07/30/14

Celebrate National Lighthouse Day

lighthouseday

Next Thursday, August 7, is National Lighthouse Day. The National Park Service is celebrating at Cape Hatteras National Seashore with a number of special programs.

Lighthouse Day is an observance of the day the Federal Government became involved in the construction, maintenance and repair of these special structures with the Lighthouse Act August 7, 1789.

The Cape Hatteras National Park Services describes:

Lighthouses, whose solitary beacons have guided countless ships through perils of fog and darkness, are a cherished part of our Nation’s heritage. Often isolated and repeatedly tested by the ravages of storm and sea, lighthouses are monuments to the courage and determination of the people who built them and the keepers who have maintained them.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore protects and preserves three lighthouses: Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Bodie Island Lighthouse, and Ocracoke Lighthouse.

You’re invited to take part in special Lighthouse Day programs including:

August 7, 1 pm & 4 pm The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse–Why is it Here: Have you ever wondered why this lighthouse was built on a remote barrier island? Learn about the storied history of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and its purpose. Meet at the Hatteras Island Visitor Center Pavilion. (20 mins)

August 6, 5 pmThe Oldest Lighthouse: The Ocracoke Lighthouse is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse in North Carolina. Learn how this tower is truly part of the Ocracoke community and get a peek inside the base of the tower. Meet at the Ocracoke Lighthouse. Parking is very limited. We recommend that you walk, bike, or be dropped off. (30 mins)

August 7, 3 pmA Link in the Chain: While the Bodie Island Lighthouse stands alone, it serves as a link in the chain of a network of lighthouses on the east coast. Learn more about the U.S. Lighthouse Service and of what life was like for the Bodie Island Lighthouse keepers and their families. Meet on the front porch of the Bodie Island Visitor Center. (30 mins)

All programs are free and open to all.


07/19/14

Check In Day Activities

Hooray!

We know, you’ve waited ALL YEAR for your Hatteras Island vacation and you just can’t wait to get it started. Here are some fun check-in day events and activities that let your vacation begin the moment you hit the Outer Banks.

SUBU Saturdays (Show up and Blow Up) at Watermen’s Bar & Grill in Waves. With live music from 12-3, outdoor dining, and a giant lawn with plenty of room to stretch out after a long drive and let the kids run off some energy, this is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon and kick-off your Hatteras Island vacation. Did we mention the food and drinks they serve are amazing? They have a full service coffee bar and strive to use only the very freshest local and regional ingredients.

Welcome Party at the Wreck – just outside the Hatteras Landing Marina. Every Saturday from 12:30 – 4:00, the Wreck hosts a free and family friendly event with Live music, drink specials at the tiki bar and great food.

You can also always hit the beach – the Salvo Day Use Area has showers and bathrooms and shallow waters perfect for wading, and launching a kayak, stand up paddleboard or sailboat. Or spend the day fishing and hanging out at the Rodanthe or Avon piers. Both have parking and refreshments – the Avon Pier has showers and the Rodanthe Pier has a fun oceanfront arcade.

Speaking of watersports, there are a number of places you can rent equipment. Try our friends at Rodanthe Campground and Watersports right on the sound (next to Lisa’s Pizza) where you can enjoy a captained sail, take a sailing lesson or even take out a 16′ Hobie Cat if you know what you’re doing. They also rent jet skis, wave runners, kayaks and stand up paddleboards. Mention we sent you and you might just get a discount on your rental.

Day Trips are another fun option. Start your vacation with a ferry ride to Ocracoke and spend the day strolling the village shops and restaurants or rent bikes to see the town. Or take time to check out Manteo – visit the beautiful Elizabethan Gardens, the reasonably priced North Carolina Aquarium with it’s fantastic new Sea Turtle Exhibit or go to Island Farm where you are invited to participate in living history, Roanoke Island circa 1800, complete with live oxen and century old house, barns and outbuildings you are invited to walk (and climb) through.

Try a pottery or beading class at one of our local coffee shops/art studios, do some shopping, or enjoy a late lunch / early dinner at one of our great island restaurants.

Whatever you decide to do, we’re so glad you’re here to spend an entire week on Island Time.

Watermen's Bar and Grill behind REAL watersports has plenty of room for everyone.

Watermen’s Bar and Grill behind REAL watersports has plenty of room for everyone.

You are invited to touch and experience the artifacts on site at Island Farm on Roanoke Island.

You are invited to touch and experience the artifacts on site at Island Farm on Roanoke Island.


05/27/14

Pea Island Bird Walk Offers Fun for All Experience Levels

Pea Island Bird Tour

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is known as one of the best birding sites on the east coast.

Each Friday, and every Wednesday from May through September, you can stroll through the maritime forest around North Pond with an experienced guide discovering all kinds of species of birds. From ducks and geese to pelicans, bitterns, herons, sandpipers, gulls, terns, swallows, and sparrows – there are nearly 400 species of birds that call this refuge home, for at least part of the year. Much of the reason for the large species number is the variety of habitats the refuge contains, forests, beaches, marshes, ponds and sand dunes all provide feeding grounds and habitat for these birds.

