AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

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Of all the places I visited in the Outer Banks, Duck, NC was my favorite. The two-lane street that takes you from one area to another in the OBX meanders through the cute cluster of restaurants and shops of Duck. I liked that it seemed less commercialized than some of the other areas. When we passed through, there were pedestrians galore with dozens of people on the sides of the street (I don’t remember seeing sidewalks). It made me want to spend more time exploring the eateries and coffee shops there. We decided to visit AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts on the way to the beach house.

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

AQUA Restaurant is right on the sound, and their porch area is pet-friendly. You also get a great view of the water and the sunset if you go at the right time.

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

To drink, I ordered the HOOKED ON QUACK – Malibu Mango, Malibu Coconut & Fresh Juices. It was perfect for lunch on the water.

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

I had a salad with heirloom tomatoes to start.

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

And for my main dish, I had the crab cake salad with house-cut fries. The sandwich was so delicious, and I loved that the fries had the perfect sprinkle of salt on top.

We had a great lunch at AQUA Restaurant, and the service was wonderful, too! I could see myself eating here multiple times if I were staying a little closer. I also want to take a trip to the spa one day!

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

Look how cute Duck, NC is! We took a stroll down the road to get a quick dessert.

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

We visited Duck Donuts.

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

At the Duck, NC location (there are a couple in the Outer Banks), you order on one side of the building and pick up on the other. If you’re looking for a large display of donuts, you won’t find one. They make all their donuts to order.

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

The donuts were served nice and hot. Hubby got cinnamon sugar, and I got chocolate glazed with rainbow sprinkles. These were delicious and reminded me a bit of those mini doughnuts you can sometimes get at street fairs…but bigger and better!

We had a great time eating at AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts. I definitely recommend both if you’re ever in the Outer Banks.

The Inn at Corolla Light

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The house hubby’s mom rented for our beach trip had a Sunday check-in, so we decided to go up a day early and stay at a hotel or B&B. Thanks to TripAdvisor, I found The Inn at Corolla Light, which was pet-friendly and right on the sound in the Outer Banks. I’m not sure if you’ve ever been to the Outer Banks, but there are apparently some parts that are easily over eight hours away from us by car. I also liked that this spot was right over six hours, which seems to be the shortest trip for an Outer Banks visit.

The Inn at Corolla Light

The Inn at Corolla Light

I picked this place because of the stellar reviews on TripAdvisor and the gorgeous sunset views right off the back of the B&B. As you saw on my other post, I unfortunately missed my photo op, but I’m still happy with the choice.

The Inn at Corolla Light

This B&B is deceptively large. I think there are as many as 50 rooms! I liked the wooden walkways throughout B&B.

The Inn at Corolla Light

The Inn accommodated our late reservation and even gave us a free upgrade to a room with a view of the sound. If I was to come here again and spend more than one day, I’d strongly consider paying for the upgrade because the view of the sound is so nice and the porch is very relaxing.

As for the rooms, they were comfortable but could use some updating. With a porch like this (pictured above), I’d spend most of my time outside, though. The porch wasn’t fully fenced in so I didn’t let Bailey run around freely, but he did get to enjoy the porch, too. The free wi-fi was a nice perk.

My only disappointment with the Inn was breakfast. I’m no B&B expert, but based on my past experience, my bar was raised pretty high. The Inn at Corolla Light serves an adequate continental breakfast that I find to be on par with most chain hotels. They had all the usual suspects: some cereals, instant oatmeal, bread, bagels, hard boiled eggs, coffee, hot water, milk, yogurt, and sausages. I would have loved to see some scrambled eggs or other hot food options. It also would have been fabulous to see more locally produced items since there are many great small food producers and bakeries around the Outer Banks, but this is more of a personal preference. I will say, the lady who was in charge of breakfast was great. She was constantly moving throughout the breakfast area making sure things were clean and well-stocked. She kept the area pristine. I also really liked the room where breakfast was served. It was so open and bright.

The Inn at Corolla Light

After breakfast, we took Bailey out to the gazebo at the end of the dock.

The Inn at Corolla Light

They have some hanging chairs out here.

The Inn at Corolla Light

I believe the deck is shared with a water activity company that does parasailing, jet skis, etc. Hey, if you’re into that, it couldn’t be more convenient. They’re literally at your back door at The Inn at Corolla Light!

The Inn at Corolla Light

The pool also has a great view of the sound. Since our trip was so short, we didn’t get to enjoy this.

