Friday, February 14, 2014

Track out trip (recovered version)

I saw that my sister updated her blog (again) this morning, and I know it has been a realllllly long time since I've updated mine - so I thought "Well, dern - I guess I better make some time to do a post!" 


My kids have been in school for six weeks, and just recently had a three week break. They got to hang out at Camp Pipan for most of that break, and that meant they were with my Mom (and sometimes Dad) during the weeks while Mike and I worked and they were out of school. It is wonderful to have parents close by so I don't have to find a babysitter or pay for track-out camp for the kids!!!! Plus, they get to kayak, swim, fish, explore, hike, take the dogs for walks, and lots of other fun things!


As awesome as Camp Pipan is, the kids were getting tired of it, and were starting to whine that they didn't get to go on 'vacation' on their track-out break. I also felt really bad because we haven't gone to the beach or the mountains or anywhere special all summer looooooonnnnnng! (It was a short summer, and I had classes = boring mommy).

Soooooooo, Mike and I planned a surprise trip for the kids - we didn't tell them where we were going, we just told them we were going somewhere fun for the last weekend before they had to be back in school.



Once we were heading East, they started guessing ... Taylor Anne figured it out pretty quickly because she had been down to this part of the coast in the spring with her 5th grade class. 

Anderson said: "It's the Night Bus!!!"

We arrived at our hotel, which is on the water in Beaufort - it was really cute from the outside, and everyone was very nice. We unpacked our things and headed up to the room. 


This was the view from our bedroom window: Do you see the little black dot on the shore? That is a horse! We stayed at the Inlet Inn which is directly across Taylor's Creek from Carrot Island. There are some domesticated horses that wander free on the island.

 This is our room - beautiful view!
 Once we got settled in, we went down to the docks and signed up for a ferry ride 
across to Shackleford Banks!



 The courtyard of the Inlet Inn.




 The kids were excited to ride the ferry - it was just a people ferry - no cars allowed! 
 Anderson held onto his hat - he knows what to do on a boat! As we crossed, we saw a lot of other boats - it was a busy channel! We also passed by Radio Island and the Duke Marine center. 
 Once we were on the island we used a ladder to come down from the boat. 
The water was so clear and the beach was so beautiful! 
 Although our kids are both strong swimmers, we don't trust the open ocean - so we require them to wear their life jackets when swimming in places with strong currents. They also had the responsibility of carrying them, I am NOT a pack mule! It was a gorgeous day, and the Mullet were running. Anderson tried to catch them as they swam by, but they're pretty fast.






 Oh - Look - Horse Poop!  We looked for the horses... 
 And we looked....
 And we LOOKED... 
 But we didn't find any horses... 
 But we did find Gaillardias (very pretty!) and Cacti (they hurt!)




 There were a million snails in this marshy area, there were also some 
fish that looked like they wanted to be caught. 

 Taylor Anne got one! (Anderson did too!)

We found a sign about the horses! (You're not allowed to feed them or disturb them - you're not allowed within 50 feet of them!)


 Although we didn't find horses, we did have an adventure, and it was fun! 
 When we got back, all of us cleaned up and we headed out to the shops and dinner. 
The Inn had some short swings for the kids.
Beaufort is a beautiful place.

 We visited the Maritime Museum - but it was closed. Mike didn't see the sign, and pulled on the door, which OPENED!!! Then the alarm went off, and a museum volunteer drove up and the police came! We explained to them what happened, and they said that the door doesn't latch well. Apparently it happens pretty often... We thought about getting a picture of Mike in handcuffs, but then thought "Naaahhhh". 


 Our dinner at the Spouter Inn was wonderful - we ALL loved our food. The kids had clam chowder, I had crab cakes, and Mike had steamed shrimp. It was all delicious. I think we ate every bit!
 Sunset from the deck at the Spouter Inn. 
 The next day, we did a little bit of letterboxing, and visited the Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. 
Anderson didn't want to have his picture taken... 
 Cool sand sculpture!


 Taylor Anne likes to take pictures!
 The otters were mesmerizing - Anderson would have watched them for hours!




 The rays were friendly!



We loved watching the giant fish swimming by us - it was hard to imagine 
that they are also swimming all over the open ocean!





 I loved this colorful directional sign!


 Anderson enjoyed spying on the ibis up close!
 Floating bridge - your feet get wet if you don't keep moving! (or if you're too heavy!)
 There were a few rescued sea turtle hatchlings - they looked strong and ready to break out of there! I am sure they'll be released when they are truly ready. So cute when they're little!
 HILARIOUS sign we passed on the way home. TOO funny. 
We were sad to have to go home and prepare for school, but this made it a little more fun.