For the last several years we have been on vacation over the 4th of July. While it is fun to enjoy cookouts with family and friends, I always find it special when we celebrate somewhere with history of this Great Nation. A few years ago, we spent the week at Spring Mill and explored the history of our wonderful state. Last year, we felt like we stepped back in time at Mackinac Island and then relaxed at Indiana Dunes. This year we are celebrating on the East Coast near Roanoke Island and visiting many historic sites.
We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls. – Robert J. McCracken
On our drive back to the camper last night we watched a lightening show that resembled the pre-show for 4th of July fireworks as the light flashes danced across the coal black sky. Although our back yard escapes the city lights and we can see the stars nearly every night they shine, it doesn’t compare to the darkness of night here overlooking the ocean.
To give you an idea of just how narrow the island is where we are staying, Nick captured this picture from our campsite.
Over the dune on far right is the ocean. The sound is just behind the buildings and trees on the far left. A few campers across the street have been here since we arrived, but many around us have been new campers since then.
After a few days full of activities, we decided to spend the day relaxing at the beach. The boys love playing in the sand, building sand castles and splashing in the waves. As Nick and I watched them play, we spotted a sand crab digging about 15 feet from us. I can’t say that I’ve ever watched a crab dig a hole before but it was intriguing. He would climb into his hole sideways and carry out sand gripped between his claws. What a busy little guy! We watched for quite a while until some kids covered his home.
We didn’t take our phone to the beach today so we don’t have any pictures to share but we sure had a few good laughs! Nick dug a big hole and then climbed in and let the boys bury him in the sand. They thought that was a good time. Each of the boys built a sand castle and attempted to construct a wall around it to keep the waves at bay. Of course, I enjoyed laying out and reading my book.
After our picnic lunch on the beach, Nick and I decided to jump in the waves a bit. It was all fun and games until one of the bigger waves of the day headed our way. Nick was able to jump before it crest, but unfortunately it broke right as it hit me knocking me down. Nick got a good laugh and an even better one when I said I couldn’t stand up because I nearly lost my swim suit in the process! Lesson #1 for the day…certain swimsuits are more appropriate for getting a tan and others for jumping in the waves.
We spent the afternoon resting back at the camper. While I was inside completing the paperwork I received for possible jury duty, the boys saw a parade go by. The campground had an afternoon activity to decorate bikes and then parade through the campground. Little did we know the parade would be complete with a fire truck and a pirate ship!
Here is a link to the video of the parade.
Tonight we headed back north to Nags Head for dinner and a firework show. Along NC-12 they are building a new bridge. The cranes are all positioned on platforms.
In addition to lighthouses scattered every 40 miles or so along the island, we’ve seen numerous “life saving stations.” Each time we drive north, we pass the Oregon-Inlet Life Saving Station in Rodanthe, NC which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Tonight marked our last visit to Nags Head for this trip. There were several places on the island with fireworks but this was the closest to us. We were able to find a spot on the beach to watch them – another first for us! While we waited, Levi created a monster truck track and Emmitt and Nick played ping pong.
Nick and I decided to play a round of ping pong next. My aggressive nature led me to dive for a ball…which did NOT work out in my favor. In doing so, I landed on the paddle and sliced the side of my thumb open (luckily only just below the surface). I headed for the beach shower near where we were sitting to wash it out and an older couple who owned the home immediately next door saw me and asked if I needed anything. Lynn let me use their bathroom to clean my hand and provided me with bandaids and Neosporian. She even suggested I take a few extra supplies to make sure I was good until we got back to the camper after the firework show. Nice people do still exist – even in towns where they likely are bombarded with tourists every day. Thanks to Lynn and her husband, we were able to watch the fireworks without having to leave to buy bandaids. Lesson #2 –
Michele is clumsy. Pack a first aid kit in the truck…not just the camper!
Once the sun set we were able to watch two firework shows from our location. The weather was beautiful. Although there were many spectators, the beach was not at all crowded and we enjoyed plenty of spaces between us and the families around us. We did each pick out our favorite fireworks, but in reality they were all excellent.
It was a great way to end this 4th of July!
Laying on the beach watching fireworks is a tough job, but someone has to do it! – Nick Graham