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Hatteras Island

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Paul and I took a trip this spring to the northern coast of South Carolina and to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The Outer Banks is a fantastic place and one of our favorite destinations. This story is about the second part of that journey and it begins in North Carolina, so read on my friend!

After leaving South Carolina, we drove to Wilmington, NC and made a stop at the USS North Carolina for a tour. This was on Paul’s wish list and it was worth it.  This was a battleship that fought for us in World War II, and she was quite impressive!

Hatteras Island

Paul on the deck of the USS North Carolina.

She participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific, earning 15 battle stars.  As we were standing on her deck, I happened to look over the side and was thrilled when I spotted a large alligator swimming nonchalantly along!

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Large alligator swimming alongside the ship.

After we finished exploring every nook and cranny of that ship, we traveled to Cedar Island to catch the ferry to Ocracoke Island.  The ferry dock at Cedar Island was surprising and not particularly in a good way.  There was nothing there.  No town, no restaurant, just the building that harbored the employees of the ferry systems (with bathrooms, thank goodness!), and one very small, one employee post office.  And some vending machines, which is a good thing because we arrived 2 1/2 hours prior to our scheduled departure.  They did however have some rocking chairs on a nice porch, which sufficed very well as we sat and read and rocked the time away!

Hatteras Island

A passing ferry.

I happen to love ferry rides.  Every time I visit my sister in Washington we ride the ferry from Seattle.  Today’s ferry ride was a pleasant 2 1/2 hour trip, with an occasional dolphin providing a welcome reprieve from the waves and wind.  We talked with a gentleman that lived in Ocracoke and he entertained us with stories of the area, including the island of Portsmouth.  At one time it was a bustling port, but the only residents of the island now are park department employees.  It’s their job to maintain the buildings and homes that have long been deserted.  You can catch a ferry to the island from Ocracoke.  There isn’t any business there or motels, but camping is allowed and some people love the remoteness of the island.  Portsmouth wasn’t on our agenda today, but I can see a trip in our future!

The Ocracoke Lighthouse could be seen from the ferry as we made our way into the ferry landing.

Hatteras Island

Ocracoke Lighthouse

After landing in Ocracoke, we quickly made the journey to the next ferry station to catch the Hatteras Island ferry, which was an additional 60 minute ride.Cape Hatteras National Seashore; fantastic vacation destination on the Outer Banks of North… Click To Tweet

Hatteras Island

Ocracoke Ferry Landing

We truly regretted not getting to look around Ocracoke, but motel reservations awaited us in Buxton on Hatteras.  So that adventure will be saved for another day!  The ferry ride to Hatteras was quite interesting and actually made longer by the shallowness of the sound here.  The ferry captain had to maneuver the boat through buoys strategically guiding us through the lane and to our port.

Landing in Hatteras, the ride to Buxton was only 20 minutes and we safely arrived at Cape Pines Motel.

Exploring Hatteras Island

The next day brought us a bright blue sky with puffs of white clouds scattered throughout like cotton balls tossed on a blue cloth.  The breeze blowing off the Atlantic brought a cooling touch to the warm day.  Our plans, explore Hatteras Island.

Hatteras Island

The two lane highway that runs from one end of Hatteras Island to the other is Highway 12 and at times you can see the sound on one side and the ocean on the other, or at least you know it’s there lurking right over the sand dune.

Hatteras Island

The beautiful Atlantic!

Our journey included a stop for breakfast at Fatty’s Eatery.  When visiting the Outer banks you won’t find the chain restaurants that dot the landscape almost everywhere else.  Here the flavor is for small, locally owned pubs, grills and restaurants.

This fantastic octopus was painted by a talented person on one of the walls at Fatty’s.

Our first destination after breakfast was to see the Cape Hatteras lighthouse.  There are five lighthouses along the Outer Banks, but this one is my favorite.  You’re probably familiar with it because of it’s famous move in 1999.  The sea was encroaching upon the area of beach it sat on and to save it the move was organized and completed.  It’s really amazing and you can read all about that move here:  Moving the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

Hatteras Island

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

After admiring this beautiful lighthouse, we traveled on to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, which is what a large area of the Atlantic ocean off the coast of North Carolina is referred to.  This is because of the unusually large number of shipwrecks that have occurred here. The warm waters of the Gulf Stream and the cold waters of the Arctic Current meet off Cape Hatteras causing the entire coast to be an area of shifting bays and inlets which has proved to be very hazardous for ships through the years!  This is also the reason for the many lighthouses along the Banks.

As we left the museum and headed back north on Hwy 12, we suddenly became aware of colorful kites filling the air and swooping, first skyward before lunging back toward the water of the sound.  They were kite boarders and the riders were skimming along the water and performing acrobatic maneuvers.

Hatteras Island

Kite Boarders at the Canadian Hole in the Pamlico Sound.

