed.  They slept for another hour or so, at which time I heard movement upstairs and smelled coffee.  Nana was up so we went upstairs…they ate and I got coffee.

Bucket Full Of Moon JellyfishMoon Jellyfish Mountain

They day was mostly overcast and warm, but not raining so everyone had their own breakfasts and we went to the beach for a while.  It turned out to be a bit windy and not as warm on the beach.  My wife and Nana didn’t even get out of their coverups.  The girls all played in the sand and were only allowed to get in the waves up to their ankles since the slope of the beach was pretty steep, making for a kind of powerful pull back into the water.  Our older daughter made a mound of sand to cover the beach ball they brought while our younger daughter and Bubba’s daughter made a bucket full of moon jellyfish.  Eventually, they used the jellyfish to decorate the mound.

Shortly after the completion of Mount Jellyfish, we left to stop back by the pool.  Our younger daughter, who had developed a stuffy nose, complained that her ear ached after getting in the pool for a few minutes.  My wife took her back to the cottage and used some of her niece’s swimmer’s ear treatment which seemed to do the trick.  ViewFromBoardwalkThe rest of us played at the pool a bit longer and then went back to the cottage for lunch and to get cleaned up.

We decided to go into Duck and find the boardwalk.  We had an easy time of it.  There was no traffic and plenty of parking at the public access area of the boardwalk.  I don’t know how much the town of Duck spent on this boardwalk, but it had to be significant.


It’s a nicely built raised boardwalk that meanders along the banks of the sound, winding around the backs of some shops while providing sound front views for others.  We walked along the boardwalk for a while, visited a few shops, walked back, and then went back to the cottage after stopping at a market briefly to pick up items for dinner.

Sometime before getting to the boardwalk, the cloud cover broke, providing plenty of sun and a warmer temperature, so when we got back from our trip to the boardwalk, we got the kayak out again.  It turned out to only be my wife, our younger daughter, and I that went out.  We paddled out a bit and just floated for a while before heading back in and enjoying the late afternoon sun on the deck before getting cleaned up.


While I went to work in the kitchen preparing Taco Thursday, the clouds started coming back, resulting in some really beautiful views as the sun started to set.  We finished the meal, had dessert, and tried to play Clue with everyone, but Nana.  It didn’t last long before we called the game due to too many distractions and attention span problems.  SunsetFromCaptainsRoostBubba and his daughter went to their bedrooms.  My wife disappeared to our room and our girls, Poppop, and I played a game of Gubs before we all went to bed.

Vacation 2013 – Duck – Day Four

Day Four’s itinerary: kayak, shop, eat out.

Wednesday morning started out overcast and windy so we thought we’d do a little kayaking before breakfast.  All the wind made the sound choppy to the point that it was almost like kayaking in the ocean.  My wife and I cruised around for a little bit before coming back in and getting cleaned up.

We all decided that shopping would be a better thing to do since it was too windy and dark to hit the beach.  Looking out the kitchen window, though, we could see the lane of traffic heading back into duck was at a standstill.  We’d heard an emergency vehicle go by earlier, so we guessed that it was backed up due to an accident and would be flowing again before too long.

I went downstairs to get something out of the van, and found the front left tire completely flat.  Bubba came out and helped me change the tire.  Not that I hadn’t done this before, but since my wife suggested he come help, I let him at it.  Lazy Days - even the pups are sleepyLuckily, our van has a full-size tire as a spare, so I put the flat one back in the spare location and will take it to Firestone to fix or replace when we get home.

Traffic was still backed up by the time we finished changing the tire so we hung around the cottage, ate lunch, took naps, and entertained ourselves until early afternoon when we decided to brave the traffic and go to Scarborough Faire for a bit of shopping.  The drive only took about thirty minutes, only about five times longer than normal, and we got lucky, finding a parking spot very close to the one store we were making a point to hit, The Island Attic, because my wife’s family knows the owner.  We did wander around through a number of other stores, as well, crowded full of shoppers out and about because the weather wasn’t conducive to the beach and pools.

