The Traveling Steve's

Birthday in Atlantic Beach, NC

I celebrated my 54th birthday this week (alone) in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.  I traveled here on business for the week (as well as next week), and while I was traveling solo, it was nice to FaceTime family and friends and get some birthday wishes on Facebook.  More on the birthday in a moment.IMG_2374


The week started out as a pain – literally!  DOS and I had stayed at the Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport Sunday night once again, as I had an early flight for work on Monday.  We enjoyed our evening dinner at McCoy’s restaurant in the Hyatt, as well as our preferred 10th floor balcony runway view room.

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We had our nice buffet breakfast on Monday morning at the hotel, before I headed off on my flight to New Bern, North Carolina (via Charlotte) on American Airlines.


Why the pain?  I started getting a toothache over the weekend, and it got worse by the hour it seemed.  I have one crooked back tooth which has been that way since I was a kid (I was to stubborn to wear my retainer as a teen) and it seemed to have shifted causing pressure and pain.  I flew to Charlotte, NC on the 8:30am nonstop from Orlando, and had a decent First Class seat in row 4 – aisle.  The connecting flight was on a small prop-jet Dash 8, and I had a window seat in row 2 – all coach on this tiny plane, but they had removed the two row one seats that had faced backward, so I had lots of legroom.  ‘First Class’ for a prop-jet, without the frills!

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When we arrived at the small New Bern, NC airport I gathered my luggage and had a short wait at the National Car rental there, before getting my car; this week a red KIA SUV. IMG_2335

Did you know New Bern, NC was the birthplace of Pepsi?  Neither did I, and they had a small exhibit room in the airport there, with Pepsi vending machines of course!

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Outside and in my rental car, I then asked Siri to navigate me to my hotel; the Doubletree in Atlantic Beach.  Siri (as in iPhone Siri) provided me directions to the hotel, which was approximately 50 minutes away.  As I was driving, I realized I didn’t set my bluetooth on my phone, (which I normally do when getting a rental car), so I could talk hands-free if needed thru the car’s speakers.

I pulled over in a small strip mall to do this, and right in front of me was a Dentist office.  It must be a sign I need help I thought!  As my tooth was really bothering me by now, I thought what the heck, maybe they can see me; maybe they can’t, it never hurts to ask.  (Steve’s Travel tip – not my quote, but I really do believe in ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’.  My interpretation, you’ll never know if you don’t ask, and that goes true with just about anything.  No problem if no, but why not see if the answer is yes!)


I went in the office there, and the friendly receptionist had a quick chat with the Dentist who agreed to see me and take an X-ray; that was so very accommodating as they obviously had other patients they were seeing.  I was seen almost right away and the X-ray showed a possible problem an infection on my top right tooth, where I had a crown put on several years ago.  She prescribed an antibiotic, and said to come back after 48 hours if it was not better. I stopped by a Walgreens on the way to my hotel, and they filled the prescription very quickly.

IMG_2340Interesting, as I thought it was the bottom crooked tooth giving me problems, and not the top tooth.  Well this Dentist really knew here craft, as within two days, the pain had stopped!  I’ll follow up with my Dentist when I can, although it will be a couple weeks before I can do this due to travel schedules.  At least for now, I’m pain-free.  Thank you a million Dr.!

So anyway, sorry to bore you with my tooth issues, but it really was causing me to lose sleep, and be in constant pain even after taking Advil.  So I checked into my hotel in Atlantic Beach for the week – the Doubletree, which is a 10 floor oceanfront property.

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My first impressions were this was a pseudo-dump, as it only had two elevators for a 10 story hotel, and it felt a bit weathered, which I guess is typical of oceanfront properties in general.  I even got a bonus t-shirt left by the previous guest on my balcony, and a used wash cloth in the shower!  Now, I didn’t keep or use either one – LOL!

IMG_2351I think the pain from my tooth made me a bit more intolerant than usual, and I quickly started my antibiotic treatment.  I came to really like this hotel, however more and more as I explored the property.  It was almost 100% families this time of year, and quite busy.  I didn’t like the fact they only had two elevators for this busy property which there was always a wait, and I got a connecting room on the 5th floor, which they couldn’t change as they were full.  Steve’s travel tip two:  Never get a connecting room if you want to sleep well – they are way too noisy.  That is unless you’re traveling with others in that room.  I put a towel by the connecting doorway, which really does help drown out the noise.

Anyway, what the hotel lacked in updates, was made up by the super friendly staff. Everyone at this hotel was genuinely friendly and happy – it must be a welcoming North Carolina thing, and even the guests were happy as well.  I guess everyone was on vacation, but it took me a while to adjust to the lay-back environment of this beach resort, as I was here on business.

After a day, I really grew to like the hotel, and my small balcony overlooking the conference center with view of the Atlantic ocean in the distance was a real joy to gaze out in the early morning and evenings when I got ‘home’.  By the second day my tooth pain was lessening, and I could sleep better.

IMG_2348On my birthday evening, I walked down to the pier, which was accessed via the hotel’s pool area restaurant and bar, and ended up spending an hour and a half outdoors.  It was so serene watching the people enjoying the quiet beach while listening to the roar of the waves, people fishing, a man searching for treasure with his metal wand detector, and watching the younger surfers trying to conquer the sea as the tide was coming in. Free entertainment and the enjoyment of nature- the best kind!IMG_2376 I got a light brewski and found a picnic table on the uncrowded pier, which was a perfect place to people watch both on the pier, and the beachside below.  The tide was coming in at this 6:30pm hour, and the surfers were out in search of the next big wave.  Here are photos of the hotel, beach, and pier and surfers.

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IMG_2371IMG_2408 IMG_2397IMG_2392 (1) IMG_2398I went to dinner at the hotel’s restaurant around 8pm, and it was virtually empty at this ‘late’ hour, I guess for families anyway.  For a large hotel,it was actually a very quiet hotel – I must say the families were very well-behaved and polite, and quiet in the evenings observing the hotel’s posted 10pm ‘quiet time’.


I treated myself to a ribeye meal, paired with an Italian Cabernet called ‘If you see Kay”.  I thought that was a strange, if not catchy name, and didn’t realize the naughty catch phrase until I repeated the wine name back to DOS the next day.  Say it out loud, and it sounds like the ‘F’ word spelled out – seriously!  LOL!  It was actually an ok tasting wine too!

IMG_9048IMG_9052 (1)IMG_9053 (1)I even had a yummy chocolate and peanut butter dessert, very rich but wonderful.

IMG_2416I Face-timed DOS while I was eating, and parents also called while I was eating to wish me a Happy Birthday.  My toothache was no longer bothering me as much, which was a wonderful birthday present in itself!

After dinner, I went back to my room, and sat on the balcony for a bit, looking out over the now dark sea and wondering where these 54 years had gone so quickly.  A storm was rolling in which added to the mystique and beauty of the ocean.


It’s been a wonderful ride so far, and I’m deeply blessed to have such a wonderful family and circle of friends, and have been able to see many wonderful places in the world. The next evening I did a repeat of the same, and enjoyed watching the colors of the setting sun.


And ’twas a wonderful ‘virtual’ birthday in Atlantic Beach, NC!



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