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A Place You've Heard About This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   No one can deny the beauty of the Outer Banks, a strip of land running off the coastof North Carolina. On hot, sunny days in the summer, the beaches are crowdedwith visitors. The Outer Banks have become a popular vacation spot.

Fortyyears ago, the Outer Banks were almost completely deserted. My mother vacationedthere as a girl with her parents when there were fewer roads, shops, trash andpeople, and more natural beauty. The only people who had houses were fishermenwho had lived there all their lives. Back then, if you mentioned the Outer Banksto someone they most likely would have had no idea what you were talkingabout.

Those who did know about the Outer Banks and the now-popular townof Duck, like my grandparents, fully enjoyed this secret heaven. The place madeyou feel welcome and comfortable: the cozy family-owned shops and restaurants,the way the sky painted hues of reds, oranges and blues as the lazy sun restedits head upon the sound on a warm evening, or maybe it was just the delightfullysoft sea breeze that would waft through old hammocks and wind chimes.

Thebeach was not very populated; all that was there were the delicate dunes, thecrying sea gulls and the sound of the waves. Sometimes, probably more then thannow, you could see a great blue heron sweeping along the ocean's surface,searching for prey. It was a dreamland when I was younger. Everything was so rawand beautiful.

Things have changed. My grandparents, my mom and mysisters and I still go there every summer, except now there are roads everywhere.The sound of cars drowns out the birds and wind chimes. New houses, shops andsigns have sprung up everywhere. The beach is covered with people from all overthe country.

A few summers ago, we visited the Outer Banks again. We madeour traditional visit to Kitty Hawk Fishing Pier Restaurant, our favorite. Wealways loved going there and sitting at the old chairs and tables that fitperfectly next to the big windows overlooking the pier. The food was not gourmet,but carefully homemade Southern meals. There was always a sense of friendlinessand hospitality. But this time we were "greeted" by a sour-facedhostess, there was new furniture that looked odd and cold, and my mother's omeletcame filled with Cheez Whiz.

Afterward, we went to one of the shops atDuck Waterfront. To our horror, they were selling T-shirts that read, "StopInterstate Thru Duck." It suddenly occurred to me that soon this sacredplace that had been my dreamland for as long as I could remember, was going tochange beyond anyone's control.

That night, my family and I sat on abench on the boardwalk. The sun was once again easing down to the water'ssurface. The sky was again painted, and I knew that even with the changes, Icould still hold onto the memories. Memories never fade.






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A Place You've Heard About by Kristina H., Harleysville, PA

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Eyes of a Passerby by Jenn L., Middletown, CT

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By Apollonia G.,
Buffalo, MN



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Copyright 2006 by Teen Ink, The 21st Century and The Young Authors Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.
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This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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Anonymous said...
May 23, 2011 at 7:21 pm:
This amazes me. I've been to the Outer Baks plenty, but I never looked at it this way. You and your family must be devastated...beyond my belief. This will make me think twice before I visit the Outer Banks--I'll most definitely be more conscious of my actions next time.
 
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