August 1, 2013

Cape Hatteras

THE LIGHTHOUSE, SECOND OF TWO. After visiting the Ocracoke lighthouse, I was more than excited to visit Cape Hatteras.
I feel like out of all the lighthouses in the country (maybe even the world), Cape Hatteras is one that everybody knows or has at least heard of at one point or another, and after seeing it in person I know why. It's just beautiful. I never thought lighthouses could be so awe-inducing, but obviously I was wrong. It stood so tall and strong; it had this majestic air surrounding it, and I couldn't stop taking pictures. I was seriously the tourist of all tourists for the hour or so that we were there. And thankfully (or maybe not so thankfully since I started sweating like a racehorse) the sun decided to come out, so our visit was made that much better. I think this day trip has turned me into a lighthouse person, too. All of a sudden I have this urge to visit as many lighthouses as I can.

There is so much history behind this lighthouse, and if I tried to type it all out in this post you would probably become very bored (at least I would) because there is just so dang much of it. But if you ever get a chance to visit the lighthouse make sure you take some time to walk through the museum on sight (fifth picture of this post). It holds so much information about Cape Hatteras and the Outer Banks, and I know it gave me a whole new appreciation for the strand of islands. In the museum you can learn about the Outer Banks geographically, the islands' roles during wars of the past including World War II, and there is a video playing on loop that talks all about how the lighthouse was literally picked up and moved from one spot to where it stands now - definitely interesting. And it's air conditioned, which is always a good thing.

Things to keep in mind when planning your visit:
- This lighthouse is very popular, which means lots of crowds, so be prepared to deal with that and to wait in line to actually climb to the top. You have to purchase a ticket, which I believe is $8 per adult if I remember correctly. (I could be totally off, so don't take my word for it.) Bryan and I got there at noon but didn't actually get to go up until 12:40, and when we left I bet people waiting in line to purchase tickets were going to have to wait at least an hour before their turn. If you don't want to wait, I would suggest getting there first thing in the morning.
- Stay hydrated, especially when it's sunny. There's not much shade to enjoy when you're waiting to climb, so make sure you drink water, so you don't pass out. The museum is air-conditioned, but it's also crowded, so you're probably not going to want to stay in there the whole time.
- Only 20 people are allowed to climb the lighthouse at a time, and a new group gets to go every 10 minutes. This is why there's a line, but this is actually a huge plus. The stairs on the inside aren't over-crowded, and you don't have to fight people for picture spots at the top.
- Bring your camera! I'm telling you, this lighthouse is gorgeous, and you're going to hate yourself if you don't get some pictures of it.


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