Thursday, December 1, 2011

Paradise found...

Last week was a special one...I turned the big 3-0 and we spent the week in the Outer Banks with my family doing a whole lot of eating and relaxing...oh, and I spent alot of time watching for wild horses.  As a child, we didn't get the chance as a family to get away very often but I clearly remember spending Thanksgiving in the Outer Banks one year with my family and some close family friends.  To say I've never forgotten it or that it was special would be an understatement.  My love for the Outer Banks runs deep but with SO much development in the last 10 years that place is starting to look a little foreign and over-grown to me.  So, we mixed things up and decided to stay in the 4x4 only area - meaning simply, there are no roads - just beach and houses dotted along the way.  Peace and queit are a plenty and this just so happens to be a part of the Outer Banks where the wild horses, known as "Bankers" (or "dog dog dog" as Addie liked to call them - I have to wonder if she marveled at how much bigger these dogs were then hers at home) also like to freely roam.  Seeing one was important to me...something about their beauty and freedom strikes a cord in my heart.  As luck would have it...I saw plenty and on a daily basis nonetheless.  While visiting down there I spent some time reading about these horses and their history - I found it insanely interesting that these horses are actually considered "feral horses" by the US Wildlife and Fisheries Department as they are believed to be descendants of domesticated Spanish horses that were either unloaded to lighten ships as they passed by the very dangerous North Carolina coastline (home to many many shipwrecks over our history) or swam to shore after a ship had wrecked and learned to live on the land.  As they are not native to the Outer Banks, they are considered to be a nusiance because they are not a part of the established ecosystem.  While there are laws in place and not-for-profit groups that exist solely to protect these beautiful animals, they do control their population numbers by birth control and various adoption progams.  I know I'm a geek but I couldn't help but do a little research to learn their history and how they survive.  If you're ever in the Outer Banks, I highly recommend taking a tour or a drive up to "where the road ends" in Corolla to see these amazing animals.

I know Thanksgiving has come and gone but this trip just reminded me how much I really have to be thankful for in so many different only be 2 hours away from paradise might just be utopia.  Here's the play-by-play of our trip:

Good morning sunshine - our first sunrise
Waiting for DaDa to arrive Monday night - beach driving in the dark = sketch
horse sighting about 300 feet from our rental house 
crossing the road - the grass is always greener on the other side
"up close and personal" - horses along our fence line
"red sky at night - sailor's delight"
our house for the week at sunset
the most amazing sunset I've ever seen
Happy Turkey Day
breathing in the salty air
right after my bro told me he didn't want his picture taken and my momma
Addie and the boys
My dad's best pose - and my super embarrassed brother
our short trip up the beach to the NC/VA state line
kickin' it in the high chair - because its vacation and that's what we do
where I enjoyed my morning coffee
oohhh the food...i must have gained 10 pounds but it tasted SO good
running on the beach
looking for shells
and success
our last sunset...until next time


Samantha said...

Oh my gosh!! How awesome! Glad you got to get away and relax with your family. The pics are absolutely gorgeous, I don't know which one I love the most... the food, the house, the sunset... but Addie is my fav, hands down!!

We have been wanting to get down to the Outer Banks so badly!! We were supposed to this past year, but plans were cancelled :( Maybe this upcoming year!

Glad you're back!

Aishlea and Brandon said...

Happy belated Birthday! What gorgeous pictures! Sounds like a great way to spend Thanksgiving!

Cajun Cowgirl said...

I want to go! Looks like y'all had an awesome trip. The last picture of her is beautiful! As are the others of course, but that one is angelic!

Is that around where Nicholas Sparks sets some of his novels?

Natalie said...

Wow what an amazing way to spend your 30th birthday and Thanksgiving. I have never been....but your pictures really make me want to be there ASAP! Happy belated birthday friend! Glad you had a great time...and welcome to the 30's!

Paige said...

The pics are great! How lovely to enjoy that view over morning coffee. Happy Birthday to you!!! xo

Tami said...

Gorgeous pictures! It looks like you had an amazing time and it makes me miss NC terribly! I just love the wild horses! Happy late bday! I turn the big 3-0 on Sunday.

Lindsey said...


Laura @ My Thoughts-Uninterrupted said...

Happy belated birthday girl! The Outer Banks sound amazing. Hopefully one day my family and I will get to venture out that way. Um, I so need the recipe to whatever that is in the yummy food picture. It looks cheesy and bacony which are two of my husbands favorite things :)

Joeylee said...

Happy belated birthday. The pictures are amazing. What an awesome way to spend your birthday & thanksgiving, so fun. That's so cool to see wild horses

Laura said...

Gorgeous pictures! Your daughter is adorable.

I found your blog through another blog I follow, my daughter was born on 10/7/10!


Megan said...

sounds like an amazing birthday celebration!! very awesome that you were able to get away as a family :) love love love the sunset pictures you shared!

Happy birthday to you!!

Mrs EyeCanSee said...

I've never been to OBX, but it looks like the 4X4 area is the way to go!!

I'm not a fan for the overgrown touristy spots, but this looked amazing!

Glad you had a great time and Happy Belated Birthda!

Amber said...

I'm so jealous! We go to the Outer Banks every summer, but I haven't been able to go since the hubs and I moved to GA. I may be slightly biased, but NC beaches are the best :) I'm so glad you had such a good time! The pictures are incredible! And Happy Birthday!!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous pictures I would want to stay there all the time! Glad you had a great trip and happy belated 30th birthday! I also turned 30 this year so guess we are only a few months apart.

Kelli Kegley said...

Oh my! Gorgeous! The pic of Addie sleeping on your legs is precious! I loved the history of the horses. Thank for sharing! Glad y'all had a good time :) happy belated birthday!!

Ashley said...

Looks beautiful and very peaceful! A mini-vacay is a great idea for Thanksgiving. I may have to steal that one next year!

Jenna said...

What an AWESOME trip! Those wild horses are amazing! Happy belated birthday!

Happiness Is... said...

I love the Outer Banks - those sunset pictures are ah-mazing.

Pepper said...

Beautiful sunsets never fail to make my jaw drop in awe. Those are awesome pictures...