Sunday, April 3, 2016

Taking A Sunday Drive #22

Places I read about often become the places I want to travel to. Such was the case when North Carolina became part of our 'Big Trip East' plans. I had read Charles Frazier's Thirteen Moons the year before which is where I learned that not all the Native Americans of the Cherokee Tribe were forced to journey to Oklahoma Territory on the Trail of Tears. About 800 were allowed to stay with the help of William Holland Thomas the adopted son of Chief Yonaguska. Eventually they were able to buy back their homeland where they are now known as the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation.
I wanted to go to Cherokee, North Carolina and Bud had always wanted to drive the Cherohala Skyway from Tennessee to North Carolina as well as the Blue Ridge Parkway, so Cherokee was a perfect destination for both of us.

Cherokee lies in the Oconaluftee River Valley and the river flows through the center of town.
This stand of bamboo is in Oconaluftee Islands Park.

As is one of the painted bears. There are many of these bears throughout downtown Cherokee. Each one represents an aspect of Cherokee culture.
We're posed next to the Fish Bear.

The Museum of the Cherokee Indian is a must see while in Cherokee.

The 200ft. Mingo Falls (Big Bear Falls in Cherokee language) is another beautiful spot. I was able to do the more than 160 stairs up to the viewing bridge.

Mingus Mill built in 1886 is just inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The wooden millrace channels water from the creek to power the mill's turbine.

Another view of the Oconaluftee River as we left Cherokee to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Bud's must see along the parkway - Linn Cove Viaduct.

So much pretty scenery along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We were there in October and the fall colors were gorgeous.

The blues of the Blue Ridges with Looking Glass Rock in the center of the photo.
As I've mentioned before, most of my pictures were taken with my digital camera and I lost them when my computer crashed. Luckily I used my print camera some, but probably lost 85% of the total pictures I took.

We spent the night in Mount Airy. Driving around some the next day we did get to see one of the Mayberry police cars. From here we had no set destination plans. We were meeting our son, Mark, in Washington D.C. for the weekend, so we had plenty of time to get there.
Bud was looking at the map and said, "You know, we could easily drive to the ocean for a couple days."  He showed me the map and there was Nags Head on the Outer Banks - another place I had dreamed about seeing, but hadn't even considered on this trip.

It was late by the time we checked into a hotel. I could hear the ocean. I opened the door to the balcony to see it and saw this beautiful full moon rising. I was in Nags Head! I was in heaven!!

From moon rise to sunrise. I thought the full moon rising was beautiful. The rising sun the next morning was spectacular!

I couldn't wait to walk on the beach. We saw dolphins, surfers, fishermen and horseback riders.

As well as this amazingly beautiful blue sea creature. I had no idea what it was. I e-mailed the photo to my daughter and she was finally able to identify it as a Portuguese man o' war (not some kind of jelly fish). Luckily we did not try to touch it or put it back into the ocean as their sting is quite venomous. It is also unusual to find them this far north. They're usually found in tropical or sub-tropical waters.

Day trips included the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kitty Hawk which was fabulous ("from the first flight to a man on the moon was less than 66 years") and to the Bodie Island Lighthouse. This structure was built in 1872 to replace the one blown up in 1861 by retreating Confederate troops.

The Currituck Beach Lighthouse in the village of Corolla on the North part of the Outer Banks.

I just finished reading a book set in this area - my deciding factor in making this week's Sunday drive about North Carolina.

This is one state I could never tire of visiting - such diverse scenery and history! I love it.

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