My brother and his wife are relocating to Florida from North Carolina and offered my children some surplus furniture. So, my daughter Kris and I rented a large U-Haul trailer and headed south and east to Beaufort, North Carolina. She took a couple of vacation days and our intentions were simple, get the furniture and spend some time along the hopefully warm and sunny coast. I planned to fish while she walked the beaches searching for shells.
The Wednesday drive to Beaufort was warm enough but the skies were very overcast. We even encountered the remains of the winter snowfall in the mountains of West Virginia. The day’s highlight was stopping at Wilber’s BBQ in Goldsboro, NC for a small to go sampler. Our family has faithfully been stopping at Wilber’s since 1983 and consider it to be the best in the universe.
On Thursday morning, after loading the trailer, the plan was to drive over to Harker’s Island for a look-see followed by the afternoon at Emerald Isle at the tip of Bogue Island. On the way to Harker’s I noticed a sign for the ferry at Cedar Island that runs to Ocracoke Island. Couple of years ago we had a house rented on Ocracoke but had to cancel when the place was hit by hurricane Irene. I suggested to Kris we change plans and take the ferry to Ocracoke and then return home via the Outer Banks and Interstate 64. Her face lit up like a flashlight at the idea.
We made the ferry just in time and relaxed and talked on the two-hour plus ride to Ocracoke. On the island we had a wonderful lunch of deviled crab dip and a local beer. Being out of season not much was open so after seeking out the house we had once rented we headed up the island to catch the ferry to Hatteras. It’s about a 75 mile drive from Hatteras to Nags Head having to pass through a 20 mile stretch that was destroyed by Irene and is still under reconstruction.
At Nags Head we checked into a retro 1960s seaside motel and had supper of broiled shrimp and scallops in a local mom & pop restaurant. Next morning, Friday, we had a wonderful breakfast that included a large serving of grits with butter, salt and pepper. We certainly weren’t in Ohio.
After breakfast and spending a couple of hours at Jennette’s Pier and the nearby beach we drove up the banks stopping at Kitty Hawk Kites and the village of Duck. Back on the mainland we had a late BBQ lunch in Currituck before finishing off the day at a motel in Charlottesville, VA.
We continued heading home on Saturday with a detour outside Beckley, WV to visit the New River Gorge Bridge. Leaving there we decided to drive to Charleston via SR 61 and not the Interstate. Turned out to be one of the curviest and most scenic drives I’ve had in many years. Just wished I was driving my Camaro rather than a van and a 12′ trailer.
The three days we were along the coast of North Carolina turned out to be perfect. The temperature hovered around 70, the wind gentle, and the sky a pure blue. After the winter we’ve had it would behoove everyone to take a break and chase the sun a little.
Here’s some links to YouTube videos and a gallery of photos.
- Ferry from Cedar Island to Ocracoke, seagulls off the ship’s stern.
- Cedar Island ferry arriving at Ocracoke.
- Southbound ferry from Hatteras to Ocracoke.
- Leaving Hatteras ferry and headed north towards Nags Head.
- Brief visit to the world famous Hatteras Lighthouse. The graveyard of the Atlantic.
- Area breached by hurricane Irene in August, 2011.
- Further damage from hurricane Irene.
- Oregon Inlet today. This area also suffered hurricane damage but is slowly coming back.
- Scene of Jennette’s Pier at Nags Head.