The Beauty Around Us

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Posts from the ‘North Carolina’ category

Our Outer Banks Vacation – Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands

[NOTE: I uploaded this blog post during the afternoon on October 10 but backdated the published date to September 29, the date of the day’s activities detailed in this post.]

20170929_102612533_iOSThe beginning of a new day

Bob, Jim, Sandy and I departed our Flight of Fantasy beach house at 7:00 am, en route Ocracoke Island. A little past Duck, two deer walked across N.C. Route 12. The deer are small here and darker in color than they are in Pennsylvania.  We hopped onto U.S. Route 158 at Southern Shores.

We made two stops: one for fuel and the other for breakfast at McDonalds before leaving U.S. Route 158 and hopping back onto N.C. Route 12 to Cape Hatteras. We began our drive down this part of N.C. Route 12 at 8:03 am.

We arrived at the Herbert C Bonner Bridge  around 8:10 am. One lane was closed due to bridge construction, but we were held up only a short time for the closure. Along N.C. Route 12 we encountered standing water in front of sand dunes and excavators moving sand. There was standing water and sand on the road, as we were driving through Rodanthe. There was standing water on the road in Avon. There was a lot of standing water at Hatteras Village shortly before the ferry terminal. We arrived at the Hatteras ferry terminal at 9:20 am.

20170929_132314792_iOSHatteras ferry terminal
We are in line to board the ferry from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke Island.

Sandy and I went to the bathroom and ran back to our car, as it was moving toward the boat! We boarded the 9:30 ferry at 9:29 am.

_LG24973Moving away from Hatteras Island

There are only five vehicles on our crossing.

_LG24978Our ferry boat was not crowded.

We have ridden this ferry at least two times before. This is the least number of vehicles we have seen on a crossing. The ferry has always been full! By the way we planned for a 10:00 am crossing. Being able to catch the 9:30 am crossing was a bonus! The crossing wasn’t as smooth, as I remember. We were a bit more buoyant, with waves rocking us up and down. We were fortunate to catch a 9:30 crossing, as there was no 9:30 crossing on the N.C. DOT schedule that I looked at. A crew member told me they were on the fall schedule, which was not provided on the website.

_LG24980Jim looks like he is enjoying the ferry crossing.

We arrived on Ocracoke Island an hour later. There was some sand on the road between the terminal and the town of Ocracoke. It is a 13-mile drive from the ferry terminal to the town of Ocracoke.

At approximately the halfway point between the ferry terminal and the town of Ocracoke we stopped to see the fenced-in Ocracoke ponies and the beach across the road. The ponies were at the barn, behind wooden railing. We took a walk on the boardwalk trail to another observation area, hoping to see ponies grazing in the open field.

Sandy on boardwalk trail to look for ponies.

There were no ponies in the open field. We did encounter several spider webs and a bird, while on the trail.

_LG24988The bird sang a lovely song for us.

At the beach, located across the street from the pony enclosure, we enjoyed watching the shorebirds and found some pretty seashells.

_LG25015Ocracoke Island shorebird


_LG25031Ocracoke Island Shorebird

_LG25035Ocracoke Island Shorebirds in flight

_LG25042Ocracoke Island Shorebird

_LG25048Jim and Sandy leaving the beach, walking back to our car.
Sandy has seashells in her hands.

I wish I had thought to take a picture of the seashells that Bob and I collected.  We gave the seashells to our granddaughters, upon our return home from vacation.

A main form of transportation in the town of Ocracoke appears to be golf carts and bicycles. Both transportation methods were seen throughout the town.

While in the town of Ocracoke we visited the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse and the David Williams House Museum.

The Ocracoke Island Lighthouse is North Carolina’s oldest lighthouse still in operation.

Ocracoke Island Lighthouse

_LG25053The water under the boardwalk leading to the lighthouse was quite high.

While at the lighthouse we were greeted by a friendly cat.

_LG25062the lighthouse cat

_LG25063All four of us took turns petting the lighthouse cat.

_LG25068Great balance, Sandy!
The lighthouse parking lot was somewhat flooded.

Leaving the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse, we drove around Silver Lake to the Ocracoke Island Visitor Center and the Ocracoke Preservation Society.

_LG25072Ocracoke Island Lighthouse, as seen across Silver Lake

_LG25074Ocracoke Preservation Society

The Ocracoke Preservation Society is located in the restored David Williams House. This was the first time Bob and I visited the Ocracoke Preservation Society. Admission was free; donations readily accepted. Inside is a museum that consists of permanent and changing exhibits depicting island life from days gone by, as well as a gift shop.

Before leaving the town of Ocracoke, we ate lunch at Jason’s Restaurant.  We pulled into Jason’s Restaurant at 12:30 pm. Bob and I ate at Jason’s the last time we visited Ocracoke Island. We once again enjoyed great tasting food and excellent service.

