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After a devastating fire at our main office in Avon on November 18, we are back up and running.
Thanks to those of you who exercised patience as we recovered. We have established temporary offices adjacent to the damaged Avon office so look for us there where we will continue to provide our full scope of services, just a bit more tightly in our smaller quarters.
We hope to be rebuilt by the summer. In the meantime, please book for 2015 vacation through Outer Beaches. We promise to do everything we can to make it outstanding.
See you soon….At The Beach!
Alex Risser, President

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Outer Banks Lighthouses

Since the first lighthouse was built on the coast of North Carolina, these structures on the outer banks have been a comforting sight to the many mariners that plied the dangerous waters around Cape Hatteras and the Outer Banks. For hundreds of years, most ships sailed blind when in the area, depending on navigation skills to get though the rough waters.

One of the first acts of the fledgling Continental Congress was to authorize light houses and lifesaving stations along the Atlantic Coast from Maine to Florida.

Congress authorized the first lighthouse in 1796 on Cape Hatteras overlooking the Diamond Shoals. At that time, Hatteras Inlet was the only deep channel that remained open along the island chain. The structure was ineffective because it was too low and the light very weak. It was replaced in 1870 with the present structure, 208 feet tall and a stronger light. The present light can be seen up to 20 miles and by airline pilots as far away as 115 miles. Under especially favorable atmospheric conditions the light has been observed 51 miles at sea according to the National Park Service.

A 54-ft wooden tower was built at the entrance to Ocracoke Island in 1798 to house a light but Ocracoke Inlet constantly shifted, rendering it obsolete. A lightship followed but was also rendered useless by the shifting sand. The present tower was authorized in 1822 and is the oldest operating tower in North Carolina.

The original Bodie lighthouse was built in 1847, overlooking a beach that yielded many bodies from the various wrecks where many feel the name Bodie comes from. It is located just north of Oregon Inlet. It has been replaced twice and the last one is still operational.

The last one near Corolla on the Currituck Beach was built in 1875, ten years after the end of the civil war. It was the last blind spot along the long coastline and does not guard an inlet. It stands 158 feet tall, and unlike the other lighthouses that had been rebuilt or replaced over the years, the original structure is still standing. The light house is open for climbing, weather permitting.

All lighthouses are painted with either stripes or wide bands creating a distinctive color pattern for identification. The lighthouse is also identifiable at night by the distinctive light patterns, speed, and rotation.

It is well worth the climb to the top when visiting lighthouses, where miles of quiet country side and the rolling oceans make up a panoramic view that is both breathtaking and unbelievable. It takes one back to times when sailing ships appeared on the horizon, hoping to make safe ports. It's very quiet, leaving one with imagination thoughts of an earlier time.

Each lighthouse has a unique history telling the stories of heroism and the many lives saved. Mariners are now quite comfortable sailing up and down the coast to various ports. We take most things for granted but to listen to the stories and visit the sites where early mariners perished or were rescued, we realize the importance of the lighthouses.

For aircraft pilots, lighthouses and beacons are important in helping to locate airports in rough weather or at night. It must be comforting in a storm as well, to know that one is not alone.

The lighthouses on the outer banks are unique, because unlike many others on desolate islands that require a boat trip, all the lighthouses on the Outer Banks are accessible, some are free and some have a slight cost to defray expenses.

Contact the Outer Banks Conservationists, Inc. at (252) 453-4939 for more information.

One of the most important events in the history of the Outer Banks was the establishment of lifesaving stations set up to rescue shipwrecked seaman. At one time there were many stations scattered up and down the beaches. Today, one remains on the north end of Hatteras Island at Chicamacomco, just north of Rodanthe.

These stations were credited with saving many lives and rescuers often went into the surf with nothing but ropes and sheer guts. One story is that a ship foundered in the raging surf just offshore in a heavy storm and the shipwrecked crew barely made it to the beach near one of the stations. When they arrived at the station, they found everyone asleep. The sleeping crew was replaced with a new crew in the days following the incident, and it never happened again.

There are many stories of villagers forming lifesaving teams to rescue unfortunate seaman. Sometimes they had nothing but the drive to do something that would get the men home safely. Facing death every day was a way of life for the Outer Bankers.

If you are in the Outer Banks area, or hope to visit us soon, don't forget to save some time to visit our famous lighthouses and historical sites. A must see is the "Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum."

The museum is not fully open, but hopes are to finish it this year. Nevertheless, many of the exhibits are open for you to wander through and enjoy. Don't get in a hurry because it contains exhibits dating back 400 years, displaying many maritime artifacts such as old coins, wreckage and remains of ships. Included is the famous Enigma machine from a sunken German sub, U-85 destroyed off the coast in WWII.

The unique history and heritage of the Outer Banks comes to life right before your eyes and along with the Pageant "The Lost Colony," "The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum" rates as one of the best depictions of life on the Outer Banks and 400 years of American history.

Don't you dare leave without seeing what the Outer Banks are all about. If you do leave empty handed, you will always feel cheated because it is a once in a life time experience.

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The lighthouses on the Outer Banks are unique, because unlike many others on desolate islands that require a boat trip, all the lighthouses on the Outer Banks are accessible, some are free and some have a slight cost to defray expenses.

Contact the Outer Banks Conservationists, Inc. at (252) 453-4939 for more information.

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