Friday, October 26, 2012

OBX vacation

This summer our family spent two weeks in the Outer Banks in North Carolina or OBX as the locals call them. This trip was with my side of the family.We shared a large vacation home with my parents, my brother and his wife.

It was a great opportunity to teach the kids about history. We got to visit the Wright Brothers Museum in Kitty Hawk. This is where the first airplane took flight for a whole 12 seconds!

Emilia also got to see a portrait of Amelia Earhart. Someone who she has heard a lot about because their name sound so alike. The kid also got to see Santa on vacation again this year. He must really like the ocean since that's usually where we ran into him.

The house was pet friendly so we got to take Arthur with us on our trip. During one of our dog walks we came across an Eastern Box Turtle and we decided it to bring it into the house for the kids to see it. There is so much wild life where we were staying. We saw deer, bunnies, turtles and even a fox.

While there we had to try some of the local seafood. We went to an all you can eat seafood buffet.  I'm not a seafood connoisseur so I enjoyed trying all kids of different foods I don't normally get to eat at home. Some of those crustaceans were a pain to crack! I couldn't eat anything that still had a face attached to the body.

 We didn't spend as much time on the beach as I would have hoped. It rained most days and the waves were too big and strong for the kids to enjoy. Towards the end of our trip we discovered a long shallow beach on the bay side of OBX that the kids liked. The sand wasn't the best but the water was warm and it wasn't more than two feet deep. When we got there we met two girls about Emilia's age that she befriended. They too were from Dallas. What a small world!

We took the kids on a pirate ship adventure. They got to dress as pirates, get their faces painted, look for treasure, shoot water cannons, sink an enemy boat and do the limbo dance.  Emilia really enjoyed the experience. Carson was a little to young for it. He really didn't trust the pirate on our ship.

Emilia's favorite thing was to shoot the enemy with water cannons. She also was given a special key that unlocked the treasure chest they discovered while out at sea. She really enjoyed being able to see the treasure before everyone else.

Emilia and I decided to get matching mermaid face painting before boarding the ship. 

One morning while at the beach both Todd and I received Tornado warnings on our cell phones.Since we had experienced a tornado just a few months earlier in Arlington, we called some friends at home to see how the weather was holding up. They told us it was clear and sunny.

Shortly thereafter it started to rain so we decided to head back home. When we got to the parking lot I looked at the sky and saw a funnel cloud. Emilia freaked out, since she knew exactly what that meant. We jumped in the car and drove home immediately.

We checked the news and saw reports and photos of waterspouts, the technical term for tornadoes over water. The actually don't suck up water, the water seen at the base is condensation.

We also traveled to Cape Hatteras Light House. The original light house was built in 1804 and relocated to its current place in 2000 due to erosion of the land around it. We had to climb 248 steps (the equivalent of climbing a 12 story building) to reach the top. The views were awesome!

Todd and the gang went deep sea fishing while I stayed with the kids. They had to be up by 4:30 am, not really my definition of vacation. They all caught a fish but none met the minimum weight criteria so nobody got to take any home. 

My most enjoyable excursion was our visit to the Roanoke Island Festival Park. We went on a rainy day, so there weren't may people around, so we got the whole place to ourselves. We watched a movie about the history of the Roanoke people and then visited hands on exhibits about what the area looked when the first settlers arrived.

The kids got to work with wood, watch a blacksmith make nails and other items needed by soldiers and sailors to establish a settlement in the area. We boarded a 16th century merchant ship and explored a traditional American Indian village.

The best part was the interactive children museum. The kids got to dress up, steer and sail a boat, spot pirates, etc. It was really a blast!

The aquarium was a fun place to visit also. They were brave and petted the starfish.

The houses in OBX are all at least three stories high.  The houses are built on pier and beam foundations. They usually have a bathroom and laundry room on that floor. The second floor of our house had four bedrooms and the third floor is where the living room and kitchen were. 

The owner must be an artist or know someone that is because there were murals through out the entire house. I laughed when I saw the bird poop painted on the bathroom wall. How appropriate!

Overall the vacation was fun although for different reasons than what I had originally thought. I was hoping to spend a lot of time on the beach and instead spent most of my time learning about the local culture.