OBX: a recap

29 Jun

So as made evident in my last post, vacation is officially over. It was our first real “vacation” in about 2 years (I know, I know… terrible!). We rented a house in Southern Shores area in Outer Banks, NC. What an amazing place! Here’s my recap of favorite spots and not-to-miss activities if you’re planning a trip there any time soon:

Southern ShoresThis is a residential-only area of the Outer Banks, and it’s where we stayed in a souped up house with every amenity know to man. The major advantages are, it’s the first area you drive through when you cross the bridge onto OBX. Since all the vacation homes here have Saturday or Sunday check-ins/check-outs, traffic is pandemonium on the weekends in BOTH directions, on the one-lane-only road that gets you anywhere. Being in Southern Shores totally rocked from that perspective, because it took us 5 minutes to get to our house on Sunday check-in day as opposed to 1-2 hours more hours of driving to get a few miles up the road to Duck or Corolla. Another plus is, since it’s mainly residential, the beaches are much more mellow and private — because there’s no parking unless you live there. Which was really nice! The minus is, it’s pretty much just residential. You have to get in your car to go get ice cream (our house was close enough to actually bike to an ice cream shop, but most of Southern Shores isn’t). Also, just this year, the Southern Shores Civic Association finally amended the rule to allow dogs on the beach during the summer before 9am and after 6pm. Previously it was one of the only beaches on OBX that wasn’t dog friendly during the summertime, so this was a really great change for us, since we had our black lab with us and she LOVES swimming in the ocean!

The Blue Point Bar and Grill (Duck): I’m a total foodie. And I certainly didn’t come to the Outer Banks expecting to have mind-blowing cuisine. I came thinking I’d be BBQing it up every night in the backyard. But Blue Point, oh, how you wooed me. With an interior reminiscent of an old Howard Johnson’s that had been whipped into chic, “Mad Men” shape, it was truly love at first sight. The views were breathtaking (ask for a window table) and the cocktails were perfection. I had a couple of Pimm’s Cups that truly tasted like summer on ice. Speaking of summer, we tried a special app which was described to us as “Summertime on a Plate.” It consisted of thinly sliced green tomatoes, beneath thinly sliced red tomatoes, and then dressed with the freshest lump crab meat, mashed avocado and garnished with cilantro, lemon juice, and freshly baked tortilla strips. Seriously?? Die. Oh, and we also ate the best crab cakes we’d ever had. I mean… Blue Point – I can’t stop thinking about our time together.

“Summertime on a Plate.” They ain’t kidding.

Awful Arthurs (Kill Devil Hills): So when a place specializes in oysters, yet calls themselves Awful, you can only assume they’re anything but. You’d have to be a total moron to be selling truly terrible bivalves and calling straight attention to it. SO. I was totally intrigued. This place did not disappoint. I’m talking a half peck of oysters for $19.99. Never would I be okay with eating 2 dozen oysters for under $20. I mean, really — raw seafood is not really an area you want to scrimp. But man, these oysters were kind of insane. So please, do yourself a favor and hit up Awful Arthurs. Coastal Living magazine named them one of the top 10 oyster bars in the country, for crying out loud!

Oh, it’s ON.

Jockey’s Ridge State Park (Nags Head): Pre-OBX, everybody I know who had been here to vacation told us we had to visit Jockey’s Ridge. And now I know why. They’re the tallest natural sand dunes in the Eastern US. And they’re insane. I felt like I was in the opening scene of Despicable Me — you know, when the tour bus crests the dune to the pyramids and knocks out the Arab guy with all the camels? Yeah. Except I was in North Carolina. Not Egypt. We  made the mistake of trekking from the parking lot to the trail and onto the dunes shlepping like 6 beach bags full of towels and crap we didn’t need. Because for some reason, we assumed that because there was sand, there would be a beach. There’s no beach. But the one thing we didn’t bring? Water. So now here we are, with my in-laws, my brother, and my 22 month old, and it’s like 106 degrees and the sand is like 160 degrees and we’ve been hiking like lunatics for 45 minutes and we’re gasping for air and shvitzing like pigs. Not smart. So go to Jockey’s Ridge. And leave everything at home, except for shoes (hot sand!) and water.

Surfing and parasailing down the sand dunes. You know, just a normal day.

Wild Horse Beach (Corolla): Have you ever driven your car on the beach? So, so cool. Like, it made me feel like I was in that scene in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang where the car is on the beach and then they just drive into the water and the car floats? Yeah, so… Acuras don’t float. But it was fun to splash that baby in the waves. It’s just a totally different vibe in this neck of OBX too. There are house rentals that can only be accessed by 4WD vehicles, which makes it feel totally secluded. I don’t know if it’s my kind of party in terms of vacation rentals. I like being able to nip out to the store and pick up wine when we run low, and this is a bittt more of an ordeal. But it’s fun to check it out, nonetheless.

“Near, far, in our motorcar oh what a happy time we’ll spend…”

Other notables:

The Shack Coffee Shop & Beer Garden (Corolla): really cute uber laid back barista owner chicks. Superb coffee. Ahhhmazing muffins.

Outer Banks Yoga & Pilates (Kitty Hawk): my class included a 10 minute shavasana. Enough said.

There’s my roundup! Have you been to the Outer Banks? Do you have any recommendations to add? Please share!

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2 Responses to “OBX: a recap”

  1. Seaside Vacations July 5, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    Awesome post. Thanks for sharing.

    Great OBX recap. Love the pics and the stories. Y’all did it right…great food, Jockey’s Ridge, wild horses, and the beach! Nice work making the most of your vaca. 🙂

    We’re so glad you chose the Outer Banks for your vacation.

    We’d love to help you plan your next OBX trip. Please let us know if we can help.

    Have fun!

    Seaside Vacations
    OuterBanksVacations.com

    4820 N. Croatan Hwy
    Kitty Hawk, NC 27949
    (866) 884-0267
    Blog.OuterBanksVacations.com

  2. Sarah September 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    Hi,
    My name is Sarah and I’m with Dwellable. I was looking for blog posts about the Outer Banks to share on our site and I came across your post…If you’re open to it, drop me a line at Sarah(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you 🙂
    Sarah

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