Maybe it’s because we just had a big wedding take place in our Cape Hatteras Motel family recently, but our minds have been on the topic of romance quite a bit lately. More and more, the Outer Banks is becoming a wedding destination, and plenty of people first meet, date, get engaged, and spend anniversaries here as well. What is it about this area that is so conducive to love?
First and foremost has to be the feel of the island. Hatteras is laid back and even when we are the busiest, you can find a place to call your own. A spot on the beach, a long walk in the national seashore, a favorite table at a wonderful seafood restaurant with a view, or the sound of the ocean waves while you relax in your room – they all add up to a very special time and place. There are ferry rides to Ocracoke and stand-up paddling or kayaking adventures for two on the sound. Even fishing can become a romantic adventure when the moon is full and the tide is ebbing and flowing. You can’t leave out the lovely sunrises and spectacular sunsets either. We are fortunate to have both occur over water which makes for perfect beginnings and endings to the days. And what can compete with our dark skies for viewing the Milky Way? That will take your breath away for sure!
If you are thinking that this could be the place for your big event –proposal or marriage, vow renewal or anniversary –there are many businesses that can help you find just what you need to make your day special. Feel free to ask us at the motel for advice and suggestions. We especially want to give a shout out to Epic Shutter Photography, Floral Creations, Cake Hatteras, Hatteras Harbor Seafood, Right on 12 BBQ, Jewels by the Sea, Jessie Taylor Music, Studio 12, Lee Robinson’s General Store and Hatteras Wedding Ministries. They were all a part for our day and there are plenty more fine businesses that can assist you with your specific needs.
Also – if you are staying with us and need something special for your magic moment, let us know ahead of time and we will work to assist you.
Hatteras is magical for so many people, but for folks in love, it’s especially so. Let those wedding bells ring!
In our office we have a sign that says “Fishing … if it was easy they’d call it catching!”
The waters around Cape Hatteras have long been known for their bounty when it comes to fish. Some of the earliest writings about Hatteras Island make note of the “plentiful species” that abounded. Throughout the years, fishing has served as a livelihood for our watermen, and in recent history, sport fishing has become one of the big draws to the area. Fishing, more than beach going, has been the biggest reason the island has become more of a year-round destination. But no matter what time of year you come, there is always some kind of fishing going on. If you don’t see yourself as a fisherman (or lady) you might want to think again. Fishing is relaxing and challenging. It’s a great way to concentrate on something other than the weight of the world. Looking out over the ocean can be extremely calming. You meet a lot of like-minded people. And you have great fish stories to tell.
In the summer, charter boats do a big business. From Oregon Inlet to Hatteras to Ocracoke, boats and their captains head both inshore and off shore (to the Gulf Stream) on every good weather day. Parties of 4 to 6 anglers can spend a full day or a half day and it’s great to fun to watch the boats come in late in the afternoon and unload their catches. It does take a bit of savings to go out on a charter, but if you can afford it, it can be a great “bucket list” experience.
However, it doesn’t have to take a bucket load of money to fish.
The Avon Pier provides a great opportunity to try your hand at fishing and they can rent you everything you need. With Pier fishing your license is provided. Just recently a dolphin (mahi mahi) was caught off the Avon Pier so you never really know what the current will push in shore. For youngsters, pier fishing is a great introduction to the sport.
And last, but certainly not least, is the kind of fishing we’re famous for – surf fishing. The Cape Hatteras Anglers’ Club Tournament held in November is the largest surf fishing tournament in the country which speaks to the popularity of casting from our beaches into the surf. During the summer months, catches are typically smaller but very diverse. The big fishing times are generally in the fall and spring. But during the summer months it can be quite busy as well. Tackle shops provide rods, reels, lines, bait, lures, licenses and of course, tons of advice. A four wheel drive is not necessary – you can fish right in front of the motel and we’ve had some nice catches recorded here.
Fishing can be a “community” event or it can be a very solitary pursuit. Many folks will tell you it’s addictive. And who knows, you might even catch a fish!
For many visitors, being on vacation also means disconnecting from the outside world — no TV, no radio and sometimes even a break from social media. But for others, it’s fun to be able to tap into the local scene and on Hatteras Island we have two very fine island-specific media outlets to enjoy. Radio Hatteras (101.5 WHDZ FM in Buxton and just recently 99.9 WHDX in Waves) is a community-supported non-profit endeavor run by a group of committed volunteers. The station provides an eclectic mix of musical programming featuring nearly all genres and often provides nightly specials like “Electric Beach” or “Bluegrass.” There are also slots for local musicians. But the station is especially important to islanders during times of bad weather, when reports from other parts of the state or even Dare County, don’t provide island-specific information.
The station’s mission is “to provide island-specific broadcast radio communications that enhance the safety and quality of life of Hatteras Island residents, visitors, and property owners.” With live streaming capabilities on-line Radio Hatteras you can find out what is happening to your property or your favorite vacation get-away when travel to the island may be difficult or impossible. This is an especially valuable resource for monitoring current road conditions when highway NC 12 is impacted by weather, bridge construction and any other events. The station also provides important announcements for visitors during the summer season and special programs like “To the Point” provide an in-depth look into issues impacting the area. Hosted by Irene Nolan of the Island Free Press, this program gives everyone a better understanding of what it is like to live here all year – a question we are asked often.
