Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

Eagle at the Outer BanksAlligator River National Wildlife Refuge isn’t exactly on the Outer Banks but it’s not that far away either, and for anyone looking to learn about the area’s natural history it is worth the trip across the Roanoke Sound.

Created 30 years ago, it’s one of the largest wildlife refuges on the East Coast. It consists of 154,000 acres of marsh, swamp, pocosin, forest and a bombing range-although the range is actually 47,000 acres surrounded by the refuge and not considered part of it.

There is a remarkable diversity of life here. It is the northern reach of the American alligator, although the alligators in this region tend to be smaller than their deep south cousins. This is not without exceptions. This summer a driver struck and killed a 13’ bull alligator that was crossing US 64 at night.

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Local Business Spotlight – Kitty Hawk Kites

Hang gliding LuskForty years later and Kitty Hawk Kites is still going strong!

If there is such a thing as a homegrown retail chain on the Outer Banks, it would have to be Kitty Hawk Kites. From their first location in Nags Head across from Jockey’s Ridge State Park, the company has expanded with stores from Ocracoke to Corolla. Actually, they’ve expanded beyond that with stores in Virginia Beach and Florida.

It didn’t start as a kite store. The business began when John Harris and his early partner, Ralph Buxton, became fascinated by a new kind of glider that had just become available: the hang glider. John and Ralph taught themselves to fly on the dunes of Jockey’s Ridge.

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Outer Banks Cycling – Ride Safely, Arrive Intact

Early Morning OBX Bike RideTrue Confession: My idea of a perfect way to start the day is a 15 to 20 mile ride through the more hidden places on the Outer Banks. Because I’m on my bike a fair amount, I get to see lots of other riders, especially in the summer, and there are some concerning safety items worth a discussion.

First of all, please wear a helmet. I’ve had a couple of bad bike accidents over the years. In both cases I picked myself up, stiff and missing some skin. After getting my bearings and making sure all ten fingers and ten toes still worked, I looked at my helmet. Two out of two times there was a gouge in it, which could have been my head. Too hot? Sorry, not an excuse in my mind. Can’t hear the traffic? Simply not true. Uncomfortable? That’s why they are adjustable! Just please, wear a helmet.

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