My plans to visit the Outer Banks for two weeks of relaxation by the sea was a little more like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride than I expected. While I did enjoy 10 days of playing in the sand, cycling the islands, and touring the sites, Mother Nature reminded me every few days who was in charge.
My trip began at Cape Point on Hatteras Island, but after three nights I was moved to higher ground before Hurricane Jose passed by. This was a good thing as I then positioned the homestead behind a sand dune in Frisco, and we survived the 40 mph wind gusts without a glitch.
While I really like the southern towns of the Outer Banks, I had to take a day trip to Ocracoke Island, too. It's the one spot I've seen twice before on the barrier islands, and it's definitely my favorite little spot of all!
After a week of playing at my new location, Hurricane Maria was on the way! I was given a 24 hour heads-up that the campground was closing and that evacuation was a must. Thankfully, I know where most of the hostels are, and I am now spending my last of 3 nights in Wilmington, NC. Tomorrow, I hit the road again for just an hour's drive back to the tent at a camp near Emerald Isle.
As crazy as this all sounds, I had a good time in the Outer Banks, and this morning, I had coffee and conversation with gents from Austin & South Korea who are at the hostel, too. Life stays interesting.
Today marks my final day of three weeks on the Eastern Shore of Maryland -- two in my former stomping grounds of Easton, followed by a week, just 80 miles south, in Crisfield. My lengthy stop in Easton this year was a full agenda of healthcare appointments, birthday celebrations, outdoor activities, visits with friends, and a little moving help for a friend. While I'll admit to cruising by my little bungalow (which needs yard work!), I can't say that Easton feels like home. That said, the time and attention given by friends has me missing this little spot, and my birthday celebration was just grand! I'd also forgotten how much fun it is to go to the mailbox every day!
I am feeling right at home in my tent, and Crisfield is a friendly town of just over 2,700 people. Once called Somers Cove, it was renamed in 1866 for John W. Crisfield, who was instrumental in bringing the Eastern Shore Railroad here so seafood could be shipped across the U. S. and make Crisfield the "Seafood Capital of the World." While the health of the Bay impacted the industry, in some small way, crabs and tourism continue to support this southern-most spot in Maryland. Sadly, most of the labor force in Crisfield works elsewhere on the peninsula.
Crisfield is also just 12 miles by boat to Smith Island, first settled by British Colonists in the late 1600s. I did indeed visit Ewell for an afternoon, and while it's the island's largest town, it's more like a small neighborhood of days gone by. Most noticeable is how incredibly quiet it is as most transportation is by foot, bike or golf cart on this island with 2 miles of roadway. There's a museum, a church, two restaurants, and a gift shop, and not a single person passes you without a pleasant greeting. After visiting the museum and following a walking tour, I had the pleasure of meeting Jacob, "but you can call me Jake," who shared his perspective of life on Smith Island with me for nearly half an hour. He's 8 years old. Add that to the list of special moments!
Tomorrow, I roll to the Outer Banks with hopes that we say "adios" to Jose!
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover