Outer Banks Oyster Season

Oyster from Outer BanksGood news for oyster lovers—after years languishing near death, the North Carolina oyster is back. Sometimes salty, sometimes slightly sweet and almost buttery, the range of flavors is as varied as the places from which they are harvested.

The oysters are almost all farm raised now; at one time North Carolina was one of the leading states in oyster production, primarily landing wild oysters, but over-harvesting and loss of habitat devastated the industry. However, over the past 10 years, oyster production has more than doubled in the state.

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Outer Banks Thanksgiving Meals

Thanksgiving on the Outer BanksThe family is gathered, there’s kids and maybe some grandkids, perhaps even an uncle or brother or sister. A gathering of the clan is very much a part of holiday traditions. And it’s wonderful, because the truth is, family is what makes holiday memories.

Of course, that comes with a certain price to be paid—some of it financial, but there is also a very real feeling that with 12 people wandering through a house that normally holds four or five, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to get everything done—or to relax and just enjoy family.

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Outer Banks Graveyards

outer banks graveyardsWith modern vacation homes lining the shoreline and the beauty of near perfect vacation getaway, the Outer Banks almost seems to be a place that came into existence 30 or perhaps 40 years ago. Sure, the Wright Brothers came to what was then Kitty Hawk—now Kill Devil Hills—to fly kites and then an airplane, but beyond that there does not seem to be much to the history of the area.

Actually, the Outer Banks was one of the first places European settlers put down roots. Leaving the Lost Colony out of the mix since that was a failed attempt, there have been settlers here—mostly from the British Isles—since the mid 1600s.

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Outer Banks Sea Turtle Nesting – Turtle Sense

sea turtle outer banksOuter Banks beaches are a thriving ecosystem. If you watch the damp sand quietly in late afternoons or early evenings, ghost crabs will pop out of air holes, scuttle along the beach and rebury themselves in the sand to avoid seabirds that feast on them.

Our beaches are also the nesting home to a number of sea turtles. Loggerheads and Greens are the most common and Kemp’s Ridleys show up occasionally. Three species, Olive Ridleys, Hawksbills and Leatherbacks, are exceedingly rare. For all sea turtles that visit the Outer Banks, North Carolina is the northern end of their nesting area, and all six species are protected under the Endangered Species Act.

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Mike Dianna

Mike Dianna Outer BanksMike Dianna figured out early on that he enjoyed seeing people smile and that entertainment is an important part of everyone’s life. This may account for why he opened a Corolla restaurant—Mike Dianna’s Grill Room—and is at the core of the reason that he has promoted the Mustang Music Festivals for the last five years.

His passion for hospitality came before he left his hometown in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “In high school I worked in a Friendly’s Restaurant every summer,” he recalled. “I liked the social atmosphere of it. I liked seeing a smile on someone’s face. I liked the fast pace of it I liked the unpredictability of it. I still do today.”

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Weather Update (10/11/2016)

Local Update (10/11/2016 1:10PM)

There is a new update from Dare County Emergency Management. It includes important storm-related information about the Dare County Water Department, Disaster Relief, debris collection, FEMA, food and nutrition services, the National Park Service and the Town of Southern Shores. Click on the link above to read this information.

There are no access restrictions north of Oregon Inlet. Access to Hatteras Island remains restricted and is limited to residents, non-resident property owners and non-resident employees of businesses with proper reentry passes.

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Currituck Beach Lighthouse

currituck lighthouse viewWhen the Bodie Island Lighthouse was completed in 1871 there was only one stretch of the eastern US coastline that remained dark—a condition the US Lighthouse Board noted in its 1871 report.

“With the completion of the light house at Body’s Island (Bodie Island) there will remain only one important interval of unlighted coast on the Atlantic from . . . Maine to . . . Florida. That dark space will be embraced between Cape Henry and Body’s Island, a distance of eighty miles and an unlighted space of forty miles, at the center of which there should be a first-order (Fresnel) Light . . . It is now believed that the construction of this tower should be no longer delayed.” Congress agreed, and in 1873 appropriated $50,000 to begin construction. When completed two years later, the new Currituck Beach Lighthouse cost $178,000, approximately $3.9 million in modern dollars.

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Fall Things To Do 2016

Mustang Music Festival LineupOver the past few years, the September and October months have become popular times to visit the Outer Banks.

There are so many great events during these months—even extending into November—that it’s almost difficult to know where to start! Great weather, great music, and great festivals. Plus, the water is still warm enough to go swimming and both the water and air temperatures can stay moderate well into October.

Music lovers mark Columbus Day on their calendar, as two great back-to-back festivals highlight the music scene over that three day weekend. The Mustang Music Festival at the Whalehead Club in Corolla headlines Friday and Saturday, with its eclectic blend of rock, blues and avant garde bluegrass. Sunday it’s the Duck Jazz Festival on the Duck Town Green, where impressive national and regional jazz artists perform in a near perfect outdoor setting.

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Navigating the Outer Banks

Navigating the OBXTravelling through the Outer Banks is remarkably easy since there are only two directions one can go, north or south. The two exceptions to this rule are Colington Island and the town of Manteo (located on Roanoke Island), which are both situated to the west.

In the heart of the Outer Banks, there are two main roads for travel through the towns of Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head: US 158 and NC 12. These highways each have two reference names, US 158 or Croatan Highway and NC 12 or Virginia Dare Trail. When using GPS or SIRI for directions, it’s important to use the street names for both road systems.

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Visiting The Wild Horses of Carova

Wild Horses in CorollaOne of the most beautiful sights on the Outer Banks is the image of four or five Wild Mustangs standing atop a dune silhouetted against the sky. The visual perfectly captures the Outer Banks, its history, and the fragile balance that exists between people and nature.

There are approximately 100 wild horses roaming the 4WD area north of Corolla, usually called Carova for the small village at the state border with Virginia. The horses, descendants of the Spanish Mustangs of the conquistadors, have roamed the Outer Banks since the 16th century. At that time, the rivalry for control of North America between Spain and England was intense and often violent, eventually leading to the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588.

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