Summer on the Outer Banks

Ross and I are spending the summer on the Outer Banks in North Carolina. If you’re not already aware, this popular vacation destination is an extremely unique geographical phenomenon. It’s a series of very long islands, with the sound on one side and the beach on the other. From above, it looks like one very long and tiny landing strip.

We’ve been here since May 1, which has given us lots of time to explore these beautiful and still generally remote (if not entirely isolated) islands during our stay. 

We will continue to share our favorite must-dos for the area, but for today, I thought we could share our top 5 positives and negatives for our visit so far. 

Two Months In: The Best About Living On The Outer Banks

1. The beach is always a couple of minutes’ walk away. 

2. The sound (and its glorious sunsets) are always a couple of minutes’ walk away. 

3. There’s almost always a nice breeze. 

4. The pace of life is relaxed here as people do their best to enjoy themselves. 

5. Not relevant to all, but we have the best co-workers and management we could imagine. Also, wild horses! 

Two Months In: The Worst About Living On The Outer Banks 

1. Sand in everything, including your shoes and your bed. 

2. Worrying about hurricanes and other bad weather. 

3. Ditto the crazy wind sometimes, messing up activities and keeping you awake. 

4. Some of the people we interact with take for granted how lucky they are to be here and ask the impossible (fix the weather, etc.). 

5. There isn’t really a great downtown for when you want to get your city fix – Manteo is fun but small, and that’s about it!

Overall we highly recommend a visit to the Outer Banks. I’m sure we’ll have more thoughts to share soon. Thanks for following our crazy adventure! 

Quick Stop in Charleston, SC

I’ve always heard great things about Charleston, SC, and we’re hoping to spend a few days there this fall. But earlier this spring, as we made our way toward North Carolina, I realized we’d be practically passing through Charleston. So we planned it as a fun mid-way stop in our travels. 

Charleston Visitor’s Center, like Savannah, GA, offers overnight parking for RVs. Believe it or not, it’s in a parking garage! It normally costs $1/hr or $16/24 hours, but if you manage to arrive during a special event like we did, you may end up paying $5/vehicle. If you tow a car, I’d highly suggest unhooking before parking in the garage. 

It was a beautiful (lots of water) but tiring drive into the city, after a quick walk of downtown, Ross decided to take it easy while I explored further. I know Charleston has lots of music venues, and it looks like there are a few theatres as well. Day drinking was also definitely a thing here on a weekend! 

After grabbing lots of brochures and reading a bit about the history of the area at the Visitor’s Center, I decided to get ice cream. I’d passed a very hipster-looking place whose reviews said they don’t even post prices and the ice cream is good but way over-priced. So I did a quick Google instead and saw I was only a few minutes from Jeni’s! I have read amazing things about Jeni’s ice cream and innovative custard-type technique, and I was really excited to try it. Each location makes their own ice cream and the staff here is extraordinarily helpful, friendly and patient. 

I left with some fabulous ice cream – be sure to stop in! And there are lots of other nearby ice cream places to check out if you’re interested. 

Charleston is an extraordinarily walkable, charming city. I can’t wait to return! 

One Night in Savannah´╗┐

I’ve wanted to visit Savannah, GA for years. I knew they had an arts college, a charming downtown and a lot of history. What I didn’t know was how easy they make it for (smaller) RVs to visit. In seeking a free or cheap place for us to stay, I stumbled on their Visitor’s Center and History Museum on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. For $8 per 24 hours per space (or $16 for us including our car), we could be parked within walking distance of museums, historical sites and the downtown. Does it get any better than that? We took advantage of the designated RV parking to stay put for the night, although there are other lots around town if you want to use them – they all are covered by your pass. Driving into the area, I was struck by both the beauty and poverty of parts of the city as we pulled in. So much history here. Once we got settled, Ross was exhausted, so he set me free to wander and explore for the evening. Since we arrived around 3:30, I had lots of time to explore. First order of business? Take advantage of all of the “free” history and cultural info where we were parked. I took tons of flyers from the Visitor’s Center to assist in planning a return trip, and I was delighted to discover how much information was displayed in free exhibits inside. If I’d had more time and money, I would have returned in the morning to visit the museum, but further research told me there’s a pass that gets you a few days’ admission to this and other museums, including the railroad museum, so I decided to save that for a return trip.

But just the free exhibits were great. I learned about the local jazz musicians, how people used to live and studied how food and agriculture in the area have changed. What a great way to engage people and encourage them to visit the museum! The visitor’s center area appears to be a part of an old train station. It’s beautiful. And it’s right next to the Savannah College of Art & Design too. After exploring for a while, I headed back home to prep for an evening on the town. I said goodbye to Ross and headed out, eventually following my nose downtown after exploring the college bookstore and buying a pencil sharpener for my colored pencils. Downtown Savannah is full of life, a great mix of local bars, restaurants and other businesses alongside more upscale chains for shopping. I passed a comics/gaming store I knew Ross would like and texted him. And after much walking, I stumbled on what seems to be the best ice cream in town. After waiting in line for about a half hour (they gave us water and menus while we waited outside), I got to sample and settle on some tasty flavors to enjoy in this adorable parlor. It’s not the best ice cream ever, but it’s very good and was worth the wait! When I wandered out, Ross was making his way downtown. So we explored further, marveling at some fancy stores and making our way back home.

The next morning, I visited all of the nearby outdoor historical markers to round out my trip. It was a wonderful quick glimpse that had me eager to return.

Ross, on the other hand, wasn’t so thrilled. He noticed tons of confederate flags and other signs that made him pretty uncomfortable as he drove in, and he couldn’t shake the dark feeling as we stayed here. Certainly there is a lot of dark history here, but that’s true almost anywhere, I think. It was interesting that he felt that way for sure. Probably not a place to settle but we will return for a visit.

We left Savannah by 10:30 or so to make sure we could visit Charleston as we passed through. Stay tuned for my blog about our quick trip to Charleston!