Picturesque ocean-front cottages line the road, the rolling waves of the Atlantic Ocean coat the sand with white foam and the sun sets in the distance painting the sky a dreamy pink. The Currituck Lighthouse offers a panoramic view of these gems while the wind makes you sway back and forth at the top of the lighthouse. My mom and I experienced all of these things and much more when we traveled to the Outer Banks of North Carolina in 2009.
The Outer Banks are a stretch of barrier islands located off the coast of North Carolina. According to the Outer Banks of NC, it (the Outer Banks) is over one hundred miles long and at its widest part only about 3 miles in width.
Each town offers something different from the other. Some towns are quaint with historical sights and cute shopping areas, other towns are full of bustling activity with plenty of water and onshore activities for adventure enthusiasts.
When we took this trip, our goal was to visit as many lighthouses on the Outer Banks as we could during our stay. My mom, being the great planner, had a general idea of some places we wanted to visit and activities reserved ahead of time for us.
Our trip started at the beginning of July and with Oklahoma’s heat coming in strong, we were anxious for our getaway! The weather on the Outer Banks promised temperatures in the 70s and breezes that would tickle our skin.
Before our getaway could start, we had to get through the stress of flying and making flights on time. My mom is a seasoned flyer, but I, on the other hand, had never been on a plane before. I was going through the motions of being excited yet anxious! The following passage is from my mom’s travel journal from the trip:
“The first hitch was the tire change in OKC (Will Rogers Airport), which was going to put us into Dallas at 9:40 a.m. This was the same time our flight to Norfolk, Virginia, was scheduled. I got on the phone in OKC and rescheduled us on the 1:35 p.m. flight to Norfolk. When we arrived in Dallas at 9:40 a.m., we decided to go ahead and go check on our original flight at the gate it was at. We had already seen on the monitors that it was showing on time for 9:40 a.m., but we went to the bathroom and came out and they had changed it to 10 a.m., so we got a move on. We got to the gate they still hadn’t boarded! The ticket agent got us the last TWO seats on that flight which seats 17A and 18A in the very back of the plane. I was worried we weren’t going to be able to sit by each other. See, when I moved our flight to 1:35 p.m., they gave our original seats up to someone else. We got on the plane and there was a very nice lady sitting in the back seat who was more than happy to move up one row and still have her window seat, so we could sit by each other. The next thing I worried about was whether our luggage was going to make it on the same plane as us or go on the 1:35 p.m. flight. We didn’t leave DFW until 10:30 a.m. so it had 50 minutes to get over there, I was hoping. When we pulled into the terminal at Norfolk, Virginia, they started unloading the luggage on our side of the plane and I saw Mallory’s pink and green polka dotted suitcase and I nearly leaped for joy. She was happy, too. This meant we could move on with our trip as planned. My big suitcase shortly followed hers off the plane, too.”
It was such a relief to have made it through the flying part of the trip…at least until it was time to return home. Once we arrived, we got our rental car and went on our way. Since the Outer Banks doesn’t have a transportation system to get you from one place to next, it is best to rent a car and have the leisure of going at your own pace.
We purchased a Styrofoam cooler and packed it full of drinks and snacks so it would cut down on the cost of us having to go to get fast food or snack at restaurants. Road trip snacks are essential when traveling–chips, nuts, fruit or candy are just a few of the main travel snacks in my bag.
Since we landed in Norfolk, we had to drive to the Outer Banks from there. When we arrived, we drove north on the Outer Banks to reach our first lighthouse, the Currituck Lighthouse. This lighthouse is located in Corolla, a more developed part of the Outer Banks. You will see a lot of big rental properties alongside the beach and plenty of people out and about walking or on bicycles.
It cost us $10 each to climb the Currituck Lighthouse. After 220 steps, we reached the top; all of the stress that happened during the day melted away with the first view of the Atlantic Ocean and the Currituck Sound. It felt amazing to be at the top of this lighthouse and know it has guided people to the shore for years and years. This gave us a taste of what we would experience while on this trip. I couldn’t wait to experience the lighthouses of the Outer Banks.
From the Currituck Lighthouse, we made our way to Roanoke Island where we would stay at a bed-and-breakfast. We were in need of a good dinner and my mom found a restaurant off the beaten path called Fisherman’s Wharf in Wanchese. *The restaurant looks to be closed possibly, but it could be a seasonal thing.*
The restaurant was located on a pier going out onto the Roanoke Sound. We were seated by the window and our mouths immediately started drooling when we looked over the menu at all of the delicious seafood selections. We stuck with a seafood dinner of broiled scallops, fish and shrimp. We should’ve shared one, but our eyes were bigger than our stomachs!
After dinner, we drove to Manteo which is located on Roanoke Island. We were staying at the B&B called the Roanoke Island Inn. The inn is beautiful and located on a prime spot on Roanoke Island. It is within walking distance to plenty of attractions and restaurants. Our room had a king size bed, a sofa chair along with a private bathroom. A butler’s pantry was available for drinks and snacks.
After a nonstop day of travel with some sightseeing we were ready to hit the hay. The following day we had plans to explore Roanoke Island at our own pace. We were already in love with this area and knew tomorrow the rest of Roanoke would charm us into never wanting to leave!