Hello friends! Last week was our annual trip to the Outer Banks Beach with Matt’s family. Here’s a recap!

It’s fun having a blog to look back on old trip recaps – we’ve been traveling to the Outer Banks one week each summer since 2012, a full decade now!

The family and I had fun looking back at some of my old blog posts about the trips, like this one (<- check it out for some throwback photos)!

The trip looks different (and a lot more chaotic/loud) nowadays than it did back then due to all the small children running around, but despite it not being a relaxing vacation it was definitely a fun one. 🙂

Most mornings started like this – with a sunrise!

Wes was not interested in sleeping late on this vacation unfortunately, but at least we got some nice sunrises out of it. And Matt and I alternate days so I got to sleep in every other day. 🙂

Breakfast was simple since we were busy chasing children – usually toast with nut butter and some fruit. One day we did all have some bacon and eggs, too – yum.

The cantaloupe at the beach was sooo good. I always forget how delicious it is when I haven’t had it in season for awhile! The peaches or “beach peaches” as we call them, are also always fantastic (fANNEtastic, I mean…)!

I didn’t get in any runs on the trip this year (it was outrageously humid so not super appealing, anyway), but I did get out for a couple early morning stroller walks which was nice!

And I did make it to Village Yoga, the yoga studio I like in Duck, a couple times so that was super nice.

By the time everyone was up Wes was usually ready for his morning nap (we are on a two nap schedule still, which is nice and also tough in terms of getting out to do stuff), but luckily we had a pool at our house so we were able to take Riese to the pool and bring the monitor down there with us!

We had a ton of fun splashing around the pool with Riese and our nephews (there are 3 of them), and I also got in a tiny bit of reading, too. 🙂 I was finishing up the last book in a trilogy (Shades of Magic <- affiliate link) I really enjoyed – highly recommend!

It was kind of like Harry Potter meets The Magicians. Legit the best books I’ve read in ages – great writing and a super intricate, creative world – I am so sad I’m done with the series!

Lunches most days were either some sort of a sandwich situation with a side veggie (like carrots/peppers) and/or fruit:

And I also made some big salads (a couple of which included leftover pasta salad as well), too, usually using dinner leftovers like leftover chicken or salmon, plus some microgreens we brought from the farmer’s market at home.

Most of our meals and hang out time at the house were spent making sure Wes didn’t fall down the stairs – we had a gate at the top of the main stairs down that was built in (super useful), but we didn’t have one for the flight of stairs that went up to a little small hangout area.

He was OBSESSED with climbing them – stairs are his new favorite thing, apparently. (And yes, he was only playing with that random soda bottle and not drinking it, in case that wasn’t obvious…)

Anyway – back to the food.

I also had one lunch out in town – on the last day of our vacation my mother-in-law, sister-in-law Jess, and I went to a yoga class and then had a lunch date after at NC Coast. It was delicious – I had a salad with seared scallops, plus some shared sweet potato fries.

Afternoons were when we hit the beach! We brought Wes down a couple times, but he was not a huge fan as the sand was super hot and the waves were scary. 🙂 So we mostly went while he was taking his afternoon nap.

Riese enjoyed it though! She didn’t want to go fully into the water but liked standing at the edge and feeling the water on her legs, and she loved building sand castles with Matt.

Matt and I also made it down to the beach one afternoon on our own – Riese was having some downtime with the TV and Wes was taking his second nap so we left the monitor with his parents. Win!

For dinners, we alternated who was in charge each night.

Matt’s younger brother Drew made peanut butter noodles (<- recipe, a big family fave) with chicken for everyone one night (plus a side salad). We missed his wife, Morgana, who couldn’t make it to the beach this year due to work!

For our cooking night, Matt and I made my salmon with lemon mustard dill sauce (<- recipe) which was a hit – one of our nephews even declared it “the best salmon ever”!

And it was nice because it was super easy to scale up and make a lot of at once, too.

We had it with some boiled corn (SO GOOD), a slaw that Matt’s dad threw together for us, and some baked tomato pie (purchased at one of the farm markets in town, we get it every year and it’s delicious and mostly cheese with a little tomato in there too).

Simple and yummy and not too much clean up, either – win/win! I added the yogurt sauce to my salmon after taking this picture.

Matt’s older brother Chris and his wife Jess did a taco bar for their cooking night – tacos are always a family fave! They made them with ground turkey plus all sorts of topping options. I went back for one more after this picture. 🙂

We also had a big group dinner at our friend’s place (Matt’s best friend from home, Thomas, who I also went to college with, and his family go to the beach with us every year – they stay in a house nearby! His parents are good friends with Matt’s parents) on 4th of July, which was fun.

There were SO MANY KIDS! They all had a blast.

We did a cookout with grilled burgers, hot dogs, etc.

While we were there and looking presentable (I had to bribe Riese to wear a dress, let me put her hair back, and be in pictures – she’s in a weird phase right now where she wants to wear long pants and long sleeved shirts even in 95 degree weather… argh… has anyone else had a kid go through this phase?! it’s bizarre) we had Matt’s brother Drew get some pictures of us. 🙂

Worth the bribe (a lollipop – gotta do what you gotta do sometimes, my friends), I’d say! Also, can you even handle Wes’s tiny little boat shoes? They are hand me downs from a friend, so precious!

I had to take Wes back to our place for bedtime around 8 so I missed the fireworks unfortunately, but Matt said Riese had a blast!

One of the other highlights from the week was a dinner out in town with Matt, his brother Drew, and our friends Thomas and Janice. The grandparents stayed home with the kids – such a nice treat!

We went to NC Coast for dinner (yes, the same place I went for lunch – it’s one of our faves in town!) and I started with a good salad, plus some shared apps like their crab dip and seared tuna…

And for my entree I had the crab cakes with roasted potatoes and veggies, but I forgot to get a picture I was having such a good time socializing!

After dinner (which was super early – we met at 4:30 because otherwise it’s impossible to get a table without a reservation, which we didn’t have), we went out onto the boardwalk to check out the views and get some pictures.

Storms were looming so it looked very mysterious there…

We walked a little way down the boardwalk and ended up settling at a spot called Eventide for some more drinks while we watched the storms roll in!

I didn’t want any more drinks besides water (I was soooo thirsty from being in the sun all week) and wanted a little something to snack on so got a mini cheese board. Yum!

We had a gorgeous view!

We also had a fantastic view of the massive rainstorm that came through – it didn’t last long but it was quite intense!

Luckily by the time we were ready to go, the storms had paused and we had a beautiful sunset peaking through.

We had some beautiful sunsets at the house earlier in the week as well – always love a good beach sunset!

Loved the blue and pink colors of the one below.

We were sad to say goodbye to the Outer Banks – the week went by quickly! – but also glad to get back home and into a better sleep routine – Riese was in a bunk room with her big cousins and she LOVED it, but they did not sleep a lot and by the end of the week she was kind of a hot mess.

We ended up doing both the drive down to the beach and the drive home at night – last year it took us 7 hours to drive down and 9 hours to drive home and we were like NEVER AGAIN.

So, now we leave after dinner and drive in the dark and the kids sleep in the car and it’s much quicker and easier than battling the traffic. It only took us about 4ish hours each way which was a huge improvement. Arriving at our destination around midnight or so is not super fun, but it’s definitely better than sitting in the traffic all day with the kids awake and bored…

Until next time, Duck – we will miss you!

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