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Old Christmas an Old Outer Banks Tradition
Posted by Brindley Beach Vacations and Sales | Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Riding "Old Buck" at the Rodanthe Old Christmas celebration. Photo, Outer Banks History Center.

We’ve written a lot about holiday traditions on the Outer Banks and many of the traditions we’ve noted go back 20, 30 maybe even 40 years. But compared to one holiday tradition on the Outer Banks, those are infants new to the world.

Just on the other side of Oregon Inlet, in the Village of Rodanthe, there is a Christmas tradition that can trace its roots to colonial America—1752, to be exact.

The Rodanthe Old Christmas was traditionally celebrated on January 5, 11 days after Christmas, although that date has changed now and it is held the first Saturday after the New Year to accommodate travel schedules—January 6 this year.

The day includes lots and lots of homemade food, games and tradition. The highlight, though, is a visit from “Old Buck.” 

Old Buck, so legend has it inhabits the maritime forests of Hatteras Island making his annual appearance at the Old Christmas celebration. He’s done this, according to local residents, for the past few hundred years. 

The story goes that he was a survivor of an 18th century shipwreck who upon reaching shore found great favor with the Hatteras Island cows. He eventually wandered off to the forests, never to be seen again except when Old Christmas comes around.

The Rodanthe Old Christmas can trace its roots directly to the decision, in 1752, to adopt the Gregorian Calendar, chopping 11 days out of September, jumping from September 2 to 14 with nothing in between. Before that the British empire had been using the Julian Calendar, that had been unchanged since the time of Julius Caesar and 

What the change in dates did was to align the British year with what the rest of Europe was using.

The law was necessary but very unpopular in England and the colonies and, especially in more remote areas, not accepted, making Christmas come 11 days after December 25.



Christmas Old Buck Oregon Inlet Outer Banks Roadanthe

Christmas Puppets Come to the Outer Banks
Posted by Brindley Beach Vacations and Sales | Sunday, December 4, 2016


Sometimes it takes a kids show to bring out the child in us as a reminder about what’s important. The Rainbow Puppet’s production at Roanoke Island Festival Park on Saturday is one of those shows.

Fast-paced, it’s colorful, the puppets are cute; but mostly it’s about imagination and the childlike wonder of Christmas.

The story is a retelling of “The Night Before Christmas” and it’s really nice that  voice for the show is Mickey Rooney who recorded the poem for a year before he passed away in 2014.

It wasn’t a very long show—about 45 minutes, which is about right for children in the 3-10 year old range. The puppeteers also broke the show up a little bit, coming out after short introductory skit to take about the puppets and give a little history, noting that the first puppets were hand shadows.

Grandpa—who looks a little like an older Mickey Rooney if he had hair—narrates the story, and there’s a couple of diversions along the way. The eight reindeer are all described. The kids learned, among other things that Donner and Vixen like one another.

The Saturday show is the only one RIFP is doing this year. Too bad too, because it was a real delight. 

They do have a few activities scheduled between now and the end of the year. How to make an Elizabeth ornament is scheduled December p, 16 and 30, and Elizabethan Manners, 16th Century Dances and Games on December 10, 16 and 31, noting that it was a particular favorite.



Mickey Rooney Outer Banks Rainbow Puppets Roanoke Island Festival Park The Night Before Christmas

OBX Chefs Display Talents for Food Pantry
Posted by Brindley Beach Vacations and Sales | Friday, December 2, 2016


Winners of the Judges Award and Prince of Canned Goods. LtoR: Brian Hardisan, chef and Frank Griffs of Jolly Roger with Food Pantry Executive Director Theresa Armendarez.

Some of the best Outer Banks events include food, chefs and a good cause. That was certainly the case at the 3rd Annual Holiday Chef’s Challenge at the Hilton Garden Inn Thursday evening.

