Back to the salt and sand

After two other vacations were cancelled, the fam and I ended up heading back to Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina for a second trip this year. It was time to celebrate some birthdays and renew our souls in the salt and sand. The extended fam packed up the cars and headed south in mid-September to return to where I first vacationed as a toddler many years ago.

Travel in September wasn’t significantly different than what we experienced in June as far as the logistics — hand sanitizer, lots of handwashing, only takeout for meals, mask wearing whenever in public (other than on the beach), etc. Mask wearing had become a mandate since we traveled in June so we did see more masks out in public but still not 100% by any means. We still didn’t spend much time out beyond the house and the beach though, so that did not impact our overall experience.

Our travel week was interesting as far as the weather went. Early in the week, the temperatures were very warm and pleasant. As the week ended, you could definitely tell that the fall chill was coming into the air. I think it was a good bit cooler the following week so our timing was perfect for a late summer getaway. The sunsets were incredible! This shot was from an evening where the sky became shades of lavender and peach that I’ve never seen in a night sky before.

Purple, peach, and blue skies… how breathtaking!

One snack spot that we visited not once, but three times!, was Sunset Slush on the mainland. Their menu has slushes and gelatis (slush with soft-serve ice cream) and very inventive flavors. Each visit brought new flavor combinations for each of us to try. One fave had mango and coconut swirled together and I personally enjoyed ‘fruity pebbles’ which was grape, green apple, and tangerine swirled, shown below on the left. The one on the right is ‘banana pudding’ which consists of a swirl of blue vanilla and banana. With a variety of locations in Brunswick County, NC and across the US, you should give it a try if you ever see a shop or cart!

We collected quite a few shells on the beach and even found two very unexpected goodies. You can see them in the photo below. The kid and I found these very near each other on one long walk early in the week. In fact, she and I picked up so many shells that morning that I thought I was going to have to use my hat as a bucket to carry them all back! She found the oldest shark tooth (the black one) and I found the other. We **think** mine is a sand tiger shark but we’re not 100% sure on her type. Any guesses?

As the week wrapped, we were treated to quite a shocking site. After a morning at the ocean, we showered and were relaxing before picking up dinner. A construction vehicle, excavator maybe (not a construction expert by any means!), appeared at the cottage across the road from ours. We watched at first as they cleared away the landscaping. Not thinking much about it, it was shocking as the arm of the excavator crashed into the porch railing afterward! The next move was a big ‘bite’ out of the middle of the house, taking the front door in a crunch. When they stopped for the day, we had the picture on the right below — half a house! I wish they would have fully demolished the house before we had to leave but watching the destruction was unforgettable. So many others from neighboring houses came out to watch and families walked/biked/carted to watch as well. It isn’t every day that you see something chomping away at a beach house! It’s apparent that Ocean Isle has been undergoing some pretty major renovations where older houses from the 70s and 80s are being either renovated or demolished and replaced, to become mini-mansions. I remember traveling to Ocean Isle over the years and watching the houses go from pretty cookie-cutter boxy styles to houses that are undoubtedly worth in the millions. As a long time visitor, I’m not sure what I really think about this shift, and hope it doesn’t cause the affordability of visiting the islands for families to become out of reach.

Another great trip was in the books after this visit to Ocean Isle. Despite being where Hurricane Isaias made landfall in early August and suffering significant damage, the island is working through the recovery, rebuilding, and staying OIB Strong. We can’t wait to visit again and make more sandy memories!

Until next time!