I have been very bad at keeping this up to date, no real excuse, just haven't been motivated.  And Dan is no help....so after much harassment, I am now updating our blog!  I figured I'd recap our recent vacation that took us all over the Atlantic Coast from Virginia Beach to Kitty Hawk, NC, and finally to Wash D.C.  I'll try to keep it limited to the highlights!

Monday July 16 - Arrive in Norfolk and drive to hotel Virginia Beach, VA
Hotel room seemed to be really great, huge bed, lots of down pillows, full length balcony on top floor, 32" flat screen, tile shower....oh yeah, and an ENTIRE family of moths and various other flying insects.  Which we didn't notice really until night came.  We got into town about 5pm.  We walked the boardwalk and the streets for a bit to find a place to eat.  We ended up back at the fancy hotel restaurant and tried to eat light cuz we're cheap.  Back to the hotel room and we had fallen asleep about 20 min before we both awoke to a noise.  Unsure of what it was we turn on the light and there is the MOTHER MOTH of all moths on the ceiling above us.  I didn't even have my contacts in and I could see this thing was MASSIVE, probably like a 4-5 in wingspan.  And it was one of those black ones which makes them look even creepier.  I let Dan take care of it...I think he caught it inside the ice bucket bag and then freed it off the balcony, what a kind soul...

Tuesday July 17 - Virginia Beach
We hit the beach and had our first dolphin sighting in the wild.  Super cool!  Both of us being landlocked pretty much all of our lives, get a thrill out of the marine wildlife.  Dan is more fearless than I and jumped right into the waves, I took more coaxing.  I have to be pretty much cooking in the sun before I feel like a cool ocean dip....and I have to know there aren't creatures lurking about to bite my leg or step on.  We had some fun in the water and then drove about 25min to Sandbridge Beach.  It was also crowded but gave us a better view of the dolphin feeding frenzy.  We broke out our new beach tent, but Dan broke a pole so it became more of a pain to set up each time.  But since there are no trees or means of shade on these beaches, it was great to have. 

We got lunch and went back to the hotel to get cleaned up.  Then we drove around Norfolk, came back to VA Beach and drove some more up the coast.  We parked on a private beach house street and walked out to the beach where it was completely secluded, quiet, and peaceful.  Very beautiful out there.  On our way back to the hotel we noticed this really old and unique looking building, it was called the Cavalier Hotel.  They had a newer extension of the hotel across the street.  We wandered this creepy but interesting building, it opened in 1927 and we just knew there had to be some murder mystery that happened there at some point.  We kept commenting how it would make a great setting for a creepy thriller movie.  I played on the piano in the "parlor" for a bit and we looked at the old artifacts on display and called it a night.

Wednesday July 18 - Norfolk, VA and on to Kitty Hawk, NC
We took a tour of the U.S.S. Wisconsin battleship which was pretty cool.  We happened to be there as a retirement ceremony was going on on deck.  Next we went on a tour of the world's largest naval base, Naval Station Norfolk.  It was pretty cool to see all the cruisers and destroyers, but they wouldn't let us take pictures of any of it, and we had to stay on a bus the whole time.  Kinda of a bummer.  And we saw a lot of historic homes where the high ranking officers live and they showed us a lot about how they live in the barracks, etc.  But the coolest part was seeing the ships, however brief it was.

Then we were on our way to Kitty Hawk, NC!  I think we were staying at the only hotel there, the rest were beach houses.  But it was a nice Hilton with an awesome breakfast!  That was my favorite part and it has never been matched at any of the Hiltons we have stayed at, Paris included cuz they had soupy eggs and weird bread, but Hawaii EXcluded cuz of the pineapple.  I think what got me hooked were the cinnamon rolls and chocolate milk.  They don't offer that at any of the other Hiltons we've stayed at.  Plus it had a "made-to-order" chef as well.  Okay, enough about the food....  We hit the beach that day, but it was cold water so it was mostly walking around.  After dinner we attempted a moonlit stroll on the beach, only to discover there were ghost crabs EVERYWHERE!  We had a flashlight, but you really couldn't even see the crabs until you made a step right by one and it moved.  Dan wanted to brave it, but I was not having it.  I was in flip flops...hellooo!!  So we went up on the pier and watched other people discover the creatures as they walked along the beach.  It was funny!

