The culmination of the back-to-back-to-back-to-back weekends of travel was a much, much anticipated 5-day beach trip to Emerald Isle. It was one of those trips we've talked about nearly all of residency - "we should rent a house at the beach for the end of residency!" and I'm equal parts thrilled we followed through and amazed that we're at the end of residency point already.
I've grown up going to South Carolina beaches - specifically Garden City & Surfside - but I have always wanted to explore the varying and interesting coast of NC so I was excited that we picked the new-to-me spot of Emerald Isle. Locke found us a great house that was 2nd row to the beach with a pool in the backyard and we quickly made it a home by dumping sunglasses on every counter, beach towels over stairways, sun-tanned lotion magazines on side tables and stocking the fridge full of beer, snacks and fishing bait.
It was a wonderful get-away with good friends, Zac & Jamie, Anne & Locke and Mike. After looking at a weather forecast with potential rain all week, we lucked out with never a drop and sunny warm days in the high 70s. There were some threatening clouds that cropped up from time to time, but they moved on and the sun shone all week. We fell into an easy routine of breakfast and coffee on the porch, wandering down to the pool for basking, reading or hanging out in the water, a quick bite to eat for lunch and then wandering over to the beach for the afternoon. The boys amused themselves with bocce ball or guarding fishing lines. It goes without saying that most girls don't need amusement at a beach - there's total satisfaction from toes in the sand, a few magazines and maybe even a nap. Or even better, watching cute Zoey experience the surf lapping up on her sandy legs or trying to figure out how to distract her Momma so she could find out if sand was as tasty as it looked like it could be.
We had two delicious meals out at local restaurants that were picked out by Mike who frequents this beach every other weekend (insert snide jealous comment) and then we cooked two meals in. Our final night, we had a shrimp boil - something I have always wanted to do and which turned out to be very easy and a huge crowd pleaser. Adding to the "keep" list for future recipes and potential tailgate or other large crowd meals.
Between the surprisingly great weather, the excellent company and the adorable and entertaining Miss Z I don't think we could have had a better week. The only improvement on the vacation would have been to double the time we were there. Sunday morning arrived way, way too quickly and soon we were saying goodbye to our little island house and headed back to reality.