Beaufort, NC + a quick note

Main, North Carolina, Visit

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I started this post months ago and was tempted to skip over it and get right to all the exciting changes our family has experienced the past few months to catch you all up. But then I realized I always do that! It would be remiss to act like our annual blissful summer in the sun never happened, when the girls (only two of them!) were sun kissed and had the permanent smell of sunscreen and salt water on their skin. And Grace, only 4, learned how to swim with confidence! Oh summer where did you go? So many amazing changes since then, but looking at photos from summer makes we a bit weepy. My love of warm weather and the water must be rubbing off on my children (along with other, unwanted attributes). Grace several times recently has asked “When will it be summer again so I can go scuba diving?” People, she has never been scuba diving. But she came pretty close in her mind while in Beaufort, NC over Labor Day with flippers and a snorkel set up to search for mermaids and treasure chests ūüôā Remember our tradition to cap off summer with a weekend away? We chose Beaufort this year and what a good decision it was.

However, I’m not going to go into too much detail about Beaufort except a little insiders guide at the end. Beaufort, along with the rest of the Carolina coast was devastated by Hurricane Florence and my main reason for even posting these photos is to shed light on this sweet little inlet town and encourage you this season, to donate your time or money to hurricane relief or pay a visit to all the small coastal towns I love. Knowing all to well what it’s like to have your world turned upside down by a hurricane, my heart ached at the sight of my beloved Carolina coast after Hurricane Florence. So consider donating to hurricane relief this season or swap material items for a weekend away and pay a visit to this inlet town. While you’re there…

Stay¬†at the Inlet Inn and look at the wild horses roaming across the water every morning. The Inlet Inn is an old hotel right near the boardwalk so you’re in a central location, walking distance to the shops, restaurants and sights. They serve a humble breakfast every morning of muffins, bagels and coffee.

Eat pizza at Black Sheep, paella and scrumptious tapas at Aqua (amazing service!) and 2 dollar hamburgers and hot dogs at the historic Royal James cafe.

Do take a charter to Shackleford Banks to swim, shell hunt and horse watch. Visit the NC Maritime Museum and make time to get ice cream and stroll along the board walk every night to watch the sunset, no matter how tired your kids are.

And now, a few other important things!

In August, we moved into a new home. Our first one that we can call ours!

I’ve been working a ton and wanted to share some recent writings here and here.

And the best for last, we welcomed a sweet baby girl last month, Louise Ader, born on October, 22, just before mama’s birthday. She’s perfect in every way and a welcome addition to our family, encouraging us all to stay home and slow down a bit this time of year.

That’s all for now and as always, thanks for reading. Appreciate you all so much! -Addie

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Finally a trip to Ocracoke Island

Main, North Carolina, Visit

What feels like eons ago (pre-kids) my best friend Emily¬†and I planned this epic camping trip to explore Ocracoke Island. Around that time a tropical storm (or maybe it was a hurricane) was brewing in the Atlantic, planning to make landfall on the North Carolina Coast. Not intimated by this fact at all, I stuck with our plans. There were plenty of hurricanes that often approached the Gulf Coast growing up, only to die down before making landfall, leaving us out of school with beautiful weather to take advantage of. So unless it’s a large, high category storm, I rarely worry. “Hello! This is Addie, I just wanted to make sure you all were going to be open this weekend as my friend and I are headed over there for a camping trip,” I said, when I called our campground. The man, in a very twangy eastern NC accent, replied; “Honey, you won’t even be able to get anywhere close to this campground this weekend I’m afraid, or the island for that matter.”

“What? Where is everyone’s sense of adventure?” I didn’t say that but I was thinking it ūüėČ A similar trip to Ocracoke was later canceled because of Mother Nature, again, and since then my desire to go there only strengthened. It didn’t help that award-winning food writer, Andrea Weigl, wrote about this apparently fabulous fig cake that you can only get on the island (unless I wanted to make it myself). Then come to find out the entire island is filled with one of my favorite things in the world, fig trees (14 varieties at least!). And in August there is an entire festival dedicated to the FIG. Then I’d have so many people say, “I can’t believe you’ve never been to Ocracoke! It’s your type of place!” Well, it wasn’t for a lack of trying I’d say.

