Sunday, April 18, 2010

On the Road Again with Roberta

The hills are alive, but it’s not with the sound of music. It’s with the power of wind and water and the hills are really sand dunes on the Outer Banks. You see, these sand banks move from place to place, and it’s always a battle between the land and the sea, or maybe more to the point, between bulldozers and the sand.

The sand banks shield Highway 12 which runs the length of Hatteras Island from the sea, but when a Noreaster or a hurricane or in some cases, a severe “tropical storm” which is a nice name for a severe storm which is not quite a hurricane strikes, the storm quickly blows the sand away and then the road and any buildings in the way are at the mercy of the sea. In 2003, hurricane Isabella opened a brand new inlet on Hatteras Island and in November 2009, it breached the island again at Mirlo Beach in Rodanthe.

Today, the road is routinely maintained by heavy equipment to keep the sand dunes off of the road and to put the sand back on the dunes from where it blows, daily, across the roads into drifts resembling snow drifts.

For those who routinely follow this blog, you may recall that I was on Hatteras Island during Hurricane Ida last November, and was likely the last person off of the island , at night, driving in the hurricane. I was truly terrified and will never do that again, either leaving earlier or staying put, but not driving at night to evacuate with no other traffic doing the same. The next day, I heard that the road washed out, was closed for weeks and several houses condemned and torn down.

One of the homes was Serendipity, a house that was featured in the movie Nights of Rodanthe for its precarious perch on the edge of the surf of the outer banks and its turreted Victorian appearance. Below is a picture of Serendipity as it stood before.

Below, a photo of both Serendipity and the road after Hurricane Ida last November. Notice the sand dunes along the road are entirely gone, poof, in one night of blowing.

After the hurricane, the owners were advised that the home was permanently condemned. It has previously been occasionally condemned, but brought up to snuff again after a storm, and then pronounced inhabitable again. Since its debut in the movie, it has generally been a high end rental, that is, when it wasn’t condemned.

However, with so much of beach gone it had to be moved or torn down. New owners purchased the home and moved it across the road.

The new owners have renovated the home, added decks and of course put it on a new foundation.

Here’s a slide show featuring Serendipity and the coastal destruction. It’s amazing to see this house sitting in the ocean.

Here is a blog about the home as well.

So, for today, Serendipity is once again safe for the sea, and is renovated and repaired, just in time for the 2010 hurricane season to begin.

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