There are certain time-tested traditions that accompany our annual family beach vacation.
For the past several years, Kim and I have stopped for breakfast at this little family-owned restaurant in Washington Courthouse, Ohio where the same lady always waits on us...
One of my favorite stretches of highway is just inside the West Virginia border. I always photograph this charming little cabin. Often a beautiful quilt is hanging on the front porch, but not this time. I'd LOVE to take a peek inside, wouldn't you?!
Pilot Mountain, a few miles inside the North Carolina border, is always a distinctive and welcome sight.
This year, we drove up the mountain so Emily and Kim could see the view I enjoyed back in May.
Since Zach had to work, Emily rode down to the beach with her parents...poor girl, but she was a good sport!
We meet up with our other peeps at a hotel in High Point, where the kids enjoy the pool after a very long day in the van.
We always go out to eat together at a nearby restaurant. We've tried several, but I'm thinking Gianno's is definitely worth a repeat trip next year!
Breakfast at the hotel the next morning always includes fresh Krispy Kreme donuts, which Kristoffer and Dana's family arise early to go pick up at the local Krispy Kreme shop. This area of North Carolina is where Krispy Kremes were born!
Lucy made her first trip to the beach this year and proved herself to be a good traveler.
Yep, breakfast of champions! Not sure of the wisdom of loading the kids up with sugar and then putting them in the vehicles for another 6 hours to the beach, but hey...it's VACATION!
Kim and I always stop at this tobacco-barn-turned-produce stand to pick up some fresh tomatoes and peaches and anything else that looks yummy.
It's always a thrill to see this view from the top of the Emerald Isle bridge connecting the mainland to the island!
Ahhh...the delicious smell of saltwater breezes and sticking our toes in the ocean once again!
Lucy couldn't care less...
...but the rest of the kids (big and small!) couldn't wait to do the same!
Of course, the annual admonition of "don't get wet" always is quickly forgotten, and more than toes always get soaked by a few waves!
This year, not knowing exactly when everyone would arrive, we decided that each family could "do their own thing" for supper. But all of us ended up at The Crab Shack, hands down our favorite restaurant on the island...
...primarily because of these.
Oh. My. GOODNESS. I mean, GREATNESS!!!
The BEST hushpuppies you'll ever taste...dip 'em in butter...so SCRUMPTIOUS!
A terrific start to our beach week! Love our...