This will be long, so feel free to skip it if you wish. This was our first trip to the Outer Banks and we cannot wait to return.
We traveled all day on the 4th of July. Left our home at 9:00 a.m. and arrived there at 9:00 p.m. We stayed at the Comfort Inn in Kill Devils Hill for one night. When I went to check in, a lady was checking out and getting a refund because of the gnat problem (due to the swamp fires) and this unnerved me just a little. We ordered pizza and watched fireworks for a few minutes, then went to bed. The only room they had left was a double - double and that wasn't quite big enough for us, but worked for one night. The continental breakfast the next morning was very crowded, but held us over until we could get a real meal. The gnats were annoying outside, but there weren't any inside the rooms. I think they had sprayed.
Saturday - I called our rental company and they said we could pick up our keys early. We got the keys at 10:30 a.m. instead of having to wait until 4:00 p.m. This was great news. When we arrived to pick up the keys, they said there was a problem with our house and we could either wait until 4 to get in or we'd have to let plumbers in to fix two toilets in the house. We said we'd be happy to let the plumbers in to fix the problem. The rest of our group was on the road (they had little ones, so they stopped in Richmond to stay the previous night). They were happy that we were able to get into the house early. The rental company forgot to give us our parking passes and wristbands to Corolla Light, but we got that problem solved quickly. We had all decided that each family would cook one meal during the week. We picked "arrival" day and headed to Corolla Village BBQ. We spent $47 and fed our whole group with food leftover to snack on later. The line of people leaving their rentals as we were arriving was slow and long and we decided we would do whatever it took to avoid that when we were leaving. We went to the grocery store. We chose Harris Teeter. The prices weren't bad. We picked up a coupon to be a preferred customer while we were there and got the specials. In fact, a couple of things were cheaper than they are at home. It was a very nice store and there were cashiers waiting to check us out, instead of us waiting in line for one of them. Oh, we did get a "violation" for leaving our towels out on the deck to dry. That's a big NO-NO in Corolla. You also must have the parking passes visible in your car windows. That's cause for another violation, if you don't.
Sunday - took a drive and ate lunch at the Black Pelican. It was very good and a nice experience. Stopped at Walmart to pick up some things we forgot to bring.
Monday - the guys went deep sea fishing. They were guaranteed to catch fish or get their money back. They caught three blue fish, which they threw back. The rest of us enjoyed the pools and private beach at Corolla Light. The trolley was nice, but very busy. That night, we went to the Timbuck II Plaza to find our dinner (since the fishermen let us down) and tried to eat at the Route 12 Steak & Seafood. We didn't have reservations and we were told it would be 1 hour and 15 minutes before we could be served. There were 11 of us, and we should definitely called ahead. So we went to North Banks (Bar & Grille?) and they had the same wait. We found Gabriella's Italy. No wait. However, when the 11 of us walked in, the first thing the guy (owner?) said to me was, "Do you have a bunch of kids with you?" I said "No, we have 11 people, but only two little ones." He then said he didn't know how he'd seat us. The place was empty. I said that he could split us up and he said he'd planned on it. By then, my son and his girlfriend said they were going somewhere else to eat, so that left nine of us. The guy said, "Good, now I can put a couple of tables together for you!" Our waiter was very nice, but the rest of that eating experience left a lot to be desired. One thing, tip included. This was NOT a problem for us, but it didn't say what % of the check would be included in the tip. We also had three people paying for the nine remaining people, but they wanted to charge $5.00 for each extra check. Now we know why the place was empty when everywhere else had a wait.
Tuesday - We had a pirate treasure hunt for the little ones on the beach. This was planned before we went and the kids really enjoyed it. Later in the day, we went on Bob's Wild Horse Adventure Tour. We went in an air conditioned Surburban and our guide's name was Kendra. She was great and the horses and beaches up in that area are beautiful. We were guaranteed to see horses, or get our money back. I jokingly bet that we'd see more horses than the guys caught fish......and we did! For dinner, we had a taco night at our rental house. It was pretty good!
Wednesday - More beach and resort time. We also very much enjoyed sunsets on the sound. It was somebody else's turn to cook and they made side dishes at the house, then went back to Corolla BBQ for the meat. It was GOOD! At one point that day, I looked at my daughter and she was in a trance. I asked her what she was thinking about, and she said she was trying to figure out a way to stay another week. She loved it there.
Thursday - We headed to Ocracoke for the day. We loved the ferry ride over (FREE) and the beaches there were very nice. We had lunch at Howard's Pub. I had crabcakes and they were okay. We went to a few shops. I liked the grocery store there. It reminded me of the store in our small town when I was growing up. We didn't stay there too long, but it was quite relaxing. When we got back to our rental, the rest of the gang was having dinner at the Sunset Grille in Duck. They really liked it! We also stopped at the Yellow House Art Gallery and purchased some maps for our son's collection. Eve T was delightful and very welcoming. Thursday night, we took the kids to the beach with their flashlights to look for ghost crabs. That was SO much fun. We all laughed, giggled, and had a great time. We just shined the flashlights on them and counted them. This was cheap and easy entertainment! Hey when I think about it, maybe we are a cheap and easy group. Anyway, that was fun!
Friday - We headed home a day early. We are not morning people and knew we'd have to get out of there by 6 a.m. to avoid the stop and go 20 + mile line of traffic. The rest stayed until Saturday and spent the day at the beach and the resort.
All in all, it was a great vacation. I had researched so much over the past year and had a list of things I wanted to do. We didn't get to do them all, and I was a little upset about that, but hey, that's an excuse to go back. Next time, I will plan less activities and spend more time on the beach with my book and umbrella. That sun is HOT!