Explore the Wright Brothers National Memorial on your Next Vacation

Kitty Hawk, North Carolina a small fishing village on an isolated strip of beach on the mid Atlantic coast provided the perfect opportunity for two brothers from Ohio to make their dreams come true. The Outer Banks is such a special and magical place and the Wright Brothers knew it only too well. 

“We could hardly wait to get up in the morning.”

-Orville Wright

When you are staying in one of our OBX vacation rentals, The Wrights Brothers National Memorial should be included in your trip plans. The Wright Brothers National Memorial is located in Kill Devil Hills and is open every day, except for Christmas Day.  

 Did you know? 

  • The visitor center was considered an ultra-modern design in 1930 when the design was first chosen and was dedicated in 1932.
  • The memorial was the Original Selfie Spot! In the 40s and 50s, the most popular thing to do was to get dressed up in your Sunday’s best and take photos in front of the commemorative boulders. 
  • Thanks to a coin toss, Orville was the first brother to become airborne!

Walk Where History Was Made

Wright Brothers National Memorial is the place where the Orville Brothers spent years working on the mysteries of flight, and there is so much to take in and learn. Make sure you bring your walking shoes, as there is so much ground and history to be discovered. Aviation and History lovers will find plenty of reasons to love the 428 acre park which features relics from the past and exhibits showing the 1900s Outer Banks environment the Wrights Brothers experienced and more. The memorial is a way-finding marker for the Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk areas of the Outer Banks. With its flat topography, the monument is viewable for miles. 

Get Into the Memorial

The memorial is located at Mile Marker 7.5 in Kill Devil Hills. The National Memorial, visitors’ center and Centennial Pavilion are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, 7 days a week, year-round, and every day except for Christmas.

Admission to the Wright Brothers National Memorial is required as for those 16, and older are $10 each, but children 15 and under are free of charge.  You are welcome to bring your furry friends with you as long as they are on a leash at all times. Joe Lamb has plenty of pet friendly rentals available, so you can plan ahead and bring your puppers with you! 

Plan Your Trip

Joe Lamb has a large assortment of vacation rentals available to meet your families needs. 

Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates is one of the most trusted vacation rental managers in the local area by growing into a market leader in the Vacation Rental and Sales Industry. Joe Lamb Jr. and his family have played a vital and intricate role in the Outer Banks Community for decades.

Over the past 50+ years, Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates have worked diligently to help promote the Outer Banks for the amazing beach and family vacation destination that it is, helping to increase tourism in the area and grow our beautiful community.

Colonel Halvorsen – the Candy Bomber – Honored at Wright Brothers Memorial on First Flight Anniversary

Paul E. Graber Shrine portrait of Lt. Gail Halvorsen as the Candy Bomber.
Paul E. Graber Shrine portrait of Lt. Gail Halvorsen as the Candy Bomber.

It’s nice when the good guys win, and with his induction into the Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine at the Wright Brothers National Memorial on December 17, Colonel Gail Halvorsen proved that nice guys really can finish first.

He’s 99 years old, still very engaged with the world, energetic, and seemingly optimistic. 

Get him talking about that fateful time during the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49 and an inside story about what was really happening emerges.

He was part of what is still considered the largest successful humanitarian airlift every. The Soviet Union, now Russia, sealed West Berlin off from the rest of the world and the only way in or out of the city was by air. 

For 15 months mostly American but also British aircraft filled the skies, keeping a city of 2.4 million alive. Day in and day out, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, every three minutes an aircraft landed with food and fuel.

It was not luxury living. All the food was dehydrated—powdered eggs, dry milk, beans— and there wasn’t that much of it; 750 calories a day for children and 1250 for adults. Homes could barely be heated. But it was enough to keep a city alive and the freedom intact the citizens of the city so desperately wanted.

And Gail Halvorsen, then a 1st Lieutenant, did something so simple yet so profound that what he did reverberates to this day.

He tied handkerchiefs as a parachute to bars of candy and dropped them from his plane for the children of Berlin. He was the Candy Bomber. 

If the aircraft flying into the city every three minute represented the power and wealth of the western world, that candy showed there was  compassion and heart as well.

Colonel Halvorsen has been coming to the Outer Banks for some time with the Spirit of Freedom, the restored C54 that makes December candy bombing runs at the Dare County Airport.

