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Day 8…. A goose traffic jam, southern food, an overpriced theme park, and the family you choose for yourself.

 

Before I regale you with yet another day of our vacation adventures….. a little personal history.

In case you hadn’t guessed? The husband and I don’t have any children. It was a lifestyle choice we made years ago and haven’t had cause to regret it. But back in the early 90’s we took a neighbor’s child under our wing when her single mother was having trouble. She lived with us for a time, and we came to love her like our own.

 

Des & Fred, ironing

 

She was the child we never had….

 

Des & a few lobsters

 

We helped raise her…..

 

Fred & Des..Forestry

 

And since she had no contact with her real father, my husband took over the role.

 

Attitude adjustment!!

 

Attitude adjustments et al.

 

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She wasn’t ours biologically…..

 

Me, Fred & Des, Lakewood

 

But she will always be the child of our hearts.

 

Fred & Des - graduation

 

We’ve watched her grow into a beautiful young woman…

 

Me, Fred & Des

 

And now she’s happily married…..

 

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With a child of her own….

 

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And we feel like we have a grandchild as well. They still live in North Carolina so whenever we’re near…. we get together. She loves that we have a timeshare and enjoys staying with us at the various resorts. On Day 8 of this trip? She and her daughter joined us for the weekend before Christmas.

When they arrived?

A goose traffic jam…

 

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I love me some goosers… so pardon the ridiculous tone of voice I use in the video.

As well as me cursing out the idiot who was honking their horn at those sweet little waddlers.

 

 

After their 4 1/2 hour trip, Destiny and Gracie were hungry so we took them to that great seafood place we’d found… Fat Tuna.

 

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We stuffed ourselves silly with hushpuppies, cornbread and shrimp and grits….

 

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While the husband opted for a seafood pasta.

 

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This was in anticipation of where we would be spending the afternoon and evening… because when you have a 7 year old? Sitting around chatting with a cocktail isn’t going to cut it.

So the husband and I did what we never… ever!… do.

We went to a theme park.

And it was just as awful as we knew it would be.

 

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We stood in a long line to board the shuttle.

 

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We crammed onto the shuttle like sardines.

 

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We waited on long lines to buy overpriced tickets…. and not even a funny spare tire cover could make up for what we were about to experience.

 

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(I hope he was talking about the jeep and not his wife.

I really do.)

But yes…. the husband and I shelled out $240 frickin’ dollars to visit Christmas Town at Busch Gardens.

 

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No senior discount, no military discount, no under 12 discount.

Suck it Santa!

Did I mention it was also $20 to leave our car in the north 40  somewhere south of bumblef*ck Egypt   parking lot?

 

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$260 just to walk in.

Kill me now.

 

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But we were there with people we loved…

 

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And my husband… who never wants to pose for photographs?

 

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Was posing all over the place…. and smiling.

Now that’s a true Christmas miracle!

Yorktown, the Riverwalk, cocktails and finally…. some food.

 

After our long day at Historic Jamestown, it was time for some refreshment. Liquid and otherwise.

 

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So we headed to Yorktown…

 

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And their popular Riverwalk Landing.

 

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I had planned to leisurely stroll around, check out the cute little shops…..

 

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And walk the waterfront.

Until a stiff wind blew in and made it feel like -10 degrees.

 

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New plan?

Drinks and dinner.

 

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This place looked promising from the outside….

 

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From the inside? Not so much.

 

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And while the cocktail list was interesting…..

 

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And the Mulberry Muddler quite tasty, it was basically a loud sports pub with a menu that didn’t satisfy the husband’s cravings.

 

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So one extremely large soft pretzel later, we left…. and went next door.

 

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And were very glad we did.

 

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Ah, much better.

 

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It was a lovely place, and practically deserted off season.

 

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Cocktail?

Well, if you insist.

 

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While I’m generally not a wine drinker, I do occasionally like Sangria…. and this one had apple brandy. Scrumptious.

