A babymoon! (sort of)

We booked a week at a beach house! Yay! I’ve always (always always always) wanted to rent a beach house.  Blame it on growing up in the desert where a visit to “the [one] lake” was an hour away, but the idea of spending a week in a house (a whole house!) on the beach (beaches, people!) has always floated my boat.  Plus, I like the idea of showing up, settling in, and lazing around for a whole week.


But I clearly know nothing about preparing for a week on a beach – with dogs, husband, and laptop (pregnant women don’t get to take vacation time pre-baby when they work at a company that has a use-it-or-lose-it policy and they’d like to get paid during maternity leave, thankyouverymuch).

The things my family would exclaim about (if we gave them a chance):

  • I’ll be second-trimester pregnant!
  • We’ll be traveling with two dogs!
  • We’ll be driving (and did I mention I’m pregnant?)!
  • I’m not taking time off work, technically!

So it’ll take us an extra couple of hours of driving because we have to pull over for potty breaks (me, yes, I know it’ll be me).  I’ll research the nearest hospitals and do a quick insurance cross-reference before we go in case anything comes up while we’re there; I scheduled a prenatal appointment for the week prior so we can be assured my little parasite and I have a clean bill of health.  We’ll have to deal with a loooong road trip with two dogs… and figuring out how to wrangle half-compliant dogs on a beach. And I’ll be working throughout the week… but I’ll be ON A BEACH!  We avoid having to find a pet sitter, get all sorts of photo-worthy opportunities, and my husband gets a well-deserved break before kid + school + house projects take over again.

He’s like a little kid again, remembering beach trips with his family and explaining to me how one “goes crabbing.”

We were chatting today about how we hope we’ll figure out how to live life with a kid, rather than living life around a kid. I know everyone does this differently, but we have places we have yet to go and think that sharing the experience with our own kiddo could make them even more awesome. We recognize that traveling with a kid is no picnic, fo sho, but we’re hoping we’ll be the kind of people who suck it up and deal with the inconveniences for the payoff of new experiences.

This from people who often don’t leave the house because the inconvenience of traffic doesn’t seem worth it.  But hey, we’ll hope.  As we’ll likely be focused on getting through life with a kid for the next few years, this’ll be a fun last opportunity to get through life with just 150 pounds of dog aboard.

A beach! For a week! And pretty cheap!

My husband’s already guffawing at the idea of my big belly in a bikini. What? I’m not spending money on a real swimsuit just to hide this honker!  And I’m excited! And thinking about packing!

Oy, packing. Do you smart and helpful people have any tips for packing for a week at the beach?

Dogs: bed/ towels, leashes, collars, meds, food, bowls, dog treats. {Get new collars with permanently marked phone numbers.}

People: clothes, swimsuits, meds, hats, extra flip flops, camera gear, Kindle…

House: linens are provided, but we should probably take pillows, a fan/ white noise machine, towels, a good knife…

And I have food questions:

Should we buy food here and take it in a cooler (seems silly, but…)?

Plan meals ahead so we know what to buy/ take rather than winging it?

My bff and her husband might actually join us (amazing given the short notice). Sigh. So excited.

Exciting! And one of the best parts to going to someplace like Hatteras Island is that there really isn’t all that much to do! People, this is fantastic. No cross-referencing guides to figure out which attraction (and when) is best, no planning of daily itineraries to pack in as much touristing as we can manage, no extensive list of “places we must eat” other than a few highlights in the relatively sparse restaurant landscape I found.

We’re considering this recon for a more regularly scheduled extended-family vacay with the kiddo and his people, but even if it fails the “do we want to come every year?” test, it gets us away (oh, the blessedness of away) before our world turns upside down.



13 thoughts on “A babymoon! (sort of)

  1. OMG, if you are going to Hatteras you will LOVE it there! Husband and I go to OBX every year and always drive to Cape Hatteras for a day for beach time there. Its the best place for a relaxing vaca-no sights (except the lighthouse) or touristy stuff. If you have a chance, taking the ferry over to Ocracoke Island is a blast. Rent a golf cart there and you can zip around the entire island like that. Its a cool place, and driving a golf cart for transportation is fun lol Oh, and definitely go crabbing! We went last summer for the first time and I had a blast!

    As for your questions. Yes, Id plan meals, and would consider bringing groceries with you. You’ll want to eat at restaurants there a night or two for local seafood (yum. ANd also-like you said, the “must eat at” list is minimal. its just really a night off from cooking) but from what I remember, chain grocery stores were sparse so groceries might be pricey.

    I think youll like it enough for an annual vaca…we do anyways. We stay a bit North of there in the Nags Head area (more populated, so bigger grocery stores, etc) but we go every year and will continue to do so after baby =o)

    Packing – Rock your bikini =o) Also, bring a lot of bathing suit coverups that you dont mind wearing as a dress or top with shorts nd not changing. Its super laid back and you can go from beach to store/restaurant/etc wearing just that, so you dont HAVE to go change.

    Email me if you want some more info!

