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Today, Ron and I took advantage of some outlets in Freeport (basically the town L.L. Bean paid for) and then visited the Allagash Brewery. Ron did a tasting and then we took a tour and learned all about the beer making process, which was pretty interesting, even for a non-beer girl like me. For instance, did you know that it’s a common misconception that cooling down a beer and then heating it up will skunk it? Actually, light skunks beer and fairly quickly. The only bottles that help to block out light are brown bottles. Green, blue and of course clear all allow light in, thus allowing the beer to skunk. Today marks our last day in Maine. Tomorrow we head to Massachusetts, but we definitely want to come back. We’ve loved our visit and would really like to see Bar Harbor. And, I would really like to see a moose, in their natural habitat of course and not crossing the road in front of our car. I don’t know how Equi would feel about coming into contact with a moose. But tomorrow it’s Salem, Boston and Gloucester. I’m praying for safe travels and am feeling so blessed to take this trip. It’s nice to see and experience places that we’ve never been to before.

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Ron and I are at the beach! We got here around lunchtime and spent most of the day in Manteo. We also picked Buddy up some goodies from Salty Paws. He loves their treats. For dinner we had mexican. I know, mexican at the beach? I really wanted tacos. It was pretty good and we followed it up with Cold Stone which we hadn’t had in a really long time. It’s supposed to be warmer tomorrow so we’re going to try to spend some time on the beach. Today was warm, but just not warm enough.

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I got my new photobook today! Late last year I finally got around to creating a photobook with pictures from my wedding and since then I’ve been hooked. I made a book for the honeymoon after that and now this one is of Ron and I’s first anniversary trip. We took a cruise to the bahamas, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and Grand Turk. We had a great time and I took a ton of pictures so a photobook made sense. I also recently ordered one from our trip last fall, but it hasn’t came yet. I like being able to design a book using my photos. It’s like being in yearbook all over again.

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Today Ron and I were in Isla Roatan, Honduras. I really enjoyed it. Like usual, we tried to get out of the port area and actually see the place we were in so we took a boat to Maya Key. It was amazing! Maya Key is a private island with the usual beach, pool and bar, but it also has tons of animals that have been rescued and brought to the island. Many of them are endangered species so it’s pretty cool that they’ve all been saved. There were monkeys, jaguars, cougars, alligators, tons of birds and water animals like stingrays and sharks. I met a sea lion named Ting. I think he liked me as he gave me lots of sea lion kisses. The whole thing was an awesome experience and I’m definitely glad we did it. Ron wasn’t feeling well today, but he even seemed to enjoy it. I’d definitely visit again.

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I kind of wish I were still on vacation. Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy to be home, but the first day back to work is always the worst. I had a million things to do this morning before I could even leave for work then my tire pressure indicator light came on. I think the sensor is wonky, but I added a little air and all seems fine. I’ll have the shop check it at my next oil change since it’s under warranty. Then my computer wouldn’t come on at work so I had to use a backup and the IT guy is supposed to be building me one and bringing it tomorrow. We’ll see how that goes. Then I had a meeting this evening and a simple article turned super complicated. Hopefully it makes sense and I still have one to do tomorrow which is really cutting it close. Augh! I feel like it’ll get better after the paper comes out Wednesday. Until then I have to tough it out and try to get back in the swing of things.

