This year, for our winter vacation Florian and I decided to take a tour through North Carolina.
We started with the coast, and made our way down the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks are a truly amazing place, with vast clean beaches that are dog-friendly at all times of the year.
In the winter, they are even better because there's no one on them except for a few brave surfers.
I have fond memories of Outer Banks vacations with my parents and sister, but never got to experience them with Florian.
It was really nice to be there and remember the comfort and joy of being with my mom, and feel some of the same with my own wacky little family.
Florian and I went to the places my family used to go, the beaches at Corolla and Duck, but we also explored further south than I've ever been. Cape Hatteras National Seashore is just a strip of land with the road running down it, but the beaches and vegetation are protected. There is hardly anyone there, and it feels like a magical beach wilderness.
After a long drive eastward, we arrived in Asheville whose groovy shopping opportunities could easily have occupied me for a couple of days. But I restrained myself, and after a mere evening immersed in incredible tie dyes we drove the next day to Hot Springs, NC.
A little town built around natural hot springs and adjacent to the Appalachian Trail.
We took the trail next to the French Broad River
and climbed up the steep first section overlooking the river and town
and then back down again through a fragrant forest of Rhododendron and pine.
which featured the ruins of some old baths as well as private hot tubs that we soaked in for an hour.