The Outer Banks typically are low lying islands. That makes them a good place for lighthouses. Lighthouses are a particular favorite of mine and a lot of other people. There are whole societies devoted to visiting lighthouses. I'm not that fanatical about them, but if I have the chance, I will visit.
As we drove south from Duck, we passed through Kill Devil Hills, and arrived at Oregon Inlet. After we crossed the bridge, and went through the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on our way to Hatteras where we would take the ferry to Ocracoke.
Fondest memory: Cape Hatteras is the tallest lighthouse in the western hemisphere at 208 feet. The black and white spiral makes Cape Hatteras one of the most recognizable lighthouses in the US. In good visibility, it can be seen 51 miles at sea (and 115 miles in the air). So it makes sense that when you are driving along the flat roads of the Outer Banks, it can also be seen from a long way down the road.
The second time out and part of the third, we stayed at the Clarion Inn (then the Holiday Inn). It was a nice enough experience the summer of 1976. We had an ocean front room and keen maid service. This would have been the greatest hotel experience of my lifetime up to that point if I hadn't stayed at the 7-storey Ramada Inn (now a Comfort Inn) the year before. Over there, the swimming pool was out back of the hotel with an ocean view. The only thing we could see from poolside was the parking lot and the Holiday Inn sign. Having said that, the old Holiday Inn had one thing better than the old Ramada Inn: a better in-house restaurant. The following year, we were less than pleased with the service here. We had reserved an oceanfront kitchenette, but we were relegated to the first floor due to a medical convention. What ever happened to first come, first served? Our first-floor room was as dark as a dungeon. We had windows, but half of our ocean view was blocked by a sand dune! I hope Clarion treats its guests better now that it occupies the slot. We stayed that first night, but we high-tailed it to the old Ramada Inn, and got a kitchenette on the fourth floor with a real ocean view.
Overall customer satisfaction: 2 stars
I don't remember how much the old Holiday Inn charged us in 1976 and 1977, but Clarion clarges between $140-180 in high summer for an oceanfront room with two beds.
1601 South Virginia Dare Trail, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948
Phone: (252) 441-6333
DIRECTIONS From Raleigh: Take Rt. 64E to Manteo. Cross Washington Baum Bridge and stay left (Rt. 158). Follow 158 approx. 7.5 miles and turn right onto Neptune Way (7-11 & Burger King). Hotel is straight ahead. From Washington/Richmond: Take Hwy 64E to 168E. This is a toll road ($2.00). Follow 168E to 158E. Follow 158E to Wright Memorial Bridge. 9.5 miles past bridge turn left onto Neptune Way (Burger King & 7-11). Hotel is straight ahead.
Fondest memory: The week of 21-28 July, 1984 was the fourth year in a row we rented the cottage from Mr. Sykes a block from Avalon Pier. That same week, a family from Ecuador (the Marcháns) made holiday near where we did. The daddy worked for the Ecuadorian embassy in Washington). I would see them on the beach every day and one evening, my family and I ran into them at the Rose's in the Outer Banks Mall. At that time, I was pushing 15 years old and I had 2 years of school Spanish under my belt. The oldest child, María, was my age and she was very good looking. The middling child, Federico, was almost 3 years younger than I. My brother played with the youngest child, Ignacio, who is younger than he is. I was as impressed that Federico and María could speak English as they were that I could speak Spanish. Of course, Ignacio was not quite old enough to learn English, but he and my brother somehow made it work. For those who are wondering: no, I didn't take Federico up on his invitation to use his surfboard. If I had, I might not be here building this tip now. The 3 previous years, we had set up our beach blankets to the right of the pier as you face the ocean. I suggested we go left that year. If Mama had gone on with that, I never would have met these friends.
Fondest memory: We always had the cottage from Saturday to Saturday the last week in July from 1981 to 1984. The first year, everything was fine Sunday to Wednesday and my brother and I were able to go to the beach without any problem. However, that Wednesday night, there was a bad noreaster with thunder, wind and lightning. I didn't think much of it and figured it would blow over by the next morning when we went to the beach. The sky was sure enough clear showing no evidence of the previous night's storm. However, not only was swimming prohibited due to the undertow, but a lot of the beach was eaten away. The beaches were closed on Thursday and Friday. On the way out on Saturday, we heard on WOBR (the local radio station which has gone from country to modern rock) that they were still closed.
Well, this looks like it's about as much fun as watching the grass grow to me...but different strokes, for different folks, as they say. Honestly, it has been my experience, that the big white bucket is for your butt, because you will never catch a fish this way, and if you do, it will be so small, you can leave it on the hook for bait.
This is not a spot you will be 'pullin 'em in' if you know what I mean.
It does, however seem a great way to occupy dads, uncles, and even some moms and aunts!
Fondest memory: Pack your lunch, and this activity seems to go very well with....beer.
Go to the grocery store, stock up the fridge, and while you are at it grab all the coupon books the area has to offer, (and its A LOT!)
You will save time, money and money.
Favorite thing: It is best to stay right on the ocean. Parking is...nonexistant. You really have to watch for the words...'beach access' when booking a spot here.
Fondest memory: Watching the sunset from Jockey's Ridge. The park staff was on the ridge also with alot of information regarding it and the surrounding area.