July 09, 2009

Other beach thoughts

  • One definite advantage of southern beaches over northern ones: the presence of hush puppies on the menus of seafood restaurants.

  • There sure were a lot of houses with pools on our street. Exponentially more than in any other beach town I've ever been to. What's up with that? Ocean not good enough for ya?

  • We got a DVD player for the minivan. It's a godsend, I tell you. We only install it for long trips, so there's no begging to watch videos when we're just driving around at home. Oh sure, it means Kristin and I are subjected to the audio of "My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas" and the like, but that's better than listening to the kids whine and squabble.

Posted by Carl at 11:02 AM | Comments (1)

July 06, 2009

Beach thoughts

beach girl

Indeed, another beach trip has come and gone. We decided to try something different this year, and went to Duck, NC. Highlights:

  • The beach itself was fantastic, in no small part because Duck has no public beach access--you have to be living or renting there. So even at its peak, it was much less crowded than most NJ beaches on a big day. The surf was a bit rougher than NJ or DE--fine for me, less so for the girls, but they've developed a sufficiently healthy fear of the surf such that they didn't go out too far in any event. No surprise, Liz absolutely loves the beach, and while Cate still doesn't like getting too sandy, she's coming along.

  • On Wednesday we went down to Jockey's Ridge, the tallest sand dune on the east coast. Yup, that's one big pile of sand. We only made it part way up--it was too hot out, especially for the girls. But it's quite pretty there, and there was a hang-gliding school going on as well.

  • Friday was the Duck 4th of July parade (held on the 3rd so as to not completely destroy weekend traffic). A nice blend of local color with a bit tourist flavor--a big dog-walking contingent, and kids on bikes.

  • Outer Banks Brewing Station would totally be my new favorite restaurant, if it wasn't five hours away. Not only do they have great beer, good food, and live music, they have an outdoor beer garden with a small kids' play area, cornhole boards, and a tomato garden. We also had the inevitable salty seafood buffet at Capt. George's, and Kristin and her mom had a good lunch at Red Sky Cafe. Kristin and I tried to go to the Blue Point on short notice, but they were booked up. We also tried to take the family to the Roadside Bar & Grill, but found it to be not at all kid-friendly (which is well within their rights, I'm just sayin').

  • After leaving the house Saturday morning but before hitting the road, we decided to stop at Duck Donuts. Apparently, so did everyone else who was leaving town that morning. But: totally worth the wait.

  • The missus and the M-I-L quite enjoyed shopping in Duck. A lot more unique and interesting shops, as opposed to the innumerable beach-junk stores you usually find in beach towns.

  • I found a flyer for a guy who comes to your beach house, then shows you the ropes of surf fishing, so I took him up on it. Clearly, I have a new hobby. We didn't catch anything worth keeping, but we didn't get shut out, either: a too-small spot, a small bluefish that we immediately used for bait, and a baby shark. (I am sorely tempted to photoshop the latter to make it look like we caught something enormous.)

gone fishin'

All that said, I won't be putting one of those OBX stickers on my car right away. Mind you, I am not complaining; I just think I still like the Jersey shore better, and to a slightly lesser extent the Delaware beaches. Arguing over which beach is best is like discussing ice cream flavors; peanut butter ripple may be my favorite, but that doesn't mean I don't like or will turn down any other flavor you have to offer. (Except chocolate chip mint, that stuff is nasty.) Nonetheless:

  • It's a good bit farther away than the Delaware beaches, and traffic on I-95 going down was lousy. Not that crossing the Bay Bridge on Route 50 is any picnic, and not like it's a huge difference when contemplating a week's vacation, but still. For whatever reason, traffic coming back was noticeably lighter.

  • Where's the boardwalk?! Depending on your point of view, this may not be a bad thing--see the above item about shopping and standard beach-junk stores. But I grew up going to the Jersey shore, and it just doesn't quite feel like the beach without the boardwalk. What's more, the other OBX towns seemed driving-heavy--every restaurant or shop was a destination; things weren't close together enough to walk around. And while Duck is ostensibly walkable, I was a bit nervous every time I drove or walked on Duck Road. I wonder how many accidents they have out there every year.

  • To follow the boardwalk thing, I dare say I missed Funland. We did see an abandoned amusement park near Nags Head. There was also a severe shortage of arcades and skee-ball parlors.

As such, I don't think Duck will become an annual destination for us, but we'll add it to the rotation.

And now, back to reality. Boo to that.

Posted by Carl at 04:13 PM | Comments (0)