Me and the Fam are at the OBX…weather is beautiful, and life is good.
But in between getting settled in, I discovered a fact that made perfect sense but that had long escaped me.
For those not familiar with the Outer Banks-inspiration for all those OBX stickers you see, they are the outer barrier islands that buttress the mainland of upper North Carolina and run from near the Virgina border down to Cape Hatteras. The lower part of the state, running down to Camp Lejeune, now adverts itself is the “Inner Banks”, and connects to South Carolina’s Grand Strand of beaches.
The upper portion of the OBX is in Currituck County, and NC 12 carries you from the 4-wheel drive beaches down to Corolla (where we are) and to Duck and Southern Shores. Somewhere between Corolla and Duck you cross into Dare County, and just past Southern Shores is the hook up to NC 158. When you come South on 158, you actually drive through Currituck County, cross Currituck Sound into Dare County, cross over Currituck Sound to the OBX, and either head North up NC 12 toward Corolla or south toward Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags head. There is no bridge between Currituck County mainland and the OBX, although a bridge is in the planning stages. The Mid-Currituck Bridge is scheduled to open in late 2014.
That bit of geography was necessary to understand what I was told…and that was that very few people with children live in Currituck Co/OBX. Why? No schools in that part of the county. If you live in CC/OBX and want your children to attend public schools, then you have to get them (don’t know if busses are available) back over to the mainland, which means about a 45 minute drive. So if you live on the OBX and have children, you either live no further north than Southern Shores (where the drive to get back to schools in Dare county is reasonable), or else you home school.
How did I find this out? Conversation with Andy at the “Life is Good’ store. It’s conversations and unexpected facts like this that I find so much fun about traveling, and that drive SWMBO to distraction.
Other fun facts:
1. The Food Lion in Corolla is still the highest selling Food Lion in the country.
2. The Red Sky Cafe and the Blue Point are still two of the best restaurants I have ever enjoyed.
3. Wonder why the Outer Banks lighthouses are so tall compared to New England lighthouses? A light house has to be tall enough so that the light can be seen by ships over the horizon caused by the curve of the earth. In the NE, the lighthouses are typically built on high, rocky stretches of shoreline. In the OBX the land is flat, and the lighthouse has to be built far enough away from the shore so it is not endangered by the sea. The combination of flat land and distance from the ocean means the OBX lighthouses have to be much taller than their northern counterparts.
4. Of the OBX lighthouses, why is it that the Currituck lighthouse has no pattern painted on it?
Each has a different pattern so that it could be readily identified from the ocean and give a visual reference to where a ship was in relation to the OBX…but the folks who built the Currituck Lighthouse wanted folks to be able to see the brick work and not have it covered with paint.