Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Greetings from the Outer Banks 3

After another morning at the beach at high tide -- good waves, kids on boogie boards, lots of shore birds -- we went to Roanoke Island Festival Park, which offers a comprehensive history of the island and the maritime aspects of North Carolina. Our first stop was the Elizabeth II, modeled after the Elizabeth that sailed in the 1585 expedition from England and built in George Washington Creef Memorial Park adjacent to the North Carolina Maritime Museum on Roanoke Island. The ship has a crew of reenactors who talked about life during the crossing (and who revealed that the ship was given a modern head after an unfortunate visit by a Coast Guard inspector). Then we went to the settlement site, where we got to play 17th century games, try our hand at woodworking, and talk to the blacksmith -- a woman who ran away disguised as a man.

We went to see The Legend of Two Path, a film produced for the park by the North Carolina School of the Arts about the effects of the arrival of the English on the local Algonquian tribes, then went to the museum which traces the history of the region from the English exploration through the Age of Sail, Civil War, and more recent history as a center of hunting, fishing, and commerce. The museum offered few comments about what might have happened to Virginia Dare and the rest of the 1587 colonists -- most of the historical artifacts were from Raleigh's first expedition and from later development under Charles I and II. Outside the museum is a fossil pit with local shells and shark's teeth, though we found more ourselves at the beach in the late afternoon at low tide after visiting the North Carolina Maritime Museum and before going to Pigman's Bar-B-Que for dinner.

The Elizabeth II docked at Roanoke Island Festival Park, seen from the boardwalk to Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse.

Here are my kids aboard the ship, where they got to turn the capstan, play with dominoes, and see the rats eating the captain's food.

This is the Silver Chalice, the Elizabeth II's boat.

One of the colonists in the settlement sharpens a blade. There were costumes for visitors to try on as well -- like a Renfaire without the high-end velvets and royal armor.

Daniel tries woodworking while Paul watches.

The blacksmith is the seventh child of a German father and British mother and passed as a boy to find work.

My kids relaxed in front of the museum, which has a partial recreation of a Native American village and several local ship models.

Later, from the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, we witnessed a band of scurvy pirates attacking a salty dawg with water cannons.

We watched this week's Warehouse 13 while the kids got organized for the evening -- nice performances, ridiculous storyline, and how come crazy women are always revealed by their wicked sexpot ways? But I still like the characters, so apparently we are still watching! Then we watched a special on the Great Lakes and the salt deposits beneath them -- seemed appropriate for being on the ocean. Tomorrow we must go home, however, since both kids have things at school on Thursday even though classes don't officially start till the next week. And so summer ends, woe!

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