Sunday, September 4, 2011

Outer Banks | Hurricane Irene

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Outer Banks, North Carolina

The Outer Banks in North Carolina (OBX) was the first bullseye target of the recent Hurricane Irene when it landed on the U.S. continent last weekend. The roads to many Outer Banks towns were unreachable due to the damages on the main thoroughfare. The tourist season, a major lifeline of this community had been cut short abruptly. Over and over again, this series of barrier islands had braved Mother Nature's fury. The many past shipwrecks off its coasts and landmark lighthouses attest to the stormy relationships the inhabitants have had with the seas and winds. Tales of treasure-laden pirate ships that had wrecked along these shores have long fueled treasure hunts in the waters of this region.

Outer Banks is beautiful and I hope the recovery in this area will be swift and seamless. I had visited Outer Banks during the off season. With sparse crowds and cooler temperatures, I was able to stroll on the beach in solitude as far as my eyes could see.  It felt like I had my own private beach from sunrise to sundown ! The only precaution that I needed to take was to avoid the jelly fish cast on the sand. I was able to pick up many shells with unique "twirls". I've never seen these types of shells before on the northern beaches.

Soft shell crab meal in Outer Banks, North Carolina

Fresh seafood restaurants abound on the Outer Banks. During the off season, the wait is minimal. My husband still raves about the soft shell crab meal he had here.

We were able to relive the aviation history at the Wright Brothers National Monument in Kill Devil Hills. Here, the U.S. National Park Service has marked the maiden flight path of the Wright brothers' plane. It was here that "The Flyer" first took off, freed at last from the tenacious hold of the earth. Therefore the Outer Banks area was the first bird's-eye view seen by the Wright brothers.  Hence the logo on the  North Caroline license plate is "First In Flight".

Ocracoke ferry sailing during sunset in Outer Banks, North Carolina

One of the highlights for me was a trip to the Ocracoke Island reachable by a 45 minutes state ferry ride. Ocracoke beache has been rated number one in a beach ranking survey a few years ago beating perennial favorites like Hawaii and Florida beaches.  I was not disappointed. The sand was very fine and powdery lending credence to its number one ranking accolade.

Sunset in Outer Banks, North Carolina

Wide open blue sky, bountiful sunshine, pristine beaches, soothing sea breezes and charming Southern hospitality - that's the Outer Banks I've known and loved. With the dog days of summer winding down, I am definitely missing all that and feeling "Carolina In My Mind".  Here's to a speedy recovery in the Outer Banks.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Outer Banks in North Carolina

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