Welcome to this week’s Postcard From – the feature where I chat to some lucky explorer about their recent travels.
This week’s Postcard is from travel blogger Emma Hart. A Yorkshire girl with a huge fondness for Yorkshire puddings, Emma enjoys exploring her home county whenever she has the chance. However, travelling the world is her true passion and endeavours to jet away whenever she can in between working a 9-5 job as a Marketing Assistant.
In her spare time, Emma writes for her blog Paper Planes and Caramel Waffles, enjoys going snowboarding – even if it is only on an indoor snow slope – and can often be found relaxing at home playing fetch with her cat, Max. You can follow her adventures on Facebook, @EmmaHart7 on Twitter, or @EmmaHart7 on Instagram.
Welcome to Postcard From, Emma. Where have you been lately?
In September, my friends and I went on a great road trip to the beautiful Outer Banks in North Carolina. I wasn’t sure what to expect before we got there but I can safely say it’s one of the most relaxing places I’ve ever been to.
There were 8 of us travelling together in total and with everyone living in various places all over the world, it was a great opportunity to spend some quality time together and make more memories which I’m sure we’ll be talking about for years to come!
Was the weather good at that time of year?
While we were there we did have a few torrential downpours which were more often than not accompanied by the most fantastic thunderstorms. However, most of the time the weather was perfect – warm days filed with glorious sunshine! We went in mid-September as we were told the humidity would be low and the ocean still warm after the summer so it really was a great time to visit!
Sounds perfect! Did you have somewhere nice to stay?
The house we stayed in on Hatteras Island was absolutely stunning. It was a massive pale green, wooden panelled house called Sea la Vie with it’s own pool, views of the ocean, hammocks on the huge wrap-around balcony and a hot-tub! There was enough room in this house to sleep 17 people, so between 8 of us there was plenty of room for us to hang out. We were also able to use the stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and surfboards that were all at the house- it truly had the perfect holiday vibe!
Again, sounds perfect! How did you spend your time?
We spent a lot of time at the beach and in the ocean. The Outer Banks are a tiny strip of land off the coast of mainland North Carolina so we had the Atlantic on one side of the house and Pamlico Sound on the other – an ideal opportunity to chill out and try out stand–up paddle boarding! As we were an hour away from Kitty Hawk too, a few of us went to see where the Wright Brothers first flew a plane. We wouldn’t be able to travel like we do now without the power of flight so it was pretty cool to see where it all began!
What was your highlight?
One day we drove an hour down the coast to Ocracoke Island and hired a few stand up paddleboards from the local surf shop. We weren’t necessarily planning to do so but we ended up spending over 2 hours paddling around and exploring the coast of this beautiful place. We had to go back eventually but seeing the sun set over the ocean while out on the water with my friends was a pretty memorable part of my trip!
Where did you have the best food?
I don’t think I had one bad meal while in North Carolina. There is a lot of seafood on offer and one of the best dishes I had was at a place called the Outer Banks Brewing Station. As well as some really good home-made beer this restaurant dished up some great pepper seared tuna with an Asian cucumber salad – it was delicious! We also cooked up some brilliant breakfasts in the house, I mean how can cinnamon and raisin bagels, crispy bacon and scrambled eggs every morning not be good?!
Were there any funny stories?
It’s not necessarily funny but spending 8 hours in a hot tub when you’re only meant to spend 20 minutes in there, does your skin no good whatsoever. We definitely took the phrase “POOL PARTY!” too far and ended up loking like very pale wrinkly grapes!
Whoops! So besides turning yourselves into prunes, were there any disasters?
If you can call running out of beer and cider after the shops shut at 9pm, then yes we had a couple of disasters. The nearest bar to us shut at 9pm as well! There’s a tip, if you ever go to the Outer Banks, stock up on drinks if you’re planning on having a few – I wouldn’t wish it on anyone to have to drink straight Kraken rum, Malibu and cheap vodka all evening. If that was the only disaster though over the whole holiday, I don’t think we did too bad.
Stock up on booze, got it! Do you have any other advice for anyone planning a similar trip?
Definitely hire a car, it’s the only way to really explore this beautiful part of North Carolina. Also, if you’re driving down from Norfolk Airport don’t rush to stock up on liquor like we did. There’s an ABC store right across the border into North Carolina and a couple more in the Outer Banks – although they are quite spread out! If you get the chance too, get up early one morning and catch the sunrise and equally in the evening, watch the sun go down over the ocean.
Last but not least, my new favourite question. Did you read any new books on your trip?
I had started reading Bill Bryson’s Notes From A Big Country before I had left for America. Although this book was written in the mid-nineties, I found a lot of the observations Bryson had made about the United States and it’s culture, still rang very true when I visited. Cup holders in cars for example – Bryson discussed in a column that American’s seem to be obsessed with cup holders in cars. I didn’t realise to what extent though until one day, I counted 17 cup holders in our 7-seater car. That’s more than 2 cupholders per person. Who needs that many drinks on one car journey? It did make me giggle and turned out to be a nice little holiday read!
NB – All images are owned by Emma Hart.