Sunday, May 26, 2013

Roanoke Island

Wow. Such an historic, haunted place. It is much less touristy than Nags Head, etc., and beautiful as only a swampy, salt-marshy, piney coastal island can be :-)

First up, the Festival Park, home to the Queen Elizabeth II and interpretive exhibits...we thought it worth the ticket price:
 These roses set the tone.
 We loved this fuzzy flower!

 Replica of one of the vessels that, tragically, brought only death to the coastal Native Americans
 Still, beautiful and most historical
 Open hearth cooking on a wooden vessel in the Atlantic...what POSSIBLY could go wrong with that?
 Captain's Quarters, a haven of luxury in an otherwise very cramped, sparse below-decks
 Love this little boat!
 Decorative way to stow extra rope
She got a fresh coat of paint this spring...she'll be busy this summer, I imagine!

 The Festival Park has detailed exhibits of coastal Algonquian life, based primarily on the sketches of John White, governor of Roanoke Colony. Look him up on the won't be disappointed.
Smoking fish
 Enclosed long house
 Dance ring
 Examples of basket-weaving

 The Algonquians were masterful fishermen in the Sounds, as well as being farmers of maize and other crops.

 They also had a display of basic life for the colonists. This blacksmith was very good!
I loved walking amongst the loblolly pines...

 After lunch, an adventure in and of itself, we moved on to the Fort Raleigh historic site
 Fort Raleigh squirrel
 The squirrels ignored the sign, for the record
 Restored was a very small fort!
 Rehearsals were underway for the annual production of "The Lost Colony"
We loved this magnificent grapevine arbor!

 Roanoke Island also played a very significant role in the Civil War and the freedom struggle for enslaved African Americans, so I was pleased to see at least some emphasis on this at both the Festival Park and the Fort Raleigh site!

To our surprise, the highlight of the trip turned out to be the gorgeous Elizabethan Gardens, established and maintained by NC garden clubs and adjacent to the Fort Raleigh National Park. There is an admission fee, but heavens is it worth it!

Initially there was a period of torrential rain, but we were lucky enough to have made it to a comfy porch with rocking chairs...a perfect place to wait out the storm. Afterward, as we strolled the dripping gardens, we could on occasion hear singing from "The Lost Colony" rehearsal. It was really a magical afternoon!

 HRH Elizabeth presides over the gardens

A rather daring *ahem* Virginia Dare is on display as well...

 A highlight is the splendid sunken garden!
 It is presided over by Jupiter, among other dieties
Such a lovely example of this style of garden!

We wanted to take this birdbath home with us!

 But the real beauty was in the flowering plants, representative both of exotic flowers and the best of native NC flora.

The Bug's favorite!

 My favorites!!!

My father's beloved Sweet Bubbies!!! (Carolina Allspice bush, aka "sweet booby bush")

 Highlights from their small but delicious rose garden

 I love this was just the right combination of history and nature. There were birds everywhere singing in the trees, but the rain and clouds kept my eyes focused on the ground. Trust me, the eyes did not go wanting.


The Bug said...

It was a great day - & I finally had over 10,000 steps on my pedometer :)

Sandra Leigh said...

Lovely photos, Michael. I'm still entranced by that deep orange rose.

Lowandslow said...

What a great place. I'd love to explore an old sailing ship like that. Thanks for the photo tour.


Linda said...

The Algonquin, who lived around Algonquin Park in the most northerly regions of southern Ontario taught the Settlers from Europe how to tap trees i the spring for maple syrup. My friend Shirley's grandmother was Algonquin.

I loved these pictures, you posted Michael and Dana.... Good Queen Bess and all !!! Old sailing ships are treasure houses. Thanks so much for sharing.

Pixel Peeper said...

Love your pictures and narrative, just wanted to say that there are few things better than a rose garden after a rain.

NCmountainwoman said...

I will come back to this post again and again. I also feel that it is a haunted place, haunted in a quiet and respectful way.