Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Trip to Outer Banks

At the end of September, we took a short trip to the Outer Banks ( islands off the coast of NC).  This was our first trip to the Outer Banks since moving here.  We have been to the beaches several times in South Carolina but never to North Carolina beaches.  This is mostly because there are a lot of great places to go on the beach in SC, and they are a shorter drive.  I bought our trip off of Living Social, and it included a stay at a B&B.  We were both slightly apprehensive about staying at a B&B, as the last two times we stayed at them, it ended up being less than what we were expecting.  However, we had a fantastic time and this B&B was great! 
Matt in front of The White Doe Inn
We stayed in the Raleigh room
Matt outside on our private veranda

 We were only a short walk to downtown and the ocean.  It was too cold for swimming but nice to walk around.
View of the harbor
 We went for a drive along the coast and decided to go to Corolla, which is where the wild horses are.  They roam free along the island, but are prevented from going into Virginia or into the towns of NC by large fences.  We also stopped by the local horse museum, and learned that until about 20 years ago, when the fencing went up, the horses would often wreak havoc in town by getting in trash and also causing traffic problems.  On this part of the beach, you can drive your car (if it's 4WD) and try to catch a glimpse of the horses.

We didn't think we were going to see any horses, and then on the way back to town we ran across 4 horses hanging out on the beach!

  We also had some other excitement on the trip - Matt discovered a scavenger hunt in our room and then solved it!  This started when I was leaning against the bedpost and it fell off.  Matt was trying to fix it but couldn't and then checked all the bedposts to see if they had this problem.  Under one of them we found a note!  (apparently I was not the first one to lean on the posts!).
Here's the note.  In case you can't read it very well, it says Look behind the carved word CROATAN.  I was a bit stumped by this clue, as we were in the Outer Banks so there were a lot of things about Croatan (the Lost Colony) in the area.  So, I gave up after about 2 minutes of pondering.  Matt, on the other hand, kept at it until he figured it out!
 Turns out another note was hiding behind a picture in our room of the colonists carving the word "croatan" on the tree.  (after Matt noticed this, I realized I had just been looking at these pictures the day before when we first got to the room, but apparently I was not paying good attention!)

Here's the note that was left:
Wow - You found it!  Take the penny for good luck but leave the notes and another small token for others to find.

Alright, I admit it...kinda nerdy but it was fun to find on our trip! :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Labor Day

This year, on Labor Day weekend, we stayed home!! (well, mostly)  This was so nice because it seems like every time there is a 3-day weekend, we are traveling somewhere so kind of missing out on all the relaxing we could be getting in at home.  But, this time, we stayed and relaxed.

However, we did decide to go hiking with Roy in the NC mountains.  We have not been much at all this year, so I really wanted to go.  We went to Chimney Rock, which is part of Grandfather Mountain (about 1.5 hours from our house).  Side note:  Several movies have been filmed here.   The most famous is The Last of the Mohicans.   Pretty cool!  It seems like a lot of movies are filmed in this part of the country (including Charlotte).

Anyway, back to our hike:   some of the trails were blocked off, due to renovations, so the parts we were on involved a LOT of steep climbing.  We were a little concerned about Roy's joints during all the climbing, so we decided not to go all the way to the top.   But we did get lots of fun pictures:

Taking a break near a waterfall

View to the top of the waterfall - it's pretty dry today

Us at the top of "Chimney Rock"
View of the town of Chimney Rock from the top of "Chimney Rock"

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Parents Weekend: Part 4

And you thought we were done with the "Parents Weekend" posts!  Well, one more...my parents, Nick and Terry, came for a short stay the weekend following Matt's parents.  They were initially supposed to come earlier that summer, but due to a major water leak at my grandma's house, the trip was postponed until August.  They arrived on a Thursday night and left on Saturday morning (as I said, a very short trip!)  In fact, the drive here and back home took more time than they were actually here!  Unfortunately, the Friday that they were here we had a huge storm that lasted all day, so their plans to visit places in the area were ruined.  They did come to see me for lunch in Charlotte and I got to show them my new office.  We went out to eat that night, and got in a few pictures on Saturday before they left.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Parents Weekend: Part 3

Sunday morning we relaxed at home, and then in the afternoon, drove to a winery to listen to more music and, of course, enjoy the wine!  Matt and I had been to the same winery about a year ago and they occasionally have musicians  perform, so we thought it would be fun to take his parents and go again.
That day - July 31st - was also Carolyn's birthday!!  We surprised her with a cake and presents that evening.
Happy birthday!!
The next morning (Monday) Carolyn and Ron packed up and made the long trek back to MO.  We were sad to see them go.  Even Roy was a little mopey after they left.  What a great weekend!  (and it only took 3 blog posts to show all the fun!)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Parents Weekend: Part 2

