Sometimes we make camp and something unexpected happens. Well at Oregon Inlet Campground we ran into some strong winds. Now we have had strong winds before, like in New Mexico when the wind damaged our wheel skirting, but this was some really powerful wind. One night it blew so hard it damaged our window! Luckily we are pretty handy at this point and we were able to fix it ourselves in the morning. I have heard of the saying when life hands you lemons make lemon-aid, so when we were faced with strong winds we decided to go fly a kite. We brought a kite along with us from Nevada and had carried it to twenty-five states without using it. This was the opportunity we had been looking for, strong winds and sandy beaches for the kids to crash it into because let’s face it you gotta crash a few times to really learn how to fly. That’s what the Wright Brothers did and it worked out pretty well for them, but I digress and will get to those guys in a minute. The look of joy on the kids face as the kite took flight and they were the ones controlling it was priceless. Yes even though it was windy we had a great time visiting the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
BESTOYARD Rainbow Kite for Kids and Adults with String Easy Flyer Kite for Outdoor Games Activities
On this adventure we have gotten to see some amazing places and beautiful National Parks. Sometimes we have great timing and we are visiting at a perfect moment, but this was not the case at the Wright Brothers memorial. The building needed replaced and the Memorial site tried to tear it down and start over, but the building had been deemed a national historic site and the state wouldn’t let them get rid of it. The park was forced to renovate the existing building and the project is slated to take several years, so the main visitor center was closed when we visited. That meant that the pieces of the original Flyer had to be moved somewhere so that it wouldn’t be damaged during the construction. Luckily for us we have seen replicas of the The Flyer at other museums and it didn’t stop us from learning about the historic moment when man first learned how to fly. The ranger really made the day at this park though because he gave the second best ranger talk we have attended (if you are curious the best so far was the Nike Missile Site in Everglades and both were amazing). Standing at the marker of the first heavier than air manned flight was an awe inspiring moment. Everyone enjoyed the bronze statues of the actual moment in history that man took flight in a heavier than air craft and one of the staff told us to let the kids get on the statue to get a great picture, otherwise we never would have done something like that! It was neat to see the flight markers showing how far the brothers made it on each of the first four flights. On top of the sand dune that the brothers used to launch gliders, a huge monument is erected complete with busts of the two brothers. If you are anywhere near this National Monument then it is definitely worth checking out and maybe you will be one of the lucky ones that get to see the new visitor center open, but even with the main visitor center closed it is a great place to visit.
The day we visited the Wright Brothers Memorial was a hot one. I have some serious respect for the two brothers that carried a large glider up a giant sand dune in their three piece suits thousands of times in a row! (Although I should note that on the day they made history with the first flight it was six degrees in December). Everyone was starting to over heat after climbing the memorial hill, walking the flight paths and walking around the historic memorial. So we did what others before us have done and went straight to an ice cream parlor afterwards. We like to visit small businesses and we like eat fresh made food. Well Scoops Ice Cream makes their own ice cream and they know what they are doing. We haven’t had handmade ice cream like that since we visited Amish country in Ohio! Yes this place had some seriously delicious ice cream and after a hot day of walking around we all enjoyed a nice cold treat.
Everyone likes a good mystery and the longest unsolved mystery in America’s history might be Roanoke Island. The first attempt by the English to establish a colony in the New World ended with 116 people disappearing with only one clue left behind; the word Croatoan carved into a post. We have visited some large naval forts both in Florida and in Oregon, so when I told the kids we would be having school at a fort they thought they knew what to expect. The fort on Roanoke Island though was just a very old earthen walled fort. When we walked up to the fort the kids were a little incredulous and surprised to see the dirt walls. A ranger gave a very informative talk about the theories that people have put forth on what happened to the colonists. She did a great job of making the audience think about the possibilities. Yes the rangers at the National Parks do a great job of educating us and the adults always walk away with more knowledge, so I know the kids are learning somethings too. Even though the colony disappeared and the earthen fort was reconstructed by the park in the 50’s (meaning not much of the original structures were left to view), the National Park had a great visitor center with tons of information about the area. We not only learned about the natives and the colony, we learned about the island through the years. Another huge discovery happened on the island. We thought it was interesting that wireless voice transmissions were first developed on Roanoke Island during the same time that the Wright Brothers were developing flight at Kitty Hawk. It was a good day of learning history for the whole family and the kids managed to get another junior ranger badge.
The Oregon Inlet campground is part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, so the kids also got the junior ranger book for the seashore. Even though we only stayed four nights the kids completed three junior ranger books! Since we count the junior range programs as part of the kids school, we normally tell them they need to complete the entire book. After two other junior ranger books though we let them just fill out what they wanted to before we turned them in and the kids still did more than bare minimum (said the proud parent who wrote this). There are three lighthouses in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is one of the tallest in the country. The road was being worked on so we didn’t drive down to see it plus the Bodie Lighthouse was right up the road. It costs money to climb the lighthouses and kids under 48” tall aren’t allowed to climb them, so we passed on climbing one (we try to only participate in activities everyone in the family can enjoy). It was fun to explore another National Seashore and everyone in the family loves the beach, but the road was calling and we packed it up to head inland to the capital. Yes it was windy on the Outer Banks, but we didn’t mind, we just flew a kite and had a great time!
Here are some links to the places we visited
Oregon Inlet Campground and other Cape Hatteras Campgrounds
The Wright Brothers Memorial
Scoops Ice Cream (they don’t have a website, but Outerbanks.com has their hours and a map of where they are located)
Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
Bodie Island Lighthouse
And here is some more beach fun we had on a beautiful day