It has been a wonderful beginning to our vacation. I enjoyed sitting out on the deck last night listening to the waves crash and watching the stars come out.
Today we were busy! We decided since it was one of the hotter days for the week to do a day trip and save the beach for when it will be more comfortable. Today was lighthouse day.
We headed south - first to Ocracoke Island. Which, required a ferry ride.
Once in Ocracoke it took us longer to drive the island than to see the lighthouse. But, at least we can mark another lighthouse off of our NC lighthouse list. It is one of the prettiest lighthouses in the state. And, growing up in a place very near to Ocracoke- it always feels comfortable there.
We stopped for lunch at the local sandwhich shack, in which I think we were the feast for mosquitoes that were the size of birds.
Since we had time before the next ferry to Hatteras, we decided to stop at the Wild Pony Pen, where they collect the wild ponies from the islands each year (to avoid overcrowding). There was a nice, short walk through the maritime forest to a viewing stand.
Even though they are 'penned' it is still their natural habitat.
After another 40 minute ferry ride, we headed for Cape Hatteras Lighthouse with a pit stop along the way at the Frisco Native American Museum. The local Native American tribes did not live permanently on the islands, but used them for hunting and fishing trips. Because of tiredness from the younger group we did not go into the museum. We will go back another day with just the older two. But, we did go on the self-guided nature walk.
This is a model of a native hut.
The signs along the path not only identified the tree but also explained how the native peoples used it as food or medicine.
Mary has been looking forward to climbing Cape Hatteras Lighthouse since we told her about the trip. You should know I am terrified of hights, so I made Randy go up with her. The lighthouse has 260-something steps to the top, or equal to a 12-story building. Apparently, she was taking two steps at a time on the way up. From the top they could see the path along which they moved the lighthouse back from the beach a few years ago.
While they were climbing I took the rest of the group over to the museum, which like a lot of National Park museums was so-so. Not very interesting for the younger ones. We did pick up the junior ranger worksheets for them to do this week to earn 'badges'.
We got back in time for 30 minutes of beach time before the clouds moved in and the wind really picked up. The girls liked watching the kiteboarders who were flying through the water and Emily loved her first chance to really dig in the sand.
Tomorrow is relaxing day - beach day for the kids. I think we need it after today.