It was 94 degrees. Hot and sticky. It could be worse, I thought. It would have felt more like over a hundred if it weren’t for the blast of salty breeze blowing as we drove down on the highway on a shiny jet-black Jeep with the windows rolled all the way down. Six or so hours ago it was a wintry 50 degrees, typical San Francisco summer. Cold and foggy. The Carolina heat, however sticky, was definitely a welcome break from the chilly San Francisco summer.
We were somewhere along Hwy 158 between Coinjock and Grandy in North Carolina, on a road trip to the Outer Banks, the long stretch of beautiful undeveloped national seashore in the East Coast. It was the Allio’s annual summer trip, a week on the beach before the kids go back to school. A week spent on an Adirondack on a patio overlooking the Atlantic with a book and a bottle of cold beer. A week of seafood indulgence. Fresh, thick tuna and wahoo steaks on the grill, steamed shrimp, and blue crab cakes. As we drove along cornfields and farm houses, Dennis told stories about camping trips in Cape Hatteras with his mom, dad and his two brothers. They would drive from Warren in Ohio to the gorgeous shores of North Carolina and spend the week on the beach. They would climb to the top of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the tallest in the East Coast, and watch the waves crash against the sandbars in the Diamond Shoals. They would fish and crab in the morning along the Oregon Inlet and enjoy the day’s catch in the evening. I had never been to the Outer Banks and so I was excited. Extremely excited that I would get a glimpse of Dennis’ childhood.
On the way to the Outer Banks that morning, we discovered a bustling pit stop, Grandy’s Greenhouse and Farm Market. Fresh, local produce was everywhere like tree-ripened Carolina peaches. There were homemade pies, breads, jams, pickles, and cheese. There was fudge. And there was a sign for the Grandy’s Famous BLT in the frozen yogurt shop. Now, tell me how you can resist this: crunchy, salty bacon; red, ripe tomato wedges; and crisp, juicy iceberg lettuce sandwiched between soft slices of white bread slathered with creamy mayonnaise. The BLT was so simple, not at all pretentious but very satisfying.
To make it the perfect snack, we paired the BLT with a tall glass of Allie’s frozen yogurt — vanilla overflowing with sweet, sun-kissed Carolina peaches and strawberries. As we took a bite and a scoop, the breeze blew once again on that scorching hot afternoon and we just knew it was going to be a memorable summer trip.
Stay tuned for more stories of our trip to the Outer Banks. Stories about fishing, crabbing and clamming.
Where is the Outer Banks?
The Outer Banks is a 200-mile long string of narrow islands off the coast of North Carolina, home to the tallest lighthouse in the East Coast, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The Wright Brothers took the very first flight in a powered vehicle on the Outer Banks on December 17, 1903. The very first flight took place at Kill Devil Hills near the town of Kitty Hawk.
View Outer Banks in a larger map