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The vacation that almost wasn't. OBX vignettes

I wasn't sure about this time away – mostly because Pete was just in the hospital two weeks ago, and I wasn't 100% sure he'd be up for this, but also because, once we actually got to OBX, he got sick again! This time we chalked it up to too fatty meals, but I was still sitting here Thursday night – the first night of our long weekend away – thinking, “this is not good. I'm going to be driving home again tonight.”

But thankfully it turned into a flash in the pan, and he's just fine now.

What a blessing.

Here are some of my random thoughts about the Outer Banks of North Carolina, on this, my second trip.

lighthouse credit pete gigliotti two to go

I love this place.

And it takes a bit for me to love a beach, considering I'm a native of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. All my life I had a fine disregard for other beaches, which, in the case of the Outer Banks, was totally unwarranted. My disregard centered around the over-commercialization of places like Wildwood and Ocean City, Maryland, places I was taken as a child which I disliked intensely.

OBX is not at all like them. Though there are certainly places that are overly “touristy,” as I feared, for the most part, these are quiet towns compared to the Eastern behemoths that are one boardwalk after another boredwalk [sic]. I appreciate the quiet pine woods, the long, mostly deserted stretches of beaches, the side streets and areas that have no businesses whatsoever on them. Please don't consider there are no tacky T-shirt shops, no strip malls full of odd tourist traps, no ubiquitous bars. OBX has all those things.

But somehow, they don't offend as much here.

It's just a lovely place.

My engagement ring

As we were driving here, I wanted to put some hand lotion on, so I removed my engagement ring, so it would not get “lotioned.” I couldn't think where else to put it, so I put it in my glasses case, a fancy Levenger affair with two sides – one for sunglasses and another for regular.

Then I put that glasses case somewhere … and forgot where I put it.

Eventually, I looked for the glasses case and couldn't find it. THEN I remembered what else was in the case and panicked. We searched and searched.

Finally, we found it, beneath some clothing in my suitcase.

Pete was adamant in refusing to buy me a new engagement ring if I lost that one … which I think is a little harsh after 40 years of not misplacing it. (To be fair, not only did he get me the original one but he also got a diamond wrap addition for the ring for our 25th anniversary).

However, no harm, no foul – I found it.

I was afraid that OBX cost us a whole lot more than we bargained for.

Kill Devil Grill

Every time we go to a new place, one of our biggest challenges is how to eat.

I know that sounds crazy.

However, you have to remember that Pete has a life-threatening food allergy and we need a place that will have some food he can eat, food that he actually wants to eat. And that they will be amenable to checking every last ingredient to make sure he doesn't get sick.

Often, when we're abroad, we stick to the same kinds of things, over and over. For instance, on our first trip to Venice in 2007 we ate in the same pizza place for three days straight – ordering the Margarita pizza each time. It was safe.

Here in OBX, we were faced with way too many choices. We agreed we would not default to a chain restaurant, but try something new.

Our first night here, Pete was sick, as I've said, so I simply got some stuff at the local Publix market and we ate that (of course, Pete ate very little). Last night – after exhaustive Yelp and Around Me searches, we settled on a place about three miles away, the Kill Devil Grill.

It was fantastic. Truly wonderful.

I had the wood-fired chicken, which was amazing. Pete had the shrimp with angel hair pasta. Both were fantastic. We had a delightful server, Stacy, who checked the ingredients for us without a single demur. The piece de resistance was our dessert, though – we shared the amazing apple crisp, a crispy, sweet, tooth-rattling delight.

Tonight we were tired, having hit Roanoke Island, the town of Manteo, the Hatteras National Seashore, the Pea Island Wildlife Preserve, the Hatteras lighthouse, and the Bodie Island lighthouse.

We decide to return to the Kill Devil Grill.

This time we had the spinach artichoke dip appetizer, and I had the BBQ chicken salad. Pete had the crab cakes. All were absolutely amazing and delicious. We got to sit in the bar area at a table and have the excellent bartender Dan as our server. It was lovely in every way.

We were too full for dessert!

Pete has written about the cool experience we had at the Wright Brothers Memorial, learning about the helicopter pilot receiving the insignia of his new rank, and talking with his wife. That was such an honor, to be even an observer to such an event.

What he didn't talk about was the other couple we met while we were talking with the pilot's wife. They, too, were interested in what was going on, and we all stood around and chatted for a bit. When the pilot's wife left, the other couple and Pete and I talked for another half hour or so. They are an engaged couple from Massachusetts, and were a lot of fun to talk to.

This is why we love traveling so much – you meet the most amazing, wonderful people and get to share a little bit of their story. And they get to share in yours.

Such a fine life, this traveling.

So thankful we could do it this time!

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