Our North Carolina Getaway

Written by Life

We snuck away again for a little rest and reset to North Carolina a week ago. This was actually a vacation Jordan and I had scheduled time for months in advance to try and use up the rest of our vacation time. We really wanted to go for a full week, but because of the project Jordan is working on, general timing and the industry I work in, it just wouldn’t work out to take a full week during the busiest time of year in advertising (Black Friday/Cyber Monday ya’ll!) So we settled for three vacation days, wrapping them around the weekend so we wouldn’t be driving long distances during rush hours or weekend stampedes.

We honestly hadn’t decided or planned where to go until a couple days before. I have no idea what was holding us back from planning, we just weren’t thinking about it. But finally, we sat down one evening, listed off a couple places we hadn’t been to before and agreed on a state that was a little ways away, but not too far. North Carolina! We had both traveled through it, but never really spent time there. I pulled up Google maps and we made our plan.

We tend to enjoy vacations where we move around a bit to experience a wider range of areas and keep things interesting. We did it when we traveled to Colombia, and for our honeymoon in Arizona and had a blast both times. So we chose to spend a couple days over in the Durham/Raleigh area for some hiking and to explore the cities, and then head over to the shore for a couple days in Kitty Hawk. We jumped on AirBnb and found ourselves two places that were dog friendly and booked them!

Thursday came. We actually slept in, cleaned the house and took our time packing before finally getting in the car around 1pm. I know… super lame to clean the house :/ Our vacation started with me taking Jordan to one of my favorite restaurants in Canton, Baltimore close to my office called Iron Rooster. I knew they had a patio so we could have the dog with us and not leave her in the car. They serve large portions of southern style faire and breakfast all day. Their main thing are “from scratch pop tarts” with unique flavors, but I have yet to try them because I always get the chicken and waffles… which are like crack to me! Another thing I love there is the FREE order of bacon in a mason jar you get when you “check in” on social media…yeah, that’s a thing! The bacon may or may not have been like torture to Tealy…

After our bellies were too full, we got back in the car to travel down to our first AirBnb near Durham. We realized we took too much of our own sweet time and caused ourselves to sit in the horrendous traffic between DC and Fredericksburg, VA. Even taking the express lane… we sat in stopped traffic for about 20 minutes. It wasn’t until around 10:30pm that we finally pulled up to our place for the night in complete darkness in the middle of woods. We found our way through the gardens and to the correct door with the directions from our host. The place was a quaint little apartment off the main house, with its own tiny fenced in area. The apartment was lovely with all the wood floors and accents, and is filled with artwork by the owner. It was just the right size, cozy, and comfy for our needs, and was so peaceful and quite the whole time.

We found the amazing Weaver Street Market in Hillsborough from our host’s tip, and FELL IN LOVE! It’s a small co-op organic grocery store with tons of pre-made dishes, salad bar and hot bar. They had a great little patio again, so it was where we started our first day with breakfast to fuel up before hiking.

The host had a book to find hiking trails perfect for dogs. We picked out the Falls Lake State Recreation Area and did a 5 mile out-and-back hike with views of the lake. The hike was beautiful, but not too strenuous from what we are used to. The most interesting part was right when we arrived to the parking area however. There was a man standing there holding the leash to a goat. A GOAT! Come to find out, he found the goat out on the trail that morning and it started following him. It already had the leash and collar. Luckily the goat had a tag (it’s name was Kung Fu btw) and he was able to notify the owners…. needless to say… an interesting start.

After we finished up, we hit up Weaver Street Market again to grab some lunch and breakfast for the next day. While eating on the patio again, we kept watching people walking back towards the woods where there was a just visible wooden walkway. So after we finished up eating, we went for a quick little walk to see what this was all about. Down one of the path ways we found this amazing sapling structure that was built by the local art community. It’s amazing to think how we would have just missed this amazing thing if we hadn’t decided to explore a little more.

This piece is expected to deteriorate by this time next year since it is a natural structure. To see it, you should go soon!

Then we headed back to our room to chill out in the peace and quite and got cleaned up for dinner. Jordan found a little place with a patio called NanaTaco with good reviews. It had started to get chilly for the evening, so we ended up having the whole patio to ourselves. And the tacos were fantastic! Tealy really enjoyed her few bites of french fries as well.

