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.


04/9/15

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.


03/5/15

The Joys of a Spring Getaway to Hatteras Island

Spring Getaways on Hatteras Island

The weather is getting warmer and you’ve been dreaming of the beach, it’s time for 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 70s and it can cool off into the 50s 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.

 


02/19/15

Cape Hatteras Named Travel Channel’s #5 Sand and Surf Hotspot

Sand and Surf Hot Spots

With miles of uncrowded beaches and unrivaled kiteboarding conditions, it’s no surprise that Cape Hatteras was named #5 on the Travel Channel’s countdown of the Top 101 Sand and Surf Hot Spots in the world. The unique shape of the island means there’s almost always a hot spot for watersports – a place where the conditions are just right for surfing, kiteboarding, sailing, boogie boarding or just flying a kite.

The unique geography of the Outer Banks is what drew the Wright Brothers here over 100 years ago to test the flying machines that would become the first airplanes. It’s also what brings kiteboarders from all over the world to Hatteras Island to experience the thrill of riding the wind. With soft sandy beach breaks and miles of coastline the island is known as the best place on the East Coast to learn to surf. Another reason Hatteras Island is a must visit vacation destination.

Each hour-long Travel Channel episode features 20 Hotspots. Travel fans have been eagerly awaiting the top 20- catch it tonight at 5:00 Eastern Time on the Travel Channel or check out the Hatteras Island clip here:

The Travel Channel Video

 


02/11/15

Exciting new ways to search for your vacation home

The process of finding the perfect Outer Banks vacation home has naturally evolved over the years. Instead of just bookmarking pages in a catalog, now you can walk through the house with an interactive floor plan, compare your favorite homes side-by side, and invite family members all over the country to leave comments and vote on their favorite houses while saving all of the information in your online account.

When redesigning the Surf or Sound website we thought long and hard about the best ways to help people discover the perfect vacation home for their family. We wanted to go beyond the typical web search and make finding a vacation home both exciting and intuitive. We had custom features built, like the ability to view the homes in your search result in a gallery-like grid or on a map with optional aerial overlay to get the best idea of the home’s exact location, interactive maps that let you find things to do and places to eat near homes you’re thinking of renting and a total cost calculator that lets you determine the total cost of your reservation and see the price per person or per bedroom with just one click!

Check out this video that takes you through the different ways of finding your home on our website:

 


08/13/14

Behind the Scenes: Capturing a day on Hatteras Island

Photographer Ryan Moser Captures the Hatteras Island Sunrise

Photographer Ryan Moser Captures the Hatteras Island Sunrise

When given the opportunity to fill two beautiful full-color pages of Outer Banks This Week’s summer magazine – we knew right away what to do – feature our charming island to give people a glimpse into a day in the life of a Hatteras Island vacation.

But how could we possibly show the depth of character of the island and include all that there is to do on a vacation here in just a day? All we could do was try – and so we ventured out one beautiful June morning to do our best to capture one real life Hatteras Island vacation day from dawn until dusk. Click here to take a look at the magazine spread! (page 12-13)

If you’ve been here, you might guess that we came back with more footage than we could ever fit in the space – and we barely scratched the surface as far as all you can do here!

Hatteras Island’s villages are full of real people and authentic places each with a unique and incredible story. Talk with someone long enough you’ll find that each story gives way to a dozen more. That’s the beauty of it – you can come down every year for 50 years and discover something new each time.

Take a look at some of the images we couldn’t fit between the pages, below:

Miles of pristine seashore make the perfect place for a morning stroll.

Miles of pristine seashore make the perfect place for a morning stroll.

You can always find a steady stream of locals and visitors walking, biking or driving to the Orange Blossom for coffee and breakfast every morning in Buxton.

You’ll always find a steady stream of locals and visitors walking, biking or driving to the Orange Blossom for coffee and breakfast every morning in Buxton.

Even a deer made an appearance on the new paved pathway along the road.

This deer made an appearance on the new 4 mile pedestrian pathway in Avon.

A must-stop on any visit, Buxton Books was featured in this same issue.

A must-stop on any visit, Buxton Books was featured in this same issue.

Ray from Michigan was enjoying the morning watching the waves while he fished.

Ray from Michigan was enjoying the morning watching the waves while he fished.

Hatteras Island has some of the very best surf on the East Coast.

Hatteras Island has some of the very best surf on the East Coast.

Some of our beaches are even accessible with a 4wd vehicle!

With a beach driving permit from the Park Service, you can discover your own “secret spot”

Our photographer wasn't afraid to get wet to get the right shot!

