Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Fly Room

When you go to the beach in April, you've got to be adaptable.

The sunshine and heat of the first two days gave way to a very different sort of Tuesday, with strong winds off the ocean and when I say strong, I mean I gave up trying to walk on the beach after about two minutes of trying and I am not a walking quitter. It was just too much, too strong, too chilly.

Or perhaps it was the contrast. Leaving the comfort of bed after going back to bed after breakfast to read for a couple of hours - discovering through Springsteen's book that the time I'd seen the band had been on the "Darkness on the Edge of Town" tour, a fact I hadn't ever known since I wasn't a fan and went solely because my then-boyfriend insisted I needed to experience "The Boss" - and then take a nap (less than four hours after getting up) stands in stark contrast to battling 20 mph winds, feeling cold droplets of swirling surf and having to actually push my body into the wind in pursuit of movement.

Dedicated I am, but thanks, I'll take a pass.

Embracing the cowardly but still cardio-friendly path, we dumped the beach for the Nature Conservancy on the Sound side of the Outer Banks, where we walked three of the trails - two of which ended up at the sound, although with different vistas - under filtered sunlight from the tree canopy above.

It only amounted to a 4.1 mile trek, but included a girl in a bikini suggesting we visit her family's alpaca farm in Moyock, a slithering snake far bigger than I would ever want to see while walking and, as always when walking these Conservancy trails, the near-distant sounds of a shooting range.

Once again, off season languor meant that our servers at We Got Your Crabs had plenty of time to share their life stories with us. The young one was discussing a ridiculously handsome guy ("Is he fixin' to marry to her?"), while admitting she'd never give up her own boyfriend, even for someone so good looking.

But she was happy to drool.

The older one got into a chat with the local on the stool next to me, so by default, me, and they were soon caught up in a conversation identifying her cousins, Daddy, brother-in-law and what sounded like 20 other people it turned out they had in common.

Spare me, the Outer Banks are such a small town.

In the meantime, we downed oysters from nearby Edenton before I began dissecting my first steamed crabs of the season and my seatmate worked on a pound of steamed local shrimp. The wet and bedraggled brown paper on the counter looked like it had been through the war by the time we pushed ourselves away.

On Wednesday, two different people - the server who greeted us at the door and the chef who came out at the end of the evening - claimed to remember my previous visits to the Salt Box Cafe, despite having eaten outside on the screened-in porch both times.

Even if they were lying, it was a brilliant PR move.

Since that wasn't an option this time, we took up residence at the bar to tuck into crispy spicy green beans, an arugula and poached pear salad with goat cheese and nuts, creamy curry soup with garbanzo beans and a ridiculous amount of crabmeat and an entree of tilefish with Brussels sprouts.

You might expect a person wouldn't be able to down a large goblet of chocolate pudding with caramel sauce after so much dinner, but you'd be wrong.

For that matter, you might expect all kinds of revelatory conversations over three days of pure goofing off, but you'd be wrong again. Just a little lightness on the edge of beach.

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