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Hurricane Cristobal To Bring Surf Action to Outer Banks


Wednesday won’t be a day for novice surfers and definitely not a day to go swimming, but Outer Banks surf conditions are looking great for surfers with some experience under their belt.

Although Hurricane Cristobal is passing well out to sea, the effects will create some of the best surf conditions of the year. The steady NNE winds of the past few days are forecast to moderate and turn onshore, seas are building, and surfers can expect chest high to overhead waves with even shore breaks tomorrow evening into Thursday morning. Conditions should ease a little bit after that, but even so into Friday, the wave action should remain rideable.

The passage of Cristobal is a scenario that surfers look for on the Outer Banks—a tropical system well out to sea, its passage creating waves that are etched in the memory of anyone lucky enough to be on a board as it passes.

The red flags will definitely be up tomorrow, though. Five and six foot waves are great if you’re on a surf board, not so good for the human body though.

Summer Is Gone, But September Heats Up on the Outer Banks

The summer season is done. It’s clear that is the case . . . the kids are going back to school tomorrow, there’s a refreshing and dry north wind blowing today and the traffic coming on to the Outer Banks, although heavy, is nothing like it was one or two weeks ago.

However, even though the summer season has ended, there is still a lot to do from up in Corolla at the Whalehead Club to Manteo's Roanoke Island Festival Park.

There is actually too much to do to list everything, but here are a few highlights. 

At the Whalehead Club the Wednesday Wine Festivals will continue through the month. This is a great chance to try some locally produced wine . . . wines that are quite good. On September 4th, which is this Thursday, check out Wine & Swine, which is a great celebration of eastern NC barbecue, local wines, beer, crafts and kids activities.

Wednesday and Thursday seems to be the magic day for events next week. In Kitty Hawk at the Hilton Garden Inn, stop by and take a look at the OBX Arts & Craft Festival. A great introduction to how talented the Outer Banks creative community is, the show is open from 10-5 both days.

One of the biggest surf competitions on the East Coast is the ESA (Eastern Surf Association) Championship held this year at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head September 14-20. Some great competition, a lot of fun and really a family activity.

At the end of the month, and we’ll write about this some more, the 3rd Annual Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival comes to Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo, September 26-28. The headliner this year is Ricky Scaggs, but Rhoda Vincent will be back for her third visit as well.

Whalehead Club Offers New Children's Tour

Postcard from the 1920s showing the Whalehead Club


Here at Brindley Beach Vacations we’ve written quite a bit about the Whalehead Club, mainly because we think the programs and activities they have are great for kids, families and adults that just want to go out and have a good time.

Their latest venture, all about helping children to get a better understanding of what life was like when the Knights—the original owners—lived there. Called “Joan’s Way” it is an audio tour of the Whalehead Club designed for children.

Named after nine year old Joan Starkey who was the daughter of the Knight’s valet, Robert Starkey, tells about living at the Whalehead Club and life in Corolla in the the 1920s.

It is not the only children’s program offered at the Whalehead Club, but this is the first audio tour that has been created. Using iPad technology, children are taken through the rooms of the Club as seen through a child’s eyes.

The tour will be offered throughout the winter. For more information contact the Whalehead Club at 252.453.9040 or online.

Outer Banks Brew Pubs

It is a hot, muggy day here on the Outer Banks. The perfect day for a tall cold glass of beer . . . and luckily there are a few local places brewing up their own beer, and the beer is really good.

The father, or maybe grandfather, of the local brew scene has got to be Ule Beniwitz at Weeping Radish in Jarvisburg. The brewery started in Manteo almost 30 years ago and was the first microbrewery in North Carolina., 

Production outgrew the original space and Uli moved everything to his present location—a 14 acre organic farm and restaurant—a little bit north of the Cotton Gin.

There’s a reason why the Weeping Radish is still going strong. All beer is brewed to the Reinheitsgebot Purity Law of 1516—which probably doesn’t mean much to most Americans. But what it means for taste is the beers are crisp, refreshing and very well balanced.

Although the Weeping Radish has been around the longest, the Outer Banks Brewing Station is probably the best know local brew pub. Easy to find—just look for the wind turbine along the bypass in Kill Devil Hills—Eric and Aubrey tend to be more adventurous with their beers than the Weeping Radish. 