Overcast Days - Still SpectacularWe got back to the cottage and lazed about a bit before we discussed what to do about dinner.  The traffic was still bad so we weighed the potential drive time to a restaurant in Duck versus the drive time back from one if we ate in Corolla.  We decided on the ten to fifteen minute drive to the Sunset Grille & Raw Bar in Duck with a quick return trip.  We got to the restaurant and it looked packed.  No parking spots at the restaurant or across the street. Bubba went in and got our name on the list with a forty-five minute wait and everyone got out.  I drove to the bigger parking lot across the street and waited for someone to leave.  About twenty minutes into the wait and I still hadn’t gotten a spot when I received a text from my wife telling me they’d gotten a table outside on the deck.  Conveniently, I got a parking spot just after that so we were all able to sit and eat together.  Sunset GrilleThe cloud cover broke a bit while we were at the Sunset Grille providing a picture perfect example of why the restaurant is so named.

After dinner, it was a quick drive back to the cottage for coffee and bed time.

Vacation 2013 – Duck – Day Three

Day Three’s itinerary: beach, pool, kayak.

The dumb dogs slept in until their normal time between 0530 and 0600 so after letting them out I just stayed up, fed them, got coffee, and opened up the laptop to work on a few blog posts. Everyone else eventually got up and had breakfast, individually, while I toiled away.

We got ready and headed for the beach with a planned retrograde back to the pool before making it all the way back to the cottage. Today, though, we carried everything to the beach instead of using the truck and packed sandwiches and snacks.
Beach and pool completed, we decided not to shower before lunch since we planned on kayaking afterward. Poppop cooked shrimp while the kids got themselves lunch and I worked on making fresh peach daiquiris. KayakingI’d never actually peeled peaches before nor made peach daiquiris, but I did a pretty good job. We just needed to add a little sugar to the concoction to sweeten it up a bit.

Kayak time. We bungee-corded a tube to the back of the kayak so we could pull people along. I took the back seat, my wife got in the front and our younger daughter got in the tube for the first trip out. We went out a way, turned around, and came back to the dock. Kayaking - under the pierOur daughters swapped spots and we paddled another circuit with the older daughter. I made three more trips with each daughter taking a turn up front and my wife paddling once more. We beached and stowed the kayak and got cleaned up.

Nana and Poppop had friends who were in the area for their son’s wedding, so they stopped by the cottage for a couple minutes before the four of them went out to dinner. The rest of us, hopped in the van and headed into Corolla to find some food. We checked out Bad Bean Taqueria, but decided we weren’t interested in the fast food style ordering and seating. We tried going to Agave Roja, still looking for Mexican food, but apparently you need reservations for that place. We ended up at Tomato Patch Pizzeria. It’s a loud and hustle-bustle atmosphere, but the kids got to make their own pizzas so they were happy. My wife and I split a Super Supreme which was not super and I tried Honker’s Ale,  which is now on my list of beers not to have again.
Overcast Sunset

We got back to the cottage a few minutes before Nana and Poppop, spent a few minutes chatting with them, and everyone went to their own rooms to crash.

Vacation 2013 – Duck – Day Two

Day Two’s itinerary: beach, pool, rent kayak.

Day two started early for me when the stupid dogs decided to get up at 0430. I took them out and put them back in their crate, and they whined for another half hour before quieting back down…for about an hour, at which point they decided it was time for me to get back up and feed them. They got food. I got coffee.

sunrise over the cottageThe house sits at a location that makes watching sunrise break on the horizon difficult, but we drank coffee on the deck, and watch the sun’s light move slowly across the sound toward the houses as it climbed. After a little while, we had a group breakfast fixed by Poppop, my father in-law, the pancake master, then spent a few more minutes on the deck before getting ready to head Having A Good Laughto the beach.

Slathered with sunscreen, we loaded beach chairs, sand pails, umbrellas, and small coolers into the back of Poppop’s truck for delivery across the street. My wife, her mom, and I walked across and down the street to the beach, four to five hundred yards from the cottage, and helped carry the beach items the rest of the way.

The adults got the chairs and umbrellas setup while the kids got busy testing the water temperature and playing in the sand. The kids weren’t allowed much past their ankles without an adult next to them because the undertow was pretty strong and the waves were coming in pretty rough…and someone may have read/watched too much about sharks biting people on the east coast.

