Wednesday, September 15, 2010
We have reached the Beach!
Our two riding days from Dunn to the coast continued to be incredibly flat and we made really great time. In fact we were seated at a riverfront restaurant in historic Wilmington enjoying fried oysters and crab cakes before noon! Mom and Dad met us there and gave Holly a lift to Mary's house 7 miles away...Joel, not surprisingly, rode his bike:) Just as we arrived Mary called to say that she was unavoidably detained up in Clinton (she has worked for Hamilton College for 28 years, the last several from her home office in NC). Bummer! Her flight wouldn't get her home until 11 pm so she told us to use her car and head on out to her favorite restaurant without her which we did...a very wonderful French Brasserie. Luckily we had the whole next day to catch up. What a whirlwind! First things first, though...pedicures for the ladies:) We then met Joel at Wrightsville Beach for fish tacos. By mid afternoon we were snacking again downtown with Mary's older son, Artie, who has his own place, attends college and works in Wilmington. We last saw him when he was 6 or 7 so it was quite a treat to spend some time with him. Henry, Mary's youngest, is studying chemistry at UNC Chapel Hill so we didn't see him (but I did keep my eyes out for him last week as we walked around the campus with Julie and Reinhard!) An impromptu dinner party had evolved over the course of the day so we made a quick trip to the grocery store to get ready for guests. Mary has a zest for life (she ran a marathon in Paris for her 50th!!) and a ton of wonderful friends so the evening was bound to be fun. Two of her friends recently completed a portion of the Appalachian Trail and were just as anxious to hear of our adventures as we were to learn of theirs! Only Heather, with her husband Jay, was able to come as Linda was out of town, but her husband Reid attended as well as another Hamilton grad Andy Kennedy '70 and Mary's personal trainer Shawn. Not all could stay for the meal, but Mary knows how to throw a good party and we all had a great time! Hamilton meetings in NYC had Mary back on a plane by 6:30 am so we didn't even get to see her in the morning but thank her heartily for housing and entertaining us!!
The ride out of Wilmington and down the Carolina coast was quite beautiful. We had driven this same route 8 or 9 years ago (only heading the opposite way) when we were looking for our retirement home, and remembered all the colorful beach homes and sweeping ocean vistas. The ferry ride from Ft. Fisher to Southport was relaxing and fun and brought us 4 miles closer to our destination without any work involved! Speaking of destination...we are spending the night at Holden Beach, but not really. Our hotel advertised "just steps from the beach" which ended up being over 10,000 steps over a causeway. Many of you may know that Holly has a slight fear of bridges (getting better, though!) so this causeway thing was giving her a bit of angina. As we attempted to walk (not even bike!) over it, a kindly older man in a car with his dog Lucy offered us a lift. Without hesitation we took it! He drove us all over the island sharing stories and tales then dropped us at a beachfront raw bar where we had a very late lunch. We hit the beach for a bit afterwards (Joel read and Holly ocean gazed) then we just had to face the fact that we had to get back over that causeway. Don't you know that as we made our way across, the very same man came up behind us and said that he had been hoping to find us to give us lift again as he knew how unhappy I was about the whole thing...very sweet. In any event, we had another terrific day; day 45 to be exact, and we look forward to catching up with Mom and Dad again tomorrow in Myrtle Beach SC. Another state down with just 3 more to go!