Outer Banks

by Joe Stephens

As folks who are part of this blog group may know, I’m currently on vacation at the Outer Banks. Specifically, we’re renting a condo in Southern Shores, which is essentially Kitty Hawk. If you’ve never been here and you live within driving distance, it should go high on your bucket list. We’ve been here enough times that we did less sightseeing than in years past, spending the majority of our time just enjoying the sights in front of our condo, though we did take a couple of short trips. Since this place is so beautiful, I thought a photo essay was the appropriate response. Here we go:

Outer Banks 2015 (1)
A panoramic picture of the view from our porch. It was so peaceful to get up before dawn and share the sunrise with my brothers. It’s nourishing to the soul.
Outer Banks 2015 (14)
Here’s our condo. We were right next to the Kitty Hawk Pier. It was quite nice. We spent the vast majority of our time on the porch.
Outer Banks 2015 (32)
We took advantage of this philosophy quite often. And we also struggle with the fact that, oddly, having a clock with nothing but 5s on it makes it somewhat difficult to tell what time it actually is. Either it’s a brain thing or we’re just stupid.
Outer Banks 2015 (37)
The view from under the pier. This is my attempt at artsy photography.
Outer Banks 2015 (57)
Being a morning person, I was up for most of the sunrises, which may well be my favorite part of being at the ocean. This particular morning was quite spectacular. I love how the sun reflects off the water.
Outer Banks 2015 (74)
We took a dolphin cruise. I found that I am quite talented at taking pictures of the little eddy on the water where the dolphin used to be, which is why I didn’t include any pictures of dolphins. This my family as we prepared to get on the boat. The trip was a pleasant experience. The weather was perfect and we saw about eleventy billion dolphins.
Outer Banks 2015 (130)
We went yesterday to the Wright Brothers Memorial. This obelisk commemorates the distance of their fourth flight on December 17, 1903. It was 852 feet, or just under 3 football fields. The first was only 120 feet. It boggles the mind how things have changed in just over a century.

It’s been a spectacular trip so far. I’m already getting sad because tomorrow is our last full day here, after which it’s back to the real world, including getting ready to start school and all the just-before-school stuff I have to do, like doctors’ appointments and classroom preparation. But I’ll go back energized by my time here. This trip has convinced me, though, that I need–not want–more time at the ocean.

Joe Stephens is a teacher at Parkersburg High School. He is also the author of Harsh Prey and Kisses and Lies, both of which are available in paperback and Kindle formats. The paperback may be purchased from
Amazon, from J & M Used Book Store in Parkersburg, and from the author’s trunk.

kindle cover

Take a look at Harsh Prey on Amazon 

Kisses and Lies Cover Michele croppedTake a look at Kisses and Lies on Amazon

Join Joe on Facebook 

Check out joe’s website.


19 thoughts on “Outer Banks

  1. Ah Joe, being near water is heaven. Being in the mountains is heaven. Thank you for the photo essay. I enjoyed the sunrise also. I felt like I was there. Be safe and make memories. Doris


    1. We had so much fun! Sometimes I think I’d like to live there, but I’d miss the mountains. And my brother reminded me that part of what makes being at the beach special is that it is a vacation. If I lived there, I wouldn’t be vacationing and it would lose the specialness.


  2. Thoroughly enjoyed your photography and “putting me there.” Love the ocean as well as the mountains as Doris says. We lived in Seattle first two years of marriage so able to bring back smells and sounds of my past by looking at your pictures also. So glad you were able to enjoy this wonderful respite before going back to work. Thanks for sharing.


    1. Seattle is high on my list of places I’d love to go. Oddly enough, I used to play in a recreation league softball team in Parkersburg, WV that was sponsored by a restaurant in Seattle–Elliott Bay Fish and Oyster Company.


  3. Photo essay is a great idea. I should have considered it for my move from SE North Carolina to Las Vegas in early 2014. One really sees lots of America over the 2,200 miles, even if it’s mostly interstate scenery.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! It just seemed to fit since I had just finished dumping all my pictures onto my laptop from my phone, which doubles as my camera. I thought it would be faster, but I ended up taking extra time trying to decide which pictures to include.


  4. Great place to visit, glad you are enjoying yourself. I have done a few of the touristy things in that area, but mostly I am at the beach with birds, dolphins, and crabs, or in the woods with the bears.

    Don’t feel bad about not getting any dolphin photos. When you are on a moving boat and the dolphins are moving it can be challenging to get a shot. All of my decent dolphin( just a few) photos were taken from the beach.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did get a few really good fins! 🙂 But, more importantly, I got the family pictures and the memories. My parents are getting older and, for the first time, they talked about having to wait a while before reserving a house to see if they were going to be able to go next summer, so each memory becomes a little more precious.


  5. Joe- Your photos look fabulous and so peaceful. As an ex teacher I can really appreciate that ‘Oh, no, the holiday is almost over feeling’. Yet the new term is also exciting, but just not as peaceful as the calm waters…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, exactly that! Especially when we spend much of the last full day cleaning and packing, meaning we’re not relaxing and enjoying ourselves anymore. But I am looking forward to this school year. I have a great schedule and a good friend just got a job at my school and her room is right across the hall from me!


    1. We actually started discussing the possibility of renting for two weeks instead of one. I doubt we all could, but I am thinking of going down a little early myself and renting a hotel room so I can use the time alone as a writing retreat.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. We’ve stayed at different parts of the Outer Banks over the years and each has its own charms. One year we went further south and stayed in a quieter stretch where there weren’t as many people, but it was further from conveniences. But no matter where you stay, it’s gorgeous. And there are good restaurants everywhere!


  6. I have been to Kitty Hawk several times. Last year I flew! I have a bunper sticker and a certificate and everything. Hanggliding from the sand dunes. I am so aftaid of highta, but we pressed my limits. We went up in the lighthouse, and parasailing. Surprizingly, I loved paradailing. Loved the photos. Sorry I am behind. I havent had internet. Cherl’ey

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful post, Joe! Thank you for sharing your vacation with us — your photos are FABULOUS!! I especially liked the sunrise picture! I’ve never been to the Outer Banks, but I have been to the Atlantic Ocean near Wilmington, NC — quite lovely; I hope to go back some day. I’m hoping to go whale watching and/or dolphin sight-seeing next year either off the coast of California or Washington state (big birthday year next year so an ocean nature adventure is on my list!!) Thanks again for sharing — very much enjoyed your post!


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