Tag Archives: travel

Swansboro, Beaufort & Ocracoke: A Quick Trip on the N.C. Coast

19 Mar

Last weekend we headed out to the beach for a quick trip. We spent the first night with the BF’s parents at their place just off Emerald Isle. If you’re ever in Swansboro, North Carolina, check out the Bogue House for lunch – classic North Carolina BBQ, hushpuppies, and more. And then hit up Trattoria for dinner – the pizza and the calzones are all good, but make sure you get the garlic knots too.

The next day we stopped in Beaufort to meet some friends for lunch at the Front Street Grill, which was delicious. They also have a great view of the harbor, which was nice on the first warm, sunny weekend of spring. After lunch, we walked around the Old Burying Ground, which was fascinating. They have graves dating back to the early 18th century. We noticed some markers with the names of really old Beaufort families, whose surnames matched some of the street names in the downtown area. There were a few Confederate Army markers too. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures, and they don’t have a website, but you can see some images here. Before parting ways, we recommended that our friends have brunch the next morning at Beaufort Grocery. It’s a little pricey, but really good. And don’t forget – in North Carolina, it’s pronounced BO-fert.

We took the afternoon ferry to Ocracoke Island, where we stayed at Edward’s, our usual place. Their rooms are simple, clean, cute, and cheap. After dumping our stuff, we walked over to Dajio. It’s not our usual place because they were still closed so early in the season, but that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Dajio was amazing! I had eggplant napoleon made of layers of eggplant, roasted red and yellow peppers, and ravioli filled with manchego, all topped with a pesto sauce. Followed with a glass of North Carolina chardonnay, I was a happy camper. And since still nothing was open the next day, we returned for lunch, when I had their delicious grilled cheese made with cheddar, manchego, bacon and green chile chutney. We didn’t do much at Ocracoke since our stay was so short and a huge fog bank rolled in right behind us, but a walk to the lighthouse is usually part of the experience. The next day, we took the ferry back out after some tense waiting – the fog was so thick, they stopped running the ferry. Many visitors were getting pretty antsy, waiting in their cars to see if the ferry would start up again. Though I wouldn’t have been too sad to be stuck for another night, we did eventually get on a ferry over to Cedar Point, only a couple hours behind schedule.

This was definitely a fast trip. The BF and I are weird – we like being in the car, looking at pretty landscapes. So all the driving and ferrying are not objectionable. But for most people, I’d recommend taking a couple more days for this itinerary. Ocracoke alone is worth a week-long super-relaxing stay, preferably complete with beach bikes and a sack of books. And if you have even more time to meander, taking the ferry north through Hatteras and then stopping in Manteo is a great addition. Hopefully this summer we’ll have more coastal trips to post about!

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New Year’s in D. C.

1 Jan
Happy New Year, President Lincoln!

A shot of the Lincoln Memorial just after midnight on New Year's Day

The BF and I celebrated the New Year with friends in DC. We had a fantastic prix fixe dinner at Fado Irish Pub, where we sat talking until the big countdown. After the champagne toast, we barely made the drive back to our hotel before falling asleep. By the way, if you’re planning a trip to our lovely nation’s capital, I highly recommend the Best Western in Alexandria. It was nice, clean, and cheap. Plus they offered us plenty of free food and snacks, which is a sure way to earn my patronage.

Other recommended restaurants: we tried Le Pain Quotidien for the first time, and their avocado tartine on fresh-made organic wheat bread made for a  tasty meal light enough for first dinner. And our DC favorite Founding Farmers, known for sustainable and absolutely delicious farm-to-table fare, proved to be just as amazing for brunch as it is for dinner.

In addition to eating a whole lot, we also went to the National Museum of Natural History. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been, and it was really cool. Of course I was super excited about the Hall of Mammals and the Dinosaur exhibition, which makes sense considering my strange obsession with Animal Planet. But I ended up being even more enthralled by the Hall of Human Origins, a super cool exhibit about human evolution.

Overall, a pretty mellow and enjoyable way to ring in the New Year. Here’s to 2012.