Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Welcome to the Outer Banks, North Carolina

Friday, my husband and I made our way to the Outer Banks, North Carolina. We covered too much ground and did too many things to put into one blog, so again, I will break our vacation into several blogs this week.

The Outer Banks, otherwise known as OBX, are a series of islands off the coast of North Carolina. It was founded by Sir Walter Raleigh of England in the 1500s. There were two attempts to colonize in 1585 and 1587. In 1590 the colonists had disappeared without a trace. Today, there are still historians, archaeologists, and scientists trying to figure out what happened to the lost colony.

Our visit begins with a trip across the sound from North Carolina on 64. These views were amazing:

Croatan Sound

HWY 64
Coratan Sound
Welcome Center

Our first stop was to Nags Head Diving and Kayak in Monteo on Roanoke Island. We stopped in to set up a shore dive in Kill Devil Hills for Sunday.

Stump going in to set up a shore dive

After leaving the dive shop, we continued on across teh Albemarle sound into Nags head

Nags Head, NC

Beach houses in Nags Head, NC

A view of the dunes in front of the ocean

We stopped in for drinks at Jolly Roger in Kill Devil Hills where the stained glass windows were beautiful. I had a Bahama Mama in the spirit of the Kill Devil Hills area. Kill Devil Hills got it's name in the colonial times when the locals claimed the rum was strong enough to "kill the devil.

Stump playing games at the bar

We headed out for a seafood buffet in Kill Devil Hills, complete with all you can eat crab legs (Snow crab as well as Dungeness crab). Delish!

We did a little site-seeing Friday evening around Manteo on Roanoke Island. The area is absolutely beautiful. I will post those pictures tomorrow. Check back!

Monday, May 30, 2011

No Shark Fishing - Garden City Pier

This is the last post from our Myrtle Beach getaway. I am on my way home from the Outer Banks today, and will be posting pictures from that trip tomorrow.

Garden City Pier, located in Garden City, South Carolina, is only a few minutes south of Myrtle Beach. The 668 foot pier has something for everyone. There is an arcade area for the kids, a cafe to grab a bite to eat, and a tack shop that has everything you need for a day of fishing. There are also two bars on the pier. One is located close to the shore line, the other is at the end of the pier. Next to the bar at the end of the pier, there is a stage, dance floor, and plenty of tables and chairs so that you can relax and listen to one of their nightly bands. There is no fee to walk out onto the pier.

You don't need a saltwater fishing license to fish here. Just pay a small fee to the tack shop and you can fish all day long. They rent rods as well. There are signs posted "No Shark Fishing". I don't think the sharks could read them though. They seemed to be the only fish biting while we were there. I saw three sharks caught in a matter of minutes. Maybe they need to post the signs under the water.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Swimming With the Fishes - Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium is a beautiful, hands-on educational adventure at Broadway at the Beach. Their exhibits change yearly. This year is The Year of the Shark. They have so much to offer, including sleeping with the sharks (for school age children and chaperons). There are also mermaids who swim inside the aquarium, as well as a dive show for those who love to watch a scuba diver. You can read more about that on their website.
Stingray fountain outside of Ripley's Aquarium, Broadway at the Beach

View from top floor, Ripley's Aquarium
One of the sharks from the shark exhibit. If you are a certified diver, for $149.00, you have the opportunity to dive with the sharks at Ripley's. It's completely safe. They put you in a shark cage before submerging you. The husband and I wanted to do this dive, but Boots wasn't certified - and we leave no one behind. That pretty much means she kept us from this wonderful adventure. We are enjoying holding that over her head! I think the harassment is much more fun than the dive would have been!
Boots peers inside a hammerhead shark to see how the shark sees. It was just plain wierd.
A huge arowana fish patrols his territory. These things can be mean.
A Saw Shark swims overhead

These jellyfish are so beautiful, but so deadly. They had them backlit with neon blue.
The Sea Dragons were beautiful. 
A happy little Tang
I love the face on this stingray
More rays

Boots got as close as she would be to the "inside" of the aquarium.
Giant interactive fish tunnel for the kids
Stump peering from inside one of the aquariums.
"Those who have never seen themselves
surrounded on all sides by the sea can
never possess an idea of the world,
and of their relationship to it"

I have to agree.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wasting Away Again in Margaritaville - Broadway at the Beach

I will be leaving for the Outer Banks, North Carolina this afternoon for a scuba weekend. I have scheduled a post for tomorrow though, so come back to finish up my Myrtle Beach series for the week!
Broadway at the Beach is a must see in Myrtle Beach, SC. There are hundreds of places to shop, eat, and play. There are several night clubs on the property, many restaurants, and attractions. I am going to show you just a few. If you want to see even more, see the Broadway at the Beach website.
Wonderworks is a new interactive "research laboratory" that was turned upside down. You have to be turned upside down as well in order to tour the building. There is a zipline course outdoors and many other fun things to do inside. We didn't go in, but the website looks really cool.
Boots and I stop outside of the Hard Rock Cafe, Broadway at the Beach

Archway from night clubs into shopping area

Fat Tuesday is the best place to get a cold daiquiri. My favorite is the 190 Octane.

Wall behind the bar at Fat Tuesday

Fat Tuesday menu and my 190 Octane

Stump and Boots grab something cold to beat the heat

Boots and Stump on the patio at Fat Tuesday

Senor Frogs, across from Fat Tuesday, is a restaraunt, bar, and clothier
Boots and I party with the frog buddies

Some of the shops at Broadway at the Beach
Looking across the lake at more Broadway stores and attractions
Stump plays a short-lived game of Pac-Man at Retro Active, a 70's, 80's and 90's store, with tons of retro merchandise. Here you can find anything from Mr. Roger's Tees to old Doors albums.
Planet Rock 'N' Roll Carries all sorts of rock themed memorabelia. Tee shirts, posters, key chains, and backpacks are just some of the merchandise they have in stock.

Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville is huge. It even has a hurricane twirling inside the building. There is an airplane that looks as if it has crashed through one of the walls too!

Sign outside of Margaritaville
Colorful adirondack chairs beg someone to sit and relax a while. 

Margaritaville's outside bar.

The drink menu.

Three amigos sipping margaritas in the sun.

Now, where did I put that shaker of salt?

More beach blogging tomorrow!