Emerald Isle, North Carolina

All of my life I have loved the beach, but I went into this summer knowing that the beach was unlikely, between the heat, and being outside and active, I knew that it was something that I had a slim chance of tolerating.  When my mom’s friend from college called and invited my family to join her and her family at a beach house in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, my mom was hesitant to say yes.  After thinking it over for a while, she agreed, but when my dad and sister didn’t want to go and my brother didn’t care one way or the other, it became a mother-daughter trip.  My mom would get to see her friend and be at the beach, I would get to enjoy the beach as much as I could and stay in the house as much as I needed to.  There’s not much to do on Emerald Isle besides go to the beach, so I wouldn’t feel like I was holding anyone back or being a hindrance.  The rest of my family was going to be able to do things that I couldn’t have taken part in, such as go to amusement parks and on day trips, or spend time at the pool.

This is how my week unfolded:
Day 1: Travel Day

We completed half of the journey, stopping in Richmond.  Finding somewhere to eat with gluten AND dairy free options was a struggle, but we ended up at Burger Bach.  It was low-key and had a really chill atmosphere, where my mom had the best burger of her life.  If you ever find yourself in Richmond, check this place out, I had a black bean burger, and it was delicious.  They were also super allergy aware, telling me not to try my mom’s burger because there was dairy in the sauce.
Day 2: College visit to the University of Richmond and arrival at the beach

My visit to the University of Richmond was amazing, and I’ll do a more in depth post about that later.  I knew I had nothing to do later that day and I could sleep in the car for a few hours, so I attempted (and completed!) the walking tour of the university.  It’s a rather small campus and we took breaks where I would sit down, plus I was wearing hiking shoes (which helped stabilize my joints), but it was a huge victory nonetheless.  Our visit to the university was followed by the remainder of the car ride, but first we needed to get some lunch.  Today’s dairy and gluten free restaurant search landed us at a sushi place.  Eating sushi in the car was an adventure in it’s own right.  If you decide to attempt this make sure that you will not be accelerating as you take a bite, dip in sauce, etc. that makes this a dangerous endeavor and sudden stops are unpleasant, but I guess this counts for all sorts of eating in a car.  Now if I go to Richmond, I know two great spots to eat.  The rest of the ride consisted mainly of sleep, as I used all of my spoons in the morning’s visit.
Day 3: Beach Day

We hit the beach in the morning, and after about an hour in the water, I was done.  Exhausted from both the time in the sun and the day before, I spent the rest of the day resting and watching the Olympics.  This lead to my conclusion that beach volleyball, indoor volleyball, tennis, and table tennis are all BASICALLY THE SAME SPORT if you keep flipping between them for long enough.  This was all that was on the Olympic stations for five hours, and a girl can only take so much.  People came over for dinner, but I didn’t last long; I went to bed early, leaving in the middle of dinner with a migraine.
Day 4: Rest Day

Today was spent relaxing.  With a heat index of 103, I didn’t have to be told not to go outside.  I hung out around the house with the kids, and got to spend some time to myself when everyone went to the beach.  I attempted to start my summer reading, and ended up falling asleep.  In the evening I was hit with another migraine, and had another early night.
Day 5: Beach Day

We woke up and headed out to the beach.  It was much cooler today, and we caught low tide, so I got to spend an hour or so floating in the ocean.  We took some pictures too, and I made the poor decision to spin in a circle, which promptly resulted in a syncopic episode.  I was determined to be in the water and recovered rather quickly, but you will not find me spinning in circles again anytime soon.  When the water began to get rougher and the sun hotter, I decided I was tired and didn’t want to be completely worn out, so I went back to the house.  We ended up going back out to the beach in the evening and spent a bit more time in the water.  After that, we floated around the pool before heading back to the house for dinner.  We had fresh, local fish and it was amazing.  Tie dying was done at ten at night, pickle juice shots were taken, monopoly was played, s’mores were devoured.
Day 6: Travel day

My mom and I woke up and finished packing our things, then went to a couple cute shops on the island before hitting the road.  She decided that she loved Burger Bach so much that we had to return, and we stopped there for dinner.  She got the same meal, but I had a lamb burger, and it was one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten.  Again, I say if you have a chance to go there, do it.  We did the trip back in one day, and I can’t wait to hopefully return to Emerald Isle next summer.

My mom and I on the beach, enjoying the morning before the heat got too intense.
My mom and I on the beach, enjoying the morning before the heat got too intense.

That was my week!  It was great getting away from the stresses of life and being able to just completely relax.  Going a week without any appointments was amazing, and something that hasn’t happened to me for a very long time.  I hope this relaxed mindset stays with me for a while, the lack of stress definitely helped with all of my chronic illness symptoms.  Nothing was expected of me, and I didn’t feel guilty about leaving the beach or not going out with everybody else.  It was an amazing change of pace, and something that I would 100% recommend to everyone.  Being in nature can be really refreshing, and help you take a minute to step back from the craziness of everyday life.



  1. Loved this post Peyton! I like your writing style. I could imagine a comedy scene of you trying to eat sushi in the car! :p This is a perfect example that spoonies can go on holidays and should still have fun but we need to remember our illness. X


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