Tuesday, October 8, 2013

2 Days in Ocracoke

 To put it mildly, I've been busy lately. Too busy, frankly, to worry about planning something special for our third wedding anniversary. So I asked my husband, Sean, to plan a surprise and my god, did he deliver! He told me a few weeks ago we were going to go out of town and I really had no idea what that meant...for a night, far away, somewhere hot, somewhere cold? On Friday, he told me we were going somewhere neither of us had been and to "think beachy." Then, on Saturday night, traveling in the darkness, we set off toward the Outer Banks.

We traveled for hours, and finally, steered toward a sign for the ferry to Ocracoke, an island off Cape Hatteras, where Ocracoke village sits on the bottom left edge. Sean didn't realize it, but this was truly romantic because, not only is Ocracoke an adorable, secluded beach village, but it's also where my parents honeymooned. I've been hearing about it and looking at pictures from the trip for 30 years! When they went, it was truly remote, and really didn't have much to do or even many places to eat. Over the past few decades, it has evolved into a sophisticated, incredibly charming island village that I'm now hoping we can return to visit every year.

Also, 2 days isn't long and there was plenty more to do, but it's also enough! We were amazed at how we were able to both do a lot and still feel totally relaxed during the one full day we had on the island.

I have many, many more pictures after the jump, if you'd like to look!

We stayed at the Ocracoke Harbor Inn, located smack dab in the middle of the coast around Silver Lake, which gave us spectacular views and centrally located in the 9-mile village. We stayed in a spacious one-bedroom suite with a kitchenette, but more importantly, a balcony overlooking the lake with comfy adirondack chairs. The inn rents out golf carts and bicycles, which are truly the ideal mode of transportation on the island. Everyone was riding bikes everywhere...it only lends itself to the small town movie set feeling of the place!

 One of our first stops after hopping on our bikes was the Flying Melon for brunch.

The restaurant is beautiful, and has a somewhat French flair, partially due to the chef's roots in Louisiana.

I had an absolutely delicious honey lime grilled chicken sandwich with avocado and salsa verde.

 We hopped back on our bikes and passed a slew of adorable homes...this beachy bungalow might be my dream house!

Next door was Island Artworks, with a charming nautical-inspired garden, and jewelry handmade by owner Kathleen O'Neal, along with plenty of other North Carolinian artworks.

 I was crushing on these amazing amethyst tumblers...

 and I LOVED the idea of planting inside large shells. Might have to steal this idea someday...wouldn't it be amazing for a beachside wedding centerpiece?

I also loved this gyotaku print of a shrimp...gyotaku is the Japanese art of fish printing, traditionally used to document fish catches.

 Across the street, Over the Moon crafts and gifts had creative pieces from artists across the country. I ended up buying the bowl above, by Brooklyn artist Claire Weissberg.

The shop also sells these distinctive doormats made of fisherman's rope that are labeled "virtually indestructible." A fun way to bring Ocracoke home.

We then rode our bikes to the Ocracoke lighthouse, which has been continuously operated since 1823. After their honeymoon, my dad drew a picture of this lighthouse that hung in our home my entire life until I went away to college, so seeing it in person was surprisingly touching. It's really sweet-looking and simple, which I like.

We ditched our bikes and drove to Howard's Pub, a classic watering hole where we ordered fruity tropical drinks mid-day and had ourselves a good old time.

 Ponies have lived on the island since possibly the 16th century and in 1959, the Park Service built pony pens to prevent car and pony collisions. The distinctive ponies are beautiful to get a quick look at, and it doesn't cost you a thing!

We crossed the street from the pony pasture and went to the beach for a couple hours. If you're keeping track, that means in one day we: rode bikes all over town, had cocktails, saw wild ponies and went to the beach. And it felt completely leisurely! The waters are fairly clear and beautiful, and there were plenty of beautiful seashells, tall dunes and best of all: not too many people!
 After the beach, we went back to get ready for dinner. Here's the view from our balcony!

 The entire time we were on the island, I was keeping a look out for the restaurant where my parents ate most their meals all those years ago — The Pelican. It turns out it's gone. We ended up going to Dajio, a truly great restaurant with a wonderfully diverse menu and a super-charming vibe. It's a combination of a house with a wall of windows, a courtyard strung with cafe lights and a beach hut-style bar. And guess what? It's in the former location of The Pelican. Amazing!

We started with an appetizer of enchiladas stuffed with carnitas, cinnamon, raisins and almonds. Sooooo good.

 I had crab and corn cakes (crab cakes with cornbread mix), delicious asparagus and a sweet-and-sour slaw. Sean had maple orange glazed ribs that literally made him sigh, "mmmmmmmmm." For dessert, we grabbed ice cream from The Slushie Stand.

 Before we left on Monday morning, we went to Ocracoke Coffee Co., a place so small town and homey and perfect, it made me feel like getting my Nicholas Sparks on and writing novels about this place that are turned into awful Zac Efron films. Seriously. The menu is a fun mix of classics, smoothies with names like "the Dirty Monkey" and lattes like "The Grasshopper" (toffee + mint + coffee). Just listening to the banter between the baristas and the locals was hilarious.

 And the view pretty much can't be beat. Lots of folks settled in with books or for a chat. It was just the perfect, chill little coffee garden.

After coffee, we reluctantly got back on the ferry...which by itself is really fun! Until next time, Ocracoke. I know we'll be back.

1 comment:

Jacqueline Your said...

Oh my gracious! I just stumbled upon your blog and absolutely love it! I think we are from the same area! I cannot wait to see what else you have in store!