07/31/15

Tips on Creating the Best Outer Banks Beach House Meals

Surf or Sound Beach House Dinner

The afternoon sun begins to lower in the sky, the kids start to wander in from the beach, and the family shoppers have just returned from the market with pounds of fresh local produce and seafood. It’s time to begin the annual ritual of cooking a bountiful vacation meal.

Whether you have a family full of chefs or you prefer to keep things as simple and lazy as possible, vacation meals create rich, fond memories, that can be summoned up on even the coldest Midwest winters day. We’ve gathered our favorite advice from experienced guests and chefs to help you plan the best culinary experience for your family.

Preparation

While you don’t have to have every detail of your menu planned out, it does help to prepare a bit ahead of time.

Start a Pinterest board with your favorite recipes and meal ideas and invite family members to contribute. Check out our Delicious Beach Eats and Great Beach Drinks boards on Pinterest for inspiration.

Bring your recipes with you. Don’t worry if you can’t find what you want to cook online. Take a photo of your grandma’s best seafood recipe card or your favorite magazine clippings with your phone so you can access them away from home without the risk of losing family heirlooms. You can even upload the image to pinterest.

Assign meal nights ahead of time. Make a list of everything you’ll need and ask family members to sign up to bring items like spices, cooking oils and special sauces so you want have to buy everything once you get to the house. Some families like to assign nights ahead of time so that each group has a specific meal to prepare for. Even kids can get involved, helping to prepare ingredients, set the table, and decorating.

Breakfast

Fresh brewed coffee, bacon, eggs, sausage and pancakes? There’s nothing better than coming home from a long sunrise stroll on the beach to the smells of breakfast cooking. Some families have traditions where the first to rise in the morning gets breakfast started for the group. Others keep it casual with everyone preparing their own breakfast as they get up. However you like to do it, vacation is a good time to try new things and treat yourself. Try this recipe for Everyday Granola from Epicurius, it can be made ahead of time and makes a great addition to yogurt.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut*
  • 3 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup assorted dried fruit

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Mix first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Stir honey and oil in saucepan over medium-low heat until smooth. Pour honey mixture over oat mixture; toss. Spread on prepared sheet. Bake until golden, stirring every 10 minutes, about 40 minutes. Stir granola and cool. Mix in fruit.  Can be made 1 week ahead. Store airtight.

Lunch

Mid-day is the perfect time to try one of Hatteras Island’s local restaurants or sandwich shops or picnic at the beach. If you had an early start it might also be a great excuse to take a break from the beach to make a sandwich and a cool drink. Try this recipe for Best Gazpacho from the New York Times. You can make a large batch ahead of time so that when lunch time hits, you have something that will cool you down, quench your thirst, and satisfy your hunger all at once.

Ingredients

  • About 2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, cored and roughly cut into chunks
  • 1 Italian frying (cubanelle) pepper or another long, light green pepper, such as Anaheim, cored, seeded and roughly cut into chunks
  • 1 cucumber, about 8 inches long, peeled and roughly cut into chunks
  • 1 small mild onion (white or red), peeled and roughly cut into chunks
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, more to taste
  • Salt
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste, plus more for drizzling

Combine tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic in a blender (If necessary, work in batches.) Blend at high speed until very smooth, at least 2 minutes, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides. Add the vinegar and 2 teaspoons salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. The mixture will turn bright orange or dark pink and become smooth and emulsified, like a salad dressing. If it still seems watery, drizzle in more olive oil until texture is creamy.

Strain the mixture and discard the solids. Transfer to a large pitcher or bowl and chill until very cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.

Before serving, adjust the seasonings with salt and vinegar. If soup is very thick, stir in a few tablespoons ice water. Serve in bowls or glasses, over ice. A few drops of olive oil on top are a nice touch.

Dinner

Laughing with family you see just a few times a year over a glass of wine while you prepare the evening meal is an experience unto itself.  Dinner in a Hatteras Island vacation rental home has so many options. Many guests choose to divide cooking duties among the larger group with each person or small family in charge of a different week night. Some families have theme nights, a Polynesian Luau by the pool or a Mediterranean tapas night. Some folks even bring a folding table and a grill down to the beach and dine oceanside. It’s hard to beat the sound of the crashing waves as a dinner soundtrack and younger kids can continue to expend energy running on the beach.