  2. I love this idea, and you guys are so driveable to the beach from K-ville!

    I’d wait and shop for groceries at the local grocery store. It’s easier, and a great way to give back to the economy of the place you’re visiting. Also, I always like to see how grocery stores are different, regionally.

    • @kylydia, We’re debating on the grocery store thing. On the one hand, trekking crap across two states sucks. On the other, so does shopping for major groceries at a little overpriced store.

      I’m thinking we’ll split the difference – pack easy semi-non-perishables like potatoes and spices and pasta and canned goods, then buy milk and eggs and bacon (can you see how I cook?) once we get there.

      I LOVE visiting groceries stores, especially in other countries.

  3. I would take fruit, crackers/cheese, sandwich makings, condiments you prefer (or start saving the packets from various meals now – much less hauling) … communal condiments creep me out. Any major meat buying should be done there to prevent contamination but it bugs me how much grocery stores in tourist towns mark up the prices. I understand it’s for the novelty but still… Since you’re driving, you could pack one of the “market totes” with common items that would keep and be a generic (ie. reasonable cost from home) supply of potato chips, crackers, wet wipes for emergency hand or paw washings.

    Oh, and a roll of papertowels. We always travel with a roll of papertowels. LOL

  4. Yay for a babymoon! I went to Japan for two weeks during my second trimester and it was really great. It’s the perfect time to go, since you aren’t so big yet and (hopefully) are no longer sick. I’m sure you will have a great time.

    My only advice about packing is don’t bring too much, since then you have to haul it all and worry about it. You can always buy stuff there (you won’t be going to the Outback or anything). Just remember to bring a camera and camera accessories (my battery charger for the camera died in Japan, and it was so so sad since getting a new one takes a minimum of 10 days=special order only).

  5. Oh how I love to hear about people incorporating kids into their lives, rather than living their lives around the kids. I have friends who do it both ways, and the ones whose world doesn’t revolve around the kids are far more enjoyable to be around.

    Also, a week at the beach sounds amazing! I hope y’all have a great time. And maybe this will be the start of a new tradition.

  6. How fun! If you’ll have a washer/dryer at the house you’re staying in, I’d recommend only packing 2-3 days worth of clothes/swimsuits (rather than 7), and just do a quick load of laundry every couple of days. I hate laundry–HATE IT–so when my husband first suggested this, I scoffed. I don’t want to LAUNDRY on my VACATION. But, vacation laundry doesn’t suck like real laundry, mostly because it’s a small, manageable amount. Plus, it means you can pack lighter, which is always a good thing.

    Take bug spray in addition to sunscreen, in case you do any off-beach island exploring. And for me, the spray-on sunscreen is totally worth it. Just buy it before you leave, it’s crazy expensive at the beach (I learned that the hard way).

    As for groceries–what you described is exactly what we do (and have been happy with)–buying semi-non-perishable things at home, then picking up perishables once we’re there. I’m also a big fan of the “buy a frozen pizza at the island grocery store” for the first night there. Easy to make & easy to clean up–perfect after a long road trip.

    Have a WONDERFUL time!

  7. I would buy all your non-parishables at home and buy fresh on your way to the beach. If you’re going to the outter banks(I’m from north carolina so we always go there or myrtle) there are TONS of fresh produce stands on the way and they usually make good bathroom stops. Don’t forget your suntan lotion, I spent last weekend in Raleigh and came back to the mountains lobster red, the sun is strong this season (the mountains are like a natural sunblock, until july it’s almost impossible to not to be pastey).

    zip lock bags are nice to take snacks to the beach (keeps sand out) and depending where your house is (on the beach or on a canal) remember that you’ll have to carry all your supplies to the beach so things that do double duty and are light should be top of the list.

    Spray detangler is nice so that if you go from beach to anywhere, you don’t have a rat’s nest on your head. Bring toliet paper in case the renter forgot to replace, I’ve had that happen.

  8. Agree with most commenters. We usually buy most of our groceries at Wal-Mart or a big chain grocery store in Kitty Hawk… but that’s quite a ways from Hatteras. I’m not sure what they have in Manteo or how far that is from where you’ll stay. There are many fruit/veggie stands on the way into town. But we come in on 168 from Chesapeake – and I doubt you’ll be going that way.

    I’d plan your menu so you can bring any spices along. I always hate buying a whole jar of oregano for 2T 🙂 Or Red Wine Vinegar etc. Those kinda things. Pam.

    If I were heading to the beach for a week I’d be sure to pack a puzzle. But that’s just me 🙂

    For sitting the car for so long – I’d wear compression socks. It helped me with swelling and general discomfort when preggo.

  9. Hatteras Island ❤

    Prepare for wind. There was a lot.

    I'd bring enough groceries that you'll be okay if the local prices are ridiculous or the stores near you don't have much. Vacations are about the only time I make a menu plan – I make a list of x breakfasts, x lunches, x dinners, bring the food for them, and then pick one off the list when it's time depending on my mood and how hungry people are and what's about to go bad.

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