Before we left Petersburg Virginia this morning, we had a very special stop to make… The Old Blanford church which is today a Confederate Memorial site.
We were out of the hotel at 9am but the church didn’t open until 10 so we spent the next hour exploring the historic part of the city of Petersburg. Established in the mid 1600s, it was, for the next 200 years, a major hub of industry and commerce on the eastern seaboard as well as an important strategic point in the Civil War of the 1860s (north against the south over the abolishment of slavery).
Then it was time to visit the Old Blanford church. We walked into the visitors center exactly at 10 o’clock and were the only guests there. We were greeted by our guide Chuck. We had him all to ourselves as he led us through the cemetary and into the church all the while weaving the story of the southern Confederate army and the townspeople of Petersburg as they defended their city against the Union army of the north. In the vast cemetary surrounding the church are buried 30,000 confederate soldiers!!!
The church itself was designated a Confederate Memorial site in 1901 by the Women’s Memorial Association who commissioned Louis Comfort Tiffany to create 15 stained glass windows to honor the dead. These windows were paid for by the 13 Confederate States, 1 by Maryland who was a southern sympathesizer, and one donated by Tiffany himself (the Cross of Jewels). All are signed by Tiffany. They are absolutely spectacular… most windows depict of a martyred Saint. Photos are not allowed inside the church so I bought a gift store booklet and photographed the colored pictures for my blog. These pics cannot show the real beauty. You would have see them for yourself to really appreciate them.
Carrying on, we drove south and out onto the narrow spit of land called the Outer Banks. Only wide enough in places for the 2-lane road, it is essentially a sand dune that extends for many miles along the Atlantic coastline.
We passed through Kitty Hawk, famous as the site where the Wright brothers made history with the first sustained powered flight and now a congested tourist trap of outlet malls and kiddy amusement parks.
We stopped for some photos on the Rodanthe Pier … Monica loved the movie “Nights in Rodanthe” with Richard Gere.
We stopped to see the Bodie Lighthouse… beautiful… black and white horizontal stripes.
Finally we came to Buxton and found our hotel for the night. Here we visited the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse… so lovely with its black and white spiral stripe. This lighthouse was physically moved almost a mile inland in 1999 because of coastal erosion. At 210 feet, it is the tallest brick lighthouse in America and 29th tallest in the world.
Supper was at the Diamond Shoals Restaurant next door to our hotel. Tuna for me and crab cakes for Mon. Sufficient but uninspiring. After supper, we strolled to the beach to watch the fishermen and enjoy the Atlantic surf in the warm evening breeze.
Here are the photo highlights for day 15 – Outer Banks of North Carolina