My favorite place on earth is the Outer Banks of North Carolina. As a child, my family spent each Thanksgiving week there, relaxing in it's emptiness and peace. As it'd been nearly twenty years since my last visit, this was the stop I most anticipated sharing with my children during our coastal tour.We kicked off this leg of the trip with a visit to Kitty Hawk Kites. Situated directly across from Jockey's Ridge State Park, it's three-story balcony provides a breath-taking view of the banks. It also features lots of airplane and hang-gliding goodies...for your aviation enthusiast. (This is about five miles from where the Wright Brothers first flew.)
We couldn't visit KHK and not do the climbing wall! The boys took turns harnessing up and climbing to the top. The oldest even tackled the challenging, upside-down portion!
All that climbing worked up an appetite, so we walked next door to the Fudge Factory, home of some of the sweetest homemade fudge you'll ever taste. The guy behind the counter was so sweet - he gave us a big discount so that we could each choose our own slab of fudge! (Which mom insisted would last for the entire week...)We left the car parked at KHK and took some time to explore their hang-gliding gear. Then we walked across the street to Jockey's Ridge.
If you've never been to Jockey's Ridge, you're missing a slice of heaven. It's the largest sand dune, and provides ample opportunity to teach about erosion, wind direction, wind speed, and change. After all, the 426 acres of Jockey’s Ridge have devoured a hotel, a miniature golf course, and homes!
When you're up on top of that big sand dune, if feels like you can touch God. You can see far out to sea and to the other side of the Inter-coastal Waterway. Such a sense of peace on a beautiful day!
Of course, this quickly gave way to playing and silliness! We pretended to be crawling through the desert, looking for water. We rolled down the hill and got sand in our underwear! The youngest wasn't sure about the last one, and ended up sliding down the hill...and then running back up to do it all over again.
We unearthed a giant sandcastle, one piece of the putt-putt course that had been swallowed up nearly a decade ago by the dunes. Mother Nature gets the final say out here!
Soon the sun began to set, and we had to head back to our hotel. As you can see, we were all smiles....relaxed, happy, and loving life.
Back inside, we pulled out a drawing book and spent some time re-creating the animals that live along the coast. All in all, a great first day at the beach! We got out of the car and stretched our legs quite a bit...and still have a couple of days left to enjoy before heading North to Virginia. Look for more beach fun in upcoming posts!
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