The Outer Banks of North Carolina are a glorious 200-mile stretch of barrier islands perched precariously between the Atlantic Ocean and the shallow sounds protecting the mainland. This was a place that has been on our RV “must see” list for some time and we are poised to spend a good 10 days or more here exploring all it has to offer. We decided to camp in Waves which is in the middle of the southern portion of the Outer Banks (or simply written as “OBX” on the oval bumper stickers proudly displayed by fans) and use our tow car to explore.
First up was a trip down south to the town of Hatteras and an up-close look at the famous lighthouse. The attractive spiral-striped Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is a formidable structure standing nearly 200 feet tall and has been an Outer Banks icon since 1870. The majestic lighthouse claims the title of the tallest brick lighthouse in the country and the second tallest in the world! Standing next to the lighthouse you feel the magnificence and majestic power that the lighthouse emits serving guidance to wary mariners. Unfortunately, the timing of our visit did not coincide with the lighthouse being open for climbing. I was a little disappointed that I would miss out on the spectacular view from this tower of strength but then I thought about the 257 steps that I would have to climb and decided it might be a blessing in disguise.
|Two residences served the housing needs of the keepers and their families. Today, they serve as a museum and visitor center.|
The present day lighthouse is the third one to be constructed here. The original was built in 1803 as a need was identified to warn mariners of the Diamond Shoals a series of submerged and shifting sandbars that extend 20 miles of the Cape Hatteras coastline. The present day lighthouse and keepers' houses were moved (to the tune of $11.8 million) one and a half miles inland to save it from the encroaching Atlantic that was rapidly washing away the shoreline.
Moving farther south on Hatteras Island we stopped at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. Over 2,000 shipwrecks have occurred in these turbulent waters of North Carolina’s Outer Banks making this museum an obvious one. Inside you will find exhibits and artifacts that tell the story of ships that perished, Civil War battles, pirates, early settlers, heroic rescues, and the viable fishing industry. The museum is free and well worth your time to pop in and peruse the exhibits.
Not ones to miss a meal, we stopped by Pop’s Raw Bar for a bite. We drove by the restaurant twice and by the looks of the outside decided to pass on this intimidating dive because we were a little hesitant to go in. But after reading the reviews and allowing hunger pangs to conquer trepidation, Betsy did a U-turn and we found ourselves sitting at the counter ordering boiled spicy shrimp that won accolades as the best on the Outer Banks. Don’t let the outside fool you this place is a locals favorite and that should tell you something.
Hatteras Village is full of history that can be traced back to the 1700’s when people began arriving here and found the bountiful sea would provide a livelihood. The quaint fishing village is a myriad of homes and structures from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s mixed with eight-bedroom homes and modern marinas and million-dollar yachts. One of the most interesting and unique structures is the 1901 Weather Bureau building that has been fully restored and currently serves as a visitor/information center. The attractive structure once played a critical role in the nation’s developing meteorological system.
The last stop in Hatteras was to glance at the 810-pound “World’s Record” blue marlin caught in 1962 off the coast of Hatteras. The shiny blue fish has a prominent place in the town and reminds residents and visitors of stupendous fishing history that this area is so proud of.
Stay tuned as there is more to come about our exploring and eating in the Outer Banks.
|Spirit loves the beach at our campground|