Friday, Jacob and I hit the road for a trip to the beautiful beaches of South Carolina. We first enjoyed the museums of Raleigh, NC, where we met up with Jacob’s parents and Grandma Donna. All of us checked out the military exhibit in the art museum and then the various whale bones and explanations about the formation of the outer banks. It was also nice to get out of the rain for a bit. Our whole weekend was threatened by storms.
We stopped at the Macaroni Grill near Apex to grab some dinner before hurrying off to the temple. Condensation from the a/c pipes dripped on Grandma, a tradition that would continue throughout our vacation… oh, those humid southern states, ha. Jacob ordered some food that they had run out of so we ended up getting some free dessert, woot. Grandma Donna had just had a birthday, so we surprised her with typical restaurant celebration. We were feeling a bit rushed though, wanting to be on time for our temple appointment. So when the cake came out with a waiter wanting to teach us how to sing ‘happy birthday’ in Italian, I hope he wasn’t to insulted when we all almost jumped when we said ‘no’ to his offer, and he had to sing alone.
The Raleigh temple was the first temple I had been in besides the D.C. temple. Jacob enjoyed the intermission that a room change afforded us. And although I had been kind of stressed all day, the peace found in the temple is incomparable. Jacob was glad we had made reservations early in the week, there were atleast 6 more women that the initial chairs allowed for, but the aisle was huge enough to accomadate perhaps 5 extra chairs per row. And, in D.C. the session probably wouldn’t have waited for Grandma Donna like they did in Raliegh.
We retired to a hotel right off of I-95, one where you are not allowed to enter the lobby after dark… The next day we found ourselves back on the road. We stopped near the border and did some antiquing, and followed the back roads to Myrtle Beach. We hit some bad traffic but still got to the hotel before check-in. Once Jacob pulled into the parking lot next to our hotel I jumped out and the smell hit me. I had forgotten how the the smell of the beach is so different just a few states south. Oh it was wonderful. 2 of Jacob’s siblings met us and we all checked into our 2 bedroom hotel on the water.
The first thing we did was throw on our bathing suits and run out into the waves. The shells hurt our feet, but excited Jacob to the prospect of hunting when the tide went out. We enjoyed our evening playing Rummikub, eating pizza and reconnecting as a family.
Our room was on the 4th floor and was right on the beach. There were two bedrooms with two beds each. There was a large kitchen and full fridge (perfect for all our snacks, drinks and leftovers). The balcony was my favorite place. It was so peaceful and quiet, I enjoyed a bit of reading on it with the smell of the beach that I love and the crash of the waves overflowing my capacity to sense.
After everyone had gone to bed on Saturday, Jacob took me out for a walk on the moonlit beach. He brought a flashlight and we found some beautiful shells. We met a wonderful little boy who was hunting as well. Hand in hand, and flip flops in our back, we walked to the end of the hotel strip and back. Our toes splashed in the waves and Jacob and I really enjoyed the night.
Sunday was jam-packed with beach-hanging, body-surfing, and only a bit of rain. I went to the Hard Rock Cafe for the first time. But the storm didn’t keep us off the beach too much, even though the ocean was closed by the lifeguards. Jacob grew an affinity for shell hunting, especially after he found his first shark’s tooth. He found a total of 7 the entire trip. They were very difficult to find, he was really good and patient. His dad and sister, Emily, joined him in hunting and they bonded while my mother-in-law and I bonded in the water.
Monday morning we really just packed up and watched the news. Jacob and I made it half-way through North Carolina before getting bored on our trip home. The GPS told us to take one of the new highways that had nothing on the sides of it, Jacob realized he had to pee the moment we got on it and we didn’t find anything suitable until we hit I-95, over 40 minutes later. The exit we took to get food and a break had a sign for a fun little museum. So after some Bojangles biscuits we trekked off to a museum which we found, 2 highways later and was closed Sunday and Monday, boo. We ran into a bit of traffic (construction) almost as soon as we got back on 95 so we spent the majority of the remainder of our trip on the back roads enjoying farm country and little towns. The other museum we tried to hit only opens on Wednesdays. Sigh. Back in Richmond we grabbed some barbeque and headed on home to get some shut-eye before we began our week back to work.
The great thing about this vacation was how my worry about staying in the same hotel room turned into wonderful fun and great bonding with my in-laws. I’m so blessed.