The Outer Banks – Part 1

Going back to work after a week off has been painful. It’s scary how quickly I’ve fallen back into my usual routine. Sure, there was stress at first, but I don’t even feel like I was gone for a week. I keep asking myself if it really happened.

The drive from New Jersey to North Carolina took about seven and a half hours. It may seem like a lot in one day, but it was a breeze compared to our trip to Maine. We woke up early, grabbed some breakfast, and managed to avoid NJ traffic.

Around noon, we reached the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. What a cool thing to see on your way to NC! Spanning over 121 feet, the bridge allows passengers to travel from Virginia’s eastern shore to the mainland. After awhile, I noticed seagulls perched on top of the street lights. I didn’t see any movement, so I assumed they were all dead…yup, that’s where my mind goes. I was put at ease when I started to see some movement. Phew.

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Anyone else see the dead seagull? My bad.

Pit stops included gas and food. Naturally, we stopped at the mecca for lunch – Chipotle. My go-to order is the salad bowl with chicken and guacamole. I pretend that I’m eating a salad, but I get a weird delight in watching them add that huge serving of brown rice. I’d eat there everyday if I could afford it.

Half an hour later, we had reached our exit. I took more photos of these signs than I am proud to admit.

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4:30 finally arrived and we had reached our destination. Hello, Nags Head!

I fell in love with the beach house just from the pictures online. The place has a wrap around deck and is located right on the beach. Restaurants were less than a mile away, meaning food 24/7. Need I say more? It was the perfect location for a weeks vacation.

My cousin and his girlfriend drove over the course of two days and met us at the house. Amateurs. My aunt and uncle arrived later that night. Fun fact: their dog pooped in the car while they were stuck in traffic. If that dog were a person, we probably would have made them cry with all of the jokes.

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Our view for the week.

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The rest of the day was spent unpacking and settling in. We opted for dinner out and went to Mulligan’s Raw Bar and Grille. The crab cake sandwich was delicious, sans bread. The Carolina Pork Bahn Mi also got great reviews by the cousin’s girlfriend. The mac and cheese was decent, but not as impressive as one would hope.

The next day began with a run to a fishing pier. Not having run in awhile, I went into it assuming I would be in pain, but it felt great. Time to relax, right? Nope. After what felt like five minutes of sitting down, I was back in the car and headed towards Bodie Lighthouse.

“Oh look at the cool lighthouse,” I told myself while taking pictures. I figured Mike would get some photos, scope out the place, and we would be on our way…

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Then we purchased our tickets to climb the damn thing. 214 steps. Yup, that sounds like a fantastic idea. #legday

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Let me just say that I am not afraid of heights. It’s what happens in between that freaks me out. As soon as I felt the staircase shake, I went into panic-mode. I kept it together for Mike’s sake. You know, because clearly he was afraid.

I breathed easier when I reached the top. The ranger told us that, on a clear day, you can see for miles. I’d be ok with this as my office.

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Back down the metal staircase-of-death we go.

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I thought I’d be safe on land, but then I saw this sign. Either they built the platform because of the snake infestation OR they wanted people off the grass.

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Driving back, we had to stop at the local Brew-Thru. It just makes so much sense. A drive-in liquor and convenience store- how did we not know about this? There’s a whole other world out there.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out on the beach. Mike boogie boarded to his heart’s content and I read on the beach for awhile. Dinner followed shortly thereafter. Hamburgers and hot dogs- a grilling classic.

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One of my favorite parts of the trip was the sunset. I got to the sand mound with the assumption that it was one big hill. As I got to the top of the first hill, I realized that there was not one but TWO hills left to conquer. A part of me died inside when I realized that I had just killed myself running up one hill only to have to do it again.

I couldn’t believe the view at the top. It was beautiful. There was sand everywhere. If it weren’t for the highway, we could have been in the middle of a dessert.

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I had only been in North Carolina for 24 hours and despite the exhaustion from running, walking up stairs, and hiking up sandy hills, I felt very much at home. I was definitely in vacation mode.

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