Tapas Night

Tami Vogel is lucky to have chefs in the family – Pictured is their version of tapas night.

Try this lowcountry boil for a fun, no-fuss meal that will have everyone satisfied.

Here are even more top tips from our experienced guests!

The first day we make a shopping list and go get groceries for the week. – Brittany M.

Anytime someone goes to the store we always ask if we need anything and they pick it up. We used to keep track of what we would buy and divide the expenses at the end of vacation…but it’s so much nicer to just pick up whatever is needed and don’t worry about it. We are all family. – Carlene O.

The ladies in our family get together several months before vacation and plan the menu for the week. Then, each family chooses a night to cook. We also divide up set-up and clean-up. If you cook, you don’t do clean-up or set-up. We put money in a “grocery pot” for the week, and take money out of it to purchase groceries. It works well for us. – Sharon W.

Each family signs up for a dinner (we’re parents plus three married children with their own kids for 4 dinners). Then we have an eat-out night, an “everyone pitches in” night, plus a left-over night on the last night. The first night is often brought from home–lasagna (frozen homemade) or tacos or something with little prep time needed. Probably our favorite beach (dinner) meal is a mixed seafood dish in seafood stock (often clams, crab legs and crabmeat, fish, shrimp and mussels) with linguini or fettucini. Everyone brings items to share for lunches, breakfasts, snacks and desserts. If a family wants to do a big breakfast like sausage gravy and biscuits, they usually do it for everyone. And of course there has to be an “Apple Ugly” morning! And in our family it is ‘traditional’ that we finish the ice cream on the last morning. As to chores, those not cooking usually clean the kitchen after a meal (voluntary basis) – Carol M.

Thanksgiving turkey dinner! The family is scattered now, so we take advantage of the ones we get to see for vacation. Plus the frozen turkey works as a great ice pack on the trip down!! – Sherri M.

One year I did a surprise Hawaiian Luau and brought outfits for everyone, had great food and we even had a scavenger hunt. It was fun! – Carlene O.

(On nights the family isn’t cooking)… we have pizza nite, everyone chips in night, on your own night, usually each family goes out, and then leftover nite or clean the fridge out nite usually the last day – Ranae F.

Fish tacos or take a folding table down on the beach about 4pm, make lots of fun appetizers, dinner for the kiddies and hang out all together until bedtime for kids. The best. – Ellen H.


07/23/15

Hatteras Island’s Other Coast

Soundfront Homes

The waters that surround an island often contribute to its character. It’s the Pamlico Sound, the Atlantic Ocean’s quieter counterpart, that sets the slower pace of life on Hatteras Island with its calm waters, saturated sunsets, endless views, and open starry skies.

A low, sandy barrier island, Hatteras Island sits 30 miles “out to sea” from the mainland of North Carolina. The “sea” between the island and the mainland is actually the Pamlico Sound. Part of a large interconnected network of lagoon estuaries, the sound is part of one of the biggest estuaries in the United States, second only to the Chesapeake Bay. Alive with waterfowl, fish, crabs, shellfish, marsh grasses, seals and turtles, the sound also serves as an important habitat for spawning fish like striped bass, shad and herring. Even larger species like dolphin can occasionally be found spending time there. Fed by inlets from the Atlantic Ocean and freshwater rivers to the west, the sound water is a brackish mix of salt and fresh water and is shallow throughout, with an average depth of 5-6 feet. These shallow depths, paired with the soft sandy floor, make it an attractive place for kids to play and swim and have helped make Hatteras Island a world-class kiteboarding and watersports destination.

SoundSUP

A Soundside Vacation

Vacationer Kathleen Holmes explains why her family chooses to rent a home on the sound: “…not only are the views wide-open and amazing, but our family likes to spend all day on the water, boating, fishing, crabbing, stand up paddleboarding and swimming. Some of us may head to the ocean for a while, but we all come home to enjoy dinner together every night in the glow of the setting sun. Then we soak in the hot tub underneath the millions of stars visible in the unpolluted night sky. It’s truly a giant breath of fresh air coming from New York City.”

Some soundfront vacation homes have their own dock or walkway and a number of neighborhoods on the sound have a community sound access or boat ramp. Surf or Sound Realty manages premier vacation homes, while homes on the sound may be valuably priced there is no shortage of amenities, like elevators, private pools and hot tubs.