The Inn at Corolla Light

There’s a nature path just off the back of the B&B, perfect for trail runners or anyone who wants to take a relaxing stroll by the water.

The Inn at Corolla Light

One of the best perks of The Inn at Corolla Light is that you get to use the amenities of the Corolla Light Resort. The Inn also has bikes you can use for free. We took a quick bike ride down to the beach access area of the Corolla Light Resort. I didn’t realize there was so much to do there. They had a giant pool, restaurant, and gift shop. The resort was like a tiny village.

The Inn at Corolla Light

The Inn at Corolla Light

As we were chilling under the gazebo taking in the fresh beach breeze, we noticed a family who walked through the gazebo, turned around, and waved upwards. Turns out there’s a camera streaming the beach attached to the front of the gazebo! Click here to view the live surf cam.

The Inn at Corolla Light

My Tips – The Inn at Corolla Light:

  • Personally, I think an upgrade to a sound view is worth it. I’d probably pay for it if we went back, as long as we were staying long enough to enjoy the view.
  • If you’re okay with standard hotel breakfasts (like the buffets they have at most chains) then you’ll be okay with breakfast. If you’re a major foodie, you may want to consider eating out or bringing something with you.
  • The restaurants in Corolla close EARLY (before 9:30pm, depending on the time of year). Don’t wait too long to eat, or you may be picking up a frozen meal at the grocery store to heat in your room. I’d recommend calling ahead to ensure they’re still open. Since we checked in late, we almost missed dinner because all the restaurants we called were already closed. We managed to get pizza at The Tomato Patch, which was open a little later than the others.
  • Be sure to take advantage of the amenities at the Corolla Light Resort – they have a beach, pools (indoor and outdoor), exercise facility, and restaurants, and they’re just down the road.

Before I end, I do want to say that the staff at the Inn at Corolla Light is one of the best I’ve seen. They were so friendly and accommodating throughout all of our interactions, from booking the room to renting the bikes, to check-out. We really felt well taken care of. Great job to the team!

***

Have you been to the Outer Banks? Where do you like to stay? Any recommendations?

Thanks for stopping by!

Outer Banks Sunset

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Hey guys!

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I went for a wonderful vacation at the beach. We went to the Outer Banks, which is somewhere I’ve never been before but always wanted to visit. I have lots of great photos and stories to share, but for now, I wanted to share this photo of an Outer Banks sunset that I captured on the way to our B&B.

Outer Banks Sunset

I really wanted to do a photo shoot for the sunset on Saturday, but we got into town just in time for me to (almost) miss it. We pulled over on the way so I could capture this moment of the fleeting sun. Hey, at least I got one Outer Banks sunset, right?

More posts are on the way! Hope you’re all having a great week!

Thanks for your feedback on the workout recaps and the local foodie web site. I appreciate your comments and emails!

FitBloggin 2014 – Around Savannah, GA

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When I attend conferences, I almost always try to maximize my free time on the last day. Most conferences end in the morning leaving the rest of the day with plenty of time for more adventures. Since I drove to Savannah, this was especially easy to do for FitBloggin. And I’m so glad I decided to stay in town after the conference ended. I got to spend some time with some great bloggers.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

There was one shop I definitely wanted to hit up before leaving town – The Savannah Bee Company. I headed there with Shannyn, Kyra, Martinus, and Nikki. We wanted to do a mead tasting, but sadly, they weren’t able to do one until 12:30pm since it was a Sunday.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

Luckily, there were plenty of other things to check out in the shop. The Savannah Bee Company not only has a wide variety of honey flavors, but they have other treats, from lotions to honey-roasted coffee.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

They have a great sample bar at the front where you can taste the honeys the shop offers. I was surprised at how much the honeys differed in taste. The tupelo and winter white were my standout favorites, so I brought a bottle of each home to enjoy later.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

I also tried the honey comb, which was really good. It’s sweet, warm, and chewy. I’ve always wanted to try honey comb straight up, so this was a real treat for me! There was also bread, apples, and cheese in case you wanted to make a savory-sweet sample.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

Our next stop was a cupcake shop just down the block, Sweet Carolina Cupcakes.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

I hadn’t planned to eat any cupcakes since we hadn’t had lunch yet, and I was still hoping to score some macarons. But, when Martinus kindly offered for each of us to share a bite of his red velvet cupcake, I couldn’t resist. It was delicious, and the frosting was nice and buttery. Thank you, Martinus!

