We left Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia early one morning and drove through wide open spaces on our way to Outerbanks, North Carolina. Growing up in New Jersey and working in Manhattan, I had never been to a place so wide and so vast. I pulled over to get out of my car and for about five minutes, and I didn’t see a single soul or hear a single sound that was man-made.
We made one ill-advised stop on the way to North Carolina; The Great Dismal Swamp. It is a national wildlife refuge and, as the website explains, “The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is the largest intact remnant of a vast habitat that once covered more than one million acres of southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina.” I wanted to go because I love those trees that grow out of swamps and I wanted to get a few pictures of it. Added bonus; there was a driving trail, so we wouldn’t have to walk around in the heat (we’re not wimps, we were in a motorcycle accident about a year ago).
The website makes it look like this:
We saw a whole lot of this:
Bugs…Bugs everywhere. We drove the entire length of the 4 mile trail with doors and windows sealed up tight because the bugs that were literally crashing into our car. There was audible crashing. We feared for our lives and did not, under any circumstances, exit the car or even crack a window.
At the end of trail we found a beautiful lake, hidden in the middle of that strange, desolate swamp. I enjoyed the view from my car, however. I was afraid to be picked up and carried off by a giant insect.
When we had our fill of bugs and swamp, we continued to North Carolina, to a small inn on the Northern end of the Outerbanks. Lucky for us it was off season and we got upgraded to a suite complete with a fire place and private access to the pool.
After a night of dinner with friends, exploring the town at night, and enjoying some time together by the fire, we set out the next day but made one stop before we left. My father is a big fan of Art Deco architecture and just a few miles from where we stayed was one of only three fully preserved Art Deco houses in the U.S. It’s called The Whalehead Club and it was completely art deco, from the trim around doorways to the shape of their clocks. I couldn’t get any pictures inside, however, but I highly recommend going; it was very interesting.
We only stayed in Outerbanks for one day because our friends happened to be there at the same time, so we had dinner with them the first night and brunch the next day. Other than that, Outerbanks was not on our list of places to see on our trip. However, once we got there and were given a beautiful suite, we realized only after that maybe we rushed the visit. My Uncle and his family go down once a year and my uncle goes to every Lighthouse. I didn’t even go to one, and the inn we stayed in was named after one because it was right next door!
In retrospect, I think staying one more day, using the pool, having a nice dinner in town (or even making something in the kitchenette), visiting at least one Lighthouse or even the hill that the Wright brothers flew from, would have added to the experience. But when we left, I had my first southern biscuit of the trip and BOY was it good.
Next on my Road Trip Series will be Charleston. Subscribe to get updates on my latest posts, and don’t forget to like The Hungry New Yorker on Facebook. See you soon!