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Outer Banks Economy Showing Longterm Strength

Our Brindley Beach Vacations office in Corolla.

Looking over some of the data that’s coming out about the 2014 Outer Banks economy the conclusion has got to be that it’s looking pretty healthy. Occupancy up for the year; sales tax increased and food and beverage sales showed healthy growth.

That’s the visitation side of things. Just as important and in the long term perhaps even more important are the trends that seem to be emerging in the real estate market.

In Dare County land transfer taxes were up 23.7% for the year with almost $5.9 million in collections. That, of course does come with a couple of warnings about data. That number does not include activity in Corolla. It also doesn’t say where there sales occurred, or how many sales there were, but even with those caveats, it’s still hard to see those numbers as anything other that positive.

Every bit as significant, building permits are up 24.5% over 2013. Interestingly fewer permits were issued—a sign of a growing new home construction market. The logic goes, fewer permits but larger value, probably because more homes are being built.

Things do look good for the Outer Banks economy. For investors looking for an opportunity, the future is looking good. Give us a call at Brindley Beach Vacations at 877.642.3224 or check us out online.

The Outer Banks Sun Came Out-So Did the Seals

Harbor Seal swimming in Oregon Inlet. (Photo NEST)

The sun finally came out, temperatures got back to normal or maybe just a touch above for this time of the year, and it felt great to get outside on the Outer Banks. There were a couple of fishermen on the beach this morning, not sure that we saw them catching anything, but there have been some reports of puppy drum being landed.

We seem to have a new visitor to the Outer Banks beaches. There have been a surprising number of harbor seals showing up as reported by NEST. Most of them seem to head for a dredge island just inside Oregon Inlet called Green Island, but a few of them show up on our beaches.

They look cute and friendly, but they’re not. Cute, yes . . . maybe. Friendly, definitely not. Stay away if you see one.

It seems clear why they are on the Outer Banks beaches—they’re taking a break and after three or four day, they head back out to sea. What is not clear, though, is why they are suddenly here. In the past three or four of them would show up every winter, probably caught in the Labrador Current and were disoriented. There are too many of them coming here now for that to be the case.

Kick the Winter Blues with OBX Springtime Events

2014 Taste of the Beach Chowder Cook-off, sponsored by Coastal Provisions.

Just about everyone gets the winter blues at some point. Maybe not everyone—professional skiers probably dream about this time of the year, but for the rest of us, sometime about the end of February, we start to dream of longer days and warmer weather.

We all know its coming, but somehow it seems such a long way off just about now. 

However, since we do know it’s coming here are a few things to know about the Outer Banks in the springtime. 

We’ve already mentioned what a great Outer Banks week March 15-22 is going to be: Mike Kelly kicks things off with the Kelly’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Nags Head. Then the end of the week is the Taste of the Beach—as much a lovefest for the beauty of the Outer Banks as it is a four day culinary masterpiece.

The Duck and Wine Festival is coming up at the end of April—April 25.

May has so much happening in it that it almost looks like a summer list of events. A the ESA Regional surf championships at the beginning of the month, the Kitty Hawk Kites Hang Gliding Spectacular in the middle of the month and lots of music throughout.

Summer is a great time to visit, but spring is awfully nice too. 

We have some great rates on our Brindley Beach properties in the spring. Let us know what your needs are and we’ll do everything we can to make your visit to the Outer Banks the best you have ever had.

Summer Vacation Cure for Winter Blues

Now that winter has really set in, dreams of summer can’t be far behind. With temperatures even here on the Outer Banks failing to get to the freezing mark and 20 mph wind from the north, it’s going to be two day of dreaming of warm sunshine and soft sand.

There are many reasons why the Outer Banks is chosen time after time as one of America’s favorite family vacation destinations. The sand, the sea and the sunshine are certainly part of it, but there are so many activities ideal for the whole family that one week or even two weeks are hardly adequate to experience even a small part of what the there is to offer.

