The DC Metro

Riding the metro is a big part of visiting Washington DC.
 I love the metro; the stations are such a busy, energizing place, and riding the trains is always an adventure. 

The adventures start with a long decent by escalator deep underground.  In DC there were some of the longest escalators I have ever seen. About halfway through they can get disorienting and make you feel like you are going straight up or down. I always felt like I was going to fall over and ended up holding on really tight and got afraid to move. Haha!

 On our last visit, we didn’t bring a car so we used to metro to travel everywhere. Paying for metro trips will add up really fast, so it’s best to get a metro pass if you’ll be there for more than a few days. 

We bought the 7 day short trip pass, which costs 36 dollars and allows unlimited trips off peak hours, and covers trips up to $3.60 during peak hours. After the $3.60 you just have to load some money on your card to pay the difference. The maximum fare is $5.90, so you will never pay more then $2.30 per trip. Another pass is offered for 60 dollars that includes unlimited on peak trips, but it is not really worth the money if your average trip will not go over $3.60.  You can check the cost of your metro trips here and determine if you will be traveling many long distances during your stay or not.  Peak hours are from opening until 9:30 AM, and 3:30 to 7:00 PM. 

With an unlimited pass that means you can ride the metro anywhere and everywhere, without worrying about paying anything extra!

We ended up riding the metro many times during rush hour. The trains were jam packed, but that was part of the fun. It’s interesting to see all the busy people heading to work, and trying to imagine what they do, and where they are hurrying off to.

This trip was the first one we have ever taken without a car. It feels a lot more adventurous to try and make your way around the city by a combination of walking, metro riding and bus riding. I wish my own city had a metro system!


The Houses of Dupont Circle

On our trip to Washington DC we stayed in Dupont circle, which is a historic neighborhood of many row houses. It was a very pretty area and I loved admiring all the different homes during our early morning walks to the metro station.

The leaves were just starting to emerge on the trees. Spring had just begun. 

One of the highlights of the walk was going under this low growing pine tree.

As we walked trough this neighborhood, we liked to imagine what kind of people lived in these historic homes, and what it would be like to live there.  I’m not sure I would like to be so close to my neighbor, but I think living in Washington DC would be a lot of fun. I love big cities.

Aquarium Visit

When we were at the beach last month, we checked out the aquarium on a slightly rainy day.

I love watching all the fish swimming around, it’s so peaceful.

I was very relieved that the only sharks I saw were at the aquarium. There were so many shark attacks this year, and so many of them were close to the beach we stay at! I definitely stayed out of the water this time around.

The first time we went to this particular beach, years ago, we didn’t have enough money to buy aquarium tickets, but we asked the people at the front desk if we could look around the gift shop and they said that was fine as long as we only went in the gift shop. We went in there with the best intentions, however, the gift shop basically opens up to the entire aquarium so we couldn’t resist taking a quick peek at the fish. We were only in there a couple minutes when all of a sudden we saw the person who had let us in the gift shop coming straight towards us!  We raced out of there so fast, jumped in the car and sped away. I don’t think the person even saw or recognized us though, but we sure thought we were in big trouble. Haha!

It was nice to return as paying customers this time. 

Adventures on Cape Lookout Island

If you asked me what my favorite place in the world was, I would have to tell you it is Cape Lookout Island.

It is an uninhabited Island, only accessible by ferry and is home to the Cape Lookout lighthouse.

On the ferry ride over, you may be lucky enough to spot the wild horses that roam these islands!

All the lighthouses on the outer banks are painted different colors as a way for sailors to recognize what part of the coast they are at. Cape lookout is unique in that it is the only lighthouse that not only tells you where you are but also what direction you’re facing. The center of the black diamonds point north/south, and the white ones point east/west.

The island is quite large, so there is a truck shuttle that will take you on a short tour through what used to be a little village, before dropping you off at the sandy point. 
(Say hello to Mr. Dragonfly who photobombed my picture!)

Many years ago Cape Lookout was home to a small village. However, when the island became a national park, the residents were evicted and many of the homes were either moved or burned down. A few of the houses remain today, and act as places to stay for researchers and members of the coat guard.

I would love to live in this peaceful little spot.

The truck weaves down a bumpy sandy path, through brush and sea grass, until you find yourself on a thin strip on sand extending out into the vast Atlantic ocean. 

The view of the point from space!

The view here is different than on the regular shore. The water is more blue and crystal clear, the sand is softer, there are almost no other people in sight, and the only building you can see is the lighthouse off in the distance. I feel like I could spend days here.

