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The Beach in a Dream

Little beach towns always feel like a magical, altered reality type of place to me. A place far away from regular boring life, where time almost stands still. When thinking back, months later on that short little week spent spent at the beach, it almost feels like a dream. I think these Polaroids capture that feeling.

These Polaroids were taken with the Polaroid OneStep 2 and film.

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Cape Lookout

One of my favorite places to be is on Cape Lookout island. It is part of the barrier islands that line the coast of North Carolina called the Outer Banks. Cape Lookout can only be accessed by ferry and no one has lived here since the early 1900s when the island was taken by the government and turned into a national park.

The Cape Lookout lighthouse stands tall above the seas and once provided a helpful warning to sailors along the treacherous jagged shores which were referred to as the graveyard of the Atlantic. Hundreds of ships crashed into the crazy shore line of North Carolina until all the lighthouses were constructed.

The clear blue crystal water can be seen by climbing to the top of the lighthouse. Out of all of the lighthouses I have climbed, no view has compared to this one.

Seeing all the little islands and sandbars standing out against the blue water makes me think I’m someplace tropical.

Cape Lookout is known as one of the best places to find shells. My first time here I came home with over ten giant conch shells.  I still don’t really know what to do with them all, but there they sit, out in the yard, a reminder of my favorite place.

I also like how uninhabited it is. It’s always possible to find a spot on the beach where not another person is in sight.

As soon as I leave, I start dreaming of when I can come back.

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Beach Birds



On our last excursion to Cape Lookout Island, as we were riding along in the back of a truck to the sandy point, we came upon an enormous flock of seagulls. It was the biggest gathering of birds I had ever seen.


We first spotted them from far away and got closer and closer until the finally decided to get out of the way and fly into the air above us in one huge swarm. They hovered in the air just a few momentsuntil the truck passed, before returning to their place on the sand.


It was like riding through a bird tornado.


As soon as the truck dropped us off, I raced back to the birds.



They waited until I got very close and then they all flew off together, but then landed just a few feet farther away after circling around the water.




Times like this are one of the reasons I love coming to the sandy point of Cape Lookout island so much. It is a very uninhabited area and you just never know what you will see.

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Beaufort Harbor

The Crystal Coast is bountiful with islands to visit and explore. 
The harbor is always filled with boats of every kind; ferries, yachts, fishing boats, house boats, and even the occasional pirate ship. (Pictured to the left!)

We traveled one evening, to the picturesque town of Beaufort, to wander along the boardwalk and watch the boats come and go, before boarding one for a sunset cruise along the islands. 

It was a peaceful weekday, not too crowded. The sun was bright and the wind was warm.

We boarded the little boat and set off on the adventure, weaving through all the other sea vessels and leaving the harbor behind. 

Boat travels are one of my favorite things about coming to this place!

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A Walk Among the Dunes

On our beach trip we saw a sign for a 3 mile nature walk that we had never been on in our six years of coming here, so we decided it was time to check it out.
I brought bug spray with me, because on past trips we have been attacked by swarms of all kinds of biting bugs that live in the marshes of the sound side. But for some reason, I thought it would be a fantastic idea to leave it in the car, and come back for it if we needed it.. (What was I thinking?!)

Sure enough, after about a mile in, we started getting attacked by bugs, and the bug spray was far behind us. We contemplated turning around, but we were almost halfway, so we continued on with a bit of a sprint, in hopes that the bugs wouldn’t catch us.
After sustaining a fair amount of bug bites, we crossed a road and found ourselves among the sand dunes, close to the ocean. No bugs here!

As the brilliant blue, late summer sky hung above us, we caught a glimpse of the ocean on just the other side of the dunes. The bug bites all of a sudden seemed worth it. 

We could see the ships coming and going from the port as we climbed along the sandy ridges. 

It was a lovely hike, but it was midday in the middle of august, so there came a point where I wondered if I would ever survive the heat.

 I ended up making it back, but just barely! It was definitely an adventure!
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Adventures on Cape Lookout Island

If you asked me what my favorite place in the world was, I would have to tell you it is Cape Lookout Island.

It is an uninhabited Island, only accessible by ferry and is home to the Cape Lookout lighthouse.

On the ferry ride over, you may be lucky enough to spot the wild horses that roam these islands!

All the lighthouses on the outer banks are painted different colors as a way for sailors to recognize what part of the coast they are at. Cape lookout is unique in that it is the only lighthouse that not only tells you where you are but also what direction you’re facing. The center of the black diamonds point north/south, and the white ones point east/west.

The island is quite large, so there is a truck shuttle that will take you on a short tour through what used to be a little village, before dropping you off at the sandy point. 
(Say hello to Mr. Dragonfly who photobombed my picture!)

Many years ago Cape Lookout was home to a small village. However, when the island became a national park, the residents were evicted and many of the homes were either moved or burned down. A few of the houses remain today, and act as places to stay for researchers and members of the coat guard.

I would love to live in this peaceful little spot.

The truck weaves down a bumpy sandy path, through brush and sea grass, until you find yourself on a thin strip on sand extending out into the vast Atlantic ocean. 

The view of the point from space!

The view here is different than on the regular shore. The water is more blue and crystal clear, the sand is softer, there are almost no other people in sight, and the only building you can see is the lighthouse off in the distance. I feel like I could spend days here.

As we explored, we found there was a small lake that formed in the middle of the point. The sand there was so mushy, it made me think of cornflakes! You know, like after they have been sitting in the milk for a while and get all soggy.. It was quite funny to walk through.

