- The ability to continue our tradition.
This holiday has always been special for my family. My husband’s family has been taking this particular week for vacation on the Outer Banks of North Carolina for almost 40 years. My husband even proposed to me on Thanksgiving eve 24 years ago. This year, however, the tradition was almost broken.
First, we weren’t going to travel at all. My father-in-law had been ill and on hospice with end-stage Parkinson’s. He was unable to travel. He ended up passing away in October. So then instead of staying home as was necessary to care for him, we decided to try to carry on the tradition. It did work out for us to go with a little help from friends.
It’s bittersweet. There have been lots of waves of grief, especially for my husband and mother-in-law. But I know they are happier that we were able to travel.
- Finding an affordable place to stay.
We were fortunate to have a friend who facilitated a rental for us that only cost $150 for the week. It was a perfect size for us, even though the place was dated and a couple of blocks from the ocean.
- Finding vegan food at restaurants
I had two very delicious vegan meals: a Beyond burger and amazing fries at South Beach Togo and Catering, and a special made-to-order meal at Kill Devil Grill, which was sauteed vegetables in an Asian-inspired sauce over rice with picked veggies and arugula. The secret to dining vegan at Kill Devil Grill is calling ahead to specify your dietary restrictions.
- Spending time with my daughters
With one in college and the other making final choices about college for next year, my husband and I are about to be empty nesters. I cherish my time with them, especially when they are together. My older daughter loves thrifting and playing scrabble. (She absolutely smoked us in this game.) My younger one loves to find unique coffee shops and art.
- Thrift store finds
For some reason, there are abundant unique treasures to be found at beach thrift stores. This visit was no different.
I found a 12” single of We Are the World. My children scoffed at this, unaware of the awesomeness that this song was in the 80’s. I can’t wait to torture them with this on my younger daughter’s turntable.
I was in need of a rain jacket, as I was made keenly aware of a couple of weeks ago trying to hang a sign for the Richmond Marathon in a hurricane. My fellow coaches talk me into some strange shenanigans! But the universe answered my call. I found a Bimini Bay breathable rain jacket for $5. And it’s pink, the color of my training team! It was definitely fate.
- Cooking for my family
Making food is my love language. I’m always the cook on vacation.
On the menu? Mediterranean bowl night, Mexican bowl night, and chili. Plus our Thanksgiving day spread. My family had turkey, and I had a Trader Joe’s vegan turkey-less roast. I made vegan green bean casserole and mashed potatoes.
But the best part? My vegan chocolate cake, which we got to share with some friends. They couldn’t believe it was vegan!
I’m a few weeks out from my marathon which left me with a very unhappy right knee. I’ve been keeping my runs short this week, and I’m happy that they have been relatively pain-free.
- Catching up with an old professor
My Freshman English professor retired from Longwood University and moved to the Outer Banks. Last year, I reached out to him to see if he’d like to meet up. He replied, asking if I was more of a coffee or a wine person. Wine it was! We repeated the meeting this year, so now it’s a new tradition! It was fun to gift him a couple of issues of the magazine I contributed articles to and helped edit. He also met my younger daughter who is considering Longwood as well!
- Being at the beach
Growing up in Hampton Roads, I will forever be tied to the water. It’s a part of my soul. There’s something so familiar about the salty air, the sense of freedom invoked by looking over a vast body of water, and the landmarks that were a part of my childhood.
- Driving myself
It may seem silly, but sometimes I just really want to take my time getting somewhere. I want to stop and see interesting things along the way. I want to find a restroom when I want to go, not when my husband does. You know?
My daughter and I made a couple of stops on the way to the beach that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. One was to a cidery right off of the interstate in Phoebus I’d wanted to visit for a long time.
My return trip was rather interesting, as I trusted Siri to navigate to my house, or, what I thought was my house. Apparently, I share an address with someone in a town on the Eastern Shore. What began as what I assumed was a re-route due to an almost 5-mile backup through the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel was confusing, but became obvious that it was the wrong way when I found myself at the toll booth for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. At least I had a lovely tour of Norfolk and Virginia Beach. And now I know to never fully trust Siri.
But I did make it home. And the backup I thought Siri was helping me avoid wasn’t that bad. And the best part about coming home? Seeing my fur babies!
If you live in the US, Thanksgiving week kicks off the holiday season. Do you travel for this holiday? I’d love to hear about it!
As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.