Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pine Knoll Shores, NC ~ my favorite great family getaway

Ocean Splendor ~ Pine Knoll Shores, North Carolina (southern outer banks)
Seven Bedroom Oceanfront Rental Home complete with pool, hot tub, game room, elevator and theater room!

(one of our tricks to keep cost down when renting any vacation property ~ is to stay in the off or shoulder seasons, you can usually save several hundreds even thousands of dollars)

Our own pool!

One of the many master bedrooms! Look at that view~!

Kitchen is MASSIVE - two subzero fridges, two dishwashers, ice maker, and granite counter tops! You never feel there are too many cooks in the kitchen in this house. We set up meal teams in advance. Everyone signs up for two meals a week that they are responsible to shopping, cooking, serving and clean up for the whole group! The best thing about this is you are there for a week but only have to take care of two meals!

I have been putting off blogggin about my favorite family getaway because I am afraid I will not do it justice. It is hard to explain your "happy place" in an accurate manner. This year will be our fourth year going to the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina. It seriously is one of my favorite places in the world (I know this is a BIG world and I haven't seen most of it). We talk about this trip the whole year leading up to going. Each year it is an assortment of family that joins us (that in itself might be why the trip is SO GOOD!). Some years it is my side of the family, other years it is Chris' but last year was my favorite a COMBO of both sides! It didn't hurt that last year we also stayed to TWO WHOLE WEEKS! We have ages ranging between 8months and eighty something with us some trips! This I believe attests to the versatility of a home and location like this. There truly is something for everyone!

We pack up pretty much everything except the dog (the rental company does have several pet friendly homes the one we rent is not one of them). Last year we rented a U-Haul trailer (I am not exaggerating) to lug all the stuff for two weeks including Avalynn our newest addition and all that goes along with an infant. Couldn't wait to try out the NEW beach friendly jogging stroller!

We play our favorite car games on the way to pass the time including counting all the South of the Border signs as we pass into North Carolina! http://karasgreatgetaways.blogspot.com/2011/02/car-rides-with-kiddies.html

The excitement increases when we pass the USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC which means we are getting close! I recommend trying to stop here on either the way in or out. It is quite an experience. The kids loved trying out the bunks and pretending to chef it up in the galley. http://www.battleshipnc.com/
USS North Carolina

Once we arrive it is usually a flurry of unpacking running to check out that all the rooms are just where we left them a year ago. A quick walk to the end of the walkway to see the ocean is still there. Many a time I have been so hot from all the unpacking that I jump right in the pool fully dressed. The kids get such a kick out of this and it kind of means for me let the vacation BEGIN!

Our days in Pine Knoll Shores are filled with walks on the beach or in the neighborhoods in the morning. Building sandcastles, scrabble on the beach, Yahtzee poolside, eating, drinking, sunbathing, swimming, boogie boarding, reading, doing puzzles, shell hunting (GREAT in this area), repeat the next day and the day after that.

We do try to do something outside the house at least once during the week, although it is TOUGH to leave paradise behind even for a few hours. We have gone to the aquarium, to Beaufort for the day, dolphin cruises, ferry to Shackleford Banks (#1 shelling on the Crystal Coast), souvenir shopping, a drive to Fort Macon in Atlantic Beach and more.

Each evening we try to unwind from our rough day and long commute from the beach by enjoying a glass of wine (not the kids) on the deck and watching the Moonrise and Sunset almost simultaneously. After dinner we either play a game - ranging from cards to puzzles to charades to beer pong (again not the kids). Or we make it a movie night! Many nights you may find a bunch of us in the hot tub or strolling the beach. One of the kids favorite nights is when we do a "midnight" swim with glow sticks!

I think the best thing about this trip is the happiness level of everyone is so high you can feel it! It is a special time to regroup and remember that being together is what matters. The beauty and privacy of this location just reminds me of all the great gifts God has given us. I know there is so much I am leaving out, maybe I will have Gabby read this and write a part II including anything I missed or some reasons she loves PKS, NC!

As far as food and drink goes - we recently found Molly's down near the pier at the Sheraton in Atlantic Beach. A great little joint for drinks, apps and live music. We love it because we just walk down the beach there! www.sheratonatlanticbeach.com/dining/mollys.asp

Yummy takeout food for your lunches ~ New York Deli Cafe' has amazing sandwiches! There baked potato salad in incredible. http://www.newyorkdelicafe.com/

Fried Chicken to die for can be found at the unassuming White Swan BBQ & Fried Chicken - don't let the fact that it is attached to a gas station scare you away! http://www.whiteswanatlanticbeach.com/

We found a new favorite last year - Island Grille in Atlantic Beach was out of this world! A small intimate very gourmet yet not stuffy little restaurant that served us the BEST FILET MIGNON I have ever had (said at least four of our group)! They were exceptionally accommodating to our large group complete with kids. We can't wait to go back again! The have a Two for One Entree Special on Monday and Tuesday nights. Do not miss this treasure of Atlantic Beach~ http://www.islandgrillerestaurant.com/

A fave of the kids is Amos Mosquitos (the locals call it Skeeters) overlooks beautiful Bogue Sound. I think the kids like it because the waitstaff is dressed like exterminators and the kids menu is littered with options like Slimewich, Slimy Swampburger and Mud & Blood (aka grilled cheese, cheeseburger and PB&J). http://www.amosmosquitos.com/

another day another sandcastle

yet another day yet another sandcastle

Hot Tubbin' with Grandma and Papa after a long day in the sun!

Beaufort (pronounced Bo-fort) for a day trip is great! Great restaurants and shops! They even have dolphin watch cruises that leave from the docks! We have gone on http://www.lookoutcruises.com/ twice and LOVED it each time! You can enjoy watching the wild ponies run on the beach on the island straight across from the docks. Be sure to hit the FREE Maritime Museum while in Beaufort http://www.ncmaritime.org/. There is also a yummy bakery right across from the museum - http://www.spouterinn.net/. Also a place of interest for the kids is Blackbeard the Pirate's house in located in Beaufort. http://www.beaufortnc.org/

There is even an Annual Beach Run that is held the week we are there (and several times during the summer). The turn around point is RIGHT in front of our house! So, we go down and cheer the runners on. This past year we had a few runners of our own in the run to yell and scream for. What Fun!

Sitting out on the deck in the evenings with a glass of wine and some steamed mussels is a favorite past time. Enjoying the Moonrise on one side of the house and the sunset on the other!


Moonrise (are you seeing a pattern here?)

The theater room is LOVED by the little kids......and BIG kids alike! We vote as a group before we go to NC for at least two movies for the kids and two for the adults. We try to choose ones that none of us seen so it is more of a movie premiere! Popcorn and movie candy is a must! You can research ahead of time for what will be releasing around your dates of departure by going to http://www.comingsoon.net/

North Carolina Aquarium ~ Pine Knoll Shores is an educational and exciting morning or afternoon out. If you get a rainy day this is the best fix for the rainy day blues! We became members last year when we visited~ www.ncaquariums.com/pine-knoll-shores

A diver showing the kids a shark tooth he found at the bottom of the tank.Maybe this guy is looking for his missing tooth?

VRBO link for Ocean Splendor

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