We’re big on books around here. There’s magic in the escape that a good book provides and transporting to the setting with our kids is one of my favorite things to do. We read to our kids as often as possible and the book shelves are often overflowing. Now that Penny is in kindergarten she is so proud to be bringing home new books each week from her school library and sharing new stories with us. But recently at bedtime she has been asking me to tell her my own stories, stories from my memory bank! I’ve been telling her detailed stories about the beautiful memories that I have of climbing the Currituck Lighthouse with my cousins. Penny and I have climbed it many times together so she is familiar with the view from the top so she loved learning that my memory of climbing the lighthouse at her age was so different. I can remember looking over the railing at the top of the lighthouse and seeing the wild Corolla mustangs roaming around the Whalehead Club. Their summer coats would sparkle in the sunlight from the top of the lighthouse and as a little girl, seeing glitter covered mustangs was about as magical as it gets. I can still remember that we had to watch where we walked because the horses had free roam and you didn’t want to get in their way. I had to break out the old photo albums to prove that the horses once roamed the sandbar and were not always secluded to the northern beaches.
She also had trouble believing that Kitty Hawk used to be home to a casino and a happening “downtown” vibe but the hardest thing for her to believe is that I used to be an actual contender in the 3 on 3 basketball tournaments at Corolla Light Resort when I vacationed here as a kid.
Penny loves when I tell her about how her Aunt’s and I would remind our mom to buy chicken-necks at Food Lion on the first day of vacation because we needed to let them sit out in the sun for a few days before we would try our luck catching enough blue crab to make a family dinner out of it. It was sort of our version of girl power before we knew that girl power was so important. This tradition carries on in our family and we still love to take our kiddos crabbing off of the long wooden docks in Corolla. The same roar of laughter irrupts from my children and it instantly takes me back to the days that I went crabbing as a kid. I’m the middle child of 3 daughters and I’m the only one that was brave enough to touch the chicken necks that we used as bait. I’d tie a knot around the chicken with string and add a small weight to the end of it. The string was long enough to reach the bottom of the sound and we would hold it there until a crab attached to the bait. Of course, with three girls this would result in the world’s loudest screeching screams while one of us ran to get the net. Crabbing quickly became a highlight to every single vacation. Although I’m the only sister that made the Outer Banks my home, both of my sisters visit frequently and always make sure to put crabbing on their list of things to do during a visit.
I can remember those moments like they were yesterday and I love sharing my precious memories with our kids especially as I know that they are filling up their memory banks with memories of their own here on the Outer Banks. One of Penny’s favorite things to do is go to the beach on a rainy day, just the two of us. She loves walking down to the beach and knowing that we likely won’t see another soul because the weather isn’t perfect for the beach. She loves having the wide open beach so that we can be as silly and as loud as we want while pretending that we are characters from one of her favorite books or making up a dance routine while the ocean plays soothing music. There is just something magical about the Outer Banks that makes you feel like you’re experiencing something out of a children’s book. The memories that are made here are embedded into the deepest part of the soul.
True to 6 year old girl form, Penny’s favorite bedtime story is about a handsome prince, a giant castle and a girl in a beautiful dress. Of course, she is riding in to her fairytale on a beautiful, glitter covered mustang!
The last time that I rented a beach house on the Outer Banks was in September of 2011. I remember clicking through hundreds of home rental pages before landing on a beautiful home on Twiddy’s website and knowing that I had found the perfect “castle" for our wedding week. The handsome prince in this particular story is my husband and Penny loves to hear how a fancy trolley picked me up at our castle and took me to meet my prince at a beach access in Corolla where we said our vows before dancing the night away. Penny could hear me tell this story a hundred times and she somehow comes up with a new question about it every single time. I’m certain that she can feel how much love there was in our wedding day and she is already planning to rent her own “castle” in Corolla but her Dad has made her promise that she will wait a really, really, really long time. I’m just over here trying to pre-book The Chesapeake Event Home for her big day, sometime in September of 2039! ;)
My favorite thing about living on the Outer Banks is that our small sliver of sand is home to millions of memories for so many people. The Outer Banks doesn’t just inhabit mediocre memories. The Outer Banks holds so many memories that can bring back the smell of a beach house, the smell of BBQ or fish tacos and the honeysuckle in bloom. For me, looking at the memories from my childhood vacations with my grandparents makes my eyes well up with tears. This place has something for everyone at any age making family vacations here become a part of family traditions. Can you share a special memory of your own in the comments?