 

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We relaxed. We watched the sun set. We drank….

 

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And yes, food picture screamers… we ate.

 

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The menu was intriguing….

 

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The food marvelous and artfully prepared.

Husband had the catch of the day…..

 

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While I opted for the lamp chops.

Were they good?

 

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I picked them up and gnawed the bones…. so in a word, yes.

 

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Full, but never too full for dessert… we split this, which almost put me in a chocolate coma.

Day 7, done.

Only 8 more days to go!

 

 

If that helps?

Sure, be my guest.

 

Museum oddities, death, Pocahantas, a scenic drive and some vultures.

 

I could bore you to tears with all we saw that day, but let this suffice..

 

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A portrait of an evil cherub who looks like she’s ready to stab Fido with an already bloody knife.

 

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But no.

 

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It’s just a 17th century pacifier. “Your mouth is sore sweetie? Here… suck on this metal and coral pointy thing.”

No wonder she looks pissed off.

 

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“Inveterate dysenterical fluxes”.

Doesn’t that sound like fun?

 

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The museum was filled with artifacts unearthed from the original site.

 

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And things thrown down the communal well.

Naturally, the husband was appalled at the waste of all those perfectly good rusty tools.

 

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The takeaway from most of the history we read?

We might romanticize the idea of the first settlers… opportunity, adventure, a brave new world etc., but in reality? It was starvation, illness and death.

 

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And Pocahantas…. of whom much is written and little is really known.

The only actual image drawn during her lifetime is this English portrait:

 

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A much later Anglicized version of her true self.

 

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Child trading. A fact of which I was heretofore unaware.

 

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So there you have it, historic Jamestown.

Where a t shirt we saw in the gift shop said it all…..

 

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Leaving Jamestown, we got back on the Colonial Parkway…..

 

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And saw some deer.

 

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Some swamps.

 

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And a whole bunch of these strange mounds.

 

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Too small and numerous for beaver.

 

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Any southerners care to weigh in on what constructs them?

 

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The Parkway slides along the James River….

 

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And was a lovely, peaceful, traffic free drive.

 

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Except for the black vultures.

 

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Which are neither lovely nor peaceful….

 

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And often cause their own traffic jams when they discover a fresh kill.

And no, I didn’t include a photo of the canine corpse.

 

Historic Jamestown Museum.

 

Through with our outdoor touring of the site….

 

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We found the museum.

 

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An odd looking building we were assured was totally green.

Although it looked pretty brown to me.

 

 

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Although I called it a museum?

They call it an Archaearium.

 

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Technically that means an archeological excavation covered by a glass building.

Which it was.

 

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Because the remains of the first government building was literally under your feet.

 

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The exhibits were well done and history rich.

 

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And it shouldn’t surprise you that we spent a good couple of hours here.

 

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They’ve apparently taken a good deal of flack over the display of actual remains.

 

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But to be honest, it was fascinating.

 

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Granted if JR was my 10th great grandfather I might feel differently….

 

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I mean, it doesn’t look like he died peacefully.

 

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But then again, this poor fellow had to be in dire need of some Excedrin as well.

 

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Early surgical instruments?

 

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Or the Marquis De Sade’s toy chest?

Tough call.

 

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I’m guessing this poor soul didn’t get any Novocain either.

 

 

Of course back in the day…. this pointy little piece of metal?

 

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Yeah.

 

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Not your average Q Tip.

 

 

Way.

And if you remember my post from yesterday about the hardships the settlers endured?

 

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This 14 year old girl was eaten.

 

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It doesn’t get much harder than that.

 

 

 

 

Day 7…. Historic Jamestown

 

Part 2 of the historic triangle in the Williamsburg ,Virginia area is Jamestown. What I didn’t know before arriving was that there are 2 distinct ways to experience it…. the National Park site and the more touristy recreation.

 

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We opted for the National site first, by way of the Colonial Parkway.

 

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The Parkway is a beautiful 23 mile road that runs along the James River from Williamsburg to Yorktown.

