Friday, June 13, 2008

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Posted by Melissa
OK - the heat wave continues - but with a new twist - a major fire. We are now downwind from a fire that was just classified a National Disaster area. So much for planning!!

We stayed in Wilmington NC for the night on our way to the Outer Banks. What a cute college town - right on a river. We went downtown for dinner and found it to be a very lively town with lots of people out and about and live music.
We headed out to the Outer Banks where we planned to spend a couple of days laying around on the beach and relaxing. Wrong! Temps were over 100 and the air was thick with smoke - plus stifling humidity. The view out our window was gray and faded quickly because of the dense smoke. We waited until sunset to head to the beach and found the water was wonderful! Just the right temp to cool off and the beach was soft sand. But as soon as we got out of the water we were attacked by biting flies. We decided to head back to the room and enjoy a Mikes Hard Lemonade instead! - Perfect for this hot weather. Our hotel was right on the ocean with a boardwalk over the dunes to the beach (these people must be immune to to biting flies!!)
We finally got a picture of one of the many drive-through liquor stores we have seen on this trip. After being in such heat for so long, I am beginning to understand why these are so popular!
The Wright Brothers National Memorial was great! I just take air travel for granted but seeing what these guys did when others thought it impossible was just amazing. Too often I think of historic figures as old, out of date, men but that is, of course, wrong. One of the reasons the Wright Bros succeeded when others failed is that they were not only bicycle mechanics but racers as well. The realized that part of the mechanics of turning a bike included leaning the bike to the side. They realized that a plane also needed to lean and figured out how to do that by tweeking the wings through a complex mechanism of cables. Without this a plane could only fly in a straight line. Not very useful.We had lunch a this little place that had an underwater theme - check out the ceiling.This is one of the lighthouse in the Cape Hatteras - Outer Banks area. The cast iron spiral stairs were a work of art.
Our history lessons continued - not only is the where the Wright Brothers first flew - it is the sight of the first English Settlement in the New World - Roanoke Island. English settlers came here in 1584. They disappeared by 1590 without a trace. We attended an outdoor play, The Lost Colony, that tells their story. The costumes were absolutely beautiful. We wondered, though, how the actors could take the temps. The play did not start until 8:30 and the temps were still in the high 90's. Side note - this is where Andy Griffith got his start. He started out as a bit player and worked his way up to the lead roll!

Up next: Salem, VA, Mt. Airy (and Mayberry), The Blue Ridge Parkway, and Monticello

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