Today our day trip was to the outer banks (a.k.a. OBX) of North Carolina. We packed up the dog, sunscreen, water, the camera and drove about 2.5 hours from our house in Greenville / Winterville toward the coast. We crossed a couple of rivers by way of long, old bridges and experienced the OBX, or outer banks of northeast North Carolina. We both kind of expected small coastal towns with some separation between; however, what we found were small coastal towns one after the other and instead of seeing the ocean, we saw apartment houses, condos, restaurants, fast-food drive-ins, surf shops, and tourist attractions.
We were surrounded by water, but couldn’t see it. It was a fabulous day, though, because we found the town of Kitty Hawk right next to the town of Kill Devil Hills and trekked up a hill, actually a 90-foot dune now covered in concrete, to the monument dedicated to brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright. The dune was named Big Kill Devil Hill. In 1904, they had four successful flights with their powered airplane; they took turns being the pilot. Why in the world would they take off from the top of a sand dune? Because there was wind, the landings were soft, and the slopes had no trees or shrubs to cause any damage. It all makes sense, but I never knew that until today. We didn’t go to the Wright Museum because we had Remy with us, but we’ll do that sometime. They have kite-flying competitions on the museum grounds, too. It was worth the trip and we enjoyed being next to that historic monument where we could see for miles, including the ocean. We now can say we’ve been to Kitty Hawk.
After our Kitty Hawk experience, we had a quick lunch at Five Guys Burgers and Fries, despite our well-intentioned plan to cut down on red meat and fats. Too bad we’re not seafood lovers, because there were seafood restaurants and diners on about every block, including the popular Dick’s Dirty Crab House. I should have gone in and gotten a t-shirt at least, but I would have had to buy about a dozen because I know at least that many people who would wear one. We bought some taffy at Forbes Candy, the freshest taffy we have ever eaten.
We started heading back south and pulled off the road to Jockey Ridge State Park – not even 1/4 mile off the road. It was free (opposed to the $8/each fee for the Wright Bros. Memorial) and we were glad we stopped as we could walk anywhere. We walked to the top of a huge sand dune, but didn’t know until afterward that it was a 110 foot sand dune, the tallest in the eastern United States…. pure sand and fortunately a somewhat gradual climb. We were glad it wasn’t any hotter, because it was undoubtedly pretty warm on Remy’s paws. Our hope was that we would get to the top of the sand dune and find the beautiful Atlantic Ocean on the other side. Well, we did find that – but not close enough to dip our tootsies. It had to be another mile away. So we asked a stranger to take our photo and we headed back down to the parking lot. Oh – they have hang-gliding classes in this state park.
Our last stop was the absolutely beautiful small town of Manteo, N.C. — our new favorite town in NC. Probably is a spendy place to live. We would rather stay there than the touristy places right off the ocean highway. Many streets have the British influence – William & Mary Drive, etc. The Elizabethan Gardens were beautiful; there was a wedding going on when we were there. How cool would that be?! Manateo is on Roanoke Island in Dare County, named after Virginia Dare. Baby Virginia Dare was the first child born (in 1587) to British parents in the America’s in Roanoke Colony, now North Carolina.