Unwinding is one of the best things we can do for our body, mind and spirit. For me, it’s more about the old saying “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Well, just call me Jill and I’ve been on the fast track to dullsville.
As I wrote earlier today about finding my Zen, I’ve not had a lot of time to unwind. Let me correct that, I’ve had plenty of time to unwind, I’ve chosen to ignore it and kept my nose to the grindstone. It’s left me depressed, overwhelmed and at my wits end.
Today? I chose to relax. I woke up on my own, wandered downstairs for breakfast (on site, complementary for all guests) and just was at peace with my coffee and yogurt. I listened to the French accents, wishing mine could be so beautiful and as I did, inhaled the glorious aroma of Belgian waffles coming off the griddle golden, soon to be coated in sticky, lick your fingers clean syrup. Yet, I didn’t have one. I just wanted to appreciate the aroma wafting around my nostrils, clinging to my clothes and tantalizing my taste buds.
Since it was a later in the morning, my boys went down to the beach and I headed upstairs for a short nap. While I realize I had only been up for an hour, something about a nap felt so right that moment. My body was asking for rest, for renewal and my spirit agreed. Within 30 minutes, I was up, feeling a delicious decadence at having napped so soon after waking and so early in the day.
Heading in, my fellas were starved. I made a quick lunch of sandwiches and showers, we headed out to explore the area in the heat of the day. While some might feel the heat makes it too hot to breathe, for me, it was welcome relief. A reminder I was alive, not living indoors always tied to a keyboard. I went from the cool air conditioned car to the muggy sun, laughing as my sunglasses fogged up so much I couldn’t see.
We checked out each end of Ocean Isle Beach, crossed the new, somewhat intimidating bridge that leads you over the never ending marsh to Sunset Beach, and finally made our way down to Calabash. Houses that seemed to stand out, like they were from another time, a forgotten one. Estates backing up to marshy land ripe for fishing — and maybe a few gators! Golf courses interrupted a lot of the wild beauty that is left in this area. Most visitors to this area don’t realize that the sterile high rises and block after block of tourist trap junk stores are a more recent invention — only the last 30 years or so have they existed. But this was beauty, pure unadulterated beauty and it sang to my soul like Rumi come to life and wooing me.
Calabash found us dropping in at Ella’s of Calabash for supper. An institution in these parts, Ella’s is the originator of true Calabash seafood. Others have tried to copy her, but this is the real deal. Lightly battered and fried fresh seafood, using recipes handed down across generations, left me feeling as if I had floated into the one spot in heaven where you can walk up to a tree and pluck a hushpuppy off to dip in honey butter. The long time story held in this area is that Lucille “Lucy” Coleman was the referred to when he signed off every evening from his show and it’s mine now as well.
After dinner, we headed to what my family only found slightly torturous “St. Nick Nacks”. Oh my! I felt like a child. A store, full of Christmas trees and decorations of every kind. With the heat wave our country has been immersed in, it was like diving into December and the feeling was strong, I could almost smell the fire crackling and hear chestnuts popping as they roasted. With more than three million ornaments, it was like candy store for this Christmas lover and I had a cavity begging for sugary goodness. My son was more relieved in the Halloween room — it was a ghoulishly fun area decorated in black and orange.
Wandering around in a daze over 35,000 square feet took a lot out of us and the only way to cure it was ice cream. The Island Creamery was on our way back to the Inn and it hit the spot. Peanut butter, cookies and cream, banana pudding and cheesecake were just a few of the choices and one scoop is more than ample. The shakes looked temptingly delicious, as did the homemade ice cream cookie sandwiches!
Satiated and happy with life, we headed back to our little corner at the Ocean Isle Inn. An evening walk on the beach was necessary before heading in for showers, a glass of water and a cup of juice.
The knot in my shoulders is gone and I can say that the rubber band that was wound to the point of snapping in my shoulders has loosened up. I’m feeling peaceful and relaxed. Something I have been seeking since March. It just took a little drive down Hwy 74 East to find it.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow, I will have a waffle. I’m not a paragon of virtue by no means.
Disclosure: I am a guest of Ocean Isle Inn and am this month’s Featured Blogger. While accommodations were pr0vided to me and my family, no other compensation has been received. I’m highlighting the area and am free to blog about whatever I chose and will do so with integrity and authenticity as always.