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Wine a Little on the Outer Banks

Here’s something different to do while here on the Outer Banks—wine tasting. More specifically, wine tasting of local wines.

There’s two ways to accomplish this. Head up to the Whalehead Club in Corolla where you get a chance to sip wine from Sanctuary Vineyards by the Cotton Gin on the mainland, or try some of the wines from Vineyards on the Scuppernong in Columbia.

The other way is to take a trip to the vineyards themselves. 

Anybody coming through Hampton Roads on their way to the Outer Banks passed Sanctuary Vineyards. John Wright, the vineyard manager, is part of the same family that owns the Cotton Gin—and for anyone who has not been to the Cotton Gin, that’s worth a trip all it’s own.

John has about 20 acres in cultivation now, almost all of it vinifera (wine) grapes. The vines have about 10 or 12 years on them now, so the grapes are producing wines of increasing complexity. The Coastal Collage—a dry red wine— is a personal favorite.

The Vineyards on the Scuppernong are out there in Columbia—which is a good 100 plus miles from the Outer Banks. Definitely a day trip for anyone heading that way.

They are concentrating their wines on the muscadine grape which is native to the southeastern United States. Although usually made into a sweet desert wine, the winemaker at Vineyards on the Scuppernong is turning out some dry to off dry wines that are surprisingly good.

Great Beach Weather On Tap for Outer Banks

It looks as though we’re in for a string of beautiful days here on the Outer Banks—temperatures are forecast to be in the low 80s with a light wind. That’s about as good a beach day as you’ll find.

The surfing has been a bit slow with waves in the one to two foot range and there doesn’t look like there’s much in the way of weather to change that for the next day or so.

The fishing however, especially in the sounds, has been good. Croaker, spot and some grey trout. We had a chance to talk to a kayaker who was out in Kitty Hawk Bay who caught and released a 26” red drum . . . at least that’s what he said, but he seemed pretty sincere about it.

The weather looks about the same for the rest of the week. A cool front looks like it will move through on Sunday and with some showers, but the rest of the forecast for the next few days after that calls for moderate temperatures, lots of sunshine and a light to moderate breeze.

Our Brindley Beach Vacations recommendation? Grab a good book, some sunscreen and a beach towel and enjoy your vacation.

Whalehead Club Center of Entertainment in Corolla

We just want to give a quick shout out to our Brindley Beach guests and make sure anyone staying around the Whalehead Club in Corolla or making a trip that way knows about  all the great stuff to do there.

We’re one of the proud sponsors of the Runcations Lighthouse 5K series. Every Wednesday at 7:00 a.m. on the grounds of the Whalehead Club. It’s a great way to start the day, the course has no hills and after burning off all that energy the perfect way to end your day is  . . . 

The Wednesday Wine Festival from 3-7:00 p.m. We do like the way the Whalehead Club describes the day—“Wind up and Wine Down.” The setting on the lawn of the Whalehead Club is beautiful and with wines from two local wineries, Sanctuary Vineyards and the Vineyard on the Scuppernong, it’s a great opportunity to try some of the local wines. 

Every Tuesday evening from 5:30-8:00 it’s the Tuesday Summer Concert Series, featuring some of the best local musicians around. 

The Whalehead Club is actually part of Currituck Heritage Park and visiting it is just one of the great things to do in Corolla.

Duck Town Park-Great Entertainment Value

Town of Duck town green and park.

 

We’ve spent a lot of time this summer talking about all the things there are to do on the Outer Banks, but somehow or for some reason we haven’t said much about the town of Duck, which is really an oversight on our part.

In many ways, Duck is the entertainment center of the everything north of Kitty Hawk. 

The Whalehead Club up in Corolla has scheduled events from time to time, but Duck has something happening every day of the week in its town green--and it's all free.

The day starts with yoga in the park, and after that there are a number of different activities, most of it geared to kids—story time, children’s theatre, magic shows. 

