Category Archives: North Carolina

The Wright Place to Visit: Nags Head North Carolina

After visiting the mountains of North Carolina, we decided to take in some coastal time. Located on the outer banks of North Carolina, Nags Head got its name from mules or horses (nags) that would have lights hung around their heads in order to trick ships into running aground so that local pirates could loot the valuables.

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Nags Head North Carolina - Picture from Wikipedia

Nags Head North Carolina – Picture from Wikipedia

Dunes in Nags Head

Dunes in Nags Head

Nags Head

Nags Head

The World’s First Flight

In addition to the beaches, one of the biggest draws to this area is Kitty Hawk, the birthplace of flight. After studying the flight of turkey buzzards, Wilbur and Orville Wright implemented wing warping (the ability to control the wings up and down by leaning) and this enabled their aircraft to take flight while all other attempts had failed.

Kill Devil Hills

Kill Devil Hills

On the dunes of Kill Devil Hills, the Wright brothers took flight on December 17, 1903, paving the way for present day aviation.

The Wright Brothers Monument

The Wright Brothers Monument

The First Flight

The First Flight

Cape Hatteras

Located a short distance south of Nags Head is Cape Hatteras. Cape Hatteras is a bend in Hatteras Island, one of the long thin barrier islands that make up the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse attracts a large number of visitors each year.

On the way to the lighthouse, we encountered another lighthouse, the Bodie Island Lighthouse. It was impressive as well.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Bodie Island Lighthouse

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

When we visited the lighthouse, there were deer on the beach next to the lighthouse. There were also surfers everywhere.

Deer and Surfers on the Beach

Deer and Surfers on the Beach

Deer on the Beach

Deer on the Beach

Deer on the Dunes

Deer on the Dunes

Surfers Hanging Ten

Surfers Hanging Ten

Great Waves

Great Waves

Local Craft Breweries

As we always do, we seek out local craft breweries. In Nags Head, we found Outer Banks Brewery. Their Hefeweizen was pretty good.

Outer Banks Brewery

Outer Banks Brewery

Outer Banks Brewery

Outer Banks Brewery

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Cool Cabin in the North Carolina Mountains

As I mentioned in my earlier post about goals, we wanted to vacation more this year in the states so we took our first adventure to North Carolina. We rented this cool, yet tiny, cabin in Bryson City, North Carolina. Situated in the Appalachian Mountains, the cabin had incredible views of the tree laden Smoky Mountains.

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Woodland Loft Cabin

Woodland Loft Cabin

The cabin was small, my guess is that it was about 300-400 square feet. But it made great use of the space. It had flat screen TVs, a fireplace, views from almost every inch of the cottage, a pretty large bathroom and a small kitchen. It also had a nice deck area with hot tub.

Great views from the bedroom

Great views from the bedroom

Deck with Hot Tub

Deck with Hot Tub

Hiking in Deep Creek

Just minutes from Bryson City is the Deep Creek entry to the Smoky Mountain National Park. From here you can hike the Three Waterfalls Loop. This is a pretty easy 3 mile hike that provides up close views of 3 waterfalls.  As we started our hike, a deer was just a few feet away drinking from the creek.

Deer drinking from Deep Creek

Deer drinking from Deep Creek

Juney Whank Falls

Juney Whank Falls

Tom Branch Falls

Tom Branch Falls

Indian Creek Falls

Indian Creek Falls

Biltmore House in Asheville

Located about a hour from Bryson City in Asheville, NC, the Biltmore House is an impressive mansion built in 1895 by George Vanderbilt. Situated on an 8,000 acre estate, the Biltmore includes a house, vineyard, winery, farm, and tons of hiking trails. We’ve visited several mansions in the USA and a number of castles in Europe but this home is decorated in the most tasteful way we’ve seen.

The Biltmore House includes 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, a gym, and a swimming pool. As we walked through the rooms and visited the huge kitchen and servant quarters, it reminded us of the popular series “Downton Abbey”. They don’t allow taking photos from inside of the house, so you should plan a trip to Asheville to see it for yourself.

The Biltmore Huose

The Biltmore Huose

Local Craft Breweries

We always tend to seek out local craft brew houses when traveling. In Bryson City, we visited Nantahala Brewing Company. When we walked in, one of the locals entertained us with stories of the Appalachian trail, other local breweries, and his love of Alabama football.

Nantahala Brewing Company

Nantahala Brewing Company

Our new friend told us about breweries in a town about 10 minutes away called Sylva and told us that Asheville has more breweries per capita than any other place in America. I always thought Fort Collins, CO was the brew capital, who knew! We had to visit more breweries.

Heinzelmannchen Brewery in Sylva

Heinzelmannchen Brewery in Sylva

Innovations Brewery in Sylva

Innovations Brewery in Sylva

One of the breweries in Asheville that the local told us about was Pour. At Pour, they have 43 taps where you can sample any of the beers they offer. They give you a bracelet that you scan to allow you to pour as little or as much as you like and you pay for what you pour. Very cool idea.

Bracelet used for Pour

Bracelet used for Pour

Pour - 43 taps

Pour – 43 taps

Cherokee

Our final stop around the Bryson City area was in a town about 15 minutes away called Cherokee. Here they have museum that details the life of the Cherokee Indians and their plight with the Europeans that drove them out of their homeland. The exhibits were well done and informative. After visiting the museum I’ve decided to read the book The Memoirs of Lt. Henry Timberlake: The Story of a Soldier, Adventurer, and Emissary to the Cherokees, 1756-1765.

Catching up with Old Friends

We took this travel opportunity to catch up with some old friends. My best friend from high school, Bill Stuart (the author of Gemstone Chronicles), lives just north of Atlanta. He and his wife Lana met Lynn and me in Dillard, Georgia one night for dinner. It was the first time I had seen Bill since high school and it was great to see him and meet Lana.

About 3 hours east of Bryson City is Charlotte, North Carolina. Another high school friend, Bill Baxley, lives there. As we began heading towards the coast, we stopped in Charlotte to see Bill and his wife Michelle. This was our first time meeting Michelle and it was really great connecting with them during our journey.

Where are We Heading Next?

As we leave Bryson City, we will make our way to the east coast. We plan to visit the beaches of Nags Head, NC to see where the Wright Brothers launched the world’s first flight. We also plan to see Cape Hatteras to photograph the iconic light house.

Leaving Nags Head, we plan to stop into Myrtle Beach (although I did not bring my golf clubs). Then on to Charleston SC, Hilton Head SC and then to Savannah GA.

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