Cape Hatteras National Seashore

If you are visiting national parks, be sure to plan a trip to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore managed by our National Parks Service. While you are there, don't forget to visit the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. It's the big tall building.

This lighthouse has stood along the ocean since 1870, lighting the way for ships, preventing them from losing their way in the dark and fog and crashing up against the shore.

And if you were there in July 1999 like I was, you could have also watched the lighthouse withstand a move along the shore.

Yes, they had to carefully move the lighthouse inland to ensure that the sea didn't claim it as its own.

Quite by accident, I ended up visiting the lighthouse on the last day they were moving it, July 9, 1999.
That was quite a sight to see. From what I remember, it was very hot that day, and to get to the lighthouse, we had to walk along a path cut through a thicket. Did I mention it was hot that day? We stayed around long enough to take some pictures and watch the lighthouse move a few feet, then went back down the path through the thicket. It was sure hot that day.

Further up the coast of the Outer Banks, we enjoyed the beach and ocean views.
The sea is mesmerizing, and I can understand why some people have to go to the ocean at least once a year to see it, feel it, be recharged by it.

If you visit the national seashore and the Outer Banks, I recommend you also take the time to drive across the sound to Manteo, North Carolina on Roanoke Island to check out...

The Elizabethan Gardens!
Yes, it isn't all about seashores and lighthouses and the ocean. It's about gardens! It always is.
In fact, once in this garden, you may forget that you are so near the ocean. It's filled with indigenous plants and planted in an English style with plenty of fountains, statues, and as I recall, a thatched gazebo.

After touring the garden, I also recommend you check out Manteo Booksellers.
It was in this very bookstore that I bought my first book by the garden designer and writer, Elizabeth Lawrence. And then I actually read the book. And then later I started a garden blog. And then one cold, February day, a quote from Elizabeth Lawrence inspired me to start Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

I'm sure glad I visited the Cape Hatteras National Seashore...
And I'm glad that Pam/Digging suggested we all post about our visits to National Parks. It allowed me to fondly remember this visit, where I witnessed the historical moving of a lighthouse, and realize once again how everything is connected, in some way, to gardening...
At least for me...


  1. Now that must have been quite a sight, Carol. My DH and I used to live in N.C., and we made a few visits to the Outer Banks. I've seen that lighthouse, in fact, but not in motion. And I somehow missed the Elizabethan gardens and that quaint bookshop. But if I ever make it back there I won't miss them, thanks to your post.

    Thanks for participating in the parks celebration!

  2. sssshhhhhhhhhh! Stop telling people to go there! Kidding (sort of). I've been staying on Hatteras (Avon, generally) for at least a week every summer since I was born. It's like my second home - I'm a bit possessive :)

    I posted a few pics from our September trip this year - the VERY FIRST time we've gone when the lighthouse has actually been open to visitors (not too hot, like usual). So we walked up it:

  3. I would love to see coastal NC. I could stop outside Clyde on my way. Maybe even visit the Knoxville area. Anything in Texas to see? It would be a fun roadtrip. Right now it's nice to dream.

  4. That's a part of NC I really want to visit! How much fun it must have been to see them move the light house. Everything we do is connected to the garden! gail

  5. Living in Nebraska, I had never seen an ocean until I convinced my husband to take me to one June of 2007. He picked the Outer Banks. Would you believe the only lighthouse we saw was on Ocracoke? We didn't even make it to the Elizabethan Garden, because Larry didn't want to pay the entrance fee. We did, however, go on the old homes and gardens tour that happened to be the day we were in Beaufort, North Carolina. It was awesome, and we got to meet most of the gardeners.

    Your post brought back some good memories. I am thankful we got to experience the ocean. Oh, we did go to that bookstore and some antique stores in the area.

  6. Oh---how wonderful---My NC! I love it of course. I've been to the Manteo Book Shop many times. And I remember when this lighthouse was in its original location but still had plenty of beach around it. Didn't get to see it moved though and what perfectly accidental timing on your part. It was big news around here.

  7. How interesting that was to see! The beach is refreshing, good books do inspire us and AHH to visit a beautiful garden is always the icing on the cake..

  8. Oh Carol, thanks for showing this! We used to vacation in Nag's Head every year when we lived in PA and the kids were small. I never could get anyone to go with me to the Elizabethan Gardens so went alone. What a lovely place!
    And to Chuck, come on down!

  9. It must have been amazing to see the lighthouse being moved. Those types of buildings are so tall I bet the people moving it were nervous.

    I haven't been to that part of the country before. It looks like a must see especially with a garden and bookshop to peruse.

  10. How lucky to be there when the move was taking place. We watched it on the news and were happy we got to go up inside when it was in the original location. Along the Outer Banks you can do a full lighthouse day. Start at the northern end at Corolla and see Hatteras, Bodie, Ocracoke, and if you still have a little time...go to Cape Lookout. We did Corolla to Ocracoke is a couple days, the kids loved it.

  11. Amazing photos! I love and miss the Jersey shore! Thank you for the recharge :)

  12. Another one for the list! I haven't visited the coastal shore of the Carolinas but don't you think it would be a great site for Spring Fling? Any bloggers there?

  13. Your post, Carol, is another reminder of all the beautiful places to see in this country. Seeing the lighthouse being moved must have been quite a sight. And I'm not surprised you found a lovely garden nearby:)

    Enjoyed your tour of Montrose; I can't imagine touring 61 acres in less than 60 minutes! But you managed to capture a great perspective of it in spite of all the gardeners walking in front of you. And congrats on your new column! I've become a casual reader of the newspaper, but Saturday's edition contains at least one regular gardening column plus occasional features--I never miss these!

  14. How fascinating it must have to see a lighthouse being moved along the shore. Door County, Wisconsin has 10 lighthouses, 5 state parks and more than a dozen county parks. It's the next county over from us and your post reminds me that I need to visit there more often.

  15. A really nice post on Cape Hatteras and other spots worth noting. Bringing in memories and connections always makes it so interesting.

  16. If you were there in July, you likely saw half of the citizens of Virginia there. That is where a good number of us vacation, leaving Virginia Beach to the Canadians.

    Congratulations on your newspaper column as well, you deserve it.

  17. You got to see the lighthouse move? What great timing you have, Carol. We've got a couple of photos of the lighthouse taken in late summer 1976 - we drove up the coast from Charleston, SC to Virginia and loved the Outer Banks.
    No Elizabethan Garden memories, however - maybe we'll get back someday.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  18. Nice post about Hatteras and Manteo. We've spent time on the Outer Banks over he last 20 years and always worth the trip. I finally climbed the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (post move) and what great views from the top.

    The Elizabethan Gardens are another great place to see. Thanks for sharing your memories.