Saturday, January 18, 2014

Family Vacation ~ 2013

This past summer we had another fun vacation planned to Williamsburg and the Outer Banks.  I must admit I had a heavy heart going in to our vacation and every evening got a little sad because my sister and her husband were supposed to be on that trip with us.  It was definitely hard.  We stayed in the unit we would have stayed in (so bigger than the year before last because it was three families instead of two) had they been there.  So yeah ... definitely had a heavy heart.

But, never the less, we were excited to get away and have some fun for a week.  Jacob left earlier in the day with my parents and got down there with enough time to go to Busch Gardens that evening.  Henry and I waited until John got off work and then we packed up the van and headed South.  We pulled in to Williamsburg pretty late.  We were beat and headed straight to bed. 

(These are the "Virginia is for Lovers" LOVE letters that we happened upon at a rest area we stopped at on our way to Williamsburg)

The next morning we got up, had breakfast at McDonalds and then went straight to Busch.  This was the first year John and I had bought season passes, and we still need to go at least 1-2 more times to make it worth it to have bought them.  We were there  Exhausted doesn't even begin to describe it.  And dirty.  And sweaty.  Oh it was so hot!  BUT ... we had fun!  The kids played in the splash pad in the Sesame Street Forest of Fun for a LONG time.  I kinda wish I had had a bathing suit just so I could get wet too.  They looked very comfy!

Jacob also overcame a pretty big fear of characters on this trip!! He finally took pictures willingly with Elmo and the whole gang!
We also got caught in a pretty big rain storm that you would have thought would have cooled things off, but not so much.  It was still hot as could be!  Here's Jacob looking out from one of the covered bridges willing it to quit raining.  It did eventually stop so we could go ride some more rides!
The day after Busch we packed up and headed South.  We had to take our time because you can't check in until 3 or 4 in the afternoon, but you also have to get out of the place in Williamsburg.  One fun thing we always do is stop at On The Border.  It's a fun souvenir/gas station/convenience store/deli all rolled in to one and it spans the border of VA and NC, so half is in one state and half is in the other.  I always enjoy taking a picture of the kids .... one in one state and one in the other.
Once we got checked in and settled we checked out the unit, went to go check out the ocean (like it ever really changes, lol) and then got some takeout for dinner.  Normal first night at the beach stuff.
The next morning after breakfast we walked over to the sound to see about renting a pontoon boat for later in the week.  While Gee was busy taking care of business, the boys were checking out all the cool jet skis.
After our walk to the sound side, we came back and got ready for our first day on the beach!  And, it ended up being our best day weather-wise.  Henry was STILL scared of the ocean and not fond of the sand, so that made beach trips ... interesting.  haha

That evening we went out for our first of a few seafood buffets!!
Captain George's! YUM!!

On Tuesday, we did more of the same ... the beach and pool.  It was cooler out and so the water was cooler.  We only spent a small amount of time on the beach and even smaller amount of time in the outdoor pool.  We ended up packing it up and heading in to the indoor pool and spending most of our time there.  That night we ate at the Black Pelican.  In all the years I've been going to the Outer Banks I have never eaten there!  Thanks to my mom's friends who joined us on our trip, we got to try it out and we really loved the food and the ambiance!
On Wednesday, it was just too chilly to be out at the beach and pool, so we got showered and dressed and headed South on the Outer Banks.  Jacob and I got to climb the Bodie Island Lighthouse that day!  We went to buy the tickets and found out the wait was so long that we'd have to come back, so to kill time we went shopping at the small outlet mall that is just up the road a bit.  Finally we were ready to go back to the lighthouse to climb to the top.  I love that I have my little climbing buddy!  Next year I'm hoping to make it down to Ocracoke to climb that lighthouse.  I think then we'll have done all the lighthouses in the Outer Banks.

I got so many amazing photos of this lighthouse (as you can see), but I got some even better pics from the top!  Just gorgeous!

And, a very happy little guy at the end of our climb!
Wednesday night we tried a new "hole in the wall" buffet on the beach road called Carolina's Buffet.  It was so good, I can't believe we'd never eaten there before either!
Thursday was the day of our boat rental!  This year we just went across the street to the sound side to rent the pontoon (and we ended up getting a brand new boat, too!) instead of driving all the way down to Kitty Hawk.  Henry finally decided he likes boats!!  Woohoo!!
Ok, well ... at first he didn't like it, but he DID eventually decide he liked it.

Thursday night we had dinner at Jimmy's Seafood Buffet!  YUM!  Ashlee is the one who found this place two summers ago, so it was extremely difficult for me that night, but I tried to make it through ... I think I failed as I was just cranky thinking about her and missing her.  I snapped at the kids for no reason. :(  Thankfully they still love me!
Here are my mom and her very good friend, Sue.  They've been friends since elementary school, I believe ... can you believe it?!  Must be nice!  And, Sue's daughter, Shannon, came too.  We had a fun week with them and were sad to see them go on Friday morning.
And, then after dinner we went mini golfing! I thought for a second we might get rained out as it started to sprinkle on our way to the golf course, but it stopped long enough for us to get a game in and grab some ice cream afterwards.

Friday was our next to last full day at the beach, so we tried to get in some beach/pool time, but again it was a bit chilly and cloudy ... like it wanted to rain. We did our best, though!

That night we had dinner at Dirty Dick's.  I love that place!

After dinner we went to Jockey's Ridge Crossing to shop and Bub ended up climbing a rock wall ... three times!  I didn't think he'd be able to do it once, but my little monkey climbed that thing three times.  Totally shocked me!!

On Saturday, our last full day at the beach, we hung around the beach and pool some more.  It was STILL cloudy/overcast and chilly, so we spent a majority of our time at the indoor pool.  I did go sit on the beach and read for awhile while everyone else was hanging out in the house.  That evening before we went to eat dinner, we did our family pictures on the beach!
After dinner at Barefoot Bernie's (LOVE THAT PLACE, BTW!) we just hit up a few souvenir shops before heading back for a night swim in the indoor pool.


We are always sad to leave the beach (and might even cry a few real tears over it), but I'm always glad to be back home in my own bed and own house.  I just love the beach so much that I swear I could live there!!  I can't wait to go back again this summer!


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