When I arrived in the Outer Banks in August I had no idea what to expect. I am from Swansboro, North Carolina, so living in a coastal town isn’t a foreign concept to me. However, Manteo was still a very new place that I had never been to before. I had just returned home from Germany a week before I arrived in Manteo, so my research on the area was lacking as well. So, what should you expect during your first few weeks in the Outer Banks? Well, this was my experience:
When I arrived, I knew I would be living in the Friends of Elizabeth Guest House, but I figured that would be in a literal house as you might have in Chapel Hill. This house is not quite like that. The Friends of Elizabeth Two Guest House is pretty much a small dorm that is hall way style. You share a bathroom with one other person, and there are two living rooms and one big kitchen. There is a really awesome house director who makes sure everything runs smoothly. The house is always kept clean, and the tenants are reminded that the cleanliness of living spaces is important. The other students in the program live there as well as governmental employees of different ages. The house is roughly a ten-minute drive from the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI).
The first walk I took on the beach, I was with a classmate, Julia. After walking for a while, we noticed a huge black figure up closer to the dunes. Continuing to walk closer, it was clearly a huge sea turtle, that we originally thought was a large statute. However, the closer we got to this huge statute, the more it began to smell. This was no statute at all, it was an enormous dead sea turtle. I had never seen this in my life, even on the beach where I grew up. Why was this here? Was no one going to do anything about it? I later came to find out that dead sea turtles often washed up on the beach here. Different organizations would mark the sea turtles depending on the area of the beach they washed up on, and later the town would decide if they wanted to bury the turtle or not.
I have had many adventures while in Manteo that I would have never expected. However, these are the two things that I found might be helpful for a future student. Time goes by quickly, so make the most of it while you can!