Friday, June 09, 2006

Day 7: Another Day, Another Lighthouse

Our last full day in the OBX. We headed north, through Duck to Corolla, which is pronounced “cur AH luh”, not “cur OH luh”, like the car. Corolla is the northernmost town on the outer banks and, from what I understand, Rt 12 was recently extended so that millionaires can access their beach houses. Affluence is the order of the day.

Our first stop was the Currituck lighthouse, which, unlike the Bodie Island lighthouse, was open to the public. Today was a nice day and there were quite a few people waiting to go up. We were wondering if Ally could, or would want to, navigate the 214 steps up the spiral staircase to the observation deck, about 150 feet off the ground. Turns out she liked the climb up more than the climb down. The narrow steps at the top allowed for only one line of people to ascend or descend at a time, so we had to wait several times on the landings. The climb was worth it and the view was spectacular, since the weather was pretty clear.

We drove further north on 12 from Corolla to where the road ended and there was only beach. At this point, only 4-wheel drive vehicles are allowed and there are actually homes further up the shore. About ten miles away is the NC-Virginia border, which I am told is protected by a gate or a fence of some sort, beyond which you can’t proceed. To keep illegal immigrants from crossing into Virginia, who, after all, would do the jobs Virginians won’t do.

Lunch was at Bacchus, in Corolla, a wine and cheese shop where we were required to don togas as we drank from the skulls of the vanquished. Actually, they have quite a good deli so Lauren and I split a sandwich, but not before I had my “airhead encounter”. While I was deciding on lunch, a young woman approached the counter and began chatting with the fellow taking sandwich orders. At first, I didn’t mind, since I wasn’t ready yet. Their conversation went on for a couple of minutes, and, I don’t know what they were talking about but I’m pretty sure a food purchase was not forthcoming. I interrupted their confab.

“Excuse me, are you going to order something?”

Deer in the headlights stare. Finally, out comes a stream of Valley-speak:

“Omigod, I’m, like, sorry, you know, I was just, you know, like.” (Paraphrasing here.)

“Right. It’s not like it’s lunchtime or anything.” In other words: No, dear, you will not be suffered gladly today. Off she went, uncomprehending.

Part of the Currituck lighthouse complex is home to the Whalehead Club, built in the 1920s by a wealthy industrialist, Edward Collins Knight, Jr. It was here that Knight and his friends could indulge their passion for hunting defenseless waterfowl. It is quite an impressive structure, perhaps a little beyond my price point, though.

Dinner was at the Outer Banks Brewing Station. Nothing spectacular, just simple pub fare. There’s a stage where bands are supposed to play, but tonight it was set up with tables.

Tomorrow we pack up and leave. I’m going to miss this place.


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