Friday, September 22, 2017


Corolla, North Carolina Trip 
Sixth Day
Wednesday, September 6th, 2017
The Sound

9.41 a.m. We are watching the weather channel, and Florida is gearing up for Hurricane Irma.  Thinking of all our family and friends, for everyone down there.  People are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.  We are having such mad weather.  

Today started with Gregg going for an early morning beach walk with his sister.  Too late for the sunrise, just a pleasant stroll along that beautiful beach, worth visiting at any time of the day.  

When he came back we went out for a few hours of looking around.  As we were leaving a little later than usual and it was near lunchtime, we grabbed a bite to eat at a sandwich shop in Corolla, and it also had a very large wine selection.  Bacchus Wine and Cheese.  I can't remember what we ate now.  Their wine selection was impressive but we didn't buy any.

We wanted to explore the area near the Currituck Beach Lighthouse.  When we were visiting the other day we noticed a walkway to the Currituck Sound. On each side of the wooden path there were grasses that towered over us.  

I can't remember their name but they were invasive grasses that had run amok, this from a description on a marker. They did make a pretty picture though.  

At the end of the walk was a seating area with half a dozen people holidaying from Pennsylvania, all members of the same family. 

They had been crabbing and made us aware of two small blue crabs that were nearby. 

They were catching them by tying raw chicken wings onto string, dropping the string over the side and the crab would grab on.  

The person holding the string slowly brings it up along with the crab.  They were letting them go but watching them as they walked themselves back into the sound.  The water was so high that it was lapping over the deck, and it was an easy escape.

It was a chance for me to study them, as well as listening to the family tell me how they were catching them.  I was glad that these feisty little crabs were making it back into the water.

A young Great Blue Heron was standing on the rail.  One of the ladies said it had landed on the rail only a few moments ago.  It looked a bit bedraggled, and at first I was wondering if it was molting. 

He was still a wonderful looking bird to me...

and I felt very lucky to be this close to one, without him being bothered by everyone's presence.  

We chatted to the family for a while and finally left them to their crabbing. 

We made our way to the nearby education wildlife center.  I may be wrong but it didn't look the kind of place the general public could walk around, more of a research place I think but didn't investigate it too much.  We did, however, walk behind the building.  It was built up on solid looking stilts and I spotted this parked underneath.  

It reminded me of the story our guide told us a few days earlier when we were looking for the wild horses.  On the beach we had passed two sites with sea turtle nests.  They had been blocked off by a fence, and we were told the man-made channel that we saw going down to the water, were for the newly hatched turtles to give them safe passage.  There were volunteers taking care of these turtle nests.  

There were other interesting things underneath the building.

I noticed a boat with a large container inside.

A closer inspection revealed these.

I thought it looked like a huge vertebrae but, it wasn't until I saw the following that I understood what it belonged to.  

Sadly it was from a young whale that had been stranded on the Southern Shore.

Next we made our way to a public gazebo built on the water.

We sat for a while. It was very pleasant with a cool breeze. 

From there we walked over to the historic Whalehead.  There were tours of the building but we didn't feel like it today.

The Whalehead is a restored 1920's building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 
On one of those trips we hope to make to this area again we will explore further, but for now it was time to make our way back to the house. 

That evening after another lovely dinner, we played Trivial Persuit with the family. Gregg and I haven't played it in years and we had fun, but then it was time to call it a night.  Not sure what we will be doing tomorrow but that's part of the enjoyment of this holiday, playing everything by ear.

Thursday, September 21, 2017


Corolla, North Carolina Trip - Fifth Day - Part 3
Wright Brothers' Memorial
The Lost Colony
Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

We drove to The Lost Colony in Manteo and looked around the visitor center.  It was a small building but very interesting.  

The story of The Lost Colony is as follows: 

"In 1587, 117 English men, women and children came ashore  on Roanoke Island, to establish a permanent English settlement in the New World.  Just three years later, in 1590, when English ships returned to bring supplies, they found the island deserted with no sign of the colonists.  After nearly 450 years, the mystery of what happened to the colonists remains unsolved."

The above map shows where the colonists came from in London.  If you enlarge it you will be able to make out several places marked with an 'x'.

There was a room inside the visitor center with original paneling from the 1500's, portraits on the walls of Elizabeth I.   As you may know, the State of Virginia was named in her honor.  She was also known as the "Virgin Queen".

Sir Walter Raleigh.  

The photo below explains where the paneling in the room came from.

In part it reads:

"The fancy decorative wood was likely crafted in 1585 and was originally installed in Heronden Hall in Kent, England.  The paneling was brought to America in 1926 by wealthy newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst to furnish his legendary castle in San Simeon, California.  The National Park Service purchased the paneling from his estate in the 1960s."

