It was a bit of a crazy summer for fun and travel... we had the BEST summer. We checked many fun things off of our bucket list... more on that later this week or maybe next. This may be a "bonus weekend" of summer fun. I make the rules, right?
We had a lot of fun travel this summer, so I thought I would share a bit here today and tomorrow... We are super lucky to be able to travel in the summer both financially and with our jobs. I work part-time (2 part-time jobs actually which doesn't really mean "part-time" but who's counting?) and Handy Hubby has some flexibility to work from home or pretty much anywhere. We were lucky to have 2 beach vacations, plus a trip to Philly to celebrate my niece's 1st birthday party and a trip to Massachusetts to visit Handy Hubby's family and go to Six Flags New England.
In June, we went to the Outer Banks for the first time with our good friends and former neighbors. It was a GREAT vacation. We had only gone away with them one other time and just for a night. BUT, we have spent oodles of time with them particularly in times of crisis like the blizzard of 2010 when we had 30" of snow on the ground and couldn't leave our street (literally) for 3 days. Neighbors who call and ask your kids over, bring special cocktails in the middle of the 2nd straight day of being snowed in, or offer to help shovel your driveway, the road, or a sidewalk for the 30th time in 2 days are good friends, and likely friends who we would want to travel with. Fortunately it worked out beautifully. Back to the trip...
I have wanted to go to the OBX for years. Many, many DC-area families go there year after year and I wanted to see what the fuss was all about. I had never been to North Caroline beyond an airport, so this seemed like a good opportunity. It took us about 5.5 hours to drive down on the last Sunday in June. We were lucky to have a Sunday-Sunday rental which helps with the traffic situation. There are tons of theories about the OBX traffic patterns but fortunately we didn't have to buy into any of them - no real traffic other than typical DC traffic.
We rented a house in Whalehead beach with a pool and it worked out perfectly for us. Most of the houses in the OBX are huge (particularly in Corolla) but we were able to find a smaller house for our group of 9. We brought my 16-year old niece along to lend a hand and babysit when the adults wanted an adult meal. I would definitely bring her again!
Other than spend lots of time at the beach and our private pool, we didn't do that much!
We climbed the Corrituck Light House when we first arrived because our house wasn't cleaned yet. The view was amazing...
We took a tour to see the wild horses on the north end of the island which was well worth it. We don't have four wheel drive on our swagger wagon so this was the only real option for us to see the horses. Highly recommend this easy excursion!
In August I spent 2 weeks in Ocean City, NJ with my family. My parents rent a beach condo and we stay there together. My kids and I stayed for two full weeks and it was a great break for all of us. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you are looking for a Jersey beach town that is great for kids and reasonably convenient to get to - OCNJ is your place. It's a dry town so no alcohol is served on the island (not even BYOB), but there are very convenient (and awesome, huge) liquor stores and decent restaurants and bars just over the bridge... not that I would know anything about that!
We, of course, spend every day we can at the beach. Happily, the beach was recently renovated (thanks to Hurricane Sandy funds) so it was wide and beautiful. The kids LOVED the water this year. The riptides were pretty bad the first few days so we had to be super careful and watch them every second even in knee-deep water directly in front of the lifeguard. Fortunately it calmed down considerably in the latter half of the first week.
My niece Claire getting into the fun!
And one obligatory family picture:
The kids also love the rides at Wonderland Pier, a short walk down the Boardwalk from our condo rental. We went almost every night - at least the kids and grandparents did!
So, that was our summer of fun!!!