 

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We jumped off at Jamestown and drove the 5 mile Island Loop, a self guided tour that explores the natural environment and history of the area.

 

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Then it was on to the visitors center.

 

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I won’t bore you  more than I already do   with the story. You can read about it here.  Suffice it to say Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement, the birthplace of Virginia… and basically, America.

 

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There was a wonderful theater…

 

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With multiple screens… where we brushed up on our high school history.

 

 

Outside there was a long boardwalk…

 

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That led to a monument…

 

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Which I’m sure the husband was glad he didn’t have to climb.

 

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It was there we waited for our Park Ranger tour guide.

 

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Who led us to the original settlers’ site.

 

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That’s Pocahantas to the right… and yes, there was a Mockingbird on her head. A real one who proceeded to poop on her nose.

 

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The only thing left from the original settlers’ buildings was one crumbling wall of a church.

 

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But archeologists have been actively digging here for years….

 

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Removing thousands of artifacts from the fort….

 

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And various other buildings.

 

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Here, the husband checks out a model recreation of the site.

 

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The soldiers barracks.

 

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Where the Queen visited a decade ago.

 

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And the required selfie by the water.

 

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There was an outline of a church with markers for the identified graves.

 

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And a graveyard for unidentified remains.

 

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It was a lovely spot.

 

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But the history of the hardships the colonists suffered sure made you appreciate the wealth of opportunities and conveniences we have now.

 

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Famine, civil unrest, severe weather, murder, Indian attacks…. even cannabilism. They experienced it all.

 

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Second required selfie by the water to lighten the mood.

 

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It was a fascinating tour…

 

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And we learned a lot.

 

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But it was lunchtime…. and the husband’s stomach was growling.

 

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Not wanting to waste time and drive back to town, we were glad to find a small cafe on site.

 

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You couldn’t beat the view.

 

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Chicken salad spinach wrap with potato salad for me…

 

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Tomato bisque and a Sloppy Joe with potato salad for the husband.

Thus fortified, we headed for the museum.

 

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When in Manteo…..

 

Granted, it’s not Rome.

But Manteo, North Carolina has an interesting history all it’s own.

 

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Manteo is located on Roanoke Island, site of the famous Lost Colony.

A very brief history is here.

Living in North Carolina you encounter cities, towns, streets, schools, sports teams, forests, streams, hospitals etc. etc. with the names Raleigh, Virginia Dare and Croatan. Do we know for certain what happened to those early colonists?

No, we do not.

But after visiting this National Park, reading the history and having one extremely long conversation with a Park Ranger…. I wondered why it was a mystery at all.

 

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We stood at the exact site of that early fort.

 

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Granted, there wasn’t much to see.

 

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A few humpa humpas and a sign.

 

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There was also a squirrel with a very large nut, but I’m guessing he wasn’t an original 16th century squirrel.

 

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Walking around the park we did find a theater where they hold seasonal plays.

 

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Weird diving board not withstanding…

 

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It didn’t hold our attention for long…..

 

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Even with the interesting tree branches….

 

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And lovely old live oaks.

 

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Back at the visitor center I learned the whole story and basically, it goes like this.

The first English settlers arrived in 1585. They were a military group sent by Sir Walter Raleigh to colonize the New World. They built a fort, the effort failed, they returned to England.

 

 

The second group of settlers landed in 1587. This consisted of approx 120 men, women and children. They figured they would fish for food…. but none of them were fishermen. Great plan!They met friendly Indians who totally supported and fed them for 2 years until a drought in the 3rd year left the Indians barely enough to feed themselves. The English were ticked off that the gravy train had run out, so they slaughtered the chief and stole his food. Thus ending the friendly relationship with the native population.

 

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Disease, famine, and a harsh winter all took their toll. When Governor John White sailed back to England for supplies, he had no idea a war with Spain was about to start…. and didn’t make it back for 3 years. When he returned, the colony was deserted. The only clue? The word Cro scratched into a tree and Croatan scratched into a post.

