You’ve Come To The End Of The Road
That’s right – the road ends here – in our sleepy little town of Corolla. Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and relax in Corolla! Our way of life here is a little bit slower, some might say “laid back”.
The area’s history stretches back long before the first English Settlers. Corolla, part of Currituck County, is the barrier island that lies between mainland Currituck and the Atlantic Ocean. Once, nothing but a series of large sand dunes and shoaling shores, the area remained virtually uninhabited until the mid 1800s. While a few Settlers chose to reside on the island, most moved farther inland to the mainland and raised their families there. Even the few Native American Tribes (Chowanog, Potskeet and Pamunkey) that lived here before the Settlers arrival, mostly resided on the mainland, and used the barrier island to hunt and fish, providing sustenance for their peoples.
In fact, those who did dare to travel to the barrier island could only come by boat. 400-500 years ago, there were still inlets up and down the Northern Banks, literally separating Duck, Corolla, and the state of Virginia. (If you are driving on highway 12 north in a rainstorm and see areas of high-water on the roads – there is a possibility that area used to be an inlet hundreds of years ago!)
I dare say prior to December 1875 when the Currituck Beach Lighthouse was completed and lit for the first time, the resident ghosts probably outnumbered the living. The Currituck Beach Lighthouse was a savior to many ships passing in the night close to our ever changing shoreline. Until this time the stretch of coast between Bodie Island and Cape Henry was unlit, and many Captains went down with their ships trying to find their way in the treacherous dark. Even after lighting the dark space, our constantly changing barrier island coastline still caused problems, especially on stormy nights. One famous shipwreck is that of the Metropolis, an iron clad steamship which sank off the Corolla coast in 1878. The Metropolis was originally known as the Stars and Stripes, a US Navy gunboat which took part in the Battle of Roanoke Island during the Civil War. Today, the sands are still shifting and, on occasion, those ships once lost at sea are found. Click here to read about a recently uncovered shipwreck on the beaches of Corolla, documented to be over 400 years old!
I could spend all day telling you about Corolla History, but I guess I should leave a little something for you to find out on your own! Pirates, shipwrecks, fishing, hunting and wildlife are just a few of the wonderful things we have to enjoy here in our own back yard. Here are a few ideas for your trip:
Come to Currituck Heritage Park, in the heart of historic Corolla. Inside the park are many opportunities to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings. Located on 39 acres of pristine water front property, the park offers fishing, boating, crabbing, and birding. With plenty of open space, it’s perfect for kite flying, or even tossing a ball around. Inside Currituck Heritage Park visitors are invited to explore the Whalehead Club, Currituck Beach Lighthouse and the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education.
Visit the Whalehead Club Historic House Museum. Built in the 1920s, this house has been restored and is open for tours year round. Take a step back in time when you tour this beautiful example of Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts styles.
Check out the exhibits at the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education, or participate in one of their many great programs, offered for kids of all ages and adults.
Climb the 214 steps to the top of Currituck Beach Lighthouse – and bring your camera for a most memorable photo!
Visit Historic Corolla Village. Adjacent to the park, visitors can stroll through the wooded streets and see many restored buildings which now house gift shops, bookstores and the like. Stop in at the Historic Schoolhouse, which currently houses the the Corolla Wild Horse Fund Museum and Gift Shop.
Eat, take a bike ride, go on a self-guided walking tour (may I suggest picking up a copy of the Corolla Walking Tour & Guide Book, published by One Boat Guide), or sun yourself on the beach. But above all else – relax! Remember this is where the Road Ends!