Winter has slowly arrived on the Outer Banks, bringing with it a peaceful and stark beauty. Live oaks and pine trees, that are so much a part of our barrier island landscape, take on a richer shade of green when cast against the surrounding leafless trees. The Atlantic takes on a rich gray-green brilliance during the winter months, its surface mottled with white caps from shoreline to the horizon.
It’s a unique beauty many Outer Banks visitors never see, but for local residents, winter on the Outer Banks is extraordinary. For those in need of quiet respite, planning winter beach vacations from Corolla to Nags Head can bring surprisingly warm weather, tranquil beaches, sparse traffic and a genuine connection with nature. On the Currituck Sound the whistles and hoots of waterfowl create a chorus of history, for it is this incredible migration of geese, ducks and swan from the tundra of Canada that brought the first tourists to this area.
Even before European explorers set foot on the Outer Banks, Native Americans would visit the Outer Banks in the fall, harvest waterfowl and return home. It was a tradition that continued well into the 20th century, with hunt clubs lining the shores of the Outer Banks sounds for over a 100 years bringing the wealthiest and most elite of society to northeastern North Carolina.
Perhaps the most opulent of all hunt clubs, The Whalehead Club in Corolla, remains historically significant to our region and thousands of visitors annually tour this grand residence located on 39 acres of lush waterfront property. The Powder Ridge Gun Club, much simpler and more reminiscent of the typical hunt club, is now Duck’s Cottage, a bookstore and coffee shop in Duck.
Winter months on the Outer Banks are a time of rebirth and rejuvenation, when the natural world gains the strength needed to bloom in the spring and summer. In winter, the pace of life slows on the Outer Banks creating renewal of the human spirit as well. A time to reflect on the past year and to prepare for the explosion of energy and human spirit that arrives with each summer season.