Monday, November 29, 2010

A Journey of 500 Years

What a great Thanksgiving! After all, there's a lot to love about the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

It's warm(ish) enough for shell hunting and dolphin watching. Of course I hurt my foot on my one and only walk along the beach and spent the weekend hobbling along and downing Ibuprofen. But it was worth every step.

There are beautiful lighthouses and wild horses. I'd never been to a lighthouse before, but I can see why people like them so much. And I still haven't seen a wild horse, but I hope to catch a glimpse of one in the future.

I couldn't wait to visit Kitty Hawk and see where the Wright Brothers first took to the sky. We walked the path were they first flew and ate lunch at the foot of the sand dune (now covered with scraggly grass to prevent erosion) where they launched their hang-gliders that would become the first motorized flying machines.

Thanks to some great historical re-enactors, I learned what life was like for the first English Colony in the New World. I don't blame them for abandoning their settlement to seek friendlier neighbors. They lived in constant fear of the Spanish finding them, they didn't have enough supplies to build proper shelter, and they never found the gold they were looking for. I hope The Lost Colony found safe harbor and didn't just disappear into nothing.

Probably my favorite part of the trip was learning about 16th century English sailing. My little brother got me interested in maritime history, so I loved boarding the Elizabeth II. I've visited a lot of Revolutionary Era and modern ships, but this was the first pre-colonial ship I've ever been on. Did you know the British didn't use hammocks until just before the Napoleonic Wars? And while the steering wheel wouldn't be invented for another 200 years, the whipstaff was only a marginal improvement over manually moving the rudder as had been done before the Middle Ages.

And what's a trip to the Atlantic Coast without clams and salt-water taffy? I've never baked clams before, but Andrew and I managed to figure it out.

I'm so glad I went on this trip. I can't wait to go back next Thanksgiving and see all the things I didn't get a chance to see this past week.


  1. What a fabulous Thanksgiving it looks like you had! I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. Now I think I might really enjoy visiting North Carolina. . .

  2. You'd love it! But you'd also love the Sanibel Island in Florida or Myrtle Beach in S. Carolina or even Virginia Beach. I think you're pretty much love anywhere on the East Coast that has water and sand.