Our First Family Vacation!

When I was 11 years old my mom and dad took me and my two younger brothers to Wildwood, NJ. I was so excited to go on my first (and only) real family vacation with them!

Everything was new and different. Even the grocery stores, which had boogey boards, shell shovels, and metal detectors. The ocean, however, left something to be desired. I got stung several times by jellyfish, and the cold salty water only irritated my small, jellyfish induced wounds.

The boardwalk was my favorite. Fresh, hot waffles with creamy Napolitano ice cream sandwiched between them, go-carts that we all spent hours joyously riding in circles, and games galore!

"Watch the tram-car please" is something we heard frequently as the trams shuttled people back and forth along the boardwalk. It was a marvelous time.

Fast forward 16 years. I now have my own little family: My husband, David, and our adorable two-year-old, Clementine. My in-laws have always been amazing to us. They graciously invited the three of us to share the beach house they rent for a week long every year in Cherry Grove, NC.

Clementine did not care for the 3.5hr drive, no matter how many times we told her that we were going to see Grammy and Poppy.

We arrived around 8pm, and I was ready to get to the beach. I wasn't going to waste a minute! I walked down the street, and across two intersections until I finally came to a path in the dunes.

Cherry Grove Dune Path

I don't know if it was because I knew what was next, or because this is something I've only ever seen in the movies, but I was enthralled. My night got even better when the sun started going down, which lead to absolutely breathtaking views.

Katrina Spain

I set up the shot and had Dave take this photo of me.

Katrina Spain Photography

The next morning my excitement woke me up around 6am.

From what I could tell everyone else was asleep. I packed up my camera gear and headed down to greet the sunrise!

I wasn't the only one who had this idea. As I was walking along the beach exploring different compositions, a friendly looking man on a bike approached me. He asked me about my camera and we talked photography. I learned that he lives only an hour away from me in Durham, NC. Check out his website here.

I love meeting people, especially fellow photography lovers!

I ended up getting some beautiful shots when the sun finally decided to make its appearance.

Early morning is definitely my favorite time to be on the beach. There's just something about that crisp, salty morning air.

The only people awake at 6 in the morning while on vacation are joggers, dedicated shell searchers, and photographers. The beach is serene and calming pretty much any time, but when it's empty there's a different sort of magic about it. Barefoot in the sand, salt water lapping at your ankles, and rarely a soul in sight, what could be better?