North Carolina Coast

In the fall of 2008, Harland and I planned a trip to Virginia and Washington DC, a short vacation to be taken over the Christmas holiday. One day, Harland asked if we should go further on to North Carolina and stay on the coast for a couple days. Hmmmm…..2 landlocked flatlanders from Kansas visiting the ocean.  It may have tipped the world off its axis, but we went for it anyway, and it turned out to be the highlight of our trip. Harland had never visited any ocean before and he was transfixed.

He came prepared – those are his chore boots he’s wearing, the same ones he slops through the cow lot in.

We stayed at a hotel right on the beach (cheap off-season rates), and he was out at sunrise to take pictures.

I dragged myself out a little later in the morning, but still caught some of the early morning light.

Even this gull seemed to enjoy watching the surf.

I loved looking even at the simple things, like the well-worn shells in the sand.

We spent the day driving up and down the coast visiting lighthouses.

Bodie Island Lighthouse

Bodie Island Lighthouse was built in 1872 and is 156 feet tall. It was not open for tours when we visited in December 2008, but restoration started in August 2009, and is expected to be completed in early 2011.

And here is Cape Hatteras Light.

Two hundred feet tall, it is the tallest lighthouse in America. It was constructed in 1870, but due to shore erosion, it was moved in 2000 further from the coast. It was lifted up and moved inch by inch on rollers on top of rails 2870 feet inland. The job was controversial at the time because many thought that it would crumble into a heap. But it endured its short journey, and now rests safely away from the pounding surf, but still shining its light for all to see.

As evening approached, we were drawn back the beach to enjoy the sunset. We found a place where the shore curved just enough to catch the setting sun.

I watched this sandpiper as he ran up and down just out of reach of the surf repeatedly driving his bill into the sand looking for supper.

That evening was very cold, damp, and windy, but the sunset warmed the sky.

And we finished our day as it had begun – watching the waves go in and out.


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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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20 Responses

  1. Vivian says:

    Whoa!! I take my daily look at your blog and I see one of my favorite places. I live in Virginia, you see, and have spent many happy hours on the Outer Banks. Harland picked the best place in the world to see the ocean for the first time. (I’m not partial, am I?) You have taken some gorgeous pictures – I wish I was there right now. Hope you enjoyed your trip to Va. too. 🙂

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Vivian,
      We enjoyed Virginia too. We saw Monticello, and Madison’s home, and also Monroe’s home. Monticello was my favorite. The house is beautifully situated on the hill and surrounded by the woods. Perfect.

  2. pattie says:

    We just moved from the Outer Banks area, and miss the beaches very much.

    You picked a great location for a first ocean view. Of course now since you have seen the ocean in Washington State you have been from “sea to shining sea”. : )

    • Suzanne says:

      HI Pattie,
      Oh I’ll bet you do miss the ocean something awful. Are you close enough to visit?
      In December, we’re headed down to the gulf coast. Can’t wait.

  3. Kit G says:

    I emigrated from Scotland to Central Texas. Oh, how I miss the sea. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Aletha says:

    Oh that is so lovely would love to live near water, I love light house. When I lived in pennsylvania we would go to the shore on the weekends love it and thanks for the memories.
    I put you blog on my blog I hope that it is allright.

  5. Linda says:

    Your photos are always beautiful!


  6. Chester's Mom says:

    My husband and I spent our honeymoon on the Outer Banks, it was a cold April and we were dressed much like Harland! Didn’t you find the waves mesmerizing? Something so eternal, so constant…

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Chester’s Mom,
      What a wonderful spot for a honeymoon. Yes even though we were frozen solid at times there, the ocean is so fun to watch. So relaxing. The sounds, smells, how each wave is different.

  7. I love your photos! I had to laugh about Harland in his boots and the earth tipping. My husband and I had never seen an ocean. I chose east, and he chose the Outer Banks. We drove from Nebraska June of 2007. It was a wonderful trip, and it’s the only vacation we’ve had in the last 20 years or so. One day, we may check out the Pacific Ocean. Isn’t the ocean amazing?!!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Corner Garden Sue,
      Isn’t is a shock – all that water? All the noise of the waves? So unlike what you and I are used to out on the prairie. I love it though.

  8. Peggy says:

    OMG! NC beaches are the beat. Don’t ya just love it? To bad I did’t know you then, we could have meet. Wow! Your pictures are super! Harland really rocks thoes boots!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Peggy,
      Love the ocean. Harland is practical and those boots seemed like the right think to take to the beach in December. 🙂

  9. How beautiful! I love these photos. Makes me feel like I am right there and I can hear the ocean! There is just something so calmy about watching the ocean, the waves, hearing the water, the sunrise and sunset…it is so magical and so calming. What a great trip for you flatlanders!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Bonnie,
      Isn’t is strange how something with so much movement and noise can be so relaxing. I feel the same way.

  10. Julie says:

    Beautiful pictures of the eastern coast. I always think the sunrise/sets are most beautiful in the winter. I guess bc it warms the sky.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Julie,
      It just seems so incongruous to have all that bright orange and red in the sky and yet it’s so cold.

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