Surf or Sound Realty is known for offering some of the Island’s most spectacular oceanfront homes, but the soundfront experience is one that’s equally incredible. No matter where you stay on Hatteras Island the ocean is never far away.

Sound Sunset


06/24/15

4th of July Events on Hatteras Island

Flag Waving on the Beach

A fish fry, a parade, two art shows, fireworks and great live music – it’s 4th of July on Hatteras Island!

If you haven’t booked yet, don’t worry – we still have some beautiful homes available.

Here’s some of what’s going on to celebrate:

Friday, July 3

islandartshow450

Rodanthe

Island Art Show (10am – 5pm)

The Island Art Show is a free indoor/outdoor community event featuring live music from Dragonfly and dozens of incredible local and regional artists and craftsmen. BBQ sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs will be available for purchase. The show takes place at the Rodanthe Waves Salvo Community Center at the end of the tri-village multi-use path.  Ride your bikes, scooters, skateboards, or walk on over. Lots of parking will be available as well. A portion of food sales, artist booth fees & raffle ticket sales will go to Outer Banks SPCA. There’s even a playground area & basketball court on-site for kids.

Saturday, July 4

FireWorks
Avon

4th of July Fireworks at the Avon Pier

Fourth of July Fireworks at the Beach sponsored by the Avon Property Owners Association and funded in part by the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau. The fireworks display will begin around 9 pm from a launch site at the end of the Avon Pier.

Beach Klub 4th of July Bash

Enjoy live music by Raygun Ruby, Firedancing, and watch the Fireworks from the Beach Klub right next to the Avon Pier. Tickets will be $5 at the door. Food and drinks available for purchase.

Hatteras Village

July 4th in the Village Celebration

Noon – 5 pm: Art show, flea market, fun and food in the Village Center

3:30 pm: Golf Cart Parade. Begins at Harbor Seafood and winds through the village. Spectators can park along Highway 12 in the village to watch.

5:00 pm: Hatteras Village Volunteer Fire Department’s weekly summer fish fry at the station

7:00 pm: Street dance with live music by Dragonfly on the Community Center lawn.

 

 

 

 


06/23/15

Cape Hatteras Named #1 Best Beach for 2015 by Business Insider

Number One Beach Business Insider
This year, Business Insider decided to take on the task of ranking the #1 beach in America. They combined some of the most notable beach rankings to develop the ULTIMATE best beach list for 2015. Coming in at #1: Cape Hatteras, of course! With it’s uncrowded shores, warm, tranquil sound waters, lighthouse and charming villages, anyone who has been here will tell you, it is simply the best.

Business Insider compiled rankings from top sites and publications like Dr. Beach, Forbes, Coastal Living and the Travel Channel to come up with their ultimate list. Read the full article or check out the top 13 video.


06/1/15

2015 Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Full Moon Climb Dates Announced!

Photo by Chuck Liddy - News & Observer

Photo by Chuck Liddy – News & Observer

Sign up for a once in a lifetime experience to climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse under a full moon. Hear stories of keepers of old, view the working light close up in the lantern room, and catch the reflection off the Atlantic Ocean of the newly-risen full moon as you stand on the lighthouse balcony.

Tickets for the Full Moon Climbs must be purchased in advance and ticket sales will start the day before the climb and can be purchased at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse ticket desk.  A limited number of tickets sell fast for each tour!  Tickets are $8.00 per adult, and $4.00 for children (11 and under) and seniors (62 and older).

2015 Full Moon Tours will take place on:

  • Tuesday, June 2 at 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 1 at 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
  • Friday, July 31 at 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 29 at 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 27 at 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Children joining the climb must be at least 42-inches tall and must climb the steps on their own.  Also, keep in mind that some youngsters may not enjoy the dimly lit, sometimes claustrophobic environment. Children 11 years of age and younger must be accompanied by an adult (16 or older).

Grab your flashlight and experience the lighthouse at night!


05/22/15

Cape Hatteras Named #5 Beach in America for 2015

Cape Hatteras Number Five in America

Dr. Beach just announced his top 10 beaches in America for 2015 and Cape Hatteras has been awarded a place on Dr. Beach’s Top 10 Beach’s list for the 8th year in a row. Ranked #5 for 2015, Dr. Beach made his choices out of more than 650 public beaches in the country. The Barrier Island of Cape Hatteras was the first National Seashore. It’s villages boast maritime culture and history and it’s waters provide some of the best surfing and fishing along the East Coast. With excellent windsurfing conditions, and unspoiled, uncrowded beaches along with the most famous lighthouse in the United States, Cape Hatteras wins again and again.

