I needed a break. So a few days after Christmas, we drove to North Carolina to spend a few days contemplating the ocean, resting, and not doing anything in particular. We did just that.
The trip down took 10 hours because I-95 is nothing less than Satan’s punishment. A miserable black hole where your life gets sucked into interminable traffic jams for no apparent reason except that there are too many cars and not enough lanes. it took us 3.5 hours to get to Fredericksburg, a drive that should have taken maybe 1.5 hours.
We were well behind schedule so we had to stop in Wilmington for dinner. I got on the phone and started looking up barbecue joints and found raves about Jackson’s Big Oak Barbecue, home of the authentic Eastern Carolina style barbecue. Their motto? “We ain’t fancy but we sure are good.” Amen, brother. Carolina style barbecue sauce is our favorite. What does that mean? It means a thin, vinegar based sauce with lots of spices. It is nothing like the ketchup thick, tomato, sugar sweet stuff they use in Memphis and beyond. Rather than a thick consistency, Carolina BBQ sauce is thin and it permeates the meat as it cooks giving it a flavor that makes you pucker. Well, we went right for it and had pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw on top. The coleslaw had a mustard based dressing that just set off the BBQ sauce. On the side, we had hush puppies and collard greens. Lord, you should not eat this stuff every day but for a treat, there is nothing better than a hush puppy done right. Matt was so enthusiastic he then ordered ribs to see if they would be as good. Well, the sauce has been thickened and that kind of killed it for us. I got the banana pudding for dessert, made fresh every day. That was a fortuitous stop and I am pretty certain we will see them again.
By the time we pulled in and got unpacked it was late and we were exhausted. I slept ten hours the first night. The next few days we did not do much of anything except rent movies from the Redbox and look at the ocean. I cooked some dinners, one day we had stuffed cabbage, one day we had buffalo half-smokes with a black-eyed peas salad.
We watched “The Conjuring,” which I did not think was all that scary. We watched “Stories We Tell,” a documentary about family perceptions and hidden lives. We tried to watch “Anchorman.” I must confess, I did not find it funny and we turned it off after about 20 minutes. I knew I would not like it but so many people told me to watch it. Yeah, I’m not a big fan of Will Ferrell. Sorry. We watched “Admissions” with Paul Rudd because we love Paul Rudd who I do find very funny and charming.
On New Year’s Eve, we did the things we like to do. I cooked a dinner of lobster sautéed in butter and olive oil served over a black truffle pasta with roasted asparagus and a salad with baked goat cheese. Add to that a little champagne and caviar and viola, great New Year’s Eve dinner. We watched the movie “Up,” because we love Mr. Frederick, Russell, Doug and Kevin. This movie makes me laugh and weep and sigh. It is truly one of my all time favorites. If I am sad, I watch it. If I want to laugh and be happy I watch it. The sky was kind of clear and using my ipad, and my 3-D star map we looked at the constellations and the stars.
New Year’s Day, January 1, 2014.
We woke to a cloudy, cold New Year’s Day. I was determined to go into the ocean. It was in the mid-40’s outside and the water was just COLD! I donned my bathing suit and flip flops. Matt put on his swim trunks and we walked to face the water. The wind was blowing and it was really cold. But I took off my sweat shirt and pants and made a dash for it. Matt cannot run so he took pictures while went in. It was not a polar bear plunge. It was more of a run in and out as fast as I could because yikes! it was cold and my feet and legs went numb. Then it was Matt’s turn. He can’t run so he walked in and splashed with water. YAYYYY!!!!!!!!!
Okay that woke us both up. Now it was time for breakfast. We love eggs benedict. I made it with smoked salmon and lemony hollandaise. It was yummy.
We had been watching a weather front coming so we decided to pack it up and drive home a day early. We managed to get home in 7.5 hours, which is how fast you can travel the distance without any traffic.