lighthouses, resort, hotel and drive

Outer Banks Travel Blog

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Owens Motel:      

The daylight drive to the Outer Banks proved again, to be an awe inspiring view of water on the bridges.  May 8th Saturday arrived around 3pm.  The weather was brilliant.  The temperature was high for early May, 90 degrees.  The Owens Motel (which also has a restaurant) is in 3 sections (4 if you count the restaurant).  One side is Oceanside, but not necessarily ocean view.  There is courtside and courtside west both across from the beach.  They are simple motel rooms with exterior entrance doors, the majority of rooms are on the first floor.  The motel/restaurant has been owned and run by same family for 60 plus years.    The room was simple, comfortable and the bedding was clean and comfortable.  There was a hairdryer, coffee maker, small microwave and a mini refrigerator complete with freezer section.  It is very nice to have all that available to cut the costs of travel.  The shower flange did not fit the wall tightly leaving a visibly weakened wall and visible hole on that wall which connected to the vanity (not another room).  The same was true of the bathtub faucet.  It is a beach town and not a franchise motel.  Still it had reviews that were better than most hotel franchises in the area.  The check out time is a leisurely 11am. Staff was genuinely friendly down to earth folks.  Parking was easy and right in front of my room.  I had a resort timeshare that would be available for check in on May 9, 2010 Sunday in Kitty Hawk.  So I checked out of Owens Motel in Nags Head, Outer Banks, NC around 10am


Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Buxton, NC: 

I drove to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, near Buxton.  The lighthouse was not open for climbing (it was off season) during my previous visit.  It opens the 3rd week in April.  Today was one of the most perfect days to climb the lighthouse.  The weather was clear and temperature a cool, comfortable 70 degrees.  The climb is equal to 12 stories – 265 steps, if I recall.  This lighthouse is the tallest brick lighthouse in the US; one guide said in the world.  This I will research online to discover if it is tallest brick lighthouse in US or World and I intend to discover if other NON brick lighthouses are taller.  Although I had been “training” by climbing 4 flights of stairs at work daily, due to my low blood CO2 and low iron levels that I battle I found it painfully difficult to do more than 2 flights without a wheezing break.  However, I discovered deep breathing on the stairs at work allowed me to climb all 4 flights with little trouble.  Today, I doubled my iron dose before the climb.  The circular stairwell has 8 landings to rest on, catch your breath, and the slotted windows allow one to look out at the various views.   The climb was really not strenuous; I was not out of breath nor were my quads stressed.  No pun intended, I did take it well in stride for an overweight soon to be 58 year old woman.  The deep breathing and iron supplementation made all the difference.  The balcony at the top allowed a view of 20 miles, the weather was so clear.  The wind was crisp and not strong enough to worry about.  It was an exceptionally spectacular view from all directions.  I was more concerned about the climb down.  Over a decade has past since I climbed the 140 steps of the St. Simon Lighthouse in GA., there I experienced legs quivering with fatigue, near collapse on the climb down.  This time I did not have any such experience.  I made sure the brief rests I took on the landings had my knees slightly bent to relieve any stress to the thighs/quads.    I am many hours past the climb now.  My legs feel totally normal.  I checked into the SeaScape Villas resort where my unit is a 2nd floor unit, no elevators.  So, in addition to the lighthouse, I had to traverse the outside stairs to the unit multiple times to unpack.  I was in swimsuit and sunning myself on the balcony by 3:30.   After which I went to the outdoor heated pool, long enough to enjoy a few minutes then climbed the stairs to my unit again. 


Seascape Golf and Villas Resort:


This is a timeshare resort, but it also rents units.

It is notable that SeaScape is comfortable, not luxurious.  I always travel with my own door stop for prevention of unauthorized access.  I note the illusion of safety is fostered in these units and for the unobservant it might be enough to make them feel safe, although it would not be able to keep them safe.  Neither the front door that opens to the living room/kitchen nor the balcony door that enters to the master bedroom employ deadbolts or any bolt device that would stall or prevent an unauthorized entrance.  The illusion of the front door is a sliding bolt at eye level that does with difficult manipulation barely engages the mismatched bolt hole by ¼ inch.  This bolt would easily break away with any force, as would the doorknob key entry.  The bolt for the  front doorknob key entry slides into a larger than required bolt hole chiseled out, by the looks of it, with a screwdriver and the bolt hole cover plate is skewed cockeyed and screws are loose, no attempt at firmly seating either the screws or bolt hole bracket.  There is a matching set of new vinyl glass sliding doors that enter the balcony from the living room.  The sliding doors also give the illusion of being locked, when one moves the locking lever one might assume by the change in position of the lever that the doors would be locked.  The lever latches do NOT lock the doors, the locking mechanisms are incorrectly aligned and it was impossible  for me to engage the  locks on either sliding door.  The resort has provided wood strips that can be placed within the bottom tracks of the doors, but the wood strips are a tad too long to fully seat in the tracks.  With  ½ inch shorter strips they could be fully seated in the track, not angled up from the track, it would be more effective and still be easily removed by guests. 



