Since moving to North Carolina, we’ve been absolutely enjoying traveling around the coast and sightseeing. We’ve been able to share so many awesome things with the girls that we wouldn’t have ever seen in California, and this review is just another example of the awesomeness of NC.
We were recently given a free extended weekend stay at the Ocean Isle Inn thanks to Lee, @oceanisleinn on Twitter. We were able to drive down on a Thursday and stay through Sunday. From our home in Jacksonville, it was only about a 3 hour drive. Not bad at all. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, it was already dark, so the beach and all it’s grandeur would have to be viewed when the sun came up. I checked us in, and got the girls and hubby up to our room. The room was very clean and set up well. We had an ocean view room, which was awesome… but again, it was dark. We could see the courtyard below us though. The garden area, gazebo and outdoor swimming pool. As inviting as it was, it was late, and we knew it would be a full day on Friday. There were two beds in the room. We set one up for the girls to share. I had purchased the little flip up bedrails for them so we wouldn’t have to worry abotu them falling out of bed. We set them up with the rails, and put them to bed. They were so excited they really didn’t want to sleep.. Truth be told, Daddy and I were too. This was the first vacation the family had been on in a very long time. I almost forgot to mention.. my neighbor was CraftyMamaof4 and her family.. It was awesome having them right next door.. More about our weekend activities to come.
Early Friday morning, we were woken up by a really awesome thunder & lightning show. It passed pretty quickly, but what I did get to see of it over the ocean was really beautiful. The girls woke up not too long after that, so we all got ready to head down to breakfast. Their breakfast was like no other I have ever experienced in a hotel. It was amazing. They had fresh do-it-yourself Belgian Waffles, Cold Cereals, Yogurt, Sausage/Egg and Bacon/Egg Muffin Sandwiches, Bagels, Coffee, Orange, Cranberry and Apple Juices. Like I said… It was Amazing.
We ate so much that we HAD to walk it off. The rain had subsided a bit so we took a quick walk on the beach. The sky was cloudy, so we knew there was more storm to come, but it was beautiful nonetheless. We walked down to the pier, taking photos along the wayand it started to rain pretty good. My girls were having so much fun out there, it was so nice to just enjoy their smiles and giggles. When we got back to our room, we looked through the binder that was in the room for something to do in the area. We found so many options it was hard to choose. We ended up deciding on the Museum of Coastal Carolina and the Ingram Planetarium. Although very much a part of this vacation, I have so much to say about them that they require their own posts! They were both very awesome places!
We were joined by CraftyMamaof4 and her family for dinner that night at a nearby restaurant called Cinelli’s. Again, a separate post is needed for this review as well. Here I will just say the food was delicious, but the service was a little bit lacking. Following dinner, we all went out to ice cream and headed back to the Inn. My girls were so tired, they didn’t fight sleep at all.
Saturday morning we woke up to an absolutely beautiful sun rise. The view from our balcony was truly breathtaking. I was able to sit outside for a brief moment and enjoy the sun and fresh air until the girls woke up and it was time for breakfast. Again, the breakfast was the best! We had planned a beach day that day with CraftyMamaof4 and the crafty family… It was awesome because you didn’t have far to walk at all. We went to our rooms after breakfast, changed, grabbed all of our beach gear and walked down a set of steps and there we were.. It’s not like when we go to the beach over here and have to carry everything, what seems like miles, to find a decent spot on the beach. We were there within minutes. The ocean was very pleasant that day. Swimming was perfect, the sun wasn’t too bad. We had great moments of mini clouds coming by to cool things off just as it got too warm. I loved that the surf wasn’t harsh there. My girls actually got out into the water (with their life jackets) and swam around. They did something they had never done at the ocean up here… They swam between Me and Daddy back and forth and they weren’t afraid. They had such huge smiles on their faces, it was awesome. The girls also really enjoyed playing with CraftyMama’s kids.. They built (and later destroyed) sand castles, buried each other in the sand, and just had an all around great time. We even got to see a beach wedding that day… It was very pretty… Later on that evening, after showers and dinner, we met back up with the Crafty Family and swapped photo shoots with our awesome *Nikon* cameras… LOL. We have a really cool beach photo for our Christmas card this year. Needless to say my girls C-R-A-S-H-E-D that evening. All that fun in the sun was too much for them.
Sunday morning came all too quickly. I spent a little bit of time before anyone else woke up on the balcony just enjoying my last moments on the beach. I thought about how much this really reminded me of our time in Okinawa. We were lucky, we had a beach view from our apartment for 3 years. I did not want to leave the Ocean Isle Inn… Neither did anyone else in the family. Alas, we had planned a pretty cool sightseeing trip on the way home, and Daddy had to get ready for work the next day. We went down to our last breakfast there. I still was in awe of the breakfast amenities. We stayed in several hotels on our cross country trip, and none of them had breakfast like this. We checked out, said our goodbyes and headed home. Of course, we stopped at the USS North Carolina as well… again.. another blog post entirely.
It was an awesome vacation that we will never forget. Oh, and did I mention, Daddy and I were celebrating our 11 year wedding anniversary? I couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend it.
Thank you so much Lee, and everyone at the Ocean Isle Inn. I can’t tell you how much we appreciated the opportunity to stay there with you! The staff is very friendly, and the accommodations were amazing. We definitely hope to come back soon!
If you’d like to see some of the photos we took while at the Ocean Isle Inn, check out my Picasa Album or click on the photo below to view the slideshow. I’m warning you now.. there’s a whole bunch of photos. We had so many great photo opportunities at Ocean Isle Inn, and I love taking photos. If you do choose to stay at Ocean Isle Inn, I highly recommend booking an Ocean View room! You will not be disappointed!