Roanoke Island, North Carolina

During my stay at the Outer Banks, I decided to trail back a little and visit Roanoke Island for the first time. I’ll be honest I hadn’t ever given the island much thought before, even though I drive through it every time I head towards Nags Head. But, there are truly some hidden treasures there, including the mystery of the Lost Colony (a.k.a. The Roanoke Colony) where an entire 16th century settlement just disappeared.

I drove to the most northern point of the Island to visit Fort Raleigh State Park to check out The Elizabethan Gardens. It is gorgeous! I loved walking the paths in the peace and quiet. And what was totally cool! Several of the plants growing in the Gardens were native to this region. I never knew we had such beautiful trees and flowers.

I also visited the town of Manteo, which is a sweet place to explore. The shops are great. Each sells something unique, and it’s just great to wander the streets. I also think I found my favorite Piratey hangout at Poor Richard’s Sandwich Shop. I also checked out the Marshes Lighthouse. Though not too much to really see in the house (except for a few interesting facts of the lighthouse history) the views are amazing from the boardwalk, especially for taking shots of the replica Elizabeth II, a 16th century English merchant vessel.

The most fun I had, though, was at Roanoke Island Festival Park. I got to travel through the American Indian Town which represents a Coastal Algonquian culture similar to what English explorers had encountered during their voyages to Roanoke Island. I loved stepping onto the Elizabeth II and exploring every nook and cranny of the ship. There were also two very helpful (and cute) interrupters there to answer every question I had about the ship.

My favorite part of the park was the English Settlement Site. I had a wonderful guide who showed me the armor they used to wear, even let me try it on, and showed the tools made in the blacksmith shop. Unfortunately, Hurricane Irene took had washed through and had taken the Settlement’s lathe, a woodworking tool used to shape wood. And you could even see how high the water line rose during the storm on the back of the Blacksmith wall. But, I still had a blast!

The best part was that my visit to Roanoke Island was that it inspired a new young adult fiction novel for me to write; one that involves a thrilling mystery of the Roanoke Colony. Mwhahaha.

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