The Outer Banks is a narrow strip of land sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and a large shallow body of water called Albemarle Sound. The unique geography and wind conditions attracted the Wright Brothers who proved their theory of flight was possible on December 3, 1903. Birds use the Outer Banks as a refuge and resting area on their migratory flights every spring, dolphins playfully frolic in the Atlantic waters, and wild Spanish mustangs still roam free, descendents of horses that survived shipwrecks dating back to the late 1600’s. The Outer Banks are also a National Seashore and home to the lighthouse at Cape Hatteras, the tallest on the East Coast. Finally, no trip to the Outer Banks would be complete without sampling the fabulous cuisine and seeing the house used in the film “Nights in Rodanthe” with Richard Gere.
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Sunday, April 14 - Arrive Norfolk, Virginia; Welcome Dinner (D)
Schedule your flight into Norfolk Airport no later than 4:00 pm. We will gather at 6:00 pm for introductions and a get-acquainted welcome dinner.
Monday, April 15 – Norfolk Botanical Gardens; Wright Brothers Memorial (B,L)
Before leaving for the Outer Banks, we will stop for a visit at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. The Garden represents an oasis of more than 30 distinctly themed gardens encompassing 155 breath-taking acres. It is bordered on three sides by the picturesque beauty of Lake Whitehurst and features some of the East Coast’s largest collections of azaleas, camellias, roses and rhododendrons. Our lunch stop will be at the Coinjock Marina, located on the Inter-coastal waterway. After lunch we drive onto the Outer Banks and make our first stop at the Wright Brothers Memorial where we see the exhibit and walk to the top of memorial hill.
Tuesday, April 16 – Explore Quaint Towns; Wild Horse Adventure (B,D)
Take a step back in time when we drive to the northern end of the OuterBanks past quaint towns with names like Duck, Sanderling, and Corolla. Visit the Whalehead Club. Originally built in the 1920s, this magnificent residence has been restored to its original grandeur on 39 acres of pristine waterfront property.
Next door to the Whalehead Club is the northern lighthouse at Corolla. This red-brick lighthouse towers above the northern Outer Banks landscape and was the last major brick lighthouse built on the Outer Banks. It still serves as an aid to navigation. Inside the lighthouse we will find museum-quality exhibits.
With an ancestry tracing back to the very first days of European exploration in North America, the legendary Corolla wild horses still roam the beaches, dune fields, and maritime forest as they have for hundreds of years. To view these wild horses on their own terms, we will take an off-road tour with a naturalist guide.
Wednesday, April 17 – Roanoke Island: Elizabethan Gardens; North Carolina Aquarium; Sunset Sail (B)
On Roanoke Island lies the town of Manteo, and several attractions that preserve the history of the earliest English settlement. The Elizabethan Gardens are dedicated to preserving the beauty and tranquility as a tribute to the first English colonists in the New World. Some of the special places we can see include Shakespeare's Herb Garden, the Queen's Rose Garden, meandering paths amidst blooming bulbs, azaleas and camellias, and the formal sunken knot garden. The gardens are particularly spectacular in April.
Enjoy free time to stroll through Manteo’s waterfront and enjoy a bite to eat. Later we visit the North Carolina Aquarium, featuring the largest aquarium in the state. Throughout the aquarium are exhibit tanks filled with fishes of North Carolina coastal habitats, including sharks and rays.
We will end our day with a sunset sail and see the Outer Banks from a completely different perspective. We will enjoy a beautiful sail on a 55-foot topsail schooner in Roanoke Sound with the Jockey's Ridge sand dunes and Roanoke Island's "Lost Colony" as a back drop. Enjoy the peace of the wind and water!
Thursday, April 18 - Cape Hatteras National Park and Lighthouse; Walk along the Seashore (B,D)
Today we will drive the National Seashore and stop along the way to see Pea Island and the migratory bird in residence plus see the house used in the movie “Nights in Rodanthe”. We will visit the lighthouse at Cape Hatteras and take a walk along the seashore. It will be a fun filled and interesting day. We will return to Nags Head and have dinner together.
Friday, April 19 - Chrysler Museum of Art; Historic Norfolk waterfront; Farewell Dinner (B,D)
Today we depart the Outerbanks and return to Norfolk, with some interesting stops along the way. With 62 free galleries and 30,000 objects spanning 5,000 years plus two Historic Houses just a few blocks away, there is something for everyone at the Chrysler Museum of Art. Automotive heir, Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., donated most of his extensive collection to the museum. After visiting the Museum, we will spend time at the Norfolk waterfront and enjoy our farewell dinner at one of the local restaurants.
Saturday, April 20 – Return Home (B)
It’s time to return home. Schedule your return flight at your convenience. The hotel provides courtesy transportation to the airport.