The next few days will see us travel to North Carolina to attend a nephew’s graduation and to make a brief family trip to the Outer Banks. I am really looking forward to it as it will be the first trip we’ve taken since we attended a destination wedding in Punta Cana in late February. Together with our son , we will be driving to Durham on Friday. It’s a long drive , about 480 miles , longer than I’ve driven in a single day in years . With stops , it should take about nine or ten hours .We plan to start early and take our time getting there.I’d briefly entertained the thought of making a slight detour to Asheville , NC to see the Vanderbilt Mansion but gave up the idea when I realized how long the journey already was.
Our nephew is graduating with a double Master’s in Bio -Engineering and Engineering Management from Duke . Three years earlier , we’d attended his graduation ceremony at Harvey Mudd in California and listened to the commencement speech by Dean Kamen , inventor of the Segway and several other products . This time around , the commencement address will be given by Fareed Zakaria , the political commentator who is editor-at large at Time magazine and who also hosts CNN’s Emmy Award winning TV show ” Fareed Zakaria GPS”. It is a measure of Zakaria’s prominence that he is also scheduled to give the Commencement Address at Harvard University ten days later.
I am looking forward to checking out Duke University, which I understand has one of the loveliest campuses in the nation . I have been a fan of Duke U. for a long , long time . I don’t think there is another university in America that has such a unique combination of athletic prowess and academic excellence ; most colleges are famous for one or the other. I’m a long time supporter of the Duke Blue Devils and Coach K. Who knows ? Perhaps I’ll run into him on campus . We will be quite busy attending the graduation ceremonies and dining out (Durham is the ” foodiest small town in the U.S ” ) but I hope to check out some of the other local attractions before we set out for the Outer Banks.
After the graduation , the kids will be driving or flying back to Jersey but we six adults will be spending four days knocking about the Outer Banks before returning to jersey via the eastern shore of Maryland. I’ve heard a lot about the wild beauty of the Outer Banks, the long wind-swept shore line and the roiling waters of the Atlantic but I know little else about the area . I’ve read that the treacherous waters are called The Graveyard of the Atlantic because of the large number of ships that foundered and sank in those waters and I know that Edward Teach , the notorious pirate known as Blackbeard , used to operate there . The rest I will still have to experienced . Also , to be experienced is North Carolina BBQ ; I hope to check out at least two of the three types of North Carolina ‘cue while we’re there .
North Carolina , here I come !