OBX Vacation

by John Delach

I am back!

Last summer Mary Ann and I decided to take our family to the Outer Banks to celebrate my 75th birthday. We rented a house on the beach behind the dune in Nags Head. All 11 of us had a wonderful time, so much so, that Mary Ann directed me to rent a house for 2020 to celebrate her 75th.

Unfortunately, our rental was already taken for the week of the 4th of July. Choosing not to be defeated, our daughter, Beth, found another realtor who had what appeared to be an acceptable alternative in the town of Duck further north on the Outer Banks. I took the plunge and accepted the contract.

Before I continue with this story, I need to explain my thoughts about beach vacations. I have made many in my life that included stays in Cape Cod, Fire Island, the Hamptons, Florida, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Bermuda, Saint Martin / Maarten and Antigua. I enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of a week on the beach and the calmness it offers.

However, I first must get passed the four things I do not like or enjoy about a beach vacation: The sun, the sand, bathing suits and the waves. I never liked the sun. I am fair person who burns quickly and easily. Sand is a close second and I find bathing suits to be uncomfortable. I loved the surf growing up and body surfed with pride and pleasure. Such is life and those days ended a long time ago. Now, my idea of a perfect beach vacation is being on a shaded deck or a porch with, at least, three books to devour drinking a cold one while having a grand view of the ocean and family members enjoying the sand and sun.

Fortunately, I am alone in our family to have this point of view which makes a beach vacation work for everybody else.

Jodie is the queen of the beach hands down and spends as much time there as she can. Michael, Beth, Tom and Mary Ann all tie for second. Our grandchildren also enjoy the beach but also seek out alternative activities. As a group, Drew, Matt, Marlowe, Sami and Cace all finish third.

The time it takes to drive to the Outer Banks from the New York Metropolitan area is a stretch, but it is doable. Non-stop without traffic is eight hours and change and with stops, pockets of traffic and unexpected delays, 10 hours. This estimate turned out to be accurate for all of us this trip. We drove down separately in three different vehicles. Mary Ann and I invited Marlowe and Cace to join us. Our new Hyundai Palisade sports bucket seats in both the first and second rows and considerably more leg room. They jumped at the offer.

The house we rented was a wicked improvement over last years. Named: Run-A-Way Bay, everything was newer and more opulent. It had six bedrooms, so everybody was happy with their accommodations. The dining room fit all eleven of us as did a picnic table outside on the upper deck.

Since we now live in the era of Covid-19, eating in was a must. In 2019, we didn’t eat out much. Seating eleven is cumbersome so we mainly did take-out and we followed an even stricter discipline for this vacation. In addition, adhering to Covid-19 paranoia and having learned from 2019, we brought down NY Sicilian pizza for our first night since eateries in OBX are overwhelmed on arrival night.

Michael also brought a fabulous Buffalo chicken dinner for a second night and

Jodie contributed Chicken Parmigiana for a third. (Let us respect that Mary Ann brought two trays of lasagna, meat and meatless, that the rabble rejected.)   

Mary Ann and I supplied 100 surgical face masks, toilet paper for every bathroom, paper towels, sanitizers, hand soap and wipes to protect our family.

Of course, things go wrong. The a/c failed the first night in part of the house, but it was fixed the next day. TV took a couple of visits to work properly. ( Frankly, not my issue. I didn’t watch one second of TV all week.) The commercial ice maker was kaput, so we compensated by buying four, ten-pound bags every day.

Beach vacations, by their nature, are uneventful, but on Thursday, we were treated to an angry ocean thanks to tropical storm Fay that passed far enough offshore to give us a show without any danger.

That night at dinner of take-in BBQ, spirits were so high that I said: “Let’s reserve Run-A-Way Bay for the same week next summer.”

Beth called the realtor the next day and we are good to go in 2021.