Every year we ponder where to spend our vacation-time. Since my husband and I only get two weeks of paid vacation time each year, this is a major decision. Wherever we travel to, has to be both kid-friendly and adult-friendly at the same time. As well, we wanted to stay in the United States. This way, there’s be no worry about international travel.
For years now, I’ve been seeing friends and former classmates post photographs that they’ve taken in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Sometimes these social media posts show them sharing a romantic weekend as a couple. More often than not, I see by their photos that they’ve visited the Outer Banks with the entire family.
Since the Outer Banks was geographically attainable, it was now time to find available lodging. If you’ve ever spent even one night in a crowded motel room, you understand the sense of dread that I felt. No matter now spacious a motel room may be, the average guest room was not meant to house a family with children. Two double beds are not enough for five people. Furthermore, don’t get me started on the challenges of sharing a single bathroom in the morning.
Hotels and motels are generally not cost-conscious options for family travel. While we enjoy going out to eat at least once a day, this becomes extremely expensive. Just having use of a kitchen with a modern refrigerator, stove, microwave and coffee pot is worth its weight in gold. This way there’s never a rush to find a restaurant for breakfast each morning, or need to wait on line at a popular eating spot during the dinner hour.
We decided early on, that the only way to truly enjoy our yearly getaway was to rent an entire house. As Mom, this task felt to me and I took to the Internet to accomplish this in the most convenient way possible. Not only did I want to see full-color photographs of available homes, but they needed to be affordable and give us the flexible that we need as a family with growing youngsters.
I found the website Twiddy.com quite by accident, after stumbling across their vacation rentals in the OBX page. I was impressed that Twiddy & Company also has a toll-free telephone number that is staffed seven days a week. Their customer service staff never failed to cheerfully answer my questions and guide me to homes available in a variety of communities in the Outer Banks area.
After researching the photographs and descriptions on their website, we decided as a family to rent out a home known as the “Bear Inn” located in Carova Beach. It fit well within our vacation budget, and provided considerable financial savings over spending two weeks in a single hotel or motel room. Best of all, this beautiful home contained four fully furnished bedrooms and two full bathrooms.
While we were packed and ready to go, I was still a bit apprehensive about what we would find when we arrived. Thankfully, my stress levels subsided immediately when we saw how lovely it was and how much the kids adored the area. The house is about seven and a half miles from the beach. It was reachable by 4×4 vehicle only, which became part of the fun.
All of the rooms were on the same level, with an open “dune deck” that literally defined the concept of relaxation. The kitchen had all the amenities of a modern kitchen that I’m accustomed to at home. Better yet, this meant the kids adapted very quickly. Before long, they realized that they could take their own healthy snacks from the refrigerator. This was certainly an improvement over asking us for money to buy junk food from vending machines at a hotel.
For parents, renting a fully furnished home is a vacation problem solver. The house was already equipped with pillows, blankets and all manner of cooking utensils. There was a washer and dryer for our laundry. Right outside our door were patio furnishings, a handy outdoor shower and a BBQ grill.
Rainy days weren’t a bother at all. There was air-conditioning for hot days and heat for chilly nights. Entertainment-wise, the house came equipped with flat screen television, a DVD player and even Wifi service so we could check in with family.
Perhaps what I’ll remember most about our vacation is how my children actually began to appreciate the beauty of nature. We took long walks on the beach and watched native birds as they swooped down to catch their meals. At night, we quietly peered through the windows to try a catch a glimpse of the famous “Dune Ponies” that still live in the Outer Banks region. On several nights we did indeed spy at least one wild horse, gently wandering through our yard. It was simply magical.