It’s true that good things come to those who wait. This year, immediately following our trip to New Orleans (literally 1.5 days later) we road tripped out to Cedar Island to hop on a ferry ride to…wait for it…Ocracoke! Some great friends of ours (who left us for a life in PDX) were coming in town and wanted us all to trek out to Ocracoke. “YES!” I said. Never-mind that we will have just gotten back from New Orleans, are in the throes of house-hunting, that Chris is working 60+ hours a week, that I had a story deadline due which I had yet to start, and that we seem to have a million other things going on (including having another baby!!). I am a yes person. So of course, yes was my answer and I’m so glad it was.

The untouched island is both gorgeous and rustic. Because it’s truly remote, aside from a handful of golf carts, it’s remained un-commercialized. Just a handful of restaurants, a bookstore, some art communities and a few ice cream and coffee shops make up the shopping and dining options. The historic island (which is largely uninhabited) is filled with dancing live oak trees, fig trees, oleander, ancient cemeteries, and a few families of ducks, and it’s only accessible by way of ferry. Here¬†are a few things that I’ll remember about this trip and some snapshots too.

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IMG_1740 (2)Pizza and a ferry ride. What more could these two want?

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Seeing dear friends for the first time in two years.

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Ocracoke, finally!

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Daily bike rides to hike through¬†Springer’s Point where we’d have a large stretch of beach all to ourselves. Springer’s Point, a natural preserve area, is said to be the famous pirate Blackbeard’s favorite hideout place. It felt so cool yet eerie to be hanging out in the same exact woods where notably the most famous (or infamous) pirate spent so much time. The hike was long and hot for the girls but for the most part they where such champs.¬†

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I was able to bring my bike along and use it as our main mode of transportation. Ocracoke is so scenic, biking is really the best way to enjoy it. We loved discovering all the cemeteries, the historic homes and the lighthouse.

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Grace having too much fun. So much so, that on the first day she cut her foot on seashells and insisted on wearing socks (and also wanted to be carried everywhere and was absolutely¬†hysterical during bath time¬†#3yearolds) the entire trip. The girl makes me laugh so hard! It wasn’t that bad of a cut but I think it’s the sight of it that disturbs her. She wore socks the entire time and came back with the funniest looking tan lines on her ankles.¬†

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Fig cake for breakfast on our last day. Mission accomplished!

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Chris pointed out that Ocracoke was a perfect combination of my home town and my beloved Grayton Beach, Fl. I hate comparing places to other places but he was spot on which is why we probably liked it so much.

 

Let’s keep in touch and thanks for tuning in!

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-Addie

 

 

Grayton Beach, FL

Main, Visit

I’m sitting here wondering how people blog so frequently about their travels, their home cooked meals, their life and still actually find pleasure in¬†those things. I had plans to do an entire post on the best crab cakes in the world, which are served at the famous Red Bar. Actually, I haven’t tried every crab cake in the world but I would argue they’re the best in the South! ¬†I had plans to post about the eerily quaint¬†Seaside¬†community. I had plans to take you on a bike ride through¬†Grayton Beach State Park¬†to see the sand dunes, blue herons and alligators. However, it felt like¬†a lot of¬†work and not enough vacationing!¬†I’m hoping the reason I wasn’t able to compile several posts about our trip is a sign of a great vacation, (or I‚Äôm a little unorganized). Maybe both?

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So here is just¬†one¬†post (that didn‚Äôt take away from what was an awesome week!). All of the pictures were taken at arguably my favorite place on earth (besides Bay St. Louis)¬†Grayton Beach, Florida. A place I’ve been fortunate to vacation¬†for more than 20 years thanks to my step-mother and father. It has been named one of the best beaches in the world before and rightly so. The crowds are relatively small compared to other Florida beach towns. The water is clear blue. The sand is white and feels like sugar on your feet. Grayton is an old town that has kept its‚Äô charm thanks to protection from Grayton Beach State Park. You’ll find bungalow style homes, just a few restaurants, live oak trees and people roaming around in their swimsuits.

