On the last day of our vacation, Michal and I decided to drive back down to Pea Island to enjoy its secluded beaches once more. It was a really great time, but this blog entry is not about that experience…
On the drive back home I brought up how sad it was to have to watch the sun set from the car, but no sooner had I said that did a sign appear for Jockey’s Ridge State Park which was the next left. We decided to just go for it, and this impromptu decision led to my favorite experience of the entire trip.
This is Jockey’s Ridge–the tallest natural sand dune system on the east coast (those black dots along the top are people!)
Sadly, pictures do not even begin to illustrate the wonder of seeing this natural landscape in person.
When we finally entered the park, I completely freaked out by how incredible. it was, and I even had a “double rainbow” moment, where I kept screaming “whoaaaa! whoa whoa whoaaaa!”, and then without warning I started sprinting to the top because I was afraid the sun would set before I got to see everything.
Unbeknownst to me, Michal managed to snap a few photos of my craziness.
Double rainbow jump!
At the top of the sand dune there were hundreds of people flying kites. Everyone just seemed so happy and at peace.
I was quite moved.
Basically I decided that when I die, I want to find myself on a beautiful sand dune, and waiting for me at the top is everyone I’ve ever loved, and we all fly kites (tear).
After getting a little faklempt, I was cheered up again by watching all the kids boogie board down the side of the sand dune.
wild children + sand = high entertainment value
After a while the sky started to get darker so we just relaxed and watched the sun set.
One lone kite just didn’t want to leave…
And because I hate ending on a serious note, below is a pic of my favorite kite (as spotted at Jockey’s Ridge)…
I call it Rat-Bird.
September 4, 2010 No Comments
On the second to last day of our vacation, a small group of us decided to venture out a bit, so we took a road trip to Cape Hatteras National Seashore,
As you’ll observe in the above map, the seashore is a narrow barrier of islands off the coast of NC–often referred to as a “ribbon of sand” (an apt title once you’ve driven down its roads).
The drive was an additional two hours south of where we were staying, but in my opinion, completely worth it if you ever find yourself in the Outer Banks. Just be warned, if you visit the park in the next 18 months you might experience one minor setback….
The parks famous lighthouse is currently under construction (which none of us were aware of) so we were all pretty bummed when we arrived at the above scene. My friend Kristin has a great photo of us all making sad faces in front of the lighthouse, so I’ll have to try and get it from her so I can post it here.
After the lighthouse debacle we decided it was time to ease our pain with the beach (and beer).
Like our Corona advertisement?
The water was extremely warm, so we spent most of the time swimming. It’s sort of hard to tell, but Meredith is actually holding her Corona up in the above photo (she’s the one in the middle about to be swallowed by the monstrous wave), and I’m stupidly drinking another Corona while walking into the water. I’m not trying to glamorous (or condone) drinking while swimming in any way, but I try to document whats fun, and this was definitely fun.
After a few hours we decided to venture further south to explore some of the more isolated areas of the seashore, and in the process we got to cross over a fun bridge which takes you to Pea Island…
Below is a view from the bridge once we were standing on the other side.
The minute you cross over the bridge it sort of feels like you’re in a completely different state. It’s hard to convey in words, and it’s probably harder for you to notice in the pictures, but the area was just…different…almost like a desert.
We were all in awe of the landscape, so we spent quite a while just exploring the area and taking pictures.
It’s pretty rare when you get to enjoy a coastal landscape without anyone else around, and for me, that’s what makes the National Seashore so special. Having been born and raised in the Northeast, beaches have always just meant no parking and screaming children, so although the next statement might seem dramatic…I definitely have a new found respect for America’s coastlines.
And as an extension to this new found respect, I’m going to be writing out a check to the National Seashore this week, along with Jockey’s Ridge State Park (you’ll read about this in my next blog entry). Both of these state parks are completely free to the public, so I want to thank them by way of a friendly donation. I also would encourage you all to do the same–not for these parks, but for a state or national park that you’ve appreciated in the past.
If you can spare 10 dollars, you’re helping to ensure that the parks remain free for those who can’t.
Ok ok, I stole the above photo off the Cape Hatteras website, but it’s my attempt to tug on your heart strings, and get you to be proactive about donating to your favorite public park. How can you deny the above cuteness?
August 31, 2010 1 Comment
Yesterday two of our friends got married in North Carolina at the Whalehead Club which was just a short drive from the house we rented.