Moon Jellyfish Collection
Moon Jellyfish

We found LOTS of these clear white jellyfish with no tentacles. We picked them up, used them to decorate sand castles, and tried to see how many high we could stack them. [I did a little Googling when we got back to the cottage and learned that they are Moon Jellyfish.]

We played at the beach for a couple hours before heading back and stopping by the pool. The showers helped rinse sand from “places” and the pool water felt great. We didn’t stay too long, though, because it was now getting near 1300 hours.

We went back to the cottage, fixed sandwiches and leftovers from the night before, and decided it was time to go get a kayak. Conveniently, we’re about half a mile or so from a water sports rental business. We had Poppop drive the wife and me up to the place where we rented a kayak for the week, and then we paddled the kayak back down the sound to our cottage where we beached the kayak and got cleaned up to do some shopping.

Poppop and Bubba, my wife’s brother, took our younger daughter and Bubba’s daughter with them to the grocery store while I chauffeured, My wife, Nana, her mom, and our older daughter shopping in the beach clothing and crappity stores. We hit three or four. Nana bought herself a hat for the beach and an ankle bracelet/anklet for each of the girls.

We got home and heard how it had been a mistake for Poppop to take two little girls with them to the grocery store because it was a madhouse…which it is. The Harris Teeter and Food Lion down here service a lot of people and they are always packed full of folks. Poppop and Bubba picked up food for a couple days, but the charcoal they got wasn’t MatchLight and they didn’t get lighter fluid.

Last Rays Of Day TwoFor our good, old-fashioned cookout, I had the burgers made, the beans and corn heated up, and no fire in the grill. Poppop managed to use enough paper and sticks to catch the charcoal and eventually we got the burger and hot dogs cooked and ate dinner.

We got the table and dishes cleaned up and had a glass of wine on the deck as the last rays of the sun disappeared for the day. We had coffee, chatted a bit, and headed to our rooms to sleep.

An interesting observation: Movies always show late night partying when folks go on vacation, even as families, but it seems that I get much more sleep on vacation than I do at home. We rarely have a night that we’re all still up at 2300, much less midnight.


Vacation 2013 – Duck – Day One

Day One’s itinerary: drive, move in, find food, relax.

Sure I Can't Have Any?Packed and on the road before 1000.  Not as early as I’d hoped for, but it worked fine for beating the traffic.  There were plenty of like-minded folks, but not enough to cause a delay in traffic.  Very happy about that.

We arrived in Duck around 1230, about two and a half hours before we thought check-in time was, which was two hours later than the 1300 early check-in we were hoping for, which was three hours earlier than the actual 1600 check-in time.

To pass the time, we parked for a short while near some shops to let the dogs potty and the girls stretch their legs, we hit a coffee shop for a fresh coffee, we picked up some fudge at a fudgery and then went to see if the cleaning folks had finished with the cottage.  There was no one home, so we parked and checked the house.  Soundwatch - back of the houseIt was unlocked so the girls explored, being sure to look under all the beds for little white pulls**.  We got word from my wife’s mom that the cleaning folks had not yet been there so we got the girls out, got back in the van, and headed toward the Harris Teeter to see if it had an off-brand Frontline.  While there, we just picked up the rest of the food for making dinner.  Leaving Harris Teeter, we still hadn’t gotten the “all clear” to go to the house so we parked across the street near the pool and waited for word, which came a few minutes later.

View With A FriendWe headed to the house and began the unloading and moving-in process, which includes taking pictures, getting room assignments, and putting stuff away.  Once settled in, the kids were eager to hit the pool.  Not much time for relaxing, but I did manage to steal a couple minutes in a comfy chair with the elder wiener taking in a fantastic view before throwing on swim trunks and heading to the pool.

After the pool, the adults enjoyed some Lavender Metheglin on the deck while our younger daughter did some birdwatching.  While everyone got cleaned up, I started working on dinner:  spaghetti and salad.

Birdwatching at SunsetThat pretty much did it for day one.  Tired from travel, playing int he pool, and full bellies, it didn’t take long for everyone to find their beds.
**Read about our vacation last year for more on the little white pill our puppy ate.  The first mention of the pill is Day 5.  The effects of the pill continue over the next few days.
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