Monday, June 20, 2016

Mama's Got a Brand New (Beach) Bag

The modernization of my favorite beach cottage is, sadly, complete.

It now has wi-fi. Cue a single tear rolling down my cheek (and bonus points if you get the reference).

I first fell in love with this little oceanfront cottage in the early '90s because it reminded me of the kind of houses my parents rented when they brought us down to Kitty Hawk for summer vacations that became part of the fabric of our lives.

Its appeal was its simplicity: cedar walls, lots of windows (including one over the sink looking out to the ocean), a big screened porch facing the beach and an outdoor shower.

I required no more and it had no more.

But over the years, mod-cons arrived and I begrudgingly accepted them. First, there was a TV which I've never so much as turned on. Then came a telephone, a cheap white princess model that sits in the living room, rarely used.

Three years ago, we arrived to find window A/C units in each of the bedrooms, annoying not just because I had no intention of using them, but because they nullified the ocean breezes in one window of each bedroom.

Happily, last year, they weren't in the windows, not are they now thanks to some handiwork on arrival. We don't need no stinkin' A/C when the ocean is providing a far lovelier form of climate control.

Checking in this year, the realty company rep informs me of the wi-fi password, a necessity because the company now requires all its rental properties to have wi-fi. The past few years, we've "borrowed" wi-fi from other cottages when it was infrequently required (or gone to a place that had it).

Welcome to the wired vacation, which followed the trek down Route 460, also known as a zone of sign proximity stupidity, where you'll have a sign saying 45 miles per hour and ten feet further on, another sign saying "Curve 35 mph."

Is it just me or should that first sign come down? I passed so many conflicting sign messages, I gave up mentally chastising DOT after a while. Left hand, right hand, no communication whatsoever.

Lunch of salads and seafood was enjoyed at the Coinjock Marina (T-shirt: "wherethehelliscoinjock") at a counter facing the Inter-coastal waterway with a view of expensive boats arriving and departing. Within the hour, we were opening up the house, rearranging furniture and getting the place ready to receive visitors Karen-style (also known as old school).

Where we lucked out is not just with this exquisite weather with highs in the mid '70s and gorgeous northwesterly breezes wafting through every room, but with an ocean temperature of 70 degrees, a payback, perhaps, for last year's frigid water that put a hurting on ocean time.

By the time naps had been taken, sparkling Vouvray sipped and evening attire donned (as in, a change from our traveling clothes), it was 8ish when we arrived at I Got Your Crabs to a full bar and most tables occupied. We made do with two seats at the counter facing a mirror with a view of the bar.

Since it would've been impossible to pass up oysters for $8 a dozen, we didn't, slurping back two dozen with little more than some generous squeezes of lemon and smiles on our faces. We followed that with a half dozen steamed crabs, fried flounder tacos, hushpuppies and asparagus, nailing a fine beach arrival meal.

I have arrived on the Outer Banks, as I have for every summer of my life practically since birth (my Mom swears these trips began the summer I was born, but there's no photo evidence to prove that and the one picture of me from my first summer was taken in Colonial Beach, not here, so I'm doubting her memory) to live in a bathing suit, shower outside and read as many books as possible.

Best song heard so far: Talk Talk's "It's Your Life." Yes, yes is is and aren't I lucky?

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