We departed Jason’s Restaurant at 1:20 pm, en route the Ocracoke ferry terminal. I telephoned ahead of time to determine the fall schedule crossing times. The next ferry would be leaving at 1:30 pm, followed by a 2:00 pm crossing.

20170929_174459276_iOSOcracoke Island Ferry Terminal
We are in line waiting to board the ferry to Hatteras Island.

Hurricane Maria caused some road damage at the Ocracoke Island Ferry Terminal.

We caught the 2:00 pm ferry to Hatteras. There were many more vehicles on this crossing than the one from Hatteras. We arrived on Hatteras Island at 2:55 pm. On our way to the Ocracoke ferry terminal I learned that Denise and Nic and Nancy and Donnie had also come to Ocracoke Island. They were eating lunch about the same time as us, across the street at Howard’s Pub. Denise said that she texted me to ask if we were still on Ocracoke Island. I never received that text, while on the island. I learned the next day that the sending of Denise’s message had failed.  Internet service is a bit sketchy on Ocracoke Island.

On our way back to Corolla, we stopped at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

_LG25077The Circle of Stones

The Circle of the Stones used to sit in the exact spot where the lighthouse stood for more than a century before it was moved to its present location.  The stones, each weighing 3,000 pounds or more, are engraved with the names of the 83 keepers of the lighthouse since it was originally built at Cape Point in 1803.  The stones are arranged in a semi-circle to form an outdoor theater called Keeper of the Light Amphitheater.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has not always resided in its present location. In 1999, because of the threat of shoreline erosion, the lighthouse was relocated 2,900 feet from the spot on which it had stood since 1870.

In September 2012 when Bob and I visited the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, we drove over to the original location of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

E9194290 4x6Original lighthouse location (September 2012)

In September 2012 the Circle of Stones marked the location of the original lighthouse, before it was moved. Those stones now form an outdoor theater called Keeper of the Light Amphitheater.  I shared a picture of the amphitheater earlier in this post.  This article explains why the Circle of Stones was moved.

This year we once again drove over to the original location of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  But for the informative sign in front of the beach area, we would not have known the location of the lighthouse before it was moved to its present site.

_LG25087Cape Hatteras Lighthouse on the beach near where the original lighthouse was located.

Continuing our drive North, we planned to stop at the Inn at Rodanthe.  The entrance road was flooded, so Jim took a picture of the house made famous by the movie “Nights at Rodanthe” from the passenger seat when Bob pulled on the berm of N.C. Route 12.

We planned an ice cream stop at Dairy Queen, while on Hatteras Island. The two Dairy Queens that we passed, though, were closed. We stopped at Dairy Queen in Kill Devil Hills, having our dessert before dinner.

We returned to our beach house around 6:30 pm.

Tonight’s dinner was hamburgers, baked beans, cole slaw and potato salad. For dessert we had cake and ice cream, in celebration of Brenda’s birthday. We sang happy birthday to Brenda, and she blew out her candles.

Video courtesy of Bob.  If you are not able to view the embedded video, please click here for the direct link.

For Jim’s account of today’s activities, please click here.

Our Outer Banks Vacation – Bodie Island and Wright Brothers National Memorial

[NOTE:  I uploaded this blog post during the afternoon on October 8 but backdated the published date to September 28, the date of the day’s activities detailed in this post.]

I appreciate the force of nature. The past two days we have experienced consistent strong winds and angry seas. Today, as I watched the sun rise while sitting on the beach, the wind was calm and the waves seemed almost normal. I haven’t seen one yet, but I heard that the pelicans are back.

_LG24910The dawning of a new day

The wind is calm, and the waves seem almost normal.

If you are not able to view the embedded video, please click here for the direct link.

IMG_20170928_065802Bob took this picture of me sitting on the sand, capturing today’s sunrise.

_LG24920The sun has risen!

What a fine day for sightseeing!

We were en route Bodie Island shortly after 9:00 am, arriving there around 10:00 am. For the next 45 minutes we admired the lighthouse from various vantage points.

Bodie Island Lighthouse

A boardwalk that leads to an overlook of the wetlands offers very nice views of the lighthouse.

_LG24926Sandy is walking on the boardwalk toward the wetlands overlook.

Sandy and Jim on the wetlands overlook

_LG24934Bodie Island Lighthouse, as seen from the wetlands overlook

Before leaving Bodie Island I heard a National Park Service employee say that the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry would begin crossings again at 1:00 pm today. This information was good to know, as we are planning a trip to Ocracoke tomorrow.

