North Carolina Photo Gallery




The Outer Banks ( 28th September to 3rd October 2010)


The Outer Banks are located on the East Coast of the USA and are made up of small islands and sandbanks in the Atlantic Ocean. Visiting this area in early autumn was always going to be a risk as this is hurricane season. Unfortunately we hit a bad patch of weather, with torrential rain, strong winds and tornado watches. Much of North Carolina and Virginia got flooded out. They had 17" of rain in one day in Baltimore. The ferries have been suspended to the lower islands.

The first 3 nights we holed up in a hotel in Kill Devil Hills at the northern end of the Outer Banks and watched the rain come sideways. The hotel was right on the beach which looked stunning. Loads of sand dunes topped by sea oats and the whitest sand. We then managed to camp for 2 nights at beautiful Cape Hatteras on the National Seashore but then the weather beat us back in to a hotel again. All in all it was a bit of a washout but we'd love to return here again some day as it is one of the most stunning coastlines.

Wright Brothers National Memorial, Kittyhawk


One damp afternoon we go to the Wright Brother's National Memorial at Kittyhawk, just up the road from the hotel. There's a visitor centre with the story of how they carried out the first powered flight. We then walk up to the original runway. We see the markers of where they took off and landed on the 4 flights that they did. On a big sand dune hill there is a memorial to the brothers, kind of in the shape of a wing. We walk to the top of the hill then down the other side where there is a steel sculpture of the Wright Flyer and the team that were involved in the flight. It's fantastic to imagine these two men working so hard and achieving their life's dream here.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouses

There are two large lighthouses on the route down to Cape Hatteras. Bodie Lighthouse is huge but was being renovated so was covered in scaffolding.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse looks like a big stick of swirly rock with black and white patterns and a red base. Normally you can climb it to see a great view of the Outer Banks but the day we went it was closed due to high winds. They weren't kidding, it was gusting sand up all over the road and everywhere was covered in huge puddles.

Frisco Campground, Cape Hatteras National Seashore

The weather report has calmed down a bit so we decide to brave it and go to the campsite. Once we get to the Frisco National Park campground the rain has stopped and it's a mild calm day. We get a really nice pitch set amongst the dunes and near the (cold) shower block. There are lots of Mockingbirds flying around and I spot some small deer. We go for a walk on the gorgeous beach for a few hours between showers and watch the guys fishing in the sea. There are lots of unusual and large shells on the beach and many black skate egg cases. It rains in the evening but only light drizzle and the wind has dropped.

At last the sun comes out on our second camping day and it's a glorious morning. We debate what to do but since we really wanted this part of the trip to be relaxing we decide to spend the day on the beach. The campsite is literally behind the sand dunes and you cross them on a boardwalk and on to the gorgeous white sand beach. They allow people to take 4x4 cars on the beach here so a few people have brought picnics down and fishing rods so they can party out the back of their trucks. It's very quiet though and we get a lovely spot for our deckchairs amongst the dunes and out of the wind. The sun is warm and we both get a bit burnt. The surf is quite high and a few people are surfing or body boarding.

It's such a nice evening, and the campsite is dead, so we decide to go to the beach and see if anyone has a campfire we can sit round. You're not allowed fires in the campsite, only on the beach below the high tide level. It's really dark and cloudy but we spot a fire and come across Rudy and Eric from West Virginia who are having a bit of a boys holiday away from all their children. They work in engineering in the coal mines of WV. They're really nice guys and have great country accents.

Around 9pm it starts to rain heavily so we get in Eric's car and drive to the local town. Everywhere is dead, but we see a little sports bar and go in. It's full of young kids but they're all fine. We have a few games of pool and a few more drinks. The rain hasn't given up and it's pouring. Around 1am we get back to the tent to find it is sodden and leaking in a number of places. We try and pull the tarp over the top, getting soaked to the skin in the process, but it really doesn't help. Rich thinks we should sleep in the car as he's worried about the down sleeping bags getting wet and us getting cold. It's not a great thought but we don't have a lot of choice so we bed down as best we can in the front seats and fitfully snooze the night away while it continues to rain. The next morning we pack up and head back to the hotel!