Perhaps its‚Äô most unique quality is that it’s the home of Western Lake, one of the few coastal dune lakes worldwide which flows in and out of the ocean. It’s difficult to explain but¬†when you are at the beach in Grayton, watching the waves, behind you is a beautiful peaceful lake usually filled with kids looking for fish, swimming, canoeing etc. If you’re lucky you’ll sometimes get to see the lake when it has joined the ocean and turned crystal clear. Mother Nature is an incredible thing and Grayton Beach is filled with natural beauty. Here are some photos.

My brother Jay made low country risotto one night. I was assisting him in and out, scribbling notes but mostly chatting, drinking and getting quality time with our family. So I have no idea how the deliciousness ended up from pot to plate. I ended up with just this one not-so-good photo but a lingering addictive taste of silky corn, nutty risotto and spicy crab in my mouth.  He is so creative in the kitchen. Who would have thought low country boil leftovers could be transformed into risotto? He used vegetable and seafood scraps to make a fish stock that perfumed the entire house. Chris caught crabs off the dock in the back yard that accompanied the risotto perfectly.

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I just had to include this picture because it makes me laugh. This is Grace “waving.” She proudly waves very seriously now, often with two hands and not just at people, but animals, cars, plants and in this case, a kite.

First dip in Western Lake, or the “little lake” as we call it.

Crab cake and grouper dinner at the Red Bar (great food, weird lighting.) While the price of the crab cakes go up, the taste and quality seem to be just as good if not better. Look at that generous portion of pure lump crab on my plate!

I hope Grace grows up loving this place as much as I do. Her first trip was a success thanks to our family who fed, cared and entertained her while we were there. Until next year Grayton!

-Addie

Carolina Beach

North Carolina, People, Visit

Hi there!

Two weekends ago we headed out to Carolina Beach, about a 2 & 1/2 hour drive from Raleigh, & had a lovely time. Not counting when I was pregnant, this was Grace’s first beach trip! Our friends Lisa & Bert (who took most of these photos) were so sweet to invite us on a weekend getaway. Our condo was right across the street from the beach so we had a nice breeze & gorgeous view. While Grace was a little intimated by the water, she was completely content playing under the tent watching all the beach goers, birds & waves. Our friend Sandy made some incredible mahi tacos Friday (hate I didn’t get a good picture) & Chris did his signature seafood boil Saturday night. Our bellies were very happy, our bodies energized by the ocean & our minds rested. The ocean has that effect on people. Here are a few pictures.

How cute is this baby? This is Olivia, our dear friend Bert & Lisa’s 4 1/2 month old. It was so nice being on a trip with another mom. It makes trying to coax your baby to sleep for what some times feels like forever more bearable ;). Olivia makes the cutest little coo noises & makes me miss when Grace was that age. And look at all that hair!

Lunch on our balcony. Sandy’s homemade quinoa¬†tabbouleh & hummus with my ginger chicken salad, fresh fruit & cool wine. A perfect beach day lunch.
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Grace used to be able to nap anywhere, but now that she is older & more aware of her surroundings it’s not as easy. Luckily my Wildbird ring sling (which has been a life saver) can fix that! She doesn’t stand a chance of fighting a nap after a few minutes in this thing.

Mouthwatering. We got our seafood from Seaview Crab Company in Wilmington, NC. Chris did his magic as usual & voila-dinner!

There’s dinner & a show…but it’s best when dinner is the show, in my opinion. It wouldn’t be a beach trip with out some fresh, local seafood to devour.

So grateful for all the friends we’ve made in Raleigh, especially these ladies!¬†My little munchkin devouring an apple that was originally mine. No food stands a chance in front of this little mouth anymore. She’s cutting her first tooth (finally), so I imagine the cold apple felt good on her little gums. Can’t believe this one made 8 months old yesterday!