Sunday, September 30, 2012

Outer Banks Vacation

September 30, 2012

"Outer Banks Vacation"

The Outer Banks of North Carolina is a strip of Barrier Islands all linked together along the Eastern Seacoast of North Carolina.  For sportsfishermen, beach fisherman, surfers, boogyboarders and paddleboarders, and beachcombers, it is a "paradise".

This year marked the 5th time our immediate family has gotten together to rent a house in the Outer Banks in the past  eleven years.  We usually plan our trip every two years, because it is expensive, seeing as we have been renting luxury homes the last two times.  From Corola 4 x 4 beach access down to Sanderling, Pine Island and back up to Whalehead  Beach, we have managed to rent on different parts of the Outer Banks in four different locations and staying in 4 different homes.  In Sanderling, we rented the same house twice.  Always the same week; Labor Day Weekend until the next Saturday or Sunday.  That is when the rental rates get cut in half and you can afford to take your family and rent a luxury home.   We have never encountered bad weather on any of these vacations and once, came right after a hurrican hit.  No damage was done to our area, and we were very relieved.

This is a picture of the house we rented this year.   Very large with three living rooms on three different levels, 5 master bedrooms and several bunk rooms twins, etc.  More space than we actually needed.  We never even used the bottom floor which h ad a master bedroom and two extra bedrooms, bathrooms, laundry room sitting area, etc.  We had an inground pool and hottub.  All gated for children's safety.  And elevator which came in handy to haul your groceries and luggatge from floor to floor.   My oldest son and his daughter (my youngest grandchild) used the pool a lot.  She is a little swimmer and really enjoys the pool.  The "girls" really enjoyed the hot tub that was right next to the pool. 

We rented from Twiddy Realty this year and were more than pleased with the almost new condition of the house, impeccably clean, nothing in ill repair.  Fully equipped kitchen, gorgeous furnishings and accessories, even a taxidermied Blue Marlin fish decorating the wall overlooking the beautiful kitchen.

This year, it was very humid and hot!  Reaching 90 degrees some days with very little breeze on the beach, which is unusual for that area.  I am a beachcomber, but this year, there was very little to find that was interesting.  One year we found starfish all over the beach, horseshoe crabs, and some interesting shells.  My grandaughers managed to find "little treasures" to take home, but I prefer to shop at the local Shell Shop outside of Manteo.  We make a trip every time we in the OBX just so I can add to my vast collection of "perfect shells and corals".  This year we discoverd a newly open shop "What the Shell" in Corolla Village.  They offer kids shell crafts there and I purchased some interesting shells to take home.

The girls make shell frames to take home and my oldest daughter-in-law supervised them.  The frames turned out beautiful.  If you are in Corola, please spend the time to check out this new shop.  It was worth the stop.  The owner offers shell art from all around the world, plus some very beautiful shells for sale, as well as pieces of driftwood, which I purchased to display the whole small crabs I had found 2 years ago on the beach.

There was something for everyone in our group.  Fishing for my grandchildren, my younger son and daughter-in-law.  Paddleboarding for the same daughter-in-law.  Golf for my husband and older son and grandson, beachcoming for me and lots of boutique shopping.  Total relaxation for my whole family after a year's worth of hard work at their jobs.

The is my younger son who owns all the beach fishing rods, but never fishes!  He is setting up his "camp" on the beach for the day with his large sun unbrella that he purchased from the Lion Food Store nearby.  He is content to sit in his sand chair with a cooler filled with his favorite "brewskis"  It is his wife and my husband that usually catch all the fish.  She caught 7-8 this year.  A record!  All were let back into the ocean for another time.

The older grandkids swam, boogieboarded, made large sandcastles and made some new friends from next door.  There were about 30 people in the other house (4 families) with lots of kids their age.

On Monday of our rental week, we had a reservation in Manteo to go on a sunset cruise aboard the 55 foot double masted schooner "Down East Rover".  We had wanted to take this cruise for several years now and this year proved to be perfect.  My only grandson got to steer the sailboard once it was out in the water and stabelized.  "Captain Cutty" was so excited to be able to do this.    The water was relatively calm, beautiful views of the land and there truly is nothing better than seeing a gorgous sunset from a sailboat.  The sailboard does not go out in inclement and rainy weather, so, the reservations that you make beforehand do not have to be paid for until you actually show up to take the cruise.  There are also afternoon cruises, if you prefer.  The crew was so nice and personable.  The first mate has crewed on a number of boats and was very experienced and friendly.  We had a great time and would do it again, someday.

Manteo is about a 40 minute drive from where we stayed on Whalehead Beach in Corolla.  It is a delightful little town with lots of specialty and boutique stores for shopping, unique restaurants, beautiful marina complete with a large playground for the kids.  If you go to the OBX, make sure you take time to explore this delightful little town and all that it has to offer.

My younger son and daughter-in-law and the grandkids all went "crabbing" in the back bay one afternoon.  At the bait shop they were given  srings with a paper clip on the end at them.  You need to purchase chicken necks and cut them into sections, attaching them to the paper clip.  They managed to pull in 12-15 of these beautiful crabs.  They issue you a chart with dimensions for the crabs and tell you which size you can keep.  Later that day, my younger son (who is our fabulous cook while we are on vacation) steamed them adding Old Bay Crab and Lobster Seasoning, and some of us ate them with our dinner.  Everyone agreed that the  meat was very sweet, but there was not enough of it.  You really had to work for that crab!

Thee is nothing like a sunset from the deck of your beach rental house on the OBX.  The area is know for its gorgeous sunsets.  I have seen better ones in the past years, but his year they were beautiful!

As we said goodbye to our wonderful family beach vacation, we vowed to come back again soon and make some more wonderful family memories.

Until next time.

Garden Gate Designs

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Banded Agate

Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Banded Agate"

Agate comes in many colors.  Blue, Fuschia, Brown, Black, Green, etc.  and in many combinations of.

I recently added this beautiful piece to my ArtFire shop at:

The agate pendant is dark brown with banded colors of cream, dark rust, and cocoa.  Turquoise Faceted Rondels with a  brown matrix running through them pick up the brown colors in the agate, as well as the coca colored lava beads and ruby bracciated jasper rounds.  Finished with a lightweight aluminum silver brushed chain and ended with a brushed silver hook and eye clasp.

A truly beautiful accessory for your Fall/Winer wardrobe.

Come see all the bautiful creations Garden Gate Designs has for sale in its ArtFire shop at:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fall Creations

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Fall Creations"

Come check out what's new for the Fall/Winter Season in my ArtFire Shop.

With the leaves starting to turn beautiful colors, and colder nights and cooler days starting, we need to update our wardrobes with accessories that carry out the Fall Color tones.

New for the season is a wonderful Picasso Red Jasper  Pendant necklace. 

The gold chain adds to the richness of the beads.  Come check this out in my ArtFire Shop at:

Big, bold, Blue Banded Agate Pendant Necklace combines with real blue Lapis and silver chain.

Until next time, Rosemary, Garden Gate Designs