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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Messages 1 2 

OBX (Outer Banks)/OINC by peripatetically on 5 October 2006 1:26am
Just returned from the Outer Banks. Had a great time in the lazy slow moving peaceful village of Ocracoke. SIGH......................................................... ANybody else ever been there or to the northern part of the OBX?
Re: OBX (Outer Banks)/OINC by canaveralgumby on 5 October 2006 4:30am
Never been. TELL US ABOUT IT!!
Re: OBX (Outer Banks)/OINC by peripatetically on 5 October 2006 3:06pm
Well, there's an awful lot to tell, Cori. I'll give you the basics.

The Outer Banks are barrier islands on the east coast of the USA in N.Carolina, with ferries, small planes or only two roads to reach them.

The islands have been battered hard during hurricanes. On TV, you often see structures being swept into the Atlantic Ocean when they get hit hard.

It is said the dunes there are the highest in the country and they are planted with wild grasses and flowers to prevent erosion. Some areas have snow fences as well. Some stretches of Rt. 12 are sparsely developed for tourists and residents. Some parts are not developed at all and the dunes are often blown right onto the road, causing slippery conditions and poor visibility. The road follows the coastline closely with very little land between the ocean and the bodies of water on the opposite side, so getting caught there during a storm is quite dangerous. Much of the OBX is National Seashore, sparsely used, but gorgeous and wild. It is often windy, but clear and beautiful.

Corolla is the northern-most town and Ocracoke Village is the southern-most village with only 750 residents. All sections of the area are very popular with people looking for relaxation, fishing, biking, beach and the slow island life surrounded by nature. There are water sports such as air-surfing, boardsurfung, fishing and boating. In fact, a national surfing champonship was held at Cape Hatteras a few yrs. ago.

Sea turtles nest and hatch right on the beach in certain areas and are protected by law.

There are several lighthouses along the coast which are quite picturesque and all still in working order---- Currituck, Hatteras, Bodie and Ocracoke.

On clear nights, the stars are low and it seems one is looking at a separate milky way or universe other than our own because they are so close and brilliant and sparkle like millions and millions of diamonds shattered into gazillions of shards of different sizes that twinkle like crazy. A most magnificent sight!

Some of the best fishing available is done right from the seashore.There are charters boats for deep sea fishing too, and still others fish at small inlets or smaller private boats.

Most of the islands are remote and the local people know each other. Even some of the trepeat returning tourists know locals. There is not much nightlife in the Outer Banks (OBX) but that's it's appeal---peace and quiet, away from the rat race, people enjoying nature at it's best and lingering here and there with no schedule to meet. Life proceeds on "island time"! Drinks and snacks with a small group of friends is what it's all about.

We have stayed in Corolla, busier, if you wish to call it busy, and Duck in years past. We have driven the route from Corolla to Ocracoke and like the latter the most. This year we decided to stay in Ocracoke (5 days), the most remote area reached only by ferry, tiny plane or private boat. It has one village and a single straight-ish one-lane road to reach it at it's southern end. From Hatteras Island (northern end) the ferry is free. From the southern end, the ferries from inland and other islands are expensive. Ocracoke (OINC) is about 14 miles long and 1/2 mile wide and the water, again, can be seen on both sides of you as you drive down the road. Once at the Village of Ocracoke, you are encouraged to bicycle or walk, for safety and for a quiet small island atmosphere. There are only a few streets and lanes there anyway.

You will find quaint shops, docks, piers, a marina, a museum about the island, an ice cream shop, the lighthouse, bicycle rentals and little eateries, but not many. Due to the lack of restaurants, there is no room for bad food. We had good food everywhere we ate. Not gourmet, but delicious, nonetheless. No place seems large and loud nor gets out of hand.

Our B&B (The Castle of Silver Lake) and some others offer free bicycles--- first come, first served.

People visit year after year. It's the sort of place that you love or you hate. It's great if you don't need to be entertained. We sat outside every night looking at the sunsets which were wonderfuly different each night, depending on the clouds. There's no pollution, lots of shells, oyster shell lanes, old wooden houses, a Britsh cemetery, a whale's skull skeleton which washed up on the beach and other remnants of shipwrecks. The waters of OBX are known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic due to so many wrecks along the coast. Also, offshore at Ocracoke is where Blackbeard the Pirate was killed. Some of the residents are descendants of the original settlers A "Howard" family member who runs an art shop is the 11th generation of his family. A pub/restaurant is named for them and also a lane. Most of the houses have screened porches picket fences, etc. It's as fat as a pancake there too so cycling is a piece of cake and lots of fun.

There are two main places where people meet each night for drinks and a little conversation. Both are marinas and very small. Someone was singing and paying guitar one night. One day we watched as fisherman brought in their catch, had it weighted and cleaned. These docks are on Silver Lake, which isn't really a lake, but a tiny harbor.

The side of the road that is along the ocean is not developed where the National Seashore is(startling at Hatteras Island and southward). Places like Nags Head, Kitty Hawk and north of there, like Kill Devil Hills, is more developed but still considered sparse by many.

The Wright Brothers, Orville and WIlbur, did their experiements in OBX . There is a large monument on the hill where they succeeded in taking flight for the first time.

