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Farms, National Parks, State parks

An Anniversary Getaway on North Carolina’s Outer Banks

View of Roanoke Sounds from Miller's Waterfront Restaurant in Nags Head

View of Roanoke Sound from Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant in Nags Head

Anniversary trips are something that Johnny and I always look forward to ever since we got married.  For our sixth year celebration, we preferred a beach destination that’s not overly commercialized.  Having lived in South Carolina for a number years, we had always heard about the Outer Banks, which is a group of peninsulas and barrier islands that separate mainland North Carolina from the Atlantic Ocean.  We thought the Outer Banks would be a good fit for the two of us, especially since the area is known for its fishing and unique lighthouses.

Where to Stay

The Oasis Suites Hotel in Nags Head is the perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway.  Located waterfront on Roanoke Sound, this boutique hotel consists of 16 elegantly decorated suites.  The property is centrally located on the Outer Banks, and it is also a great spot to watch sunsets.  Our first-floor one-bedroom suite, which was equipped with a full kitchen, was only steps away from the sound.  Every morning and afternoon we enjoyed sitting on the lawn chairs looking out over the calm waters.

Oasis Suites Hotel, the only boutique hotel on the Outer Banks

Oasis Suites Hotel

Ending the day by the water

An evening by the water

My favorite memory from our four-night stay at Oasis Suites was when the hotel manager, Miss Peggy Langley, let Johnny harvest the crabs from the hotels’s traps, allowing us to cook up a home-made crab boil for our dinner one night.  We sat by the gazebo eating the freshest seafood meal we have ever had.

Freshly caught crabs

Freshly caught crabs

Crab boil

A crab boil feast on the Outer Banks

Sightseeing and Activities

Roanoke Island

Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse

In the town of Manteo, you will find the charming Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse.  Roanoke Marshes Light is different in that it is not an imposing, towering structure like most other lighthouses.  Instead, it is a cottage-like building that is a replica of one that used to stand further south offshore between Roanoke Island and mainland North Carolina.

Roanoke Island Lighthouse at the end of a boardwalk

Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse at the end of a boardwalk

Johnny and Nanette with Roanoke Island Light in the background

Johnny and Nanette with Roanoke Marshes Light in the background

Island Farm

Swinging under a Live Oak Tree

Swinging under a Live Oak Tree on Island Farm

To say that I L-O-V-E farms and farm animals is an understatement.  I made visiting Island Farm a priority when I learned that visitors can ride around the farm on an ox-drawn wagon.  In fact, the fun does not stop there, as the whole place is actually a living history where everyone can learn about life on Roanoke Island in the mid-1800s.  While the land has been cultivated since 1757, the centerpiece of the property is a farmhouse built between 1845-1850 by Adam Etheridge, which has been restored to reflect its original condition.

The original farmhouse built between 1845-1850

The original farmhouse from the mid-1800s

Charlie the ox gives the best rides around the farm

Charlie the ox gave the best rides around the farm

Feeding my favorite rooster

Feeding my favorite rooster

Oh, hey Roxie!

Oh, hey Roxie!

Nags Head

Bodie Island Lighthouse

Bodie Island Lighthouse looks amazing against the blue sky.

Bodie Island Lighthouse looks very pretty against the blue sky.

When you are on the Outer Banks, try not to miss the Bodie Island Light.  The exterior of the 156′ tower is painted with a motif of black and white horizontal stripes.  Johnny and I really loved spending time on the grounds surrounding the lighthouse, which is a mixture of marshlands, maritime forest and saltwater ponds.  You can get a good view of the scenery by climbing to the top of the lighthouse, or trekking the boardwalk towards a raised platform over the marshes.

Ponds and maritime forest just beyond the lighthouse

Ponds and maritime forest just beyond the lighthouse

Jockey’s Ridge State Park

Getting a nice workout from climbing the dunes at Jockey's Ridge State Park

Getting a nice workout from climbing the dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park

The Outer Banks is famous for its natural sand dunes, and the ones you will find within the Jockey’s Ridge State Park are considered to be the tallest along the east coast of the United States.  If you would like to know what it feels like to soar above these mountains of sand, try having a hang gliding session with Kitty Hawk Kites, the world’s largest hang gliding school.

The wind and tall sand dunes at Jockey's Ridge make it a perfect spot for hang-gliding

The wind and tall sand dunes at Jockey’s Ridge make it a perfect spot for hang gliding.

Water accumulating at the base of the dunes

Water accumulating at the base of the dunes

A little break was necessary after trekking up and down the sand dunes.

A little break was necessary after trekking up and down the sand dunes.

Jennette’s Pier

The 1000-foot-long Jennette's Pier is equipped with 3 wind turbines that can provide up to half the facility's electric needs

The 1000-foot-long Jennette’s Pier is equipped with 3 wind turbines that can provide up to half the facility’s electric needs

For the fishing enthusiast, head to the 1000-foot-long newly reconstructed Jennette’s Pier.  Red drum, mackerel, and trout are just to name a few of the fish that have been caught off this pier.  Even if you have no interest in catching your own dinner, you can still have a good time at Jennette’s enjoying the ocean view.  Additionally, the pier has so many things to offer throughout the year – from fishing classes to paddle tours, summer camps for kids to that unique wedding at the private reception area.