This year he had another reason for coming to the Outer Banks his induction into the Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine was the perfect way to recognize the 70th anniversary of the end of the Berlin Airlift.

Take some time to explore the Outer Banks and all it has to offer. A stay with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates is the perfect way spend a week or two.

Three Surprising Outer Banks Facts

The Kitty Hawk Wright Brothers Monument on Moor Shore Road.
The Kitty Hawk Wright Brothers Monument on Moor Shore Road.

Summer is here and the Outer Banks is alive and well and filled with guests. With everyone having a great time and enjoying the the sun, sand and surf, it can almost seem as though the Outer Banks just happened one day.

That’s not the case, of course, so we thought it might be fun to take a look at three little know facts about the Outer Banks. As it turns out, they’ll all be about the Wright Brothers.

The Other Wright Brothers Monument

The Wright Brothers Monument perched on top of Big Kill Devil Hill is not the only monument to the Wilbur and Orville Wright on the Outer Banks.

On Moor Shore Road in Kitty Hawk there is much more modest monument, this one created and paid for by the citizens of the town.

The monument, placed in May of 1928, marks the location of Bill and Addie Tate’s house where the Wright Brothers stayed in 1900 when they first arrived on the Outer Banks. 

The inscription reads, “On this spot, September 17, 1900, Wilbur Wright began the assembly of the Wright Brothers’ First experimental glider which led to man’s conquest of the air. Erected by the Citizens of Kitty Hawk, NC, 1928.” 

The citizens paid for the whole thing raising $210 to do so.

Moor Shore Road

We can’t talk about the Kitty Hawk Monument without mentioning Moor Shore Road.

Paralleling Kitty Hawk Bay, Moor Shore is one of the oldest roads on the Outer Banks. It was the route the Wright Brothers would have taken to get to Big Kill Devil Hill from Bill Tate’s house.

Moor Shore stops at the Kitty Hawk Bay multi-use path now, but at one time, it would have been a continuous road connecting with what is now Bay Drive in Kill Devil Hills then continuing to the high sand dunes that gave the area its name.

The route along Moor Shore to the the Wright Brothers Monument is a great bike ride.

No Forest or Grass at Kill Devil Hills in 1903

The reason the Wright Brothers moved their camp to Kill Devil Hills in 1901 was there was nothing to stop the wind. No trees, no buildings…nothing. 

The stabilized dune and trees along the border of the Monument did not exist in 1901. If it had, the brothers would certainly have chosen a more open, exposed location.

There is so much to do and explore on the Outer Banks that one visit may not be enough. Check out Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates for the best in Outer Banks accommodations.

Kitty Hawk Begins Building Moor Shore Road Living Shore Line

Although unfinished the Moor Shore Road living shoreline is already at work. Waves strike the sills, calming the waters behind them.
Although unfinished the Moor Shore Road living shoreline is already at work. Waves strike the sills, calming the waters behind them.

After almost two years of getting the permits and making sure funding was in place, at long last a living shoreline project is moving forward along Moor Shore Road in Kitty Hawk.

Moor Shore Road is sort of a forgotten street, a short strip of pavement that off Kitty Hawk Road that runs past some of the oldest properties in Kitty Hawk, parallels the bay for short but beautiful time before intersecting with Beacon Drive and ending.

At one time, though, it was an important road. Clearly seen on USGS maps dating back more than 100 years, it is the way the Wright Brothers got from Bill Tate’s Kitty Hawk home to their Kill Devil Hills camp.

Although largely forgotten, it is still an important road. When traffic or weather closes US158, the Bypass around the Kitty Hawk Post Office, it is the emergency route for traffic. It’s also one of the legs of the Outer Banks Marathon.

Increasingly over the past five or six years, the road floods during strong, sustained southwest winds. The reason is apparent—the beach and marsh that once protected the road have disappeared.

About two years ago, the North Carolina Coastal Federation, at the request of Kitty Hawk citizens, began looking into whether a living shoreline would be effective in protecting the road.

Apparently, yes it will and with multi-multi-agency funding the project is now underway.

The primary sound of funds for the project was a NOAA grant. The Town of Kitty Hawk has also guaranteed over $150,000, although those funds will only be spent if there is a shortfall. Perhaps most significantly NCDOT is also part of the project. 

