August 31, 2009

The Wave is still standing...

We stayed at a rental house in the 800 block of Ocean Blvd called "The Wave" while we were on vacation to Holden Beach this summer. The home has an inverted floor plan: meaning all the bedrooms & baths are on the lower level and the main gathering area is on the top floor offering up some seriously awesome views of the sun rising, which totally rocked.
One thing we didn't know is that this particular house happens to be one of the tallest houses on the West end of the island. This fact didn't turn out to be a good thing when a storm rolled in mid-week. We enjoyed a nice morning with lots of beach time & sunshine, then the clouds darkened and the skies started brewing. Everyone hustled inside as the rain started falling and most of us decided to call it a day, and start getting ready for our dinner plans.

It sure didn't take long for the light rains to turn into a heavy down poor and thunder to start rolling in. The storm was quick and fast and over in less than an hour. But it sure did leave it's mark on "The Wave". After a couple of claps of thunder, I heard the loudest cracking noise I've ever heard in my life and seriously saw a white flash of light go through the whole room I where I was standing.


Seriously, our beach house got stuck by lightening! Talk about crazy. Some of us had just gotten out of the shower, others were still in the shower, and two people where outside on a covered porch watching the storm. I mean, how many things have to line up perfectly for a house to get struck by lightening while on vacation!

Everyone ran out of their rooms making sure no one was hurt, we were all safe, Thank God. No visible fire or smell of smoke, so after the shock of it, we all thought the coast was clear, no need to panic.

A short time later, someone smelled something like burnt electrical wires and noticed the ceiling fan was dislodged from the ceiling with a burnt black ring around where it was hanging. Turns out lightening hit the house, splitting the beam that was supporting the ceiling fan. The strike also knocked out the Cable, and toasted the DVD player & surround sound audio.

The rental company was on top of things, sending out the police & fire departments to check out the house to make sure there was no dangers lurking in the attic, etc. It was quite a sight really, but a nice comfort to know that we were cleared to stay in the house the rest of our time while on vacation. Enjoy these clips from this crazy afternoon at the beach...

At least we will all have a great story to tell every year when we reminisce about the summer of 2009 at Holden Beach. The Wave Beach House. Hit by lightening, Seriously.

August 23, 2009

Sugar Shack

Ocean Isle, NC is home to a fabulous Jamaican restaurant called the Sugar Shack. I'm not sure who in our group of vacationing travelers is responsible for finding this gem of a place, but I am sure glad it has become a tradition to visit the Sugar Shack during our vacations over the past 3 years.
The Sugar Shack story is told on their menu as something like this:

Once upon a time, a "corporate type" lady, Linda, took a vacation to Jamaica and fell in love with Dave. A year later, the two were married and moved to New York to try out big city living. Dave's authentic Jamaican style cooking became a favorite among friends and family and the couple decided to trade in their "suits" and head down south to Ocean Isle, NC. In 1996, the Sugar Shack was opened and has been a favorite for the locals and vacationers in the area ever since.

Visiting this restaurant is one of my favorite parts of our beach vacation. It doesn't matter if you go in the middle of the week or on a weekend, you can expect to wait for a table at the Sugar Shack. But no worries, it is totally and completely worth any wait you may encounter! There is a nice outside patio area where you can kick back and sip on a Red Stripe while you let your taste buds warm up to the lovely smells of the Jamaican cooking.

Our group is a huge fan of the Baby Back Ribs. These suckers literally fall off the bone and melt in your mouth. Jamaican cooking is all about spices, marinating, and slow cooking. There's no sauce on these ribs and you don't even miss it. The meat is tender and juicy. I ordered the Ribs & Shrimp special for dinner. It was a half rack of ribs, a half dozen fried coconut shrimp w/ a Mango pepper salsa, seasoned fries, and a tasty Cole slaw.
JJ's dinner choice was the Jerk Pork. A hunk of juicy smoked boneless pork loin served with a Jamaican dipping sauce. For sides, he had the slaw and red beans & rice. The staff at Sugar Shack is friendly and always willing to snap a group shot. I love how happy every one looks after a satisfying, delicious meal shared with family & friends.
Eating at the Sugar Shack, in my opinion, is the best way to wrap up the day during a relaxing vacation to the beach!