There’s lots happening in the evenings as well. Every Thursday starting at 6:30, it’s Concert in the Park with live music from the gazebo. This Friday and next Friday, it’s “Movie Night” a presentation of Children at Play. This Friday it’s Smurfs 2 followed by the Iron Giant on August 1.

The town green is a part of a beautiful town park that runs along Currituck Sound. It’s worth a visit, even if you’re not going for the entertainment.

The Center of the Outer Banks World

Gin Blossoms perfomrmiing at Roanoke Island Festival Park.

 

People who don’t live on the Outer Banks tend to think of them as a single place with one identity. But for those of us who live here, we know there are a lot of different stories to tell in the 100 or so miles that make up these barrier islands.

If there is one town that is in the middle of things, though, it’s got to be Manteo, which is on Roanoke Island.

Admittedly Manteo is a pretty long ride from Corolla (about an hour) but we’re bringing up the town, because there is so much happening there that it’s a good idea to know about it.

It has a wonderful little downtown that has a couple of sidewalk cafes, coffee shops and art galleries, but beyond that, it has really become the place to go for some of the bigger events on the Outer Banks.

The Brew Thru Summer Series at Roanoke Island Festival Park just wrapped up last night with the Spin Doctors and Gin Blossoms in concert. Performed on an outdoor stage right on the Roanoke Sound with an expansive grassy infield, it would be hard to imagine a better setting for an outdoor concert. And the Spin Doctors and Gin Blossoms really delivered.

However, any discussion of an outdoor theatre on the Outer Banks has to include the Lost Colony, which is the longest running outdoor drama in United States—77 years. What management is now doing, in addition to the Lost Colony performances, is bringing in some excellent entertainment to their Waterside Theatre.

This Sunday it will be the Lovin’ Spoonful, followed by Jars of Clay August 3rd and Marty Stuart August 17.

In addition to the evening entertainment, the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is about two miles past downtown Manteo. The aquarium is running the Tyrannosaurus Trek—life sized animatronic replicas of dinosaurs. Take the kids . . . pretend you’re a kid. You’ll have a great time.

Early Signs Point to Strong Outer Banks Visitation

There’s that old saying that goes, “numbers don’t lie,” and if that’s the case, it looks like the Outer Banks is headed for another record year of visitation. 

We’re only halfway to the end of the year, so it’s a little bit early to celebrate but the figures we’re seeing from the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, who tracks these things, indicate a very strong year on tap.

Something that is particularly encouraging for us here at Brindley Beach, home rentals appear to have the strongest growth of any of the categories the OBVB tracks.

A cautionary note has to come with this—these figures are only through May and we’re not sure how June is going to turn out. With so many schools in the northeast having to stay in session an extra one and sometimes two weeks to make up for the snow days, we’re still waiting to find out what the impact was on the month.

However, July and August are as packed as ever and with more and more activities a part of the Fall scene, there’s a lot of reason for optimism about how the year is going to turn out.

Bike Riding and the Outer Banks

Here at Brindley Beach we’ve written a lot about how great a place the Outer Banks is for running, but for some reason we haven’t really talked about bike riding too much. That’s a mistake on our part, because it would be hard to find a better place to ride a bike than the Outer Banks.

For our visitors in Corolla, the whole area around Corolla Village and Corolla Light is designed for bike riding. Nicely shaded multi-use paths and no hills make this area the perfect place for a family bike ride. South of Timbuck II the shoulder of NC 12 serves as a bike path, and it’s not suitable for younger riders.

For our visitors in Duck and Southern Shores, miles of interconnecting bike paths make northern Dare County the perfect place for a family outing or a more challenging ride. Actually the Outer Banks bike trails are interconnected all the way from Duck to South Nags Head.

It is possible to ride from the the Sanderling in Duck all the way to the Wright Brothers Monument in Kill Devil Hills on bike paths. Should you decide to take the challenge, it’s a 33 or 34 mile round trip, so take extra water. 

The Outer Banks Visitor’s Bureau has a bike map on their website that is helpful, especially in identifying some of the easier rides.

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