The largest dune in the country (or east coast ?) is used for glider lessons, flying kites and riding buggies and just walking around for fun.

Beach buggies and other 4WD vehicles are allowed on certain parts of the beach where bathers and fishermen are NOT allowed. But any 4WD is allowed in MOST areas if care is taken. One must lower the tire pressure so they don't get stuck in the sand. After leaving the beach, it's best to inflate them again.

Beach campfires are allowed. There are places to pull off the road now and then so you can cross the dunes without harming them. Occasionally you'll see narrow boardwalks.

On the inland side of the road is Pea Island, a large wildlife preserve for turtles and seabirds, etc.

Also, unless you have a reservation, it is not recommended to just "arrive". Most places are privately owned by residents for themselves. No motels in Ocracoke, mostly villas and B&B's". Many places (houses) are rented by the week so if you don't need a house, be sure to surf the web for something smaller. They are few and far between. There is little commercialism except in the northern areas near busy busy Kitty Hawk and Nags Head where you have strip malls, single shops and restaurants. No industry there that I have seen. Also Roanoke ISland, THE LOST COLONY, and manteo Islands are easily reached from the shores north of Hatteras Island.

I hope I've painted a picture that is worthy of the OBX. It's really a marvelous place. I've never known anyone to say they didn't like it for any reason. If I've written anything that confuses you or you have any questions, I'll try to clear it up or explain.

Re: OBX (Outer Banks)/OINC by fairygirl48 on 5 October 2006 8:47pm
Sounds like you had a good time. I've wanted to visit the Outer Banks for several years since it's only hours away on the eastern end of the state, but the year we were thinking of going we decided upon Williamsburg, Virginia. Now that you've seen the NC beaches, you'll have to get the other side of the story...the mountains! Boone, Blowing Rock, and Asheville are all wonderful places to vacation in.
Re: OBX (Outer Banks)/OINC by canaveralgumby on 5 October 2006 9:01pm
Patty, that was GREAT travel writing! You have put some beautiful pictures in our heads. It sounds heavenly.

I don't mean to compete with you about the OBX vs. Cape Canaveral, but I must say, I think there's a lot in COMMON. I'm certain where I live, there is more development. For instance, too mush ambient light to view the stars that well.

We are on what is called the "barrier island." There's the mainland, then the quite substantial Indian River (part of the Intracoastal Waterway which goes from Maine to So. Fla.). Then there is Merritt Island, which is about 10 mi. wide. The Space Center and the nature reserve are technically on Merritt Island.

THEN there is the Banana River, which is 1-2 mi. wide brackish, manatee- and dolphin-populated water, and THEN across the 2nd set of bridges you get to the Cape and Cocoa Beach, which is all at sea level, and at its widest, about 1 1/2 mi. wide, and in many places, 3 blocks wide. Patrick AFB sits on some of the narrowest property. There must be a reason for that, but I don't know what it is!

During Hurricane alerts, most people here will not evacuate. They just refuse. I don't know what that's about. If we were ever to be anywhere near Ground Zero, this whole island would be under the Atlantic Ocean/Banana River. It's not the WIND damage we worry about. When they give the order, I get the f**k out of here.

So most people would ask, "WHY do you want to live in a place like that?!" Because it really is Paradise all the time, except for a few days per year, every other year. Honest!

In the OBX, where it is undeveloped, life is not easy, but it's probably glorious if you want to adapt to the lifestyle. Like the desert or the woods or anyplace else undeveloped.

I'm glad you enjoyed it so much.
Re: OBX (Outer Banks)/OINC by Lounge Trekker on 5 October 2006 9:19pm
Patty, I echo Cori's praise of your writing! I enjoyed your description of what a visit to this area is like.

Re: OBX (Outer Banks)/OINC by sighthound on 6 October 2006 1:22am
Great writing, Patty! The Outer Banks have just jumped way up on my "must see" list.
Re: OBX (Outer Banks)/OINC by peripatetically on 6 October 2006 1:57pm
lol. Thanks everybody for your praise! Gee.... The imprtant thing is that you got the picture!!!!

Fariygirl, I've been through the Smokies. It's gorgeous. And Biltmore was a real treasure, too.

Cori, your area sounds really nice too. Maybe one day I'll try it. The last time I visited the Florida coast I was in elementary school and it was well south of where you live. Could be time again, but during the winter only!!!!!!! hahahahaha

Re: OBX (Outer Banks)/OINC by peripatetically on 6 October 2006 2:02pm
lol. Thanks everybody for your praise! Gee.... The imprtant thing is that you got the picture!!!!

Fariygirl, I've been through the Smokies. It's gorgeous. And Biltmore was a real treasure, too.

Cori, your area sounds really nice too. Maybe one day I'll try it. The last time I visited the Florida coast I was in elementary school and it was well south of where you live. Could be time again, but during the winter only!!!!!!! hahahahaha

Re: OBX (Outer Banks)/OINC by kazzzz on 7 October 2006 7:38am
Pats thanx so much for sharing your holiday, and for all the lovely pix, I replied today to your emails:) Tractors, eh? ;)
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