Below the LineApril 30, 2015
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A narrow two-lane ribbon of asphalt, NC 12 winds its way across North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a slender string of isolated barrier islands that stand sentinel off the coast—in some places more than thirty miles from the mainland they protect. The historic roadway—it wasn’t paved until 1950—is flanked by lush tidal marshes and pristine sounds on one side and towering dunes, deserted beaches, and the wide-open Atlantic on the other. There are two national seashores, two national wildlife refuges, and four historic lighthouses. In between, you’ll find tiny maritime villages are anchored by locally owned businesses with hardly a chain in sight. Before summer chokes the path with eager vacationers, hit the road and discover the region’s unique history and heritage for yourself.