Every year we took our vacation in the off season. Why? As the Christmas Spirit told Scrooge, "Because it's all they can afford." We loved the quiet and charming coastal towns of Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, Rodanthe and Ocracoke. We stayed in one of the few motels and spent the week on the beach. We drove our Jeep on the sand of the National Seashore and spent the days there, my husband fishing and I reading or walking along the shore. Didn't cost a thing except the drinks and sandwiches we brought with us. It was indeed a wonderful time.
We had not been to the Outer Banks since 1985. We expected to find major changes and we definitely did. Houses dot every inch of ocean-front, even in places I recall to be inlets so many years ago (and will no doubt be inlets again some day). We did indeed find the motel where we stayed, but the nearby fishing pier was lost during Hurricane Isabel. Since it is owned by the State, it is being rebuilt. Private fishing piers lost through hurricanes cannot be rebuilt.
When we last visited, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was on the ocean itself and already in danger of being swallowed up by the sea. It has since been moved further inland. (You should see a video of the move. Absolutely incredible!)
It was dark and raining when we visited the lighthouse on this trip. It seemed quite odd that it is no longer sitting on the shore.
This is the Bonner Bridge, a two-and-a-half mile long structure that rises and curves and crosses Oregon Inlet to the National Seashore. Built in 1963, the bridge is old and constantly being repaired. It's scary as the dickens, but you have to cross over it to get to the peaceful and beautiful pristine seashore.
We did not have the best weather during our week. This particular morning showed two positive signs; 1) the sun rose behind the clouds, and 2) the sky was not red.
Sure enough! Sun came out and we had a sunny day...the only one of the week.
We drove up to the Currituck Lighthouse which is in such a lovely setting.
The weather resumed its cloudy, scattered showers pattern the day we went to Ocracoke. The island can be reached only by ferry. My husband took this photograph of the other ferry crossing in the opposite direction.
This is the Ocracoke Lighthouse. Why is it that people are absolutely determined to walk right in front of your camera?
I was dismayed to find the Ocracoke Village has really lost a lot of its charm. Everything is geared to the tourists and there are "tourist trap" type shops everywhere.
I couldn't help stopping to photograph this market sign in Rodanthe. I'm not at all certain what the risky business might be...the start-up of a market, or the chances you take in buying their fish.
If I sound a bit bitter about the massive construction on the shores of the Outer Banks, it's because I am. There hasn't been a major direct hurricane strike in quite some time and folks appear to have forgotten what the seas can do. A direct hit will cut new inlets and wipe out a lot of the houses.
Oh, but they do have insurance which I help to underwrite. Yep, my homeowner's insurance is more costly because I help share the cost of insurance for the houses on the beach.