Thursday, August 27, 2015

Outer Banks Vacation: Adventures, Part 1

We had three separate times when we got off the beach and had opportunity to explore some other options on the Outer Banks.  Mind you, we really only scratched the surface of things to be done because we did spend a lot of time sucked into sand gravity.  I told Mr. Helen that just gives us things to do when we go back.

Our first adventure was going to climb the dunes at Jockeys Ridge State Park.  Those dunes, which are the tallest natural dunes on the Eastern seaboard, are visible from many places in Nags Head and surrounding areas.   After seeing the sunset from Sooey's BBQ we decided to go the following evening at sunset.  (So no beach time was sacrificed lol!).  It was a good thing I read up on the dunes before we went, otherwise we might have actually missed sunset!  They are quite deceptive - sort of like being in the desert - you see something and it looks a lot closer than it really is.  In reality it took us nearly 40 minutes of walking to get to the second dune.

As we entered the first thing we noticed is that people had left their shoes.  There were hundreds of shoes right by the entrance area.  Mr. Helen and I had thought to wear beach/sand shoes so we were all set.  I wish I'd gotten a photo of all the shoes, but again sometimes you just experience things and don't document.  I did get plenty of other photos as we experienced the walk and sunset.

Mini "oasis"

Mr. Helen reaches the second dune - he's right in the middle

Looking back at Nags Head - I used the zoom

 Another beautiful sunset

It really was fun to be up on the big dune overlooking the sound and watching the hang gliders and kite flyers.

Our second adventure was a trip we took on the one overcast day we had.  There are four famous lighthouses on the Outer Banks and in my head, I was going to see them ALL!  No, that didn't happen, again due to wanting to lay around and do nothing rather than be in a car all day (that drive in was car enough!). Honestly it never occurred to me that it might take a full day to see them all, so I settled for seeing 1 famous one and one not as well known. First, we went to see the Bodie Island Lighthouse, which is right in Nags Head.  It was recently renovated and made climbable but I honestly had no desire to climb to the top, so we took some photos then took a walk on the boardwalk out to an observation deck.

This tree was growing right in the middle of the marsh

Swamp flowers

The marshes

Looking back from the observation deck - you can see the boardwalk here.

Crab in the water!

After I perused the gift shop, we took off for Manteo.  Because we were driving along part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, I wanted to stop and look at the beach to see what it was like compared to where we were in Nags Head.  Again, I wish I'd taken a photo - not of the beach, but of the warning sign about sharks!!  That was the one and only time we saw a sign. Other than that we enjoyed ourselves in the "sharks house."

Manteo was a cute, quaint town that reminded me a lot of some of the small waterfront towns in New England, like Mystic, Newport, or Hyannis.  Lots of shops and things to look at, not to mention they had a craft fair going on the day we were there (Mr. Helen was thrilled - not!).  I wanted to go there because of the waterfront boardwalk and the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse - a reconstruction of one that used to be in the Croatan Sound.

This is looking back from the boardwalk

Roanoke Island is also home to several other museums and an outdoor play about a colony of 117 English men, women and children who settled there in 1587 and disappeared three years later.  As much as I would have liked to do some more of those things, Mr. Helen got hungry and we were just running out of time - so much to do, so little time.  As I prefer happy Mr. Helen over cranky Mr. Helen, I agreed to go to lunch (I forgot about this meal out!).  It turned out to be perfect timing as no sooner than we finished lunch and got back to the car, it started raining hard.

Next up: Adventure 3 with a life lesson reinforced and mementos.


  1. I love lighthouses - I remember being enthralled by them when we sailed on the Chesapeake years ago. I know you love them too, so I'm happy you got to see some!

    The sunset dunes adventure looks fun. Those semi-spontaneous excursions are the best!

  2. Lighthouses are so cool. I would love to live in one if it didn't involve stairs all day long :D

  3. I always love reading your vacation reports. Its so interesting that for people who are so active in their everyday life, you can truly relax and "vacation" properly. My favorite picture is the pink swamp flowers :)

  4. Those sunsets are so so beautiful! We have a couple of lighthouses at the coast here and I always like them.

    The Outer Banks is really pretty and I can totally see from your pics why you want to go back someday.