Speaking of Irene Nolan, she is the editor of our on-line newspaper, Island Free Press. On this site you can find local news, commentary, beach access and park issues, classified ads, real estate and business updates, fishing reports and more. The site is supported by local businesses and is a great way to feel like a local (and be better informed) all during the year. You can subscribe to the Island Free Press through e-mail and have it dropped into your inbox once a week, or like Radio Hatteras, you can “friend” the Island Free Press on Facebook and get updated regularly as items are published.
Both of these ventures take a significant amount of effort to produce and we are fortunate to have something so local. While we love Raleigh and Norfolk, and even the upper reaches of Bodie Island, nothing beats knowing what is really happening in your own backyard.
ATTENTION ALL KIDS … of all ages!!
Cape Hatteras National Seashore is offering a fun way to learn about sea turtles. Every Tuesday through Friday until September 5th, a kid-friendly park ranger activity will be conducted on the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse grounds. Meet at the Keepers of the Light Amphitheater at 11:30am.
Learn like a ninja and have a great time with a National Park Ranger!
Sometimes they are faded, and sometimes you drive right past them and they don’t really register with your consciousness. But along our Outer Banks you will find numerous historical placards along the highway denoting a special time or place related to the island’s history. They remind all of us that there is so much more to this area than meets the eye. It might be worth a few minutes to stop and read them, to learn a bit more about the rich history of this sandbar.
Just a few hundred yards from the motel in either direction you will find two of these signs – one commemorating the radio transmission of Fesseden (our local recreation center is the Fessenden Center – did you know that?) and the other relates to the location of the notorious Diamond Shoals after which the local restaurant is named. Further on down the island you will see mention of Billy Mitchell (the Frisco airstrip is named in his honor) and another commemorates the Monitor Sanctuary. From the earliest native American settlements, to the Civil War, to the World Wars, until recent times, the strategic location of Hatteras has been a part of many significant historical events. It’s fascinating to learn more about the people who helped shape Hatteras Island from the time of the Croatoan until today. There are several excellent places to visit, and it really is worth a bit of time to step off the beach and explore.
On our recommended list are: the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras Village, the old Weather Service Office in Hatteras, the Native American Museum in Frisco, the Lighthouse Keepers Museum in Buxton, the British Cemetery in Buxton and the Chicamacomico Rescue Station in Rodanthe. If you visit Ocracoke, the Waterman’s Museum at Silver Lake provides a captivating look at the fishing industry of old, and there is a British Cemetery there as well. For the very hearty adventurer, a day trip to Portsmouth Island is a once in a lifetime look at a once thriving maritime community now abandoned. There is also a wealth of books (both fiction and non-fiction) available at most gift shops and the bookstore, many of which are by local authors with generations-long connections to the Outer Banks. We weren’t always a vacation destination. In fact, in terms of history, that’s a very recent development. People lived, worked, fished, farmed, and yes, even raised cattle on this island well into the 20th century. Their dogged determination through years of hurricanes, nor’easters, and true isolation have helped shape the island as it is today.
Make your vacation a bit deeper and richer this year by taking a moment to think back to what made Hatteras Island. It will be the best souvenir you can bring home!
We are fortunate to be known for many things at our motel including great views and helpful, friendly service. But perhaps more than anything, our guests know us, and love us, for our rocking chairs.
Southern airports have long been known for their rockers (think Charlotte, NC) where weary travelers can rest for a moment between connections either looking ahead to a new adventure or reminiscing of the one just past.
For the Cape Hatteras Motel, rocking chairs represent the essence of an Outer Banks stay. A vacation’s worth of memories located in a piece of wooden furniture. Throughout the summer we notice our rockers being used for all sorts of memory-making:
1- First on the list would be beverages consumed in the rockers – steaming fresh coffee in the mornings as the sun rises, iced tea during a break on a hot afternoon, and of course the adult beverage of choice as the day winds down.
2- Rockers are also a great spot to catch up on reading – newspapers, best sellers, light summer fare, or brochures on interesting yet-to-be-tried OBX activities.
3- Rockers make great places to catch a nap. This is especially true on a day when a bit of light rain falls onto the beach and the sounds of the wind and rain are positively spell-binding.
4- Little ones love to nestle onto parents and grandparents laps for naps, or for important discussions that only young children can have about what they are seeing and learning at the beach.
5- Rockers make a safe place to watch off-shore thunderstorms when the thunder rolls along the sea and the lightening becomes the best fireworks show around.
6- But perhaps the most important function of the rocking chair is to rock cares away. When a visitor can leave the world behind and dream new dreams, find peace of mind, or just do absolutely nothing at all then we have achieved our goal of providing the perfect space for the perfect vacation.