Archive for the ‘vacation’ Category

Outer Banks, North Carolina – Activities

September 19, 2010

Here’s a small round-up of the activities we did while on vacation in the Outer Banks!

Jockey’s Ridge State Park –

The best sand dunes in OBX are located in Jockey’s Ridge state park. The park states the dunes range from 80 to 100 feet from the base! There are a lot of activities occurring on the dunes at  any time – hang gliding, kite flying — and you

can also walk up and down them and explore. In addition, there is a small museum that explains the dunes, the area, and some of the wildlife that rely on the dunes.

It was educationally kind of geeky and fun. LOL And walking the dunes was neat! There aren’t many places you can ‘hike’ happily in your bare feet, ya know? 🙂

The park was free to get into, and is open each day from approximately dawn to dusk (hours range by season).

My advice? Take water and go early or late. There’s very little shade out on the dunes, and it gets hot VERY quickly. You’ll be amazed at how thirsty you are as well 🙂

If you’re interested in partaking in the activities that occur on the dunes, I recommend you stop at Kitty Hawk Kites, first, and see what they offer! 🙂 They’re the exclusive excursion provider in the area, so all kayaking, hang gliding, etc goes through them.

Wright Brothers Museum –

Admittedly, the husband and I LOVED this stop on our trip. We went in basically thinking ‘Well, it’s here, I guess we should do it….’ but ended up really enjoying it. I think we spent almost 3 hours here!

The museum and grounds are maintained by the National Park Service. As you enter, there is a fee of $4 per adult, which you receive a receipt for – the receipt will get you in for an additional 7 days without paying again. After you enter the grounds, there is a small, built-in-the-1960’s-and-shows-it museum that is very interesting, and then…you can climb to the memorial.

I’m not sure if the dunes or the memorial are higher, but I’m betting the memorial. It’s a beautiful view from the top, and the hike up really isn’t that bad.

When you’ve finished, you walk back down the hill and enter a series of hangers with more information, history, and a gift shop.

Loved this place!

North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island –

We drove to Roanoke Island to try out the Aquarium one day. We live about 45 minutes from the National Aquarium in Baltimore (aka HUGE aquarium) and this one was significantly smaller, but still very enjoyable. We both agreed it was the perfect size for children — just large enough to keep their attention, but not so big they get tired and cranky. 🙂

$8 per person gets you into the Aquarium, and is useful all day to go in and out. We spent about 2 hours here, and had fun 🙂

Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island –

We visited the gardens on a whim. We had already driven the length of Roanoke Island, and spent time at the Aquarium, so we stopped here as well. The gardens were created and are maintained by the Master Gardeners in the area. It’s truly lovely and peaceful!

The tour is self-guided, and includes a brochure with information about each ‘area’. The tour is $8 per person, and it took us about an hour to walk through and enjoy it. There are butterflies everywhere!

We had obviously missed ‘rose season’ as the rose gardens had been cut back already, but everything else was still lush and beautiful the beginning of September.

(No, that man isn’t my husband….he stepped in just as I took my picture!)


Outer Banks, North Carolina – Eats

September 18, 2010

The husband and I hadn’t been on a vacation since our honeymoon in 2007, so when the opportunity to spend a week in the Outer Banks presented itself, we jumped on it!

Just prior to leaving, Brown Eyed Baker had also spent some time in OBX, and she posted some of their favorite eats while there.

I thought I’d do something similar, and provide a brief write-up on what we enjoyed while on vacation!

For those familiar with the Outer Banks, we stayed in Kill Devil Hills – just north of Nags Head. We didn’t venture as far north as Corolla or Duck with this trip, but we’re hoping to repeat the trip and broaden our horizons next time!

To say we’re smitten with the area is an understatement. If I could figure out how, I’d move there in a heart beat. The husband and I both fell in love with the place! And I loved that it didn’t feel just like a vacation spot. There were enough year-round residents to truly make it feel like a place you could live!

OBX Eats

Pigman’s BBQ –









We actually ate at Pigman’s twice. It was a mere few blocks from the house we rented, and was convienent. Our first trip there was within hours of arriving – we had left home at 4am, and upon arriving and unloading the car…we were very ready for lunch. DH and I both had pulled pork sandwiches – he had baked beans, hush puppies, and coleslaw with his….I had fries, hushpuppies and coleslaw with mine.

