NC Outer Banks - May 7 - 10

We boarded the ferry out of Cedar Island Bay at 1pm after a two hour drive along the two lane road from Goose Creek Resort.  The ferry was 2+ hour ride.  We met a number of friendly locals who provided input on what to see and do in Ocracoke Island.   Daddy also crawled under the RV for a while to triage a creaking noise that annoyed him while driving - it's hard to replicate without...a ferry that sways side to side!

We were able to inspect the roof from the 2nd floor passenger lounge;)

While on Ocracoke we visited the town's 2nd lighthouse built in 1822.  The first light house was obsolete in less than 20 years due to the migration of the main channel.  The channel had shifted nearly a mile away.  It is also the second oldest operating lighthouse in the country.

Parked next to us at the visitor lot was this lovely vintage RV.  Yes, it has taken us 9 months to traverse Canada and the US, but we probably beat this guy!  What a gentle reminder of how lucky we are to be living/traveling in Big Country.

We do not miss an opportunity to let our jeep do what it was meant to do.  The kids now make the process of letting out the air in the tires much more efficient.

Sunset from the sand...

At the local bait shop they had a carnival cutout.  We could be on a reality show called "Carnival Cut-outs Across the Country"

Junior Park Ranger program number thirty three...not really but are lucky to have been swore-in more than we can remember!

We stayed in the Ocracoke National Seashore.  We had a great spot just a dune away from the beautiful beaches.

Ghost crabs were not scarce but they were creepy and quick.

Daddy got up at sunrise to fish. Mommy came out to get a sunrise photo. At least one of the two got what they came for!

Our next ferry ride was from Ocracoke to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  Daddy gave Mommy a hard time about not getting out of the RV - but she said, "who knows when I will ever be able to sit in my home while enjoying a ferry ride!"

In Hatteras (the town) we visited the interesting "Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum" and completed their 'I spy' activity

Reality show material.  Don't worry - this will not be our last picture involving cutouts.

On Cape Hatteras (the island) we stayed in Avon, NC a smaller town south of Nags Head. We had a spot next to the bird houses with many martins. Great for morning song and mosquitos, bad for clean RVs...

We visited the Hatteras lighthouse, the tallest, active lighthouse in North America at 197 1/2ft.  In 1999 this 5000 ton lighthouse was MOVED 1/2 mile due to erosion.

We visited, but did not pay the $10 entry fee to fish off the Avon fishing Pier.  Who puts these things up and how much have they had to drink!?

We received insider info about a small, local fish market where the local restaurants buy from the boats. We road our bikes, picked our bluefish out from the ice closet/room (it was all that was left), and he cleaned the fish while we waited.

Went for another beach drive.  We've never been to a place with so much beach fishing.  The water is cooler than normal so the migration north hasn't kicked in, but the beaches were constantly full of fisherman.

At multiple locations, there were 20-40 windsurfers and/or kite-surfers at all times.  This is an area that thrives on wind (hence the first flight).

Avon is a great alternative location to stay if you want to avoid the more commercial areas of Nags Head and Kitty Hawk.  But visiting the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills is a must.  The story of the determination and creativity of these two brothers is extremely well told and experienced thanks to the National Park Service.  This was one of our favorite National Parks/Memorials.

The monument says it best "... achieved by dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith"

Our NC recipe was Pone Bread.  We are not sure Pone Bread really originated in the Outer Banks, but it was new to us and claimed as local. It's a corn bread with molasses made without eggs or milk.

We used a recipe:

As far back as the oldest Hatteras resident can remember, pone bread has been considered a treat. It was first cooked in fireplaces, in iron pots, with hot coals on the lids, and later, in modern ovens. No camp meeting was complete without several of these, and not many Sundays passed without each home having a pone bread, cooked the day before.
3 cups meal
5 cups boiling water (1 more may be needed, if too thick)
2/3 cup cold water
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons shortening
Scald meal with boiling water, in deep mixing bowl. Stir well and add salt, sugar, molasses and cold water. Blend in flour, mix well, cover and let stand at room temperature from 10 to 12 hours (overnight, or all day).

This bread packs well and keeps for a week or more (if well hidden). Most families have passed their own recipes down to their daughters, and some vary in the amount of sugar and shortening used, and the size of the pan, to regulate the thickness.
In the days before freezers and short hunting seasons, all the thrifty islanders had a barrel of salted wild fowl, which made an excellent stew, and its gravy was enjoyed over the pone bread. Any gravy is good with it, however, so choose your own favorite to serve with this Cape Hatteras tradition.
In a Dutch oven, a 3 qt. iron, Pyrex, or other heavy baking pan, melt the shortening and pour in the batter. Bake two hours in a 375°F. oven.
Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. and continue to bake for another hour, with lid on pan. If oven is not needed, turn it off and leave covered pan in for an hour or more longer.
Can be cooled outside, still covered, but some claim it’s not as good.
This is delicious with any/roast and gravy, sliced and served cold.
Recipe by: Mrs. Rebecca Burrus, Dare County, North Carolina

One of the reason Pone Bread was treasured was because of it's long shelf life.  Unfortunately, we are testing that benefit because what remains is still sitting on our shelf...we loved NC, but apparently not the Pone Bread:(

We attended a beautiful service on Saturday evening. The glass overlooked the setting sun on the bay side. 

Tomorrow is Mother's Day and we will head to Virginia Beach.  We came across our favorite sign, perfect for the big day:

God bless to all - and give your Mother a big hug!