The cause was a fundraiser for the Beach Food Pantry and the chefs were nine of the the Outer Banks finest. The food put the creativity and skills of the chefs on full display with a couple of different if basic rules. The chefs had one hourto create a dish using anything that is on a list of items that the Food Pantry has in stock. At least one of the items had to be a canned good.

They got pretty creative. Pigman’s Bar-b-que went all in creating a pasta e fazioli—pasta with beans—dish that featured almost exclusively Food Pantry items.Filling and spicy, it was very nice. Bluewater Grill, who placed second in the Judge’s Choice Award was serving a smoked pork tenderloin with pear chutney on cornbread.

The top prize the evening went to the Jolly Roger, and we’ll admit the barbecue ribs with purple mashed potato and collards was wonderful.

The Jolly Roger also won the prize of prizes; they were Crowned Prince of Canned Goods—the highest award for the evening.

The Chef’s Challenge is the most important fundraiser for the Beach Food Pantry that helps individuals and families in need. According to Food Pantry Executive Director Theresa Armendarez the evening was a huge success, selling out all of their tickets and generating a lot of support from local businesses.



Beach Food Pantry Bluewater Grill Chefs Challenge Hilton Garden Inn Jolly Roger Outer Banks Pigmans Barbque

Winter Lights, Outer Banks Winter Magic
Posted by Brindley Beach Vacations and Sales | Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Gingerbread house, Winter Lights, Elizabethan Gardens.

The Winter Lights of the Elizabethan Gardens are magic. The annual light show at the Roanoke Island gardens are one of the most special traditions that make the Outer Banks a wonderful place to be during the holidays.

There are subtle changes from year to year so that returning each year brings new surprises. Perhaps the small, twinkling lights in the trees that create an almost three dimensional feel to the decorations. It may be the deer nibbling on flowers, or the heron pond, bathed in blue light with green lights marking its boundary.

Yet along with the new, there is tradition—and wonderful tradition. In the middle of the Great Lawn, a huge open space in the middle of the garden, there is a fire pit with a roaring fire. Benches surround the pit and on a bench next to the fire is a bag of marshmallows and tongs to skewer them. Even for the jaded who don’t like marshmallows, the temptation is too great to resist.

There is also a large outdoor screen by the fire pit showing classic children’s holiday cartoons and Christmas music plays throughout the grounds.

There are a number of special events that have been scheduled throughout December, so it’s worth checking out the schedule on the Gardens website. One thing all parent should know—every Friday and Saturday, Santa comes for a visit.

Coming up this Saturday, December 3, is the annual Holiday Feast featuring an all you can eat buffet of traditional holiday foods, including lots of desserts.

Winter Lights is Tuesday through Saturday for the month of December and Friday and Saturday in January 21. Winter Lights will not be hold, however, on Christmas Eve, which is a Saturday.



Elizabethan Gardens Outer Banks Winter Lights

Big Curri-Shuck, Oysters, Crab and a Great Time
Posted by Brindley Beach Vacations and Sales | Sunday, November 27, 2016


The day started a little bit cold and windy, but the Annual Big Curri-Shuck at the Cotton Gin in Jarvisburg up in Currituck County heated up really nicely.

It’s a simple concept that John Wright, owner of Sanctuary Vineyards came up with. Steam as many oysters as a 1000 people or so can eat, make sure there’s some crab to go with it…throw in some pulled pork barbecue and have a party.

Include some wine tasting from the vineyard, which is located on the Cotton Gin property, make sure there’s a wide selection of locally brewed beer on hand and what could be better?

The first Saturday after Thanksgiving for the past five or six years, the Big Curri-Shuck has been a part of the Outer Banks holiday weekend and it would be tough to come up with a better way to welcome December.

What makes this a particularly nice event—beyond the local oysters, crab, which are supplied by I Got Your Crabs, and barbecue is the music—this year, Croatan Highway and the Dave Cynar Band—and how family friendly the event is. 

Yes, there is beer and wine, but kids are welcome, there are hayrides all day long and it really does seem as though the whole family can have a great time at the Big Curri-Shuck.

