It has been a long time since Storm and I drove to Ocracoke because we prefer to fly there and cut the 6 hour drive from Raleigh down to just 45 minutes. However since we have not yet figured out how to get the Prius airborne (although Lord knows Storm has tried), this time we drive over to the coast and along the way we learn some interesting things.
For instance beginning this weekend the Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center is closing for renovation, and a temporary building will be in its place for the 2 years needed for the building improvements. For those of you concerned that they will lose the orange paint when they upgrade the building, you can rest easy. Turns out that the visitor center itself is on the national registry of historic places and must be restored to its original specs including the orange paint. The Wright Flyer has been moved to the NC Museum of History so if you are in that area and want to save yourself a long drive to see it, stop in and check it out.
We are surprised to find a sculpture called December 17, 1903 on the site that we never noticed before. If you visit the memorial be sure and drive the loop around to the south side of the Wright Brothers monument to see this imaginative work of art.
We also discover that a few swans have already winged down from Canada headed to their winter refuges near here. We see a dozen or so at the Pea Island Wildlife Refuge on the way down to Hatteras. If you want to see hundreds wintering near the coast you have to wait until January and head to the refuges near Swan Quarter and Lake Mattamuskett (dress very warmly as the swans like it much cooler and windier than most people do!).
To our great sadness, we find that if you time it right (and by that I mean wrong) you can spend 3 hours traveling from Hatteras Island across the ferry to Ocracoke. Admittedly it has been years since we made this trip, but it used to take about 45 minutes for this portion of the journey. With the additional dredging required by the storms and a reduced autumn boat schedule, the 2.5 hour ferries from Cedar Island or Swan Quarter are a much better deal considering that the drive to Hatteras adds a couple of hours. Since most of the attractions along the coast are closed for the season anyway, save yourself 2.5 hours and catch a mainland ferry until things speed up hopefully next summer.
Here are a few more photos with comments from the trip.