This past weekend I had the opportunity to meet up with a friend of mine from Minnesota at the Outer Banks (about 6 hours east of Charlotte). After driving through Winston-Salem, Chapel Hill, Durham and then Raleigh, I still had three hours to go. While I practiced for my upcoming American Idol/The Voice/Nashville Star audition and wrote my first grammy “thank you” speech (including the perfect surprise face), I made my way through the entire state of North Carolina. A Carolina Blonde (pale ale, delicious) and a friendly face were waiting for me when I arrived in Kill Devil Hills, NC.
While my friend worked on a show for the History Channel (which will begin airing on the date of the end of the world, according to the Mayans 12/21/12, so if you survive check it out) I explored the Outer Banks. My first stop was the Currituck Beach Light Station. A cool little spot, overlooking the Currituck Sound to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. 214 steps (and 162 feet) later, I reached the top just in time for the daily rain storm… Having learned that it rains here daily, I knew I couldn’t let the storm get in the way of my day…
History lesson for you all: when the first settlers landed on the outer banks, they cut down the outermost trees and hung lanterns from horses’ heads while running them up and down the coast. This caused ships to hit the tree trunks, and the settlers would loot their boats. Now, the horses still run free on the beaches and open land near the Virginia border. In this part of the Outer Banks, there are no roads and the horses are free to roam.
If you are ever lucky enough to visit the Outer Banks, I highly encourage you to seek out a wild horse tour. The money goes back to protecting the land and the horses, plus it’s an incredibly beautiful location and very surreal to get so close to wild horses. And let me just continue to be a geek for a minute…
“Achieved by dauntless and unconquerable faith.” This 60 ft monument sits atop Kill Devil Hill (100 ft) with beautiful views of the ocean as well as the Albermale Sound.
This hill is the location of the first successful flight. It’s in a very flat area, creating the perfect place for the Wright Brothers to test their planes.
On Sunday morning, I woke up and ventured down to the Nags Head Pier to grab some biscuits and eggs and to my surprise I wound up watching dolphins among surfers in the waves. I wish I could’ve captured some video or photos, as the dolphins were jumping out of the waves approaching the shoreline.
After the dolphins left and the surfers turned to each other and said “yo brah, these waves are narly and all but I need some munchies” and left the water, I decided to head to the beach.
There were hundreds of crabs (like this lil nugget) that would pop up out of the sand and then scurry at the sight of people. Crabs everywhere. Of all sizes. I was half completely freaked that one was going to try to pop up under my behind and pinch me, and half completely in awe.
Last, but not least, I stopped at the dunes of Jockey’s Ridge State Park. I happened upon a group of people learning how to hang glide and made a mental note that if I ever choose to learn to hang glide, I’m going to do so at sand dunes. Soft landings.
Seriously, it looks awesome, but the landings look brutal.