It is an outdoor event, so there is no telling what the weather will do. This year it was on the cool side with a north wind at noon when things began, but the wind died down, and put enough people together in a tent, even a large one and things aren’t bad at all. 

Add lots and lots of steamed oysters, and it’s a great time for everyone.



Cotton Gin Currishuck I Got Your Crabs Outer Banks Sanctuary Vineyards

Late Fall Fishing Excellent on Outer Banks
Posted by Brindley Beach Vacations and Sales | Friday, November 25, 2016


Fishermen…fishing women, fishing kids…anyone with a rod and reel in hand and hankering for fishing are giving thanks this Thanksgiving for the fishing conditions on the Outer Banks. We’ve been checking fishing report and there can be no doubt that the Outer Banks is experiencing some of the best late fall fishing we’ve seen in a while.

As far as we can tell, everyone seems to be doing well—offshore charters, inshore fishing, surf fishing, all of it.

To help things along, we’ve put together a quick little list of local fishing piers and included two easy to get to places to drop a line and see what bites.

Fishing Piers

Kitty Hawk Pier, Kitty Hawk-Doesn’t go out quite as far as other piers, but easy access and it’s free make this a good one for kids.

Avalon Pier, Kill Devil Hills-One of the oldest piers around. Great advice on what’s biting in the shop. There is a fee to go out on the pier.

Nags Head Pier, Nags Head-Similar conditions to Avalon Pier. Captain Andy’s Restaurant is worth a visit. And they’ll cook your catch for you.

Jennette’s Pier, Nags Head-Part of NC Aquariums Jennette’s Pier was completely reconstructed after Hurricane Isabel demolished the original. Concrete pier extends 1000’ into the ocean. Great fishing conditions. $2.00 pier fee.

Outer Banks Fishing Pier, South Nags Head-Similar to Nags Head Pier with a pier house restaurant. Restaurant will be closing for the season soon. At 600', second longest pier on the Outer Banks.

Two Easy Spots to Check Out

Little Bridge, Manteo Causeway

Convenient and popular. Speckled trout and striped bass seem to like the waters. Be careful crossing the highway.

South Side of Oregon Inlet

Fishing the north side of Oregon Inlet requires a 4WD vehicle and a National Park Service Off Road permit. The south side requires pulling into a parking lot and following an easy trail that leads to a shallow lagoon. It’s very sheltered and a great place to take kids to learn how to fish.



Avalon Pier Jennettes Pier Kitty Hawk Pier Nags Head Pier Oregon Inlet Outer Banks Outer Banks Fishing Pier

Outer Banks Thanksgiving 2016
Posted by Brindley Beach Vacations and Sales | Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Thanksgiving on the Outer Banks is much like it is everywhere else in this country, except, of course, it’s being celebrated in one of the most beautiful settings anywhere.

It is a quintessentially American holiday; a coming together of family and friends that is a reminder that what binds us together is far greater than what separates us. It’s worth noting that Abraham Lincoln created Thanksgiving as a national holiday, setting aside the last Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving and remembrance.

That was in 1863 in the midst of the Civil War and his proclamation included the hope the day would would help to “heal the wounds of the nation.” The idea of a day to give thanks for the bounty of the earth and the blessings of family and friends certainly predated any national holiday in the United States, but Lincoln, perhaps looking forward to a day of reconciliation and reunion, created something special with his proclamation. He could not have foreseen television, football—and there are some great games on tap this year—or the amazing bounty of the American experience.

Yet that vision has survived for 153 years virtually unchanged…the date was moved to the fourth Friday of November in 1941. It’s something to remember and think about as we sit down to enjoy our Thanksgiving feasts wherever we are, whether at a dinner table set among one of the most magnificent places on earth or at a simple setting with those we care about the most.

It is a special time and special holiday, and from all of us here at Brindley Beach Vacations we wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving.



Brindley Beach Lincoln Outer Banks Thanksgiving
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