The Beauty Around Us

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Our Outer Banks Vacation – Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands

[NOTE: I uploaded this blog post during the afternoon on October 10 but backdated the published date to September 29, the date of the day’s activities detailed in this post.]

20170929_102612533_iOSThe beginning of a new day

Bob, Jim, Sandy and I departed our Flight of Fantasy beach house at 7:00 am, en route Ocracoke Island. A little past Duck, two deer walked across N.C. Route 12. The deer are small here and darker in color than they are in Pennsylvania.  We hopped onto U.S. Route 158 at Southern Shores.

We made two stops: one for fuel and the other for breakfast at McDonalds before leaving U.S. Route 158 and hopping back onto N.C. Route 12 to Cape Hatteras. We began our drive down this part of N.C. Route 12 at 8:03 am.

We arrived at the Herbert C Bonner Bridge  around 8:10 am. One lane was closed due to bridge construction, but we were held up only a short time for the closure. Along N.C. Route 12 we encountered standing water in front of sand dunes and excavators moving sand. There was standing water and sand on the road, as we were driving through Rodanthe. There was standing water on the road in Avon. There was a lot of standing water at Hatteras Village shortly before the ferry terminal. We arrived at the Hatteras ferry terminal at 9:20 am.

20170929_132314792_iOSHatteras ferry terminal
We are in line to board the ferry from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke Island.

Sandy and I went to the bathroom and ran back to our car, as it was moving toward the boat! We boarded the 9:30 ferry at 9:29 am.

_LG24973Moving away from Hatteras Island

There are only five vehicles on our crossing.

_LG24978Our ferry boat was not crowded.

We have ridden this ferry at least two times before. This is the least number of vehicles we have seen on a crossing. The ferry has always been full! By the way we planned for a 10:00 am crossing. Being able to catch the 9:30 am crossing was a bonus! The crossing wasn’t as smooth, as I remember. We were a bit more buoyant, with waves rocking us up and down. We were fortunate to catch a 9:30 crossing, as there was no 9:30 crossing on the N.C. DOT schedule that I looked at. A crew member told me they were on the fall schedule, which was not provided on the website.

_LG24980Jim looks like he is enjoying the ferry crossing.

We arrived on Ocracoke Island an hour later. There was some sand on the road between the terminal and the town of Ocracoke. It is a 13-mile drive from the ferry terminal to the town of Ocracoke.

At approximately the halfway point between the ferry terminal and the town of Ocracoke we stopped to see the fenced-in Ocracoke ponies and the beach across the road. The ponies were at the barn, behind wooden railing. We took a walk on the boardwalk trail to another observation area, hoping to see ponies grazing in the open field.

_LG24983
Sandy on boardwalk trail to look for ponies.

There were no ponies in the open field. We did encounter several spider webs and a bird, while on the trail.

_LG24988The bird sang a lovely song for us.

At the beach, located across the street from the pony enclosure, we enjoyed watching the shorebirds and found some pretty seashells.

_LG25015Ocracoke Island shorebird

_LG25025

_LG25031Ocracoke Island Shorebird

_LG25035Ocracoke Island Shorebirds in flight

_LG25042Ocracoke Island Shorebird

_LG25048Jim and Sandy leaving the beach, walking back to our car.
Sandy has seashells in her hands.

I wish I had thought to take a picture of the seashells that Bob and I collected.  We gave the seashells to our granddaughters, upon our return home from vacation.

A main form of transportation in the town of Ocracoke appears to be golf carts and bicycles. Both transportation methods were seen throughout the town.

While in the town of Ocracoke we visited the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse and the David Williams House Museum.

The Ocracoke Island Lighthouse is North Carolina’s oldest lighthouse still in operation.

_LG25050
Ocracoke Island Lighthouse

_LG25053The water under the boardwalk leading to the lighthouse was quite high.

While at the lighthouse we were greeted by a friendly cat.

_LG25062the lighthouse cat

_LG25063All four of us took turns petting the lighthouse cat.

