Outer Banks Schools

First Flight High SchoolEvery community has unique features that bring great pride and the Outer Banks is no different. Living here, it doesn’t take long to realize there are many notable attributes within our diverse communities, but for parents there is one defining aspect that brings great pride and that is our extraordinary schools and teachers.

The majority of the Outer Banks is a part of Dare County, and the school system has been rated amongst the top North Carolina schools for several years. As a matter of fact, recent national polls placed both First Flight High School and Manteo High School in the top 10% of schools across the nation. Just up the road, Currituck County schools aren’t far behind.

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The Lighthouses of the Outer Banks

Hatteras LightThere is, perhaps, no more treacherous stretch of shoreline than the coast of the Outer Banks. Flanked by shifting shoals that extend as far as 14 miles off shore, the Atlantic Ocean along the northeastern North Carolina coast has rightfully been termed the Graveyard of the Atlantic.

There is no record of when the first European ship sank in these waters, but the most likely candidate would have been a Spanish galleon in the mid 1500s.

Although the dangers of the Outer Banks coast were well-known, the area was–and still is–the equivalent of a seagoing highway. In the days of sail power, prevailing winds allowed ships heading south to take advantage of winds and currents to speed their journey. Heading north, the land mass provided captains with sure visual references.

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Spring and Summer Fishing on the Outer Banks

Outer Banks FishingThe Outer Banks is a 200-mile-long string of what are called “barrier islands.” Lying off the coast of North Carolina and a very small portion of Virginia, the Outer Banks offer stunning natural beauty, a temperate climate, and some of the best fishing opportunities in the country. After a long winter spent with fishing gear put away, many avid sport fishing fans are all too eager to once again take up the challenge of landing fish of all types, and they often head to the Outer Banks to do so. Spring and summer fishing in the Outer Banks appeals to fisherman from all over the country, and for good reason.

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Wild Horses of Corolla

Wild Horses CorollaIt’s June of 1561, and the fleet of Ángel de Villafañe is searching the coast of North Carolina for a suitable location to establish a colony when a hurricane strikes. Two of the ships flounder and sink to the depths.

In the panic on deck, horses break free. They are stronger swimmers than their human handlers and they make it to shore, finding solid footing on a narrow strip of sand and scrub grass on what is now the Currituck Banks.

This scenario is all speculation. Ángel de Villafañe was a Spanish explorer who was off the Outer Banks when a hurricane struck his fleet in 1561, and we know two of his ships did indeed sink. But there is no way to verify if there were horses on those ships. If so, there is no way of knowing if they survived or if our wild horses came ashore at an earlier or later date.

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Little Known Outer Banks Facts

It may seem as though the Outer Banks simply sprang into existence one day, yet this strip of sand actually has a long and fascinating history. In my continuing series of “Five things you may not know about the Outer Banks,” I bring you five more interesting facts.

Nags Head was one of the very first tourist destinations in the United States.
When Perquimons County plantation owner, Francis Nixon, began sending his family to Nags Head to avoid the summer heat and malaria found in the coastal plains of North Carolina, other families took note. Soon Nags Head was the summer destination of choice for the plantation class of eastern North Carolina. By the beginning of the Civil War, the Nags Head Hotel, providing 100 rooms and located at the foot of Jockey’s Ridge, was catering to the tourism trade.

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History of Outer Banks Bridges

Oregon Inlet bridgeOuter Banks bridges are in the news quite a bit these days. Local news, of course, it’s rare that this rises to the national level. With one of the spans of the Wright Memorial Bridge closed for maintenance until mid-May, and the Bonner Bridge crossing Oregon Inlet leaping a huge legal hurdle, there’s good reason to think about what the bridges mean to Outer Banks life.

Until the Outer Banks were connected to the rest of the U.S. transportation network, residents were truly isolated. There were regular mail boats making runs from Elizabeth City, and with the advent of steamships and gasoline motors, the trip became a bit more predictable. Nonetheless, until the first bridges were built, getting onto and off the Outer Banks could entail an entire day on the water.

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Outer Banks Seafood Festival

Seafood dinner outer banksIt’s that time of year when thoughts turn to activities on the Outer Banks that bring visitors to our rental homes. What could be more inviting than a celebration of the local seafood, the fishermen who bring it to us, and the chefs who prepare it? That’s what is waiting for you at the 2nd Annual Outer Banks Seafood Festival on October 19th at the Outer Banks Event Site in Nags Head. Carolina Designs Realty was a charter sponsor of the event’s inaugural last year where we hosted over 7000 participants.

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Outer Banks Weddings – Whalehead Club

Whalehead Club in CorollaCouples planning an Outer Banks destination wedding should consider the Whalehead Club in Corolla, NC as a picturesque option. The Whalehead Club was built in the early 1920s by Edward and Marie Louise Knight of Philadelphia. The venue served as both a family vacation estate and a hunt club, and ultimately became a summer retreat for dignitaries and friends. Today, the Whalehead Club is owned by Currituck County and provides tours, excursions and museum exhibits for Outer Banks visitors.

Dramatic sunsets over the shimmering Whale Head Bay and the distinctive residence with lush, manicured grounds, combine to create the perfect backdrop for a memorable wedding event. “Whalehead weddings are among some of the most elegant and beautiful I’ve ever seen,” says Elaine Breiholz, Property Manager at Carolina Designs Realty.

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Roanoke Island Festival Park Information

Roanoke Island Festival Park

Located in Manteo, this 25-acre interactive historic site is convenient to all of our vacation rentals in the Outer Banks. Only 5 miles from Nags Head and 30 minutes from both Hatteras Island and Kitty Hawk, this park is a must-see for all visitors and guests to the Outer Banks. With tons of Outer Banks history, nature, recreation and family activities this is the ideal choice for a day outing with the entire family.

The Elizabeth II 16th Century Representative Ship
At the park you can board and explore the Elizabeth II from every angle. Built in the early 1980’s, as part of the America’s 400th Anniversary Celebration, this vessel was modeled after the ship Elizabeth that sailed from England in 1585.  Launched in November of 1983, the Elizabeth II is 69 feet long, 17 feet wide and draws 8 feet of water.  While on deck, assist the “16th century sailors” to set the sails, plot a course with an astrolabe or swab the decks while enjoying sound views from the quarterdeck. Raise the ships anchor, play checkers with a sailor or search for surprises in barrels and boxes. All while learning about historic Roanoke voyages from the friendly staff of sailors. 

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The Best Local OBX Seafood (And Where To Get It!)

Based on our location, it’s no surprise that the Outer Banks boasts some of the best seafood restaurants and markets on the coast. Whether searching for a local restaurant with a talented chef, or fresh seafood to prepare at your Outer Banks rental, this area has year round access to seasonal local seafood that is fresh, delicious and plentiful.

Where are some of the best local seafood restaurants?

Nags Head: Owen’s Restaurant – After 67 years, this is the only Outer Banks restaurant that is still owned and operated by the founding family. Their menu has items fresh off the boat including seafood, shellfish, Whole Maine lobster and more. After dinner, you can enjoy their collection of museum quality artifacts that highlight the maritime history of the OBX.

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