Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Travels.  (1) To the Outer Banks.  Stopping at the Roanoke River at Plymouth for a picnic, we learn that the bridge over the Alligator River is closed for repairs.  There will be a two-and-a-half hour detour, south through swampy lands, a crossing of Lake Mattamuskeet, and a return north through like swampy areas.  Before the trek, we stop at Somerset Place, a restored plantation–cabins and hospital for the enslaved community, the overseers’ house, plantation house, closed for repairs, gardens, and outbuildings (kitchen, laundry, smokehouse, etc.)  It is a beautiful, mild day, and there is a good breeze from Lake Phelps.  It is my second trip, and I decide that it is an unhappy place.  The land for miles around is scarred by the canal dug by slaves so that goods could be moved from the plantation up to the Scuppernong River and then into the Pamlico Sound.  The recounts of the lives of the slaves  are vivid and horrible, and the contrast of living conditions with those of the owners is stark.  The detour is tiring, and dinner at Nags Head marks a welcomed arrival.

The first day on the Outer Banks is cold and rainy.  We visit the Festival Park at Manteo: walk through the Native American village, go aboard the replica of the ship that brought the 1580’s settlers and enjoy the docents, two actors expertly playing seamen of the time.  We enjoy the hour-long film made by the NC School of the Arts of the life of the Native Americans there and the arrival of the settlers, from the Native Americans’ point of view.  We do not stop at the Pea Island Wildlife Refuge, as I generally do.  The walk there would be uncomfortable with blowing wind and rain.  We continue to Rodanthe, to the historic Chicamacomico life saving station.  The wet, windy weather is appropriate to the setting there, and the self-guided tour through the restored buildings is informative and fun.  I climb to the top of the observation tower and have a grand view of the ocean and sound.  We continue down to Hatteras, to the lighthouse, watch a documentary on how it was moved from the original sight to preserve it from the quickly encroaching ocean.  At the National Seashore, we are amazed to see two kite boarders in the rough surf.  We climb the dunes to walk along the beach.  Weather clears up for the walk and the drive back to Nags Head. 

The next day we stop at Kitty Hawk and enjoy the displays, ranger talk, and memorial to the Wright Brothers.  We drive north through the communities of Duck and Corolla and arrive at the Currituck Lighthouse and climb to the top.  On the climb, through a window, we spot a road down to the ocean, which we later take for a walk on the shore.  At the top, I confront acrophobia, walking around the lighthouse hugging the side.  School children are leaning over the rail at the edge, but I cannot venture there.  On the beach, we collect many scallop, oyster, and clam shells.  We drive home through the northern part of the state to avoid the swamp tour return. 

(2) The Seagrove Pottery Festival.  About twenty potters have brought their wares to the gym of the elementary school at Seagrove.  Seagrove and the surrounding area are famous for the hundred working potters and their workshops. I buy three pieces: an oil pourer, a small tray, and a bowl. 

(3) Raleigh.  The Capitol Building and Museum of Natural History.  Both are interesting, entertaining, and informative.  The information plaques at the musuem often mention the beauty and wonder of the exhibits, and the attendant at the Capitol acknowledges the presences of ghosts on the second fllor, telling believable and weird accounts. 

Movie.  “42” is excellent.  Baseball movies are richer for the film, and the movie shows how hard work, courage, love, and talent can overcome bigotry.  A strength of the film is that the minor characters are well-drawn and memorable.  Their contritubions are celebrated as well as those of the main character, Jackie Robinson. 

Nonfiction.  Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.  The book explores why and how our culture values extroverts in leadership capacities and presents an argument for the power of the contributions of introverts.  It is a sociological and psychological study, with many studies and results discussed and evaluated.  It’s a New York Times bestseller, and the paper back contains a discussion guide for book clubs.  Although it’s well-written, often entertaining, and informative, I don’t recommend it.  It is much to read.  A short article would have sufficed.

April.  April is a beautiful month here.  Azaleas have started blooming, wisteria graces the landscape with beautiful blossoms and sweet smells, the trees I planted this winter are all beginning to leaf out, dogwood trees are in full bloom, irises are starting to bloom, my yard calls for mowing and the borders call for weeding.  It will be my joy to start the work later today. 

Thank you for reading.  I hope you will have a good week.

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About billwednesdayblog

Retired high school English and French teacher.
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3 Responses to Wednesday, April 17, 2013

  1. kay says:

    I have been thinking about a trip to the Outer Banks… I hope you will meet us there for a few days.. I just read The End of Your Life Book Club… now I want to read all they read ! Glad to hear you are doing well ! Miss you cousin!

  2. Dave A says:

    Your recollections make the point that this area must be added to my bucket list for the US. Nicely done.

  3. Paul says:

    Thanks for the movie rec, Bill–I’ll look for _42_!

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