 

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Did the Indians kill all the colonists? Maybe… but I doubt it.

The Croatan were a local tribe with a history of assimilating other peoples into their society.  Later English settlers spoke of meeting blue eyed Indians.

Where’s the mystery? Sick and starving, the remaining colonists set out to find the friendly Indians and scratched Croatan as a message to those who followed.

Blue eyed natives?

What do you think they were doing for those 3 years.

 

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See? There are memes about it…

It must be true.

 

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Anyway…. the visitor center had some interesting items.

And I adore old maps. This way there be monsters….

 

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Liz was there.

 

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As was Walt….

But how about that ceiling?

 

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Made my neck hurt just thinking about painting it.

 

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And the walls?

 

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Were not just any old walls.

 

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Yes, I’m really blogging about walls.

Just go with it.

 

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A pineapple…

 

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And a flying fish (painted by none other than Governor John White, the only unlost member of the Lost Colony) later…..

 

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We left Roanoke.

 

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Drove back through the Outer Banks…

 

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Just in time for me to try and snap some sunset pics at 85mph.

 

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That didn’t work well.

 

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But the sun was perfectly poised on the horizon…

 

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As we went over the bridge…

 

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And headed back to the mainland.

Two hours into the 3 hour trip back we stopped at Cracker Barrel for a quick dinner. You’ve all been there, no pictures required.

 

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But country fried turkey? Definitely reminded me we were in the south.

They’ll fry anything!

 

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Last photo of the day is that weirdo building in Virginia I asked about previously.

Although this time it was quite colorful as we went by.

 

 

Elizabethan Gardens… Manteo, Outer Banks North Carolina

 

Next up on our Outer Banks day trip? The Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo.

But first?

Some rocks…

 

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You’re welcome.

From Nags Head to Manteo?

 

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Scenery.

 

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Scenery from a bridge.

 

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More scenery.

How’s that for detailed description?

 

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The Gardens were recommended to us as a must stop… so we did. Even though it was off season and very little was blooming.

 

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Gardens without flowers? Let’s go!

 

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It was a pretty spot… with lots of different areas to explore.

 

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They were in the middle of their annual Christmas light show….

 

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So of course we went in the middle of the day when the sun was shining.

 

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There was an impressive set of gates.

 

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Neatly trimmed boxwoods…

 

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And Queen Elizabeth I.

 

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There were paths with balls…

 

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And paths with statues.

 

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And some extremely large butterflies.

 

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Funky Christmas lights were everywhere.

 

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And I’m sure it would have been quite pretty….

 

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Had we been there at night.

 

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Okaaaay.

Not sure what that was all about, but I don’t like peas either….. so, huzzah!

 

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There was a lonely ruin of something.

 

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And a man shivering in the cold wind.

Oh, wait. That’s the husband…. I didn’t recognize him from the front.

 

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There were fountains.

 

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And ass ends of statues.

 

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Surrounded by tightly trimmed bushes.

Stop snickering…. I know where your mind went.

 

 

There were creepy garden gnomes.

 

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And an indoor butterfly garden…

 

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With no butterflies.

 

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But plenty of fluffy gnomes.

 

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Garden path U turns…

 

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And yay!

Finally something was blooming.

 

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There were also the type of Christmas decorations you only see down south.

 

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Wouldn’t be much point of laying these on the ground up my way.

 

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But there was an impressive old tree.

 

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And yes, I do mean old.

 

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Now that’s a senior citizen!

 

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More paths…

 

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More decorations….

 

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A courtyard….

 

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A gift shop….

 

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And a fellow with a wilder hairdo than me after the windy pier.

 

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By this time we’d looped back around to the beginning.

But not before we learned a few things…

 

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About bees.

 

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In case you’re wondering, Maine’s state insect is also the honeybee. Although we designated it as such in 1975.

Long live the bee!

 

 

And plagiarism apparently.