while vacationing at the outer banks in north carolina, we visited several of the area’s lighthouses.  i had looked forward to this for months, because lighthouses fascinate me.  they are hauntingly romantic.  they invoke thoughts of hope and guidance, but also danger and death.  i would love to live in one!  i was inspired to photograph their beauty, despite – or maybe due to – the simplicity of their architecture.

our first lighthouse trek was mentioned in my last post:  my mom, elise, arden, dede and i squeezed into a car and headed north.  we only visited one lighthouse that day, but it was a nice intro.  (then we proceeded to get ice cream and go shopping!)  when we pulled into the parking lot, we all had a good giggle when the greeter said, “just follow this road around to the right, SHOOG.”  as in SUGAR.  love it!  (this inside joke is still going strong in our family, and ‘shoog’ has become one of my favorite terms of endearment.) 

the currituck beach lighthouse stands 158 feet tall, and although we didn’t climb it, its height and bare brick were stunning.  the small, wood buildings scattered around, the sand dunes and some strange ‘dune trees’ (as i like to call them) added an especially haunted feel to the grounds. 

fun fact:  this lighthouse was built to fill the last remaining 80-mile ‘dark spot’ of the outer banks coast where, prior, many ships foundered in the night.  SHOOG.

our next trek was a couple of days later, and this time i left arden back with jason, and my mom, sisters and i drove south.  just a few miles from our beach house in nag’s head was the 150 foot high bodie island lighthouse.  even though this lighthouse is not open for climbing, we were still disappointed to find that it was under construction.  it reminded me of my summer in italy long ago and how, despite chronic fatigue due to a fun, international case of mono, i dragged myself to vatican city one hot morning to see st. peter’s basilica….and it was covered in scaffolding.  BOOOO.  the closed lighthouse wasn’t quite as tragic, but we still hopped out of the car to take a sad ‘fail’ photo of elise before moving on.

fun facts:  the currituck beach lighthouse is considered this one’s architectural twin, and the black and white horizontal stripes were partly built of materials leftover from the construction of the newest cape hatteras lighthouse.  i love how they are all connected…. it’s the ciiiirrrcle of liiiiight….

finally, we drove and drove through the marshes to the cape hatteras lighthouse, also known as ‘america’s lighthouse.’  it’s the tallest brick beacon in the country standing 208 feet.  this was the real winner of our lighthouse quest, and elise and i had fun climbing it while preggers and mommers checked out the keeper’s quarters. 

fun facts:  the first cape hatteras lighthouse was built in 1803.  after a rich history that includes civil war drama, stolen fresnal lenses, washed-away ruins and multiple re-buildings, the lighthouse you see today was hydraulically moved 1/2 mile inland in 1999 to save it from the encroaching atlantic. 

elise was dying to have a photograph of herself doing a cartwheel in front of the lighthouse.  i was happy to oblige!

i hope you enjoyed your virtual lighthouse tour today!  you can learn more about these and other outer banks/north carolina lighthouses at http://www.outerbanks.org/attractions/lighthouses/ and http://www.carolinalights.com/north-carolina-lighthouses.
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