Thursday, October 4, 2012

Two New Lighthouses and a Revisit

While we were at the beach, we added to my lighthouse visits.  First, we revisited Currituck Lighthouse to show it to my brother and his wife.  We climbed to the top again and I took the same pictures that I took in June.  It is still probably my favorite lighthouse trip on the Outer Banks.

Then in the middle of the week we decided to visit some of the lighthouses south of our location.  First we stopped at Hatteras Lighthouse.  This one was moved several years ago to protect it from falling into the ocean.  It is a VERY impressive sight.  Unlike the other lighthouses, this one is nationally owned and part of the National Park Services.  It is the tallest lighthouse on the east coast.  We made the climb, giving us a little cardio workout for the day.

There was a ranger stationed at the top to answer all of our questions.  He commented that the remoteness of the location added some challenges to family life, but admitted that this was a pretty sweet place to be stationed.  The view from the top was, of course, awesome:

Next we decided to take the ferry to Ocracoke Island and visit the lighthouse there.  This is where we met our only "low point" of the week.  The ferry is supposed to run every 1/2 hour but we had to wait 1 1/2 hours for our turn to cross!  When we got there we didn't realize how the system worked or we might have rethought our plans and done some other activity rather than try to cross to the next island.  But by the time you invest an hour in line that decision becomes more difficult.  Basically you cue up in a line in the hot sun and wait...and wait...and wait for your turn on one of the ferries.  The schedule is really of no account.

Once on the island it is another 20 miles to the fishing village.  We got hungry and crabby and finally found somewhere to eat.  That was a good stop.  The seafood was about as fresh as it comes and the barbecue and coleslaw were excellent.  So, with our tummys filled, we went on to find the lighthouse.  It was a total disappointment.  When you see pictures of lighthouses on the Outer Banks, apparently they are not in scale to each other.  This lighthouse is TINY and you can't go inside.  The parking is limited to five spaces and 15 minutes in parking time, but that doesn't really matter since you would be challenged to spend a full 15 minutes there.  There isn't even a gift shop.  But it is the oldest operating lighthouse on the east coast.  For me, this lighthouse gets filed under, "been there, done that, no need to return."

Then of course we had to drive back to the ferry, wait in line again (only about half an hour this time) and take the 45 minute ferry ride back to the other island.  We got home about dark, tired, but glad for the adventure.  I had never ridden on a car ferry before, so that was a first for me.  Seamus handled the day well, but even he seemed glad to be home.
So, next year there is one more lighthouse to see - Bodie Island Lighthouse.  It is under renovation at the moment.  We're hoping that it will be open for climbing when we go back. 

Lesson of the day:  Ocracoke is only worth considering if you are really looking for a way to waste the day.  Bring a book to read while you wait for the ferry.  Don't even consider the trip if you have small (or even older!) kids in the group.

No comments:

Post a Comment