Our normal family vacation is a week at the Outer Banks. I've stayed in Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, South Nags Head, Rodanthe, and Waves. I tend to fish quite a bit, so it's an advantage to be closer to Oregon Inlet and its public ramps and beach access.
But this year, I decided to heed the invitations of some of my relocated northern friends and do a New England vacation. Ultimately we spent a night at one friend's house in Nashua NH, then the next day finished up the drive to Stonington Maine where we joined another friend's family of 4. As our friend Susi said, "did you have to get a place that was so far at the end of the road??" Well, hell yes! (Find it on the map, you'll see what she means). Rented a large, beautiful new home right on the water down a secluded dirt road about a quarter mile outside of town.
This would be the perfect place to kick back, read a book do a little poking in shops, eat some seafood, relax. Unfortunately for my wife, that utopian vision inevitably yields to the "what adventure are we going to do today?" Stonington, and the Maine coast generally, is packed with islands close by. We did a lot of kayaking to various nearby islands to explore, fish, or just nature watch, as well as biked around the island where Stonington is (Deer Isle) as well as hiked in nature preserves. One day we took a boat out to Isle Au Haut, of which about half is part of Acadia National Park. We mountain biked and hiked around this gem of an island, but 7 hours was too short.
Evenings were ****tail hours followed by mostly seafood dinners. One night I prepared lobster alfredo over fettucine. Our last night we did mussels steeped in tomato/garlic/basil broth as an appetizer, followed by a lobster on every plate - 7 for a grand total all in of $50. $50 for 7 lobsters cooked while we waited! They had been caught that morning, we bought them from the waterman himself.
We then adjourned to the rocky beach where we built a fire and counted shooting stars until the incoming tide doused the flames. We also used this opportunity to finish off the rye.
Next year it'll be back to the OBX I suspect but we'll do another Maine trip in a few years. The one big downside, we did (I should say that I did) 1,700 miles of driving.