I’m writing this post from the couch of our beach house rental, on the last day of our family vacation. This is the fifth consecutive year my family has taken a weeklong trip to Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The Outer Banks, or OBX, is a popular beach destination of Charlottesville residents, however, many choose the more populated locales of Nags Head, Duck, or Corolla.
My family has found our beach haven in Hatteras and love its remote feel and laid back atmosphere. There’s really not much to do here besides relax on the sand and dip in the surf! It’s the perfect way to catch some rays and rejuvenate for the year.
The following are ten reasons why I love our beach trip, in no particular order:
- Reading on the beach. I absolutely love sitting in a beach chair with my toes in the sand by the edge of the water. Although I love a good fiction novel, this year I opted for reading the latest Vogue magazine cover-to-cover. I have been a Vogue subscriber since age 15 and it remains my favorite publication. My sister, on the other hand, is revisiting the Harry Potter series, another one of my all-time favorite things to read.
- Shrimp boil. One of our yearly traditions is a “shrimp boil” dinner. The meal consists of fresh local shrimp, keilbasa, local corn and potatoes from the produce stand, and lots of Old Bay seasoning and cocktail sauce. Boil it up, dump it on a newspaper-covered table, peel, and eat. Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen. Perfection.
- Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. While we didn’t actually climb the 248 steps of the lighthouse this year as we have in the past, the structure is simply impressive to gaze upon. Who doesn’t like lighthouses?
- Hatteras Sno-Balls. A quirky roadside food stand with “the best balls on the beach,” Hatteras Sno-Balls is another Fraser Family tradition. What makes these simple snow cones stand out is the generosity of flavor syrup poured on the shaved ice. Only $2 for a small makes for a cheap treat, but be careful not to spill! My favorite flavors are raspberry and dreamsicle.
- Day trip to Nags Head. Each year, we day a day trip to Nags Head, typically strategically planned on the least optimal beach day. After bargain hunting at the outlets (my dad’s favorite pastime…not), we hop over to Manteo to eat dinner at Big Al’s. The soda fountain and grill follows a 1950’s-diner theme complete with a jukebox. Although I’ll admit it’s somewhat overrated, the restaurant is still a lot of fun and boasts an impressive collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia (don’t try to order a Diet Pepsi).
- Bringing our dogs. An important criteria for any potential beach house rental is that the house is pet-friendly. Our aussie, Emma, and mini poodle, Pennie, are members of the family, too, so they’re naturally included in our adventures. There’s nothing like curling up with your most loyal friends after a day in the sun.
- Oceanfront property. We’ve always had a rental that was only a short distance to the beach, but recently we’ve had the luxury of staying at an oceanfront house. This quaint cottage has served us well for the past two years, and we’ve already locked it in for next year. There’s nothing like having such a short stroll from your beach chair to the house to grab lunch, a snack, a cold beverage, or just to take a break from the heat. Let’s not forget the beautiful ocean views from the deck!
- No Obligations. While we do have “family meetings” to loosely plan our activities for the day/week (including but not limited to: crabbing, when to have dinner, getting snow cones, lighthouse excursions, etc.), there are no obligations! Sleeping in is a must, alarms are a no-no. There are no deadlines and no dress codes. Okay, so this is typical of most vacations, but that certainly doesn’t make it less notable!
- Food. While I’ve already mentioned several tasty delights, I still want to give food its own category. Dieting is strictly prohibited! That may be hyperbole, but for a pageant girl who must stay on top of eating healthy and staying in shape for the all-important “Lifestyle & Fitness in a Swimsuit” competition, it’s nice to be able to eat what I want while on vacation (AND be in a swimsuit AND not care about walking like a model)! In addition to the previously mentioned food items, there’s spaghetti night, a mexican casserole, fun-size Snickers bars, ice cream, and other goodies—fat, carbs, and sugar, OH MY!
- Spending time with my family. Although it sounds as cheesy as a Hallmark card, palling around with my mom, dad, and sister is always a lot of fun and I don’t look forward to the impending day when “life gets in the way” of this family trip. Another important part of the vacation is the inclusion of James, whose spontaneous nature always keeps us Fraser “planners” on our toes. I’m truly blessed to have a family that gets along so well. You would think my family was awesome, too, if you had seen my dad and sister playing the motorcycle racing arcade game last night—hilarious!
As mentioned before, we are departing tomorrow, so it’s high time I walked down to the beach to enjoy my last few hours of Hatteras sunshine. Tomorrow, it’s back to reality, but for now, life’s a beach!