While a student at Ohio University, my son Jay spent summers working with his friend, Steve, who helped run a string of beach shops along the Outer Banks. That's how I came to first visit the area, as I could not spend an entire summer without spending some time with Jay. Each trip involved a few days at Ocracoke, a glorious place where we enjoyed the food, shops, beach, sunrises, sunsets, and quiet lanes that took us all over the island. We especially like Blackbeard's Lodge, an historical inn with a quaint and inviting living room. Checking in very late one night after making the drive all the way from the Norfolk airport, Jay and I were startled to see a lifelike statue of Blackbeard right next to the desk where the clerk had stashed our room key in an envelope for us. We took all sorts of pics on that trip that included various threatening poses of ourselves with Blackbeard. This one is my favorite.