Monday, July 13, 2009

to do: nags head

much like most of the dc metro area, i'm a sucker for the outer banks. while it's not wild and crazy like dewey beach, the OBX have its own perks of relaxation.

this post is going to be fairly long. i know some of you just look at pictures *ahem* but, forgive me, i'm a little biased. my family used to own a house down there so my childhood memories are punctuated with spending my spring breaks and at least one week in the summer at the beach. it's one of my favorite places to go, if for nothing else but nostalgia.

my cousins have started to continue the tradition and we try to go every couple of years. this year was no exception and i enjoyed getting out a bit to go fishing, spend some time on the beach, climb some dunes and just chillin in "our" beach house.

here are my suggestions for a a good time in the outer banks --

  • buy local. the ride is pretty slow through currituck county going 50mph (or 25mph less, depending on traffic - ugh) on a two lane road on the way to the bridge to the islands. take a stop at one of the many farmers markets the dot the side of the road near grandy (you can't miss them, really - sorry, they dont have web sites). i chose to stop at powells -- i couldn't resist their cute signs. stop for organic peaches, boiled peanuts (yum!) and homemade jams among other things. the produce is top notch and definitely cheaper than going to the overpriced and often picked over big brand grocery stores (only a handful on the banks).
  • get a house near the beach. with 10 kids under the age of twelve with us, it was imperative we got a location within walking distance of the beach. we had a house across from a main entrance of the beach, not a two minute walk. we usually go for village realty as they are more economical and have a good inventory of bigger houses. if you're into luxury, check out carolina designs, their houses are super comfy and have movie rooms.
  • relax and drive through. the obx is the epitome of relax... AKA lazy. go with it. the outerbanks is known for its brew-thrus. drive through for beer, snacks and other kitchy souvenirs. down south, there is also sonic (strawberry limeade is perfect for a hot, summer day!). and in kill devil, they have a drive thru dairy queen. um, and yes, i went through all of these in my car.
  • go for independence day. we were able to book at house for the 4th and our house was in the middle of 4 fireworks displays in all directions. one of them was the main nags head show, which was front and center of our house just a few hundred yards away. sitting on our deck without getting smushed on the mall and having to cram into a metro car post-fireworks was a big plus. even better? sitting in the hot tub on our deck with beer and watching fireworks. so nice.
  • eat seafood. i didn't get to go to all of these, but between my 23 cousins, i think we got them covered. captain georges seafood house (dungenous crab, yum), mako mikes (they have shark tanks inside), awful arthurs (known for oysters), and austin sea food house (you can pick up bushels of crabs here).
  • pig out. nc is known for barbeque. i didn't have time to stop for bbq on this trip but i was encouraged to go next time around. my cousins and friends raved about pigmans bbq and sooeys.
  • go fishing. you can go fishing on the nags head pier for about $10 a day with a permit (no license necessary). if you want to go beach fishing, you will have to go get a state license. on the pier, you can catch spanish mackerel, bluefish, spot, shark (you have to throw them back), flounder, and of course, crabs. don't forget to check out the fish size regulations to make sure you're not fishing illegally! there are such things are fish police (game wardens). check out our catch here.
  • start a fire. nags head actually allows bon fires on the beach. don't forget to get a permit (from the cute fireman near mile post 12.5) , pay your ten bucks, and smores it is!
  • enjoy the water sports. we were able to spent some time getting out for some adventure. a few of us went parasailing (the best part is getting dunked). and after i left back for dc, a group went kite surfing and jetskiing (hmpf! i wish i could have stayed longer to get in on some of that action). for parasailing, we went with kitty hawk sports but there is also grogs watersports.
  • climb mountains. of sand, that is. nags head as a few sand dunes part of jockey's ridge state park. this is probably one of my favorite things to do in nags head. the views are amazing and while it's not a real desert, it's a good work out climbing up sand. i went here for a quiet morning sans kids and took some photos before the tourists showed up. it was really serene. pics to come!
have i convinced you to go yet?

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