I've successfully crossed off one more location from the "we should go there" list, but all I really did was transfer it to the "we should go there again" list.
We just got back from a week-long visit to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We stayed in Avon, on Hatteras island, much further south than the popular spots like Nag's Head and Duck. It was a very different sort of vacation for us, as we shared a huge rented beach house with ten other people (and five dogs) for the week. I was nervous about it, because meeting new people puts me on edge, but it wasn't nearly as painful as it could have been, since people were nice, and I tried to stay on top of my anxiety by pulling away to be alone when I was overwhelmed.
Also, this was the view from the upper-level balcony of the house.
That certainly helps a person chill out.
It was a lovely week. We had a couple of beautiful days right at the beginning, before the storms came through mid-week, and took advantage of them by spending afternoons at the beach.
We set up our Super-brella over our folding chairs for some shade, since we are of the pasty persuasion, and sat around with our feet in the sand and our noses in books for hours. You can't get the full impact of the nerdiness of this setup from this photo, but we had shade, Jonathan Coulton towels from our February cruise, a sci-fi novel, Wil Wheaton's "Memories of the Future", and SPF-50 sunscreen. All packed in my "Property of Laboratory Department" tote bag. I wasn't even trying!
We splashed around in the Atlantic a little, too, and the water was almost as warm as it was in the Caribbean, but not nearly as clear and blue. I couldn't see my feet, which always freaks me out because there are things alive down there, and the bottom was all rocks and shells instead of soft sand. I'm told that's because they have to dredge up stuff from further out to rebuild the beach as erosion eats away at it. I didn't mind that it wasn't soft and powdery, because it was neat to lie on my towel and run my hands through the sand, seeing how it was all made up of the tiniest shell fragments, rounded and polished by the waves. I collected dozens of pretty shell fragments, like all good beach-goers, although I have no plans for them yet.
I did very well in the water until I noticed hundreds of little white spidery-looking things floating around me. I couldn't stop thinking that I might be swallowing crab larvae, and I had to leave the water. For reasons unclear to me (perhaps they all found human hosts whose brains they could burrow into), there were far fewer of them floating around the next day, and I was able to spend more time in the waves.
I was very surprised to hear so much French around me on the beach - it seemed like half of Quebec was vacationing in the Outer Banks! It's funny how hearing "Papa, j'ai envie" at a beach far from home can get me smiling and misty-eyed. I should have spoken to them more, but I'm insecure about the degradation of my French vocabulary after having been away from it for so long.
Once the weather turned to dreary rain on Tuesday, we stuck to indoor pursuits. I watched a lot of bad NBC Olympic coverage and filled out some crossword puzzles, and took a couple of afternoon naps. We played several board games too, like Apples to Apples, Balderdash, and Cards Against Humanity. I was also introduced to a new game I loved:Carcassonne. If we go on the next nerd cruise, I will buy this game, bring it, and sit in the 24-hour game room until someone agrees to play with me.
I want to go back to the Outer Banks again. It was nice to be so far away from everything, on the beach, in the sun, with nothing to worry about. I'm usually the type who plans vacations around outings and museums and things to do, but I let a lot of that slide this time around, and I think I might be getting better at this "relaxing" thing I keep hearing so much about.