Tips from Your Innkeeper

Circle of Life - Cape Hatteras Motel

The Circle of Life at Cape Hatteras Motel in Buxton

Because we interact with the public on a daily basis at Cape Hatteras Motel, we tend to see all facets of life played out here as our guests bring all their joys, hope, and sometimes sorrows with them to the beach.

For many people, Cape Hatteras is an integral part of their lives and they want to share their most special moments at the beach. Most times the occasions are the happy ones. We love to find out that someone popped the question on a beautiful moonlit night on our porch or along the beach at sunrise. We are delighted to witness weddings – some planned and some spontaneous – with the waves, the birds, and the sea providing an incredible backdrop to a marriage ceremony. We mark many anniversaries – from the first to the 50th and beyond – and often times we’re the same motel that hosted the honeymoon. There are birthdays and graduation celebrations and annual family reunions. We have conversations with our repeat guests and we watch their children become young men and women who in turn begin bringing their families as their parents become grandparents.

Today in the space of 30 minutes we were reminded of the wonderful circle of life. We welcomed a young couple with their 6 month old son. They remarked that they love the beach and they want him to learn to love it as well. He may not recall this first visit, but no doubt there will be more visits in years to come.

Just a few moments after that, I witnessed a small gathering of guests, my assumption is family and friends, who were engaged in the very moving and meaningful gesture of spreading ashes in the surf. Clearly this was someone’s end of life wish – to become a part of the sand, sea and surf here at Cape Hatteras near our motel. There isn’t much that is more touching than to know we played such a huge part in someone’s life that they would want us to play a role in this final act.

We realize that a motel is just a backdrop to many important memories. But for us, being here for you is why we do what we do and we’re grateful that even in the background we are a part of your lives.

We look forward to creating and sharing many more special days with you!

More Beach To Love Nourishment - Cape Hatteras Motel

Buxton Beach Nourishment Update – May 8, 2017

Weeks Marine, the contractor for the Buxton beach nourishment project, has announced the first day of pumping has been postponed from the originally projected date of May 21 to sometime within the last week of May.

The starting point for the project, where the offshore pipes connect with the onshore pipes, will be located at the oceanfront approximately 1000 feet north of the northern boundary of the village of Buxton. Weeks Marine has announced project construction will initially proceed to the north of the starting point.

The whole project is expected to be completed within 90 days under normal conditions – approximately 55 days for the project area north of the starting point and approximately 35 days for the southern portion.

For more information about beach nourishment projects taking place in Dare County in 2017, please visit

More Beach To Love Nourishment - Cape Hatteras Motel

Buxton Beach Nourishment Update – April 24, 2017

Weeks Marine, the contractor for the Buxton beach nourishment project, plans to begin mobilizing equipment and pipes in early May. Equipment and pipes will be stored near the south end of the project area at the decommissioned US Coast Guard Base.

The first day of pumping sand is anticipated to be around May 21. The starting point for the project, where the offshore pipes connect with the onshore pipes, will be located at the oceanfront approximately 1000 feet north of the northern boundary of the village of Buxton. Weeks Marine is coordinating with the National Park Service to finalize their plan regarding whether pumping will initially proceed to the north or to the south.  The whole project is expected to be completed within 90 days under normal conditions – approximately 55 days for the project area north of the starting point and approximately 35 days for the southern portion.


Link to the release on the Dare County website.

Easter new update - Cape Hatteras Motel

What’s NEW For 2017 At Cape Hatteras Motel

Easter is almost here and that means the 2017 Beach season is upon us. We are looking forward to a season filled with happy vacation memories for our guests. It’s time to review a few items as you prepare for your visit, and also update you on a few changes at the motel.

As always, it’s a good idea to take a look at our website before your arrival, especially if you are a first-time guest. Give us a call at the motel [(252) 995-5611] if you have any questions about your reservation, room type, or activities here on Hatteras Island or nearby.

While traveling here you will note the work ongoing at the two bridge sites — one at Oregon Inlet and the other on Pea Island. Depending on the time and day you arrive there may be some lane closures so allow for that in your schedule. These bridges are extremely important to the life and vitality of Hatteras Island so we hope you will not let the minor inconvenience of slower traffic burden you. We will be here at the end of your journey! The construction is truly fascinating to see.

