The first day on our Inner Banks trip, we went hiking at Cedar Point Tideland. The trail is located at the mouth of White Oak River, and alternates between a salt marsh and a coastal forest. This was a completely new terrain for us. Even though it was a short hike, which we were thankful for, given the heat index that day, we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it!
ทริป Inner Banks เที่ยวนี้เราได้มีโอกาสไปเจอประสบการณ์เดินป่าแปลกใหม่แบบที่ไม่เคยลองกันมาก่อน Cedar Point Tideland ตั้งอยู่ที่ปากแม่น้ำ White Oak ทางเดินที่นี่ลัดเลาะข้ามป่าชายเลนริมฝั่งแม่น้ำ ถึงจะเป็นทางสั้นๆ (ซึ่งพอเหมาะพอดีกับระดับความร้อนในวันนั้น) แต่วิวสวยแปลกตาคุ้มค่ากับหยาดเหงื่อ
I could never get tired of this beautiful landscape! 😍
Even the wildlife here was different! This time we saw several tiny crabs scrambling in the mud flats, a few herons hunting for prey, and tons of fossilized shells. Also colorful mushrooms!
On the way back, we stopped by to check out the Salty Air Open Market in Cedar Point. We love the easygoing ambience they got going but we must have gotten there way too early or something… Even though we spent almost an hour nursing our beer and kombucha, the food truck never opened up (they had been “getting it ready” the entire time 😒). We finally gave up and went to grab lunch at a different place instead.
หลังเดินป่าเสร็จเราไปแวะกันที่ Salty Air Open Market ซึ่งเป็นตลาดนัดเล็กๆกลางแจ้งในเมือง Cedar Point บรรยากาศดูดีอยู่ แต่สงสัยว่าเราจะไปถึงกันเช้าเกิน อุตส่าห์นั่งละเลียดจิบเบียร์กับชาหมัก kombucha อยู่ตั้งนาน ร้านอาหารก็ยังไม่เปิดซักที (คือเห็นเค้าจัดเตรียมกันอยู่ตั้งแต่ตอนไปถึงใหม่ๆ แถมบอกเราว่า “อีกแป๊บเดียวเดี๋ยวเปิด” 😒) รอจนสุดท้ายรอไม่ไหวเลยได้ไปหาข้าวกินกันที่อื่นแทน
This is another series I am introducing as the new-normal alternative travel format we had adopted during this ongoing pandemic. Since we cannot travel freely and safely like we usually do during this time of the year, I forced myself to tap into my creative outlets 🧐 to try to come up with trip ideas that would allow us to leave the house and unwind for a few days while exploring interesting spots closer to home. To minimize our risk of contracting the potentially deadly virus, I have established a few rules…
Destination must be within no more than 4 hour drive from home.
Overnight stay must be in a non-hotel venue, where we do not have to share the ventilation system with other people.
Activities must be limited to outdoors only.
If eating out, it must be at a restaurant with outdoor seating.
For our first trip, I chose a much quieter counterpart of the otherwise well-known Outer Banks area of North Carolina, a.k.a. the Inner Banks. This is where the Neuse River meets the Pamlico River at Pamlico Sound, which is the largest lagoon along the US east coast, and is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the infamous Outer Banks.
I found a really cool airbnb property in Arapahoe, which sits right at the bank of the Neuse River. It was such a perfect location, quiet and away from the crowds, yet equipped with its own private little beach and a small pier that gave us the illusion of being on a beachfront property without the usual exorbitant price tag! 😉 Despite being one of the eight identically looking houses on the same property front, we barely saw anybody during the entire time we were there. The house itself was clean and cozy, apparently with a lot more room that we needed, not that we are complaining! 🙄
Apart from sunrises and one sunset we were able to catch on the way home one day, night time there provided an (almost 😝) equally pleasant view of the moon reflecting on the water by the pier. There were a few nights when it was windy enough that we didn’t have to worry about getting eaten alive by the mosquitoes 😓 so we could sit out sipping on glasses of wine, listening to the sound of the waves crashing onto the shore and pretending that there wasn’t a worldwide pandemic going on… 🥺
Besides a few evening walks along the private beach, we were able to fit in a couple of unique hikes and a few excursions during the trip, each of which I will cover in its own separate post. With the location of the house being in Arapahoe, most of our ventures involved taking a ferry across the river to get to the other side. We could have driven around the sound but that would mean covering twice the distance in approximately the same amount of time which seemed like a total waste of gas. 😣
The Minnesott Beach-Cherry Branch Ferry was nothing like what we had imagined… 😆 First of all, it was completely free, which is almost unheard of during this age and time! Second of all, it was teeny tiny! We were picturing a large ferry like the ones we use to take to visit the Outer Hebrides in Scotland… But when we got there, the only thing we saw was this tiny little thing that didn’t look like it could hold anything other than just a few cars, despite the long lines of cars waiting to board. We could barely see it from our vantage point at the front of the very last line. We first thought the actual ferry hadn’t arrived… But before we knew it, the cars ahead of us started to move, onto the very tiny platform! 😱 They just kept cramming us on, until everybody, all the waiting cars and trucks, at least 30 or even more, are packed tightly on both sides!
In the picture you see above, we were at the very back of the line, at the edge of the ferry on one side, so you can see there wasn’t much in terms of room in front of us… 😅 Each trip took approximately 20 minutes. The whole process was very efficiently run by just a few crew men directing traffic on and off the ferry. We were very impressed and grateful! One tip we can share is to make sure you check the ferry schedule before departure, otherwise you can be stuck there waiting for the next one for up to more than an hour! We did learn the hard way. 😆
Since our choice destination wasn’t located near any big tourist attractions, our options in the food consumption department was pretty dire… 😓 Fortunately, we found The Friendly Market! This chic venue in Morehead City was responsible for more than 75% of our meals while we were there. We visited twice to stock up and came back very happy with pretty much everything we got. The staff were super nice and ‘friendly’ as the moniker proudly attested! 😍
The few superstar dishes worth mentioning include their tomato pie (which we got both times!), blue cheese collard dip, and shrimp & grits. Make sure to try at least some of these if you get a chance to visit in person! 😉
This section is a little embarrassing to share but I’ll go ahead with it any way. 😆 So, I’ve seen plenty of photos of pretty blogger ladies posing in beautiful dresses by the beach on their vacations (pre COVID-19) and I’ve always wanted to recreate something like that… I’ve packed my prettiest beachy dress for this very purpose! 😊 I don’t know how they all got their dresses and their hair to blow so perfectly in the wind like that! 😅 After several dozen different takes, I have come to a conclusion we either need a better model, or a better photographer in order to make this happen properly! 🤣