From Bodie Island we attempted to drive to Pea Island Wildlife Refuge, but the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge was closed until 1:00 pm to allow for time to remove sand and water from the roadway on Hatteras Island.  We made a U-turn at the bridge and drove to the Wright Brothers National Memorial, located in Kill Devil Hills.

After paying the admission fee of $7.00 each, we found parking in the parking lot in front of the Visitor Center.  The Visitor Center for the Wright Brothers National Memorial is closed for a renovation project.  The visitor center has been closed since November 2016 and expected to reopen in late summer/fall of 2018.  A temporary facility near the parking lot has an information desk where you can speak to a National Park Service employee, five small poster-style exhibit panels to learn more about the Wright brothers’ story, and a bookstore.

During our visit we walked to the First Flight Boulder and Flight Line which mark the location where the Wrights first flew, peeked into the reconstructed Wright brothers’ camp building and hangar, walked to the top of Big Kill Devil Hill to the base of the Wright Memorial, and saw the 1903 Bronze Sculpture of the First Flight featuring a life size model of the 1903 Wright Flyer.

_LG24941Wright Brothers Flight Line

The numbered markers mark the landing spots of the Wright Brothers’ first four flights on December 17, 1903.

_LG24945First Flight Boulder

The boulder marks the spot from which the Wright Brothers’ first flight was made.  The picture displayed above shows the flight path as well.

_LG24946Sandy and the First Flight Boulder

_LG24948Wright brothers’ camp building and hangar

Big Kill Devil Hill and Wright Brothers Memorial

Sandy stayed inside the car, while Bob, Jim and I hiked to the top of Big Kill Devil Hill.

Wright Brothers Memorial on top of Big Kill Devil Hill

The view from the top of Big Kill Devil Hill was spectacular!

IMG_20170928_120517Jim is photographing the view from the top of Big Kill Devil Hill.
We could see all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

_LG24960Life size model of the 1903 Wright Flyer

_LG249641903 Bronze Sculpture of the First Flight
(Wright Memorial in the background)

_LG24965This sign provides information about the first flight witnesses.  I read the sign, but was more interested in recreating the scene shown on the sign.  As I positioned myself to take a picture, other tourists began walking up to the bronze sculptures for a closer look.  Getting the picture I wanted meant waiting until those people departed the grounds.

Jim, Bob and Sandy found the only shady spot to wait for me,
while I waited to take my picture.

I like to think that I am a patient person.  My patience was just about running out, when the grounds were vacated.  I had to quickly compose my picture, as I noticed more tourists arriving.

_LG24968My recreation of the photograph of the first flight witnesses

We were glad that it was possible to drive to the base of Big Kill Devil Hill, as well as to the Sculpture of the First Flight. The three points of interest were spaced far apart!

Prior to leaving on vacation, Jim learned that a friend (another member of the Vulcan Riders and Owners Club of which Jim and Bob are members) would be vacationing in the Outer Banks at the same time as the four of us.  “Rabbi” and his wife Vonna were vacationing in Salvo on Hatteras Island, until they were evacuated earlier in the week.  We didn’t think we would be able to meet up with Rabbi and Vonna because they had gone home to Virginia.  Jim received a message (today I believe) from Rabbi that they were back in the Outer Banks and staying in Kitty Hawk.  Jim and Rabbi made plans for the six of us to meet for lunch at 1:00 pm at Mama Kwans Tiki Bar & Grill in Kill Devil Hills.

The first thing I noticed at Mama Kwans was the old van covered with stickers.  I took a picture of Rabbi, Vonna, Jim and Sandy beside that van, after we had eaten lunch.

_LG24971Sandy, Jim, Rabbi and Vonna at Mama Kwans

Rabbi attended at least one VROC motorcycle rally that Bob and I attended.  That rally was the Wolfman Wandering Rally #3 held in Richmond, Kentucky in June 2009.  Rabbi doesn’t recall meeting Bob or me at that rally; we don’t recall meeting him either.  Rabbi is planning to attend the 20th anniversary of the Southeast Vulcan Riders and Owners Club (SEVROC) rally in May next year.  Bob and I plan to attend that rally as well.  So, we will meet again….

After lunch we returned to Flights of Fantasy (our vacation beach house), returning there around 3:00 pm.

Much of rest of the afternoon and evening was spent relaxing in (or sitting on a deck of) the beach house. Sandy and I did go for a short walk to beach access 7, a boardwalk that leads to the beach.

Sandy at the Beach Access 7 Boardwalk

20170928_222956188_iOSThe view from the end of Beach Access 7
The green house is our beach house.

20170928_223133743_iOSSandy at the end of Beach Access 7
The green house is our beach house.

Sandy and I returned back to our beach house just in time to see the sun set.

I photographed Brenda photographing the setting sun.