The lighthouse is always in sight. Keeping watch over the shores.

The best part about Cape Lookout, are the shells! This area is known as one of the best shelling spots on the coast. I’m not sure exactly what makes it the best location; maybe because the point is so far out into the sea, or maybe it has something to do with all the old wrecked ships beneath the water that provide the perfect home for sea snails, or maybe because there’s just less people around to snatch them up. Whatever the reason is, there are hundreds of them just laying on the sand, waiting to be picked up and given a good home. 

It was a dream come true. For years I have been wandering the beaches, looking the perfect conch shell. When I saw all these guys just laying on the sand, I raced around like a maniac, stuffing them into my beach bag, and watching in amazement as more washed up in the waves.

During this trip I had hoped to find just one conch that wasn’t too broken. I got way more than I ever thought possible!  I’m not sure what I plan to do with so many shells, but they make a pretty cute collection, and remind me of my favorite place in the world.

I am already dreaming of the day I can come here again.

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Sand Dollar Island

While we were at the beach, we took a trip to one of my favorite places. Sand Dollar Island!
You can only get to Sand Dollar Island by ferry, so we headed down to the docks to catch a ride over.
 It is actually more of a giant sand bar then an island, and it is only accessible during low tide because it can get completely submerged during high tide!
 The ferry drops you off on this deserted island and comes back about two hours later, after you’ve had plenty of time to scour the waters for Sand Dollar treasure.

The water surrounding  the island isn’t very deep. Here I was kneeling on the bottom searching for the perfect Sand Dollars.
 The live ones must be left on the island though to continue their little sand dollar lives.  I had never seen a live one before, which are the dark brown fuzzy ones. There are so many that if you reach down into the sand at any point, you are sure to grab one! Finding dead ones takes a little more luck, but they are usually plenty.
If you’re lucky you may even find a lovely conch shell specimen!  I was so excited when I stumbled upon this guy, only to find that…
 Somebody was still home! I plopped him back in the water and watched him inch along the sand. It is so neat to see a living conch.
The view here is so pretty; other smaller sand bars stick out as a lovely golden among the bright blue water and then blend in with the cloudless sky. Sand Dollar Island is in the sound side, sandwiched between a few other islands so the waters are calm, and there are no big waves to worry about.

When we come to Sand Dollar Island, I never want to leave!

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Photo and Hour- Drive to the Beach

I decided to do another photo an hour on the day we drove to the beach. Not really sure why I choose to do photo and hours on road trip days, maybe because these photos don’t really seem to fit into a post of their own, but I still want to share them.. Anyway!

7:00 AM
 On the road, driving into the sunrise!

8:00 AM
 A quick stop at W House for some breakfast. It’s becoming a fun tradition to stop for breakfast at a Waffle House on a road trip, in a town we’ve never been to.

9:00 AM
 Bored in the car, and seeing this truck made me remember how good English Muffins are and gave me a serious craving. A craving that I could not satisfy, so I took a picture instead. Steven said “What are you doing?? Don’t take a picture of that truck!! o_0” 

10:00 AM
Stopped at a Sheetz for fuel.  I was a little too excited about seeing this screme egg..

11:00 AM
 The second half of the journey to the beach take us through lots and lots of farmland. 

12:00 PM
 BEACH!  By the time we get to the big bridge I am about to fly out of my seat from excitement. I think I may have screamed when I first sighted the water. Probably a good thing I wasn’t the driver.

1:00 PM
Since our check in wasn’t until 3, we drove straight to the beach access and ran to the ocean. It was a really fun thing to just drive straight to the beach, not stopping at our hotel first.

2:00 PM
Picked up a few groceries and checked out a couple shops, including this bookstore that sold all kinds of Outer Banks history books that I wanted to buy.

3:00 PM
Checked in to our Sand Dollar motel! The first time we stayed here we could barely afford the cheapest tiny cramped room with a tiny bed. This time we finally moved to the top, and stayed in the king suite, which included a little kitchen, a couch and a table! We felt like kings.

4:00 PM
Resting on the bed and watching HGTV. It’s probably a good thing we don’t have cable at home. That stuff is addictive.

5:00 PM Consisted of more HGTV and eating cereal.

6:00 PM
Back to the beach for an evening walk

7:00 and 8:00 PM

Still walking on the beach and then heading back to our room for more HGTV!

We had such a fun trip and I can’t wait to share all my photos!

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More Beach!

There are a few more photos from our beach trip that I forgot to share!!

These are from our last night there when we took a walk on the pier at sunset.
The pier is such a lively place at night, it’s a bunch of fun to go and soak up the atmosphere.
A beach store can be found on nearly every block. 

I love beach stores, it’s like an explosion of color as soon as you walk in. The walls and even the ceiling are covered in any kind of beach going paraphernalia you can imagine. We bought some beach chairs as soon as we got there, we should have gotten an umbrella too, maybe next time!
I’ll end with this picture of Steve, he felt inspired to dig a hole to put his chair in, and then turned the mound of sand into a giant lizard.

What do you like to do at the beach?
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Beach Life

Sure it’s nice to look at all the fancy rental homes, but I much prefer the little beach houses that people actually live in. 

One evening we drove around the little beach town and took pictures, I like to imagine what it would be like to live at the beach.

In an alternate life I would like to live on a house boat. Just floating along the coast, going where ever I want.

This place was called the Caribbe INN. Haha get it?! ._.

I can’t tell if I would love to live at the beach, or if I would get bored of it eventually. It’s hard to imagine ever getting tired of the sea side.