Suntanned Toes

Drive until the map turns blue

With the Fourth of July holiday falling on a Wednesday this year, I just couldn't wrap my head around being stranded in the sweltering city on one of the three major beach weekends of the year.  I put in for vacation, crammed the car full of books, bathing suits and dog paraphernalia, loaded up the fur-babies and the hubby and off we went to Holden Beach, NC.  
A solid three and a half hour trek along mostly highways, the ride was broken up with a couple of imperative pit stops.   An hour outside of our beloved zip code, we pulled into a stop we make anytime we head east on Highway 74 . . . the Pee Dee Orchards family peach stand.  With my heaping bag of almost ripe peaches nestled between dogs, we were back on our way toward the salt air.

I love the beach any day, but on July 4th being on the sand is always a treat.  This year, we got quite a show from the kite man.  He lovingly hoisted a giant octopus (I'm currently obsessed with octopi), a small school of large fish and a trio of American flag kites.  

Sandcastle competitions and bocce ball tournaments are standard fare.  This year the winning castle was wedding cake ready with shell adornments and striped umbrellas standing guard.

Our one night eating out, we went to a Holden Beach's staple and had some delish fresh local seafood at the Provision Company.  The place is indoor-outdoor, so everyone gets to enjoy both.   If you get there after 6pm, be ready to hang out on the porch with a cocktail while you wait for your table, but remember the food is worth it and things move fast!  It's uber casual, but still a great place for a date or the whole family and Foothills Brewing is on hand in the domestic cooler. 

Having grown up on the Intercoastal Waterway, I adore the idea of seafood right off the boats.  On our last day, we went searching for the shrimp men, salty old grandpas with pop-up tents and coolers full of fresh seafood, but instead found Capt'n Pete's Seafood Market on the island side of the bridge.  We bought enough shrimp to bring the beach home with us and they expertly packaged it in ice and newspaper for the car ride.

With enough salt air in our lungs and sand on our toes to last us a few weeks, we loaded the dogs and books and bathing suits back into the car, watched the pelicans fly over the house and traveled west back to reality.

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