Thursday July 19 - Kitty Hawk
In the morning we drove to Jockey's Ridge, the tallest natural sand dune on the east coast.  And we took Spidey out for his first flight in non-AZ wind.  All you had to do was open the kite and the wind picked it up.  Although I must admit, we looked pretty pathetic out there with our Kmart special kite and everyone else out there had super duper trickster kites or giant ones that were easily $50 or more...oh yeah, and hang gliders.  Haha...oh well, we were proud of Spidey.

We headed south and spent some time at Coquina Beach.  Then we kept going south to Rodanthe which was recommended to us by one of the hotel employees, he's a surfer so we knew it had to be a good beach area.  It was mostly secluded which was awesome and the water was warmer too, even better!  We had to park on the side of the road and climb over a dune to get to it and boy the sand was HOT! 

That night we rested up and went to dinner at Five Guys.  Dan's brother Jay told us to go to it in D.C. but we discovered it here and decided to try it out.  Yummy burgers!  We ended the night with a pier walk (NOT a crab-infested beach walk!)

Friday July 20 - Kitty Hawk, NC
Since we planned a long drive out to Ocracoke Island this day, we decided to visit the Wright Brothers Museum/Monument  first thing in the morning.  It was very cool to see the actual site of the first successful flight and think about the inspiration they had to accomplish what they did.  Surprisingly, the museum only had a replica of the glider that made the flight.  But we did see the real one later at the Nat'l Air & Space Museum in D.C.

Next we were off to Ocracoke Island where Dr. Beach voted it #1 of America's Top 10 beaches for 2007.  You can only get to it by water or air, so we got in line to take a car ferry over to the island.  The island is only about 13mi. in length.  We headed to the ocean but unfortunately it was overcast and kind of drizzly.  However, we were all alone on this gorgeous, soft sand beach.  The ocean was too cold for me so Dan hit the waves while I wandered a bit.

Next was a visit to the Ocracoke Lighthouse.  It is the oldest of the 7 lighthouses found on the Outer Banks (OBX) of Cape Hatteras.  We heard there were wild ponies roaming the island, and it turned out they were penned up and you could stand on this wooden platform to see them.  They looked like regular old horses...Dan didn't even get out of the car.  Haha!  We caught the ferry back to Cape Hatteras and took a snooze in the car.  On our drive back to the hotel, we stopped to see the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which is the tallest and most famous.

Saturday July 21 - On the road again...
We had our last morning of yummy breakfast and started our drive to Washington D.C.  What should have been a 3 hour drive, turned into 8 HOURS, including the car switch we had to do at the Norfolk airport, but ended up with the same car anyway.  There was some dinky car accident that slowed traffic for MILES.  We learned that east coast freeways and highways are not a top priority.  I'm not sure they even have a patrol to monitor traffic or take care of problems since all we saw were signs saying speed radar was monitored from the air....uh huh....sure... 

We arrived at our hotel next to Capitol Hill, rested a bit, and since we only had the car one more night, we drove to a nearby suburb to eat.  They had a nice outdoor shopping/restaurant area surrounding a plaza where live music was playing and kids were playing in water fountains.  Next we drove to the Washington D.C. temple.  (here's another link)  While on the freeway we saw the spires peeking through the tall trees which only added to my excitement.  The sun was going down so by the time we reached the turn off, it was dark.  The road to the temple took us back into the forest, winding on a small road, very secluded...and then there it was!  Soooo GORGEOUS!  The feeling there was so indescribable.  The peace you could feel just looking at the temple, not to mention the picturesque forest that surrounded us.  We walked around the grounds a couple times and took about a dozen pictures and then left.

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