I am always interested in anything to do with Walter Raleigh.  His half-brother was Humphrey Gilbert and the Gilberts still live in Compton Castle, in the village of Compton, Devonshire, England.  I was very familiar with the Castle as it was close to my home and I passed by many times, on my way to any number of places.  My father years ago worked for a friend he knew from his police days, a solicitor (lawyer here).  When we all moved to Devon this friend got in touch with Dad and asked if he would be interested in helping him as he set up a practice. He had also moved to Devon, not too far from where we lived.  Dad worked at this practice for many years after he retired from the police force, even after his friend retired and the practice was sold.  Dad stayed on until his early 70s.  One of those Gilbert descendents was a Queen's Counsel and in my father's line of work, he got to know him.  In fact this very nice man came to Dad's funeral, which my sister and I appreciated immensely.  It showed us what a truly good person he was, and I will always think of him kindly.  My Dad was an excellent judge of character and he liked and respected him.  So, every time I see anything to do with Walter Raleigh, I think of my Dad and the connection he had to one of Raleigh's half-brother's.  A six degrees kind of thing going on, except not with Kevin Bacon but with a half brother of Sir Walter Raleigh?  You can click on the last link to see what the heck I am talking about.  Anyhoo, on with The Lost Colony and that beautifully paneled room.

The old wooden paneling, wooden carvings over the fireplace, even the pattern of bricks inside the fireplace,  I found it all very interesting.   I also enjoyed looking at the framed pictures, and the ceiling, all truly remarkable.

We browsed around the gift shop before we left, and Gregg bought a book telling the story of the Lost Colony.  I also bought a little rag doll representing Virginia Dare, the first baby to be born in the New World.  The date was August 18th, 1587, at Roanoke Island in colonial Virginia (present-day North Carolina).  I also purchased a few postcards.  

We didn't stay long as it was getting late, and we were rather tired after our enjoyable but very long day.  I have a feeling we will be visiting again.  We liked this area and we are thinking of coming down again, perhaps next year.  If we do, we will see the well-known Lost Colony play.  

It is described as "America's longest-running symphonic drama", and held annually (the first production was in 1937 and this year was their 80th anniversary).  We were hoping to see it this time but found it has a run from May to August, and it had ended a couple of weeks before we arrived.

We were ready for a bite to eat, a late lunch, and we stopped at a cool looking diner, Big Al's Soda Fountain and Grill.

We ordered one meal to share, which came with two hotdogs, a pickle and French fries. We also shared a strawberry milkshake for dessert (no photos). 

The waitress was super friendly and the decor was fun. 

They even had a dance floor.  The lady who looked after us asked us if we would like to dance.  In the kindest possible way, we said an emphatic no and when she still tried to persuade us, we followed up with a shake of the head and a chuckle.  

Back to the house and shortly after returning I tucked myself away in our bedroom downstairs. I was eager to see the photos from our day, and I had promised before we left home, that I would share with family and friends on a regular basis.  There was a football game on the TV upstairs, and Gregg watched the game with the rest of the family. I am not a sports person so after a while the photos were calling and begging to be downloaded.  I also caught up on laundry.  

8.00 p.m.  I was called upstairs for dinner.  My sister-in-law had cooked a delicious shrimp and scallop scampi (again no photos but she is a really great cook).  We also enjoyed a glass of wine. After a leisurely meal everyone settled down to watch football again, so as those photos were still calling me, I had an early night and that was the end of my day.  

Just for fun I thought I would add a YouTube video of Robert Newhart talking to Sir Walter Raleigh on his findings in the Colony.  Click here to see it.  It is years old and I remember my sister's husband telling me about it.  It was good fun then and hope you find it just as funny now.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Corolla, North Carolina Trip - Fifth Day - Part 2
Wright Brothers' Memorial
Lost Colony
Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

After enjoying the spectacular sunrise, we were out of the house two hours later and stopped for our breakfast/early lunch.  We always enjoy finding a good breakfast restaurant when traveling, and usually look for a local place on Yelp, but as we were driving by we saw "Stack 'Em High Pancakes and So Forth".   

I had pancakes, one egg and 2 sausages with a small dish of strawberries. Gregg had toast, eggs, sausage patties and hash browns.

  You ordered your food and paid at the counter before you sat down.  We enjoyed it, a fun and friendly place. 

We were curious about The Lost Colony and had that in mind for this afternoon, but as it was on the way we stopped at the 
Wright Brothers' Memorial.  We only did half of the site, concentrating on the monument at the top of the hill.  It is quite a large area so if you are ever decide to visit, I suggest carrying your own water, and wearing a pair of very comortable walking shoes.

