This time last week, DH and I were already on the way to the Outer Banks for the OBX Marathon and Half Marathon. Although I LOVED every moment of the weekend, I can truthfully say that I’m content to stay right around town this weekend. Getting to and from the destination was a bit of a marathon adventure in and of itself. How many times have you been in a car for 15 hours??? As much as we enjoy each other’s company, after a while we felt a little cuckoo.

But I digress. The purpose of this blog post is to share a few highlights of the trip and spotlight some of the cool attractions of the Outer Banks area. Never having been there, I was like a kid in a candy store. For someone like me who loves a beach no matter where it is, I was in heaven. No matter where we were, there was water and sand. At some points, I could see it on both sides of us. Divine.

After a few stops, one for the best boiled peanuts we’ve ever tasted, we finally arrived in Nag’s Head around 3:00, and after many consultations with Jill on our GPS, we located the EXPO. Talk about high energy! Wow, I loved the atmosphere of the place. Everywhere you looked, there were locals dressed like pirates and other seafaring folks, and everyone seemed to be friendly and in a good mood. We picked up the race packets for me, my brother, and my nephew, and then we did a little shopping. My sweet husband bought me a race poster, and he convinced me to get a long sleeved shirt “in case” the weather changed. Good thing he’s so persuasive because what I bought was perfect for Sunday’s event.

Our room was in Corolla, a little town/village/hamlet just slightly north of Duck, NC. Can you believe there’s a town called Duck? There is…and it has a lot of charm too. One day I hope to return and shop in some of those quaint little shops and eat in one of the restaurants. On the way to Duck and Corolla, we passed through Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk, and I could see the Wright Brothers Memorial and also the biggest sand dune on the east coast. It was awesome to see. Next time I’m going to get out and walk on it. Locals say that there’s a miniature golf course buried beneath it.  All along our way north, I enjoyed looking at the storefronts and local attractions. While they were the same as probably any other tourist area (there was even a Wings), they didn’t seem so garish and “in your face.”

It was dark when we arrived at the Hampton Inn in Corolla, one of the nicest places where I’ve ever stayed. From the shell exhibit in the lobby to the soft towels in the bathroom, everything was Nice with a capital N. A definite plus was having WiFi. We freshened up and went out for a bite to eat. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but that’s a good thing because I couldn’t recommend it, and I don’t want to berate it. Let’s just say it was overpriced and barely adequate.

On Saturday morning after a scrumptious breakfast in the Hampton Inn dining area, I went for a walk on the beach. Awesome. It was sooooo beautiful, and I felt so exuberant and upbeat that I soon lost track of time. I was so into the exhilarating beauty and experience of it all that I walked 20 minutes or more beyond where I knew I was supposed to stop. Let me explain. The beaches there have HIGH sand dunes, and even if you walked up the steps of the accesses to get your bearings, all you’d see is beach house after beach house. They all looked alike. About this time, my husband called to check on me, and when I confessed that I didn’t know where I was or how far away, he gave me some great directions. “Walk towards the sun,” he said. Good advice anytime, but especially that morning.

After my walk and shell collecting, we headed to Nag’s Head where we met my brother David and his family.  The five of us spent the rest of the day getting caught up and taking in the sights. We went to Manteo to see where the race would end the next morning, and we ended up visiting a church bazaar where Becky, my sister-in-law, bought a denim vest for only $2.  We both love sweet deals like that. We decided to dine at Big Al’s, and that was a wise decision. The atmosphere was upbeat, and the food was fantastic. Plus, there were other marathon participants in there, and it’s always fun to exchange “war stories.”

Fortified by our French fries and sandwiches, we strolled through the quaint waterside shops of Manteo. I fell in love with that little community and hope to visit again someday.  We met some colorful characters, including a dog who was “working” in one of the shops. I’ve been on a sea glass search for the last couple of months, and Becky and I found an artist who collected it and made jewelry from it.  She also explained why it’s so hard to find these days. People use more plastic and other disposable materials now, so there simply isn’t as much glass being thrown overboard into the ocean. Plus, there are more people (like yours truly) who are searching for it, thus making it more scarce.

Leaving Manteo, we headed for Nag’s Head to do some shopping at a Tanger Outlet. I got some Christmas bargains, and Becky and I enjoyed looking at the beautiful orange sunset over the water. Shopping and browsing complete, we shared light refreshments before separating for the evening.

This post has gone on much too long, and I’m not even to the BIG EVENT yet.  It’s so important and memorable that it deserves a post of its own.

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