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Posts Tagged ‘Cape Hatteras’


I know, I know. I’ve been remiss in sharing pictures on the farm here lately, in addition to updating the could-it-be-finally-ending-tale As The Silo Turns. No worries, friends, those updates shall be coming. I’m working on carving out time to sit and post the pictures and updates.

Fall, as anyone who lives on a farm knows, is busy. There’s a lot to do to get ready for winter, and now that it’s finally getting cooler, we are able to get outside again and do more than mowing the yards. I’ve got all kinds of painting to do out there still, coop work, etc etc. Trail riding season is again upon us, which also means consistently cooler weather to be able to ride in. Whooppeee!

I enjoy the weather here *a lot* more than I did in NM- no longer are we like cockroaches, coming out when it’s dark because it’s the only tolerable time of day. 😆 There were a few days when I had to think about the heat with the chickens, but overall, it’s been a good summer- temps were not too extreme, although I’m still not lovin’ any kind of real heat.

One of the things I love about NC, in addition to being closer to my family, is that the east coast is LOADED with history. When my oldest brother and his family came out to visit for spring break, it was time to head to the Outer Banks. Now, while there are 4 main islands (Roanoke, Bodie, Hatteras, Ocracoke) in this 200 mile stretch, there are other islands that are no longer very distinct (Pea, maybe Portsmouth??), hurricanes and normal erosion are taking a toll.

It was a no-brainer to want to head to Roanoke Island. You may or may not have heard of The Lost Colony. I’m not going to talk about that today. 😆 Nope, I’m not.

I’m also not going to talk about Kill Devil Hills or Kitty Hawk. Nor will I speak of Bodie Island, specifically, the lighthouse there. Nope, nope nope. 🙂 I’ll go into detail on those in separate postings, because it’s worth it.

That first trip, though, truly whet our appetites. Those destinations took about 2 1/2 hours to get to, but we didn’t have time to get to Hatteras Island, where I really wanted to go. 220px-Bodie_Island_Lighthouse_2008The Bodie Island Light Station was very cool to see, even though we didn’t take a tour. But the Cape Hatteras Light Station was one I absolutely DID NOT want to miss, despite a car full of girls, mostly teenage, who only wanted to go to the beach. 😀

While both the Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras light stations are part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, island driving the 47 miles will take about an hour from one to the other. The Bodie Island Light Station requires a guided tour, which takes about 45 minutes {moaning and groaning}. And, there was a wait for the tour that day {eye rolling, moaning and groaning}.

Despite the whining from the peanut gallery, Mama was bound and determined to head out for the additional hour of travel to take the self-guided tour of the Cape Hatteras Light Station. 😆

Interestingly, Hatteras Island seemed to be the one that had the most Hurricane Aurthur damage. While it wasn’t designated a “disaster area,” there was enough damage that there were piles of debris along the roadside, waiting to get picked up. Lots of needed roof repair, but nothing horrifically damaging, thank goodness.

And it was very, very cool. It was sooooo cool, I’d do it again. Even more than once again. It’s that awesome.

 

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Principal keeper and double keeper's quarters

Principal keeper and double keeper’s quarters

 

This light station is full of all kinds of awesomeness. The original 1803 lighthouse had to be demolished because it needed too many repairs, thanks in large part to the Civil War. In 1860, Congress gave the green light for a new lighthouse, and appropriated funds. Construction began in 1868. Remarkably, it was built ON TIME and ON BUDGET, in just 18 months, with over a million bricks hand-laid. Can you imagine?!

Its history is tangled with the Civil War, in more ways than one. Knowing the Diamond Shoals, aka ‘The Graveyard of the Atlantic’ to be deadly, the Confederacy absconded with the fresnel lens for the light. Yep. They sure did. The retreating Confederates took the light station lens with them when they retreated from the Union forces.

This resulted in the sinking of 40 Union ships, including the USS Monitor during the time the light was out. I want to say I remember the Park Ranger saying it was about 4 months of no light, which is astonishing. The National Park Service estimates about 1,000 ships have sunk out there, including German U-boats. It’s a big deal.

The Outer Banks, including the Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island Light Stations were both “safe havens” for slaves. If they could get to the island, they would be emancipated. This resulted in The Freedmen’s Colony. While pretty short-lived at around 2 years, this was a critical turning point for the country.

So anyhow, after the Civil War, the Cape Hatteras Light Station was pretty rough.  It was beat all to heck from the war. It was missing the lens. And it needed to be moved. Because of its condition, it was in danger of falling into the ocean during a storm, which had been creeping up on the light station’s location. So, they moved it.

While it was the first move inland, it wasn’t the last. The first move took it 600 feet to the north from the 1803 lighthouse location. After the new station was completed and lit December 1, 1870. February 1871, the original lighthouse was demolished.

The new lighthouse, at the time, was the tallest brick lighthouse in the world. Today, it’s still the tallest in brick lighthouse in the US.

Just over a hundred years later {!!!!}, in 1999, the decision was made to move it. Yep. You read that right. They needed to move it- again.

The issue was, mother nature was reclaiming the ground, and well, it wouldn’t be in the around if they kept dilly-dallying and didn’t DO something to save it. So, they moved it. This time, the move took them 2,900 feet to the southwest.

Wanna know how they did it? Remember the theory of the ancients using kind of a sledge track and rolling timbers? Yep. That. All the modern technology at their disposal, and they ended up using the ‘old-fashioned’ way. 😆 Ok, so they had modern materials, I’ll give you that.

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Pretty nifty, eh?  Thing is, it took 23 days to move it 2,900 feet. 23. Days.  Can you imagine?!

They don’t figure it’ll need to be moved for a hundred more years. But not to worry- they own a sizable chunk of land, so they don’t think they will run out of space to move it to. !!!!!!!!

The tour to climb all 269 steps to the top is unguided, and they only allow small groups to go up at any one time to avoid bottle-necking. There are free tours of the Double Keeper’s Quarters, and you will get loads of fantastic information in the Museum of the Sea inside.

Now, while I could have stayed and really dug into the museum portion, I was getting a whole barrel-full of grumpiness, from girls who were convinced I was gypping them out of their beach time because it was going to rain. {Ok, so there were a few sporadic sprinkles here and there, but sheesh- it was only 11 am!!!} 🙄 🙄

We I wanted to try and find the original lighthouse location, but I’m not sure we ever did. We did find the beach across the street, though, and that’s where we spent our afternoon.

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I was thrilled that our friend living in our little house was going to be home and able to put chickens to bed. That meant we didn’t have to rush home to lock them up by 9 pm. We managed to rumble home around 11:30 pm and then get our chores wrapped up, but it was so, so worth it.

Providing we’re here long enough, I’m hoping to get back to the Outer Banks and explore everything else we haven’t gotten to. I could EASILY spend a solid two weeks or more out there, because there’s so much to do besides going to the beach.

If you ever get the chance to make it to the eastern coast, the Outer Banks is a *must see* destination.

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