The Outer Banks: Ocracoke, North Carolina

From Hilton Head, we traveled north along the coast, to our new destination: Ocracoke (okra-coke) Island, part of the Outer Banks.  Here we spent the second week of March in blissful, beachy isolation.

The only way on or off Ocracoke is by ferry or plane.  We took a ferry across the sound.

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Eric enjoying his first ferry ride.

Two hours later, we settled into our fabulous cottage for the week.

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Our adorable, well-appointed cottage, Zillie’s.

All of the housing on Ocracoke is on the south end of the island; the remainder of the island is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and is protected from development.  The beaches are pristine, having been voted the best in the country in the past.  We walked or biked everywhere we wanted to go for the entire week, except for the one day we left the island to explore some nearby attractions.

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The cottage came with cruiser bikes.
Eric sweetly chose the red one for me, because the handlebar grips contained gold sparkles.

Our stay was during the off-season, meaning that only locals were around and the island was more-or-less deserted.  Some shops and restaurants were reopening after a winter slumber, in anticipation of the spring breakers.  We felt as though we had the entire island to ourselves, and that was pretty nice.  The general store had enough essentials for cooking.  We tried a couple of restaurants, but found ourselves favoring Jason’s.  Trust me, the crab cakes and homemade tartar sauce are out of this world!  We also frequented Zillie’s Island Pantry, which shares a porch with our cottage.  The had an excellent selection of beers, wines, and gourmet snacks.  It was there we discovered that Eric likes goat cheese.  This is huge, people!

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Cats and ducks, living in harmony on Ocracoke.

Like all of the Outer Banks Islands, Ocracoke had a historic lighthouse.

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The token lighthouse.

A very sweet kitty lived in the vicinity of the lighthouse.  She followed me along the pathway, then decided I smelled nice enough to allow me to pet her.  She reminded me of our Tiger, except for the dried blood beneath her claws.

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My new friend.

Eric and I rode bikes to the beach on several days.  Shells abounded; we saw dolphins multiple times (best viewed from the tops of the dunes).  It was lovely and peaceful and cold.

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Eric strolls the strand, contemplating the meaning of life, the universe and everything.

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Part of a shipwreck, washed up on shore.

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Dune, not part of a trilogy.

Some of the locals told us that we were lucky to have arrived when we did.  A short ferry is available to Hatteras, the island just to the north of Ocracoke, but the road to the mainland from that island had been impassable for weeks, due to flooding.  This resolved in the days before we arrived, but sand on the Ocracoke highway remained a problem.  Eric rode his bicycle to the north end of the island several days, and encountered heavy equipment moving the sand.

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Sand obscures the road.

Unfortunately, a couple of days were quite rainy.  We spent a lot of time indoors.  I caught up on my homework.  We watched a lot of Dr. Who and Arrested Development.  It was nice to have a few days of not much going on, as we usually stay pretty busy with our travels, trying to squeeze it all in.

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My adorable couch potato.

Finally, the sun came out!  We took the opportunity to ferry on over to Hatteras Island and continue north.  First stop: Kill Devil Hills, home of the Wright Brothers National Memorial.  Here, Wilbur and Orville used bicycle equipment, a sewing machine and some imagination to achieve mankind’s first powered flight.  Pretty awesome.

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The Wright Brothers.

The Wright Bros. Memorial.

The Wright Bros. Memorial.  It’s huge (TWSS).

Front view.

Front view.

Another angle.

Another angle.

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Even the ground was aesthetically pleasing.

Later this day, we stopped by Jockey’s Ridge State Park on our way back to our island.  Neither of us had really seen sand dunes before, and it was an amazing experience.  The vast dimensions are unimaginable.  It was breezy and perfect, and we should have taken a kite.

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Big dunes.

Hang gliding lessons were taught on-site.

Some other vistors give an idea of the scale.

Some other vistors give an idea of the scale.

Eric gets another KOM.

Eric gets another KOM.

In many places, the sand was hardened into place, and the wind and water must have worked together to somehow create a gorgeous woodgrain pattern.

Wood-grain sand.

Woodgrain sand.

Look!  Eric took a picture of me.

Look! Eric took a picture of me!

We passed by two more lighthouses this day, Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

On our way back to Ocracoke, I gave Granny a call from the middle of the ocean.  I’m not sure whether she believed my location or not, but it was good to chat with her.

Approximate location of the phone call.

Approximate location of the phone call.

We wrapped up the week with more walks and bike rides around the island.

Whiskers  :(

Whiskers 😦

Sadly, we got some news that our kitty, Whiskers, was not doing well.  He has had a virus since we found him, and it activated over the last few months, causing him to be very sick lately, and lose weight.  My sister, Lauren, who was keeping him for us, took him to the vet.  He was diagnosed with feline leukemia, and we were advised to put him to sleep.  Eric and I decided we would try to make it to Colorado to be there with him, so we decided we would pack up and head west.  So long, Ocracoke.

-H

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