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

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:

 


12/17/14

Perfect Weather for the 2014 Hatteras Village Christmas Parade

ChristmasParade

This Saturday was a beautiful cool sunny day – perfect weather for the annual Hatteras Village Christmas Parade! This mile-long traditional parade brings out neighbors, businesses and visitors full of holiday cheer and a real sense of community.

Among the school marching band, the police departments, churches, horse stables and fire engines were the Surf or Sound Realty Elves! Bounding along the parade route next to a Surf or Sound maintenance truck all done up as the “seashells and jingle bells” float – the elves happily greeted parade-goers and handed out candy canes.

Afterwards everyone gathered at the community center for hot chocolate and cookies, another Hatteras Holiday tradition.

If you are ever in town parade weekend in December – the Christmas Parade is a village event your whole family can enjoy.