All levels of bird-watchers are welcome. Bring your binoculars and expect knowledgeable volunteers might bring binoculars to borrow and high-powered birding scopes. Pat Moore, director of the Hatteras Island Birding Club explains, “Birding is not only done with your eyes, using your ears you can often hear a bird’s call before it’s even visible.” No matter what your experience or interest, you’ll be sure to leave with a new appreciation of these fascinating beautiful creatures.

The Bird Walk starts in the parking lot at the Pea Island Visitor Center at 8:00am each Friday and Wednesdays from May through September. It is free of charge. Field guides, binoculars, sunscreen and insect repellent are recommended.


03/17/14

Explore Watermen’s Bar and Grill in Waves

Part casually hip restaurant and rum bar, part gourmet coffee bar, and part waterfront concert venue, Watermen’s Bar and Grill really seems to have something for everyone. With comfortable seating inside or out on the picnic tables on their giant deck, just above the waterfront lawn, there’s plenty of space to enjoy a meal or let the kids run around, and the sunsets over the Pamlico Sound are nothing short of spectacular.

Watermens Bar and Grill

Watermen’s Bar and Grill debuted May 18, 2013 as a full-size restaurant serving freshly prepared, made-from scratch food with a focus on local ingredients and a high level of customer service. Produce is locally sourced, the fresh seafood is local, North Carolina craft beer is always on tap, even the coffee is locally roasted just days before it’s brewed. Morning starters include breakfast burritos, Umpqua oatmeal and fruit smoothies. For lunch try the blackened local tuna sandwich with wasabi cream sauce or the lump crab quesadilla. For dinner, one of the most popular menu items is chef Devon’s Carolina pork BBQ Ribs, or try one of the many local seafood specialties.

The food isn’t the only thing that’s authentic about this place, the reclaimed hardwood used throughout the space spent its last 100 years as the Coney Island Boardwalk before being salvaged and incorporated into the restaurant. Owner Trip Forman tells the story of how past patrons have been delighted to find out that the bench they were sitting on was the made from the very same boards they walked along on their first date years before. Even the lighting has a story, delicate fixtures over the bar are actually antique telephone pole insulators that were drilled and made into custom pendant lights.

Don’t let the good looks of the furnishings fool you though, all of the materials are hard-wearing and were chosen to withstand whatever the day brings. For Watermen’s that could be anything from large family groups who have just made the drive from as far away as Canada to throngs of hungry surfers and kiteboarders in wetsuits stopping in for a quick meal before their next session. For that same reason the tables are movable and can be completely removed to accommodate large crowds for concerts during their world-famous kiteboarding tourmanents.

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can catch live music every week on the waterfront deck outside. Stop by tonight for their Saint Patrick’s Day concert with Christian Benedi playing acoustic beach rock and Irish Tavern drinking music starting at 6. Their Family Friendly Sky Blue Summer Concert Series sponsored by Carolina Brewery kicks off in April with most shows offering FREE admission and lasting from 6-10. Watermen’s Bar and Grill is located on the sound in Waves, just behind REAL Watersports.

 


02/26/14

A Taste of Hatteras Island As We Welcome March

St. Patrick’s day is just a few of weeks away, and what better way to celebrate than with a recipe that combines the best of the Irish with what’s in season here on Hatteras Island.

With the warm Gulf Stream just offshore, our winters offer plentiful fishing, and Striper season just winding down. Striped Bass, also known as Rockfish or Striper, can be found all along the Atlantic Coast, but it’s here in North Carolina that fishermen land more large striped bass in the winter than in any other state. If you’re up for catching your own fare, surf fishing spots on Hatteras Island are a good bet. Or head to a local market, most of which will be opening their doors back up spring season in the next few weeks.

Creamy Rockfish Chowder

Creamy Rockfish Chowder (8 Servings)

A step above the typical pub fare of fish and chips, this chowder incorporates winter vegetables like leeks and carrots, with a creamy base that will warm your soul as we march into spring.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 stick of celery, cut on the bias into ½ inch pieces
4 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
3 cups of chicken stock
4 ounces stewed tomatoes, diced
1 carrot, shredded
¾ cup milk
¼ cup cup heavy cream
1 pound striped bass, cut in to cubes
salt and pepper to taste
5 or 6 sprigs of dill for garnish

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the celery, leeks and potato, cooking until potato has softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Pour in chicken stock, tomatoes and carrots, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add milk and cream, season to taste and stir in striped bass. Continue to simmer, uncovered until the fish is flaky and no longer translucent in the middle, about 10 minutes. Garnish with dill and serve immediately with Irish soda bread or oyster crackers.

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/.


09/26/13

What Are Your Top Five Things To Do On Hatteras Island?

We all know that there are so many wonderful things to do here on Hatteras Island. Our pristine, family-friendly beaches and quaint villages offer a variety of activities for you and your family to enjoy while visiting us.

