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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Military Planes Along the Outer Banks

Ah, yes. A perfect Outer Banks beach day. Not a cloud in the sky, and there’s just enough of a breeze from the southwest to keep the heat from being oppressive. The ocean water temperature is somewhere around 73 or 74 degrees—cool and refreshing.

One of the ubiquitous biplanes of the Outer Banks flies by, towing a banner for a local restaurant, flying from south to north.

Then the sound of jet engines can be heard . . . faintly at first, then louder, coming from the north. Looking out to sea, three jets stand out against the deep blue sky, holding formation.

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Navigating Outer Banks Terminology Part 1

Every area has its own phrasing to describe how to get around their community. First time travelers to New York City likely won’t know references to the “Village” mean Greenwich Village. The same logic applies to San Francisco’s Nob Hill or Kensington in London. Those new to the Outer Banks will find local lingo is quite similar.

Corolla Village Outer BanksIn the spirit of easing visitors through Outer Banks exploration from Carova to Kitty Hawk, here is some terminology you may come across during your stay:

Corolla Village
Everything located north of the town of Duck and between the Dare and Currituck County line is considered Corolla . . . until you reach the four-wheel drive area.

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Monica Thibodeau & the Future of the Outer Banks

Monica Thibodeau Carolina DesignsIn addition to being the managing partner of Carolina Designs Realty (CDR), owner Monica Thibodeau, has always held a strong commitment to the well-being of Outer Banks communities. This is reflected in many ways, but primarily through member affiliations and active participation in local boards and committees.

Monica, who has served as Mayor Pro Tem of Duck since 2003, recently made the decision to run for a seat on the Dare County Board of Commissioners. If elected, Monica will bring the same vision, passion and energy to the County as she demonstrates in the growth of her business and her commitment to the town of Duck.

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Highlighting Outer Banks Museums

Although the Outer Banks has a rich cultural heritage, museums in our area are in short supply. With that said, there are locations that celebrate and document our heritage and region that are worthy of a visit during your vacation stay.

Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education
Located on the grounds of Currituck Heritage Park, which is also home to the Whalehead Club and Currituck Lighthouse, the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education is an extraordinary museum that educates visitors about the ecology and historical significance of the Currituck Sound.

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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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Outer Banks National Park Service History

Hatteras Point DrivingFrank Stick, one of the original real estate developers on the Outer Banks, became concerned that without protection of the natural landscape the beauty that made the Outer Banks a natural tourist draw would be lost to development. A strong case could be made that Stick was considerably ahead of his time since he began advocating for Cape Hatteras to become a national park in the 1920s. He was an interesting character, a world-renowned illustrator who turned his back on his profession and moved to the Outer Banks at the height of his creative powers.

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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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Bonner Bridge Replacement

bonner bridge constructionA replacement for the Bonner Bridge, connecting the northern Outer Banks with Hatteras Island, is finally going to be built. Twenty-five years after the bridge’s life expectancy has passed, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) have reached an agreement that will allow a new parallel span to be built just to the west of the existing bridge, and the old bridge will be demolished.

To their credit, NCDOT has done a remarkable job of keeping the existing bridge open, but it is becoming increasingly expensive to do so. With an agreement in hand and sighs of relief all around, construction can finally begin.

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