It may not be Airstream travel, but I thought I’d share a quick summary of my trip east. I mean I am still a Watson, and I am still wandering, so it counts right? The trip started with a somewhat long, but altogether uneventful flight across the country. I always get a window seat so there’s something to look at, and despite a few clouds I was able to watch as the desert landscape of the west gave way to rolling hills, curving rivers, and (gasp!) snow in the east.
I am no stranger to snow, as I hail from the frozen tundra of Vermont where snow and cold is the way of life almost 8 months of the year. But since my destination was not Vermont, but in fact very south of Vermont in the state of North Carolina, the snow came as a shock. I guess someone decided that I had been enjoying more than my share of perfect weather this winter, and only days before my arrival a freak snowstorm passed through the area. Luckily my flight wasn’t delayed, but that slippery white stuff made the drive from the airport way, way longer than it should have been. Not because it was a large amount of snow- I think they only got 2 or 3 inches- but because the snow removal tactics in the south seem to be more along the lines of wait until it melts, instead of plow it away. Oh well.
The reason for my visit to this southern state with its freaky weather was to spend time with some of my family. Last summer my mom relocated to NC for her job, and was soon joined by my newly retired step-dad. They live in a small town at the very southern end of the Outer Banks about 15 minutes from the beach. My mom works at Camp Lajeune, the nearby Marine base (although to clarify she is not in the Marines, but instead works for a company that provides mental health counseling for the troops) and the small town where they reside is a mix of young military families and long-time southerners. It was my first time visiting them in their new home, and I am already excited to return with the Airstream when we travel up the east coast in the spring of 2015. My brother Peter and his girlfriend Erin also made the trip down, and it was the first time all of us had been together since Tim & I left VT in June of 2012. The only one missing was Tim- and Phineas. I can say for sure that the two cats were relieved when I arrived without that big brown beast in tow (Phineas, not Tim), and I think I may have even finally made friends with those big scaredy cats. I also got to meet my brother’s dog, Porter, for the first time. He’s a one year-old Austrailan Shepard who is incredibly sweet, smart, and energetic.
Despite the chilly start, the weather rapidly improved and we were able to get out and enjoy the beach several times. The beach closest to their house is in an area called Emerald Isle. Supposedly because in the summer the nearby islands are covered with large swathes of emerald colored grasses. Those emerald isles are pretty brown this time of year, but the beach was still gorgeous.
Besides beaching it we spent a lot of time cooking, eating and drinking. Ours is a family who likes to cook and we managed to put together a few delicious meals, even saving room for my mom’s famous homemade ice cream cake which she made special for Erin’s birthday. Speaking of Erin’s birthday, in addition to cake and a lovely meal out a seaside restaurant, we also celebrated with a surprise arranged by my brother and step-dad. As it turns out the surprise wasn’t just for the birthday girl. Apparently they had made reservations for all three of us ladies to have 90 minute massages!!! Amazing right? I can honestly say it was the best massage I have ever had. My favorite part? The hot stones. It was my first time having a hot stone massage, and I assure you it will not be my last. I was too surprised when we arrived at the spa to take pictures, and too relaxed when we left, but take my word for it, if you ever make it Surf City, NC you must get a massage at the Inis Spa.
We also spent some time roaming around nearby Wilmington, NC. This is definitely the quiet time of year at this historic beach town, and although lots of things are closed for the season, we still enjoyed walking around and taking in the sites.
My flight back to Phoenix was uneventful, although my carry on bag went through some extra scrutiny due to the large block of wax wrapped Vermont cheddar cheese I had tucked in the bottom. The TSA lady had a good laugh when she saw that the mysterious “brick” in my bag was in fact cheese!
I loved visiting my family, I loved exploring a part of the east coast where I had never been before, and I loved soaking up some of that long lost moisture in the air, but I must admit that it was good to return home to my Airstream, my desert, and of course my Tim.