The Outer Banks, A Vacation to Remember
On the Road to Nags Head
Our First Visit to The Outer Banks of NC
Having lived in NC for all but two years of my life, it might surprise anyone to know that I had never visited the Outer Banks, an area ripe with history and the best perk of all, the Atlantic Ocean.
Finally, this year, my husband and I decided to vacation at Nags Head, NC which is one of the islands of The Outer Banks.
Kill Devil Hills
One of the first sightseeing ventures we made was in Kill Devil Hills, where we visited the Wright Brothers’ Museum Complex. There, we spent time in the Pavilion, a dome shaped museum that houses not only Wright Brothers history but pictures of what aeronautical engineers expect future air travel to look like. One picture was of a contraption that seats only one person; the driver will be able to zoom to work in it or travel longer distances.
Also on the grounds is the Wright Brothers’ Memorial. It sits atop Kill Devil Hill, which has walkways with pictures of significant steps to their final successful flight lining the paths from the pavilion to the top of the memorial.
The museum that houses the history of flight in America is also on the memorial grounds. In it hangs portraits of all the people who have made aeronautical history in the US. I had my picture taken beside the portrait of Bessie Coleman, the first Black female pilot in the US.
On the way back to Nags Head, we stopped at Jockey’s Ridge where, had either of us been brave enough, we could have taken hang gliding lessons. Jockey’s Ridge is a nature park that is made from the huge, shifting sand dunes of the area.
History Lesson in Manteo, NC
In Manteo, we visited the Elizabethan Gardens, the most beautifully landscaped garden I’ve seen. Its trails are plush and well marked. There is a wide variety of plant life, garden statues, plenty of squirrels and lizards.
We also visited Festival Park in Manteo. There we toured an interactive outdoor museum of Indian and early settler life. There were replicas of tents, canoes, kitchen utensils, looms and other tools. The replica of the English camp put into perspective just how difficult the lives of the early settlers were. The camp was in a tiny clearing guarded by one man. All else was forest. The Native American artifacts showed just how sophisticated the Algonquian speaking tribes were.
To add to one’s awe concerning the lives of the early settlers, we boarded the Queen Elizabeth II, a cargo vessel that also brought people to the American shores. This ship housed about 50 men (25 crew and 25 patrons), but there were only two beds below deck and very little space for pallets. There was not enough space for standing, no hints of chairs, and no place to put sleeping mats.
We strolled through the American Revolution Bicentennial Park which is located on the waterfront in Manteo. There we were able to enter a replica of the Roanoke Marshes Light House and shop in the many boutiques surrounding the park.
No Wild Ponies This Time
On our last day in the Outer Banks, we visited Corolla, an upscale island noted for the wild ponies that still roam there. We visited the Currituck Beach Light House, a brick structure that now sits inland on the grounds of Currituck Heritage Park. Tourists can climb to the top of the lighthouse and see for miles. We did not attempt the climb.
However, we did venture into the wild animal life museum. We expected to see live animals, but thankfully everything except the fish were either stuffed or photographed. The museum tells the history of wildlife and the industries related to it in the outer banks area.
I definitely enjoyed my vacation on The Outer Banks, and would not only recommend it, but would go again. Becaise we stayed at a resort, I did not pay attention to what area hotels were available, but everything else was very accessible and very affordable, and despite all that we did, there were things we did not get to see.