_LG25068Great balance, Sandy!
The lighthouse parking lot was somewhat flooded.

Leaving the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse, we drove around Silver Lake to the Ocracoke Island Visitor Center and the Ocracoke Preservation Society.

_LG25072Ocracoke Island Lighthouse, as seen across Silver Lake

_LG25074Ocracoke Preservation Society

The Ocracoke Preservation Society is located in the restored David Williams House. This was the first time Bob and I visited the Ocracoke Preservation Society. Admission was free; donations readily accepted. Inside is a museum that consists of permanent and changing exhibits depicting island life from days gone by, as well as a gift shop.

Before leaving the town of Ocracoke, we ate lunch at Jason’s Restaurant.  We pulled into Jason’s Restaurant at 12:30 pm. Bob and I ate at Jason’s the last time we visited Ocracoke Island. We once again enjoyed great tasting food and excellent service.

We departed Jason’s Restaurant at 1:20 pm, en route the Ocracoke ferry terminal. I telephoned ahead of time to determine the fall schedule crossing times. The next ferry would be leaving at 1:30 pm, followed by a 2:00 pm crossing.

20170929_174459276_iOSOcracoke Island Ferry Terminal
We are in line waiting to board the ferry to Hatteras Island.

20170929_174357458_iOS
Hurricane Maria caused some road damage at the Ocracoke Island Ferry Terminal.

We caught the 2:00 pm ferry to Hatteras. There were many more vehicles on this crossing than the one from Hatteras. We arrived on Hatteras Island at 2:55 pm. On our way to the Ocracoke ferry terminal I learned that Denise and Nic and Nancy and Donnie had also come to Ocracoke Island. They were eating lunch about the same time as us, across the street at Howard’s Pub. Denise said that she texted me to ask if we were still on Ocracoke Island. I never received that text, while on the island. I learned the next day that the sending of Denise’s message had failed.  Internet service is a bit sketchy on Ocracoke Island.

On our way back to Corolla, we stopped at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

_LG25075
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

_LG25077The Circle of Stones

The Circle of the Stones used to sit in the exact spot where the lighthouse stood for more than a century before it was moved to its present location.  The stones, each weighing 3,000 pounds or more, are engraved with the names of the 83 keepers of the lighthouse since it was originally built at Cape Point in 1803.  The stones are arranged in a semi-circle to form an outdoor theater called Keeper of the Light Amphitheater.

_LG25079
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has not always resided in its present location. In 1999, because of the threat of shoreline erosion, the lighthouse was relocated 2,900 feet from the spot on which it had stood since 1870.

In September 2012 when Bob and I visited the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, we drove over to the original location of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

E9194290 4x6Original lighthouse location (September 2012)

In September 2012 the Circle of Stones marked the location of the original lighthouse, before it was moved. Those stones now form an outdoor theater called Keeper of the Light Amphitheater.  I shared a picture of the amphitheater earlier in this post.  This article explains why the Circle of Stones was moved.

This year we once again drove over to the original location of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  But for the informative sign in front of the beach area, we would not have known the location of the lighthouse before it was moved to its present site.

_LG25087Cape Hatteras Lighthouse on the beach near where the original lighthouse was located.

Continuing our drive North, we planned to stop at the Inn at Rodanthe.  The entrance road was flooded, so Jim took a picture of the house made famous by the movie “Nights at Rodanthe” from the passenger seat when Bob pulled on the berm of N.C. Route 12.

We planned an ice cream stop at Dairy Queen, while on Hatteras Island. The two Dairy Queens that we passed, though, were closed. We stopped at Dairy Queen in Kill Devil Hills, having our dessert before dinner.

We returned to our beach house around 6:30 pm.

Tonight’s dinner was hamburgers, baked beans, cole slaw and potato salad. For dessert we had cake and ice cream, in celebration of Brenda’s birthday. We sang happy birthday to Brenda, and she blew out her candles.

Video courtesy of Bob.  If you are not able to view the embedded video, please click here for the direct link.

For Jim’s account of today’s activities, please click here.

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