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.


04/13/15

Have we Solved the Mystery of the Lost Colony?

Artifacts from the Lost Colony
What has been called, “one of America’s most intriguing unsolved mysteries” is one step closer to being solved.

Many are familiar with the story of the Lost Colony, brought to life in an outdoor drama on Roanoke Island each year. A group of men, women and children came to Roanoke Island in 1587to establish the first English settlement in the New World. They found life to be difficult and sent their Governor back to England for supplies. Held up overseas by the impending war from Spain and did not return until three years later. The colony had vanished. There were no typical signs of distress and the only clue that seemed to be left was the word “Croatoan” carved into a post.

According to an article just released on the Outer Banks Voice, two “star finds” were made in the past week on Hatteras Island. These, along with many years of supporting artifacts, led chief archaeologist for the Croatoan Archeological Society to announce that “Overwhelming circumstantial evidence” shows that some of the 1587 colonists, proclaimed so many years as lost, lived for generations on Hatteras Island and assimilated among the Croatoan Tribe of the Native-American Manteo. He went on to describe a wonderful brotherhood that existed among the Croatoan Natives and colonists and describes Hatteras Island as a wonderful place, even hundreds of years ago.

There you have it, Hatteras Island has been a favorite for vacationers for over 400 years.

Read the entire article here.


04/10/15

Get Your Vacation Started Even Sooner with Early Check-In

Count Down to Island Time

Jump Start Your Vacation

As you’re counting down the moments until your feet hit the sand, consider this – upgrading your reservation with the Early Check-In option guarantees your family access to a minimum of the lowest living area of your vacation home by 1:00 on your check-in day. You can unload your groceries, unpack the car, change into your swimsuits and hit the beach – or, if your house has a private pool you’ll have access to the pool area as well.

Don’t wait! Now is the time to add this feature to your trip, availability is limited and weeks have already started to sell out. Call our office 1-800-237-1138 or click to chat on our website and reserve your early check-in today!

Keyless Entry

Another exciting program we are offering this year is Keyless Entry Check-In. Over half of our homes are equipped with high-tech electronic keyless door locks, allowing you the option to bypass office check-in and check-out altogether. If your home offers this feature, you’ll be given your unique code 14 days prior to arrival. When your house is ready you’ll be sent a notification via email or through our mobile app letting you know!


04/9/15

Spice up your Vacation Experience with a Personal Chef

PersonalChef

Hatteras Island vacationers can take their culinary experience to the next level by hiring a personal chef to prepare dinner in their vacation home! With meals ranging from indulgent 5-course feasts to themed Polynesian Luaus – the Hatteras Island personal chef experience allows guests to take a night off from cooking and take home new memories and a few new culinary skills.

Culinary Culture
Home to seven charming villages dotted along the pristine Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Hatteras Island sits 30 miles off the North Carolina coast, providing some of the best fishing in the East. Local restaurants serve everything from North Carolina Barbecue to freshly caught, straight from the docks seafood. It’s easy to see why culinary experts enjoy working on Hatteras Island.

Mouth-watering Traditions
One of the first personal chefs in the area, Outer Banks Personal Chef Lynn Flowers explains, “When I arrive at my client’s vacation house, it’s wonderful to be greeted with such enthusiasm. Everyone is SO excited to see me. I have clients for whom I have been cooking for 15 years. They treat me like family. They keep coming back to the Outer Banks for our gorgeous beaches and they hire me to cook and serve them up a most memorable meal. I have seen their kids grow up and new babies be born.”

Busy work and home lives have guests looking for relaxing, enriching activities to add to their family vacation schedules. Some chef services even include cooking lessons, and if they don’t: “I really don’t do “cooking lessons” but when I am hosting personal chef events that’s exactly what it turns into! Everyone gathers around the bar while I cook and has a glass of wine. It becomes dinner and a show,” Gwen Hart of Enchanted Cuisine exclaims.

Book Early
It’s a trend that’s catching on. Many chefs who started booking summer dates in January are completely booked for some summer weeks by March. Jamie Pauls, owner of Café 111 explained “I still get people who have just found out about Café 111 and are excited to hire us.” – he does his best to work them in but many of his prime summer weeks are already booked by the end of Spring.

Prime Location
Vacationers love the personal chef experience. The quality of the meal is equivalent to what you’d find in the finest regional restaurants and they have the opportunity to get to know and learn from some incredible local chefs. The open layouts and gourmet kitchens in many of Surf or Sound Realty’s vacation homes provide the ultimate setting. Plus, most restaurants can’t top the views from our oceanfront homes.


03/19/15

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Opens for Climbing April 17

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Opens for Climbing April 17

The National Park Service has announced that the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Bodie Island Lighthouse will be open for climbing in 2015 from Friday, April 17 through Monday, October 14.

Climbing hours for the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse will be 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily in the Spring and Fall, and 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., May 22 through Labor Day, Monday, September 7. Ticket sales for the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse begin at 8:15 a.m. daily and close at 4:30 p.m. in the spring and fall, and at 5:30 p.m. May 22 through Labor Day.

Tickets to climb are $8 for adults and $4 for senior citizens (62 or older), children 11 years of age and under, and those holding a National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Access Pass. 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.

Before you go, understand that climbing the lighthouse can be strenuous. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse climb is equivalent to climbing a 12-story building- and the view is spectacular. Children must be at least 42″ tall to climb and children under twelve must be escorted by a person who is at least 16 years old.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse, also part of the National Park and a great stop on the way to or from Hatteras Island, will be open as a self-guided experience this year to cut down on wait times that were often experienced for the 45 minute guided tours offered in years past. This change should allow more visitors to have an opportunity climb the lighthouse each day.

Opening day climbs will be FREE! Residents and visitors are welcomed to tour and climb the lighthouses at no charge on, Friday April 17. Free tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and can only be obtained in-person, that day, on-site.


03/5/15

The Joys of a Spring Getaway to Hatteras Island

Spring Getaways on Hatteras Island

You’ve been enduring a cold winter and you have survived more snow days than you care to count. Celebrate with a Spring Getaway to Hatteras Island!

Book your Dream House

With rates as much as 70% less than you’d pay in the summer, a Spring getaway is the perfect excuse to indulge and spend a week in your dream home. What’s more – many of our popular homes that are booked every week in the summer are available for Spring getaways! The views are stunning, and when a sunny Spring day comes to an end you can enjoy a soak in the bubbly hot tub, cook meals together in your gourmet kitchen, gather in the great room around the fireplace and have movie night in your own private theater room.

The Island is Open for Business

Fresh seafood, fruity drinks, whatever it is you love about Hatteras Island cuisine, you’ll probably be able to find it in the Spring. While some businesses close over the winter, by the time Easter comes around each year many Island restaurants are back in the swing of things and serving up your favorite food without the crowds that the summertime can sometimes bring. Do you have a family favorite you’re hoping to visit? many restaurants have Facebook pages where they will announce their hours or opening plans.

It’s Still Slow Season

Don’t care for traffic and crowds? Of course not, that’s what draws you to Hatteras Island in the first place. The uncrowded beaches are even more pristine in the slow-season giving you plenty of space for relaxing, collecting shells, or playing in the National Seashore’s giant sandbox.

Pleasant Temperatures

Daytime high temperatures are often in the 60s and it can cool off into the 40s at night. Dress in layers and enjoy wave-watching by day and star-gazing from the bubbly hot tub or gathering around your great room fireplace by night.