Richmond VA to Kitty Hawk NC (1350 miles so far)

This morning’s agenda was to continue our vacation, and head to Williamsburg, looking to explore the historical city. We wanted to get a taste of the 18th century, and forget about the 21st century for a while.

After saying our goodbyes to Morgan’s family, we drove the short jog from Morgan’s to Colonial Williamsburg, and pulled into the parking lot of the visitor’s center. The lot was HUGE, and was filling rapidly as we unloaded ourselves and our gear. After the short walk to the visitor’s center, we discovered that Colonial Williamsburg is full of history, and it comes with a price tag.

We talked at length with a ticket and lodging salesperson, and the more she told us, the more we realized that Colonial Williamsburg is Historic Disneyland, and it’s priced just like it! In fact, if we stayed a night, the price of history would be LOWERED to the low, low price of $30 each. I realize that these folks put a tremendous amount of effort into the effect of transporting you back to the 1700’s, but the price was simply too high for us, and the rules a little more complex than we wanted to deal with. We could have definitely looked around for free, but if you can’t enter the buildings, or look at the museums, then what’s the use? Ala carte pricing would’ve made much more sense!

We decided to scrap that idea, and head for North Carolina. Aside from the stay at Morgan’s, Virginia had been kinda tough for us on the tourism front.

The drive was uneventful, but I have to mention the tunnel we hit — the Monitor-Merrimack Memorial Bridge and Tunnel — just before we crossed into North Carolina. We dropped to -105 feet (according to the GPS) — the lowest point that I’ve carried the unit to. In fact, the crossing on the bridge that followed was interesting to watch on the GPS. It includes lots of naval navigation aids, and we got to watch them whiz by on the display as we continued south.

The drive toward the outer banks was beautiful, and kinda reminded me a little of the drive to Branson — lots of billboards (something noticeably missing in Virginia) for all kinds of stuff all the way down the outer banks. Yeah, there were areas that were obviously rundown and poverty stricken, but the land itself was amazing.

We pulled into Kitty Hawk, and stopped at the Welcome Center to get our bearings, and figure out where to stay and where to eat. We got some fine maps from a very helpful civil servant, and some good ideas for lunch and lodging. Lodging would be easy — this isn’t the busy season — lunch would be more challenging. Most places were already closed after the lunch rush.

On the advice of the welcome center, we stopped at the Black Pelican for lunch. It was good, but I was really expecting more seafood. The atmosphere was very much like an oceanside venue, and that set it apart. Cool, but unremarkable.

The site though, has some history, as it was the location of the site where the Wright Brothers telegraphed the message of their successful first flight.

Once we finished at the Pelican, we called the Days Inn Mariner and found they had a queen room, oceanside, at a great rate. We got checked in, and started unpacking. The room was hot, so we turned on the air conditioner, and roamed along the beach to see what we could see, along with taking some pictures of the birds and surf. After a hour or so of wandering up the beach, we got back to the room, and it was still sweltering — the temperature had even gone up! Beck talked to the manager on duty, and got us moved to another room, and it started cooling instantly. Yay!

We spent the afternoon at the Wright Brothers National Memorial. This was a beautiful site, and was just full of first flight information and memorabilia. We walked around the museum and gift shop, and then went out to look at the stones commemorating each of the flights. Finally, we drove down to the foot of the big monument. The monument is much older than I thought — built in the 1930s I think — and is massive. It is well worth the drive to Kitty Hawk, and worth the hike up the hill to see it.

We ended up just down the road at the Jolly Roger for dinner. From the outside, it looked like a little dive, and the inside… well, it still looked like a dive! 🙂 But, the food was amazing! I had a pound of crab legs ($21) that were simply fantastic, along with a spud and veggies. Man, what a meal!

After Jolly Riger kicked our tails, we went back to hotel, and crashed into a food-induced coma.