Monday, January 31, 2022

Secrets Royal Beach

Since we sold Opus we have changed how we intend to travel. Last April we went to Cancun for a week. We left Stuart in the middle of July on a road trip with stops in St. Augustine and North Carolina before spending two months in WashPA. On the way south we toured DC, enjoyed nine days on Hatteras Island and stopped in Myrtle Beach before getting back to Stuart in early October. At the end of October we flew to Punta Cana for our anniversary celebration at Secrets Royal Beach. So while we aren't RVing we are traveling even with all the Covid protocols. We are vaccinated and wear our masks. 
Nine years ago we stayed at Royal Beach and joined the Unlimited Vacation Club. We have been to several of their beautiful resorts in Mexico and Dominican Republic and always love the pampering the staff gives you at all the resorts. Royal Beach is one our favorites. This was our third visit.
Most of our days are spent by the pool just relaxing, reading and soaking up the sun. Not real different from what we do in Stuart except for having the staff provide for all our needs. The biggest decision each day is where are we going to dine.
The resort was only at 60% capacity because of Covid, so we had no problem social distancing.
The drink of the day, fresh coconut nut milk and a bit of rum.
There is a live, easy listening duo in the plaza every day before dinner.
There is different themed entertainment every evening. This one was Legends of Rock. 
This one was a tribute to Queen and Freddy Mercury.
This one was a tribute to the music of Frank Sinatra
Just like when we traveled in Opus we always enjoy meeting fun people on these trips. Here we are partying with Viviana, Jason and Michelle. 
Hanging out at the pool with JR (James Robert), Dan, Lisa and Deb.
Viviana set up another adventure for us. 
We always see people parasailing when we go to these resorts, but this was our first time doing it. 
A lot has changed since we were here in 2017. A new pool area for preferred members was built during the Covid shutdown. It includes this pool......
....a swim up bar....
An elevated pool with a whirlpool and ocean view.....
....and a lazy river pool. This was the view from our room.
There is also a members only lounge overlooking the pool. JR and Nanc.
All the Secrets have several different restaurants to choose from. Each has a different menu and we have always found the food to be excellent. 
We had a couples message that included the hydro cycle. There are several stations with different water therapies. Very relaxing. 
Most of the restaurants require proper dress. This gives us a chance to dress up
November 1st was our 52nd anniversary, so our butler, Argeni, prepared our room with rose petals....
.... a bubble bath in our patio pool....
....and a cake. 
That evening we had a great dinner at Bordeaux. Our UVC representative, Maria, made the picture for us. The prefect ending to a perfect day and vaction.
The staff at these places are the best. They are there to take care of you and make your vacation the best it can be. Here we are with our UVC contact, Maria and the head chef, Manuel. 

It does seem I am getting farther behind with the blog as we have been very busy since getting back to Stuart. We have done three road trips and have reservations for two cruises. We are also looking forward to some friends coming down for a visit and another road trip.


Monday, January 17, 2022

Two Beaches - Hatteras Island, Myrtle

Our go to beach vacation when we lived in a stix and brix was Hatteras Island. We first stayed in Hatteras Village and then for several years we stayed at the Outer Banks Motel in Buxton. That was our favorite place because we could sit on the beach and see the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. After we went on the road we stayed at the Sands of Time Campground in Avon, a small village just north of Buxton.
Back in our Buxton days the lighthouse was very close to the beach. It was not this close when it was built in the 1860's but over 130 years nearly 1900 feet of beach had eroded away. There was much discussion about what should be done and finally it was decided to lift it up and move it 2900 feet placing it the same distance from the shoreline as it was in 1870.
An old picture from the top of the lighthouse of the beach at the north end of Buxton. The last buildings on the beach are the Outer Banks Motel. The beach north of there is national seashore and will never be developed. That is why we love Hatteras Island.
We were there in 1999 when they picked up the 200 foot tall, 500 ton lighthouse and moved it 2900 feet. It is now about as far from the shoreline as it was in 1870. 
They jacked the lighthouse up and set it down on rollers that moved along the i-beams. Hydraulic jacks were attached to the i-beams and pushed it four or five feet at a time. The beams were then leap-frogged ahead for the next move and the jacks were moved and reattached for the next push. The actual move took 23 days.  
Here it is at its new home in July 1999. The water-filled hole is where it was before the move. You can see the shoreline on the left. What an amazing feat moving such a large structure.
In addition to the lighthouse. they also moved all the out buildings including both the light keeper's houses and this oil storage building.
This is the lighthouse during our latest visit. It is now undergoing major renovation, being painted both inside and out. Unfortunately, that means it is closed to visitors at this time so you can't climb to the top.
Proof that the move was the right thing to do. The jetty was part of a failed attempt to build up the beach around the lighthouse. The bricks are part of a fence that was around it in 1870.
The brick fence in the foreground. The brown and white post was where it was previously and in the distance its new location.
The buildings nearest the ocean are the Outer Banks Motel today. 
An areal view from an old postcard. Some of the buildings have been moved back and they have all been raised. You have to wonder how long it will be before Mother Nature wins this battle.
These are newer homes that had a dune between them and the ocean when they were built. We have always heard Hatteras Island is moving west but never really believed we would see it in our lifetime.
Hatteras is a great place for all kinds of water activities from surfing.... fishing..... sun bathing.....
....or just watching the sunrise.
Of course another reason we love it here is the beaches are rarely crowded. Even on holiday weekends you can find a stretch of beach with no people.
Because the island is so narrow if you don't like getting up early for a sunrise you can walk to the sound side for a sunset.
While we did not get to stay as long as we did when we came here in Opus, we still had a great time and always look forward to returning.
Always on our to do list is buxton village books. They took advantage of the covid slowdown and remodeled the whole place. When doing the work they found wood from an old shipwreck that the original builder had used. 
Another great thing about Hatteras is the food. We hit our favorites Ketch 55, Oceana Bistro, Po House and Pangea in Avon. On our way down we stopped at Sam and Omie's and checked out a new place in Hatteras village, Hatteras Sol. None disappointed.
After nine days we drove to Myrtle Beach where my cousin Dee, in the foreground, moved last year. It turned out we were there the same time as Missy and Marty and the girls' mom and my aunt, Elsie. We had a nice time getting caught up with all of them.
Dee has a great house and she sure is happy to escape the Pennsylvania winters.
Our friend John hooked us up with a room in an ocean front high rise. 
It was a great place, but we decided we prefer the uncrowded beaches of Hatteras Island.

We are now back in Stuart and have been busy doing things in our new hometown, plus taking a couple road trips and vacationing in Punta Cana. So I'm still way behind with the blog.