Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Il Inferno

Lasciate i vostri pattini, voi ch'intrate.

Spent a beachy week with the family in North Carolina, and in case you weren't aware, it gets very hot in North Carolina at the end of June. Deep in the Gallagher family lore is the story of the hottest month any of us ever spent -- a week in Fayetteville, NC in the summer of 1965.

Anyway, first stop was Durham to meet with Noreen's cousin Rebecca for lunch at Mad Hatter's, including what was rightly billed as some of the best cake ever eaten -- we passed around a slice of Black and White, a slice of Boston Cream, a couple of cupcakes and a lemon bar.

Mmmmmm, caaake, ahhhgh.

Then we took a mini-tour of the Duke campus -- with Cait heading into junior year, it's unfortunately time to start getting into practice.

After dropping Rebecca off, we headed out of town by way of Chapel Hill and a mini-tour of the UNC campus. The early verdicts? UNC has an enormously beautiful campus, and even in the summer, Duke positively reeks of old money. Some pics.

From there it was on to Wilmington. Reminiscent of Savannah, but without quite as much history, quite as much candy, or quite as much sawmill smell.

Much walking around on Sunday (including a bit of browsing at CD Alley, where I picked up some Spoon-y vinyl) followed by lunch at the Dixie Grill. I had the curiously named, but nevertheless yummy Roethlisberger (mixing hamburger and sausage) with sweet potato fries. Curiously named because it's extremely unclear whether Ben Roethlisberger has ever set foot in Wilmington, NC.

From Wilmington it was on to Atlantic Beach, our vacation destination for the week.

On the southern end of the Outer Banks, hard by the ocean (guess which one), I hadn't really heard much -- call it none -- about the place before alighting there. Inland it was pretty scorching, but by the beach it was breezy and cooler, and everywhere it was non-stop sunny skies.

Played a little tennis, ran on the beach a few times, and ate a whole lot of seafood and East Carolina barbecue (chopped smoked pork, vinegary sauce, hushpuppies galore and Brunswick Stew to die for). At least three times -- including once at a pig-pickin' -- I ate enough to make a plausible Spartacus-style Roman of myself. Which way to the vomitorium?

Scenes from a beach.
Our one "big" side trip of the week was to Cape Lookout National Seashore, about 13 miles away as the crow flies, but about a 45 minute car ride + a 15 minute boat ride to get to.

But well worth the trip.


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