The No-Name Storm and the World’s Largest Hammock

My stepson just got married in a destination wedding in North Carolina. Of course, my theory is always “why fly when you can drive.” I eagerly look forward to mapping out my routes for a road trip and searching through my many roadside Americana books to see what treats I can pass along the way. While I was looking forward to the drive itself on this trip, I was a bit dismayed when I realized that, according to my books and the Roadside America Web site, I had already seen everything along the way: the place where John Wilkes Booth was captured (near Fort AP Hill in Virginia); the spots where Stonewall Jackson was shot and died (and where his arm is buried) near Fredericksburg, Va.; the milk bottle building in Richmond; the Monitor-Merrimac observation site in Hampton Roads, Va.; the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk, N.C.; Roanoke Island; the “UFO House” in Buxton, N.C.; and, of course, the lighthouses of the Outer Banks.

Still, some time on the beach, especially celebrating such a special occasion, would be nice. Unfortunately, the weather got worse as I headed south from New York. By the time I got near my destination, high winds were whipping sand around so much that it stung when it hit your skin. Later, we would be hit with what was called the “no-name” storm — rain and wind of almost tropical storm status that pounded our beachfront house, took out electricity and nearly postponed the wedding.

The World's Largest Hammock

But there’s always a silver lining under any dark cloud, and this storm had a special silver lining indeed. It came in the form of a sign I saw as I was headed toward the Wright Brothers Memorial Bridge that would take me from the North Carolina mainland to the Outer Banks. The sign promoted the World’s Largest Hammock. I will go hours out of my way to see the world’s largest anything — I’m a roadie, that’s what we do. The weather was too bad to stop on my way to the beachouse, but had cleared a bit three days later on my return trip, so I treated myself.

Putting it in perspectiveThe World’s Largest Hammock is located at the Nag’s Head Hammock store in Point Harbor, N.C. I LOVE the store’s description of its roadside attraction on its Web site: “Remember that family vacation as a kid, when Dad stopped in the middle of nowhere so you could all stare at the World’s Largest Ball of Twine? Come on, how relaxing was that? Now, if all that twine had been woven into the World’s Largest Hammock, that would have been something to see!” I mean, is that written for roadies, or what?! The hammock is 42-feet long, holds up to 8,000 pounds and was woven out of nearly 10,000 feet of rope.

I stopped, I snapped my pictures, and I continued my return trip with a smile on my face and the satisfaction that there are always surprises on the road, even if you have traveled it before.