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May, 2000

Cape Hatteras

Originally from Moments by Valerie, a collection of memories (1961-1983), written in 1986 and presented to Larry on their first anniversary.

I have been to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, several times and it's one of my favorite vacation spots. The oldest National Seashore, it has extensive, empty beaches where one can hike for hours in solitude. The four campgrounds not only offer variety but also ample space to accomodate the many visitors. The area has its share of history, and points of interest are Kitty Hawk, Diamond Shoals (where the Monitor sank, along with a great many other ships), the Cape Lighthouse, Nag's Head, and Okracoke Island. There are also little things which add to its beauty: morning beachwalks, good swimming in a rough surf, beautiful scenery, unpredictable weather, enjoyable nature programs, and peace and quiet.

(Added comment, 5/00: When I was very little, we climbed up in the lighthouse and I remember the tiny windows at intervals along the narrow spiral staircase that wound up to the top. I don't remember getting tired, but it was quite a climb, and the view from the top was spectacular as I looked through the railing (not over it, since I was pretty small). On a later trip, the beach had grown tremendously, and it was a long walk to the water by the lighthouse when, before, it had been just over the low dunes, very close. Even later, the lighthouse was closed to visitors because it was considered unsafe and in danger of being undermined by the constantly encroaching ocean. Recently, I read an account of how they moved the lighthouse inland, to a shrubby area several hundred feet away, after years of trying unsuccessfully to stabilize the roving barrier island beach; and there are plans to open it once again to the public.)

(photos: top, Val and blue crab, Florida, summer of 1961; bottom, Cape Hatteras lighthouse, summer of 1972.)