Tonight’s dinner was leftovers.

I retired to our bedroom around 8:30 pm, as many of my fellow vacationers were sitting down to watch the football game—Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers.

For Jim’s account of the day, please click here.

Our Outer Banks Vacation – Manteo and Jeanette’s Pier

[NOTE:  I uploaded this blog post late afternoon on October 6 but backdated the published date to September 27, the date of the day’s activities detailed in this post.]

Bob and I slept in this morning, not getting up until 7:15 am.

I came downstairs in my pajamas, made a cup of tea and sat in the living room with Bob, Maggie, Sam and Shawn, Denise, Terry, and Nancy. We chatted about a wide variety of subjects to include shopping for clothes, other hurricanes/tornadoes that we have been present for, photography, Apple phones and Apple TV, travel, musical instruments, and the number of computers, phones, tablets, and Kindles that we each have.  Each household has lots of devices!

Today’s breakfast included biscuits, sausage gravy, strawberries, and eggs.

Maria was a Category 1 hurricane as it moved northward in the Atlantic, but it weakened to a tropical storm on Tuesday. I heard that some parts of the Outer Banks were reporting power outages (we didn’t lose our power here in Corolla). According to The Weather Channel, Hurricane Maria had strengthened overnight and had regained its Category 1 status. Maria is still moving away from us, so that is good. There is a tropical storm warning still in effect. It is still quite windy; the ocean is still rough.

While contemplating whether or not it would be sensible to go on a sightseeing venture, given today’s weather, I snapped some pictures inside our beach house.

Remember Wrigley?
I introduced him a couple blog posts ago.
Wrigley is Eric’s English bulldog.

Sandy captured a couple pictures on my camera of me, playing with Wrigley.

_XZ71436Wrigley wanted his belly rubbed.

_XZ71437Wrigley and me

Denise and Wrigley

_XZ71441This is Maggie.
She just came inside from looking at the ocean waves.

_XZ71442Denise and Nic on our sand dune stairs, looking out to sea

the lovely Brenda

Deciding to brave the storm Jim, Sandy, Bob and I left in our car at 11:30 am en route Manteo. Arriving in Manteo an hour later, we found parking at the Roanoke Island Festival Park. We walked across the Cora Mae Daniels Basnight Bridge and along the waterside boardwalk to the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse. The wind was blowing so hard, while we were walking along the boardwalk, had I had wings I could fly. Sandy and I extended our arms and pretended to fly.

If you are not able to view the embedded video, please click here for direct link.

Our flying didn’t last long.  I flew into a park bench and crashed to the ground. Other than a scratch on my elbow, I wasn’t hurt.

_LG24861 Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse
This small lighthouse jets out 40 yards into the Roanoke Sound.

_LG24865Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse

_LG24864Manteo Weather Tower
We were under a tropical storm warning, so I believe that is what the flag on top is signaling.

_LG24867At the base of the weather tower is a sign indicating a high water mark.
The water would have almost covered Sandy’s head.

Look out Jim!  Sandy appears enamored by this handsome pirate.

Before leaving Manteo, Sandy and I decided that we wanted our pictures taken sitting in a huge Adirondack chair.  It wasn’t difficult climbing into the chair; getting out of the chair was a different story!

If you are not able to view the embedded video, please click here for a direct link.

Jim helped Sandy out of the chair; Bob helped me.

We ate lunch at Big Al’s Soda Fountain & Grill. According to its website, Big Al’s was born after the original owner visited the Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta.   Big Al’s is a fun 50’s theme restaurant, complete with music and memorabilia.

Big Al’s Soda Fountain

Coca-Cola Vending Machine

20170927_173521499_iOSCoca-Cola Memorabilia

Coca-Cola Memorabilia

We enjoyed looking at the Coca-Cola memorabilia.  The food, ice cream shakes and Sandy’s root beer float were enjoyable as well.

After lunch, at 2:30 pm, we drove to Jeanette’s Pier in Nags Head.

What an experience we had at Jeanette’s Pier. As we walked toward the pier, blowing sand hit us hard. We ended up with sand in our hair, in our mouth, in our ears and in our nose. On the pier big, big waves were crashing into the pier and there was a consistent very strong wind. It took some work to stand upright and walk!

_LG24878Sandy at Jeanette’s Pier

_LG24879This is the only pelican that I photographed, while on vacation.

_LG24880Jim and Sandy at Jeanette’s Pier

_LG24886Big, big waves crashed into the pier many, many times.

Here is a video of one of the waves crashing into the pier.

If you are not able to view the embedded video, please click here for the direct link to the video.

From Jeanette’s Pier we returned to Flights of Fantasy (our vacation beach house), arriving there around 4:30 pm.

