Eastern North Carolina’s coastal plain is pierced by waterways large and small that eventually drain into the sounds and bays that separate the Outer Banks and other barrier islands from the mainland. So, it’s only natural that many of our favorite views in this part of the Tar Heel State involve the water.
Here are five views to take in that give you a flavor of Eastern North Carolina:The view from the 142-year-old Currituck Beach Light House may not be as well known as that from some other Outer Banks light stations, but we think it is spectacular.
The last of the Outer Banks lights to be constructed and located on the northern end of the barrier island chain, the view from the top of the Currituck Beach Light House gives the best perspective we’ve seen on the geography of the region. Climb the 220 steps to the top of the light, but stop along the way to check out the museum-quality exhibits.
Looking west from the observation platform the Currituck Sound, once a mecca for wealthy waterfowl hunters, separates the island from the mainland. To the east, the gray-green Atlantic rolls in against a beach lined with rental vacation homes. To the south, the islands, beach communities, and fishing villages flow to the horizon. Immediately below is Historic Currituck Village, with its historic buildings, shops, Wild Horse Museum, Outer Banks Center for Wildlife education, and Whalehead Club mansion. To the north, you see the wilds of a nature preserve and might catch a glimpse of the wild horses that roam the area.
An Outer Banks tradition, the outdoor drama The Lost Colony opens its 80th season in May.
For the best view of the magical telling of the story of Sir Walter Raleigh’s colony, the play’s Bill Coleman said, “Don’t sit too close, because this is a big picture show with action on three sides. It’s the original 3-D production with no special glasses needed.” He advised choosing a premier seat in the center of the audience.
For a bonus view in the amphitheater, stop at the rear of the seats before dusk and look at the peaceful Roanoke Sound.
Show time is 7:45pm and seats begin at $20. Though the play stays true to Paul Greene’s script, technology and some dramatic tweaks make it “a 2017 telling of a 1587 story,” Coleman said.
Insider tip: Look for the great effects when a Colonist catches fire!
The Albemarle Sound is exceptionally wide and is one of the largest estuaries in the state, situated opposite the central Outer Banks communities of Duck and Nags Head. Among the mainland communities bordering the sound, Edenton is one of the best known and familiar to us as the birthplace of Marvin’s father. A favorite view is from the Roanoke River Light House, now located on the Edenton waterfront.
The view from the light, believed to be the last extant example of a rectangular frame building on a screw-pile base, gives a sense of the vast Albemarle Sound.
A walk around the outside deck gives a land-side view of what has been called one of the South’s prettiest towns. The lighthouse was originally located in the sound and marked the entrance to the Roanoke River.
Still further south along the North Carolina coast, the town of Southport is home to the ferry that carries vacationers to Bald Head Island. The ferry carries no cars, because transportation on Bald Head Island is by foot, bike, or golf cart. Departing from Southport, the ferry threads between Oak Island and an uninhabited barrier island, passing the Oak Island Light.
“Ahead you see the glimmer of the village around Bald Head harbor,” said Perry Morrison, who’s spent many vacation days on the island. “It has the feel of a Nantucket-type village. Old Baldy is the non-operational lighthouse off to the right and a fun place to visit.”
Boarding the ferry is the first step to decompress and, with no cars, you’re in paradise.
Leaving the coast, there’s a very different view in Wilson, along I-95, where world famous photographer Jerome De Perlinghi heads the organization that presents “Eyes on Main Street,” Wilson’s outdoor photo festival. The event transforms Nash Street into a vibrant gallery of large-scale photographs. For 100 days, beginning April 8, 100 of the photographs will be displayed on 100 store front windows.
The view down six blocks of Wilson’s Main Street is amazing, as the work of 100 different photographers from 31 countries explore the theme “Main Street: A Crossroad of Cultures.” Walking along the street, the view is always changing and transports you to dusty crossroads and vibrant cities both near and far.
The festival also includes an additional 51 large-scale photographs shot by Wilson youth, a Before Facebook exhibit that presents more than a century of family-oriented images, and Eyes on Taiwan, an large-scale indoor exhibit showcasing the work of 10 contemporary Chinese photographers.
Unlike the previous four favorites, this view comes to an end July 16.