Meet Jean and Peter
The Whalhead Club
The wedding was really incredible, especially since they took a lot of the stuffy tradition out of the ceremony process, and instead turned it into a celebration of their relationship. You would think that logically all weddings would be a celebration of the couple, but I find that most are too focused on the traditions to take the time to add in personal touches, such as having the couples pet turtles at the reception….
They also each took an article of clothing from the other person which they loathed the most and agreed to burn it at the end of the ceremony (it was both funny and touching that the groom was willing to give up his favorite ratty t-shirt for the woman he loves).
Peter and Jean also did so many cool things which were not only creative and beautiful, but budget-friendly. Here were a few of my favorite things:
Fortune Cookie Programs (you had to open up the various flaps to read about the wedding)
Homemade tissue paper decorations
Pies! (rather than traditional wedding cake…and yes, they fed each other pie).
The party favors were re-usable bags with turtles on them (they also had a note inside the bag which read: “Turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, which can lead to their deaths. By choosing to use this eco-friendly turtle tote instead of plastic bags, you’ll help save a turtle! We have also made a donation to the Network For Endangered Sea Turtles, a non profit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of sea turtles.”)
The name tags were also turtle themed (on scratch-away rainbow paper)
Later on during the reception Michal and I turned our name tags into ninja turtles
They also used mason jars to serve lemonade and iced tea in
And you can’t have a North Carolina wedding without having peaches!
Since they just bought a house, they had their mail box at the reception, and people were able to write notes and put it inside.
Overall, the reception was a blast…
And of course having some friends there made the experience that much better.
Steph, Eli, and Kristin
Meredith (and some wind)
And having Michal there is always a plus, because he makes me laugh every 10 minutes.
August 23, 2010 No Comments
This is my third time running this race, and ever since coming in second for the women’s division last year (it’s a small race), it’s become an on-going joke for me to talk a whole lotta game before the big day.
Coincidentally, Michal came in 2nd in the men’s division last year also, so the smack talk has just been non-stop between the two of us.
But somewhere in all those little quips…I was serious.
And so I trained the past two weeks, and I had this whole master plan laid out in my head, how two days before the race I would do one final 4 mile run on an up-hill course (my reasoning being that the 5k race would seem easy 48 hours after so much up-hill work). So Friday came, and after work I did just that. I ran an intense 4 mile up-hill course in blistering heat. Then I got home and rested a bit, because I was going to be driving to Maine later that night.
Then my mom, who was already up in Maine, called.
“Hey, did you know your little race is tomorrow morning? I just saw something about it on the TV.”
Yup, that’s right. I got the date wrong. So basically I would arrive in Maine at around 1am, and then have to wake up at around 8am to run a race, and on top of that I would only have around 12 hours of time to recover.
Want to see a picture of me before the race?
It’s probably hard to tell because this picture is pretty small, but I was literally falling asleep, and I didn’t even have the energy to warm up or stretch. I just sat on a rock and watched all the other people do cool pre-race stuff which totally psyched me out.
Luckily I had Michal there to lend his support (and talk a big game), so I at least I stayed a bit motivated.
A mile into the race though I was pretty behind, so I started regretting my decision to run the race, but then I sort of told myself, “you are on vacation, so get over yourself, and get over the fact that you will have a slow time.” And just like that I got over it, and suddenly the race seemed fun again because I accepted the fact that I wouldn’t do well, and that I would be proud of myself just for finishing it.
And then mile two came, and I was so happy to have set myself free from the pressure of getting a good time, that I started to pass a lot of people who were burning out on the hills.
And then mile three came, and I started to pass even more people.
And then I finished…
and after the results were tallied up, I came in first in the women’s division
Pretty cool, right?
Although in all honesty, I was not the first female to cross the finish line. The first WOMAN, yes, but not the first female. A few girls under the age of 19 destroyed my time, so I was fortunate that there was a separate category for “under 19.”
I wish I could show you an actual picture of me accepting the prize, or a picture of my finish, but the camera died half way through the race (my mom didn’t realize that you need to turn the camera off when you’re not using it). By that point though, I didn’t even care about the camera. I was just thrilled to have had something that seemed horrible turn out to be something really fun.
As for Michal….
Let’s just say he got 2nd place again, but this year the men’s 2nd place time was slower than the women’s 1st place time….
I guess there can only be one winner in every relationship (ohhhhhhhh snap!)
July 3, 2010 No Comments