In 2014  Cape Hatteras was ranked #6, 2013 – #82012 – #10, 2011 – #5, 2010 – #4, 2009 – #7, and in 2008 – #8. In 2007, Ocracoke Beach (part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore) was ranked #1 excluding it from further consideration to give other great beaches an opportunity to enjoy the spotlight.

Dr. Beach is Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, Professor and Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University. He received his Ph.D. in Environmental (Coastal) Sciences from the University of Virginia, and completed his undergraduate degree in Geosciences at North Carolina State University. He developed 50 criteria to rate beaches in an effort to create the first ever professional beach rating. Beaches are rated on everything from sand softness, turbidity, tidal range, safety, views, vistas and noise.

It won’t come as a surprise to any fan of Hatteras Island that our gorgeous uncrowded natural beaches continue to receive recognition and a scientific and professional stamp of approval. We know it’s one of the most magical places on earth!


05/13/15

Pea Island Art Gallery – A Hidden Treasure in Salvo

Take a stroll along the new pedestrian path that winds through the tri-villages of Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo, and you’ll likely happen upon the Pea Island Art Gallery. The building, at the southern end of Salvo, is a beautiful wooden replica of the Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station. Colorful flowers and native plants run wild out front. Make your way to the front doors to the sound of  bell sculptures moving in the breeze.

Over 100 local and regional artists are represented within the walls of the gallery, but make no mistake about it, the bar for quality is high and the pieces are carefully curated. From beautifully framed classically painted original oils to hand crafted jewelry – so many styles are represented and equally as many price ranges. Whether you’re looking for a gift to take home to your house-sitter, or the focal piece for your living room – you can find it at the Pea Island Art Gallery.

27766 Highway 12
Salvo, NC 27959

peaislandartgallery.com


05/6/15

British War Graves Ceremonies Honor Foreign Sailors

Ocracoke Ceremony - Image Courtesy Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

Ocracoke Ceremony – Image Courtesy Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

On May 7, at 11 a.m. the British War Graves ceremony will take place at the British Cemetery in Buxton. A ceremony at the British Cemetery in Ocracoke will be held on May 8 at 11 a.m.

For 73 years, near the anniversary of the Bedfordshire’s sinking, members of the National Park Service, U.S. Coast Guard, and British Royal Navy join visitors and local citizens to honor the service of the men buried in the cemeteries. The two ceremonies honor the 65 foreign sailors who lost their lives just off the coast of the Outer Banks. Free and open to the public, the ceremonies are organized by the Friends of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, the Ocracoke community, the U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary 16-04, the National Park Service and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

For more information, call the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum at (252) 986-2995 or visit www.ncmaritimemuseums.com.


04/20/15

Welcome to the Village of Waves

Located about 30 minutes south of Nags Head and other central Outer Banks attractions, the slower pace of Waves provides a great place for water and nature lovers who enjoy a little peace and quiet. This area has become renowned for water sports enthusiasts, such as kiteboarders, paddleboarders and windsurfers, who enjoy the slick, shallow waters of the Pamlico Sound. Surfers and ocean lovers can also enjoy some of the best WAVES on the East Coast. A paved multi-use path runs the length of the village for cyclists, joggers and strollers. Tucked behind windswept Live Oaks and Loblolly Pines, you’ll find neighborhood entrances, restaurants, galleries and shops – just off the beaten path.

Here are a few of the great places you’ll find in Waves:
Find their locations by choosing points of interest on the interactive map on our website

Ocean Gourmet and Gifts – Homemade fudge, Hand-dipped ice cream, and fresh-baked cinnamon rolls in the morning

Dairy Queen – Soft-serve ice cream, blizzards and classic burgers and fries from the take out window.

Hatteras Island Sail Shop – Since the 1980s, one of the best launches on Hatteras, with a hard sandy bottom and great exposure to the southwest winds. Shop offers lessons and rentals and a wide range of kiteboarding, windsurfing, paddleboarding, and kayak gear.