There was a surfing competition that took place on the day we stopped by Jennette's Pier

There was a surfing competition that took place on the day we stopped by Jennette’s Pier

Coquina Beach

There’s no shortage of activities on the Outer Banks, but at some point you should just relax by the ocean and come to the pristine Coquina Beach.  It is a quiet, slightly hidden beach located not too far from Bodie Island Lighthouse.

Coquina Beach

Coquina Beach

Kill Devil Hills

Wright Brothers National Memorial

Johnny and I often talk about how lucky we are to live during a period of time that allows for easy air travel.  It’s so amazing that in a century the world went from witnessing the first controlled flight by the Wright brothers to regularly crossing oceans with jumbo jets.  Kill Devil Hills was where Orville and Wilbur Wright of Ohio experimented with their glider starting in the year 1900, and finally succeeded in maneuvering a powered flight on December 17, 1903.

The Wright Brothers National Memorial

A depiction of the first successful controlled flight at the Wright Brothers National Memorial

At the park, visitors can see reproductions of the brothers’ 1903 camp buildings along with replicas of their glider and flyer.  There are markers on the field indicating the distance and length of time that each flight lasted on that one winter day in 1903.  Johnny and I also climbed up the big hill to get a closer look at the monument commemorating the Wright brothers’ accomplishment.

Markers

Markers showing data of each of the four flights that occurred on Dec. 17, 1903

The Wright Brothers Monument

The Wright Brothers Monument

Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve

Green, green, green is how I would describe the Nags Head Woods Preserve.  It’s the perfect place for a little escape and a leisurely walk among ponds, marshes, and wetlands.  There are a few trails that you can choose from, varying in length and difficulty, and taking visitors through different landscapes.

A green pond at the entrance of

A green pond at the entrance of Nags Head Woods Preserve

Everything is green

We encountered more green colors as we explored the woods

Corolla

Currituck Heritage Park

Currituck

Currituck Beach Lighthouse peeking out over the trees

We spent our last afternoon on the Outer Banks wandering around Corolla’s Currituck Heritage Park.  The Currituck Beach Lighthouse is a prominent feature of this site, characterized by its unpainted red brick tower.  Heading towards the center of the park, you will find the Whalehead Club, which is bordered by ponds and canals.  The Whalehead Club, a grand house easily recognized by its yellow facade, was originally the residence of a wealthy industrialist named Edward Collings Knight, Jr.

The Whalehead Club

The Whalehead Club

Take your time strolling along the trails at the park, and at the end of the day watch the sun set over the tranquil Currituck Sound.

A footbridge over a canal

A footbridge over a canal at Currituck Heritage Park

Currituck Sound

Currituck Sound

Where to Eat

The Outer Banks is a fun place to try out various locally owned dining establishments.

For gorgeous views of Roanoke Sound, choose outdoor seating on Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant‘s patio.  If you love lobster, order their generously portioned Traditional Maine Lobster Roll.

Miller's Waterfront Restaurant

Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant

Have a craving for fish tacos?  Mama Kwan’s Tiki Bar & Grill serves up The World Famous Fish Tacos, (get the fish blackened if you want that extra oomph).  Other dishes worth trying include the appetizer Thai Money Bags and their Garbage Plate.  Sounds interesting?

Mama Kwan's

Mama Kwan’s Tiki Bar & Grill

Food Dudes Kitchen is located in a strip mall in Kill Devil Hills.  It is a small restaurant, but the food is definitely addicting.  I came for their blackened salmon wrap twice during my stay on the Outer Banks.

Looking for somewhere to kick back and enjoy a relaxed, Caribbean atmosphere?  Look no further than Goombays Grill & Raw Bar, where I had the unforgettable Jalapeno Crab Balls (described on their menu as “the hottest balls on the beach”).

Goombays

Goombays Grill & Raw Bar

Johnny and I had a lovely anniversary getaway surrounded by the natural beauty of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.  Indeed, we plan on taking our families along on a future trip to explore more of these barrier islands.

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “An Anniversary Getaway on North Carolina’s Outer Banks

  1. Did not know this was the area where the Wright brothers did their first flight. Hope to visit the area one day.

    Posted by John | August 5, 2015, 1:08 pm
  2. I enjoyed checking out your blog. The pictures are beautiful! I found it from your interview on MMS.

    Posted by MilesMethods | August 21, 2015, 6:19 pm
  3. Thank you for the wonderful post about Island Farm. Glad you both enjoyed the farm. I just shared this on Island Farm’s Facebook page. You hit some great places to visit and eat!

    Posted by Melody | May 5, 2016, 1:51 am

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