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Outer Banks Guide > Outer Banks Blogs > Eve Turek's Natural Outer Banks Blog

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
When Pete and I go galavanting, which is to say, taking a vacation somewhere other than the beautiful Outer Banks where we live and work, we usually like to announce that fact after the fact, rather than before. So now is a great time to apologize to (hopefully still) faithful readers that one reason you've not read an OBX blog from me recently--in addition to our long spate of rainy spring weather--is that we've been Elsewhere.

I called this blog "Pilgrimage" because in many ways our May travels were exactly that. We started off with several days in Maine, a state I've longed to visit since early childhood, when I was enthralled by my parents' stories of how they met there one summer in the mid-1930s. How a VA country boy and a Philadelphia city gal met in Maine is another story entirely, but it's safe to say that if not for Camden, Maine and surrounds, circa 1936, I wouldn't be here today. They courted five years, mostly long distance, before marrying on the edge of WWII in August, 1941, and never got back to Maine.

Like everywhere else, coastal Maine has come through tremendous changes in the past 75 years, but much of the charm my folks described still exists here. Beautiful homes overlook harbors dotted with sailing boats and (mostly) wooden fishing boats...at least they were dotted in early to mid May. We understand that as summer reaches the northern east coast, so do the boaters, and the harbors become much more crowded with pleasure craft of all shapes and sizes.

We had mostly glorious weather for our days in Maine, interspersed with fog that made the landscape interesting. I learned that May is too early for whale or puffin cruises; if we ever return, it will likely be a little later in the season to take advantage of being able to be out on the water in addition to looking at it from shore.

My long affection for pictures of rocky coasts probably stems, I realized, from seeing early sepia snapshots of the places Mom and Dad loved. We tried to go to Acadia National Park (I wanted to see the world from atop Cadillac Mountain, and hoped for moose and loons) but alas! When we arrived, we were told the park was closed due to the federal budget/sequestration. A scant two miles of the 27-mile loop road were all that was open. I am still tremendously disappointed over not seeing the park in all its splendor. I think it has opened fully now; we were there a couple weeks before the restrictions on visitation were to be lifted. My consolation prize is that, as we drove back to Camden, we stopped at one little harbor where I saw my first and only loon in full breeding plumage, a life quest! It was fishing for crab for lunch near a launch ramp in mid-afternoon so I got a great chance to photograph it up close.

We saw the most adorable lighthouses, perched atop their rocky cliffs and much squatter than ours are, since they have the advantage of a plunging shoreline to give them height above sea level. We ate seafood for lunch and dinner every day but one, and had no digestive upsets whatsoever! (And came home to radically modify our diet here.)

Once we left Maine, we spent two and a half days with dear friends in Cape Cod, whom we had not seen in way too many years. After that, we spent a couple days in Mystic, CT near where Pete's youngest son Patrick lived during the last year of his life. Those two destinations will have to wait until the next blog, which I will try to finish this week. Meanwhile, here is a sampling of our Maine adventures for you to enjoy. And after all this vacationing, now that the sun seems to want to stay out, I'll be back with spring on the Outer Banks, I promise.

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Our first Maine explorations on our way to Camden included a visit to the Portland Head Lighthouse. You can see another lighthouse in the distance perched on its own little rock.

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The rocks at Pemaquid Point Lighthouse have been sculpted by eons of waves crashing upon them. I took my walking stick to reach this vantage point!

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We stayed right on the edge between Camden and Rockport, the next harbor over; both were only a few minutes drive. This is the view of Camden Harbor from Battie Mountain on one of our foggy mornings.

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Everywhere we looked we saw charming boats! Big boats, little boats, working boats, pleasure boats, and all seemed to be in immaculate condition.

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We stopped to check out a little harbor on our way back from Acadia, and I was enthralled by the lobster boats in the fog.

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This is the same little harbor where, after I spent a chunk of time photographing the boats, this loon showed up--just so I could take its photograph, obviously.

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I sure do wish we could have enjoyed all of Acadia. The little glimpses we were able to have were beautiful. We could see why it is one of America's favorite national parks.

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There is a tiny sand beach amidst all the rocky shorelines in Acadia. Since I can photograph waves-on-sand at home, I was much more interested in the rocks that encircled the sandy cove.

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One thing I love about being a photographer is that while I may think I know what I want to photograph, life offers unexpected gifts. This was one of those. We spied this scene on the way to the Pemaquid Light. It was a "Pete, stop the car" moment.

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On May 5, 2010, I saw and photographed my first-ever fogbow, right in Nags Head. On May 6 this year, I experienced my second: at Bass Head Light. The fog obscured the lighthouse; the fogbow was the gift.

posted by eturek at 12:25 AM

Comments [6]

Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Let the Light Shine...
This is going to be a bit of a departure from my usual nature-focused blog. Instead, this one focuses just a little bit on history.

On Friday April 18, the Bodie Island Light was re-lit in a beautiful ceremony that honored its long history. The current lighthouse was built on this spot in 1872, and was powered by whale oil. Back when I moved here as a young adult in the mid 1970s, I knew a women who (if my memory is correct) grew up at the light as a daughter of the last keeper, before the light was electrified. The ceremony honored both the US Coast Guard as a former guardian agency, and the National Park Service as its current guardian. Guest speakers talked about the restoration project that began in 2009, when the light went dark, and ultimately resulted in repairs that allow the lighthouse to be opened to the public for climbing for the first time in its history!

I was fortunate to climb the lighthouse that week and a few photos are below. The Bodie Light climbs are ranger-guided and provide a lot of history as well as stunning views! Reservations are required. I was so grateful after all these years to be able to go up.

When the ceremony concluded, the dignitaries called for young descendants of original keepers to come forward; in a great feat of technology, the staff had rigged a 7-part switch so that each youngster had a part in the actual re-lighting. I stayed around until dusk to see and photograph the light really shining again.

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Here is one reason I climbed to the top: I wanted to see the First Order Fresnel Lens. I went up with a special climbing party of media and we were able to peek at the newly cleaned and reassembled lens. It is HUGE.

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The view from topside is impressive in every direction.

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Going down now...

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I did not take any photos of the speech-makers. But the USCG Honor Guard was impressive.

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Worth waiting for...four long years without the light, and now once again it shines!

posted by eturek at 11:12 PM

Comments [235]

(c) 2009-2010 Eve Turek & OBX Connection, all rights reserved - read 561316 times

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