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Today, Ron and I headed out to Harker’s Island and took the ferry to the Cape Lookout National Seashore. We’ve visited all four lighthouses in the Outer Banks, so we thought we’d add the Cape Lookout Lighthouse to our list. It’s pretty amazing. You take a ferry, which is a small boat for about 10 people, and doesn’t allow cars. The ferry takes you to either Shackleford Banks or Cape Lookout. We dropped a couple off at Shackleford Banks and got a glimpse of the wild Banker ponies that inhabit the island. Then we headed over to Cape Lookout. You come in on the sound side and then can walk across the island to the ocean side. The lighthouse itself was closed for climbing and doesn’t  open until May 16, but we were able to read all about it, check it out and visit the old lightkeeper’s quarters. After that, we headed to the ocean side of the island. It’s an uninhabited beach. There’s no homes, no businesses and the only cars are owned by the National Park Service. It was great. We’ll probably definitely go back and plan to make more of a day of it. Maybe bring a cooler, food, chairs, etc. It would be a great place to spend a day on the beach. You can also camp on Cape Lookout if you want. There was a group that rode the ferry with us that had planned to camp, but because of storms moving in, couldn’t because the ferry wouldn’t be able to pick them up tomorrow. We stayed a few hours at Cape Lookout and then headed back to Emerald Isle. We stopped at a Bojangles along the way, because we’ve passed them constantly for the last few days. The chicken was really good. I can see why they’re so popular. Tomorrow we head home, and it’s supposed to rain all day, so I guess that’s a good time to leave the beach. I’m praying for safe travels for both us and everyone else traveling tomorrow.

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Today, Ron and I went out for breakfast before coming back and hanging out on the beach for a few hours. Sadly, we didn’t put on sunscreen soon enough and got pretty burnt. After the beach, we checked out Morehead City and then headed to Beaufort, the state’s third oldest town and the setting of novels like, “A Walk to Remember.” The town has a historic waterfront which is pretty awesome. The houses are older, southern style homes with lots of porches, which I love, so we walked the waterfront, enjoying the view and the architecture. We also went in a few shops just looking around. After Beaufort, we came back, picked up Buddy some fancy, schmancy treats and saw “The Lucky One” at the local theater. I was shocked to find it was a cash only complex–very unusual in this plastic day and age–and there were no cup holders. But the place was really clean–also unusual in this day and age–and the movie was great. Definitely worth the $8 a ticket, which is way cheaper than at home. For dinner we ordered in pizza from a local pizzeria and watched the Vampire Diaries episode I missed yesterday.

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Ron and I are in Emerald Isle! We drove down this morning and arrived here sometime after 3 p.m. It was cloudy today, but it’s supposed to be super nice tomorrow and Saturday so I’m hoping for some beach time. There’s a lot that we want to do though and we only have two full days. I definitely want to check out Beaufort because it’s supposed to be really nice. And then Morehead City might also be worth a visit. We could also visit the aquarium, but I don’t know if it would be different from the Roanoke Island aquarium that we visited in December since they’re both part of the same system. Tonight, we drove around Emerald Isle and Atlantic Beach, stopping at a few shops along the way. We ate dinner at a place on the water in Atlantic Beach. They gave us a ton of food. Ron got the fish and chips and I got a salad and a massive crabcake with asparagus and rice. I have half of mine left because the crab cake was huge.  Overall, I’m glad we came here and are trying something different. We’ve really done all there is to do in the Outer Banks, so it’s nice to be somewhere new and different. Emerald Isle is more like Corolla and Duck than Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills. There’s lots of vegetation, more homes than hotels and less commercialism. It’s quieter, but there’s still things to do like the aquarium, some shops, restaurants and of course, the beach. And, my parents said Buddy is fine. He’s being his usual nutty self and probably enjoying his vacation too.

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We’re pretty much packed for Emerald Isle tomorrow. We’re staying at a no pets hotel, so Buddy is staying with my parents. I was really nervous to leave him somewhere, but he’s probably having a great time playing and exploring a new house. We’ll pick him up Sunday on our way home so it’s only a few days.

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We said goodbye to the beach this morning before heading home from our weekend away. We probably won’t be back in the Outer Banks for a few months, maybe visiting again this spring before our usual July week-long visit. There’s something nice about the beach in the off-season. Yes, it’s too cold for sunbathing and swimming, but it’s quiet and peaceful, two things you can’t get in the summer hustle and bustle. We had a great weekend and I feel both grateful and blessed that we’re fortunate enough to be able to take multiple vacations throughout the year. Sometimes, it’s just nice to get away, relax and take a time out. Now, it’ll be full steam ahead through to the holidays and then Ron will start his busy season and my workload will increase with budgets work sessions. But for now, I’m technically still on vacation until tomorrow morning and I plan to enjoy every minute, although most will be spent sleeping.