Thursday, August 4, 2011

Things to See and Do on Roanoke Island

Pirate's Cove was the perfect launching pad for my mission, and for our visit to Festival Park, a Sturbridge Village-type enclave where you can explore local history ( Who has inhabited the Outer Banks and how did they live? This is where our boys tried on armor from the 1550s and learned to use a foot-powered lathe.
At night we attended an outdoor performance called "The Lost Colony," about the first settlement on Roanoke Island, and how it vanished more than 400 years ago ( Popular theories are that the colonists were killed by Indians, the Spanish, or the elements. Then there's always the "abducted by aliens" camp. Either way, the island's current inhabitants have incorporated the legendary mystery into their economy. The theater's gift shop features a T-shirt which says something to the effect of "Don't ask the locals for directions. They already lost one colony!"

Drive an hour and 20 minutes from Manteo and you'll get to the free car ferry to Ocracoke Island, where beautiful beaches abound. There's plenty of shops and Jolly Roger Pub and Marina makes an especially yummy bluefish sandwich (252-928-3703).

Speaking of great food, Pirate's Cove is just about 15 minutes from the Kill Devil Grill, where my husband had the best Cajun-inspired shrimp and grits he'd ever tasted.

The next town over is Nags Head, where it's fun to rent a jet ski and hit the ocean. Since jet skis have no brakes, some brief instruction is involved. ("Stay 150 feet from other watercraft" is listed as rules 1, 2 and 8.) After an hour at the helm, racing full throttle with his brother on his back, my son Michael announced it was "the best time ever."
Going to the Outer Banks would be incomplete without a stop to the Wright Brothers National Memorial, where Orville and Wilbur realized their dream of flight in 1903. The accomplishments of many pilots are celebrated there, including those of NASA.

It's interesting to see that it took only 66 years from the time of that first flight to a man walking on the moon. And that brings us back to the question posed on that T-shirt at Kitty Hawk Kites. "Why walk when you can fly?"
Indeed. Now, having flown myself, I certainly see the attraction.

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