The Huffington Post recently listed its top “5 Free Things to do on Hatteras Island.” It is no surprise that spending time enjoying the beaches of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore is top on the list. There is nothing quite like a day at the beach for exploring, relaxing, and playing in the surf!

The Huffington Post list also includes: a trip to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum where admission is free, although donations are encouraged; attending programs offered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge; visiting Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island Lighthouses (there is a fee to climb them, but not to walk around the grounds); and taking a free ferry ride from Hatteras to Ocracoke Island for the day.

We would love to hear what you and your family like to do while visiting us! What are your Top 5 Things to do on Hatteras Island? Please share them with us on our Surf or Sound Facebook and Twitter pages, and follow us on Pinterest to see of few of ours!

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04/24/13

Maintain Your Green Thumb on Hatteras Island with Salt Tolerant Plants

Warmer weather has graced us with its presence and everyone is walking around with a little “Spring” in their step. We get busy sprucing up our homes whether it’s clearing the clutter, spring cleaning, or ordering fresh new pillows for our living space, but the outdoors are calling! We’ve been cooped up during the short days of winter and we long to head outside to get a good dose of vitamin d and feel the warmth of the sun on our bare skin.

As we step outside and gaze around our yards, for the first time in many, many months, we’re excited to weed last year’s garden beds! (The glamour of weeding quickly fades as warmer temperatures and an increase in humidity = happy plants (and every other living thing that has been lying dormant throughout the winter). Weeding becomes second nature and can get old fairly quickly, so once the beds are weeded the planning commences. What will we plant this year and where? What plants did well last year and what didn’t? Which plants needed more sunlight? Which plants survived the salt air and wind the best? As we juggle all of this in our heads and jump for one scenario to the other, there are certain factors we must, without a doubt, keep in mind. After all, we live on a sandbar, also known as Hatteras Island

There are a few factors to consider when working alongside Mother Nature in your private sand lot at the beach. First and foremost, respect the salt air. There are plants that are very tolerant of salt spray, which are the tiny droplets of salt water carried through the air from waves crashing on the beach. Secondly, windy conditions can also pose a problem for very delicate plants. It is not uncommon to experience a constant 15 mph SW wind during the summer months on Hatteras Island. Of course that does not include gusts, which can reach 25-40mph at times. Other factors are high temperatures and very little rain. We did experience a good amount of rain last summer (2012) but typically Hatteras Island may experience a few brief thunderstorms here and there throughout the summer. Oh, and don’t forget the sandy soil! Sandy soil allows excessive drainage, which can be an issue for certain varieties of plants. In order to enjoy your time in your yard to the max (without breaking the bank), take note of a few plants that do exceptionally well here at the beach.

Review this list of suggestions for nurturing your green thumb while dwelling on an island…
Highly Salt Tolerant:
Yaupon
Live Oak
Century Plant (Agave Americana)
Oleander
Rosemary
Yucca
Palmetto
Pampas Grass
Lantana

Moderately Salt Tolerant:
Eucalyptus
American Holly
Crepe Myrtle
Sweet Bay
Bottlebrush
English Ivy
Coral Honeysuckle
Virginia Creeper
Yarrow
Asparagus Fern
Mexican Heather

Slightly Salt Tolerant:
Butterfly Bush
Gardenia
Dwarf Nandina
Fountain Grass
Purple Coneflower
Hardy Hibiscus
Canna Lily

Hopefully this compilation will save you time, money, and the frustration of trying to make the traditional plants of the season thrive in the more challenging conditions of the coastal environment. Do a little research on the above list and decide which plants will work best in your space. Also track sun exposure, as some plants love the sun while others tolerate it for only short periods or prefer to stay in the shade (sounds like some beachgoers you may know).

See you at the garden center!


04/22/13

Lyrids Meteor Shower set to peak on Earth Day 2013

Are you up for a night of the best free entertainment you may witness in the late hours of April 22, 2013? Lyrids meteor shower is set to peak on Earth Day (late night, 4/22/13 to early morning, 4/23/13) and will appear to originate in the region of the sky that features the constellation Lyra the Harp. The Lyrids have been observed for at least the past 2600 years, according to written record.

If you’re willing to stay up late, you are in for quite a show! The shower is said to average approximately 10-20 meteors per hour and has been known to produce large bursts of activity of nearly 100 meteors per hour. In 1803, due to the earth’s passage through a thicker part of the dust trail that causes the shower, more than 700 meteors were seen per hour from Richmond, Virginia.

Head on out on the night of the 22nd and get set up. Make sure all outside lights are off (if you have control over that) or move as far away from street lights/city lights as you can (preferably Hatteras Island, the best place ever to view a meteor shower). Get comfortable. Give your eyes time to adjust to the dark and watch for bright meteors in the northeastern part of the sky. Locate the very bright star Vega, from which most meteors will appear to originate. It’s your chance to witness a free light show of bright meteors with highly visible tails!

Enjoy the show!

The sky is clearing...Perfect night for a meteor shower on HI!

The sky is clearing...Perfect night for a meteor shower on HI!