Outer Banks NC: Manteo to Corolla
Standing guard over the mainland of coastal North Carolina is a thin chain of ever shifting barrier islands known as the Outer Banks. This sandy vanguard has been hammered by countless hurricanes and lesser storms and is in constant flux. The Outer Banks of today is not the Outer Banks of a century ago and years from now they will have morphed into another version. As testament to the ferociousness of the weather the surrounding waters are littered with shipwrecks, some dating back to pre-colonial days. Both pilgrims and pirates have peopled these shores. History buffs have plenty to explore in the Outer Banks
As much as I love the mountains of the Smokies, I am equally drawn to the wind swept dunes on the opposite end of the state. Every year my wife and I head out to reconnoiter another corner of the North Carolina coast. This year’s tour held some challenges as our visit followed hurricane Sandy’s. But despite the mountain of sand dumped on the road to Corolla and the destruction of our planned route south of Kitty Hawk, we pieced together a pretty decent excursion.
We began and ended on Roanoke Island, site of the “Lost Colony”. Swept away by the hellacious wind, eaten by animals, carried away by the indigenous people or teleported into space; no one knows. From Roanoke we crossed the sound to Nags Head and from there we meandered north avoiding the buried sections of route 12 and made our way to Duck; buried neck deep in sand from hurricane Sandy.
With plenty of good places to eat and a cool greenway known as the Duck Trail, Duck is a neat little town. It marks the ‘about half way’ point between Nags Head and Corolla. We lunched and Guinnessed ourselves to stave off the cold before leaving Duck and plowed into the headwind towards Corolla. I have lots of respect for coastal riders in these parts. Although lacking the long steep climbs, the wind here blows with a hateful vengeance. We fought a wet and frigid headwind the whole ride from our first turn north in Nags Head all the way up the coast to Corolla. But after a long hard day in the saddle we reward ourselves with luxury accommodations at The Inn at Corolla Light.
We awoke the next day to more of the same, cold and wet, and headed out to poke around in the old lighthouse. (To Be Continued…)