From Southern Maryland to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, it’s roughly a 5 hour drive if you take the 95 route. There are tolls, but not many and the drive is fairly easy and direct.
The Digs: Thanks to a quick search on Homeaway, I found this amazing house that was available just exactly the days I needed it. The landlord is fabulous, communicates well and promptly, and has fair and concise guidelines laid out to make your stay easy. I love this house and will come back and stay here again.
Set on a canal, it has a small dock with kayaks. It was too cold this week to explore, but it looked marvelous and the kids enjoyed playing by the water. The house is comfortable and has more than enough to make a rainy day fun. We took advantage of the kitchen and grill and saw the sun rise and set from the rooftop patio. I sipped wine and read on the rocking bed in the covered porch and felt very spoiled.
We brought our sheets and towels, but the comforters provided were in great shape and warm. For $125, linens will be provided and the beds made. The water pressure and temperature in the home is good and the heat/cooling system works great.
If you are a hard-core omelet/crepe maker, then you’ll want to bring your own pan, but this kitchen has everything else even down to the coffee grinder!
As far as location, it’s hard to beat. North you’ll find Duck and Corolla and beaches famous for their wild horses. To the south, you’ll find all the wonderful OBX beaches with the Wright Brother’s Memorial and Jockey’s Ridge. The Island of Roanoke is only 45 minutes away and Hatteras Island makes a relaxed day trip.
For kids: Small children will need supervision near the water and on the rooftop patio, but the house itself is great for kids. There is a pool table with a ping pong top and several games. The movies and books provided are mostly for adults, but there are 5 televisions with cable, plus a DVD system, so if little ones need quiet time, you can play their favorite shows.
OBX Lessons learned today:
- Food Lion is a fantastic grocery store.
- The Brew-Thru has a decent selection of beer, wine, sodas, and snacks, but so does the Food Lion, so you don’t need to stop twice.
Last Saturday we loaded up all 4 girls and our 80+ pound golden retriever into our 8-passenger mini-van which I’m sure must be shrinking because it seems so much tighter than it used to. The entire thing was expertly packed to allow just enough air needed for the 5 hour drive and the exact foot space to fit 6 pairs of averaged size feet. You think I’m exaggerating, but I’m really not. We made a sardine can seem roomy with luggage wedged together filling every nook of the trunk, luggage and bags lining any space not needed for feet, and things stashed under seats and on laps.
The girls are growing at autobahn speeds and their luggage is growing with them. Couple that with the fact that we were bringing food, our own linens, and the dog’s sporty duffel bag, and you can see how we’d be something worthy of a sitcom.
The drive itself is easy though if you have a fear of bridges you’d just better not ever move here. We crossed one over the Patuxent, another over the Potomac, a huge one near Norfolk that went both over and under the Chesapeake, then another long one over the Currituck Sound.
We stopped just twice because, in part, I had the motherly wisdom to fully charge each of the girls iTouches and add a few new games and shows to each. Though I am not a fan of traffic in Northern Virginia, the state as a whole does rest stops really, really well. They come with “Visitor’s Centers” complete with friendly staff and enough brochures to fill any unused nooks and crannies in your car with information on anything and everything within a 100 or so mile radius. The bathrooms are clean, the outdoor area is ample, and they even have the silhouette of Virginia mounted on their park benches.
Stop number two was only long enough to swap cash for food at a Chick Fil’A near Williamsburg. Though I’m not a fan of fast food, when the kids are happy, I’d rather press on than take another hour to stop, so we loaded up on all things chicken, skipped the milkshakes (who wants that spilled in a van), and were on our way again.
Crossing the border into North Carolina is interesting. The terrain itself doesn’t change much as eastern Virginia is flat as well, but the land becomes dotted with more farms and there’s a comical mish mash of old historic churches and rather comical billboards sprinkled throughout the farmsteads.
The water along the roads to the outer banks makes a perfect mirror. I had my camera up and snapped with the hope that one perfect reflection would turn out. It didn’t.
The house I rented is amazing. I wished that I’d had another family with us to share it with because there were beds enough to sleep 11 comfortably and the house itself had so much to offer that we didn’t have enough time to take advantage of it all. The pool table wasn’t used and I only saw one sunrise and one sunset from our rooftop patio. I did make a point to read and sip wine from the swinging futon on the second story covered patio, but at the end, I would have liked to stay longer and to relax and enjoy the house a little longer too.
Though I packed our Easter ham, I needed to pick up eggs and milk and potatoes and a few other basics. I still live under the assumption that businesses will be closed on Sundays, especially on Easter. We found out the next day that my assumption is wrong in North Carolina. Everything was open. But we did do a bit of shopping on our first evening there to pick up some groceries a Food Lion which is a million times nicer here than in Maryland, and to do a little drive. On this little drive, I saw the Brew-Thru.
I was ecstatically happy about the latter thinking it was a drive-thru coffee shop. Makes sense to my caffeinated mind as the only brew for me is a strong brewed coffee. When we went through for wine and beer (they also have sodas and snacks), I was amused, thinking the whole concept was hilariously funny. Kirk thought I was being dramatic. Apparently these are “normal” in the South. Clearly, I haven’t been in the South enough.
Our evening was relaxing. Kirk grilled and we all settled in. I read and relaxed in the sun room on the swinging bed which could easily replace my bed at home forever, it was so comfortable. The girls ran around and explored the canal and the roof. Yes, the roof… this house is amazing.