It has been a while since I have written here, but I think I can hold together most of the rest of our trip to OBX from early August 2011, before Hurricane Irene.
Eric and I decided to do a morning fishing excursion in the bay, and he had checked out the various available boats and selected the Miss Oregon Inlet. So we had an early alarm clock for one day, and drove to the north end of the island. Due to the extreme heat that week, the boat was not really crowded, which was to our advantage. The crew showed us how to use their equipment, and then brought us each our own container of bait. Although we had little luck catching ‘keepers’, we really enjoyed the time on the boat, and each caught some interesting specimens including flounder, sea robins, and lizard fish. At least the flounder would have been edible.
While we were out fishing, the ladies took our grandson Harry to the Aquarium. He saw stingrays, sharks, turtles, river otters, and lots of other wonderful aquatic creatures.
That night we all went to a delightful little place along Route 12 in Avon, Oceana’s Bistro. It was a very pleasant little restaurant with very good service and food. I understand that this building was damaged in the Hurricane, but that Oceana’s has reopened in another location until they can fix the structure. After dinner we did some souvenir shopping, and finished off with ice cream from one of the many places that specialize in frozen treats. Of course we also watched the sunsets again.
Another day was spent when Peg and I went to see Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. I had fond memories of being here in the 1950′s, and learning about the Lost Colony. This was one of the first European settlements in the region, and when people came back from Europe to bring them supplies, the entire colony was gone. I was blown away by this as a child, and remembered the dramatization that is performed there on summer nights at the outdoor theater. We did not buy tickets for the play this trip, but I hope to see it again some day. Many famous actors and actresses have been part of this show, including Andy Griffith. I don’t think I had seen him back in 1957 as he had moved on by then. We then went to a fun retr0-diner, Big Al’s. From the outside it is not special, but the food is great, and the decor is lots of fun. If you get to Raleigh, try Big Al’s.
After lunch we drove north of Raleigh to Kitty Hawk to see the Wright Brothers Memorial. This site includes two museums, recreations of their “house” and hangar from the original flights, replicas of their glider and the first powered plane, the sewing machine they used to make the wings, and many interesting displays and videos. There is also a stone marking the start of the powered flights as well as stones showing where each one ended. On top of Kill Devil Hill where they launched the glider, is a monument to the brothers. Interestingly, the hill had moved several 100 feet SW from it’s site when they flew there until the monument was erected in 1928. It is amazing how quickly flight developed from their first flight in 1903 to the planes of World War II.
On another day we traveled back to Cape Hateras at the south end of the island to take the free ferry boat to Ocracoke Island. Harry did quite well as we sat in the car awaiting our turn to board the ferry. They really do pack the vehicles in, making it sometimes hard to even open the door of the car. The sailing was pleasant and it was entertaining to to watch the sea gulls fight for the perch atop the boat’s tower, and seeing the jelly fish float by. When we got off the ferry we continued to the south end of the island to the village of Ocracoke. After a bit of shopping, we decided that lunch was in order, and we found a casual place named Dajio. We sat on the screen porch watching tourist walk by, and enjoyed another wonderful meal.
We then did more shopping, visited an out-of-the-way craftsmen’s gallery, and stopped at Teach’s Hole, the Blackbeard Museum. This museum and shop had just enough history to not bore our 3 year old member of the team, but give some new knowledge to the rest of us. Although it was a laid back day, it was fun. We drove north through the National Seashore of Ocracoke and returned to the ferry for the ride back to Hateras Island, and then Rodanthe.
On our last night in the Outer Banks, we found what may have been the best place for dinner that we discovered during our trip, the Mad Crabber. The atmosphere was very informal, and the place was filled with parties, families, and friendly staff. My crab legs dinner was amazing, and when we left the restaurant, we found a very nice playground across the street for Harry. It was a wonderful conclusion to our trip.
Saturday morning we packed up and drove home. We had an uneventful trip, but Harry’s family stopped at the home of the Grave Digger Monster Truck where Harry and Eric took a ride in their Monster Truck over hills and a school bus. Harry loved it, and this was a perfect finish to a wonderful week.