This was my first interaction with “Carolina” BBQ, and I was a bit jolted by the strong vinegar flavor. But honestly? It grew on me! The pork was delicious and needed no sauce (although Pigman’s sauces were delicious as well!) and the hushpuppies were AH-mazing 🙂

DH also tried their beef BBQ the second time we went, and I found I liked it a little better.

Still – a great meal, and well-priced as well!


Chilli Peppers –

Chilli Peppers was a small, friendly Tex-Mex restaurant that we tried one evening after a long day at the beach. Hubs had steak and shrimp fajitas, which were served with rice and black beans, and I had baja chicken tacos (also with rice and black beans). We split an appetizer of chips and salsa as well.

The salsa at this place was cooked, and tasted as though they used roasted tomatoes. It was delicious and a bit addicting!

Husband’s steak and shrimp fajitas looked delicious, as did my baja chicken tacos, which were served with shredded cabbage, cheese, fresh pico de gallo and sour cream. The rice was a plain white rice, and the black beans were unseasoned as well.

The meal – all in all – was tasty, but not particularly memorable (beyond that salsa in the appetizer!) Also, we were originally seated in the restaurant area, and it was so incredibly loud in there, we asked to be moved to the bar. So if you go – ask to sit in the bar! 🙂


Duck Donuts –








Oh. My. God. These are the best donuts on this earth. Seriously. I’ve had fresh, hot donuts in a variety of places (Krispy Kremes in Vegas, fresh from the oven, Winchell’s in L.A….and many more) and there are no donuts, like these donuts.

They are freshly fried as you order them. Then, they’re subjected to an ‘assembly line’ of delicious goodies for the top – glaze, chocolate frosting, vanilla frosting, sprinkles, nuts, and more!

I highly recommend the glazed – they were superior to the others, and the most heavenly confection ever.

You must try these donuts! 🙂


Captain George’s Seafood Buffet –









I’m not much of a buffet person. But I promised the hubs we’d go to one seafood buffet while on vacation. I chose this one because, frankly, it seemed like the classiest. There were some rough-looking buffets in OBX!

I was pleasantly surprised by this place. When you walk in the door, it looks like you’ve entered a restaurant in Vegas. It’s really a beautiful place!

The food, as well, as delicious! I filled up on veggies and broiled flounder, steamed shrimp, and cornbread. Hubs said the crab legs were fantastic, and there was a wide variety of crab available.

Finally – the desserts at this place were amazing. I’m not talking your run-of-the-mill buffet desserts. The cakes tasted made-from-scratch, and they were absolutely delicious!

The buffet restaurant area is wide open, and can get loud/echo-y….again, we sat in the bar area, and found it to be quiet and lovely. We even had a television in our booth! LOL


Jockey’s Ribs







The large sand dunes in the Outer Banks are located at Jockey’s Ridge State Park – and this restaurant was nearby! 🙂

We settled on this restaurant because it received such good reviews, however, we were unhappy with the food at this location.

The husband had 1/2 rack of ribs (about 6 ribs), a crabcake, a baked potato, and baked beans. I ordered broiled lump crab meat with a baked potato and coleslaw.

I was happy with my portion, however, my husband felt his portions were small, and the prices too high.

As I mentioned, though, it did receive a lot of good reviews on TripAdvisor, so perhaps we’re in the minority!


Stack ‘Em High –









Our last morning, I insisted we go to this place. And I’m glad we did – and I wish we’d have gone earlier in the week so we could’ve gone twice! LOL

This place is an awesome, cafeteria-style restaurant with 36 varieties of pancakes. Yep, you read that right. They offer 36 different combinations of toppings on their pancakes!

Since hubs and I were newcomers, we felt a bit rushed trying to read the menu and order.

Hubs ordered 1 egg, scrambled,  sausage, and a short stack (3) of the very berry pancakes. I ordered 1 egg scrambled, bacon, and a short stack (3) of the regular pancakes.

Delicious pancakes! Husband wasn’t thrilled with the place because he said he felt rushed by the cafeteria style atmosphere, but the food was so good, I’d make him go back. LOL

The pancake batter had cinnamon, and something….else….I think…incorporated into it. Light, fluffy, and amazing. 🙂

The owner, an elderly gentleman, was walking around and stopped to talk to us. Like me, he was from Pittsburgh, so we spent time talking about Pittsburgh, and how he sold his restaurant in Pittsburgh 30 years ago and started Stack ‘Em High in OBX after vacationing there!

It was great to talk to him!


So there’s the eats…I’ll do another post on the activities we enjoyed as well. 🙂