It’s true, we’ve now passed the one-year mark since we began our journey. It has been a rich and full experience and yet time has passed very quickly.
Before I forget, I’ll answer a question that was asked just before we left: What if we don’t like it? Well, we love it. Even though the first time I woke up in Island Girl knowing that I’d be living here for a while, my first thought was – What have I done? – I quickly came to love it and have never looked back.
There is no bridge connecting Ocracoke Island to the rest of the Outer Banks nor to the mainland. But for those of us who don’t have our own boat or plane, there is ferry service from Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks and from Swan Quarter on the mainland.
From Hatteras, the ferry is free and operates on the hour in non-peak season and on the half hour in peak season between 5 a.m. and midnight. What a great service. And since this is the only way to get from the Outer Banks to Ocracoke, this ferry serves both locals and tourists. On the day we visited the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, we attempted to take the ferry around lunchtime only to find that we’d have to wait about two hours. One ferry had broken down and, since service vehicles get priority there was quite a line for us regular folks. We knew in advance of the possibility that we might not make it onto the ferry and had a plan B to visit the Ocracoke, so we bailed.
On our second try, we took Angel along just in case we got stuck on the Ocracoke side and had a long wait. We’d learned that the ferry ride time had increased from 40 minutes to an hour each way because of a massive sandbar created by Hurricane Sandy. They’ve been dredging it and making slow progress. Life on the Outer Banks.
It’s quite bizarre to be looking straight at your island destination and watch the ferry turn sharply away from it only to come back around. But we were fortunate to have good weather and it was a very pleasant ride. And, although pets are allowed to leave the car on leash, Angel rode in the car happily with the windows open, and I stayed nearby to make sure she was ok. Her first ferry ride!
The Outer Banks of North Carolina, also referred to as OBX, were very surprising. For starters, in a week’s time we encountered many weather changes: windy, warm, cool, calm, super windy, rainy, cloudy, and sunny. Hector bought a stunt kite and embraced the wind.
“Anyone who thinks sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.”
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of my favorite places. These weathered old mountains, which may not be considered as impressive by some as higher Western peaks are lush and beautiful, as they are covered in deciduous trees.