As we explored, we found there was a small lake that formed in the middle of the point. The sand there was so mushy, it made me think of cornflakes! You know, like after they have been sitting in the milk for a while and get all soggy.. It was quite funny to walk through.

The lighthouse is always in sight. Keeping watch over the shores.

The best part about Cape Lookout, are the shells! This area is known as one of the best shelling spots on the coast. I’m not sure exactly what makes it the best location; maybe because the point is so far out into the sea, or maybe it has something to do with all the old wrecked ships beneath the water that provide the perfect home for sea snails, or maybe because there’s just less people around to snatch them up. Whatever the reason is, there are hundreds of them just laying on the sand, waiting to be picked up and given a good home. 

It was a dream come true. For years I have been wandering the beaches, looking the perfect conch shell. When I saw all these guys just laying on the sand, I raced around like a maniac, stuffing them into my beach bag, and watching in amazement as more washed up in the waves.

During this trip I had hoped to find just one conch that wasn’t too broken. I got way more than I ever thought possible!  I’m not sure what I plan to do with so many shells, but they make a pretty cute collection, and remind me of my favorite place in the world.

I am already dreaming of the day I can come here again.

What I Wore at the Beach

Most days we were at the beach, I lived in my bathing suit. But the times I wore actual clothes, I chose pastels and white because they seemed like the perfect beach colors.

The only time I really wear contacts is at the beach, and that means I can wear my beloved sunglasses! I probably have about ten pairs that are just sitting around collecting dust because I used to be a sunglasses fool back in the day, before my eyes went bad. This pair is one of my favorites.

Waves are really unpredictable…..
And that one got me bum all wet!
I wish I was back at the beach.

Outfit Details
Shirt: Forever 21
Shorts: Target
Sunglasses: I forget!
Sunhat: Target

Sand Dollar Island

While we were at the beach, we took a trip to one of my favorite places. Sand Dollar Island!
You can only get to Sand Dollar Island by ferry, so we headed down to the docks to catch a ride over.
 It is actually more of a giant sand bar then an island, and it is only accessible during low tide because it can get completely submerged during high tide!
 The ferry drops you off on this deserted island and comes back about two hours later, after you’ve had plenty of time to scour the waters for Sand Dollar treasure.

The water surrounding  the island isn’t very deep. Here I was kneeling on the bottom searching for the perfect Sand Dollars.
 The live ones must be left on the island though to continue their little sand dollar lives.  I had never seen a live one before, which are the dark brown fuzzy ones. There are so many that if you reach down into the sand at any point, you are sure to grab one! Finding dead ones takes a little more luck, but they are usually plenty.
If you’re lucky you may even find a lovely conch shell specimen!  I was so excited when I stumbled upon this guy, only to find that…
 Somebody was still home! I plopped him back in the water and watched him inch along the sand. It is so neat to see a living conch.
The view here is so pretty; other smaller sand bars stick out as a lovely golden among the bright blue water and then blend in with the cloudless sky. Sand Dollar Island is in the sound side, sandwiched between a few other islands so the waters are calm, and there are no big waves to worry about.

When we come to Sand Dollar Island, I never want to leave!

Lighthouse at Night

Lighthouses are eerie, especially at night.

It’s strange to imagine, that years ago, back before all the vacation homes, before all the shopping centers, back when hardly anyone lived on the island, it was somebody’s lonely job, to keep the lighthouse lit every night.  

It’s so lonely out here. Nothing but the sound of crickets, frogs and the distant crash of waves. Everything is pitch dark, except the eerie flash of the light.

On our visit here two years ago, we were driving around at night, and wondered if it was possible to drive up to the lighthouse at night, and it was, the gates apparently stay open!  Nobody was around and it was so dark and creepy. I wanted to take photos so bad, but I couldn’t figure out how to use my camera properly. 

It was so fun visiting the lighthouse at night. We knew we had to do it again when we were here last month, and I have since figured out how to use my camera so I finally got my night lighthouse shots.

A Trip to the Beach in the Cold

So I quit my job the other week, and Steven decided to take a week off as well. We were trying to decide what to do with our time and we thought it would be fun to go to the beach for a few days.

We decided to go to Nags Head at the Outer Banks, we hadn’t been there since our honey moon and I love it there.

I always feel like I’m going to jump out of my seat from excitement when we get to the giant bridges

But the main reason we decided to come to the Outer Banks, was because this place has been on our minds for nearly two years straight.. Slice Pizzeria….

They have a whole bunch of lovely delicious pizzas of all kinds, and you order by the slice. They have a wide selection of different veggies pizzas and I love them all.

I swear I mentioned this place about every other week for the past two years. I am obsessed! 