Before the evening meal Sandy, Denise and I enjoyed time in the hot tub. When we came in, dinner was almost ready. It is Mexican night. Food selections include Spanish Rice, Chicken Enchiladas, make-your-own fajitas, and tortilla chips.

I went to bed shortly before 10:00 pm, lulled to sleep by the sound of game playing in the dining room underneath our bedroom.

Jim’s account of the day may be found by clicking here.


Our Outer Banks Vacation – Sightseeing in Historic Corolla

[NOTE:  I uploaded this blog post on the evening of October 5 but backdated the published date to September 26, the date of the day’s activities detailed in this post.]

Today is our 19th wedding anniversary. I am sure that we will remember our 19th wedding anniversary as the year Hurricane Maria brushed the North Carolina coast, as it moved past the Outer Banks. We are having a wonderful time together and with friends.

We awakened shortly before 6:00 am. As he did yesterday, Bob made me a cup of tea and brought it up to our room.

The original plan for today was to take the ferry to Ocracoke Island. That plan was scrapped, when Ocracoke and Hatteras were evacuated yesterday.  We thought the new plan for the day would be to stay put.

After breakfast (yogurt and a hard boiled egg for me), Jim and I walked out the boardwalk to the sand dune stairs. The ocean is angry. The wind is stronger than yesterday: the surf is breaking much closer to the base of the sand dunes. The conditions are supposed to worsen.

Late morning there is a break in the weather….no rain, partly cloudy and sunshine. The wind seemed to die down some too. Bob, Jim, Sandy and I decided to “hit while the iron was hot” and do some sightseeing. We drove to the northern reaches of the Outer Banks to Historic Corolla.  Historic Corolla is home to Corolla Park the centerpiece of which is the Whalehead Club, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, as well as several other historic structures dating back to 1885.

Our first stop was at the Currituck Beach Lighthouse.

Currituck Beach Lighthouse

Admission to the lighthouse grounds and parking are free.  There was a $10.00 admission fee to climb the 220 steps to the top of the lighthouse.  The four of us opted not to climb to the top of the lighthouse.  Bob and I made that climb in May 2007.  I told Jim and Sandy that I would post a picture of the view from the top of the lighthouse, when I published a blog post of the day’s activities.

Outerbanks200705_367The view from Currituck Beach Lighthouse of Currituck Sound
and the Whalehead Club in Historic Corolla Park is grand. (May 2007)

From the lighthouse we walked north along Corolla Village Road.

_LG24808The Waters Edge Village School in Old Corolla Village

_LG24797The Corolla Schoolhouse is an operational elementary school.
It is North Carolina’s smallest public school, with over 30 students and two classrooms.
School was in session at the time we visited Corolla Village.

Our last stop in Corolla Village was at the Corolla Chapel.

_LG24807Corolla Chapel

The inter-denominational chapel was built in 1885.  Since then the chapel has been moved from its original location across the street to its present location.  It was expanded to accommodate the increase in attendance.

As we approached the front door of the chapel, a man (the pastor?) asked if we would like to see inside.  He had a key and invited us inside the chapel.

_LG24805Corolla Chapel (Interior View)

The stained glass window was designed and commissioned by Pastor John Strauss to honor his late wife, Ruth Strauss, who played a pivotal role in the development of the chapel in the late 1980s.  Note the pelican depicted on the stained glass window?

The Pelican Legend

We saw fellow vacationers Eric and Alexis, while walking through Corolla Village.  Not expecting to see anyone whom we knew, I didn’t think to take a picture of the two of them!

After strolling through Corolla Village, we followed a boardwalk trail through wetlands to Currituck Sound.

_LG24811Boardwalk to Currituck Sound

_LG24812Boardwalk to Currituck Sound

At the end of the boardwalk is a large observation platform looking out at the Currituck Sound.

_LG24819Sandy, Bob and Jim on the Currituck Sound observation platform
See the young couple in the background?
The young couple have been married for 2 years.
Where did they get engaged?
Here, on Currituck Sound, with the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in the background.

_LG24814The young couple asked me to take their picture in this direction.
I happily did, as requested, with their cellular phone.

_LG24816The Currituck Beach Lighthouse served as a backdrop for the picture.


Returning to the parking lot, we decided to drive the short distance to the Historic Corolla Park.

Ten years ago, on May 12th, Bob and I attended the wedding of our friend Denise’s daughter, Stephanie, and Jeff in this park.  In 2007 the park was known as the Currituck Heritage Park.  The vacation beach house that we are staying in this week was the same beach house at which  we stayed 10 years ago.

We took a short walk around Historic Corolla Park, noting points of interest.

_LG24827Sandy and Jim are on the park’s historic footbridge.
The Currituck Beach Lighthouse is visible throughout the park.