These old photos are from Pixababy.

The last time we were here was 30 years' ago with my parents.  They were visiting from England, and we had been staying with Gregg's parents who lived in Virginia Beach. Virginia Beach is only a couple of hours away, and is north of Corolla, as you can see by looking at the map below.  It wouldn't take long as the crow flies but you can't drive down that strip of land, having to take a route further inland.  Corolla is marked with the red icon.

This gives you an idea where Corolla is on the US map.

Their regular, much larger visitor center is being renovated.  It will be closed to the public until the late summer/early fall of next year.  The temporary one did a good job for the space they had. 

It was a very hot day, and muggy.  I was prepared with my sunhat and sunglasses, but I had not taken any drinking water as I usually do.  We have been relying on the visitor centers to get our cold, refrigerated water, but there was no refrigerator here.  However, room temperature water was better than nothing.   

I did see at least one drinking fountain at the bottom of the hill near the large memorial.  There were probably more but this was the only one I noticed.  Before I beat this subject into the ground, my advice would be, don't forget to take water with you.  I read on Yelp from one person, that the center didn't have any water when they were there, and it may have been that they had run out. 

A few photos taken around the center.  The posters above were on sale.

The Wright Brothers

Orville was the youngest and described as a "practical joker, impulsive, enthusiastic, educated, introverted, optimistic and inventive".  Wilber, his older brother, was "steady, educated, focused, out-going, controlled, confident, a care taker".

It was interesting to read that the brothers got their interest for machines from their mother, who also passed on her knowledge and curiosity to her sons.  Their father was a Bishop in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, traveled far and wide, and would bring gifts home like Alphonse Penaud's toy helicopter. These snippets I read on one of the posters.  You can learn more of the brothers here.  Below, from the same poster, are a few of the things that inspired them.

One thing of note is that Charlie Taylor built their engines.  You can read his story here.  Charlie should not be forgotten in the brothers' story, as I feel he was an integral part of it.

This is the information marker located at the bottom of the hill, which we read before we made the climb.  Information reads:

"Friends and Surfmen from the nearby US Life-Saving Station helped the brothers carry their gliders up the dunes."

"Big Kill Devil Hill - When the Wright brothers were here, Big Kill Devil Hill - the hill in front of you - was a massive sand dune.  Thousands of times the brothers trekked up the three nearby dunes to conduct glider experiments.

Climbing the hill was strenuous.  Deep, soft sand caused every step up the slope to slip part way back down.  The Wrights were also burdoned with carrying their heavy gliders up the hill for each flight.  Their tireless efforts paid off as they mastered their flying skills and refined their flight controls."

Underneath the photo at the bottom of the marker next to the writing reads,

"The Wrights mastered flight controls with their 1902 Glider."

Underneath the next photo, 

"Starting in 1929, workers planted grass to stabilize Big Kill Devil Hill so that the Wright Brothers Monument could be built on top."

(If you would like to see a larger view of all photos to get a better look, you can click and enlarge.)

From the Visitor Center there is a road you can drive along, and park closer to the monument.

We walked up a very steep hill to the actual memorial. 

We met a couple with a dog who were talking to two Australians.  Gregg initiated a conversation with one as he was wearing a shirt with the name of his old Royal Navy Captain.  This is going back to when he was on an exchange tour with the Royal Navy, when he and I met in my home town.  An unusual name but no connection.  It was to do with a 200 mile endurance race in Australia, so we learned something new that day.  

The two of them were visiting all the well known race car tracks over here.  They were a lot of fun to talk to, interesting and super friendly.  After a while we said goodbye to our Oz friends and wished them happy traveling.   

The other couple they had been talking to were American and they had a sweet natured dog called Roxie.  She was having a hard time with the heat and we offered her some of our water.  Roxie's Dad cupped his hands so I could pour her a good drink, and she lapped it up.  She had two full 'cups' of water before they left for the walk down.  They left their water in their car, thinking they would not need it for such a short hike.  Well, I've been there before!  Yes, I am still beating that big old drum.  Always remember your water no matter how short the walk.  FYI, for younger people it may be a short hike, but for us it wasn't that short and it was all up hill!

A few more photos of the Memorial, and then we make our way down, stopping at another exhibit we noticed from the top.

Last stop in this area was at a sculpture of the biplane used for their flight, with figures portraying the brothers, and others.  

This following are two markers near the sculptures.

Can't resist a little role playing.

But who is taking a photo of whom?

And with these two last photos we leave for our next destination, The Lost Colony, which will be my next post.