Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ocean Isle Beach and Great Smoky Mountain National Park

*****Pictures will be added later!**********

We spent the week on vacation with my parents and sister in Ocean Isle Beach.  Since it is a far drive, we opted to turn the return trip into a minivacation, and toured the Great Smoky Mountain National Park as a way to stretch our legs on our way home.  Pretty much every day of the vacation consisted of a workout, the beach, pool, and dinner.  We also had to squeeze in some work too in order to make sure the sale of our condo as well as the purchase of our new home progressed.

Monday was the first day we hit the beach.  The kids enjoyed it.  Keira was really brave, and Soren enjoyed it a lot more this year than 2 years ago.  They loved running in the surf.  We also hit the pool too.

We had dinner at the Sugar Shack, which is always a favorite.  They have Jamaican style food.  Soren even tried a coconut prawn.

Tuesday was more beach but no pool.

We had dinner at in Calabash at a restaurant that came recommended to us, but we were not overjoyed by it.  It probably would have seemed a bit nicer had we been able to get a table on the side of the building that overlooked the ocean instead of off in a corner near the bar.  Calabash style pretty much equals fried, and there wasn't much on the menu that the kids would eat.  Applesauce was, but they ran out.  Soren was devastated, but after some searching, our server found us some spiced apple rings that sufficed.  We did have fun sitting in the tree outside while we waited for our table, as well as walking around looking at the crabs.

On Wednesday, Ryan and I got up early to do a bike ride with the Island Hoppers group in Ocean Isle.  We did a 28 mile ride with them at 19mph.  WOW!  I was happy that I could hang on, while Ryan was not hardly winded.  We changed things up a bit today and hit the pool and then the beach.  It made keeping the kids clean a little easier.  My mom worked with Keira a lot today on floating and she was even able to swim a bit, as well as go underwater. 

We went to the beach later, and finished up the day with some pizza.  Soren mentioned "Foster the People's Pumped up Kicks" to Sarah, and she was able to find it on her phone.  Soren was so excited about that!

On Thursday, I got up early to do a long run.  It was so hot!  I was thankful there were beach access showers to use to drink and cool off!  We hit the beach afterwards.

Ryan and I had to sign some paperwork and email it back, so we drove into Myrtle Beach for a while.  It took a bit longer than we thought, but finally got it taken care of.  We had dinner at a really nice Italian place pretty close to OIB.  Everything was delicious.

Friday was our last full day at the beach.  We had a good time playing with the kids, and Sarah offered to watch them so that Ryan and I could have a date night.

Saturday morning we got up early and got on the road.  We made it to Smoky Mountain National Park about mid afternoon.  Soren actually started using the potty today too!  Of all the times to decide to use the toilet, Soren picks a day where we are driving most of it.  Go figure.  At the south entrance to the park, there was a primarily agricultural historic farm to tour.  It was great for the kids to be able to run around a bit.  They loved it, and the setting was so beautiful. 

Once we finished up at the farm, we started our drive through the park.  We stopped at many of the scenic overlooks to check out the spectacular views.

We also were able to take a few steps on the Appalachian Trail.  It is amazing that it extends almost 2000 miles to Maine!

We made our way through the rest of the park and to our hotel outside of Knoxville.  We were able to bypass Gatlinburg, but not Pigeon Forge.  It was so slow going through that tourist trap! 

On Sunday, we drove the rest of the way back to KY.  We encountered some interesting weather.  We were driving and very suddenly the clouds overhead were very dark and ominous looking.  It got very dark and almost spooky because it was just sunny, and the change was not gradual at all.  We kept our eyes on the sky for funnel clouds and such, but just had rain.  We made it safely home in time to attend church in our new ward.  We got packed up again to head back to MI!

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