Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Castle Beneath the Dunes


Somewhere, hidden under the vast sand dunes at the Outer Banks, lies a giant sand castle. How much of the castle is visible depends on the ever changing dunes. Sometimes just the tips of the turrets are visible, sometimes the castle stands ten feet tall over the sandy hills, sometimes the castle disappears without a trace and doesn't resurface again for many years.. It's like a mysterious mirage, and makes you wonder what else may have been engulfed by the dunes.


I remember the first time I saw the giant sand castle. It was during a beach trip when I was eight years old. As we drove past the sand dunes, I spotted these small peaks poking up in the sand and wondered what they were. We kept driving past, day after day, and I kept wondering what was up there. 



Finally on one of the last days of the trip. My dad parked the car and we raced across the street to trek up the sandy hill and see what it was. At the time only the very tip of the castle was visible. We weren't sure exactly what it was for, or how big it actually was, but I was fascinated. I couldn't stop thinking about the mysterious hidden sand castle. There is already so much history and folklore at the Outer Banks, and this was just another feature that added to that feeling.

The next year when we returned to the beach, so much more was uncovered!!  That was when we read somewhere that it had belonged to a miniature golf course. Shortly after that it spent many years completely buried. I couldn't see it on our subsequent visits, and many people thought it had been buried for good.



But when we visited not long ago, the sand castle had once again made an appearance! This time with the addition of some grasses.

















The giant sand castle is part of a miniature golf course that was built in the 70s near an enormous living sand dune called Jockeys Ridge. It wasn't long before the dunes began to migrate towards the golf course and eventually consumed it. The strong winds at the beach mean the sand dune is constantly changing, and because the winds blow more from the Northeast direction, it tends to move a few feet to the southwest each year, which is why the miniature golf course became buried and has stayed buried ever since. 

The sand castle is the only evidence that remains of the old golf course. I always wonder about the other things buried under there, and if maybe, one day, a wild storm will pass by that uncovers them. Even just a little bit.




And just for fun, here are some pictures of me the second time I visited the sand castle!  I think this was in 2000.  The pointy turrets have since disappeared.






Sunday, September 24, 2017

Weekly Journal: I Used to Hate Tomatoes




Last week I got a surprise when I looked at my email and saw an item from my Etsy shop had sold! I'd almost forgotten I had opened my shop back up. One of these days I will get around to adding more to it. I have plenty of resin pieces just waiting to be put up for sale.


I spent many years of my life hating tomatoes. Within recent years I began to tolerate them, and now I actually really like them.  One tomato-including meal I like to have is a grilled cream cheese and tomato sandwich on wheat bread.  It's great for eating on chilly days.


Thursday was our four year wedding anniversary and one of the things we ate was pistachio cheese cake. I remembered really like pistachio things..




Wednesday, September 20, 2017

High Above the Beach


Now that I have successfully gone on three plane trips this past year, it was finally time, to ride in a tiny airplane, as my husband has been trying to talk me into doing for the past seven years. That time came during our trip to the Outer Banks over the summer. We spent the weekend watching little airplanes fly over the coast, and on the last day there, I finally gave in and agreed to go for a ride..



We drove to the airport hanger at the edge of one of the islands, and there was the little tiny plane, waiting for us. 


I couldn't believe how small it really was!  Smaller than a car!  The pilot suggested I sit in the front since I had the camera, but I choose to sit in the back, where I could internally freak out in peace. 



The plane slowly started moving down the runway. The pilot kept the windows open until the very last minute..


The plane gently lifted off the ground, I barely even realized we were in the air. Definitely way less intense than a big plane. 


The ride started off pretty gentle, but as we got closer and closer to the ocean, the ride became bumpier. and bumpier. I remembered how windy it had been that day and I really started to freak out as I began to regret agreeing to the 30 minute ride. My least favorite feeling in the whole world is that drop feeling in your stomach. I try to avoid anything causing that feeling at all costs.

 I was internally screaming but managed to hold it together on the outside. I hid behind my camera and tried to forget where I was as I focused on photographing some of our favorite places, and past beach houses I've stayed in.


We ventured over the little islands towards the narrow strip of land that makes up the Outer Banks.



We flew over the monument where the Wright Brothers took the very first flight.



It was interesting to see the lengthy bridges from above.


I love seeing things from faraway, to it was quite incredible to see this place that I have been coming to for years and years from this vantage point. 




The changing water currents!



Looking through these photos feels like I'm looking at a miniature village. I recognize so many of the buildings, and memories are brought back of traveling down these beachy roads. The picture above shows an ice cream surf shop that is a favorite stop of ours. It's the place with the arched roofs towards the very left.


A few that the giant sand dunes that have engulfed many things over the years..


We ventured down the coast past one of the lighthouses.



It was so cool to see how narrow this strip of land really is.







Soon after we landed I found myself OK with the idea of taking more plane rides like this in the future, even though just moments before, I was in the air, holding in my screams.  I forgot about that and just remembered how much I loved seeing this little beach town from above. The day ended with taking a trip to the favorite ice cream surf shop before heading home.