As you turn on to HWY. 12 South, at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, you are not quite sure how to take what you are seeing (I know I couldn't) and what you are not seeing. Nature is what you are privileged to look at. No buildings or billboards assault you. For about ten minutes you ride only seeing nature, and then you come upon the Bonner Bridge, which crosses over the Pamlico Sound. This is the last connection you have to the rest of the world. When you cross the bridge you are now on Hatteras Island and I remember getting chills, at this point in our trip.
After crossing the Bonner Bridge, you will continue to see huge sand dunes on your left; they are all that separate you from the ocean. You can see the ocean between the valleys of the dunes. On your right is Pamlico Sound, which is in full view on most of your ride.
The first village you come to is Rodanthe. There are two adjoining villages; Waves and Salvo. No traffic lights here. And there is only one franchised business, Dairy Queen. No Starbuck’s, McDonald’s, Burger King or Domino’s. Mom and pop restaurants and businesses are what they have here. The closest grocery store is 20 minutes away. You can get necessities from the privately owned gas stations/convenience stores.
You can literally have your feet in the ocean and in less than five minutes, you can walk over to the Palmellico Sound and put your feet in over there, as well as kite, wind surf or kayak. You can also walk from the beginning of Rodanthe to the end of Salvo in about two hours, depending on whether you walk on the road or the beach. Entire families can be seen not only walking to the beach, but down the street to The Conery for ice cream or up the street to Lisa’s Pizza for dinner.
The beaches are not crowded with people but full of wildlife. Pelicans, seagulls, sand pipers, porpoises, whales and horseshoe crabs are common sights here. Little sand crabs can be seen nervously scurrying in and out of their holes and large sand crabs come out and stare at you trying to figure out what you’re doing sitting right outside of their hole.
Rodanthe is still a pretty secluded place and certainly captivating. Some of nature’s finest works are all around you all day and all night. I am making my reservations now and cannot wait to make it back to the OBX this summer for fabulous Days and Nights in Rodanthe!!!