I awoke to the sounds of Syd whimpering in her sleep. It was just
after the sunrise, and so I decided to stay awake and use the computer
for a bit. Despite the weather forecast, the morning was sunny and
virtually cloudless. Another great beach day!
Eventually, everyone woke up. After our breakfast, we put on our
suits and set up our towels and umbrella on the beach. Syd and I went
beachcombing near our blanket while Daria and Gavin (who fell asleep)
strolled up and down the beach.
The waves were higher than they had been all week. Not able to resist
the temptation any longer, I decided to take the plunge. I slowly
walked up to my waist in the cold ocean waters. Instead of freezing,
I managed to keep warm from the adrenaline pumping through my veins as
each wave crashed into me. The sight of a wall of frigid water
approaching me made me forget about the temperature. Eventually, I
made my way back to my warm towel.
After an hour, a thick fog slowly began to envelop us. We could see
the visibility diminish - first the sea's horizon disappeared, then
the fishing pier, then most of the surrounding beach houses. The
temperature had dropped as well. So, we gathered everything up and
Hoping that the fog would lift, we packed a picnic lunch and headed
south to the nearest light house, the Bodie Island lighthouse. It was
only 8 miles away, yet both Syd and Gavin fell asleep on the way.
Once we arrived, the fog was indeed burned away by the sun. We looked
around for a good picnic spot. There were no tables or benches, and
we forgot to bring our blanket. So, we popped open the minivan's rear
hatch and had a "hatchback" picnic. We had removed the rear seats
prior to our trip, so there was plenty room in back for the three of
us. [Gavin was still asleep.]
Syd and I went to the visitor's center while Gavin nursed. I happened
to notice that no one was standing on top of the lighthouse. When I
asked the woman behind the counter about this, she said that the
lighthouse had not been restored yet. It was acquired by the national
park service in 2000, and the Federal Save Our Treasures committee was
still researching the proper restoration techniques.
This bummed out Syd; she was really hoping to be able to climb a
lighthouse today. So, we thought about traveling south to the Cape
Hatteras lighthouse, some 40 miles down the road. Gavin was awake,
and lately has been very unhappy to be in the car seat. But we
decided to push on anyway. Sure enough he started crying halfway
there, desperately trying to tell us that he was so sick of driving
We finally arrived at the new site of the Hatteras lighthouse. In
1999, it was moved a mile and a half inland in order to keep it from
falling in the sea. Back in the mid-1800's, the original lighthouse
had succumbed to the pounding surf and the ever-changing coastline;
the current one was built in 1870. The visitor's center and the
bookstore houses were also moved - quite a feat of engineering.
We woke up Syd (who managed to fall asleep with Gavin's crying) and
made our way to the ticket booth. I asked how much children's tickets
were, and they wanted to see how tall Syd was before they sold her a
ticket. Unfortunately, she was too short by an inch or two. This
caused Syd to break out in tears; after coming all this way, this was
such a disappointment. The ticket booth workers suggested taking her
to the lighthouse entrance and having the park rangers measure her
with their stick. That gave Syd some hope. So, we walked over to the
entrance gate and asked them to check her height. Once again, she was
a couple inches short of qualifying. And again, she started crying -
another let down. They explained that the reason for this height
check is to ensure that children can keep from falling down the
stairs. The height limit was calculated from the stair and railing
height. But the explanation didn't help Syd, of course. So, we
checked out the book store and visitor's center before returning home.
To soften the blow of not climbing any lighthouses, we promised Syd
that we'd get some ice cream. We found a good place on the way back
called Udder Delights. It was managed by a 75-year-old woman who had
been there for 20 years, after she retired from her previous job.
This was her last year there. We had some wonderful ice cream. Syd
had dropped her cone, so I asked for another cup. The manager gave us
one for free. It goes without saying that she was very nice.
Once back at the beach house, we prepared to go out to eat at
Quagmires, a Mexican/seafood restaurant on the beach. During our
honeymoon, we ate there on Cinqo de Mayo, where they had a party on
the upper deck. Unlike Monday, the parking lot was packed.
Nonetheless, we were seated right away. They had a great kids menu,
including mixed drinks for kids and an all-you-can-eat cracker bowl.
Syd ordered a First Mate: ginger ale with cherry juice, accompanied by
an eye patch and plastic sword. This place also featured a
playground; the highlight was a miniature pirate ship complete with a
plank and fire pole.
||It was difficult to drag Syd home, but we managed. We had fudge for dessert before Syd and I went into the hot tub. Afterwards, Syd and Daria worked on a puzzle while I cleaned up. Then, after stories, we all went to bed.|
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