June 26-30, 2014 – Outer Banks, NC
Friday we drove to the Outer banks and headed north from Whalebone Junction through Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Southern Shores, Duck, Sanderling and Corolla. We were disappointed in that this entire section of the Outer Banks was so populated and commercial that you could not see the ocean or the sound between the houses and commercial buildings. South of Kitty Hawk we stopped at the Wright Brothers National Memorial. This 60 ft monument atop Kill Devil Hill honors the Wright brothers and marks the site of the hundreds of glider flights that preceded the first powered flight.
Orville and Wilbur Wright historic first powered flight took place here on December 17, 1903. These four white markers chart the four flights paths, distances and landings. The first flight lasted 12 seconds and flew 120 feet, the second flight lasted 12 seconds and flew 175 feet, the third flight lasted 15 seconds and flew 200 feet, and the fourth flight lasted 59 seconds and flew 852 feet.
The visitor center had very nice displays telling all about the Wright Brothers story. It was very crowded and hard to see the displays so we didn’t spend a lot of time here. Another room displayed full-scale reproductions of the 1902 glider and 1903 flying machine used by the Wright Brothers.
We enjoyed visiting the Wright Brothers National Memorial – it makes history come alive when you can visit the places events actually happened rather than just reading about them.
Our next stop was the Currituck Beach Light Station. The lighthouse was built in 1875 to fill the “dark space” on the North Carolina coast between the Cape Henry light to the north and the Bodie Island light to the south. To distinguish this lighthouse from regional lighthouses, its exterior was left unpainted. The lighthouse stand 162 ft tall and approximately one million bricks were used in its construction.
The Lighthouse Keepers House was built in 1876 and this Victorian style duplex was occupied by three keepers and their families.
We drove to the end of the highway just north of Corolla where we turned around and headed back to Chocowinity. We enjoyed our day and are glad we took this drive despite all the crowds and the shores being lined with buildings.
Saturday was a rainy day so it was a good time to get our laundry done and take it easy.
Sunday we took the Swan Quarter Ferry to Ocracoke Island and then drove north along Cape Hatteras National Seashore. This was going to be a long day so we brought Camille and Cody with us. On the way to the ferry we were surprised to see a black bear walking in a field beside the road. We were afraid we would be late for the ferry so we didn’t take the time to stop and get a picture. It is a good thing we did not stop to get pictures as we just made it to the ferry with a few minutes to spare.
The ferry to Ocracoke Island took 2 ½ hours and they let dogs on the car deck. We had the dogs out on the back of the deck when we hit some choppy water and Cody did not like the deck movement at all so the dogs went back into the Jeep. After landing on Ocracoke Island we stopped at the Ocracoke Lighthouse. This small lighthouse was built in 1823 and is the oldest operating lighthouse in North Carolina.
After walking around the lighthouse we headed north and stopped along the beach where we ate a picnic lunch and walked the dogs around.
We had to take another ferry across the Hatteras Inlet separating Ocracoke Island and Hatteras Island. This free ferry ride was much shorter at only one hour. We drove along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and stopped at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. This lighthouse was built in 1870 and at 198.5 ft it is the tallest brick lighthouse in North America. It was built to help ships navigate around Diamond Shoals off Cape Hatteras,
We enjoyed the drive along the National Seashore much better as the only houses were in the small towns and we were able to see the Atlantic Ocean and Pamlico Sound.
We crossed a bridge over the Oregon Inlet to Bodie Island where we stopped at the Bodie Island Lighthouse. This lighthouse was built in 1872 and fully restored in 2013. It still has its original 1st-order Fresnel lens. After looking around the lighthouse we walked the dogs along a boardwalk in a marsh and saw a couple crabs in the water.
We didn’t climb any of these lighthouses as we had the dogs with us but we were able to walk the dogs around all the lighthouses. We enjoyed the drive and it was nice to have the dogs with us.
Monday we stayed home and after lunch took the kayaks along the waterways around the resort. We saw this family of Mallards while we were paddling. We met three young boys in a canoe who told us they had just seen a Water Moccasin. Nancy was glad that we didn’t come across the snake on our paddle.
We enjoyed our time in this area and touring the Outer Banks.