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Quick Trip to Outer Banks

posted Aug 7, 2013, 11:18 AM by Justin P   [ updated Aug 26, 2013, 6:33 AM ]

This past weekend, we had a whirlwind trip to Corolla in the Outer Banks.  It was totally unexpected to me, so no time to prepare.  Sandy called me at work at about 230 on Friday afternoon and asked if I wanted to go out to her parents' beach house for the weekend.  And who can resist a weekend at the beach?  We left Saturday morning, but unfortunately, things took longer than expected and we didn't get on the road until almost 11.  It normally takes about 4 hours to get there, so we expected to arrive around 3.  Everything was going smoothly until NC-12 splits from US-158 just north of Kitty Hawk.  The traffic from everyone checking into beach houses along this stretch of road was terrible!  With only one lane in each direction and poorly timed lights, it was gridlocked for miles!  It took us nearly 2 hours to make it through Southern Shores and Duck to finally reach Corolla.  Sandy's parents and relatives had rented a beach house in the Corolla Light Resort (sounds more like a beer than a resort) and had invited us to join them until we had to go back to work.  When we finally got through the traffic and reached the beach house, we had just enough time to unpack as some thunderstorms were moving in.  It started downpouring with lots of lightning.  Since the weather was bad, we hung around the house for a bit until the weather cleared up slightly and then around sunset, we took a short walk on the beach.  As soon as we hit the sand, we saw a large ghost crab scurry across the beach.  We followed him for a bit, but soon he dipped into the sand and disappeared.  And then the rain started back.  We ran to one of the gazebos on the boardwalks over the dunes for shelter.  I had foolishly worn a cotton shirt and it was completely drenched.  I rang it out as we waited, hoping for the rain to lighten up.  After a bit, it was clear that it wasn't going to lighten up.  So we finally gave up and walked back in the rain to the beach house.  It's only water after all.  Of course it finally stopped when we got back to the house.  Sandy and I got in the hot tub for a while and then went to bed.

Sunday morning, we went for breakfast at First Light in TimBuckII.  The skies were mostly overcast, but the rain had stopped.  When we got back to the beach house, Sandy went out to the beach and I took a hike around Corolla.  First, I headed up NC-12 to Currituck Banks Reserve, a North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve.  Before I came, I applied a copious amount of bug spray, but surprisingly, the insects weren't bad at all here.  Being a swampy maritime forest, I had thought the mosquitoes would be terrible, but I really didn't see any.  When I got to the reserve, I first headed out on the short boardwalk trail leading to a beautiful view of Currituck Sound.  Although the skies were cloudy, the views of the marshy areas up to the sound were quite beautiful.  I sat for a few minutes at the benches at the end of the boardwalk trail, enjoying the view, then started back and turned for the Currituck Banks Maritime Forest Trail. This trail passes through a beautiful maritime forest with a number of really cool live oaks growing along it.  I had to stop several times to check out these trees with their wildly-growing branches.  They almost look like something out of a scary movie where the trees come alive.  The trail ends again at a marshy area on the sound, about 3/4 of a mile from the start.  Turning around, I headed back through the maritime forest and boardwalk and headed back towards Corolla on NC-12.  Almost back at the resort, I took a detour through Curritck Heritage Park for some pictures of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, the Whalehead Club, and some of the other interesting features of the park.  The Corolla Island Bridges, which were built after canals were made to create an "island" for the Whalehead Club were really pretty.  I got some more pictures and starting heading back to the beach house.  By the time I got back, the sun was finally starting to come out.  Sandy and I had lunch with her parents at Cosmo's Pizzeria and then she and I headed to the beach to soak up some sun before we headed back.  The sun had come out and it was turning into a beautiful day, but unfortunately, we needed to start heading back home.  Of course, the weather gets when we have to leave!  But it was an enjoyable weekend trip nonetheless.  On the way out, the traffic was light going south on NC-12, but there were miles of gridlock going in the other direction.  We will definitely need to keep this in mind next time we head to the northern Outer Banks and plan accordingly.

Live Oak along Maritime Forest Trail

Lighthouse & Boat House