Atlantic Coast Cafe – Laid-back cafe serving breakfast and a casual lunch and dinner menu with a seafood flair. Enjoy your meal inside or outside on the deck where pets are welcome.

Hatteras Island Surf Shop – Established in 1971, the surf shop has every thing for your surfing, skim boarding, and body boarding needs and offers lessons and rentals.

Michael Halminski Gallery – A resident of Hatteras Island for over 40 years, Michael Halminski sells fine art prints and note cards of his iconic photography.

Charlies Boat Rentals – Rent Pontoon Boats, Motor Boats and Waverunners by the hour or the day.

Top Dog Cafe – Laid-back, Florida Keys-style restaurant for wraps, burgers, surf n turf and fish tacos.

REAL Watersports – Internationally recognized kiteboarding and surfing shop, and lesson center. Four acres of the latest and greatest gear, rentals and lessons.

Watermen’s Bar and Grille – Excellent food, drinks and coffee overlooking the sound with family-friendly with picnic tables on the deck and indoor/outdoor eating options.

Leonardos Pizza – Simply great pizza and subs.

Waves Market and Deli – Boars Head meats and cheeses, specialty beers and wine, groceries and quirky sandwiches, wraps and fries that have developed a cult following.

St. Waves Seafood and Steaks – Fresh seafood and hand-cut steaks, take home steamer buckets and fresh homemade desserts (try the key lime pie!)

 

 

 

 


04/15/15

Plan Your Visit to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

With the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse opening for climbing in just a couple of days, we wanted to share a quick guide to help you plan your visit to this beautiful historic structure.

More than Just a Lighthouse

While the structure itself, the tallest in the country with it’s stunning Fresnel lens, is an engineering marvel – there are plenty of other sites and activities surrounding it to make the trip even more worthwhile. The park is open year-round.

Keepers of the Light Amphitheater

The lighthouse was moved to it’s current location in 1999 to escape erosion. The foundation stones, inscribed with the names of the 83 lighthouse keepers, remained at the original site. When shifting sands continued to cover them these past few years, the Park Service agreed to begin carefully moving them to the new site where they now form the Keepers of the Light Amphitheater.

Visitors Center & Keepers’ Quarters Museum

A Hatteras Island Visitor Center on-site offers orientation information a bookstore. Just beyond the visitor center is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse ticket booth. You’ll also find an off-road vehicle permit office, a pavilion for ranger programs, and restroom facilities. Ranger programs are scheduled during spring, summer, and autumn months.

The lighthouse is surrounded by a wide lawn divided by a brick pathway leading to the “Double Keepers’ Quarters”.  The Keepers’ Quarters houses the Museum of the Sea, a two-floor museum with exhibits on Outer Banks history and natural history and a small audiovisual room where you can watch video presentations (available on request).

Hit the Sand

The beach lies just beyond a stand of maritime forest, and is easily accessible from a separate parking lot. In summer months the beach is lifeguarded and is a favorite spot for families, surfers and fishing enthusiasts.

Hiking and Lunch

The Buxton Woods trail loop begins at a site just down the road from the lighthouse and is a great hike for naturalists of all skill levels. A relatively level path goes through a diverse maritime forest ecosystem, home to many different species of plants and birds. You’ll traverse some of the highest points on Hatteras Island!

The start and end of the Buxton Woods trail loop is at the Buxton Woods Picnic Area where you’ll find a number of tables where you can enjoy lunch in the shade of the maritime forest. Or pack up some Apple Uglies from the nearby Orange Blossom Cafe and Bakery to enjoy outdoors and fuel a morning hike!

Hours and Admission:

Address: 46368 Old Lighthouse Rd, Buxton, NC 27920
Hours: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm (Memorial Day – Labor Day) 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (year-round)
Open for Climbing: (3rd Friday in April – Columbus Day)
Climbing tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for senior citizens (62 or older), children (11 and under, and at least 42″ tall), and the disabled. Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis and can only be purchased in-person at the site the day of the climb. There are no advance ticket sales for regular climbs.

Tickets:

Ticket sales begin at 8:15 am and climbs begin at 9 am, running every 10 minutes with a limit of 30 visitors per climb. Ticket sales close at 4:30 pm in the spring and fall, and 5:30 pm the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Ticket holders should arrive at the base of the lighthouse five minutes prior to their ticketed climb time.