From 1999 until 2015, we often visited The Outer Banks several times a year. In fact, two or three times in the summer, I would finish teaching by 8:00 PM on Wednesday and tell the boys, “Plan B!” They’d scatter to go pack and within thirty minutes we were on the road for the OBX, driving throughout the night to explore the sights, both familiar and unfamiliar, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday before returning to Ohio on Sunday afternoon. I was tired, but it was always worth it. The Dare Haven Inn on Roanoke Island was always accommodating and they allowed pets so Flyer could join us.
My favorite eastward venture was always the first part of July, the official family vacation. We would leave Dayton on July 3rd and spend the night in Charlottesville, Virginia. The following morning, we’d arrive early to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello where we would tour the home and grounds, pay our respects at his grave, and then celebrate the naturalization ceremony on the west lawn. We heard many fine speakers but our favorite was actor, Sam Waterston, who had portrayed President Lincoln in a made for television movie.
After departing Monticello, we’d bypass Richmond and drive the scenic route along The James River to see the plantations before briefly visiting Colonial Williamsburg. From there, we’d head on down to The OBX, check into the motel, grab food from Sonic at Kill Devil Hill, and set up our chairs to eat and watch fireworks along the beach. The fireworks began north of us and traveled down the coast with communities offering a set every fifteen minutes until they became just a glow in the sky to the south. It was a perfect day.
There was always something sentimental about touring Monticello on the anniversary of President Jefferson’s death, which was shared with his predecessor, John Adams, the fiftieth anniversary of The Declaration of Independence.
Here are some of my photos of Monticello from 2007 with actor, Sam Waterston, offering the naturalization ceremony address.