When Bill's sister and her husband from Tennessee came to visit us in July, we decided to take them to the Outer Banks for the day.
Trish often reminisces about a disappointing trip to the North Carolina coast when she was 12 (close to 40 years ago). Her OBX memories include horseflies and water that was much too cold to swim in. Her family was so unhappy there that they cut their vacation short.
I wanted her to see my beloved eastern North Carolina in a new light -- and I knew lighthouses, pristine beaches and yummy food would impress her now that she's an adult.
During the two-hour trip from Greenville, we admired the blooming swamp mallow and kept our eyes pealed for bears.
We stopped for lunch in Manteo, choosing Big Al's Soda Fountain and Grill for its burgers, ice cream and tons of Cocoa-Cola memorabilia that reminded Trish and Bill of their late father's collection.
Then we traversed the Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge across the Croatan Sound and took a right toward Hatteras.
We stopped first at the Bodie (pronounced Body) Island Light, with its horizontal black and white stripes, and continued through the Cape Hatteras National Seashore to Buxton to see the iconic Cape Hatteras Light, painted like a black and white candy cane.
We stopped by the site where the lighthouse originally stood (remember, it was moved because of erosion concerns), parked in a paved lot and hit the beach, where Trish picked up a few shells and dipped her toes in the warm (she was surprised that it wasn't cold) water.
We swung by the pier at Rodanthe ("Ro-DAN-thee is how you pronounce it?" Trish asked. "Oh, 'Nights in Rodanthe,' like the movie?" Yes, it's the location for the movie based on the book by New Bern's Nicholas Sparks). Trish and her husband Chuck took selfies on the pier and Bill pointed his camera at a group of surfers.
Our next stop was at Jockey's Ridge, where Bill, Trish and Chuck made it to the top of the massive sand dune in time to watch the sun set over the sound.
Then we headed back over the bridge to Manteo for drinks, dinner and music at Poor Richard's Sandwich Shop. (The Pimento Cheese Sandwich is delicious.)
On the way home to Greenville, Trish raved about her day at the OBX, and we started making plans for a return trip to see even more of North Carolina's wonderful Outer Banks.