October 28 – November 1, 2019.
In my last post about the Carolinas, I wrote about my idea to head north along the east coast during the fall ultimately arriving in Pennsylvania where we would visit with relatives. It was a great plan until we started having van problems (I think I’ve alluded to this in previous posts). After a visit to a Ford dealership in Greenville, NC we found out we needed some pretty pricey work done and that it would take many days. So we headed back to Greg’s folks’ house in Denver, NC to unload the van and get another opinion.
Our second opinion was the same but now we had a two-week wait to get our needed part. The mechanic told us that we were good to travel while we waited so we loaded up the van again and resumed our journey.
We lost a little time, though, with the trip back to Denver, getting the estimate and then a quick trip to see Greg’s grandson, who we missed on our first go-around through the Carolinas a few weeks earlier. Although we did, and saw some great things, there were quite a few things I had planned that we couldn’t squeeze in before we had to be back for the van repair.
Because I think all this stuff we missed was so cool and because I spent so much time researching it all I’m going to tell you about some of it anyways. Here goes:
Cape Hatteras National Seashore in the Outer Banks, North Carolina.
Both Greg and I have been to the Outer Banks before but we hadn’t experienced the area through the National Park system. We were looking forward to camping in the National Seashore as well as experiencing the many museums, lighthouses, wildlife areas, hiking, and kayaking opportunities in the area.
Fisherman’s Island National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia.
Fisherman’s Island is a small island off the tip of the southern end of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. You can only visit it by tour. The tour is free but it only happens on Saturdays at 8:30 am.
The Virginia Seaside Water Trails.
There were tons of kayaking opportunities on this trip but The Virginia Seaside Water Trails up the coast of Eastern Shore included lots of different locations with ratings and maps.
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park in Maryland.
This site runs along 184.5 miles of the C&O Canal with hikes, views, and visitors centers. It is run by the National Park Service and of course, I love everything National Parks!
Granted we would have never fit all this stuff in before it turned too cold, but I now have it all marked on the map for next time we head this way.
Now, I’m going to let Greg tell you about all the cool stuff we did do…
The Great Dismal Swamp
Colonial Europeans who settled here didn’t really appreciate wetlands, and named this enormous marsh in North Carolina and Virginia the Great Dismal Swamp. They did value the timber, though. In the 1970s, after centuries of logging, this became federally protected land.
NASA Wallops Flight Facility
Established in 1945, NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility was an early test ground for rocket research. Many thousands of rockets have been launched from Wallops, and visitors can still come here to see the rockets take off.
Assateague Island National Seashore
Assateague is an interesting island refuge on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway
In 1808 it became illegal to import African slaves into the United States. The deep south still relied on slave labor, though. In the years preceding the Civil War about 1 million slaves (a quarter of the slave population) was sold by northern states to buyers in the deep south. To avoid this fate many escaped using the Underground Railroad. Maryland has recognized one of the railroad’s conductors and some of the known stops on the escape route.