Jan 2009

Outer Banks Getaways January 2009

What Awaits on the Outer Banks?

Although nearly two-thirds of the entire North Carolina coastline is 90 miles south of Norfolk, many Hampton Roads residents have not discovered the charm of the Outer Banks. While it’s hard to imagine that this small stretch of migrating barrier islands could offer much more than Virginia Beach, it does. It supplies more of what you expect from a tourist town on the edge of America.

Enjoy a healthy dose of solitude. Even with the thousands of vacationers arriving every summer, there is still a peacefulness that permeates the atmosphere like a damp morning fog. Anyone looking for quiet places will find them, often lodged near calm inlets, challenging golf courses, guardian sand dunes and ancient maritime forests. Distractions are few.  There are no bustling boardwalks; no amusement parks; no overpowering motels to block the beach. Without any noticeable effort, you find yourself relaxing, rejuvenating and tuning out a multitasking world.

Parking is free and plentiful. Beach access, off-street parking and public restrooms are all fee-free.

Most of its natural beauty is still undeveloped. From the four-wheel-drive beaches of Carova to Ocracoke Island, the Outer Banks boasts more than 100 miles of uncongested, uncluttered and unsoiled beaches. More than 75 percent of the land is owned and managed by the U. S. National Park Service, so the area is a haven for naturalists, wildlife and hundreds of species of birds.

The Outer Banks has maintained its small-town feel.  You will still find more mom-and-pop shops and restaurants than franchises and chain stores. The people are friendly, caring and interested in the well-being of their beloved land. When there is a job to be done, this is a community that gets it done … whether  taking care of one of its own, building a YMCA or making tourists feel at home. There is a pride that’s evident in its clean beaches, unpolluted air and pristine waterways. Because of this, the Outer Banks continues to attract savvy entrepreneurs and perceptive  investors along with families and retirees seeking a simpler way of life.

Year-round activities abound. While the beach is the draw in the summer, there is so much more to the Outer Banks than the sand and ocean. It has a vibrant cultural undercurrent that runs all year offering a spectrum of festivals, craft shows, art exhibits, wine tastings, theater, music, dance, charitable events and entertainment.  There is plenty to draw folks of all ages – outlet and retail shopping; breweries and wineries; public parks and playgrounds; dog-friendly beaches; a lively senior center;  historical landmarks; water sports and world-class fishing; lighthouses; pirate, nautical and Native American museums; great architecture; and the N. C. Aquarium, Roanoke Festival Park and Lost Colony.

With all of this going for it, the Outer Banks is often overlooked by Hampton Roads’ residents  seeking sound investments, respites, or one-tank road trips – and that’s a shame. Centuries ago, its founders described the area as “the goodliest land under the cope of Heaven.” For many, it still is.



Brindley Beach Vacations offers 3–10-bedroom homes, private pools, hot tubs, pets, oceanfront to soundfront, linens and towels provided, all close to shopping and restaurants. 877-642-3224, 252-453-3335, www.brindleybeach.com, rentals@brindleybeach.com

Create special memories in our lovely premier homes located oceanfront to soundfront. Enjoy fishing, golf, tennis, biking. Pet homes available. We are deliberately & selectively smaller. 866-453-9660, www.corollaclassicvacations.com

Mini-vacations available year round. Homes range in size from one bedroom to 10 bedrooms from Corolla to Nags Head.  Rates from $39/per person/per night.   4820 N. Croatan Hwy., P.O. Box 3339, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949. 252-255-4999. www.outerbanksvacations.com, www.coldwellbankerobx.com

For the rest of this article, see the 2008 Hampton Roads Magazine Source Book, currently available on newsstands.

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