This portion of the sound is a world famous destination for kite boarders. We stopped and chatted with a couple from Canada that had made the trip just for the kite boarding.  The parking lot was filled with license plates from New York, Michigan, Canada and various other far off states.

Hatteras Island

Next stop was at the Pangea Tavern in Avon for lunch.  I can’t begin to tell you how mouth wateringly delicious the buffalo shrimp wrap was!  I have talked about it and longed for another one ever since that day.  The tavern had a nice atmosphere and the staff were very friendly.  I definitely recommend it!

Almost directly behind the tavern is the Avon Fishing Pier.  If you aren’t a fisherman, you can still enjoy walking out on the pier and checking out everyone else’s catch or just enjoy gazing at the ocean.  If you’re lucky you might spot a dolphin or two!

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Avon Pier

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Beautiful beach.

That evening we took our chairs and sat on the beach watching and listening to the waves while sea gulls fussed at one another and the beautiful Cape Hatteras lighthouse loomed in the background.

Hatteras Island

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse over the dune.

Tomorrow we’ll be off to Nags Head, but first a quick list of fun things to do on Hatteras Island. Click on each link and find out more:

Thank you my dear friend for reading about our adventure.  The first part of our trip can be found here and part 3 will be coming soon!

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Hatteras Island

Sun reflecting off the Atlantic.

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{ 14 comments }
Grammy Dee from Grammy's Grid June 24, 2017, 12:53 am

Look like a nice trip! Love the Cape Hatteras light. Have been to the Ocracoke light. Teresa, I share this post on social media 🙂
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Teresa June 24, 2017, 12:57 am

The Outer Banks is one of our favorite places and my husband and I hadn’t been on a vacation alone in a long time, so it was really nice!

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Cathy Lawdanski June 24, 2017, 6:25 am

Teresa, I had never heard of OBX until last week when I went there! We were visiting friends in Norfolk, VA which is just a short distance from the NC border. Drove to Kitty Hawk and Duck, NC. Took a tour to see the wild horses on the beach and saw the Currituck Lighthouse, which is all brick and just stunning. Watch for my blog post about that part of OBX in a few weeks!
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Teresa June 26, 2017, 3:58 pm

Hi Cathy, Duck is where we usually stay. We love it there! We’ve taken the wild horse tour and seen the Currituck Lighthouse. My grandchildren and son-in-law were the only ones willing to climb it to the top. I said my spirit is willing, but my knees are weak! Before this year our trips have been the last week of May. Weather has been great, but we avoided the onslaught of vacationers that arrive in June. Thanks for stopping by! Teresa

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Marisa Franca @ All Our Way June 24, 2017, 8:06 am

We’ve never visited the Outer Banks. We were due to go one September when a huge storm hit and wiped out the bridges connecting the islands. Alas!! We never did schedule again. Now we go to Saint Simons Island, Georgia. But I have to admit I’d love to see that area. The Atlantic appears bluer there than off of SSI. We’re a lot like you — we’re retired and travel only I’m a food blogger — keeping busy while hubby is fishing.
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Teresa June 26, 2017, 4:02 pm

Hi Marisa, There is something special about he Outer Banks. It calls to me! I would love to hear more about your adventures. Do you travel by car, own a travel trailer, or fly? It was nice to find your blog; I will be following you regularly! Thank you for reading. Teresa

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Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures June 26, 2017, 6:26 pm

‘Looks like a wonderful getaway! I especially love your lighthouse photos! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures
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Teresa June 26, 2017, 8:58 pm

Thanks Marci! I love lighthouses; I think alot of people do. Thank you for stopping by today and reading! Teresa

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Teresa Kindred June 27, 2017, 8:32 am

Hi Teresa,
So nice to know that not every Teresa spells her name with an “h”! You just took the trip I want to take! I’ve been telling my husband for years I wanted to go there! Love your pictures and hope to have some of similar things when I get to go. Thanks so much for sharing at NanaHood and do come back soon, ya hear! Teresa
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Teresa June 28, 2017, 1:04 am

Yeah another “Teresa”! I hope you get to go soon. We had such a good time and are looking forward to our next trip. Thank you for stopping by and reading!

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Carol June 27, 2017, 3:15 pm

Great shots – a wonderful place to visit.

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Teresa June 28, 2017, 1:01 am

Thank you Carol!

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Molly Stevens July 10, 2017, 5:45 am

Love your description of your trip to the Outer Banks. My best friend live in NC, and after retirement we hope to travel to her home state more. This sounds like a trip worth taking for sure!
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Teresa July 10, 2017, 5:55 am

Thank you Molly! I hope you do get to go and visit the Outer Banks. We love to go, but to beat the crowd we’ve always went just prior to peak season. There are things to keep you busy or you can just veg out on the beach all day. Thank you for stopping by!

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