The Island Bookstore – Outer Banks

Island Book Store on the OBX

There is something magical about walking into a bookstore, the shelves packed with every imaginable topic and title, just waiting to be explored. One of the best on the Outer Banks is The Island Bookstore, a place that allows us to step back in time before the world became addicted to online and electronic reading.

The Corolla, Duck and Kitty Hawk locations are all a bit different, no cookie cutter retail space, so these stores have grown organically from their locations.

The Kitty Hawk store, located in a strip mall at Milepost 4.5 on the Bypass, is open year round and frequented by locals. It is the smallest of the stores, and in the summer the shelves become so overwhelmed that there are overflow books piled on the floor too. Continue reading “The Island Bookstore – Outer Banks”

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Outer Banks Art Galleries

There’s something in the coastal Outer Banks air that inspires the artistic and creative. The OBX is home to an exceptional lot of artists, and we have a collection of fine local galleries that proudly exhibit their work. It’s difficult to highlight all of these galleries, but in the interest of assisting visitors in navigating options, here’s a list of five wonderful galleries to get you started.

Seagreen Gallery
Seagreen Gallery in Nags Head.

Dare County Arts Council – Manteo
Featuring artwork from Outer Banks artists from Ocracoke to Corolla, the DCAC gallery is the perfect introduction to the wide range and skill of local artists. Located in the historic Dare County Courthouse, this gallery provides multiple rooms filled with original art. A great time to visit is the first Friday of the month when downtown Manteo comes alive with their First Friday Celebration starting at 6:00 p.m.

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The Outer Banks Holiday Season

Outer Banks ChristmasDuring the off season, in that three to four month window from late fall to early spring, life on the Outer Banks returns to its roots. A bustling resort in the summer months, the winter months are much more akin to everyday life in small town America.

At no time of the year is that more apparent than during the holidays. Rituals that come alive during the Christmas and New Year holidays are steeped in heartwarming tradition. The spirit of the season is a relaxed and joyous time to spend with family and friends. It is also fast becoming a tradition for out of town visitors who rent large vacation homes, escaping hectic schedules to unwind with those they hold near and dear.

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History of Outer Banks Fishermen

Old Outer Banks FishermanWhen English explorer Arthur Barlowe and his ship first made landfall on the Outer Banks, the crew welcomed the Native Americans who came to greet them with gifts. The Indians climbed back in their canoes to show the English the abundance of the sea.

Writing about his experience when he returned to England, Barlowe recorded, “ . . . assoone as hee was two bow shoot into the water, hee fell to fishing, and in lesse then halfe an houre, he had laden his boate as deepe as it could swimme. . . “ Translation: As soon as he was two bow shots into the water, he fell to fishing and in less than half an hour, he had laden his boat as deep as it could swim.

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Long-Standing Outer Banks Businesses

Among the multitude of new homes springing up along the shoreline and new enterprises that sprout each year with fanfare and hope, there exists a core of Outer Banks businesses that have become a part of the fabric of local life.

Hairoics Outer BanksHairoics Spa & Salon
Celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2015, Jim and Sandy Williams built Hairoics on the basic principles that you have to remain very good at what you do and that customers should always be pampered. Their Kill Devil Hills location is staffed with professional hair stylists who understand current style and color trends, many who have been with the couple for years. Over time, they have expanded their business beyond styling by adding a day spa and massage rooms. It’s rare for a hair salon to flourish for 25 years, but Jim and Sandy have created a great model on how to retain customer loyalty!

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Max’s Pizza – Outer Banks

Maxs Pizza Kitty HawkPizza is one of those ubiquitous foods that many restaurants make but very few seem to master. In the master category, we bring you Grant Sharp at Max’s Pizza (3723 N. Croatan Highway), Ocean Plaza in Kitty Hawk.

Grant and his wife, Natalya, bought Max’s last March and the change in quality was immediately apparent. Grant—as it turns out—is a classically trained chef. How classically trained? Well, he studied for two years at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.

He does not, however, let his training get in the way of what a good pizza is all about. “I believe in the KISS theory for pizza. Keep it simple,” he says. “Just find great ingredients and use them right.”

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The Retirement of Eddie Green

Eddie Greene Outer Banks LegendIf there is such a thing as an iconic local who represents the best in what it means to be from the Outer Banks, truly it is Eddie Green. Most everyone who resides here, or has been travelling to our area for many years, knows of him and his rich accomplishment. If you don’t know him personally, you are likely aware of or have shopped in “The Christmas Shop” in Manteo, which is his creation.

Unfortunately, his business is closing this year, and as he points out on his website, one of the reasons he’s retiring is, “Because I’m 90 years young.” It’s a real shame that he’s closing his doors, but it’s hard to argue after the store has served our community for 48 years. This means parents who remember coming to the Christmas Shop as kids can no longer bring their children. Instead, they will come to understand this experience from parents who recount these special memories.

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Harnessing the Wind Outer Banks Windmills

There is a tendency to think of wind energy as a new form of technology, but it is not. Converting the power of the wind to electric energy is relatively new, but using the wind to aid human endeavors dates back to the first windmills that appeared in the Near East 1,200 years ago. If sailing ships are included in wind energy, it’s difficult to find a time in human history that wind was not a part of our energy portfolio.

Since wind is our constant companion, the Outer Banks history of wind energy’s impact on our civilizations is important to discuss. It’s not surprising that one of the potentially largest commercial wind energy fields in the world has been identified off the Outer Banks, located just due west of the town of Kitty Hawk.

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The Outer Banks Second Season

It’s true, the “second season” on the Outer Banks just keeps getting better and better! Without a doubt, the summer is a great time to visit, but the fall is quickly become a very popular second season for those who love the Outer Banks. The weather has cooled and the crowds have diminished, but that is only a part of the big picture as the fall months are alive with great music, the ESA Surf Competition, a seafood fest and a fantastic marathons.

OBX BlueGrass FestMusic appears to highlight Outer Banks events, especially during September and October. The 4th Annual Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival, held at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo, is on September 23-26th. If there is one show to check out, this is it! Rhonda Vincent and the Rage will be back for the fourth year, joining headliners Sam Bush and Pam Tillis.

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Outer Banks Photo Opportunities

Photo albums are filled with images of Outer Banks beaches. Our pristine shoreline and endless panorama of sea and sky call out to photographers who want to capture sunrises over the Atlantic, sea birds and their families enjoying surf and sand.

Yet, the Outer Banks is more than just miles of shoreline. As beautiful as our beaches may be, there are numerous venues that offer camera-worthy photo opts. To add unique snapshots of our area to your collection, adventurous photographers should take note of the following scenic locations.

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