This was our family’s second summer vacationing for a week at the Outer Banks. It held a different atmosphere this year. Two years ago, it was the boys’ first time ever on the beach and we were so excited to see their reaction to the vastness, the bigness that is the ocean’s edge.
They were definitely excited, but not in the “first time at the ocean” kind of way. They couldn’t wait to get back into the waves!
The weather was much different this year. Last time, it was high 80s, sunny all day, every day with one rain downpour one evening. This year, we arrived to flooded roads and yards, and it continued to rain off and on the whole week we were there. There was certainly sun – and hot days (even at 80 degrees, it’s hot under the sun at the beach!), but there was more cloud cover. It was the perfect beach week if you were looking to relax and not be overly hot. The waves were MUCH calmer this year as well – last time the waves were rough and the undertow was strong the entire week due to an off-shore weather system.
Our boys are all two years older this time around, so I was able to relax (slightly more than last year!) as they kept themselves busy. Also, we had two sick boys on different days, so I stuck around the house with one feverish boy at least two of the days, so that added to my reading time.
We spent two different days on the Sound Side as well, doing some crabbing, which was a big hit with the kids. Even if we threw them all back into the water, it was still a good experience feeling the tug of the string, wondering just what those little crabs could possibly find delicious in raw chicken necks. Each kid was able to catch at least one crab. Once they were out of the water, they didn’t go near them, so the grown-ups had to toss them back into the water.
Also prominent this year was an influx of mosquitos. According to the locals, it’s a really bad season for mosquitos. I’ve never had to give a second thought to mosquitos as we barely get more than a few bites a year in the wilds of Pennsylvania. But this year, as soon as you were on the ground level, and especially around the dunes on the way to the beach, dozens of mosquitos would find their way to your skin within seconds. It was a 3 minute walk to the beach, and in that time, we all got several new bites every time we’d walk to and from the beach. The only respite from those pests was on our decks (I guess they don’t fly very high from the ground?), at the pool, and on the beach or sound (lots of wind by the water). One day we stayed away from the beach the entire day – none of us had it in us to make the walk through the infestation. I really don’t know how the locals survive being outside. Does one really stay inside all day?
Regardless of those little pests…we all still had a relaxing, enjoyable beach visit. When the boys weren’t in the water with Kenny, they were scouring the beach with me for little shells. We have a new collection this year to add to all the shells we still have from the last visit. We went with two other families (who we went with last time) and we were able to play lots and games (The Game of Life was a favorite of the kids, and Carcassonne and Scrabble kept the adults busy). The grown-ups enjoyed happy hour every evening (and the kids had their own one night!). The kids used the hot tub a lot more than the adults (twice a day!), and we were completely entertained by the miniature frogs all over the pool area of our house (that sounded a lot like spring cheepers!).
The beach is such a different world than our home. The sounds and smells, air and wind, color of the sky and water…. As we left the beach on Friday afternoon, I instructed the boys to keep their eyes out the window as they said their goodbyes to the salty air, the crashing waves, and the windy walks along the beach. We returned home to crisper air and some coloring leaves already! The night air is dipping into the low 50s even though there is a warm-up on the way. I love planning our beach visits at the end of summer because I’m always ready for the season’s change after a week at the beach.
I leave you with a trio of pictures I call, “Adam trying Old Bay Shrimp”