Outer Banks - North Carolina

Discussion in 'Travel Stories' started by giradman, May 31, 2017.

  1. giradman

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    Today (May 31, 2017), Susan & I arrived on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (NC) for a 7-night trip that will start in the north at Sanderling (just above Duck) and continue to Buxton & Ocracoke Island; then we will take the ferry to the mainland (Cedar Island) w/ a one night stay in New Bern before going home. We did this loop back in the mid-1970s but in the other direction. The annotated map below shows the plan described - in my Carolina Shore travelogue which is now 12 pages, there are a number of posts about the Outer Banks (which are 'buried' in the thread), which I would like to duplicate here and then add some new ones, which will be clearly evident - in that way, someone looking for information on this coastal NC area can simply use this new travelogue. Dave :)
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  2. giradman

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    Outer Banks North Carolina - Part 1 (Carolina Shore Travelogue, Aug 2016)

    The Outer Banks of North Carolina is a major tourist attraction - brief description below. The first map shows the geographic extent of these islands, north from the Corolla area, through the communities of Duck, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, and Nags Head, all near Roanoke Island (just a reminder to visit the Roanoke Island Aquarium, one of three in NC) - continuing south over the bridge at Oregon Inlet and toward the Hatteras Lighthouse; finally a short ferry ride connects the southern portion of the Outer Banks on Ocracoke Island.

    In the northern portion of the banks, there are plenty of places to stay and some excellent restaurants - up near Corolla, wild horses can be seen and my favorite of the half dozen or so major NC coastal lighthouses is there, i.e. the Currituck Lighthouse - love the exposed brick (being such a lighthouse lover, I'll put together a post on these structures). Of course, there are plenty of outdoor activities, too numerous to mention. And finally, at Kill Devil Hills near Kitty Hawk, in 1903, the Wright Brothers made their famous flight(s) w/ Wilbur on the plane, which is now in the National Air and Space Museum, as shown below.

    In the second part of this Outer Banks posting, I'll continue south to Ocracoke Island - Dave :)

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  3. giradman

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    Outer Banks North Carolina - Part 2 (Carolina Shore Travelogue, Aug 2016)

    For a general introduction, check the link in the previous post - the Outer Banks consists of a series of low lying fragile 'sand' islands; the one near Roanoke is Bodie Island which connects to Pea Island via the Oregon Inlet; then quickly over a short bridge along HW12, Hatteras Island is next w/ a number of communities and also the famous Hatteras Lighthouse - from Hatteras, a short ferry ride connects to the northern end of Ocracoke Island - finally from Ocracoke Village, a much longer ferry ride reaches the mainland at Cedar Island - the first two aerial maps below show these islands and ferry options. The fragility of these Outer Bank Islands is evident in major storms and hurricanes where the islands can be damaged extensively - one pic below of the results of Hurricane Isabel in 2003 on Hatteras Island.

    Before reaching Oregon Inlet, the Bodie Island Lighthouse comes into view (black & white horizontal stripes like 'life savers' - see the following images) - a number of other lighthouses are present further south, as shown in the diagram. The current Herbert Bonner Bridge dates from the early 1960s and will be replaced soon (see first quote below). Once on Hatteras Island, the lighthouse comes into view (spiral black & white stripes like a barber's pole) - the pic shown is from the early 1990s before the structure was moved (more on that later). A short ferry ride is needed to land on Ocracoke Island and then a drive to Ocracoke Village, a wonderful visit and yet another lighthouse. From the Village, a much longer ferry trip can be done back to the mainland on Cedar Island. Dave :)

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  4. giradman

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    Wright Brothers National Memorial

    Our last visit to the Wright Brothers National Memorial was about 20 years ago - unfortunately, the Visiting Center was being renovated, but the National Park Rangers were giving informative talks, as usual. Brief opening paragraph quoted below from the link - the park map shows the location of the monument on Kill Devil Hill; many of the pics are my own taken today - Susan walking up to the monument and standing next to Wilbur - beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean in the background (Roanoke Sound in the other direction).

    From the panoramic view (web origin), the relationship of the monument to the actual area where the first flights took place is shown, along with the reconstructed hangar and the quarters/shop buildings. Final three pics of the beautiful First Flight Centennial Sculpture dedicated on December 17, 2003 (additional figures added two years later, as in the second quote below), and not present on our past trip to the Outer Banks. Dave :)

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  5. scifan57

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    I've seen a replica of the Wright flyer at the Museum of Science and Technology in Chicago. It actually flew a short distance.
     