August 18, 2009

Day Tripin'

Last week during our vacation to Holden Beach in North Carolina, we had a few stormy and rainy days. Luckily there weren't any huge downpours that lasted all day, but toward the end of the week the weather was overcast with off and on light rain. On Friday, we decided to jump on the car and head north to the community of Southport, which is a lovely marina town located on the Cape Fear River.

On the way up to Southport, JJ and I stopped off at a few beach towns and enjoyed spending the day together on our last day of vacation. Our first stop was at the Island Brew coffee house in Oak Island. With yummy lattes in our hands, we cruised over to Beach Road and admired all the great ocean front houses and stopped off at one of the public beach access spots to grab a few photos.
Just north of Oak Island, is a small beach called Caswell Beach. JJ's family vacationed here once when he was younger and he remembered seeing lots of wildlife near the houses close to the ocean. This beach is also home to the Oak Island Lighthouse, which sits on property owned by the US Coast Guard. This lighthouse is one of 6 operating lighthouses in NC.
We then headed up to Southport, in hope of catching the ferry over to Bald Head Island. What I didn't know was that the ferry only runs until around 5pm and we didn't get into to Southport until 2:30ish and we were starving for some good lunch! We opted to save the trip over to Bald Head until next summer and make it a day trip, giving us plenty of time to enjoy the island and tour Old Baldy Lighthouse. (A former co-worker and friend is very familiar with Bald Head Island, so Blond Across the Pond, I'll need the lowdown on the must-do's before our trip next year!)

Our first stop in Southport was at the Visitor's Center, where we gathered some maps and then we headed over to the Fishy Fishy Cafe for lunch along the river. This place was great! The lunch menu offers tasty seafood choices and there was a nice selection of beer & wine to choose from making for a relaxing afternoon along the waterfront. I had the Shrimp BLT, which was fresh sauteed shrimp, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and a basil aioli sauce wrapped in a flour tortilla. JJ had the Fried Shrimp platter and this was some very good fried shrimp. The breading they used was a very light and almost had a flaky texture, not like that thick breading you'll find where you can't really taste the shrimp. Fishy Fishy Cafe has a nice lightly seasoned breading that compliments the taste of the shrimp. Not only was the food great, we enjoyed the nice laid back atmosphere out on their covered porch watching the fishing boats getting ready to take to the sea. I'd definitely recommend checking this restaurant out if you ever visit Southport, NC.
After lunch we road around the quaint town, checking out all the cute shops. The town is made up of tree lined streets, and beautiful historic homes. If it hadn't been rainy, we would have probably done the walking tour that the visitor's society recommends. Instead, we stayed dry and drove the streets of Southport to check out this charming community. I did grab this nice picture of one of the many trees that line the sidewalks. The limbs of the tress on each side of the walkway create this beautiful canopy effect as you walk along these streets.
I hope you enjoyed your virtual tour of the Southport, NC area. Check it out someday if you're ever in the southeastern coast of North Carolina, I think you'd enjoy it in person as much as I did.

August 17, 2009

Updates coming....

Hello All, I'm back from a relaxing week at the beach and plan on posting some updates soon.

Future posts to look forward to:
* The Sugar Shack - a quaint Jamaican restaurant in Ocean Isle
* Fun pictures from our week relaxing at Holden Beach
* A Day Trip to Oak Island and
Southport, NC
* Oh, and some video from the aftermath from when our beach house got struck by lightening. (No worries, everyone is safe & sound!)

Okay, time to get to writing and upload pics & videos! Hope you are having a great day :)