Monday, April 9, 2012

We Love the Outer Banks - Part 1

We love the Outer Banks – Part 1

     My wife and I have been vacationing on North Carolina’s Outer Banks since 1979.  The first place we stayed was a hotel in south Nags Head called “The Armada”.   Some locals purchased the hotel from a hotel chain and switched the first to letters in the name to save money on a new sign.  That’s the Outer Banks in a nutshell – they survive.  They survive hurricanes, Northeasters and extremes of temperature on both ends of the thermometer.  Actually, the people here do more than survive – they thrive on adversity.  They joke about the hurricanes as and wear t-shirts about Irene, Charlie or whatever most recent storm has struck their homes as they rebuild their docks, beach accesses and even the two lanes of asphalt known as Route 12which connect all of the small villages and towns along these barrier islands. 

     We were home-owners in Nags Head for a few years.  We had a three bedroom house on the Beach Road (formally known as Virginia Dare Trail) with beautiful sound views and easy beach access across the street.   We enjoyed this home away from home while our children were little, but absentee ownership became more difficult once we moved farther west in Virginia and we sold the house in the mid-90s.  We haven’t been visiting the Outer Banks as frequently since, but each time we come back we wonder why we ever leave. 

     The Outer Banks are the most relaxing place I have ever been.  I can feel my blood pressure notch down a good ten or twelve points as we drive across the Wright Brothers Bridge from the mainland.  Life slows down.  Life becomes defined by the local rhythms of the surf, sunrise/sunset and the check-in/check-out turnover of tourists each weekend.  Simple predictable rhythms define a slower more enjoyable existence.
This year we decided to explore the Northern Beach area of the Outer Banks.  We know a lot about the Southern Beaches, having stayed everywhere from Kill Devil Hills to Hatteras.  We rented a house in Duck, which is about 15 miles or so north of the Wright Brothers Bridge.  We arrived on Easter Sunday to a beautiful sunny day with mild winds and temperatures in the 70s.    In a word: heaven.  We traveled with our two year old Australian Shepherd (Meeko).   This is his first road trip and his first glimpse of the beach.  Meeko got his first romp in the surf and then we went in search of seafood!  We found the Fishbone’s Sunset Grille and Raw Bar and had a wonderful dinner while watching a spectacular sunset over the Sound.  A great dinner in a perfect setting!    If the rest of the week is half as much fun as this first day, we may in fact never leave!!!!

Fishbone's Sunset Grill and Raw Bar, Duck, NC

Blackened Tuna

Grilled Mahi-Mahi

Ahhhh!  Paradise!

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