The temperatures have cooled, the crowds departed, many of the shops closed, and the numerous transplanters from Europe have left, but the Outer Banks is still a good choice if you like the beach, fishing, sightseeing, and just plain old relaxation. I stayed at one of the numerous houses available for rent in Corolla, which is on the north end. I stayed for free by invitation from a friend. It is here the main road, Ocean Trail or 12, comes to an end. You can drive out onto the beach and continue north for a distance of 10 miles until you can go no further, if that is what you want to do. Signs are posted warning you not to park your vehicles on the side of the road and also one that tells you not to feed the wild horses. Yes, wild horses, the very same horses that were featured in the movie "Nights in Rodanthe." The movie gave the impression the Spanish Mustangs were in Rodanthe, but that was incorrect. The mustangs are at the north end near Corolla in the National Estuarine Research Reserve. The majestic breed is teetering on the brink of extinction, so if you would like to see them running free, do it immediately if not sooner.
I spent a few hours at one of the main tourist attractions, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. The Lighthouse is still in service and totally automated with a beacon that flashes in 20 second intervals, 3 seconds on, 17 seconds off. Open to the public, I traversed the 214 steps up to the tower walk at 158 feet, a task the keeper did every 2 1/2 hours to pull the weighted chains before it was automated. My companions, Gary, Marcus, and Addison, along with several other tourists made the climb up to the top where an iron platform and rail encircled the top, some of them hugging the outside lighthouse wall, fearful of looking down to the ground far below. While at the top I met Michelle, a photographer from Virginia, who I conversed with for a short time. She had visited many of the lighthouses up and down the East Coast, including one near Charleston, SC on Morris Island. This was her fifth visit to the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. Her photographs of the Outer Banks are beautiful.
The panarama on top was awesome. You could see across Currituck Sound to the Mainland and out over the Atlantic Ocean some 18 miles. The Currituck Beach Lighthouse Station, which includes numerous other restored buildings, is located in a park with a excellent view of the Currituck Sound. The Center for Wildlife Education and the historic Whalehead Club are also here. The Sound is the largest body of brackish water in the area with an average depth of 5 feet, pretty shallow. If you are a person who fishes, there are some species of salt water as well as fresh in the Sound. At one time it had a huge population of large mouth bass. In the park there are placards placed in strategic locations that tell the whole history and facts of interest, including why the lunker bass have disappeared. Be sure to visit the park at sunset for some pretty panaramas.
I could write alot more about my 9 day visit to Corolla and the Outer Banks of North Carolina, but you just have to check it out for yourself. It is worth a visit, and bring the family along too. If you are a golfer looking for incredible golf, take on the Currituck Club challenge, I did and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a breezy day to say the least, with 35-40 mph wind gusts. If you would like to learn more about what happened to the Rodanthe house read this article. If you would like to learn more about Corolla and attractions, check out the Corolla Guide. Hotels in Corolla, Hampton Inn. Vacation home rentals information, click vacation rentals.