Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Wright Brothers National Memorial and A Few More Things

Our final days in the Outer Banks were spent in the northern portion as we had our sights set on visiting the famed Wright Brothers National Memorial.  Also on our to-do list was eating some more seafood, marveling at another lighthouse and walking around a quaint village . . . again.  Are you seeing a pattern here?   This is something I will never get tired of.

The Wright Brothers National Memorial commemorates one of America’s spectacular feats and will make you stand in awe of their achievement.  Orville and Wilbur Wright made history through perseverance, determination, faith, and raw genius.  These two bicycle building boys from Dayton, Ohio always believed man could achieve sustained flight.  In 1899, they started using their mechanical ingenuity and know
how to experiment with gliders and kites to perfect their aeronautical designs.  Feeling they were ready to test their experiments they set out to select the ideal location, a place where they had high dunes, strong winds, soft sand for hard landings, and isolation from peering competitors. 

Looking out from the bluff where the first glider was tested.  
The boys flipped a coin to see who would “fly” first and on the remote North Carolina beach, Orville took flight for the first time.  He was aloft for 12 seconds and traveled 120 feet, less than the length of today’s airliner.  Next was Wilbur’s turn traveling just slightly farther at 175 feet.  The third attempt took them even farther to a distance of 200 feet in a mere 15 seconds.  Undaunted, Wilbur climbed aboard and started the fourth flight.  Once aloft he pitched up and rolled unable to get full control of the plane. But shortly into the flight it all came together and he worked the controls perfectly adjusting the thrust, pitch, and yaw in unison giving him control of the aircraft and he was “flying.”  The first ever flight lasted 59 seconds and covered a distance of 852 feet.
 
You didn't know Wilbur had a passenger?!
This stone marks the starting point of the four flights.  Additional stones are placed out the walkway to show the point at which landings occurred.  


With one last day in the Outer Banks we ventured up to Corolla, the northernmost town which just happens to be the cutest (at least I think so).  Corolla is known for its wild horses that roam free on the beaches but the town itself is a true delight and a refreshing change from the many tacky beach shops and water parks found along the major strip.  One of the other attractions in Corolla is the Currituck Heritage Park, home to the Currituck Beach Light Station, the historic Whalehead Club and the Outer Banks Center forWildlife Education.   

The historic lighthouse and its gorgeous grounds and walkways have been rejuvenated and are a delight to explore.  I advise paying the $8 and climbing the 220 steps to marvel at the view and experience a small part of what these hardy light keepers experienced.  


The Light Station has interpretive exhibits lining the inside. They are a great reason to stop and catch your breath.
Historic buildings have been saved and are now offices, a gift shop and residences.

A short walk from the light station grounds is the Whalehead Club which is a beautifully restored historic home now available for parties and weddings.  The grounds are beautiful to walk around and a great place to let Spirit cool off. 



Not to far from the park is the Village of Corolla.  The town has a great bookstore, cute shops with nautical gifts and celebrate the horse history, an adorable restored schoolhouse, and a BBQ joint. 


Unfortunately, our day was running longer than expected and we didn’t have time to see the famous wild horses of Corolla.  We'll plan that next year when we can spend more time.  The wild Mustangs were brought to the islands in the 1500’s by early explorers and now roam free.  The hearty herd has adapted to the harsh environment and survives by eating salt grasses, persimmons, and acorns.  During strong storm events the horses head into the maritime forest and survive on the high ground.  I guess after 4,000 years on the barrier islands they have certainly learned how to survive.

Our stay in the Outer Banks was great and we were sorry to have to leave, but first there were a couple of more things to eat which we found in the little town of Duck.  We kept seeing ads for Duck Donuts and it just so happens we passed a couple of stores, one of which received our business.  

Not ones to miss a good seafood restaurant or market we stopped at a local store and picked up a dozen and a half oysters and a pound of lump crab meat so I could go home and make crab cakes.  

There is nothing better than indulging in seafood on our last night on the coast . . . o.k. maybe throw in a bottle of wine too.  




2 comments:

  1. Quite a death grip you had on Wilbur's arm, but I'm thinking it didn't hurt him too much! :c)

    We enjoyed visiting the WBNM a few years ago. Quite fascinating to learn about how they made the first flight. And the seafood, my mouth still waters from the memories of great meals...

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  2. Awe...so many memories glad to see you had a great time. We love the Outer Banks. I ran a half marathon there. You can see a lot by just running through all the villages.

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