Outer Banks Trip, Part I


We’re back from our trip, safe and sound, a little bit sad it is already over, but also exhausted and happy to be home. And, as promised, we took a gazillion pictures that I have had so much trouble whittling down because I love them all!

But I do have a story or two about the trip there. We decided early on that it made the most sense for us to drive the 18-20 hours it would take to travel to the Outer Banks. We rented a house right on the beach and had to bring all our own bedding, towels, and food, so flying was not really an option to begin with. Knowing it was a real gamble to drive this far with three little boys, we used a bit of strategy. Day One: Drive as far as possible and hope for naps, then have a short easy drive for Day Two. We made it 12 hours, no naps (except for Emil, of course) to a place about an hour west of Charlottesville. But on the way, as I was driving, I felt the transmission slipping and suddenly we were extremely nervous. When we got out to gas up, Andrew noticed transmission fluid covering the back window of our van and knew that something bad was about to happen. On top of that, we were blindsided by the fact that the entire area surrounding us had just recently been hit by massive power outages from recent storms. As a result, most people had decided that to escape the 100-degree heat, they would hole up in the neighboring hotels for the air conditioning. ALL the neighboring hotels.

Suddenly, we found ourselves in a Ruby Tuesday’s parking lot with a bum van frantically calling hotels looking for any available rooms. Luckily, Andrew found one an hour away in Charlottesville. A room with one bed. For 5 people. We booked it, then dragged our kids back into the van for the 13th hour of car prison. They were actually really well-behaved. When we arrived in the parking lot of the hotel, we went to grab a few bags out of the trunk and panic struck. It quickly dawned on me that my bag- the one with my underwear, toothbrush, bathing suit, all my clothing for the week- was not there. Nope. It was at home. Upstairs, outside of Emil’s room, waiting to be packed into the van.

Yes, things were going from bad to worse. I may have thrown a few things, but let the record show, I did not cry. After a horrible night’s sleep that involved Oliver lying horizontal in the bed with Andrew on the floor, Emil in a crib, and Milo and I teetering on the edge of the opposite side of the bed, we headed down to University of Virginia’s campus (which was beautiful) to get some breakfast:



Doesn’t this place look awesome?

… but it was closed (we are early risers).

So, after we scavenged up some food from the Starbucks down the street, I had to head out for some essentials. Seriously. I had nothing but the clothes on my back and at least needed a swimsuit and some clean underwear. Thank goodness for Old Navy (see that dress in the first picture? I wore it pretty much every day).


And after I grabbed a few things for the week, we headed the rest of the way to Hatteras Island, hoping that our van would make it the rest of the way so we could get it to a shop semi-nearby, and fixed in time for our return home. And we did make it! And the best part? Our friends were already there with their family waiting for us. What a wonderful end to a rough trip!



Oliver’s first view of the ocean




And though we arrived pretty late in the evening, there was no keeping those guys off the beach or out of the water. And for Oliver, it was all about the sensation of the sand:


As for the van, Andrew found a place to get it fixed right up. I found that I didn’t need all that much clothing anyway, and got over my swimsuit issues (after a little sulking about not getting to wear the awesome suit that I had found just days before the trip) and also got over the fact that the underwear I had to buy in a major rush would give me a perma-wedgie for 8 days straight. In the scheme of things, these are not real problems.


The view from our porch balcony

 ***Check back later today for another post and more pictures from our trip!***

9 thoughts on “Outer Banks Trip, Part I”
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  1. Well the beach and all of you look amazing- but oh my, that does sound like a rocky start to the trip. I am such a nester that I really need my things when I travel and always triple check that we have my bag- somehow it means home to me… I think I would gave cried! I once went to Hong Kong and my bags were lost for a week- and I did cry. I’d worn sweatpants on the plane- boo. I went to their equivalent of old navy except everything was cut so small! Good for you for taking it in stride.

    Can’t wait to see the rest of the pics and I’m laughing because as i read this Wyatt is wearing the exact same outfit as Milo. Guess we both have good taste in kid’s clothes!

  2. It looks like an amazing trip!! Even though the start was a bit rough.. Our transmission had to be completely replaced about a month ago and.. I don’t want to talk about it. Haha, maybe being near the beach would have calmed my nerves through the whole process? I can’t wait to see my pictures. I have serious beach envy right now! Welcome back!

  3. There is truly nothing better than seeing a child’s reaction to the ocean/beach playground. You captured it! How wonderful… That view from the porch is one to savor! Sounds as if you’re all great travel troopers.
    & that swimsuit you bought… There’s plenty of summer left, but I can relate to the feeling. Kudos to you for rising above it!

  4. I feel your pain. I am facing my own travel woes right now, and underware that isn’t staying in place.

  5. I just knew you were in my neck of the woods! What a miserable start to the trip, but it seems like the end result more than made up for the rocky beginning. Charlottesville was a great landing place, but if you ever need to take a break at Norfolk, our door is always open.

    The Outer Banks was where I first learned to swim in the ocean and truly love it. I feel so lucky that we live near the beach. You’ve captured your kids thrill and joy so beautifully! And a month of no migraines! Bravo! I responded to your comment on the blog, dear, but I wanted to say hooray!

  6. I say you’re a rockstar for being flexible, not freaking out, and going with the flow. Seriously.
    (And all your pictures are lovely! Watching kids play on the beach is one of my favorite things.)

  7. So glad the trip worked out after what sounds like a frustrating day/evening/night!! I have been contemplating visiting my family in Texas this Thanksgiving or Christmas, but it’s a 13 hour drive. I want to say we could do it, but I’m also a little terrified. (Yet somehow, the thought of flying stresses me out even more!) Looks like y’all had an awesome time at the beach!

  8. I stumbled upon your blog while looking up reviews for Mudhouse Coffee and have enjoyed reading it ever since. When I read this post I had to smile because my sister lives in Charlottesville and is friends with the owners of Para Coffee. Small world! Hope it’s open next time you are ever in that area again. It’s worth stopping in. Thanks for making STL more accessible for us and sharing ideas of living life here!

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