Every town should have a boardwalk like the town of Duck.

Let Virginia Beach or the Jersey Shore have their kitschy commercial concrete boardwalks–I’ll take the quiet beauty and thoughtful planning of the Duck soundside path every time.

It’s not very long . . . just over a half mile in length, but it is one of the most interesting–and easy–walks on the Outer Banks. It begins (or ends, depends on your perspective) at the Waterfront Shops on the north end and runs right along the sound until it ends at Wave Pizza on the south end.

Along the way there’s direct access to all of the shopping areas of the village, a couple of restaurant and snack bars, boat ramps and a crabbing area. But what really sets this particular boardwalk apart from any other is the conscious effort to create a setting in concert with the natural surroundings.

The vistas across the Currituck Sound are breathtaking, the sunsets have to be seen to be believed and it’s all integrated into the idea that in the central business district of Duck everything is within an easy walk.

The town of Duck is unique on the Outer Banks and may be unique to any town anywhere. Long and narrow (there’s not much east or west on the Outer Banks), it’s about four miles long and never more than half a mile wide.

It was the last town to incorporate on the Outer Banks (2012), and it came into existence specifically in response to local residents’ opposition to big box store plans for their village that they felt were being forced on them by Dare County government. As a consequence, a lot of thought has gone in to how to create a pedestrian village feel that favors locally owned retail stores and restaurants.

The commercial district is centered around an 11 acre town park that includes a gazebo and stage–and both are used extensively to give free concerts and performances throughout the summer and into the fall. The reasoning is simple–the more people gather at the park, the more likely they are to shop in the village’s businesses or eat at the restaurants. The more they spend the healthier the businesses and the more tax revenue the town collects.

It is an excellent example of how government–especially on a local level–and business can work together so that everyone benefits. And everyone means everyone. Visitors get some great entertainment for free, local businesses are healthy and the town of Duck has the money it needs to function.

A quick mention of the largest free event of the year for Duck. The Duck Jazz Festival is on Sunday, October 7. The musicians are in town for the weekend, and they keep showing up everywhere.

An amazing weekend. If you haven’t made your reservations for the week or weekend, give us a call. It’s Columbus Day weekend, it’s a busy weekend and you don’t want to miss this.