We’re just back from an amazing trip to the outer banks in North Carolina—what a wonderful week we had! We stayed in Ocean Sands, which is just south of Corolla. The house we rented had beautiful views of the ocean, with decks that let us sit outside and sip coffee or wine.
Depending on where you looked, you could watch pelicans cruise the ocean swells or fly over the beach, dolphins patrolling the surf’s edge, or people collecting shells up and down the beach. I didn’t take any art projects to work on, but I did have lots of time for relaxing and developing ideas for art pieces. I even did a little sketching on the beach. As usual, I spent a lot of time beach combing and collecting. This year as different in that we found lots of horseshoe crab shells on the beach, including a few enormous ones, our first-ever sea stars, and a huge amount of driftwood.
I also came home with a delightful collection of shells with holes worn in them for weavings. Sadly, the sea stars didn’t travel as nicely, so don’t look for them in my pieces.
On our drive from Norfolk to Corolla, we usually stop in at one of the farmer’s markets along the way to stock up on some fruit and veggies for the week. We decided to visit Miller’s this year, identified by its ice cream churned with a tractor engine. The ice cream was OK, but the produce was exceptionally fresh. We ended up with a watermelon (crisp and tasty), a big bag of peaches (eaten within the first day or so), blueberries (which became a breakfast pie on the third and fourth days),
new potatoes (great boiled with fresh fish), and a bunch of vegetables and lettuce for a salad. I knew then we were off to a good start. We stopped in at Carawan’s for seafood and headed home with two pounds of fresh tilefish for dinner. What a treat! Even Jacob really liked it, which is saying something. We also bought black sea bass and sea trout from Carawan’s on this trip, which was also excellent.
Tommie wanted to try the soft shell crabs this year, which we did. One has to be pretty trusting to believe that the whole body is edible, but it turns out to be true. We deep fried them and ate them all. Jacob preferred the legs while Tommie liked the bodies. That turned out to be a good trade. Everybody got something they liked, and we all enjoyed the crabs.
We spend a lot of time on the beach on our vacation, but we also go off on other adventures. The boys have been asking to try go-karting for some time, and this year was the first that Jacob was tall enough to go. Jacob decided at the end that he’d prefer to drive Miss Daisy (Grandma’s golf cart that she uses for watering flowers).
We got in a few rounds of mini golf, where the winner buys the ice cream. Tommie won one day and Jacob and Jim tied the other. Jim still bought the ice cream, though. Oh, and we also finally got to try the Titanic at Logan’s. You get to choose six scoops of ice cream and four toppings. With hot fudge, peanuts, marshmallow sauce and the chocolate that solidifies on the ice cream it was an ice cream and chocolate lover’s dream. Four spoons and five minutes later we had sunk the Titanic.
On Thursday, Jim and Tommie went thirty miles out on the ocean aboard the Country Girl and fished the reefs for tilefish and black sea bass. Luckily, the weather cooperated and they came home with a big mess of fish for more lunches and dinners. We even slipped about seven pounds of filets into our carry-on cooler. Our first dinner home was fresh tilefish and another big batch went into the freezer.
The big event in the surf was boogie boarding, followed by racing back to the house to warm up in the hot tub. The Atlantic in May isn’t exactly a bath, but it was warm enough for all of us to spend some time frolicking in the surf. Jacob was the real leader on that adventure, going every chance he could. He can pick the good waves to ride, and with his small frame he can get right on the board and ride it all the way on to the beach. When Jim and Tommie were off fishing, I even spent an afternoon boarding with Jacob until I was cold all the way through. The hot tub fixed me right up, though.
The big project awaiting me upon our return was to clean up my art studio for the Open Studios Tour next weekend. I want to send out a big thanks to Sarah Pierce, my neighbor, and Marcy Neiditz for organizing the inaugural event. The event runs from 10 am to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday, June 2nd and 3rd. I’m studio number 4 on the tour. I’ll have all my art on display, from my weavings to Giclee prints to my Re-shirts. We’ll have cookies and lemonade for weary travelers. Jacob is keen to start a project that kids can do when they visit, which will involve creating a version of survival bracelets. I’m hoping to get a good turnout this year, and I’d like to see it become an annual event. On the home front, I think Jim is just happy that we don’t have to drive somewhere to set it up!
Until next week…