Our photographer wasn’t afraid to get wet to capture the action.

Splash! Ellisa from Koru Village leads the group Stand Up Paddleboarding.

Splash! Ellisa from Koru Village makes Stand up Paddleboarding fun.

Stopped for an incredible lunch at the new Pangea Tavern in Avon.

We stopped into the new Pangea Tavern in Avon for an incredible lunch.

We caught Beth watering the flowers on the gracious front porch of Kinnakeet Clayworks in Avon.

Then caught Beth watering the flowers on the gracious front porch of Kinnakeet Clay Works in Avon.

The Avon Pier - fishing fun for the whole family.

The Avon Pier – a great place to fish or just sight see.

Sandcastles and Snacks - highlights for the little ones.

Sandcastles and snacks – this family loves both at the beach.

No visit is complete without a trip to "America's Lighthouse"

No visit is complete without a trip to “America’s Lighthouse”

We are grateful the Zeman family welcomed us in to their beach house to capture their vacation.

The Zeman family welcomed us in to their beach house to share their evening.

No matter that he is from Colorado, Drew quickly became a crab cracking expert!

No matter that he is from Colorado, Drew quickly became a crab cracking expert!

Abby was a little skeptical of all the seafood but she thought the hushpuppies and corn were great!

Abby was a little skeptical of all the seafood but she thought the hushpuppies and corn were just right.

Just a little after dinner square dancing on the oceanfront deck.

Time for a little after dinner dancing on the oceanfront deck

And just like that, the sun was setting on our beautiful Hatteras Island day.

And just like that, the sun was setting on our beautiful Hatteras Island day.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t end here! There’s all this and so very much more waiting here for your next vacation. Do you love Hatteras Island as much as we do? Click the link at the bottom of our homepage to easily join our e-club for Hatteras Island updates, news, events and vacation rental specials.

 

 


02/11/14

Cape Hatteras National Seashore featured in USA Today

The Outer Banks and Hatteras Island have been recognized as being amongst the best beaches, the most family-friendly vacation destination, and the best surfing and kiteboarding locales in the country. Recently, USAToday.com featured the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Hatteras Island for our “uncompromising authenticity”, history, and undeveloped natural beaches. From the vast beaches of the Atlantic Ocean to the shores of the Pamlico Sound, Hatteras Island prides itself in offering visitors a slow-paced, family-friendly atmosphere soaked in southern hospitality, beautiful beaches, and warm summer weather. To check out the many things to do here on Hatteras Island visit our website at www.surforsound.com/things-to-do/. To read the complete USAToday.com article, click here.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

 

 

 


01/14/14

Welcome to the new SurforSound.com

Surf or Sound Realty is pleased to announce the launch of our newly rebuilt website: www.surforsound.com. Since 1978, Surf or Sound Realty has offered premier family vacation rental homes to thousands of happy vacationers and homeowners. Now renting one of those vacation homes is easier than ever.

SurforSound.com

As one of the first vacation rental companies to offer real-time availability, and a few years’ later e-signature leases for seamless online booking confirmation, Surf or Sound Realty has once again positioned itself as an innovator in the vacation rental industry with its new website. It is loaded with a bevy of new features and functionality designed to provide an easy-to-use, interactive experience to discover, book, share, and enjoy the perfect Hatteras Island vacation home.

The new website provides a more robust search and real-time filtering tool for easily identifying the perfect home for your family vacation, supported by quick-photo-viewers, interactive floor plans, narrative descriptions, and satellite and road maps with integrated points of interest to help vacation planning. There is a new custom account area where guests can log-in to view saved beach bag collections, check the status of their reservations, make payments, and share details with friends and family.

The new surforsound.com was engineered by MMGY Global based in Kansas City, Missouri in close partnership with the marketing team at Surf or Sound Realty. “MMGY Global is a leader in tourism marketing and research and was the perfect partner for this redesign,” says Melvin Stone, President of Surf or Sound Realty. “We are convinced that this website with its ease of use and feature-rich functionality will become the leader in the vacation rental home industry.”