According to a spokesperson for the NCDOT, this is the first time the agency has used a living shoreline as a means of protecting a road, and much of the delay in moving the project forward was allowing the state agency time to cross all their “Ts” and dot all their “Is” in figuring out how to include in their arsenal of shoreline protection.

Living shorelines have become the preferred method of shoreline protecting. Using sills that are offset from one another, the energy of waves as they come ashore are dissipated. The waters behind the sills are calmer, allowing native seagrass and reeds to regrow, offering further shoreline protection.

The first phase is almost complete with of the sills in place. Phase two will have volunteers planting grasses on the shoreside of the sills this spring.

There is always something happening on the Outer Banks. Plan your stay with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates and discover how wonderful life can be.

BBQ & Wings-A Joe Lamb, Jr. Favorite Event

Serving up BBQ, ribs and wings at the 2017 Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates BBQ & Wings Showdown.
Serving up BBQ, ribs and wings at the 2017 Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates BBQ & Wings Showdown.

Our Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates BBQ & Wings has the distinction of being our favorite event in the Taste of the Beach, one of our favorite Outer Banks happenings.

Near perfect weather greeted everyone at the Showdown.
Near perfect weather greeted everyone at the Showdown.

Yes the Chowder Cook-off is a lot of fun and the Grand Tasting puts some of the finest chefs anywhere together in one room, but it’s hard to imagine anything more quintessentially North Carolina that barbecue and wings.

And this year the weather gods really smiled on us.

It as nice, too, because the everyone who showed up could take their ribs, barbecue and wings out to the picnic area we had set up and enjoy a perfect Outer Banks spring day.

With Jonny Waters & Company back for a third year pushing out some great country and blues tunes, this seemed about as close to perfection as it gets.

Jonny Waters on drums beating out the rhythm to Santana's “Oye Coma Va."
Jonny Waters on drums beating out the rhythm to Santana’s “Oye Coma Va.”

We’re always cautious about reviewing the food we’re sampling except to say it was all wonderful. That, of course, is the safe way to go—we might think the sliders at Blue Water Grill were the best, but not everyone would agree.

The judges picked Pamlico Jack’s as the best pork BBQ and the People’s Choice award went to Frogman’s BBQ.

The one selection that we agree with and seemed to be fairly universal were the ribs from Simply Southern, just across the Wright Brothers Bridge in Currituck. Big, juicy, succulent smoked ribs. Fantastic.

We had a lot of fun, but it is a lot of work and our Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates crew really stepped up. We also could not have done this with out the help of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau who sponsored the event with us.


A tough job, but someone has to do it. At the judge's table.
A tough job, but someone has to do it. At the judge’s table.

Judges Award for Best Pork BBQ – Pamlico Jack’s

Judges Award for Best Ribs – Simply Southern Kitchen

Judges Award for Best Wings – Cafe Lachine

People’s Choice Award for Best BBQ – Frogman’s BBQ

People’s Choice Award for Best Ribs – Simply Southern Kitchen

People’s Choice Award fir Best Wings – New York Pizza Pub

Celebrating Heroes, Celebrating Flight at Wright Memorial

Commandant of the US Coast Guard Admiral Zukunft.
Commandant of the US Coast Guard Admiral Zukunft.

We had one of the best Celebrations of Flight at the Wright Brothers Memorial we’ve had in a while.

The annual event held on December 17, marking the date of the Wright Brothers first flight, is held a the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills.

It’s a time to recall the heroes of flight. This year the honorees were the first two Coast Guard helicopter pilots, Captain Erikson and Commander Graham.

Erikson graduated first in 1940s and Graham soon after in 1943. Both were personally trained by helicopter pioneer Igor Sikorsky.

How and what a helicopter could do was a blank slate at that time and almost everything we now take for granted that rotary wing aircraft can do was done first by Erikson and Graham.

Telling their story was Commandant of the US Coast Guard Admiral Zukunft.

Mixing humor with good story telling, he laid out both what Erikson and Graham accomplished and how it has led to the modern use of helicopters.

Frank Erikson was the first person to use a helicopter to pull someone from the sea using a hoist. That first hoist, Admiral Zukunft mentioned was a tow truck hoist.

