After retiring early last night, we got up at our usual time. It was windy and we could feel the trailer move with each strong wind gust. Our neighbor’s wind chimes also gave us a clue. We made plans to go south on Hwy. 12 to Hatteras Village and explore. Our first stop was at the U.S. Weather Bureau Station and Welcome Center.
Weather observations gathered near Cape Hatteras were important for forecasters all along the East Coast. In 1901, the U.S. Weather Bureau constructed a Weather Bureau building–only 1 of 11 such buildings– built in the U.S. at the turn of the century. It was restored by the National Park Service to its original 1901 appearance. It now operates as a Visitor’s/Welcome Center.
I really liked this plaque that was posted on the wall. I’ve seen it before, but it always puts a smile on my face.
From there, we drove past the ferry dock where 3 rows of cars were lined up to go on the ferry to Ocracoke. Right past there, we found the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum.
It was easy to recognize with its unique, ship-like building, porthole windows, and curved timbers. The museum focuses on the maritime history and shipwrecks of North Carolina Outer Banks–often called the Graveyard of the Atlantic– from 1524-1945. On display inside is the 1854 first order fresnel lens from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
It is quite a distinctive piece even with the broken and missing pieces. This was the first time we’ve seen a first order fresnel lens up close. We found the free museum to be very interesting and informative. Across from the museum, was Ramp 55 where people with Off-Road-Vehicles can drive on the beach.
We decided to take the short walk up the road and over the dune to see who was there. With the winds today kicking up some big waves, there were quite a few surfers, kiteboarders, and beachgoers on the beach. We could see a lot of sand and salt blowing in the air.
The sand was very loose and deep, making it very difficult to walk and drive through it. I can see why you need a 4-wheel drive vehicle and a permit to drive in it. There’s also a lot of other requirements you must fulfill to get that permit. You don’t want to get stuck out there when the tide comes in. On the way back, we stopped at the Seaside Seafood Market run by a local commercial fishing family for 20 years. Bob came out with some fresh wahoo and huge Atlantic scallops. We’ll have the wahoo for dinner tonight and save the scallops to have with steak another night.
We also stopped at the defunct Frisco Fishing Pier which looked like it had seen better days. Check out the end of the pier.
The row of houses standing back behind the dunes were mostly rentals, it seemed. There must be multiple units in one of those huge houses. We’ll have to check it out online.
Our last stop was at the National Park–Frisco Campground. We wanted to check it out, so the Ranger let us do a “drive thru”. The sites were mostly filled with tents and pop-up campers, but there were a few RVs in there. There is no electricity, so you really have to bring your own way of cooking, etc. The sites are very private, but most wouldn’t be big enought for our 27′ trailer. However, the views from the higher campsites were amazing!!
I bet the stars come out in full-force up there at night! You can even see the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse from up there.
The treacherous Diamond Shoals where many shipwrecks occurred can be seen in this picture where the waves are breaking in the distance.
It would be worth it to do some “primitive” camping up there just for the views! We headed back to our campground to put our seafood in the fridge and relax in the shade. The wind was strong and gusty, so we had to hold onto our hats. You can always tell how windy it is by watching Auggie’s ears. Check it out!!
Auggie, Bob, and I took a walk down to our beach at the campground to see what the kite surfers were doing. There were quite a few people skimming across the water with the wind.
We had cocktails before dinner and stayed out of the wind for awhile. It gets to be a little much! After dinner, we joined many others down at the beach to watch the sunset. It seems to be a nightly tradition. We have one of the best views! Tomorrow we will take the free ferry back to Ocracoke to look around.