Outer Banks Winter Lunch Counters

blue moon grillSince we live here and can’t imagine a better place to be, as far as we’re concerned any season is a good time to visit the Outer Banks. That being said, we must admit that a quick getaway, long weekend or weeklong vacation during the winter months does come with a challenge that other seasons don’t have … where to go for a bite to eat?

Things do slow down during the winter on the Outer Banks. Not as much as it did 10 to 15 years ago, but there are a number of business owners who close up shop in January or February for scheduled vacations or to head out of the country in search of good surf. Nonetheless, with a bit of direction and effort, finding a good meal during the slowest time of the year is definitely possible on the Outer Banks.

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2014 Outer Banks Predictions

Bonner Bridge HatterasWith 2013 wrapped up and 2014 in its infancy, it’s the perfect time to bravely predict 2014 happenings on the Outer Banks. This is all simply guesswork and speculation, but as each year winds down, it’s always interesting to think of milestones that will highlight the year ahead.

Bridges Dominate the News
The replacement of the Bonner Bridge is tied up in court, although the state did win the first round. A contract was just awarded for a bridge to replace the temporary bridge at the Irene breach, and construction is scheduled to begin almost immediately. The renovation and repairs to the outbound Wright Memorial Bridge appear to be on schedule and should be completed by May 15th, although winter storms could throw a monkey wrench in those plans. Next fall it will be the inbound span’s turn. Who knows, with all the activity around bridges, maybe the Mid-Currituck Bridge will arise from its moribund state and again become a possibility?

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Alive and Well from the Outer Banks

Outer Banks ChristmasMark Twain once famously observed, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” This may be reminiscent of how many people feel about the Outer Banks during the winter months but, in fact, that’s far from the truth.

Yes, it’s true that activities have decreased and seasonal crowds have slowed to a trickle, and the title of a popular song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” has recently come to the forefront of my mind. Okay, it’s not cold like in Montana, but for the Outer Banks it’s definitely gotten chilly.

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David Stick

David Stick HistorianFor anyone visiting the Outer Banks in the summer, it seems like a thriving beehive of a community; the beaches are filled with thousands of people, the roads are clogged and businesses are booming. Yet, once the busy season winds down, the Outer Banks is actually a small and tight knit community, and like similar small communities, one can meet some of the most unique and memorable people in day-to-day interactions.

For the Outer Banks, David Stick was one of those remarkable people. He passed away in 2009 and left behind an extraordinary legacy. For those who knew him personally, it would be hard to argue that David could talk the leg off a room full of chairs . . . and still keep talking. But, the most amazing thing about his need to communicate, was how useful the information was that he shared, filled with historic detail and observation.

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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 Birding

Outer_Banks_BirdingAs the last days of summer give way to the beauty of autumn, the skies fill with thousands upon thousands of waterfowl making their winter migration to the sounds and estuaries surrounding the Outer Banks. It is a cycle that’s as old as time, and as snow geese spread their wings to break their descent into the water and hundreds of blue petes raft in the waters of the Currituck Sound, the air is filled with the beautiful cacophony of their calls.

The Outer Banks has always been known as a place of autumn abundance. During the 19th and into the mid-20th century, it was considered the premier East Coast destination for hunting migratory waterfowl. The hunting remains excellent and duck blinds still dot the sounds, but these days more and more people “hunt” our spectacular water fowl using binoculars and a camera.

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Life on the Outer Banks

Family at the beachMost every topic imaginable gets covered about the Outer Banks except the one that might be the most important, “What is it like to live on the Outer Banks?” There is a certain amount of logic to discussing this question, since ours is an economy dominated by tourism, so folks come down for a short visit and then head home. Since it’s a question that comes up consistently, maybe this is a good time to give my personal overview.

First of all, for those people asking about our schools, or whether we even have schools, the answer is, “Yes, we have an excellent school system.” Dare County Schools, which comprise most of the Outer Banks, are amongst the best in the state. First Flight High School in Kill Devil Hills and Manteo High School were recently ranked in the top 10% of high schools in the nation by two national publications.

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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 Brews

OBX BrewsLet’s face it, not everyone likes to go wine tasting.  If you’re a beer drinker, for example, there’s a good possibility that wine just isn’t for you.  Now . . . if only someone would just invent beer tastings.

You’re in luck!  It’s doubtful this was invented on the Outer Banks, but a few local businesses that are always on the lookout to garner more customers, are offering beer tasting, three of which, are brewing their own beer.  To participate in this tour, we’ll start in the south and work our way north.

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Outer Banks Wine and Tastings

outer banks wine tastingLet’s face it, northeast North Carolina is not known as a hotbed of wine production, yet there are a couple of wineries in our area turning out some very decent wines. Just because local wineries are few and far between, doesn’t mean we don’t have wine tasting tours. There are a number of opportunities on the Outer Banks to tour the world in a one ounce pour.

We’ll start our wine tasting tour at Trio because it’s the only true wine bar on the Outer Banks. For those in your group who appreciate specialty beers, Trio offers a great selection of brews.

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