He brought that into the present, talking about the many lives the Coast Guard has saved, describing the sound of the whirr of the helicopter as the sound of God to someone being rescued at sea.

As it turns out, the Outer Banks did figure in some of the helicopter firsts. The first aerial delivery of mail by a helicopter was flown by Graham, flying mail from Elizabeth City to Hatteras.

Perhaps more significantly, Commander Graham flew the first night helicopter medical evacuation in December of 1947, flying a patient from Cape Hatteras to the hospital in Elizabeth City. According to his notes, he flew along the coast, using the bioluminescence of the breaking waves until he could see the lights of Elizabeth City.

This really was one of the more interesting Celebrations of Flight. It was a bit disappointing that the hoped for flyover of Coast Guard aircraft could not be accomplished.

The weather at the Wright Brothers Memorial was fine, but at Elizabeth City where the aircraft was stationed it was foggy with a very low ceiling. One twin engine Coast Guard plane did make the flight, but we didn’t see any others.

National Park Service Turns 100

Bodie Island Lighthouse.
Bodie Island Lighthouse.

2016 is the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service and with the huge presence the NPS has on the Outer Banks there are some a few things coming up that might be worth checking out.

There are three national parks on the Outer Banks—Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Wright Brothers Memorial and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on Roanoke Island. All three are administered as the Outer Banks Group from offices at Fort Raleigh.

Officially established in 1953, over 2.4 million visitors were counted last year. The park extends from the west side of South Nags Head to Ocracoke Island and includes Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Bodie Island Lighthouse.

The Wright Brothers Memorial is iconic to the Outer Banks. Perched atop Kill Devil Hill, the monument is a permanent reminder that powered flight was first achieved here. The memorial was authorized in 1927 and became a part of the NPS in 1953.

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site seems to be just about where the original Roanoke Island Lost Colony was situated. It’s also the home of the Lost Colony Outdoor Drama, the longest running outdoor drama in North America, now in its 78th season.

Some Spring Time Events:

Naturalization Ceremony  April 16 at 3 p.m., Wright Brothers National Memorial. United States Customs and Immigration Service will hold a citizenship ceremony. The agency has an agreement with the Park Service to hold these ceremonies where new citizens “learn about and reflect on American identity and the responsibilities of citizenship.”

First Colony Foundation Archeological Dig: “Project Dogwood” – April 17- 23, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. The First Colony Foundation is planning an archaeological dig in honor of the Centennial and the 75th anniversary of the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.

The Lost Colony Drama Centennial Dedication – May 27, the Lost Colony Amphitheater. The Roanoke Island Historical Association will dedicate the season on opening night of The Lost Colony Drama to the National Park Service and kick off several activities. Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates is a proud sponsor of the Lost Colony.

The Wright Brothers Stuff


Wilber Wright flying in France, 1908 

It’s December 17, 2015, an important day on the Outer Banks, and to commemorate the 112th anniversary of the Wright Brothers Flight, here are three lesser known facts about the famous duo.

Wilbur had no front teeth. When he was 17 he was high sticked in a hockey game and his front teeth were knocked out. According to David McCullough in his book The Wright Brothers, Wilbur’s father, Milton, claimed the blow was struck by Oliver Crook Haugh, who went on to be one of Ohio’s most notorious killers.

The injury reshaped Wilbur’s life. A senior in high school, he was planning on attending Yale. He dropped out of school, and by all accounts became a recluse for three years. He spent the three years caring for his mother who was dying from tuberculosis.

Powered flight was not their only aviation breakthrough. Actually the Wright Brothers were not the first to realize powered flight. As one writer noted with enough power a barn door will fly. There had been a number of powered gliders making short hops before 1903.

What Wilbur and Orville accomplished was controlled, powered flight. They could turn in either direction and safely land at a time of their choosing.

They also made tremendous technological advances in propeller design. Their 1911 propellers have been shown to be just 5% less efficient than modern propellers.

The Wrights made almost no flights between 1906 and early 1908. Concerned that they had not yet received patents for many of their innovations, the Wrights stopped flying so no one could see what they were doing.

After receiving their patents, the US Government and France offered to purchase planes if certain conditions were met. The French in particular were skeptical, believing they had the lead in aviation technology . . . until Wilbur took his aircraft up for a quick flight to check his controls and performed feats no one in France even knew could be done.