Saturday, November 12, 2016

I'll go to it laughing.

My trip to Ocracoke Island, NC began with about 20 minutes of viewing time of a double rainbow arching over 290 in Worcester, MA. A sign of good times ahead? With 1700 miles in hindsight, yes it was a good sign, a very good sign indeed.

A trip into Annapolis to pick up my long time, good times friend Terry and her painting gear, food. We were off to Chesapeake's eastern shore Cape Charles, Virginia for a sleepover at Cape Charles Hotel: a pet friendly and tres contemporary accommodation.

lower Hoopers Island
Next day we headed to Swan Quarter, NC to catch a ferry ride to Ocracoke. Took a side trip and had the best crab sandwich EVER at Old Salty's Restaurant on Hoopers Island on the Maryland's Eastern Shore. For a lark, Terry and I decided to continue to the road's end and onto Lower Hoopers Island over Hoopers Island Bridge (how the citizens ever procured funding for this impressive civil project to nowhere is beyond my understanding) over the Honga River and Bay to this scene:

Great Dismal Swamp

Proceeded into southeastern Virginia and northeast North Carolina where we ventured into the massive Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge with lots of sightings of the Bald Eagle.

The swamp was used as an escape route by runaway slaves seeking passage north to freedom.  In the region, Harriet Tubman is honored with historical markers and new exhibit halls to tell this story.

Arrived at Swan Quarter an hour ahead of schedule. Had a lunch of wine and peanut butter sandwiches at a public boat ramp from the back of car.  Trust me... there is NOTHING in Swan Quarter except the ferry terminal.  The three hour ride through the Pamlico Sound to Ocracoke Island was uneventful except for my departure off the ferry when I tore off the front panel below the car's bumper when I exited a little too fast on the ramp's steep incline. (OOOps, easily repaired at the VW garage back home)

The ferry terminal is located within walking distance to the small town of locally owned businesses and small dwellings. Nothing of grandness or ostentatiousness distracts from its quaintness. Its welcome to visitors is of one big hug of friendliness. I would liken the island feeling to a southern version of Maine's down eastern Monhegan Island.

  • Shrimp boat sightings and fresh, locally caught fish bought at Ocracoke Seafood Market. Yummy!
  • A candlelit Halloween performance by a local island girl sings Appalachian ghoulish folk songs at Coyote's Den
  • Home visits via of golf carts of FEMA officials (Hurricane Matthew)
  • 'Wake up' rooster crowings every morning at 5:30a
  • Pesky mosquitoes
  • Beautiful weather, beautiful island scenes for painting

Terry and I met an island plein air painter from Virginia Beach, Peggy Powers, who painted with us twice daily. Her husband slammed on the car brakes when he saw us unloading our painting gear from the car at the start of our painting session and told his wife sitting next to him, "Those are plein air painters!!" How did he know.... was it the turp can swinging on the backpack or,,, maybe it was our plein air couture that caught his eye: large brimmed hats, paint smeared pants, crusty old gals. Whatever reason, we were glad she introduce herself and joined us for daily painting and conversations. She was a delightful surprise to our trip.

All good vacations come to end. We drove to the other end of the island to catch the ferry to Hatteras and the Outer Banks.  With gusty, thirty mile per hour winds there were high rollers breaking over the boat's bow and a slanted horizon.  On land the drive wasn't any easier with shifting sand dunes drifting across the highways. On Pea Island, large steam shovelers sat atop the marauding dunes moving tons of sand out of harms way.  Driving over the many OBX bridges, we saw dredgers below working to open up choked inlets. Every town we entered, debris lined the roadways. All remnants from hurricane Matthew.

I toasted our return to Annapolis and my last vacation day before leaving for Sailors., a raw oyster bar where I dined on Kusshi oysters from Canada and ended with a shot of Pilar rum.

A quote from their web site to end my blog:

"I know not all that maybe coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing"- Herman Melville
I know not all that may be coming, but  it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.”
― Herman Melville
“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.”
― Herman Melville