The first two colonies in North Carolina (then part of Virginia) predated the colony at Jamestown, Virginia. Both tried to settle on Roanoke Island, off the coast but sheltered from the Atlantic by barrier islands. Roanoke Colony was established in 1585 but resupply of was delayed. Sir Francis Drake was passing in 1586 and by then the colonists had had enough so they left with him. The supply ship arrived only days later, leaving 15 men behind to hold the abandoned fort but they were soon murdered by Indians. The next colonists arrived in 1587 and soon Virginia Dare became the first English baby to be born in what is now the USA. War with Spain delayed resupply of the colony until 1590. When the supply ship arrived the fort was deserted. The word ‘CROATOAN’ was carved into the palisade, the name of a nearby island. The colonists were never found and their disappearance remains a mystery.
Blue Ridge Mountains from Parkway at Bunches Bald Overlook
The Appalachian mountain range starts in south eastern Canada and runs down the eastern USA to central Alabama. Through Virginia and North Carolina the Appalachians are known as the Blue Ridge Mountains courtesy of the blue haze created by trees emitting the gas isoprene. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs 755 kilometres (469 miles) along the crest of the mountains from Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Appalachians can’t rival the Rockies for grandeur but they provide some incredible long mountain vistas.
Hickory Nut Falls, Chimney Rock State Park
In 1902 Dr. Lucius B. Morse purchased 26 hectares (64 acres) of land at Chimney Rock Mountain. On the land he opened Chimney Rock Park, and he and his family operated it as a private park. In 2006 the family decided to sell up and there were fears that new owners might not continue to run the park. In 2007 the Morse family reached agreement to sell the park to the State of North Carolina. Chimney Rock State Park was born, although for the time being it is still being operated by the same company. Chimney Rock is just a lump of rock sticking up from the landscape, but there are good views of North Carolina from the top which is reached via a lift (elevator) and steps. Also in the park are Hickory Nut Falls, shown here, which cascade 123 metres (404 feet) down a sheer cliff face. Click Tab 2 to see the Blue Ridge Mountains from Chimney Rock.
Beach at Bodie Island, Cape Hatteras National Seashore
From the Virginia border a chain of barrier islands known as the Outer Banks runs about 320 kilometres (200 miles) down the coast of North Carolina. The islands are famed for their long, open sandy beaches. Cape Hatteras National Seashore preserves around 110 kilometres (70 miles) of the Outer Banks between Bodie Island and Ocracoke Island. A free ferry between Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island makes it possible to drive the entire length of the National Seashore. From Ocracoke Island you can either retrace your steps or take a toll ferry to Swan Quarter on the mainland. The ferry timetable did not fit with our schedule, so we were only able to do a short return trip down the northern section to Bodie Island.
In the 1830s several Indian tribes were forced by the US government to relocate to Oklahoma including Cherokees from North Carolina. An exception to this was a band of Cherokee led by Yonaguska. He had an adopted son called Will Thomas who as a white man could legally own land. Thomas purchased land at Soco Creek and allow the Cherokee to live on that land. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians were able to refuse to go to Oklahoma and were joined by others who had hidden in the hills. The town of Cherokee is the headquarters for the Eastern Band. It has a casino and several attractions devoted to the history and culture of the Cherokee.
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