North Carolina has a special place in our hearts. It’s the state that has beautiful mountains, coastlines and memories! It’s where Rick and I first started our married lives together. It’s also the state where Thomas was born, met his first best friend and started kindergarten. Nick was born in Texas and living in North Carolina before he was two years old. He also made his first best friend there. Ashley was born in the state and would have loved to have grown up on the coast because of her passion for surfing.
North Carolina is where we returned recently to spend some of our Vagabond days. Our arrival was Labor Day weekend. Nick has been stationed here for five years and owns a home in Wilmington where he lives with his fiancée Ashley and her daughter Laini. The Rains of Hermine and a broken air conditioner at our son’s house couldn’t spoil this reunion.
This was a special visit because the two families were coming together for the first time to meet each other and celebrate Laini’s sixth birthday. The drinks were flowing, the food was great (have you ever had a tomato pie?) and the company was excellent. Later in the day, as the men were snoozing on the couch the women were gathered around the table talking wedding details. That left us thirsty, so we went to see the wedding venue to get drinks and come up with ideas for decorating. The reception is going to be at the Ironclad Brewery in downtown Wilmington. The location is ideal and it was decided only a minimal touch was needed for decorations.
Our residence for ten days was the military campground on Camp Lejeune’s Onslow Beach. It was right on the ocean with miles and miles of mostly deserted beach – a benefit of being on a military base. Angus went swimming in the Atlantic for the first time. He also chased a lot of crabs.
Ashley asked me to go wedding dress shopping with her and Nana, her grandmother. Who could say no to that? The first shop we went to had a dress on sale and it was off the rack. Ashley came out and Nana and I both said, “That’s the one!” Ashley thought so too. Just to make sure, she tried on two other dresses at that store and then more at a second and third store. Nothing compared to the first dress. After lunch, we said goodbye to Nana and Ashley and I headed back to the store for Ashley to say yes to the dress and celebrate with a wine toast!
Our last few days at Onslow Beach were memorable because we took Laini on her first camping trip. She loved it! There was a family in the tent area across from us that had a little girl Laini’s age. They hit it off immediately and became inseparable. Laini thought our campsite needed more decorations so we all decorated clothespins and the girls drew pictures that were hung around the camp from a rope.
We also met up with Mike and Dotty Dolan. Mike and Rick served in the same squadron in the Marines and have a lot of similar interests. Visiting with the Dolan’s has become somewhat of a tradition whenever we’re visiting Nick. We always have an enjoyable time catching up with them.
The time had come to say goodbye to our family and friends from the North Carolina coast and head inland. We would be back in April for the big wedding.
Our next stop was Monroe, NC, where another good friend of Rick’s from the Marine Corps lives. We spent a very enjoyable afternoon with Donnie and Betty Jordan and got to see their amazing old home, The Henry Hall Wilson House. They host many events at their fine historic home and were busy when we arrived getting it ready for a wedding that weekend.
Our last stop in North Carolina was near a state park called Chimney Rock. We didn’t go up to the rock that looks like a big…well, use your imagination, but we did walk around the tourist town and had a great campsite right on a river. The views were amazing as was the whole Lake Lure area. This about sums up our North Carolina trip!