Make Like a Lighthouse and SHINE!

On Wednesday we left Elizabeth City and headed to the Outer Banks not really knowing what we were planning on doing.  We thought we’d drive to some of the lighthouses and maybe have lunch at one of Ron’s favorite breweries.

That’s exactly what we did.

Here’s Currituck peaking out from the tops of the trees.  She was the first lighthouse of the day.

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We started in Kitty Hawk and drove north on Hwy. 12 through Duck, NC.  Duck was super crowded and it made the short trip up to Corolla very slow going.  It seemed like everyone on the Outer Banks wanted to go see Currituck with us.

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Currituck was the last lighthouse built on the OBX and is the only one that is left unpainted.  I really loved her red bricks!

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The wait to climb her 220 steps was over an hour and a half long so we decided to skip the trip to the top.

Our drive back down Hwy. 12 was much faster and before we knew it we were at The Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Devil Hills.  It was around 12:30 by this time and Ron and I were ready for some lunch.

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Ron got his favorite IPA and we ended up with the normal veggie selections.  I got cheese pizza and Ron get pressed portabella mushroom Panini.  This spot is a happn’ place and even if you don’t love craft beer, you’ll love it here.

Next up we headed to Bodie.

When I saw this picture, I quickly fell in love and is my very favorite shot of all the lighthouses.

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Love!

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You can also climb Bodie’s 214 steps but we opted to skip this time as well.  The coolest thing I’ve learned about Bodie is that it is pronounced “Body” and not with the hard o that I have been saying all along.

The drive from Bodie to Hatteras is straight down the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  It’s about 50 miles but the trip was pretty fast as the speed limit was 55 and there wasn’t much traffic at all.  I think most people were in Duck on this day!  We went through Rodanthe , Waves, Salvo, and Avon and all of these villages seemed not as commercialized as the cities on the northern side.  Rodanthe was especially hit hard and debris was still all along the sides of the highway.  I’m not sure if this was from a recent storm or if they are just really slow at cleaning up.

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I love Hatteras’ red brick on the bottom and the swirl at the top.   She’s the tallest lighthouse in the nation!  The line was not long to go to the top and climb the 257 steps but since we had not climbed Currituck or Bodie, we skipped this one as well.

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By this time it was getting a little late in the afternoon and we didn’t know if we should go over to Ocracoke or not.  Ocracoke is an island and the ferry from Hatteras runs every 30 minutes until midnight.  When we found that out we decided we go ahead and go.  We didn’t have evening reservations in Ocracoke and with the ferry running all the way until midnight, we knew we’d still be able to get off the island and make it back to Nags Head or Manteo or somewhere for the night if we had to.

Here’s a shot of Ron by the car when we were on the ferry.

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Goodbye Hatteras!  You were pretty!

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The 30ish minute ride to Ocracoke was fun!  We had only been on a ferry one other time when we were south of Wilmington so this was still all new to us.

Ocracoke Lighthouse is tucked away and we had to search a little to find her.

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You can’t go inside this lighthouse.  She’s the oldest lighthouse in NC still in continuous service and the 2nd oldest in the United States.  I loved her!

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While we were on the ferry, Ron called and got us a very reasonable room in Ocracoke.  We ended up at the Harborside Motel.  It had been recently refurbished and was was very cute.

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Across the street was the office and gift shop.  They had a huge selection of cold craft beers and the owners were super friendly.  I even got some great cold wine.  Might even be my new favorite!

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We went out in search of dinner and traveled only 2 doors down from the hotel to Dajio’s.

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They had outdoor seating and that seemed like the place to be.  They had a cool band playing and we really wanted to sit out there but the wait was over an hour.  We opted to go ahead and sit inside.  It was very nice and proved to be the very best dinner we had on the entire vacation.

We shared a delicious beet salad for an appetizer and then these were our main courses.

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Vegan tacos for me and then Ron’s was a pesto quinoa salad.  After the beet salad and one of my tacos, Ron couldn’t eat a bite of his salad.  We put it in the mini fridge at the hotel and then in our cooler the next morning.  We devoured it when we were picnicking at our last lighthouse stop the next day.   So delicious.

We got up early and ran 2.5 miles up the road and pathway and then ran the 2.5 miles back.  There was a light breeze and even though there wasn’t a bit of shade, it was a very pleasant run.  When we got back into the busy part of the island we stopped and got a coffee and breakfast.  Ron was good and got some Kashi oatmeal and I was bad and got a huge homemade cinnamon roll.  I guess it’s a good thing that I like to run because my sweet tooth would be the death of me if I didn’t.  My vanilla latte’ was the best I’ve ever had.  If you want a good coffee, Live Oak Coffee is the place to go.

Next we had to say goodbye to Ocracoke and headed on to Cedar Island via a 2.5 hour ferry ride.  Yesterday’s short ferry ride was free and today’s was only $15.  I was worried that I’d be bored with that long of a ride but I wasn’t at all.  It really flew by thanks to my book.  I was a little seasick at first (might have been the cinnamon roll) but Ron encouraged me to go out on the deck for some fresh air and focus on the horizon.  I did and it passed quickly.

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Goodbye pretty lighthouse!

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Goodbye sweet island!

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Hello open sea.  (Well sort of I guess.)

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Once we got to Cedar Island, we decided to try and see one more lighthouse before we had to head home.  We pointed our car toward Harker’s Island and were off.

We made it pretty close to Cape Lookout but you have to take a boat to get all the way out to the cape.  We decided to just change lenses on my camera and hope for the best.

This is what we got.  Look closely and you’ll see the light.  Cape Lookout is the only major lighthouse that operates during the day.

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I can’t wait to go back again another time and get to see her up close.

We’ve got 2 more NC lighthouse to visit.  Bald Head Island and Oak Island.  I think I better plan a trip really soon.

Happy Travels!

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