Monday, July 11, 2011

Pine Knoll Shores ~ Heaven on Earth

Been putting off writing this one because once I write the post it means the trip is over and I still can't believe how fast our week at our favorite place on earth went!  It might have seemed faster this year because we did one week instead of two like we did last year or it could just be that whenever you are having such a relaxed time that you hardly know what day of the week it is that time really does FLY!

We arrived at Ocean Splendor in Pine Knoll Shores, NC the day before Memorial Day.  After waiting all year for this trip it just felt good to be back.  We decided since we couldn't get into the house until 3pm that we would enjoy our ride in.  We took the southern bridge over into Emerald Isle and slowly made our way north toward Atlantic Beach on Emerald Dr/NC-58.  We had the windows wide open and Bob Marley blaring. 

The house we have rented now for four years (five weeks total over the past 4yrs) is a SPACIOUS 7 bedroom, 7 1/2 bath oceanfront mini-mansion complete with theater room, game room, pool, hot tub and even an elevator!  Over the years we have had a mixture of my family and my husband's join us on this amazing trip! 

This year the week is seriously a blur (not because we drank too much) but because it was one of those trips that would be listed on the back of a shampoo bottle (you know, Lather - Rinse - Repeat).  Eat, Drink, Sleep, Swim, Scrabble, and wake up and do it all over again the next day kind of trip!

I will list some of the highlights in no particular order ~
  • Dolphin Watch Cruise - one of our favorite Crystal Coast adventures. This BRAND new boat leaves several times a day from the quaint seaside town of Beaufort, NC. Very well laid out, super friendly staff, informative, most importantly FUN! The Crystal Coast Lady also offers pirate cruises, dinner & dancing cruises and much more. Complete with a nice little snack bar this excursion takes you further than any of the other boats that leave the Beaufort docks. We had a chance to go all the way to Fort Macon!
  • Snack Bar aboard The Crystal Coast Lady
  • After the boat we had lunch at Finz. Rum Runners were on special!
  • To satisfy everyone's sweet tooth we got fresh baked cookies and brownies from The Spouter Inn Bakery. I'm talking still warm!  I wish I could post a smell because it smells YUMMY in there!
  • Checked out the sea-faring vessels being built across from the NC Maritime Museum at the Museum's Watercraft Center.
  • The kids talking to a real live boat maker!
  • Then we hit the... North Carolina Maritime Museum - the museum was in a transition phase this visit. A few days before we got to NC an offshore excavation at the site of the sunken Queen Anne's Revenge raised the ANCHOR to Blackbeard the fearsome pirate's last ship. The museum will house the anchor along with a substantial Blackbeard exhibit (now open). This museum runs solely on donations. - A sweet side note - there is a bowl near the exit of shells that has a "please take one" sign. I found out that two elderly women take a boat to one of the remote islands a few times a week to collect these shells.
North Carolina Maritime Museum, Beaufort, NC

  • Island Grille - located ocean side in Atlantic Beach this cozy gourmet restaurant is our FAVORITE! Monday and Tuesday nights they run a Two for ONE Entree special on a select list of entrees. I know I said it in a previous post but seriously the best stuffed Filet Mignon ever! Also, a great wine list AND crafty beer list. We even gave the Banana Bread Beer a whirl.
  • Island Grill, Atlantic Beach, NC

    One Very Satisfied Customer!
  • Poolside Blingo - a great family activity, it's cool to play while you you stay cool in the pool.
  • Sandcastle Building Contest - this was a to the death grudge match to see which family could build a bigger better sand structure. As a judge we decided to judge in three categories, design, creativity and we even had a fear factor award. One of the families designed a mini putt-putt course.  
  • Family Movie Night - in our very own personal movie theater (you gotta LOVE this house!). We watched Disney's Secretariat, a great family movie. Can't forget the popcorn and movie candy.
  • SHHHH but we also had a bonfire night on the beach with cheesy fireworks we bought from the local Food Lion. PS- we drew a little attention to ourselves and not the good kind. Firetrucks and forest rangers - oh my. I do not suggest building a beach fire.
  • "Midnight Glow Swim" - love this!
  • Beach Walk to Molly's - this easy mile walk to the pier at the Sheraton on Atlantic Beach is rewarded with fun beach side dining. All Aubrey (my middle daughter) and I wanted ALL week was some crab legs. We got em' at Molly's the beach bar/restaurant located on the pier. The kids meals come on bright hot pink Frisbees here which were a good addition to our beach toy collection.
  • Molly's at the Sheraton Pier, Atlantic Beach, NC

  • Big Oak Drive In - our last night in town we got take out from the Big Oak. The shrimp-burgers were so good.  This is sure to become a "last night" tradition.
    Aside from all the eating, drinking and fun above we mostly relaxed, swam, snoozed on the beach, strolled, and took the time to EXHALE. Isn't that what vacations are all about giving yourselves and those around you a chance to breathe.



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    Andy Nardone said...

    ...2012 anyone??? Can't wait to see y'all real soon.

    kara said...

    we are in!!!!!!!!!!!!!