We can’t possibly list everything there is to do, but here’s a small sampling of activities to do other than soaking in some rays on a beautiful ocean beach.

Live theatre—the Lost Colony is the oldest outdoor theater production in the country; surfing and surf lessons; flying a kite; climb a lighthouse or three; go kayaking on the sound. 

This is just a partial list, and a very partial one at that, but it gives some idea of what a great place the Outer Banks is for a family vacation. 

At Brindley Beach we love this place we call home and hope you’ll contact us and let us help you make your next vacation something truly memorable.

Forget the February Chill-Taste of the Beach Coming Soon

Seagull flying over very rough seas, Sunday, 2/15.

It is cold! By any standard anyone wishes to apply, it is cold. It’s cold here on the Outer Banks; it’s cold in Pittsburgh where a friend sent a text saying it’s 4 degrees—and that’s not the wind chill. Or New York City were it’s 19 and falling.

The good news is spring really is just around the corner—and on the Outer Banks that means the Mike Kelly’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. . . Sunday, March 15, followed closely by the Outer Banks Taste of the Beach, Thursday through Sunday, March 19-22. 

If ever there was an excuse to take a week off in the spring, this is it—the whackiest most fun parade imaginable, followed by a four days of amazing food and events. 

For anyone going to the Taste of the Beach for the first time—there are so many events that it is not possible to go to all of them. Our Brindley Beach recommendation: pick three or four a day, give yourself adequate driving time between events and have a great time. 

Two events in particular that have been highlights of the weekend are the Annual Chowder Cook-off at the Marketplace in Southern Shores on Saturday, and the Taste of the Beach Grand Tasting at Pamlico Jack’s on Sunday evening.

Ladles-An Outer Banks Soup Kitchen

The Ladles crew.

It’s winter. It’s cold. The wind is blowing and just about the time the shivering begins thoughts of a steaming bowl of soup seems about perfect. Which is probably why Ladles, that opened up in Kill Devil Hills just before Christmas seems so popular.

Opened by a couple of friends who met while on cleaning duty at the Outer Banks Hospital, the newest restaurant on the local scene keeps it simple—homemade soup, fresh sandwiches, good prices. And we should add every soup is made from scratch every morning. 

It also helps that prices are reasonable; it would be tough for a couple to spend more than $20 on lunch. 

Located in what was once an Arby’s on the Bypass almost on the KDH/Nags Head town line, it’s pretty clear locals have taken to the soup and sandwich shop—at lunch and dinner there are always lines at the counter.

Service is pretty good though and if there is a little bit of a wait, it’s worth it. Having tried just about every soup on the menu—as well as a couple of the daily specials—there have been no disappointments.

Some favorites—the turkey chile has just enough kick to it to hold your attention but the flavors; the she crab soup is a hardy meal loaded with crab; for the daily specials, the ham and bean and shepherds pie really stood out.

For visitors heading to the Outer Banks, it’s defiantly worth a try.

Is Wind Energy in the OBX Future?

Kitty Hawk as a center of offshore commercial wind energy? Maybe. Looking at the Environmental Assessment the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) just issued, that may be the case.

Any real utility grade development of the site is a long way off—a minimum of five years under the best of circumstances, but it is interesting to note that one of the studies authors remarked that the site is one of the most promising on the East Coast.

As originally mapped out the site would have been one of the largest in the world—in fact, at over 1900 square miles, it may have been the largest. However, concerns about shipping lanes and visual pollution shrank the area to a little over 190 square miles and moved it 24 nautical miles off shore.

If the site is developed, the big remaining question is where would all that power go (something around 2000 MW—enough energy for a good sized city). Although a BOEM map shows a power line coming to the Outer Banks, there is universal agreement that the Outer Banks does not have the transmission lines to handle that amount of power. A possible scenario would link the wind energy field with the Virginia Beach field 20 miles to the north. The Hampton Roads area already has a transmission network able to handle the energy load.

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