We’ve always planned our family vacations to be a mix of fun and learning. Because we’re in the teaching profession, visiting museums, historic places and famous monuments is a top priority. We’re also the parents of two growing kids, so we realize that a good portion of any vacation must be allocated to the pursuit of fun.
For this reason, we’ve decided to once again spend our vacation visiting the Outer Banks. The OBX has always provided a wonderful mix of rest, relaxation, history and culture. My husband and I also love the fact that the area contains dozens of unique restaurants. With its proximity to the ocean, these OBX restaurants serve what has to be the freshest and most delicious seafood on the East Coast of the United States.
Before embarking on our trip, we sat down as a family and made a bucket list of places to visit. Many of these things were places that we’d missed on earlier trips to the area for lack of time. These include seeing a bronzed replica of the famous first airplane at the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Continuing with this aviation theme, we also want to visit the Dare County Regional Airport Museum in Manteo, North Carolina.
There are other additional considerations, that make this trip different from family getaways we’ve made in the past. We would like to bring our dog with us, so we needed to find a hotel or rental unit that was pet-friendly. Wuffy is an unusually quiet and shy dog, so it seems cruel to have to leave her at a kennel for boarding while we’re away.
A major chance in this trip is the fact that we are renting an entire home, rather than just a room in a hotel. While there is nothing wrong with any of the major hotel chains we’ve stayed with in the past, there is nothing like coming back to a place that looks and feels like home. I was able to book an entire week in a fully-furnished house online. Ironically, a week in many of the rental homes costs less than a week long stay in a hotel.
After looking at photographs online, we’ve reserved a house named Whalehead Coastwatch, which has four bedrooms and three full bathrooms. We booked through a website, that is highly regarded as one of the best providers of outer banks vacation rentals. Not only are the kids able to have their own rooms with this set-up, but we have asked my mother-in-law to join us. Unbelievably, this house has its own private swimming pool and hot tub. Indoors, there’s WiFi so we can use our laptops and tablets to keep up with friends.
I particularly like the house we’ve chosen, because of its mix of beds. It contains two Queen size beds, two Twin beds, two Bunk beds and a sleeper sofa. We were told by the friendly customer representative from the booking website that the house is centrally located with convenient access to the beach. It’s considered a Semi-Oceanfront property and the views should be utterly amazing.
All I have to bring are our beach towels; as linens, blankets and pillows are already provided. Since the house has a television set, DVD player and CD stereo unit, we’ll be sure to bring our own entertainment. We’ll also have air-conditioning and central heat, so we can set the temperature day or night to our liking.
Domestically, the house we chose also has a lot going for it. With a full kitchen, we can have a complete breakfast at home before leaving to start the day sightseeing. There’s a blender, coffee maker and toaster; as well as a dishwasher. Since cookware, dishes and utensils are already provided, there is very little we have to do ourselves other than stock the place with a selection of food our family enjoys.
After a day touring lighthouses and stopping at local shops, we can look forward to a relaxing evening at home. This house comes with patio furnishings, chairs and a BBQ grill. As a mom, I like the fact that someone thought to include an outdoor shower so we won’t have to drag sand into the house.
The kids are really looking forward to this trip and so are we. Because we can drive down from Philadelphia, this is one vacation that doesn’t involve delayed airports or annoying security lines. All we have to do is pack our bags, load up the car and get on the road. When our OBX vacation is over, we’ll simply hit the road home in much the same fashion.
As vacations go, we consider a trip the Outer Banks and rental house as going “Old School.” When we’re not swimming or sunning, we will explore the world around us. Most importantly, it’ll be a time for us to bond as a family.