North Carolina, Washington DC & the Outer Banks

It took me 11 years to come back to the US. I still don’t know why it took me so long!

In less than 2 weeks I went through 3 different states : North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland.

During this time I was able to enjoy the “American way of life”, like celebrating Halloween, eating in diners, houses with their porch and rocking chairs …

The trip starts in Hillsborough, NC. A town that has about 3 centuries of history where native Americans and Spanish once lived. Tribes such as Occaneechi and Eno were living in this area when European started to arrive. At the beginning of the 18th Century, Occaneechi leave Hillsborough to move to Virginia. Some 20 years ago, an archaology team excavated a Occaneechi farming village, a replica is now built around the original site near the Eno River.

Next : Durham, NC with the Duke University which is a famous private research university. It is ranked as one of the world’s top 20 universities. Tim Cook – Apple’s CEO – studied there.
Back in Hillsborough to get ready for Halloween! I need to go and pick my pumpkin for the next day.

Back in Durham, to wander in the American Tobacco District, a factory complex and national historic district which is now part of a large urban renewal to bring back residents, businesses and shoppers in the area.
At a walking distance from it, the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (Durham’s baseball team).
Back in Hillsborough to find my Halloween costume to be able to Treat or Trick in the evening. First time for me carving a pumpkin and expose it outside.
Once again I feel as if I am living in an American movie. Children are all dressed up wandering in the streets with parents or friends. 

Raleigh, NC will be the next city to visit. It’s the State’s capital, second biggest city after Charlotte.
Raleigh is part of “The Triangle” together with Chapel Hill and Durham. 

In the evening, the road trip will begin, first stop : Richmond, VA. 
After an “American breakfast” in a tiny diners, I wanted to pop in Kay Scarpetta’s city (she is Patricia Cornwell’s main character, and I am a huge fan of her books), as I wanted to see what the city I read about looks like. 
A quick visit of Richmond before heading to Washington DC, driving by the Pentagon to go then to Arlington Cemetery. It’s been years I want to go and see John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s grave, and I discovered a cemetery way larger than I first thought!
This cemetery has been created after the Civil War, about 300 000 nations victims are buried there.
The Memorial Amphitheater has hosted States funerals and other ceremonies. The Tomb of the Unknown is located in front of it. 
Once arrived at the hotel, a well deserved walk downtown to go and see the White House (which is now known as a “nice wee place” in my own judgement as I was expecting a bigger building due to its fame) and then the National Mall.

A nice French breakfast (yes, I can’t help myself!) to get ready for a long day of walking! Back at the White House, and at the National Mall. 
Started at the Washington Monument, then the Lincoln Memorial. 
When walking by the Reflecting Pool to the Memorial, I couldn’t help myself but thinking of these movies taken place there (the first one that came to my mind was Forrest Gump). 
At the top of the stairs, seeing this large statue of Lincoln really astonished me! Then I turn around to see this view over the National Mall, and the view is as astonishing !
Next is the Capitol which is 3km walk away (about 2 miles). 
I would have liked to get inside but as it was Sunday I wasn’t that lucky. 
Behind the Capitol is the Supreme Court, where the sunset gave to this white building some warm colours. 

Some souvenirs bought, it’s time to head to Chesapeake, VA. 

The next day is a change in the scenery, I swapped buildings and concret for green landscapes and the Ocean. The Outer Banks. This strings that stretches from Virginia to North Carolina.
A walk on the beach where 2 whales decided to swim off shore, then a quick walk on one of the piers where fishermen were busy. 
The Outer Banks aren’t only known here for its beachfront but also thanks to the Wright Brothers who experimented in 1903 in Kill Devil Hills the first controlled flight. This is why “First in Flight” is a bragging point in North Carolina. 
On the way back to Hillsborough I experience my first Brew Drive. This is a shop you can buy any alcohol … without leaving your car … yes, you are in the USA 🙂.

Last day in Hillsborough, done some geocaching to visit the town a different way, that’s how I went to Alexander Dickson’s House which serves as a Visitor Center and an Office Space for the Alliance of Historic Hillsborough. 

Below a video I did to quickly sum up this trip that I really enjoyed !



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