Monday, June 20, 2011

We Took A Little Vacay...(Part III)

Part III took place in the Hampton/Norfolk/Virginia Beach area.

Day 6:

The Hubs and I spent Day 6 being tourist/history nerds. We love early American history, so we took a trip to Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg. If you're ever in that part of the country, both are a must-see.

We began the day at Jamestown Settlement, a recreation of the first permanent English settlement in the United States (est. 1607). They also have a great history museum on site, which we spent a good amount of time touring.

Recreation of a Powhatan Indian home.

Blacksmith in the Jamestown Settlement

I wish I would have taken more pictures, but there were SO MANY elementary kids running around, it was hard to get pictures without them in front of you.

After we left Jamestown, we headed to Colonial Williamsburg. We grabbed lunch at a cute little sandwich shop in the square before walking around the historic buildings. It was neat to see all the people in costume performing various tasks around the town. Honestly, we didn't spend nearly as much time here as we would have liked because it was just so darn HOT - even for this Texas girl. I didn't even take any pictures. Just. Too. Hot.

Day 7:

On Friday, we headed over to Norfolk to do a tour of Naval Station Norfolk. It was neat to see the worlds largest naval station and some of the ships based there.

The Hubs wished we could have gotten a tour of the actual ships, but there's this thing called National Security and they don't just let anyone on board.

We spent the afternoon in Virginia Beach, enjoying a casual lunch out on the Lynnhaven Pier and doing some sightseeing. We made one last lighthouse stop at the Cape Henry Lighthouses.

Old Cape Henry Lighthouse

New Cape Henry Lighthouse

Day 8 aka Mike & Erin's Wedding Day:

After a late night on Friday, we spent most of Saturday being lazy. While The Hubs slept in, I went to Erin's to see if there were any last minute things I could help with. At 5:00, the beautiful bride walked down the aisle to the waterside ceremony. It was perfect!

Mr. & Mrs Mike Sage!!

The reception was held at her parents house under a huge tent decorated with paper lanterns in shades of brown, green & purple. GORGEOUS!

The evening was perfect until this...

A HUGE storm rolled in bringing a torrential downpour for the last two hours of the reception. Before long, the floor of the tent looked like this...

Luckily, Mike & Erin's family & friends know how to have a good time despite a little rain. Everyone took off their shoes, rolled up their pants and danced the night away anyway.

It made for a more than memorable wedding. We loved every minute of it!

Day 9:

After 8 nights away from home, it was time to head back. We left Hampton early Sunday morning to make the 4.5 hour drive back to Greensboro, NC to catch our flight. We got to Durham around lunch time & decided to find a place to eat before we turned in the rental car & checked in for our flights. On the recommendation of a friend, we ate at Foster's Market. Um...I AM IN LOVE! If I lived in the Raleigh/Durham area, I'd eat here every week. I'll write more about it later (I'm going to do a food/restaurant post), but it was a mix of restaurant / gourmet shop. And delicious! It was the perfect way to end our time in NC.

But our trip wasn't over quite yet. The Hubs & I had a 3 hr layover in Chicago so we did what any foodie would do and hailed a cab to the closest pizza place...our favorite Giordano's - home of the stuffed deep dish pizza!

YUMMY!! We even took the leftovers on the plane and had a mid-flight snack. The other passengers were slightly jealous.

Overall, our trip was wonderful. Its always nice to visit new places and see new things. Now I can start planning our next trip...

Friday, June 17, 2011

We Took A Little Vacay...(Part II)

Let's see...when I left off yesterday, The Hubs & I had just enjoyed room service with a view at the end of Day 3 and gone to bed early.

Day 4:

This was a FULL day. We were scheduled for a couples massage at our resort, The Sanderling, at 9:00. We headed over to get our massages, which was new for The Hubs. It was his first & probably last. The massages were mediocre and just a little awkward. Oh well.

After the massages, we headed back down the island to Kitty Hawk to visit the Wright Brothers Memorial and see the sight where Orville & Wilbur took the first flight on Dec. 17, 1903.

From there, we drove to Nags Head to climb Jockey's Ridge - 426 acres of the tallest sand dunes in the eastern United States. Let me just say, climbing in sand + 100 degree heat = not easy! But the view from the top made it well worth the climb. If only we'd had a sled to slide down on!

That little spec in the middle is The Hubs. I had to stop to empty sand from my shoes half way up and when I looked up, he was WAY ahead of me.

After the climb, we were hot, parched & starving. At the recommendation of my friend, Erin, we grabbed lunch at a little dive called Tortuga's Lie. It didn't disappoint. We spent the afternoon back at the resort laying on the beach, enjoying the view and finally relaxing a bit.

The View

The water was a little cold & rough.

We spent most of the afternoon with our toes in the sand.