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

{Blogger shenanigans}

One of my favorite things about attending conferences is how you’re around people who are just as weird as you are. Every group has their quirks, and I love the blogger ones. We totally get taking lots of photos of food, photos of people taking photos of food, selfless galore, and other randomness. I love hanging out with fellow bloggers!

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

After a couple more photo ops, Martinus and Nikki headed back to the hotel to catch a tour. I wish I’d had more time in Savannah to participate in one of the many historic tours they offered. Guess I’ll just have to go back soon!

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

Kyra, Shannyn, and I had worked up an appetite, so we headed back towards the river to grab lunch. En route, we learned that the macaron shop was closed on Sunday. That was a bummer, but I was happy to at least have some delicious honey to enjoy at home later. Plus, I had one more stop I really wanted to make, and I had a good feeling they’d be open.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

We hit up the Chart House, which was located in a beautiful stone building right on River Street. We had a great view of the bridge and passing boats. The weather was warm, but we opted to eat out. With the breeze, it was really lovely.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

I was torn between two very different options for my lunch order – a salad or the short ribs. I’ve been on a short rib kick lately, so I figured what the heck, why not get those today. They were a little tougher than I wanted, but the flavor was delicious. It was a heavy choice for lunch outside, but it’s what I was feeling.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

{Shannyn, Me, Kyra}

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

For our last shop stop, we visited River Street Sweets. I really wanted to pick up some pralines for hubby, and I scored one pound to take home. The shop had chocolate and original flavors, but I opted for 100% original.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

I had to be out of the parking deck of the hotel by 3pm, and the girls had flights to catch, but we had about another hour to spend around town. So, we opted to check out some of squares in town.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

We took a leisurely walk through the squares, marveling at the giant, arching trees with their sweeping branches covered in moss.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

There were historic monuments throughout. You could spend a long time wandering around, checking out all the sites and reading all the plaques. It’s a nice setup.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

{Up}

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

We made it to the location of Forrest Gump’s bench, which has since been moved to a museum, before turning back towards the hotel. Our afternoon walking around Savannah was the perfect end to a beautiful weekend. Thank you Shannyn, Kyra, Martinus, and Nikki for helping me end the conference on a sweet note! Let’s get cupcakes in Denver, too!

I felt ready to head home but also like I wanted the FitBloggin fun to continue. I’d met so many great people throughout the weekend, and I look forward to keeping up with them over social media and potentially to even seeing them in person! As you may have read on other FitBloggin posts, the event was really great for a blogger recharge. I spent the drive home feeling really appreciative for the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful event. I was also really inspired by so many of the other bloggers who attended. I could spend all year hearing their stories about their healthy living journeys.

With my batteries feeling super-charged, I also brainstormed how I could apply the inspiration and learnings of the weekend to make both my blog and life better. I must say, I’m especially inspired to start blogging about healthy living again. That used to be a big focus here on The Chic Life, and I’ve dialed back in recent years. Well, I’m ready to bring that back to the blog with renewed energy. I also want to do more posts to give back and share some of the things Ive learned over the years to help my fellow bloggers as others have helped me. So, long story short (TL;DR) stay tuned for some posts on health & wellness and some tutorials coming up!

Thank you to Roni and everyone who helped make FitBloggin another success! I met so many great people over the weekend, and I wish I had gotten more photos with all of them. To those I met, please know I really enjoyed meeting and chatting with you, even if only for a short time. Hope to see everyone in Denver in 2015!

***

Here are my other FitBloggin 2014 recap posts:

***

Thanks for stopping by!

FitBloggin 2014 – My Day 3 and 4 Recap

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Saturday was a big day for me. At 4pm, I would tackle one of my big goals head on – speaking at a conference. I really wanted to sleep in to be well-rested, but after hanging out with Katy and Kat the day before, I decided to attend their morning fitness session.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

They took turns leading 30 minutes of a work out (Pi-Yo for Katy and Insanity for Kat) and being each other’s modifier when they weren’t lead. I’ve done yoga before, and I even do (and sometimes teach) a weekly toning class in a format proprietary to my dance fitness company, so the pi-yo was right up my alley. I really liked how it was low-impact. We did lots of toning and a bonus of stretching. I could probably use more of both in my life. The Insanity class was super fun and very jumpy. My knee sometimes bothers me if I push it too far, so I don’t think I could do Insanity on a regular basis. But, I can see how it works so well for many people. That class is no joke!

