The Outer Banks of North Carolina.
The very name makes me think of lighthouses and bird cries, the salty tang of sea air and the mysterious rhythm of murmuring surf.
The Outer Banks is a regional term for a collection of barrier islands off the Atlantic coast of North Carolina famed for its dangerous ports (the “graveyard of the Atlantic”), rich history (including a great deal of pirate lore) and variety of marine life. It’s a very popular holiday destination for families and sportsmen alike during the peak summer season.
A landlocked Kansas girl myself, I loved exploring the quaint historic houses and boardwalks of Beaufort, a small historic town on the North Carolina coastline, as well as taking in the local aquarium and just enjoying walking the beach and singing to the dolphins (yes, it’s a thing).
A definite highlight for me was a sailboat cruise out to the “Bight” a hook of land jutting into the ocean that protects the Beaufort harbor, and the Lookout lighthouse, a local landmark.
Brightly-colored flowers native to the island stand out against a backdrop of green seagrass and white sands, contrasting with the black and white pattern of the lighthouse that’s iconic in the area.
Thankfully the ocean cooperated with calm seas for the sailboat cruise and I didn’t get seasick, instead enjoying the slap of sails and a peaceful afternoon out on the water. Several others on the cruise saw a green sea turtle (alas, I wasn’t quick enough) and we laughed at the dolphins running along in the wake of the shrimp boats.
By far the true beauty of the Outer Banks lies not in its scenic views, historic architecture, marine life or southern charm. For me, the true beauty of my trip to the Emerald Isle was its unassuming invitation to relax, soak in nature and beauty, take a slow night walk on the beach and listen to the waves come in, and just be.
There are plenty of places around the world with flash and color and excitement, engaging the mind and senses with the exotic and unfamiliar. But the Outer Banks feels like a warm fuzzy blanket on a cold day, like biting into your Grandma’s freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies.
Authentic, homey, and comfortable, it’s the perfect place to sip a cup of coffee with family and friends and still have an adventure at your fingertips, waiting just beyond the shoreline.
Please note: All photography on this site is original unless noted otherwise and copyrighted to Katie Morford. Please do not use without written permission.