The rest of the evening was spent in the hot tub in our very private little fenced in area, looking up at the stars. It was amazingly relaxing and I slept incredibly well that night.

When morning came, we ate our yogurts and fruit we stocked up on and packed up our stuff to hit the road again. But first, one more quick stop at the Weaver Street Market for a coffee and a smoked pimento cheese spread I had my eye on! What can I say, we are suckers for a good organic market.

We drove towards Raleigh for our second hike at William B. Umstead State Park to do Sal’s Branch Trail. It’s a three mile loop with views of the lake, pretty much in the city of Raleigh. But you would never know it by the scenery. It was much more crowded and there were the most dogs I’ve ever seen hiking! My overall perception of Durham and Raleigh is that they are VERY dog friendly cities because DOGS. WERE. EVERYWHERE! I was in love.

For lunch, we journeyed further into the center of Raleigh to hit up Tasty 8’s gourmet hot dog restaurant. It was so good! While eating, I scanned Instagram and saw a crafter I follow, called Metamorphosis Metals that is based in Durham, just happened to be at a craft show in Raleigh that day. So we looked up the location on the map and found it was only two blocks away!!! AMAZING LUCK! So we walked over, and Jordan volunteered to sit outside with the dog so I could go in and poke around for a few minutes. That’s love right there folks.

I found an item for a Christmas gift while I was there, and also a little fiddle leaf fig plant! SWOON! I’ve been wanting one for awhile, but they are hard to find up around Baltimore for some reason. But Zen Succulents was on premises that day at the show selling some plants, planters and giving great advice. I got one of the little fiddle leaf plants thinking I would feel more pride when it becomes a big, beautiful tree. I also found out another plant I have is a variation of a rubber plant and how to take care of it finally without subjecting it to experimentation. I was able to get through the show in less than 15 minutes. But the struggle was real. Probably better I blew through there quickly though!

We finally decided we were done in Raleigh after that, and continued the rest of the way to Kitty Hawk. Again, we arrived to our second AirBnb location in the dark. But we found it without issue. And guys…. it was amazing! This one was a cute little second story garage apartment with such nice touches. Jordan and I enjoyed it so much, we are definitely going to try and get it again if we go back to the area in the summer. The hosts, Kiirsten and Steve, were so available to answer questions but were very unobtrusive at the same time. They also made on point suggestions for food around there…. and their boxer pups were adorable and super friendly!

When we got there it was actually really chilly that night. So we decided to leave Tealy behind and sit indoors for dinner. She was super tired from two days of hiking and is very used to being in strange places by herself. So we know we are able to do that if needed. If you aren’t sure with your pup, I would recommend starting out by leaving them for very short periods of time in a crate to see how they do. We have a soft, collapsable crate we can use if we feel we need to. When we got back from dinner, she was actually taken by surprise and we found her snoozing on the sofa before she could get up to welcome us back. She was super sleeping!

Our dinner was at this little restaurant that seemed more like a wine shop with tables scattered around the store. Come to find out, that is kind of a norm around there. The food again was excellent! I got shrimp scampi and Jordan had some pasta dish with perfectly cooked mussels.

The next morning, we found a quick place to grab some smoothies and breakfast, then headed out for another hike. We went to Jockeys Ridge State Park to explore the largest natural sand dunes on the eastern shore and had a blast! I have to admit, I didn’t expect what I saw… nor did I have the right foot wear. Toms do not do well with keeping out sand.

This wasn’t a long hike, but it was beautiful, and soooo different than anything I’ve hiked before. We took our time and played around. There were a bunch of kids around one of the taller dunes taking turns showing off how well they could roll down the slope. Another group of people were hanging out up top getting hang gliding lessons. Others were just enjoying their own moments in the sand with their friends and loved ones. Everyone was having a great time. I can imagine that during the summer months, this area wouldn’t be nearly as nice to hang out in the blaring sun for long periods, or to take dogs without foot protection in the hot sand. So we possibly hit just the right time for exploring this without even realizing it.

