Friday, June 3, 2011

Back to North Carolina and its outer banks..... Nov. 11th, 2010

Going back to North Carolina now....I know I keep going back and forth between past and present, but that's just the way it goes.  It's important to me to make sure I get it all in on the blog even if it was ages ago, that way it's all on record.  Sorry 'bout any confusion.

North Carolina didn't only include the Wright Brothers. No, no, it involved some other sightseeing adventures as well and an almost disastrous RVing experience to boot!  But you'll have to wait for the next entry to get those details....

Since all public campgrounds on the outer banks were closed by the time we got there in November, our only option was a RV park.  OK, so at least it had beach access.  That usually means the beach is an easy couple minute stroll from the park.  Great!  We were looking forward to utilizing that beach as we were so wiped out from sightseeing each and every day for the past 2 weeks.

So, as soon as we got settled in our site we headed for the water.  As you can tell it wasn't exactly swimming weather but we wanted to play nonetheless and Labra of course would enjoy the water no matter what the temperature was.


So over the small ridge we go fully expecting to meet the water on the other side.  Unfortunately, this is what we saw,


A sheer 20 foot drop to the actual beach.  Oops!  It seems the last hurricane took out the direct access in this location....funny, no one mentioned that on the phone when we made the reservation....

But, us being us, determined and unrelenting that is, we found a way to get down there.  You try telling 3 kids and dog, sorry guys, no water for you today.  Oh, and tomorrow too.


Our calm approach quickly turned into wild get all wet and frozen kind of play....


Though not everyone desired to get soaking wet and freeze their cookies off,


Don't think he didn't get wet, he did.  Just not as entirely as the other two.  They just can't resist water, just like the dog.....

By the end of all that play a nice warm shower and some bundling up in front of not one, but two, heaters were a must.  Good thing we had electricity.


As the weather wasn't conducive to being beach bums, we had to find some indoor activities to keep us amused.  We looked up various museums on the Outer Banks and settled on the Aquarium for starters.  It was a cute little place, with an emphasis on little.  Little as it was though, the kids enjoyed it.

One of the highlights was watching the shark tank being cleaned by divers and actually interacting with one through the glass.  He came over and showed the kids a shark tooth he came across.  They were absolutely delighted!


Being a small aquarium with very few visitors during our visit the kids got to choose which short film they were interested in watching in the little theater and got the touch tank all to themselves.


We finished off the visit by strolling along the grounds of the aquarium and taking in the beautiful sunset on the water,


Oh, and by riding sea turtles...


The next day some new adventures beckoned though we started with a quick makeshift game of soccer,


We had read about a cool Graveyard Museum down on one of the southern islands and we decided to head there.  Graveyard as in shipwrecks and such of course.  Very cool!  What began though as great excitement quickly transformed into great disappointment when we got there and found the museum closed.  For no apparent reason too!  No sign no nothing when it was supposed to be open according to their website and all the signage.  Many boo hoos later we decided to make the best of it and ride the free ferry further down the outer banks AND go see the ponies.  Yes, the fabled outer banks wild horses.  I'll go into what they are in a bit but first, the ferry!

This was our second free just for fun ferry ride on this trip.  Talk about a different and exciting activity for the kids, they loved it!  I must admit it is pretty cool just hanging out on a boat in your car.  A little boring at times, but it's nice not to have to move at all sometimes :-).


Friends were also made on that ferry ride, friends that Analyzer still keeps in touch with today.  These girls, though local, were also taking the ferry for sheer entertainment so I guess we're not that strange after all...

All the kids enjoyed catching the view from the deck, running up and down


from the deck to the little indoor waiting area upstairs where they hung out as well.


Watching the gulls and pelicans follow the ferry closely was a cool thing to watch.


Actually, they were really following the nearby fishing boat.  The fishermen throw some of their catch into the water to get the flying predetors away from them for a little while.


And finally, the ponies.  Formally known as The Ocracoke Ponies.  Ocracoke is the island these ponies are found on, one of the most southern islands of the outer banks.  I have to say, the experience was a little disappointing.  Basically what you see is this -


Not much in the way of ponies except those far off in the distance.....not to mention they're not exactly running free....

These Banker Ponies are descendants of the Spanish Mustangs that somehow ended up here on the Islands on their own, i.e., without their Spanish conquistador humans.  How?  Well, that's where myth and legend take over.  Could they have been shipwrecked?  Like most animals brought over they swam ashore, did they just swim off on their own?  No one knows for sure.  But what we do know is that they're here and we all love a good mystery.  Today, these horses are kept in various locations on the islands for their own protection. Though penned up they are still considered wild in the sense that they are not 'used' by humans.  Even when they did have a working relationship with the natives they roamed free to care for themselves. Today they also wear no shoes and continue to demonstrate some of their genetic wild instincts such as gathering together in a group for safety and socialization.  OK, not sure if I'm totally convinced about how wild they actually are, but it's a decent argument.  I think and hope that the horses one may be able to see up at the northern end of the outer banks, the Corolla herd, are more impressive.  It seems they really do run free along the beaches.  Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to check those out.

After a very quick and slightly disappointing visit to the horses, we headed back to the ferry and to our next stop, the Cape Hatteras light house.  The tallest traditional light house in the world!


  1. Sorry you were so disappointed with the Outer Banks. We frequently are down there in the "off season". We enjoy not having the crowds but have to deal with places being closed from time to time. It is always best to call first to see if they are open before venturing out.

    The ponies are both in the north and south parts of the island. Many years ago when it wasn't so crowded the ponies roamed free but with more and more tourists coming to the island they moved the ponies further north and south and fenced them off. They do roam "free" up in the sanctuary areas. They are fed and watered when the natural landscape isn't providing food or fresh water for them. They are looked after to make sure that they are healthy and doing okay but other than that they are free to do as they wish.

    Did you get to Fort Raleigh? Did you go to Hatteras National Seashore? At the light houses you could earn a beautiful Junior Ranger Patch. Fort Raleigh also has a nice Junior Ranger Patch.

  2. Dear Sears family, Thanks for all the info and yes, believe me we learned our lesson about calling in advance that day.... We weren't disappointed with the Outer Banks in general, just the pony bit and the closed museum. But, like always, we try to make the best of it. It was certainly a good idea to be there off season, I can't imagine what that place must be like in high season, crazy! We did make it to the NAtional Seashore and one lighthouse (post to come) but not to Fort Raleigh unfortunately. We ran out of time since we *had* to be at our next destination by a specific date, again, post to come. Thanks for visiting :-)