|The dock on the sound side at sunset: no filter, no photo effects needed.|
There are places, when you travel, that fill up your soul. They make you feel at home, like you belong. You might even catch yourself wondering: Is it possible that, somehow, some little part of me used to be here...knew this place before...in some illogical timeline of my life?
I have been lucky enough to feel that way in two of the places I have ever visited: Hawaii and here: Hatteras Island, Outer Banks, North Carolina, our 5th stop during our road trip.
|Our OBX home for the week right off the dunes|
|View of the campground from the beach boardwalk Third one from the boardwalk is us.|
The last time we were there, Ben, who was 9 at the time, told me "Mommy, I've never felt this way. I've never been this happy." I taught him the word for what I thought he was feeling: bliss. I thought that maybe I had loved it there so much, too, because it was new: such a cool campground with the ocean and the dunes and the sound side. I thought that maybe the first couple of times we had been there made such an impression because I had simply never been anywhere like that before in the RV. I was curious, this time around, almost bracing myself for disappointment. Surely, after all the places we've been since...after all the beach vacations we've taken...this place can't possibly impact me in the same way this time around.
But it did.
I found myself looking around a lot...at the beach houses on stilts, the ocean, the sand fences, the dozens of campers and RVs and tents piled in together on that campground...and saying aloud: "I just love it here."
I spent most of the week trying to figure out what it is about this area that makes me feel so content. Yes, obviously, there is the ocean, but I live in a beach town and have been on a million different beach vacations. And I've been to other places that have more adventurous things to do and breathtaking scenery. I've come to realize that what I truly love about Hatteras (much like Hawaii) is the vibe. There's a vibe I feel in that little town...from the locals, in the shops, along the water's edge. It's the being able to wear flip flops and a bikini from sun up to sundown. It's how so many of the boys have long, floppy hair like my own kids, and so many of the parents have tattoos and crow's feet around their eyes from a combination of sun and wind and smiling. It's the driving down the road a few blocks to the local hot dog/acai bowl stand (yes, you read that right) and having to pay cash and eating your treats on worn picnic tables while listening to a bunch of locals talking who sound absolutely exactly like Crush from Nemo. It's the feeling of being literally surrounded by water: on one side, the ocean...cross the two-lane road and you are on the sound side. You could smell salt water and feel the sun no matter where you stood.
|Ocean side...my coffee spot every morning|
|Sound side...across the street from the campground|
|Surrounded by water at all times|
We arrived by ferry, as we always do, even though it takes a little longer than driving in from the north. (We take the 2 hour ferry from Cedar Island--see last post--to Ocracoke, where we stop along the road to see miles of nearly secluded beaches and dunes. Then we get on another ferry for about an hour that takes us to Hatteras.) The ferry rides almost feel like the on/off switch from The Real World to the escapism of the Outer Banks.
|Our RV is right behind the Coke truck|
|Honu parked along the side of the road on Ocracoke while we explore the dunes & beaches|
We spent the week in absolute decadence (by our standards, anyway). I would wake up early and either walk the beach or watch the boys surf. After breakfast (in our bathing suits by the dunes), we would start the endless sunblock-application process. The boys would run off to participate in one of the many campground activities (tye dye shirts, water balloon baseball, pirate parade...) or meet up with one of the many new campground friends. We would sit by the pool, play in the waves, cruise around on our bikes, or play on the giant bounce pillow (okay, they would jump, I would watch and/or take pictures). A couple of the days were spent watching Hubby take kite boarding lessons. It's amazing how much I enjoyed sitting in the sun, quietly watching him for hours out on the sound side. The boys would alternate between throwing their casting nets off the dock and cheering (or cringing) for Daddy. There was fresh seafood, lots of booze, bonfires, and late night crabbing on the beach.
|Watching the boys surf (that's Aidan Kai on Daddy's board!)|
|One of Hubby's successful moments during his kiteboarding lessons...not as easy as it looks|
|My vantage point during his lessons|
|Hours and hours on the campground bounce pillow|
|Hot dogs and acai bowls down the road|
|Sunset and kiteboard watching after dinner on the sound|
|Kiteboards and sunset|
|Bonfires on the beach|
Next stop: Smoky Mountains..!