“Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time.” – H. P. Lovecraft
Sometimes you just have to save the best for last. There is so much to do on the Outerbanks and there is SO much to see. Especially if you haven’t ever been there. Yes, it is known for Kitty Hawk (the Wright Brother’s first flight originated there) and Cape Hatteras, but sometimes it is the lesser known places that hold the most magic and for me that place was Manteo.
It really was one of my favorite places. I could have spent days there. It is so quaint, yet there is a lot to see and explore. In many ways, it reminded me of Duck, but an older more historically preserved version, with its boardwalks through the marsh, shops built almost to make you feel like you are in a tree house, and of course the docks, filled with boats of all types and sizes, and even including some pirate ship replicas, as this use to be a pirate hub long ago.
I also can not forget the crowning jewel: It’s lighthouse.
Originally a fishing town, it was named after the Crotan Native American Chief Manteo who helped to broker peace amongst the tribes and explorers/invaders. Manteo is much more seasonal than even Duck and Corolla are, but honestly it made it even more appealing, as I walked the near empty streets and boardwalks. It isn’t filled with resorts or huge beach houses, but rather smaller cottages and inns that are in more keeping with staying true to Manteo’s history. This isn’t a beach town, but walking along the boardwalk over the marshes provided a different kind of peace that I loved and truly channeled that southern flare and history I love to find in any water town.
Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse
The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse just might be the cutest lighthouse ever. Known as a screwpile lighthouse, it is actually the fourth replica, though it does stay true to the original. I love how unassuming it is. It doesn’t stick out like some of the other light houses in the area. I literally was upon it before I even realized what it was (and I was looking for it!) It reminds me of a beach cottage, which just makes me love it even more! It is open to the public and you can go in and explore. It has exhibits that showcase the history, especially the piracy, and was fun to peruse. This might just be my favorite lighthouse in the Carolinas, not only that, but it was my favorite town to visit. And it didn’t even have a beach to lounge at!
Have you been to Manteo? What is your favorite town on the Outerbanks?