Saturday we were very busy with Carolyn and Ron.  In the morning, Carolyn and  I went to yoga while Matt and Ron went to the gun range.  In the afternoon, we went flat-water kayaking at the Whitewater Center.  Matt and I had never been, so I wasn't sure if I would like it, but we had a blast!  It was a very hot day so nice to be on the water.  Then, that night we went to see a local band perform.

Getting everyone sprayed down with sunscreen

We had to wait about 30 minutes before we could get our gear and go down to the water because it was so busy that day. 

Matt got a tandem kayak so he'd have enough room for Roy to sit.  Too bad Roy was a little nervous the whole trip!! This was his permanent position in the kayak - standing up, staring at Matt, and making it difficult to paddle!

Having fun!

 Roy enjoying a swim to cool down

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Parents Weekend: Part 1

Matt's parents, Ron and Carolyn, came out to visit the last weekend in July.  They got here on Thursday evening and stayed until Monday morning.  It was an action-packed weekend!  On Friday, Matt and I both had to work, so they spent a relaxing day with Roy at the Whitewater Center.  

Roy enjoyed his front-seat ride!

That night we took them to our favorite steakhouse and had a great time!

Stay tuned for Part 2!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fun over the 4th

This year for the July 4th weekend, we decided to go to Asheville NC since we've never been but heard it's a fun place.  It's only about a 2 hour drive from our house up to the mountains.  We left on Saturday the 2nd and spent that day walking around Asheville.  It was a great place for people-watching and outdoor music.  We stopped for a while at a few different parks that had free concerts going on. 

The next day we went to the Biltmore Estate.  It's the largest home in America and is open for tours of the house, gardens, winery, and farm.  It was built in the late 1800's.  It was very hot on the day we were there, but surprisingly fairly cool in the house, considering there was no air-conditioning.

We took several pictures inside the house until we noticed that no one else seemed to be using their cameras.  Whoops!

Ceiling in the atrium
Organ above the dining table

 Matt outside on one of the many balconies.  There was a great view of the mountains behind him.  We also saw a "swimming pool" room, a bowling alley, and a huge library in the house, but by that point, I was a little nervous taking pictures so we didn't get any of those!  But they were very impressive. 

At the farm, they had lots of the original equipment on display. Reminded Matt of life on the farm!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rockin' it Southern Style

As my siblings all know, I played piano for many years when I was younger but quit when I was in high school and never looked back, despite many threats by my parents that I would one day regret it.  Well...I haven't.  But I have been thinking for several years about learning a new instrument, and recently I finally did something about it. 

I'm taking fiddle lessons - I think I've had about 5 or 6 lessons since June.  I can now play about 3 1/2 songs very slowly!! :)  It has been fun learning to play something new.  I like listening to bluegrass - Matt and I listen to it a lot on his XM radio when we travel - so I am learning some bluegrass songs. 

My teacher (who is only 16!) is in a local bluegrass band and we went to watch her band a few weeks ago.  She keeps telling me I sound good but I think I'm pretty squeaky most of the time.  Speaking of that, I better go practice now - I've got a lesson in 2 days!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

2nd Anniversary Trip

We celebrated our second wedding anniversary at the end of May by taking a trip to Florida.  We stayed a few days with Matt's good friend from Kirksville, Spencer, and his wife Nikki, who now live in Sarasota.  We spent one day at nearby Siesta Key Beach, which had just been named the Best Beach in the US (as Spencer frequently reminded us!!)  :)  It was great, I could've stayed there all day.
Spencer and Nikki at the beach
Matt and Spencer keeping an eye on the grill

Enjoying some drinks on the patio

After leaving their house, we decided to take our time getting back home by stopping at 2 more beaches on the way - Clearwater and Jacksonville.  We had a great time people-watching and relaxing.  It was fun to see both the Gulf and the Atlantic sides of Florida, but we couldn't decide which we liked better.  The Gulf is very relaxing and calming, while the Atlantic has lots of big waves.
View of Clearwater Beach from our hotel balcony

View of Jacksonville Beach and boardwalk from our hotel balcony
Matt enjoying the waves

Happy anniversary!! Eating out at a restaurant along the boardwalk.