Last weekend I traveled to NC to check out the Outer Banks of NC, the nearby Alligator National Wildlife Preserve, and Chincoteague and Assateague Islands , I’ve been before but not with a long lens to really capture the wild horses roam. I covered it extensively on my social media platforms, but here are the details and more photos. Day 1 & 2
Mike and I planned to leave at 5AM as I the first stop was going to be Alligator National Wildlife Refuge , and it would take 7hrs to get there. Now you might think the ANWR was our destinations to see alligators, but it actually is known for its huge bear population, and the best time to see them was at dawn or dusk. I thought we’d get there for dusk, but because of our late start we settled to see the Wright Brothers monument in Kitty Hawk, NC. Definitely a bucket list stop in my life.
It was high on top of a hill, or at the time a sand dune. From the top you could see the ocean but it was about a mile away. There were two busts of the Wright brothers adorning the monument, and the story of how they executed the first flight – a lot of friends helping to push their glider off the hill. And now we’re all able to fly because of these two inquisitive kids.
As with most of the trips we go on Mike and I don’t make hotel arrangements before we arrive so it keeps us flexible on our timeline, good thing right. 90% of the time we use the app HotelTonight.com to find hotels at the last minute. When a hotel doesn’t sell out, it releases rooms to this app at a 15% to 25% discount, as you get closer to the date, and on the actual date it might even drop as much as 50%. I was checking all week and the final hotel we chose wasn’t even an option until the day we arrived. We got it for $219 a few hours before we checked in, and then right before I walked in the door of the Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Nags Head Oceanfront I noticed it had dropped another $50, but I had already purchased it. Glad I did, it was spectacular.
It was right on the beach, we had a nice balcony room over looking the parking lot, er I mean the sunset, but more importantly the Atlantic Ocean and sunrise was just outside by the back door.
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge – OuterBanks.com – too hot for birds. But it was cool to see Cape Hatteras after hearing about it for so many years after being battered by Nor’easters and hurricane, in fact Dorian is going there tomorrow. Literally for miles Cape Hatteras is like driving through Strathmere NJ, beach on one side, marshes on the other. Very narrow, basically a sandbar with a road. When you get to the end of Hatteras on either side there are houses where the land gets wider, and they are on stilts to allow the highest of tides to flow underneath in storms.
Then we went to this cute island, which sits between the Outer Banks and Alligator National Wildlife Refuge called Roanoke Island. It’s tiny, but has a cute touristy village where we shopped, and grabbed lunch before our next adventure. I didn’t have time to check out the “pirates ship” but it made a great photo.
We got skunked in Alligator National Wildlife Refuge . It was a barren field of nothing for hours, except for those turkeys crossing the street. We went at the wrong time of the year. The grass was high, the corn hadn’t been cut back yet, and it was too darn hot. Yes corn, the wildlife preserve grows corn and soy beans for the sole purpose of a resource for food for the animals, isn’t that nice? A local told us to come back after the first full moon and we’d see hundreds of bears. Next time I’ll go in the spring or fall as I’d love to see the bears safely from my car.
Then we hit a miss on HotelTonight.com, which happens. It was a Saturday night, there were no hotels for hundreds of miles as we were near the NC beaches. I hadn’t read too much touristy stuff about Elizabeth City leading up to the trip, but it was the only place they had two hotels, and then I waited longer, one hotel. The Comfort Inn. It was a dud at any price, we paid $235. It was dirty, the night desk staff was rude, the day staff was nicer and well it was dirty. We couldn’t wait to leave. Our view was the prison next door. Next Week we’ll ChitChat about the rest of the trip. Check back Friday afternoon for HughE Around Town and celeb sightings in Philly, and what’s happening on the weekend for you late planners like me.