Pirate Vacation – A Landlubber’s Tale – Part 1

For the month of August, I have officially been out of town more days than I have been home. It’s been a looooooong past couple of weeks on the road, but I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I didn’t work a little fun in there.

Scott took a new job back in May which means that he doesn’t work with me anymore and is unable to travel to all the events that I help put on. As crazy as it sounds, we have never been separated more than a couple days within the last four years. So, when I had to be gone for 10 days this month, we had some adjusting to do! I know a lot of spouses who travel and I’m truly sorry for all of you. It’s tough! I can’t even imagine what it would be like for those who have kids. I’d probably cry every night. Ha! So, kudos and high-fives to all you rock-star spouses and families out there who do this on a regular basis.

Anyway, after a hugely successful event …

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… it was time to finally meet up with the husband for a little vacation! (Side-note: if you all want to see what I do on a regular basis, tune into NBC on October 5 at 2 p.m. ET for the televised version of this event!)

I was already in South Carolina and drove up to Jacksonville, North Carolina to pick Scott up from the airport. If you’ve ever flown into this airport, it is truly in the middle of nowhere. I was getting nervous that my GPS was taking me to some random place. But sure enough, between some trees and cornfields, there it was.

Scott hopped in the truck and we were off to the southern portion of the Outer Banks, specifically Beaufort, NC. After about 45 minutes of driving, we reached the coast and rather than take the fastest route, we decided to take the long way and cruised along the Emerald Isle just south of the Bogue Sound.

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This stretch of roadway is about 20 miles long, but the island is only a quarter mile wide in most parts. So you get to see water on either side, along with all these colorful beach houses. It was so beautiful! It made me want to paint our house a mint color with white shutters.

After making a quick stop at the grocery store, we headed over to Beaufort (pronounced “boh fort”). We chose Beaufort, NC as our vacay spot after Scott had come across it in one of his diving magazines. There are quite a few shipwrecks off the coast as well as a German U-Boat submarine (U-352) and this is also where Blackbeard (yes, the pirate), wrecked his ship – Queen Anne’s Revenge a quarter mile off Beaufort’s coast (hence “Pirate Vacation”). This location is also home to quite a few sand tiger sharks. I can’t even begin to describe Scott’s level of excitement.

We found a place to stay through Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO). It was located on the main street right along the water right above a row of restaurants and also included an enormous roof-top deck. Amazing!

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We camped out up there every morning and evening to see the sailboats come in and out. The deck also came with a constant breeze. We loved it. My hair … not so much. Ha! Here is a series of photos Scott tried to take while we were up there:

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While at the grocery store, we wanted to pick up some local-ish beers and opted for a sampler pack from Highland Brewing Company out of Asheville, NC. We also snagged some “pirate beer” – Loose Cannon from Heavy Seas Microbrewery out of Maryland. It’s some good stuff!

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The first night on the town we headed to Queen Anne’s Revenge – one of the restaurants on the boardwalk, and feasted on some crazy-good seafood. I had crab cakes while Scott opted for the fresh catch of the day – Wahoo.

Beaufort is an old town … like early 1700’s old … and a lot of the houses are from that time period. All the historic homes have a plaque posted beside the door that lists the original owner and the year it was built. It was incredible to see how well kept some of these 300 + year old houses are.

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We ended the night with a walk along the boardwalk. Scott said he would be okay with moving here. Ha!

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The next morning we suited up and took a boat ride over to Shackleford Banks. This is a 9-mile sandbar island that features 130+ wild horses. Supposedly the horses are descendants from a Spanish shipwreck back in the 16th century. The boat/pontoon ride over there was a little crazy, and there is no dock to let you off. You just hop off the side of the boat into the water.

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Also, when it comes to me and selfies in the sun, my eyes can’t take it. So, I thought I’d be sneaky and wear sunglasses and close my eyes so I wasn’t blinded. Joke’s on me. My sunglasses are a little see-through.

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Once on the island we spotted a few horses and booked it over there before other people scared them off.

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Our boat driver mentioned on the way over that you are not allowed to get closer than 50 feet from the horses or else you will be fined $500! Although the horses are wild, I think they are used to people at a distance, so it’s not like they went crazy once they saw us.

Once we had our fill of the horses, we headed to the Atlantic side of the island which included some crazy waves but also tons of seashells.

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One of our favorite things about this area of NC is that it was never crowded and it didn’t feel touristy like some beach towns can feel.

The only time I felt crowded was when we broke out our picnic lunch and all the seagulls decided they wanted to share with us. Little punks.

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Scott encouraged them by feeding them some bread scraps. Surprisingly, any time he would throw a scrap in the air they would catch it! We only did this a couple times because we had 10 birds on us in no time.

We decided to vacate to the calmer, inner-coastal side of the beach. Once we were all set up, I set out to cool off in the water. Not 10 seconds after I was heading back in, a couple guys started shouting and pointing in my direction. Supposedly there was a small hammerhead shark eating fish right by me! Ahhhh! Once Scott heard this he bolted into the water. It took us a while, but we did finally spot him once we were heading back to the boat. Craaaazy!

No one was bitten or eaten, although I think Scott might have secretly wanted a shark to bite his leg so he could have a cool scar.

I’m gonna stop here and finish up with the rest of our trip next week since this post is waaay long enough. So …. to be continued. 🙂

Thanks for stopping in and have a great holiday weekend! We have a baby shower and lots of family to see!

– Allie

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