OBX - the Outer Banks of North Carolina - are large sand bars off the coast that people actually live on! Lots of people! And during the summer, lots and lots of tourists, including us. If it weren't for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, protected by the National Park Service, I'm sure every inch of these sand bars would be covered by four-story monster houses and restaurants and bait shops (don't get those two confused).
If you're into lighthouses this is a "must" for your bucket list. Ocracoke is the second oldest lighthouse in the U.S., Hatteras is the tallest and has the most interesting story, and Bodie Island is simply just there. These three are part of the Cape Hatteras NS. If they aren't enough, you have Currituck Beach and Roanoke Marshes Lights to entertain you.
|Ocracoke Light Station|
|Bodie Light Station|
When the Cape Hatteras Light was built in 1870 it was a half mile from the shore, but sand moves, and by the 1990's it was in danger of being undermined by the relentless Atlantic. In 1999 one of the greatest civil engineering projects in history moved the 208-foot, 4,000-ton structure a half mile inland. The hope is that it will be safe from the sea for another hundred years.
|Hatteras Light Station|
|Stairs From Bottom Looking Up|
At the north end of Roanoke Island the NPS visitor center tries to explain the disappearance of the Lost Colony of Roanoke, but, since no one knows where they disappeared to, one walks away scratching one's head.
The most important event on OBX occurred on December 17, 1903 on some high dunes known as Kill Devil Hills four miles south of a small fishing village called Kitty Hawk. On that freezing morning Wilbur and Orville Wright demonstrated to the world that man CAN fly. Four powered flights, two by each brother, changed the world forever! Wilbur would pass away in 1912, but Orville was around to hear the news that man had flown faster than the speed of sound. The Wright Brothers National Memorial is truly "hallowed ground". Both Zoe and I got all teary-eyed standing at the place where Orville "slipped the surly bonds of earth". We were also impressed by the size of the crowd of tourists. The park is mobbed nearly every day. Fantastic!
|Rail and Take-Off Point on Left; Markers for First Four Flights On Right|
|"Orville Wright" on Glider|
Other than sightseeing we've been eating lots of oysters, clams and North Carolina-style BBQ. And the good news is that we've been in North Carolina now for about two weeks, and not once has either of us been asked to present our birth certificates in order to enter a restroom! Tomorrow we head for Baltimore to visit with old friends and eat some crabs.