That night, we got dressed up & enjoyed a nice dinner at one of our resort's well-known restaurants, The Lifesaving Station. Delish!

Day 5:

I set my alarm for 5:40 so that I could get up & take some pics of the beautiful sunrise, after which I promptly got back in bed.

When The Hubs & I got up we fit in a little more beach time before we had to leave for our next destination.

There were crabs ALL OVER the place that morning. They were so fun to watch.

After checking out of our hotel, we headed north to Corolla with hopes of finding the wild horses. To get to them, you have to drive 6 miles up the beach where there are no paved roads. We had a 4WD vehicle, so we thought we'd give it a shot. After about a mile, we had already seen 5 cars stuck in the sand - some with 4WD - and we decided to abandon our adventure for fear of being stuck in the sand all day. I was pretty bummed we didn't get to see the wild horses. I guess we'll just have to go back another time.

With that, our time at the Outer Banks had come to an end. We hit the road to spend the 2nd half of our trip in Hampton, VA - hometown and wedding destination of our dear friends Erin & Mike. We arrived at Erin's parents' house in time to help with some wedding prep, cook dinner & enjoy a nice evening on their back patio watching the sun set over the water.

To Be Continued...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

We Took A Little Vacay...(Part I)

Last week, The Hubs & I took a much needed vacation (and cooking & no blogging). We drove over 1,200 miles and visited over 10 cities! It was a long, but wonderful trip. Want to know where we went? I thought you might. Here we go...

Day 1:

We started by flying into Greensboro, NC and heading to Durham where The Hubs' trip could have ended and he would have been a happy man. We got to tour this place...

And even go down on...

For those who don't know, The Hubs is a HUGE Duke basketball fan. He's always dreamed of visiting Cameron Indoor Stadium and he finally got to. (If only there had been a game going on...). K Academy was in session, so we got to see Coach K & several former players. I may or may not have almost asked Grant Hill to take our picture before realizing who it was. Needless to say, he was a happy, happy man.

We also toured the beautiful Duke Gardens...

And caught a Durham Bulls game...

Day 2:

We took another trip over to Cameron Indoor to tour the Duke Basketball Museum...

And the rest of the Duke Campus, including the beautiful Duke Chapel.

We then drove to Raleigh where we visited the Natural Science Museum, had a wonderful lunch at a little brewery/pub (more on that in another post) and visited the most AMAZING farmers market. That evening, we drove east to the quaint town of New Bern to stay the night. Our day ended with a perfect dinner on the water (more on that later, too).

Day 3:

We woke up early to make the drive to Cedar Island where we were to catch the 10:00 ferry to Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks. The drive took a lot longer than we anticipated and we pulled up to the ferry landing 5 minutes before departure. Whew! We spent the 2.5 hr ferry ride napping, snacking & watching for dolphins.

We arrived in Ocracoke around lunch time and grabbed a quick bite to eat before checking out our first lighthouse...

We also made our first beach stop.

We spent the rest of our day driving north up the islands, making stops along the way at the Hatteras Lighthouse...

the house from "Nights in Rodanthe" - (I heart Nicholas Sparks)...

and the Bodie Lighthouse...

By the time we made it to our hotel in Duck, we were exhausted. We decided to order room service (fish & chips - yum!) and spend the evening on our balcony instead.

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Scout Salsa

The Hubs & I spent Memorial Day weekend at the lake with our friends, M&E and all of our pups. We had a great time relaxing, eating & letting the dogs run wild. Cannon even got to go for a boat ride & swim...

(She loved the boat ride...especially the wind blowing in her face. The swim on the other hand wasn't her favorite).

As I was throwing together the menu (very last minute - at least for me), I decided I wanted to make some homemade salsa. I knew my mom had a simple recipe for a salsa that my dad just loves, so I emailed her to get it. I found out why my dad loves it so much - it's a recipe from one of his Boy Scouts. Hence the name, Scout Salsa. It could not be more easy to make.


  • 2 15 oz. cans stewed tomatoes (Del Monte Original Recipe)
  • 2-3 dried chile arbol
  • 2 jalapeƱo peppers, seeded & quartered
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro – just cut off the bottom 2” or so of the stems
  • 3/4 t. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder


1. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Process for 20-30 seconds, stir. Process until peppers & cilantro are evenly chopped.

2. Serve with tortilla chips.

3. Store in the refrigerator & use within 3-4 days.

I told you it was easy!

My Tid-Bits:

* Dad likes this best on the day it’s made. Luckily, its really fast to make.

* Mom says she sometimes holds back a few tomatoes from one of the cans & add them at the end to give the sauce a little more body.

* You can also drain off some of the juice for a thicker salsa.

* The heat varies with the jalapeƱos. Leave in a few seeds if your peppers are too mild.