View a tour of the new website on Surf or Sound Realty’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/surforsound

Some notable features include:

      • Streamlined booking engine allows quick online reservations on one page including e-signature lease, flexible payment plans, and multiple payment methods – all making it as easy as possible for you to plan your vacation.
      • Enhanced search capability provides real-time filtering based upon various amenities including number of bedrooms, cost, features, date of stay, and location. Scroll through house photographs easily, without leaving the search results page.
      • A “Quick Quote Calculator” shows the final cost of the vacation home including tax, travel insurance, and optional add-ons. The calculator will also divide the cost per guest and per bedroom to enable guests to easily identify each group member’s cost.
      • Real-time interactive road and satellite overlay maps enable users to view vacation homes in proximity to the water, as well as show which restaurants, shops, and activities are nearby.
      • Log-in account area allows users to e-sign and print leases, view reservation details, request changes, make payments, and even invite other vacation party members to make their payments on the account – all easily online.
      • A new “Waitlist” feature enables guests to request notification in the event that an unconfirmed reservation becomes available.
      • Redesigned home overview pages feature more and larger images of the homes, interactive floor plans, guest ratings, narrative descriptions, amenities, and details.
      • Enhanced Beach Bag functionality enables users to save collections of favorite homes and share them with family members to vote and comment on their favorites.
      • PDF Mini-brochures are easy to download and print to share single or multiple vacation homes with family members.

Surf or Sound Realty, proudly in business for 35 years, manages an extensive portfolio of premier vacation homes on each of the seven charming villages of Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and has two convenient office locations: 40974 NC Highway 12, Avon, North Carolina 27915 and 26204 Rampart Street, Salvo, North Carolina 27972. Surf or Sound Realty can be contacted via phone 1-800-237-1138 or email at rent@surforsound.com.

Follow us online at www.surforsound.com; Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Flickr, and YouTube at “surforsound”; Instagram at “surforsoundhatteras”; and LinkedIn at “Surf or Sound Realty” for the latest news from Surf or Sound Realty and our team of Hatteras Island vacation specialists.


11/27/13

National Park Service to Offer Off-Road Vehicle Permits for the 2014 Season Online

The National Park Service has announced that it will begin offering 2014 Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) permits on its website starting on Sunday, December 1, 2013. This new feature will further streamline the process of obtaining the necessary permits to access the ORV routes in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

There are two easy ways to obtain a National Park Service (NPS) ORV permit:

  1. Online beginning December 1, 2013 by visiting http://www.recreation.gov/ and going to the Cape Hatteras page on the site.

  2. In person, at one of three NPS off-road vehicle permit offices:

Bodie Island at the north end of Coquina Beach parking lot – 8101 NC Highway 12, Nags Head;

Hatteras Island by the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Visitor Center – 46368 Lighthouse Road, Buxton;

Ocracoke Island by the NPS Visitor Center – 40 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke.

All three offices are open year-round from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., seven days a week, except Christmas Day.

Annual permits cost $120; with a seven-day weekly ORV permit costing $50. If you purchase a permit online, there are additional processing and shipping fees. It will cost an extra $4.50 if you order your permit online and then pick it up at one of the offices listed above. If you choose to have your permit mailed to you, it will be an additional $11.00.

Remember to plan ahead if you are ordering online since it will take 14 days to process if you choose to have your ORV permit mailed to you. You only need to order a day in advance if you plan on picking it up in person.

The 2014 annual permit can be used beginning December 1, 2013 and is valid through December 31, 2014. Weekly permits can be purchased up to two calendar months in advance.

For additional information on off-road vehicle use in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, or to obtain a permit, visit http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/off-road-vehicle-use.htm or the Cape Hatteras page on http://www.recreation.gov/.


09/9/13

Hatteras Island Has Been Listed As One of the World’s Top Surf Spots by CNN.com

Surfing on Hatteras Island

 

Hatteras is well-known for its world-class surfing beaches. With 70 miles of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, it’s easy to find a spot where the surf’s up. This fact wasn’t lost on the folks at CNN.com who recently recognized our Hatteras Island beaches as one of the “World’s 50 Best Surf Spots“.

Almost any storm or swell that makes its way across the Atlantic Ocean will produce waves and draw surfers from all throughout the United States. Popular surf breaks include: the S-Curves at Mirlo Beach in Rodanthe, Old Road in Avon, the Cape Hatteras Fishing Pier in Frisco, and Buxton’s Lighthouse Beach. Of course, with miles and miles of seashore to explore, it’s not hard to find a break all to yourself.

Surfing season for experienced surfers is typically in the fall and spring when storms and low pressure systems bring large swells. The summer months bring smaller waves and are perfect for beginning surfers. Surf shops abound on Hatteras Island where you can rent a board, take lessons from surfing pros, and purchase gear.

With our pristine beaches, awesome surf, and miles of coastline, it is easy to see why Hatteras Island surfing ranks right up there with some of the best surf spots in the world!