We went on a beach vacation this week! We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in Kitty Hawk.
Pros1. The beach, obviously. I LOVE the beach.
2. Good food! I’m going to post separately about the food we ate. I think we did a really good job with our food choices with absolutely no planning or foresight, which is amazing.
3. We had some great family time. We didn’t really do this exactly on purpose, but it was nice to go away and have some time just the three of us before the new baby comes, and long enough away from my due date that we didn’t have to worry about, you know, me going into labor in the car in rural Virginia. Also the beach is sort of the best place for Ben and I to vacation because my ideal vacation usually involves doing stuff and his involves not doing anything, but “reading on the beach” for me counts as “doing stuff” so we’re more on the same page at the beach than we are in, say, London.
4. Elena seemed to enjoy playing in the sand to a certain extent (she got tired of it when it got too hot) and she REALLY enjoyed the pool.
5. The other two times I’d been to the Outer Banks we stayed in beach houses. I enjoyed that (see #1) but for our current situation, the hotel was the best bet, and this was a great hotel for what we needed. It was right on the beach and had an indoor and outdoor pool, so you’ve got three options for water entertainment. (There was also a gym, which is usually important to me but my exercising this week was beach walks.) There was a hotel restaurant, but also a number of places not too far away (we did have to drive to them, but driving 1-2 miles is not a big deal to me). We were about 10 miles from Duck, which is a little more upscale and had a boardwalk on the sound, which was a nice alternate activity. We didn’t stay long enough to want to, like, go parasailing or jetskiing or anything (that’s not really my scene anyway) but those options were nearby too. Beach houses are Saturday-Saturday rentals which doesn’t work with Ben’s vacation situation, so hotels are the best bet.
6. I saw dolphins and crabs on my beach walks! So cool.
7. It’s not quite the off-season, not quite the on-season, so the weather was great and everything was open but there weren’t too many crowds.
1. By day 2, Elena was pretty much only interested in swimming in the hotel’s “inside pool.” The ocean was kind of scary and too cold for her. It got too sunny at the outdoor pool. She also very much enjoyed pushing the elevator buttons. So basically we could have stayed at a hotel in downtown Pittsburgh for much the same effect.
2. The drive down was AWFUL. We didn’t leave til 1PM. Ben had a hockey game in the morning; we’re not the kind of people who like to get up at 2AM and drive or whatever so we can have an extra half day at the beach, so we took it easy leaving, and as a result we hit a lot of “coming home to DC from a long weekend away” traffic as well as a pretty bad rainstorm, a tornado warning, and naturally there was an accident on the road in front of us as a result of all this – basically we were in the car almost 12 hours, which was not ideal. (The drive home was MUCH better.)
3. While the hotel was nice, the beds were really uncomfortable…at least for Ben and I. Elena did not seem to have this problem.
Overall we had an awesome time.