Tealy was perplexed at first by what this sand stuff was. It was almost like the first time I took her hiking in Colorado and encountered snow. She was SO EXCITED! Just taking off in every direction sprinting around in circles. We took her frisbee and tried that out for a bit with all the wide open space. It didn’t go very well however. The sand didn’t give her the traction she is used to and had a hard time catching the frisbee. One time she even summer salted over herself when she face planted… we put the frisbee away after that and just continued to let her run around like an idiot without the pressure of catching any flying disc. She had the best time ever… and paid for it latter, haha!

That little black dot at the top of the dunes is Tealy looking very impressed with herself. One of these photos is getting printed and hung on the wall. I just don’t know which one yet.

This was a much shorter trail, even with our dilly dally-ing. We still had time to do something else before lunch. So we dumped out our shoes and headed over to the Wright Brother’s National Memorial. This is a paid National Park, so be prepared unless you have a National Park annual pass. The museum itself was closed for renovations through 2018. But we were able to walk around the grounds, see the first successful flight markers and the memorial. Be warned! There are natural burrs (of doom) in the grass. Tealy kept getting them stuck in her pads and limping till we removed them. And those little suckers hurt! So this possibly isn’t really a place to take dogs, although they are allowed. It was more work to try and keep her on the walking path when she really just wants to smell the grass the whole time.

The memorial itself was stunning. A giant wing standing resolute against the wind. It was impressive, and the whole thing was really cool for Jordan whose grandfather was an engineer working with flight innovations. It also sparked great conversations for us about innovation in general for a good part of the rest of the day.

Finally, it was lunch time and we had already decided to head over to TRiO, which had been highly recommended to us by our hosts and the local couple we sat next to at dinner the night before. It’s another one of those wine/beer/cheese shops which is also a restaurant. They did not have a patio option unfortunately, so we put Tealy in the car while we ordered (she fell right asleep after her adventures on the dunes) and took our food back to the room. We also now highly recommend TRiO for your trip! The paninis were spectacular!

After spending the last three days now, outside, hiking and exploring and with our bellies full… we PASSED OUT! For a couple hours. It was glorious. We woke up with enough time to head the two blocks to the beach to watch the sun set and see the SUPER MOON!!!! My photos of the moon are awful. Unfortunately over an ocean, the moon doesn’t look any larger than usual. But we enjoyed the moment in person. We also laughed at Tealy the whole time, who is scared of water, as she side eyed the waves the whole time while running around in a frenzy smelling all the new smells, and trying to see what all these weird birds are.

Keeping her distance.

For dinner, we decided to leave Tealy back at the room again since she had a super epic day and we really just wanted to sit in a warm restaurant to eat. We found a place called The Rundown Cafe, which serves very eclectic Pacific Rim/Jamaican fusion cuisine… and fried chicken, the perfect combo! I couldn’t recommend this place more! It was so different! Jordan got a fish burrito that looked amazing, and I ordered a curry shrimp noodle bowl. And HOLY COW, it was a huge bowl of phenomenal noodles and broth! It was just what I needed after a chilly day in windy Kitty Hawk. I don’t think I was even able to eat half of it though. But I enjoyed it so much, I had them pack it up for me to take home. Always pack a little cooler guys!

For the remainder of the evening, we picked a free movie On Demand to watch at the room, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, yep… you read that right. It was… interesting, haha!

The next day was all she wrote! So we packed everything up into the car and got comfy for our journey home. We actually passed through Richmond, VA around lunch time and were able to squeeze in one more small adventure meeting up with a friend that lives there for his lunch break on Monday. Tealy, again, just stayed in the car sleeping off the previous day of adventure. I told you she paid for it later! After that, we were able to finish up our drive home and got back just after 5pm. With time to unpack and prep for the next work day… sigh.

Not too shabby for a spur of the moment plan with no ideas of exactly what to do once we got there! I have to say, I feel pretty blessed to have been spending so much time on little getaways lately with this guy I love. Our surprise first anniversary getaway and then camping trip with friends, and now this NC trip were all spectacular reminders of the amazing people and fur baby I have in my life. I have so much to be thankful for.

Now, I realize the name of this blog is “Lovebergs AT HOME,” and the last three posts have been about anything but being at home… but fret not! We’ll be back to home stuff shortly now that we got some wanderlust out of our systems before hibernation.
Have you guys been able to take any time away from everyday life lately? Where have you gone, seen and tasted that are amazing? And do you prefer vacations in one spot or jump around like us?

Last modified: September 9, 2017