We left early that morning and got to the beach around lunchtime. Since we couldn’t check in to our place until 3, we drove straight to Slice Pizzaria! So basically we drove four and a half hours to get a pizza slice, and it was so worth it! We ate there every day, for three days.. I regret nothing.
Conveniently located next to Slice Pizzeria is a place called Duck Donuts, where they sell the best donuts in the whole wide world. I’m sure of it.

 They’re all the same price and you can get whatever topping you like, whether that’s chocolate syrup or bacon! I went with the plain glazed and Steven got pink lemonade frosting. We brought some home for my mom and sister, I’m still surprised that they made it all the way home!
When your order your donut they make it right there in front of you so it’s hot, gooey  and fresh when you bite into it. They are made from a cake batter dough and it’s perfectly crispy on the outside, with a soft warm center. (My mouth is watering!)

 Unfortunately the beach was a cold and unfriendly place those few days. The temperature stayed around 50 degrees and the wind made it feel like 30. Plus it rained almost the whole time. 

We forced ourselves to sit on the beach for a little bit though.  Some crazy people thought it seemed like a good time to go kite boarding. We watched them as they braved the frigid seas in front of us, we yelled and screamed as they did flips in the air; partly because the tricks were cool, partly because we were frozen solid and it felt good to yell about it. There we were, bundled up in sweaters, wrapped in our beach towels and holding onto our beach hats,  yelling like maniacs as the wind penetrated into the very core of our souls. 

I also had an obnoxious cold while we were there. The kind that wakes you up in the middle of the night with a coughing fit and you think you’ll never be able to breath without coughing again!  Steven snapped this sneaky pic of me with my trusty tissue.. This was pretty much how I looked the entire trip; Kleenex in the face!
It did stop raining long enough for us to visit one of the light houses. I’ll share more on that later!

Despite the bad weather it was still a fun trip, the beach is a strange place in the cold. I can’t wait to go to the beach again. This time in August!

Photo an Hour- SC Roadtrip

 I have attempted a photo an hour post a couple times now, but always wind up forgetting about it halfway through the day. This one started out unintentional because I always take a bunch of photos during roadtrips, but then I decided to try and keep it up the whole day.

 We took a little road trip to Clemson SC the other week to see the organist, Cameron Carpenter play during his tour around the world. We found out about this guy about a year ago after we saw his crazy videos online, then we recognized our city in one of the videos and realized he lived in Winston-Salem for a few years, in fact just a few blocks from us! Then we became a little obsessed and knew we couldn’t pass up such a good opportunity to see him in person!

8:00 AM
On the road!

9:00 AM
Stopped for breakfast at waffle house. I always get the egg and cheese biscuit and this time we  splurged on a waffle!

 10:00 AM
We hadn’t planned on going to Ikea.. But as we neared Charlotte we just couldn’t help ourselves from stopping in.

11:00 AM
 Digging into the the chocolate we impulsively bought at Ikea and a starbucks energy boost

12:00 PM
Driving through downtown Charlotte. 
 Check out that rainbow lens flare!

 1:00 PM 
Stocking up on snacks at a gas station is always one of my favorite parts of a trip. But why I decided that doritos and  zebra cake would be a sufficient lunch is beyond me. Later in the day I was feeling pretty gross.

2:00 PM
The SC peach!  A giant peach sits along the interstate in South Carolina, keeping watch over the vast Peach orchards. I couldn’t figure out why it had suddenly turned yellow, and then I realized they were priming it for a shiny new paint job.

 3:00 PM
Checking into our microtel

Forgot 4PM. It involved watching TV in the hotel room and regretting my junkfood lunch.

Checking out the SC botanical gardens. They have a pond with GIANT koi fish.

6:00 PM
Still wandering around the gardens

7-8 PM
Watching the show!

 9-10 PM
Looking for a place to grab some late night food. Found this little pizza joint, and it was kinda awkward because we were the only ones in there..

 And that was our fun and busy day! It was nice to have a few days off of work and do something fun and different.

More Beach!

There are a few more photos from our beach trip that I forgot to share!!

These are from our last night there when we took a walk on the pier at sunset.
The pier is such a lively place at night, it’s a bunch of fun to go and soak up the atmosphere.
A beach store can be found on nearly every block. 

I love beach stores, it’s like an explosion of color as soon as you walk in. The walls and even the ceiling are covered in any kind of beach going paraphernalia you can imagine. We bought some beach chairs as soon as we got there, we should have gotten an umbrella too, maybe next time!
I’ll end with this picture of Steve, he felt inspired to dig a hole to put his chair in, and then turned the mound of sand into a giant lizard.

What do you like to do at the beach?