Saturday, August 22, 2009

Roanoke Island Trip - Day 4

Wednesday – Day 4 - August 19th

After staying up way too late last night at the cast party, we slept a little late this morning. I can’t remember the last time I as up till 3AM for a positive reason! However, even with nothing stronger than water to drink, I could certainly feel the late night this morning. How did I ever think this was fun when I was younger?

By noon, Anne and I were absorbed in acid free boxes chocked full of surprises at the Outer Banks History Center. Anne focused on contributed genealogies of Outer Banks families and I was overwhelmed with the magnitude of the Elizabethan Collection, a 16+ box (think banker’s boxes) collection of information collected by research here and overseas that was connected with the preparations for the Roanoke Decoded conference which took place in the late 1990s. After the conference, all the prep was contributed and is now available for researchers. If you’re going to work with that collection, I suggest a day per box minimum, so plan on going to NC for a month as the center is only open Monday through Friday 9-5. Of course you’ll have to amuse yourself in the evenings and weekends while waiting for the center to reopen. Now what better excuse could you have for a month in NC?

I made another important discovery today. There are no quilt shops on the Outer Banks. Now you’d think with nearly 100 miles of ribbon-like highway and thousands of tourists on that one highway, at least some of them would be quilters and would want to take home more than a shirt, a sunburn and some sand in their shoes for souvenirs. Apparently not, because there not only aren’t any quilt shops, there aren’t even any plain old vanilla fabric stores. Hello, how can you live without JoAnne Fabrics? The closest store is at the far northern end of the Island where Kitty Hawk in located and is a WalMart with a very limited selection. No mind though, because I found some pink pirate material that will just have to suffice for my NC souvenir fabric. Talk about things that shouldn’t be pink, but it’s now “unique” and I like that. As far as I’m concerned a quilt shop located beside a Starbucks would be quite the ticket, and of course there are no Starbucks either. Is anyone listening out there….here’s an economic stimulus suggestion for someone!!!! Let me tell you, there are still tourists in NC and they are still spending money.

When visiting the Outer Banks, you have to stop at Kitty Hawk Kites. Kitty Hawk Kites is quintessential Outer Banks. Where is Kitty Hawk Kites? Everyplace. There are many of the stores and yes, they have just stunningly beautiful kites. One thing the Outer Banks always has is wind…and it‘s so hot there that you’ll be exceedingly grateful for that wind, let me tell you. So it’s also a kite flyer’s dream and even if you can’t fly a kite, you can there. There’s no way you can’t fly a kite on the shore line, so indeed, go fly a kite.

I was looking for a particular t-shirt. I bought the long sleeve version 2 years ago, and I wanted a short sleeve one as well. It says “don’t ask the locals for directions, they’ve lost one colony already”! Yep, my kind of place. Of course, sale is the word that Americans are in love with so if you tell them the second t-shirt is on sale, you’ll sell 2 for sure. My second (half price) t-shirt says something akin to “Woman who behave don’t make history”. In honor of the fabric, it’s kind of coral colored and has a small insignia size pirate skull and crossbones on it. I’m liking my pink pirate fabric better already. I always love visiting Kitty Hawk Kites! It’s a vacation for your inner child.

By now, I’m late for dinner. If you love seafood, the Outer Banks is the place for you and Beach Road which runs along, you’ve guessed it, the beach, is polka dotted with wonderful local hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Actually, its official street name is Virginia Dare Trail, but it’s always been called Beach Road down there and the locals and any tourist there for more than 24 hours still call it Beach Road.

We ate at the Beach Road Grill, a long-time local favorite and had their house-special steamed and spiced shrimp, served hot with drawn butter and cocktail sauce, along with black beans and rice. Their black beans and rice are served half on one side of the dish and half on the other (rice on one end and beans on the other) with hot salsa across both halves. Nothing like this up north, I guarantee you. Lovely waitress as well. Southern hospitality at its best. The harmonica player was going to start shortly, but we were just too tired to stay up late again, so we left amidst a beautiful sunset, crossed the bouncing bridge, watched the lightening over the sound above Manteo and went home under the poplar tree and called it a night.

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