  6. giradman

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    Yes, I recall that we may have discussed that in my other travelogue - amazing how much progress the Wrights made in their early airplanes - in the National Park brochure, in 1908 &1909 the brothers were awing audiences in America and Europe; just one example w/ a photo was of Wilbur in the air making a 20-mile circuit flight from Governor's Island to Grant's Tomb and back in those years! Dave :)
     
  7. giradman

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    Sanderling Resort & Kimball's Restaurant

    For our first three nights, we are splurging and staying at the Sanderling Resort in Duck, an upscale resort area just north of Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills - this is a LARGE complex w/ multiple buildings of different types, so many rental options - we are located in the Beach House, 3rd floor w/ a view of the ocean which can be heard easily from our room (Susan loves this type of room!).

    Tonight, we ate at their 'fancy' restaurant across the street (see pic below) - beautiful place inside - our table was next to the window w/ a great view of the sound and the sun going down. Their oyster selection was fantastic w/ 6 selections, all from Virginia (so right up the road) - we chose a half dozen from York River and another half dozen from Hog Island - they were prefect. Also, both of us had their special for the night, fresh line-caught red snapper w/ a tart lemon sauce and a delicious lump crab salad. We will probably dine in Duck tomorrow night, but may just return to Kimball's Kitchen on our third night. Highly recommended if one is in the area - not cheap though. Our remaining hotels and likely dinners will even out our budget for the trip - ;) Dave

    P.S. Have a new oyster book on my iPad (last pic below) and currently on the Virginia and Carolina oysters!
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  8. giradman

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    Currituck Beach Lighthouse & Wild Horses

    On our first full day, we drove north on HW 12 first to visit the Currituck Beach Lighthouse located in Corolla - this is probably my favorite North Carolina (NC) lighthouse because the bricks used to make the structure were left natural rather than painted. Some facts quoted below from the link and also in one of the pics.

    Other pics of the lighthouse, keeper's house, and the gift shop (w/ Susan resting - she did not do the climb) - also, I decided to ascend the 220 steps to the observatory deck ($10 fee + a waiver for personal injury) - with each 20 steps or so, there are semi-circular platforms w/ information exhibits on the lower levels. The views from the top were spectacular (the last 4 images below) - the outside was being painted, i.e. the black metallic portions.

    The next post was borrowed from my Carolina Shore travelogue and has a brief description of the NC lighthouses - we will be visiting three others on this trip - NOW, whether I'll climb any more will be decided at the time of visiting - :) Dave

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  9. giradman

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    North Carolina Coastal Lighthouses (Carolina Shore Travelogue, August 2016)

    As stated previously, I’m a major lighthouse fan and North Carolina has about a half dozen ‘major’ ones extending from Corolla, upper Outer Banks to the Oak Island Lighthouse near Southport, North Carolina, south of Wilmington - the diagram below shows most of those in this post.

    Currituck Beach Lighthouse is near Corolla Village, also an area with wild houses. This is my favorite structure because of the red-brick exterior, was the last major brick lighthouse build on the Outer Banks. The structure is 162 ft high w/ 220 steps.

    Bodie Island Lighthouse is near the Oregon Inlet - this is the third lighthouse in the vicinity and opened in 1872 (the second one was destroyed in 1861 by Confederate troops retreating from the Union Army during the early Civil War). The structure is 165 ft high and is one of three w/ the white-black paint design over bricks (the others are Hatteras & Cape Lookout).

    Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is located on Hatteras Island near the town of Buxton - it is 210 ft in height with 268 steps, and is the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States; the original lighthouse was constructed in 1803. Due to the fragility of these barrier islands, the lighthouse was threatened by the Atlantic Ocean (see pic below from 1991); in 1999, the entire structure was moved 2,900 feet (following pic) - we have not been there since its relocation - I guess an item to add to my travel list!

    Ocracoke Lighthouse is on the island of the same name and located in the Village, shown previously. The structure was built in 1823 and stands 75 ft tall - it is the oldest operating light station in North Carolina.

    Cape Lookout Lighthouse is on the southern Outer Banks and can be reached only by boat (our first trip there was on a speed boat via Harker’s Island - took a guided jeep tour once there - will likely repeat the experience on our upcoming visit). The first lighthouse was completed in 1812, and the current one is a replacement. The structure is 163 ft high and offers beautiful views of the surrounding islands and water - highly recommended!

    Bald Head Lighthouse (Old Baldy) is located on Bald Head Island and is reached by a short boat ride from Southport (see map and also the location of the Oak Island Lighthouse). Old Baldy is the oldest standing lighthouse in North Carolina; just 110 ft in height. The island is a resort-residential retreat that we’ve visited just once - only golf carts are allowed for transportation which can be rented - worth a visit!

    Oak Island Lighthouse was constructed in 1958 and is 153 ft tall - have seen many times but have never done a visit - for me, the least attractive of the NC coastal lighthouses.

    Note - all facts above taken from the Wiki articles of each lighthouse.
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  10. scifan57

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    A few years ago I watched the TV show about the move of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Given the fragility of such a tall brick structure, it's amazing that the move was completely successfully.
     

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