Katy and Kat did a great job. They were in full control of the class and really kept us motivated for the full hour. I really appreciated how they offered modifier moves for everything, and I found myself jumping in and out of the high and low versions throughout the session. I had to hold back just a little for the next session.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

{Me, Katy, Kat}

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

Only 30 minutes later, it was time for more fitness. You guys knew I wouldn’t miss the Zumba class! Sue and Sam led a super-fun 80s-themed class along with a couple other guest instructors. We shook our booties to our favorite, upbeat 80s songs and got a good sweat worked up in the process. It was a blast!

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

{Me, Sam, Sue, Gail}

I’ve been twitter friends with Sue for a couple years now, so it was really great to meet her in person finally!

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

After lunch, I attended Katy’s session on media kits. Not only did she do fabulous with her pi-yo session, but she rocked out her speaking presentation, too! She talked about the important components of media kits and even showed us good and bad examples as she went. She had the room captivated, and I think she really inspired many (including me!) to plan to put together a media kit for themselves after FitBloggin.

You can read more about Katy’s media kit presentation on her Live Blog by clicking here.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

{Photo courtesy of Katherine and Jennifer of It Sux To Be Fat}

At 4pm, it was my turn to present. I was super nervous. I mean, I have stage fright! But, for some reason, I was feeling pretty good about leading my session. Maybe it’s all the experience leading Zumba classes or perhaps my recent work experience has helped me. I don’t know, but I’m thankful!

I presented Intro to HTML and CSS for Bloggers. My subject matter was a bit dry, but I tried posting photos of Bailey and even asked for volunteers for an activity to engage the room. One of the session attendees, Kyra, actually recognized Bailey, and we realized later we were already twitter friends. And the volunteers did a great job with the activity. I took an HTML link element and broke it up, printed over seven pieces of paper. The volunteers put the papers in order wonderfully. Woohoo! For that, they got a photo of the success kid.

I’m very thankful for a great group of session attendees who were so fun to chat code with. Thank you to everyone who attended!

Katherine and Jennifer did a great job capturing the Live Blog for my session, which you can click here to read. Thank you, ladies!

If you’re interested in seeing my presentation, leave me a comment below with your email address or email me, and I’ll share the link. It’s in a Google Doc, so it’s easy to share.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

I joined some blog friends for dinner at B&D Burgers. I got the Wormsloe, which was soooo good. It was topped with ooey-gooey melted pimento cheese and a crispy fried green tomato (plus the usual fixins). I would love to get this again soon. B&D, do you deliver to NC? I also had a side of sweet potato fries, which they brought out a couple minutes after the burger so the burger didn’t get cold.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

{Photo courtesy of Nathan MacDonald – from left to right: Kyra, Jill, Kelly, Megan, Nathan, me}

We had a fun group at dinner. We went around the table and each shared what we do for our “real jobs”. It was really cool to see how diverse the jobs were and hear about some veeery interesting work experiences. Thanks to Nathan’s Instagram photo, we learned that we have a mutual friend in common – someone I went to college with. Small world!

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

After dinner, we headed back for dessert and the speaker panel. And after the panel, we enjoyed some dancing and had more chances to catch up with more blog friends – old and new.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

All the runners of FitBloggin were really excited to see Jeff Galloway at the conference.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

On Sunday morning, Jeff and his wife led a group on a walk-run interval 10k. It was such a cool opportunity to do an interval run with Jeff, I actually considered it for a half-second. But, the farthest I’ve ever run is a 5k, so I quickly decided that was a bad idea. I didn’t want to get stranded on the big bridge over the river!

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

I opted to do the one mile walk with some fellow bloggers and Tina of Run Disney.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

We went for a walk down by the river.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

We made it to the waving girl statue of Florence Martus who is said to have welcomed over 50,000 ships to Savannah with a wave of her handkerchief (or lantern at night).

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

After some photos with the statue, we headed back for breakfast.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

I really enjoyed the walk for some fresh air, beautiful scenery, and the chance to chat with a couple more bloggers, Kris and Stephanie, that I hadn’t yet met.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 3 and 4 Recap

After the walk it was time for breakfast, chatting with blog friends, packing, and saying goodbye. Well, not quite yet, at least.

I went out with a few bloggers to explore Savannah before leaving town. More on that next time!

***

Catching up? Here are my other recaps:

Thanks for stopping by!

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