Pine Knoll Shores, North Carolina: Trip to the Southern Outer Banks

We just got back from a very relaxing and peaceful trip visiting Drew’s aunt and uncle in the southern Outer Banks. I don’t know how I can describe it as relaxing when we have two little boys–but some how it really restored us and brought us back feeling refreshed (rather than feeling like we needed a vacation from our vacation and a full body detox!).

We travelled down to Pine Knoll Shores on Wednesday afternoon, it is a pretty long 8 hour trip and thankfully Drew was able to work in the car the whole way down (meaning, I drove while entertaining two toddlers–thankfully, they are amazing car riders!). Since we got there on Wednesday night, we were able to enjoy 3 full days with Drew’s family.

Thursday morning, we ventured down to the beach for fun in the sand. The temps were very mild which was a welcomed relief from the hot Atlanta heat. Reid enjoyed a walk on the beach with Aunt Louise and Walker loved knocking down his sand castles (he gets very scared whenever he sees ocean waves, so stays very close to us and very far from the waves!).

After beach time and lunch, the boys settled down for naps. Their Aunt Mer arrived just before naps, which allowed Drew and I to go out on our paddle boards while the boys napped. The water in the sound was so calm that we were able to go a pretty good way. It is so peaceful being out on the water with Drew, genuinely some of my favorite moments.

Following naps, we hit the water on Uncle Jim’s boat. We went on a short boat ride on the sound before heading back for cocktail hour and dinner. Drew’s aunt and uncle are amazing at setting up a cocktail hour every evening–it is a perfect way to ease into the evening and relax after a busy day!

Friday morning, Uncle Jim set out the most amazing (and what Reid continues to talk about) treasure hunt for the boys. It was so much fun for the boys (and us!) to hunt for clues and dig out a big treasure box in the sand. It is a memory we will cherish forever! I cannot get over how playful and thoughtful Drew’s aunt and uncle are–such a blessing.

Following the treasure hunt, we went on a run while Reid rode his bike and Walker rode in the stroller. It is cute, whenever Reid passes people he loves telling them “I can ride without training wheels!” The boys showed off their scooter skills too :). Following our exercise time, we took the boys on kayaks to a sanctuary. It was beautiful and peaceful kayaking in the sound with our little boys. Scout joined along and wanted to swim the whole time, which is pretty impressive for an 8 year old Boykin. We had a wonderful time together on the water.

Friday evening, we hit the pool for a little swimming before heading back to the house to prepare our “famous” shrimp pesto pizza and kale salad. I stopped at a local fish market and produce stand to get the shrimp and greens for the meal. Something about local produce really makes a difference or at least makes me think it does.

Saturday morning, we ventured out on Uncle Jim’s boat for a long ride to Morehead City. The boys loved looking at the big tank ships and all the boats passing by. We ate outside at an excellent restaurant and much to my surprise the boys did pretty well. We haven’t been to a restaurant since my birthday back in early March! With full bellies, the boys napped on the ride back.

When we got back, my boys all attempted to take another nap together (all 3 of them) which allowed me to have some quiet time to myself on the dock. It was a glorious 15 minutes of reading my book in silence! Since the boys weren’t tired, we decided to go clamming in the sound. Reid loved it and was a big help putting the clams in the bucket. Walker rode around on the paddle board helping everyone collect the clams too. We were able to rake up a bunch of clams, trapped a few crabs and even caught a flounder for dinner! It was quite the fresh meal 🙂

We ended the evening, with a delicious pie Aunt Louise made and great conversation. It is such a joy spending time with family and catching up. It was even more special, as we have not been able to see much family because of the pandemic. I will always treasure the memories we made on this trip.

Now off to the pile of laundry that needs washing (and dreaming of having my cup of coffee on the dock of the bay haha!)…

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