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Visit the Historic Outer Banks, You'll Be Glad You Did

Aug 21, 2008
This 130-mile curving strip of sand, thrusting far out into the Atlantic Ocean, is a unique combination of magnificent beachfront and four centuries of history.

And while a burgeoning tourist trade has transplanted all of the comforts of "back home" to its sands - up to and including upscale resorts, fancy restaurants and boutiques and, yes, a shopping mall - that feeling of remoteness, of being in a place where wind and wave still have the final word, persists in the salt air.

Beach towns stretch from Corolla and Duck in the north to Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head on Bodie Island. Local laws restrict the height of buildings, and only a few of the larger motels climb as high as five stories. South of Nags Head is the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 70 miles of undeveloped marsh and beach.

Outdoor activities include swimming, biking, birdwatching, kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, hiking and golfing. Arts and crafts festivals and boat races are held at the Outer Banks throughout the summerAnd the Outer Banks area has historical significance. The first English settlement, called "Cittie of Ralegh," was established on Roanoke Island in 1587. The first settlement's inhabitants disappeared and left little evidence of their existence. The history of the "Lost Colony" is told through exhibits and docu-dramas at the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and Roanoke Island Festival Park, both on Manteo Island.

The site of the Wright brothers' first powered flight is in present-day Kill Devil Hills. Visitors can climb Big Kill Devil Hill and learn about the Wright brothers and their efforts to build the first airplane at the Wright Brothers National Monument The site of the first powered airplane flight in 1903 offers a replica of the plane and other exhibits, including a reconstruction of the Wrights' camp. The Wright Memorial Shaft crowns Big Kill Devil Hill, a 90-foot dune of once-shifting sand that has been stabilized with grass. The 60-foot pylon, constructed of gray granite from Mount Airy, North Carolina, honors the Wright Brothers and marks the site of the hundreds of glider flights that preceded the first powered flight.

Jockey's Ridge is home to the highest sand dune on the East Coast. It is located at Milepost 12 on US 158 Bypass.Activities include hang-gliding, hiking, playing in the sand and enjoying the view from the ridge.

Located on the north end of Hatteras Island, Pea Island Refuge stretches 12 miles from Oregon Inlet to Rodanthe. Named for the wild pea vine that grows here in abundance, the refuge encompasses 6,000 acres of land and 25,700 acres of the Pamlico Sound. More than 265 species of birds, such as Canada and snow geese, tundra swan, heron, egret and more than 25 species of duck, pass through during fall and spring migrations. The refuge has several roadside platforms from which to watch birds and other wildlife. There is a hiking trail and beach access.

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site 1401 National Park Drive Manteo, NC 27954 Open daily except Christmas 9 a.m.-5 p.m. with extended hours during the summer Reconstructions, exhibits and live drama tell the story of the first English settlement attempted in America. Elizabethan Gardens, created by the Garden Club of North Carolina as a memorial to the first colonists and as an example of the gardens that graced the estates of the wealthy backers of the colony.The park is located on Route 64, three miles north of Manteo.

The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island reopened in spring 2000 following a two-year expansion project.

At approximately 68,000 square feet, the aquarium is twice its former size and features hundreds of animals found in North Carolina's diverse aquatic environments.

The centerpiece of the expanded aquarium is the 285,000-gallon ocean tank, which houses the recreated skeletal remains of the USS Monitor shipwreck. Large sharks, schooling fishes and sea turtles combine to make this exhibit spectacular. The aquarium is situated on 14 acres of property overlooking the Croatan Sound. Outside is a nature trail, shoreline boardwalk with observation decks and mounted telescopes, and an excavation area where visitors can dig for fossilized shark's teeth. The aquarium is located on Airport Road, three miles north of Manteo, off US 64, adjacent to the Dare County Regional Airport.
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This from someone who enjoys being able to share in our national Heritage!! For more information go to; http://rcbenterpriz.com/travel
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