After you’ve braved the searing heat on Jockey’s Ridge, you might want to drive a few mile posts up 158 and cool off at the Wright Brothers National Memorial, a must-see for the visiting history buffs who love nothing more than to spend an afternoon reading plaques and looking at old stuff in glass boxes.
When you think of the Outer Banks, it’s likely the first thing you think of is the story of Orville and Wilbur Wright’s first powered flight. As the story goes, on Dec. 17, 1903, the Wright brothers made four flights at Kitty Hawk, N.C.; these were the first heavier-than-air flights with a pilot on board. The best flight was 59 seconds and covered 852 feet — hardly an adequate preview of a trans-Atlantic redeye to London, but still pretty exciting for 1903.
A century later, those flights were celebrated with the opening of the Wright Brothers National Memorial. There, you’ll find out more than you ever wanted to know about the Wright brothers and their flyer. Really. Trust me. And if that’s not enough, you can always road trip north to the Smithsonian.
National Memorial hours: Seven days a week; year round.
Visitor’s Center and Centennial Pavilion hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m., summer;
9 a.m.-5 p.m., September-May.
Sorry history buffs, closed Christmas.
UPDATE 8/24/2010: I realized just recently that the image used here was not pointing to the correct website with the appropriate credit for Ken Thomas. Please accept my sincerest apologies. I try to ensure any photos I have not taken are used in accordance to the photographer’s terms of usage.