Monday, May 19, 2014

Outer Banks Lighthouses

One of the things we wanted to do while on the Outer Banks was to see as many of the historical sites as possible while we were there. The area was among the first places to be settled by Europeans, so there is quite a bit to see in that respect. High on our list were the four big lighthouses on the main parts of the Outer Banks islands. We were able to take care of seeing all four of these buildings, each of which is very impressive and seem to be in good repair and easily accessible.

Of the four lighthouses, the one that was most difficult to see was the one on Ocracoke Island. It's the smallest of the houses, but is surrounded by private property and has almost no parking. There is only enough space for four autos to park there, and no space at all if you have an RV (as we did). Try to park anywhere else and the notices to have your vehicle towed are all too apparent.

We ended up parking the truck and trailer beside a shop that was out of business. But even though it was shut permanently, we still almost got into trouble. The owner apparently lives down the street from the building and saw us park beside the shuttered business and had arrived on the scene just as we got back and drove away. We just missed having a tow truck pull up and cause us much despair.

The Ocracoke Lighthouse. Surrounded by private property. Not the friendliest of the lighthouses to try to visit.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse. A National Park Service location and with ample parking opportunities.

The Currituck Lighthouse. This is on the far north of the island at Corolla. Not owned by the National Park Service, but by the local government, apparently. There is plenty of parking and easy access and the lighthouse is part of a larger historic district. It's all very beautiful and peaceful, but the northern part of the Outer Banks is overdeveloped and extremely overbuilt and crowded with very heavy auto traffic. I did not care for any of the Outer Banks beyond Nags Head and will probably never return to those spots now that I've seen the historical locations we wanted to see.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. This was our favorite of the four lighthouses. They were in the midst of repainting it. You can see the painting scaffold just above the red brick. They were about halfway done with the job while we were there. This is on the southern end of the Outer Banks and this part of the islands are far less commercially developed and most of the acreage seems to be locked up as National Park land or Wildlife Refuge, thus protecting it from the kind of hideous exploitation that we saw in the north.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse still serves as an active facility. We waited below one evening until the light came on to see it in action.


Kent Tankersley said...

Very nice and picturesque lighthouses! And it looks like they're well preserved. Were visitors allowed to go all the way to the top? No doubt fantastic views.

James Robert Smith said...

They keep them in tip-top repair. You can climb all but the Ocracoke Lighthouse. It runs $8.00 to climb to the top. I didn't climb any of them...I had to save something new to do whenever we return to the Outer Banks.