Candy blue ocean brings salty sweetness to the sunset walk in Kitty Hawk, NC inviting beach enthusiasts to a playful evening. After a steamy summer day on the Outer Banks the breeze feels cooler brushing gently sun kissed skin soaked in the soft palette of the fading sunlight. The waves are bouncing back and forth restlessly whispering to the sand shimmering in the dusk. Memories of the passing day traverse the soft surface of the ocean blending the emotions with its continuosly changing color spectrum. The nightfall transforms frivolous blue hues into calm greens and steel greys reflected in the ocean’s endless surface that inspires so many to discover new horizons. I was ready to spread my wings.
Drayton Hall is an 18th-century plantation home located 15 miles away from Charleston, South Carolina. Owned by the Drayton family until 1974 it is the only plantation house on historical Ashley River stretch that stands intact to the present day. It has survived turbulent times of the American Revolution and the Civil War and today remains close to its original condition: unmodernised, minimalistic and bare in its principles and execution. With the last layer of paint updated some two centuries ago, the absence of furniture or artifacts intensifies the intention of the founders to preserve the property in its original state.
When you visit the plantation on a hot summer day the aged oaks will provide much needed shadows to enjoy the cooling breeze smoothening your skin as you explore the gardens and make your way towards the river. It meanders slowly through the marshes bathing sandy soil with fresh water soaking the vegetation that explodes overgrown with life casting sharp shades against the bright sunlight. You have to adjust your vision to see clear behind these dark patches to keep those memories where intended. Let them freeze in the past: preserved, unchanged, fading away slowly.
The Outer Banks, NC is a long string of narrow sandy islands stretching for almost 200 miles down from the southern border of Virginia. These literally sand dunes act as a barrier protecting mainland North Carolina from the Atlantic Ocean. Rough, isolated and underdeveloped until very recently they have been home to the wild Spanish mustangs for centuries. The remote location, endless beaches and guaranteed sunshine made the islands attractive destination to the tourists and property developers alike. With tourism booming in the area in last 50 years more land was incorporated for development pushing away the horses from their original habitat. Today they live on a 12 mile long strip in the northern part of the Outer Banks. Accessible only by four wheel drive vehicles, the Carova Beach and the surrounded area of some 7,500 acres is protected against further development to save the horses in their natural habitat. With no paved roads it is still open to the public if you drive 4WD or you can chose from many companies offering tours in the area. After a short phone call to a Corolla Outback Adventure I booked an evening off-road guided adventure to see those creatures.
As Tim, our guide, left the paved road behind and entered the beach in his truck, we were on the wild side. He took us to various places along the coast and ventured inland allowing us to see the horses in their natural habitat – casually picking grass in the front yard, hiding amongst the dunes or cooling in the marshes after a hot day. The ride itself was bumpy and enjoyable with the ocean breeze cooling the excitement. As we drove the sky was taken over by milky clouds blending softly with the white sand of the dunes, emphasizing the dark silhouettes of the horses contrasting with the background. With the sun setting down the beach became steel blue with the horizon line blurred in the distance. The glare reflected in the sand was mesmerizing. Tim picked up the speed and the truck was bouncing on the rut trails as we headed back to Corolla. The air turned cold and the wind was whistling in my ears. Suddenly, we noticed a small heard of horses standing still in the middle of the beach as if they were statues carved in stone forcing all spectators to slow down and reflect on nature’s beauty. Oblivious to the upcoming traffic they have shown the sense of freedom and independence by manifesting their strength and determination. This was a clear message: we ought to respect each others and our natural boundaries.
Virgina Beach, VA located on the Atlantic coast offers expansive beaches with soft sand stretching for miles. You can choose from overcrowded spot in the city center or venture few blocks away to find a space where you can get that extra legroom uninterrupted. Rich in surfing history the city has a strict regulation that prohibits use of surf boards in Atlantic Ocean on Fridays and weekends from 11am till 4pm. That also relates to stand up paddle boarding (SUP), a watersport derived from surfing that is growing fast in popularity.
On my visit the city welcomed me with grey clouds overcasting the sky. After the night of rain the morning was fresh with sand and salt filling the air. Calm waters attracted surfers and groups of stand up paddle boarding enthusiasts who gathered to enjoy the ocean before the law was enforced. Observing this casual hang out I was fascinated by the social side of it. That morning I watched not only individuals on the boards but a vibrant community suspended in the open water waiting for the next wave. They chat, they laugh and take care of each other while effortlessly gliding the ocean. And did I mention the dolphins casually joining in? A truly perfect Friday morning.
Washington D.C. rises in pink hues with the morning sun soaring the heat calmly over the Potomac River. Elegant avenues and wide boulevards are quickly flooded with golden light reflected in marble walls. Meticulously designed by Pierre Charles L’Enfant the city plan expresses equally the importance of the capital as the political center and the egalitarian ideas of its founders.
The temperature rises high rapidly as I walk National Mall towards United States Congress. The sun is burning my skin while the humid air wrapped around marbled corners of the governmental institutions is following my steps. I manage to escape into the coolness of the lavish greenery that is casting shadows on the pavement. In the awe of the elegance of the buildings I move forward regardless the heat. With the Capitol Hill at its centerpiece there’s no small talk in this city! I sense the grandeur and power from neoclassical gems through freemasonry temples to the industrial statements set in concrete. And amongst all those monuments, institutions and museums the Washingtonians embrace their life and all the opportunities this capital has to offer.
While I enjoy my evening cocktail at the roof top bar the city seems to pause, almost distant from its political weight. Relaxed, I watch the sun setting down over The White House, the American flag is waving in the wind as to remind me that this is, nonetheless, Washington D.C. USA.
Music I listen to I experience with my senses and emotions. It makes my mind wander to summer nights filled with excitement and new opportunities reflected in city lights changing our perception of happiness, admiration and joy fading into fear and hesitation… what does the future holds? Solitude can be unbearable sometimes we simply crave for that very special person to come and be. We move forward, heartbroken but rich in those past experiences that feed our creativity and drive us to discover new frontiers. Exploring my possibilities I face the horizon with the music in the foreground, always.