Stephanie walked over this footbridge on her wedding day.

The centerpiece of the park is the Whalehead Club.

_LG24828Whalehead Club

In 2007 Stephanie and Jeff’s wedding reception was held in a tent in front of the Whalehead Club.

_LG24829Boathouse with Currituck Beach Lighthouse in the background

Stephanie and Jeff exchanged their wedding vows on park ground in front of this boathouse.

_LG24830The Historic Corolla Park contains several Live Oak trees.
Sandy posed in front of one of the Live Oaks to show the size of the tree.

We were headed back to Flight of Fantasy (our beach house) by 1:00 pm.

We ate lunch at the beach house. I had a ham, roast beef, turkey and cheese sandwich. I had a slice of chocolate bundt cake too.

Jasper, Eric’s friend, arrived at 1:30 pm. He arrived, as Eric and Alexis were putting together a puzzle.

20170926_175352449_iOSJasper (in the middle) worked with Eric and Alexis on the puzzle.

Jim, Sandy, Bob and I walked out the boardwalk to the sand dune stairs early this afternoon.

_LG24837Jim and Sandy on the sand dune stairs

Hurricane Maria is bringing intense and consistent wind to the Outer Banks.  The surf is touching the base of the sand dunes up and down the coast.

If not able to view the embedded video, please click here for the direct link.



_LG24840See the sea foam on the beach?
The surf has reached at least that far.

_LG24844There is not much beach left!

The storm is expected to intensify this evening.

Work continues on the United States of America puzzle.

20170926_231751813_iOSDenise, Nic, Sandy and Brenda work on the puzzle.

20170926_234738602_iOS Six hours after the puzzle was started
Denise, Brenda, Nic, Sam, Nancy, Sandy and Jim work on the puzzle that is nearing completion.

Tonight’s dinner was prepared by Jasper (who is a chef), Eric and Alexis. We began with an appetizer that included shrimp (Vuelve a La Vida) that was scooped up with crackers or tortilla chips. Our main course was steak, ribs, chicken, sweet potato salad (yummy), and mixed vegetables (zucchini and summer squash). For dessert I had a slice of lemon bundt cake.

Vuelve a La Vida

Eric and Jasper BBQ

20170927_001310201_iOSTonight’s dinner

After dinner some of us played Tenzi. Everyone gets ten dice. Someone says “Go.” Then everyone rolls and rolls as fast as they can until someone gets all their dice of the same number. That is only one rule; there are others. I joined in and played several rounds of this game. What a fun party game!

Bob and I went to bed shortly before 11:00 pm to the sound of people playing Tenzi, rain hitting the windows and the wind howling.

For Jim’s account of the day, please click here.

Our Outer Banks Vacation – Relaxing at the Beach House

As it turned out, I didn’t go to bed last night until 12:30 am. I stayed up and edited pictures. Bob awakened me at 6:00 am this morning, bringing me a cup of tea.

_LG24759I watched the sun rise at 6:54 am from our third floor balcony.

The weather has been on my mind today. Hurricane Maria is approaching the Outer Banks. Maria is not expected to brush the Outer Banks coast, bringing tropical force winds and flooding here. I obtained the following information from a news article from WAVY-TV.

“Mandatory evacuations, closures and tropical storm advisories are being issued in the Outer Banks as the region braces for impact from Hurricane Maria. More than 200 visitors left Hyde County’s Ocracoke Island amid a mandatory evacuation order imposed early [this morning] on that fragile barrier island jutting into the Atlantic. Authorities warn that high winds and flooding are possible threats as Maria passes well offshore. Neighboring Dare County also ordered an evacuation of visitors from neighboring Hatteras Island starting at midday. …The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami has issued a tropical storm warning from Cape Lookout north up the coast to the Virginia line … The storm surge will likely lead to ocean overwash along flood-prone North Carolina Highway 12. Dare County Emergency Management advises drivers to stay off Highway 12 during high tide…”

The surf was rough today, and the wind was strong. Red flags were flying when we got in yesterday afternoon. Red flags mean to stay out of the water. Conditions are dangerous even for the most experienced swimmers.

We spent the day at the beach house. We enjoyed a breakfast of eggs, sausage, fruit and toast.

Nancy cooked the sausage.


Brenda cooked eggs.

I prepared the blog post for yesterday’s activities. I published the post, backdating it to last evening. For lunch we made sandwiches. I participated in several conversations throughout the day. I walked on the boardwalk to the dune stairs a few times and looked out at the swelling surf. It is a beautiful view, regardless of the weather.



I stayed on the dune stairs.
Jim wandered down on the beach for a closer look.

Jim and Sandy in the living room

I think Jim and Sandy are reviewing a video that Jim captured,
while he was on the beach.

