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Lighthouses, Romance and Mystery Along Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a 70-miles stretch along the Outer Banks of North Carolina from Bodie (pronounced "body") Island to Ocracoke Island. During a day my Silver Fox and I spent there recently, we found two amazing lighthouses, a house featured in a movie I love, and a museum about sunken ships.


This imposing structure stands 156-feet tall and has distinctive horizontally-striped black and white markings. It became operational in 1872 and still shines 19 miles out into the Atlantic making a full revolution of its light every 27.5 seconds.

Because of COVID, visitors are not allowed to climb to the top, but you can walk through the visitors center and museum and take the nearby boardwalk to a viewing station out in the marshy grasslands.


Richard Gere and Diane Lane are the stars of "Nights in Rodanthe," a movie based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks that came out in 2008. The main characters reveal lives in chaos and meet at an inn on the edge of the ocean in Rodanthe, North Carolina. That house has since been moved further back from the water but actually is still available for vacationers to rent. Look up "Inn at Rodanthe" for details. As you're driving south into Rodanthe, look for Beacon Road on the left. When you turn, you'll spot the blue shutters immediately. I'm a hopeless romantic, I think Richard Gere is ALMOST as handsome as my Silver Fox, and the movie refers to work being done in our former adopted country of Ecuador, so the movie was a must-see for me. If you haven't seen it yet, have a box of Kleenex handy.


Picture 2000 ships under the surface of the waters offshore in this part of the Outer Banks. Think of real, live pirates and war-time battles. Imagine what a divers' paradise this must be. If you love maritime history and treasures from the bottom of the sea, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum is a must-visit. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. It is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Address is 59200 Museum Drive in Hatteras, N.C.


It is very likely that when you hear the word "lighthouse," the 210-foot brick structure with the black and white spiral (barber pole-type) stripes is the picture that comes to your mind. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse itself is 193 feet tall, but it stands on a substantial pedestal. It was originally built in 1870 but was moved -- very carefully and slowly -- a half mile further inland back in 1999. Be sure to ask the park rangers on the grounds to describe that process. The Lighthouse Board determined the paint designs and light sequence for each lighthouse with each being distinctive. That way the sailors could distinguish one from another and could navigate their ships more accurately. It is also interesting to learn about the lives of the lightkeepers who made sure the lights were always functioning.

I hope you saw my post about Kill Devil Hills last week, and next Monday I'll explore more of the Outer Banks. I'm so glad I finally made it to this long-anticipated destination.

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