I think I'll be posting pictures of the North Carolina Outer Banks for the next few days. As I think I've said, part of my living the life in Saint-Aignan is my annual trip back to North Carolina, where I grew up out on the coast. My mother, sister, other extended family member, and a few friends still live here.
So until I get back to Saint-Aignan and get my bearings again, I'll just post N.C. pictures here.
My mother, aunt, and I left Morehead City Thursday morning for Manteo and Nags Head, by car. The trip showed me that they have been busy building a lot of new roads in Eastern North Carolina. One is a very long elevated bypass around the town of "Little" Washington, N.C. It's four wide lanes spanning an extensive, marshy river estuary.
Another is a long section of road that runs east and west, again four wide lanes, from Raleigh out to the town of Columbia, on the Albemarle Sound. At Columbia (a tiny town in a swamp, not to be confused with the capital of the State of South Carolina), you find yourself on the old narrow two-lane road through the marshes out to the coast at Manteo, on Roanoke Island. Roanoke Island is thought to be the place where the English established their first colony in America, in 1585.
The first English child born on American soil was born on Roanoke (or on nearby Cedar Island, some historians think) and named Virginia Dare — her first name in honor of Elizabeth I, the "Virgin" Queen. Soon after, the colony failed and all the settlers vanished into the mists of time — or into the extensive forests that covered the land back then. When ships returned from England to bring supplies, the colonists were nowhere to be found.
At Nags Head, we spent the night in one of those quintessential American establishments called "motels" — which is short for "motor hotels." We had two large, well-equipped and well-furnished rooms right on the beach, with many of the comforts of home. Each room cost about $58, or 43 €, including all taxes.
We ate dinner in a typical N.C. seafood restaurant — lots of breaded and fried seafood — where the waitress was a young Polish woman who spoke good English but with a definite accent. I wanted to ask her how she ended up living in Nags Head but didn't do it.
I took pictures out on the beach and around the neighborhood of the hotel on Thursday evening when we arrived, and again Friday morning before we left to drive the 75 miles down to Ocracoke. It rained overnight but we had a nice day driving down the Outer Banks... until we got to Ocracoke Island and the ferry landing. A strong storm came up and the 2½-hour ferry ride turned into a real high-seas adventure.