Start: Portland, ME | End: Havelock, NC
Distance traveled: 886 miles | Time: 17 hours
States driven through: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.
Cities seen: New York City; Richmond, VA. (thankfully we bypassed Boston and DC).
Happy Thursday! As of two days ago, we are officially California bound. As you read this, we are actually on day 3 of our journey so I’m a little behind in keeping you all updated, but I wanted to share the first two days of our travels with you. Thank God for mobile hotspots and in-car outlets. I’m able to type this up while we drive! So I’ll do better with my updates throughout the rest of the trip.
We decided we wanted to make a stop in North Carolina to visit some friends for a couple of days so we woke up bright and early on Tuesday and drove the 17 hours south. We began in Portland, ME and ended in Havelock, NC. Typically it takes between 15 and 16 hours to drive down, but we ran into a ton of traffic in and around New York City. I have no idea why our GPS took us directly through, but it did and it was horrible. Thankfully, it took us around Boston and DC so we were able to avoid that traffic altogether and by the time we got to Richmond, VA, it was 9 o’clock at night and no one was out driving. So we really don’t have too much to complain about in that aspect.
As many of you know, I’ve also been super nervous about traveling with our dog, Jack. He’s scared of people and gets a ton of anxiety in the car so road trips are usually very miserable with him. I have no idea what was up with him these past couple days, but it’s like he was a whole different dog. Again, ZERO complaints when it comes to traveling with him. We put the seats down in the back of the Jeep so that he’d have more space to move around. We found ways to keep him distracted at tolls booths and rolled down the windows for him whenever we were in traffic. Everything we did worked and I couldn’t be more pleased with him. We are now 3 hours into our travels today and he’s been great once again!
We arrived in North Carolina at around 1 o’clock in the morning Tuesday night (well, technically Wednesday?) and got checked into our hotel. Rather than being like normal human beings, we got back into the car and drove another 30 minutes to a friend’s house to see everyone. Thankfully they’re all on night shift right now at work so they were naturally wide awake at that time of day which worked out perfectly. We spent a few hours catching up with everyone and having a couple of drinks around the fire.
It felt so amazing to be there. North Carolina is home for us. It’s where we fell in love, had our first kiss, became a couple, got married, and started our life together. It’s our home. So it was a little hard to drive into town knowing we wouldn’t be making the turn onto base to go back to our house. It was bittersweet.
The following morning, we decided to sleep in a bit. We’ve had a super busy week between my dad’s wedding (more on that later) and all the traveling. So we had zero intention of getting up early. We started the day around noon and met back up with everyone for lunch and bowling. There’s a place not too far from us called MacDaddy’s which has bowling, arcades, mini golf, a driving range, and so much more. It’s everything all rolled into one so it provides hours of entertainment. And since kids are all back in school, we had the whole place to ourselves.
We spent a couple of hours there before heading to Morehead City for our friend’s son’s soccer game. Unfortunately, the game got rained out. Within minutes of arriving, it started thundering and lightening and then it began down pouring. 30 minutes later, they called the game. Gotta love North Carolina thunder storms. So instead of watching the game, we headed back to the hotel to check on our puppy dog and then headed to Swansboro with everyone to walk around a bit before dinner.
I’ve driven through Swansboro many times but had no idea that there was an actual “downtown” to it. We took this side road off the main road and all of a sudden we were in this cute little village full of shops and restaurants right on the water. This is why it’s important to make friends with the locals whenever you move someplace new. Pattie and Eric always know the best places to go for food and entertainment.
Before dinner, we went into this cute little gift shop to explore a bit. They happened to have a bar inside as well so we grabbed a drink and sat down on the back porch for a bit. The views were gorgeous. If you’ve never been to this part of North Carolina, I highly recommend you go at some point. There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting in a rocking chair on a big porch overlooking the water with a cold drink in your hand. The breeze was wonderful and the temperatures were perfect. I could have sat there all night and been perfectly happy. This is what I envision for our future home. I’d kill to live on the water.
Once we finished our drinks, we headed over to the restaurant which was right down the road. The one thing I asked for in a restaurant was that it was on the water. I also wanted it to be a non-chain restaurant as well so I guess that’s two things. I just wanted something southern where I could enjoy the views and eat some seafood and Pattie didn’t disappoint in choosing this restaurant. Again, it was right on the water so we had gorgeous views as we sipped wine and listened to some live music. The food was absolutely amazing. I ordered a seafood marinara which had every type of seafood you can imagine: scallops, calamari, shrimp, clams, and muscles. I would have loved for it to have had some lobster mixed in there, but it was delicious nonetheless.
I am so happy we had the chance to stop by even if it was just for a day. We have amazing friends. They requested the days off so that they could spend this time with us while we were in town and it was so very much appreciated. This stop was definitely worth the 17 hour car ride. Now we are officially on our way westward! I’ll post today’s travels tomorrow so stay tuned.