The Outer Banks: Part 1
If you're ever in North Carolina, the Outer Banks is a beautiful place to visit. To describe it firstly, I would say that it's not one beach, but a collection of islands off the coast of the U.S. of North Carolina. They are filled with open-sea beaches, state parks, museums, hand-crafted art and jewelry shops, and history that make it a popular vacation destination.
This weekend trip was my second time visiting the lovely destination. The first time was last February when my boyfriend took me on a weekend trip for my 23rd birthday. We decided that we were going to see all the lighthouses on the islands every time we visit. So far we've seen two (the Bodie Island Lighthouse and Cape Hatteras Light), so there's three more to go.
I've always liked the idea of lighthouses. I always pictured a lost sailor, missing his family, using the stars as a guide, when suddenly a light catches his eye. A lighthouse steers him home and becomes the hope in a hopeless night. (As a writer, I've always had a vivid imagination and have always made up my own stories). Lighthouses represent comfort and a literal light in the darkness for sea travelers and mariners. There is something inspiring and beautiful about lighthouses to me.
The Cape Hatteras lighthouse was beautiful. Striped and enormous, looking up at it I felt amazed at what man can do.
Last time we visited, we ate at this delicious Mexican Restaurant that literally saved our lives. We were starving and craving something Hispanic when we drove by the place. On our second trip this time, we decided to return to the same restaurant and make a tradition out of it. Again, it did not disappoint. I had these great quesadillas that filled me up and were a perfect way to end the night.
We stayed in Manteo in Roanoke Island in a boat dubbed the "Love Boat" by the Airbnb owner. As a first time user of Airbnb, I wasn't sure what to expect, but was really excited to try it out. I ended up loving the location, boat, and experience. We arrived Saturday afternoon, so the following Sunday we sat out on the back deck of the boat and had coffee with a view.
The following day, we stopped to see the Elizabethan Gardens. As a huge lover of flowers and gardens, I had to stop by and visit. Filled with statues (including one dedicated to Queen Elizabeth), fountains, chairs, and lights for the Holiday season, it's an enchanting place. The gardens were placed as a living memorial to the lost colony who lived there over 400 years ago.
One thing I really like about Roanoke Island is the history there. For those of you that don't know, settlers arrived on the island, known as the "Lost Colony," in 1855. Three years later, the settlers had disappeared without a trace, leaving only the word "Croatoan" carved on a post as a clue. It's always been a mystery and even got its own tv spotlight when the sixth season of American Horror Story was based on America's stranger-than-fiction tale. There are many places, memorials, and statues dedicated to the lost colony on the island.
Sunday, after the Elizabethan Gardens, we continued on to Jockey Ridge State Park, known as the largest natural sand dune state park on the East Coast. We walked to the top of the sand dune (which was quite a work out) and from up there we had a view of the ocean, as well as the small windmills and houses.
Although short, our weekend trip was so much fun and such a nice way to shake off the stress from the week. It was relaxing, yet exciting. This is merely our second trip and definitely to be one of many as I want to explore all of the Outer Banks and visit all the lighthouses.
I love exploring new places and there's nothing that fills me with energy like checking out new locations. It also helps to have a travel buddy with you. Lucky for me, my best friend is always up for a new road trip with me. But if you don't have anybody, screw it, go alone! Be brave and take on an adventure. I am the kind of person that is always down for a trip, regardless of how long the the drive is or if it's alone. I think stepping out of your routine and trying something new is not only a way to unwind, but always worth it. Always say yes to the road trip, always get in the car and drive. I promise you won't regret it.