Bob and I went for a mid afternoon bicycle ride in the neighborhood, using Denise and Nic’s bicycles.

20170925_193558396_iOSWe saw Prickly Pear cacti on our bicycle ride.

Our vacation beach house is located on Great Gap Point.

Late in the afternoon several of us played an entertaining game of charades. There was lots of laughter. I laughed so hard, my eyes watered. Eric and Alexis arrived, while we were playing charades. They brought with them Wrigley, Eric’s English bulldog. Wrigley made his rounds, making sure he said hello to everyone.

_XZ71433Wrigley is saying hello to me.

Tonight’s dinner was spaghetti and meatballs, tossed salad and bread. Bob and I retired to our room before dessert. We watched one episode of “Beyond”, using Bob’s Fire Stick to connect with Hulu. Bob and I went to bed shortly after 10:00 pm.

You can read Jim’s account of the day by clicking here.

Our Outer Banks Vacation – Fredericksburg VA to Corolla NC

We ate a later than usual breakfast at 8:00 am. No need to hurry today, as the drive to our beach house will take only 4 1/2 hours without stops or any other type of delay. Check in time at the beach house isn’t until 4:00 pm. We have plenty of time for the final leg of our trip to the Outer Banks.

Breakfast was complimentary, in a room off to the side of the lobby.  As is customary at Best Western hotels, a large selection of breakfast items were available to include scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage patties, waffles, cereal, yogurt, pastries, breads, coffee, tea, orange juice, and fresh fruit.

Best Western Fredericksburg lobby was decked out for the Autumn season.

_LG24722Best Western Fredericksburg

Our Best Western Fredericksburg accommodations were on the second floor.  Sandy and Jim’s room was one door away from our room.  You can see Bob walking toward our room and Sandy standing in the doorway of her room.

We checked out of the hotel, after breakfast. The woman in front of me was asked if her stay was OK. She said that the bed was soft and too high. The hotel clerk apologized. The woman then said that the dogs liked the bed. All three of us laughed.

Leaving the hotel, Jim led the way to the nearby Walmart. The four of us picked up a few supplies that we had forgotten (or purposely left) at home.

Bob at Walmart

Next stop was at the Walmart gas station to fill up.

At 9:35 am we began our drive to Corolla, NC.

We stopped and took a walk on Prince Street in Tappahannock, VA.  According to a Wikipedia article, Tappahannock is the oldest town in Essex County, VA.  It is located on the Rappahannock River and is the county seat of Essex County.  Tappahannock’s name comes from an Algonquian language word lappihanne, meaning “Town on the rise and fall of water” or “where the tide ebbs and flows.” In 1608 John Smith landed in Tapphannock but was driven back by the local Native American tribe.

Essex County Courthouse
with Confederate Memorial

The statue commemorates Tappahannock and Essex County’s native sons who fought and died during the American Civil War.

Confederate Memorial

_LG24732Rappahannock River

A building that looked like an old theater caught my eye.  I asked a man approaching us if he was from the area.  When he responded “yes”, I asked what this building was.  The building is the Daw Theater and is in the process of being restored.

Daw Theater

Tappahannock is an inviting town.

Before leaving Tappahannock we made a bathroom stop at Sheetz. The stop provided an opportunity to pick up a mid-morning snack too. Bob purchased water and a Slim Jim. I purchased a Diet Coke. My mid-morning snack was the banana that Jim brought to me from the breakfast room, when he and Sandy checked out of the hotel. I wanted a banana, when we ate breakfast. The bowl was empty, though.

We were back on the road at 11:23 am.

We stopped for lunch at McDonald’s in Chesapeake, VA (off route 64). At the time we were approximately 2 hours (89 miles) from our vacation beach house. We were back on the road by 2:15 pm.

We crossed over the NC border at 2:40 pm and arrived at our vacation beach house, Flight of Fantasy, which is located on Pine Island in Corolla NC, at 4:00 pm.

After greeting Denise and Nic and Brenda and Terry and being given a tour of the beach house, we began to unpack our cars. We used the elevator to take everything up to the third floor. Sandy and Jim have the king master bedroom facing the sound side of the house. Bob and I have the king master bedroom facing the ocean.

_LG24743We have a deck with a great view of the ocean.

After depositing our stuff in our bedroom, I helped Denise and others organize the kitchen and then unpacked and put away my clothing.

Later in the day I caught Denise, Brenda and Nancy in the pool area on their way to the beach.

_LG24746Nancy, Brenda and Denise on their way to the beach

They asked me to join. I declined. Sandy and I did go to the beach a little later. We didn’t put on our swimsuits. I did roll up my jeans and put on water shoes. Sandy put on a pair of crocs.

