Thursday, August 03, 2006


Our recent 3-day jaunt in the Outer Banks, North Carolina was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. It was not exactly the typical tourist summer pursuit - the beach (even though to stay in those pastel-colored, 3-story oceanfront beach homes was to die for), but our main purpose of chosing the Outer Banks was our lighthouse hunt.

The Outer Banks is a tiny stretch of islands on the northeastern coast of North Carolina. It was unconventional, picturesque and historic. Back in time, it was a pirates lair. And there are amazing lighthouses, and the Wright Brothers Memorial is also there. I liked the feel of the islands. It is tiny that past some stretches of highway, it is edged by sand and you can practically see water on both sides. And the whole place was dotted with huge, fantastic-looking beach homes.

Our first stop was the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, up in the northern tip of the Outer Banks. It was made of bricks, and we climbed all 214 steps to the top. We were sweating like pigs and our knees were wobbly by the time we got to the top. But the fantastic views were exceptional. The drive up there was scenic and heartwarming, past little towns with pretty names like Duck, Sanderling, and Southern Shores, and even prettier street names.

The Wright Brothers Memorial was located at the town called Kill Devil Hills. I found the name queer and amusing. According to David, the place was a lair for pirates before, and there on the hills (which were actually sand dunes), they drink moonshine (an illegally distilled whiskey) and apparently it was so strong it could kill the devil. :) What a lovely story, hehe. The Visitors Center cum museum was impressive. We visited the exact site of that fateful first flight on Dec. 17, 1903.

We visited four lighthouses, and climbed two of them. By far, my favorite was the Bodie Island Lighthouse. I liked it so much because it looked so forlorn. I always have this theatrical notion about lighthouses- forsaken, somber, distant. And the Bodie Island Lighthouse, especially on that gloomy day we visited, was exactly like that. But the prettiest was the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse- tallest in America. Its spiral stripes looked truly impressive. We also climbed the lighthouse, and we had the most spectacular view of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and the Atlantic Ocean. The fourth lighthouse we visited was the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse. It was located on a tiny, tiny island of Ocracoke (a 40-minute ferry ride further down south from Cape Hatteras, and so so tiny you can drive to the other end in a matter of minutes. They have only one highway, by the way). The lighthouse was only 75 feet tall, and we found her inacessible.

We found a lovely, lovely deserted beach near the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. David loved it so much, he said he could stay there forever. Until retirement? Nope, he said. Maybe a month. It was so quiet, peaceful and relaxing just gazing at the deep blue Atlantic ocean. We absolutely loved it.

We stayed in a small, inexpensive oceanfront motel in Kill Devil Hills. We call it "Psycho motel". It kinda reminded us of the Bates motel in the movie Psycho, hehee. But luckily, there was no psycho in the shower :)

It was an amazing three-day mini-vacation. We took a different route on the way back home, and made a quick stopover in Virginia Beach. Then we took the Chesapeake Bay Bridge which was alluring beyond words. David took tons of pictures on our vacation. He had an amazing time.

Here are his pictures:
(click OBX)

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