This trip I did not eat out, I brought my own food and drinks.  I only stopped once at Rita’s Custard and Ice Shoppe to treat myself to coffee custard and a Vanilla Ice (Ice, Ice Baby…. LOL).  I took them the resort for later consumption.


Currituck Lighthouse:

I was so pleased with the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse climb that I intend to seek out the Currituck Lighthouse and climb it tomorrow on May10th.    Currituck will finish the Outer Banks area for me.  I will not return to climb Bodie Lighthouse, it is still being renovated.  I have seen Ocracoke (never open for climbing) and I have seen the Roanoke Marsh lighthouse – almost a 2 story house connected to the land by a dock. 

         The Currituck Lighthouse is 158 steps – a bit taller than St. Simons Lighthouse and 100 less than Cape Hatteras lighthouse.  There are a decreasing number of steps between each landing and sometimes the landing matches up with the slotted windows for a vantage point view.  Again the day was cool and clear.  The climbing was not difficult and coming down was fine also.  The view at the top was again magnificent from every angle and I’m proud to have done both Cape Hatteras and Currituck Lighthouses 24 hours apart.  Yes, my legs feel the stress a bit today, but they are not sore, just a gentle reminder of having been thoroughly exercised.  Now I just await the sun to hit my balcony so I can sit out.  It is too cool to sit in a swimsuit outside today without benefit of direct sunshine.  I found some information at the Currituck lighthouse that indicated that the Pharos lighthouse in Egypt was nearly 200 feet taller than Hatteras and was one of the Seven Wonders of the World until an earthquake toppled it.  The Egyptians are known for magnificent and tall structures, it should be no surprise they would hold the record for tallest lighthouse in the world.  It was interesting to note the Currituck restrooms.  The stalls were divided by corrugated sheet metal framed in finished wood. This is an interesting style that might be both economical and perhaps ecological.  It is unique at the least.


I now have a quest to climb as many lighthouses as I can find that are open for climbing.  I have climbed Hunting Island, SC lighthouse on multiple occasions and the GA. St Simons lighthouse.  I have been told Virginia Beach area has one – Cape Henry.  I know where ever there is coastline there are more lighthouses.  I was unaware (until the Hatteras climb) that there were lighthouses in Michigan; but with the Great Lakes there was probably need of them.  So I have many trips to plan to accomplish this quest.  At the Currituck lighthouse I found out about Egyptian, England, Scotland lighthouses.  I have a lot to research and learn about lighthouses!




An interesting daylight drive home.  I saw a roadside family graveyard.  I noted the drawbridge, part of it seems to be made of red bricks, perhaps cobblestoned?

     I saw not one, but two, sets of inmates performing roadside cleanup.  They were accompanied by armed guards complete with rifles and also had a port-a-potty on a utility trailer to take along with them.  I saw a log truck, full of logs pulled over and being written up by an officer.  Not far down the road I saw a train with car after car full of logs.  I guess that might be where the logger was heading.  After that I saw more log trucks full of logs than I ever have seen in one trip…. were they all heading for the train? 

  The most interesting sight was a barely visible house near the road that by all appearances sure looked like it was being held up by the large trees that surrounded and cradled it with their supportive trunks.  These were not brush trees, they were oaks and other hardwoods in good shape and 2 – 3 stories tall or taller. 

    I also saw a sign “watch for bears”!  I have seen those in the mountains, but this was the coastal area!  Now, something I’ve noticed in traveling through NC before on Interstate 95.  They post signs that say “BURN LIGHTS WHEN RAINING”  (should be hard to keep a flame burning in the rain with the wind of driving 70mph LOL!  Do you think they use candles, gas or oil?   Compare that to GA signs on Interstate 20 that say ‘LIGHTS ON WHEN RAINING”.  At least I haven’t seen one that says “CUT LIGHTS ON WHEN RAINING”. 

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photo by: lulusartshack