Excellent beer across the spectrum, with a very good restaurant. Definitely worth checking out. They also brew their own birch beer for kids. Tasters we have spoken to about it have consistently ranked it five out of five stars.

Even though Weeping Radish moved out a number of years ago, Manteo still has a brewpub. Paul Charron at Full Moon Cafe brews just enough beer to take care of his restaurant’s needs. Very good beer, done in a British Isles style. Order a beer and a meal, get a seat at the sidewalk cafe and watch the world go by. 

It’s not a bad way to spend an hour.

Wicked Tuna: North vs South Filmed on the Outer Banks

Going into its third season,  the reality show Wicked Tuna needed something a little different so why not Wicked Tuna: North vs South.
Pitting the boats and captains from Gloucester, MA where the show originated, against the finest captains calling Wanchese home, the 2014 version of the popular National Geographic show kicks off tonight (Sunday) at 10 p.m.
The Atlantic bluefin tuna is huge—up to 1200 pounds and over 8’ long—powerful and one of the most valuable commercial catches around. Sold mostly on the Japanese sushi market they regularly bring $15,000-$20,000, and occasionally more . . . much more.
The competition took place in January of this year—one of the harshest winter months anyone on the Outer Banks can remember, and as the Gloucester fleet soon discovered, just getting through Oregon Inlet to the fishing grounds was its own challenge. Gloucester captains talked about how difficult it was navigating the Inlet, with local captain Greg Mayer of Fishin’ Frenzy remarking, “With their smaller boats, they had a real disadvantage getting through Oregon Inlet.”
But the northern crews did get to the fishing grounds, and even though North Carolina regulations make catching this king of the predator fish more difficult according to reports the competition was fierce and close.

Outer Banks Parasailing Adventure

Visitors to the Outer Banks aren’t the only ones who get to do some of the fun things to do locally. I took my daughter and her BFF (that’s Best Friend Forever) parasailing today and it was a great reminder how much fun all those activities we keep recommending are.

It was a Kitty Hawk Kites adventure, since my daughter has a summer job with them, but all the outfits on the Outer Banks that offer parasailing get great reviews for safety and service, so no matter who you choose you’ll probably have a great experience.

Tow lines typically run 800’ or 1200’ and the consensus between daughter and BFF is they should have have opted for the 1200’ ride. 

The details . . . 

Amazingly smooth ride. The view was sublime. We went out with three other groups and one of the pairs had a young boy who was frankly terrified at first—and that probably lasted all of 10 seconds into the flight and when he and his dad came back down to the back of the boat he was high-fiving every one he could reach.

It was a great time; a little bit expensive, but a fantastic way to create an amazing memory.

The Outer Banks-A Family Playground

There’s a reason why the Outer Banks bills itself as a family vacation destination—more than one reason actually.

Some of that is just in the way the Outer Banks has developed—and, frankly, chosen to develop. With no urban centers and no boardwalks, the whole area, from Corolla to Ocracoke Island has an open feel that invites kids to run, play and just be kids. What is particularly nice is they can just be kids and parents know they’re in a safe environment.

There are other reasons as well for the family feel to the area. There are a lot of activities geared specifically to kids—especially kids ten and under.

Kitty Hawk Kites has held their Kid's Day since as long as anyone can remember. It used to be Wednesdays at their Nags Head location only, but they’ve expanded that now and there is a store that features the event within easy driving distance of just about every location on the Outer Banks. 

It’s a great day of face painting, games kite making and  . . . fun. Some locations are Tuesday, others Wednesday so check for day.

A newer edition to the Outer Banks kids entertainment scene, the Outer Banks Children at Play Children’s Museum is located in Bucaneer’s Walk in Kitty Hawk. Geared much more for the six and under crowd, this is a great place for the younger members of the family.

Every Thursday at the Whalehead Club the North Carolina Marionette Theatre performs “Tom Benn and Blackbeard the Pirate” and wraps up with a meet and greet with the puppets.

In Duck, Tuesday through Thursday all summer long, events are scheduled for children in the morning on the town green.

There is more than that for kids, of course, but that should give families an idea of what the Outer Banks is all about.


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