Sandy on our boardwalk to the beach

Denise and Nancy were sitting in chairs on the beach.  Brenda had gone for a walk on the beach, returning with a bag of shells.

Brenda and her bag of shells

Denise, Nancy and Brenda didn’t stay long, after Sandy and I arrived at the beach, as they were getting cold. Brenda did, though, take a few pictures of Sandy and me before returning to the beach house.

Hooray!  We are on the beach!

Sandy and I

I don’t usually like pictures of myself.
I like the pictures that Brenda took!

Oh, I almost forgot. Denise, Nancy and Brenda put together gift bags for each couple. The gifts bags included Kleenex, a roll of toilet paper, two bags of cracker jacks, two bags of peanuts, two Slim Jims, playing cards, two small flashlights, a 4×6 photo frame (Denise wants me to take a picture of everyone. She wants to have 4×6 prints made and give to each couple before we leave to go home.), a large squirt gun, a bag in which to collect seashells, a flip-flop bottle opener, liquid hand soap, a bottle of Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray and a beach towel.

Sandy, Jim, Bob and I watched a beautiful sunset this evening from the front side Currituck Sound balcony.


Tonight’s dinner was pizza and homemade cake (sweet potato cake). After dinner Denise, Sandy and I chatted with each other for quite a while.

Lots of people are sharing our vacation beach house.  Here are the couples who have arrived so far:

Jim and Sandy
Bob and I
Nic and Denise
Terry and Brenda
Donny and Nancy
Shawn and Sam

Still to arrive are:

Eric and Alexis
Jasper (one night)
Michael and Maggie
Sharon (possibly)
Jeff and Stephanie (who plan to spend Friday and Saturday nights)

We are keeping an eye on Hurricane Maria. A tropical storm watch was issued at 5:15 pm today for Corolla. Wind is forecast at 30-40 mph with gusts to 55 mph. The window for tropical storm force winds is Tuesday morning until Wednesday evening.

Bob and I and Jim and Sandy came up to bed around 9:30 pm.  Michael and Maggie arrived sometime after we had retired to our room.

Please click here for Jim’s account of the day.


Maggie Valley NC to Warren PA

We spent the week of May 14th on vacation in Virginia and North Carolina. I have been uploading blog posts about our vacation since May 29th. This blog post is about our eighth, and final, day of vacation.

I wish I had slept better the night before.  Bob’s snoring awakened me, and the room temperature wasn’t good. I was either too warm or cold. Apparently I slept with an ant too. While half asleep, during the night, I changed my sleeping position. I rested the side of my head on another pillow. I heard a buzzing noise…bee? fly? I turned on the light and lifted my pillow….nothing. I lifted the other pillow…nothing. I pulled back the bed sheet and shook the covers…nothing. I eventually went back to sleep. Later on, I placed my hand underneath the pillow and felt movement. I brushed my hand outward. I got up, looked underneath the pillow and saw a black, plump ant moving quickly to the head of the bed. I flattened that ant, without a moment’s thought.

We departed A Holiday Motel on Sunday, May 21, at 5:15 am, in the rain.  We arrived at Cracker Barrel in Asheville, NC at 5:50 am. We had an approximate wait of 10 minutes before the restaurant opened. While we ate, it got lighter outside. The rain, however, continued. We were back on the road around 6:30 am.

Our next stop was 3 hours later at the Rocky Gap Safety Rest Area/Welcome Center, located along Interstate 77 in Virginia. The only thing noteworthy about this rest stop was some old vehicles that we saw in the parking lot.

Interstate 77 in Virginia at the
Rocky Gap Safety Rest Area/Welcome Center

The rain turned into drizzle, as we entered West Virginia and soon stopped completely.

We ate lunch at Shoney’s in Summersville, WV. We were back on the road at noon.

The Pennsylvania Welcome Center in Waynesburg is a very nice welcome center. It is full of brochures and maps about places throughout Pennsylvania, as well as coloring and activity books for children.  There is also a coal miners memorial at this welcome center.

Coal Miners Memorabilia at
Pennsylvania Welcome Center in Waynesburg, PA
Monument Dedicated to all Coal Miners at
Pennsylvania Welcome Center in Waynesburg, PA

The coal miners memorial was of interest to me, as both Dad and my brother, Jim, were coal miners.

The rain started up again soon after leaving the Pennsylvania Welcome Center, and followed us home.

We got off Interstate 77 at the Slippery Rock exit, several miles sooner than routed by the GPS. We were getting tired of interstate travel.

We returned home at approximately 5:30 pm. We drove in rain at least 75% of our drive home.

This blog post concludes our Virginia and North Carolina vacation.  I hope that you enjoyed, vicariously, coming along with us on our vacation.

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