North Carolina is home to Wright Brothers first flight

IMG_4856

Life sized plane and sculpture field

The National Park Service operates the National Memorial to the Wright Brothers located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, specifically the Kitty Hawk/Kill Devil Hills area.

All have heard of the first manned flight in a powered airplane. Any trip to the area of the Outer Banks should include a visit to this dramatic Memorial. We arrived late in the day, and thus did not have time to visit the Visitors Center. We did, however, enjoy the massive monument and the artistic reproduction of the original Wright flier and associated sculpture field.

The massive monument is on top of the large sand dune hill where the flights occurred. In the 1920’s the dune was seeded with grass to stabilize the hill in preparation for the construction of the monument.

Originally from Ohio, the Wright brothers found that the sand dunes of the outer banks would be a perfect place for them to design the gliders and finally the engine powered airplane. Sand dunes provided a relatively safe place to test fly: sand is soft, protects the pilots and lessens potential damage to the aircraft.

Monument on the hill where the first flight occurred

Monument on the hill where the first flight occurred

Statue of Wilbur running alongside the plane piloted by Orville

Statue of Wilbur running alongside the plane piloted by Orville. Note the portrayal of the photographer left background

Personnel from the local US Lifesaving Service offered help and on December 17, 1903 several were at the site of the flight. This moment was captured in the iconic photograph of the moment the plane took flight. At the memorial there is a marvelous sculpture field including a life sized reproduction of the plane as well as bronze sculptures of the men who were there at the time. This is a most impressive view that immediately takes you back to that famous December day in 1903.

Plan on visiting this marvelous piece of U.S. history. Here is the NPS website with details and some great information. Note: our National Parks Service Senior Pass saved us the entrance fees to the site. (Seniors 62 and older can get this pass here: NPS lifetime Senior Pass website)

The monument

The monument

Advertisements

“The Lost Colony” brings history to the outdoor stage

1st contact between Indians and English

1st contact between Indians and English

The Lost Colony of Roanoke Island has been the subject of study by historians for centuries. For the past 79 years the Roanoke Island Historical Association has put on a play that gives the history of the lost settlement and one version of what happened to the missing settlers.

This production is a wonderful play. The costumes and sets are fantastic and the actors are professionals who give great performances. The outdoor theatre is very comfortable and all seats provide good views of the stage. The show has all the elements of a top notch production including a seamless narration given by a “National Park Ranger”.

The story line traces the history of the early English explorations in the New World. The interaction between the Indians and the English is portrayed with drama and in a couple of cases violence. The scenes shift back and forth between Roanoke Island and Queen Elizabeth and the English Royal Court and the docks in London.

Lavish costume for "Queen Elizabeth"

Lavish costume for “Queen Elizabeth” (Emily Asbury)

Actor Christian Muller

Actor Christian Muller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were able to chat with one of the cast members prior to the show. Christian Durand Muller was a delight to talk with and, as part of the Choir, added greatly to the production.

The Waterside Theatre is located within the grounds of the Fort Raleigh National historic Site. The Outer Banks of North Carolina is a popular travel destination. When you visit be sure to get tickets for “The Lost Colony”. Here is the website.

Old Tom (Robert Hooghkirk)

Old Tom (Robert Hooghkirk)

Sure looks like a ship sailing off to the New World!

Sure looks like a ship sailing off to the New World!

Don Bridge portrays NPS Historian (narrator)

Don Bridge portrays NPS Historian (narrator)

BJ’s Carolina Cafe was a good stop

My "catch of the day" with cornbread, hand cut fries and slaw.

My “catch of the day” with cornbread, hand cut fries and slaw.

Sher and I were on our way to Kitty Hawk from Va Beach with our family and hit some very slow traffic. Seems like lots of folks were on their way to the Outer Banks that Saturday. We stopped at a place named BJ’s Carolina Cafe to eat and hopefully the traffic would be cleared when we were done.

BJ’s Carolina Cafe was a great stop for us. This family oriented cafe had a diverse menu that had something for each one of our party. The service was friendly, albeit a bit slow. However we were not in a rush and freshly prepared hot food is always worth a little wait.

BJ’s Carolina Cafe is located in Currituck County, North Carolina on Highway 158. Check their website for details.