This summer beach re-nourisment will be ongoing in the Buxton area frm June 1- August 31, but we do not yet know from the contractors about the time-frame the work will be done in front of our motel. Please take a look at our previous blog-post about the “More Beach to Love” project and if you are vacationing with us during June, July or August stay tuned to the website or Facebook for more information. We are planning several family-friendly fun activities for the 5-6 days when we will experience the work. We want to make it a special time for all our guests, one that you can say upon reflection quite happily “I was there when they grew beach in 2017.” It will be an interesting process, and the end result is a more stable beach that you and your family and friends can enjoy for years to come. It also means Highway 12 is a bit more secure and less vulnerable, which is a very good thing!

During the winter we moved our office! So when you arrive please look to the end units on the lower level of the soundside. The office is clearly marked and we now have a ramp to the office as well. We’re excited about this new space and we think it will make your check-ins and check-outs go even more smoothly. What’s more, we’ve added some gallery space to the office and we are featuring not only artwork but also some local products that you can enjoy here or take home, include “Hatteras Sea Salts” and “Skeeter Beater.” The Clifford Morrow portion of the gallery celebrates the life and art of a man who made Hatteras Island his retirement home and whose work captures the essence of the natural beauty here. You’ll find great ideas for special Christmas, birthday or anniversary gifts.

We look forward to welcoming you in 2017! Don’t hesitate to call us at [252-995-5611] if you have questions or need additional information. See you soon!

The Cape Hatteras Motel Team

Easter new update - Cape Hatteras Motel

Easter new update - Cape Hatteras Motel

Buxton Thanksgiving - Cape Hatteras Motel

Giving Thanks At Cape Hatteras Motel

Cape Hatteras Motel has taken a few hits this year. Mother Nature was not always kind. But there have been so many other positives to celebrate, we felt this week more than ever was the right time to express our thanks!

First, we want to thank all of our guests. We thank our loyal guests who have returned year after year, sometimes over generations, because our motel holds special memories for you and your family. We thank our new guests who decided to give us a try and found a real love for our beach, our sunrises, and even our rocking chairs. We are grateful for every guest who came to our motel and indeed, traveled to Hatteras Island, because of who we are and what we have to offer, and did not complain because of what we don’t have or what we don’t offer. It is true that Hatteras isn’t for everyone. We are grateful for all of our guests who “get OBX” and wouldn’t go anywhere else!

We are thankful that beach re-nourishment will finally be on the way for 2017. We are thankful for a wonderful staff who are complimented regularly by our guests on how they go the extra mile to make someone’s vacation extra special, or how they handle problems and work to make things right.

We are thankful for our Facebook audience which has grown by leaps and bounds this year and has provided us with tremendous support during Hermine and Matthew. We know you really care about what happens to us way out here! We are thankful for guests who visit with us in the months from September through May, and have the opportunity to experience the Outer Banks in all of the seasons of the year beyond the summer.

We thank the local businesses who we support and who in turn support us. In a small community this reciprocity is vital. And we thank all of our service providers and vendors who work with us during the year, and who, in the midst of a busy season, we sometimes forget to thank.

We wish you all a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving, and we look forward to hosting you again very soon.

Cape Hatteras Motel For Sale

After A Great 45 Year Ride, Dave Would Like To Surf Into The Sunset!

That’s right folks, our intrepid owner, Dave Dawson, is ready to set a new course for a different personal horizon … Cape Hatteras Motel is FOR SALE!

This is a great opportunity for a savvy investor.

Hatteras Island beaches are frequently rated among the nation’s “Top 10 Favorite Beaches” as well as the trip there among the “Top 10 Most Scenic Drives”. Dare County’s current commitment for beach nourishment is moving forward:

“The Buxton Beach Nourishment project will be constructed in 2017 to ensure safe reliable access to Hatteras Island via NC 12.  The project includes approximately 2.9 miles of beach and will initially widen the beach by approximately 250 feet.” ~

Contact Bobby Harrell or Kim Milby with Harrell & Associates today at 252-441-7887 ~


After Matthew - Cape Hatteras Motel

The “After Matthew” At Cape Hatteras Motel

While the attention of the national media turns elsewhere, we on Hatteras Island are still struggling with the aftermath of a storm that was not supposed to hit us nearly as closely, nor as severely, as it did. I will leave the discussion about the non-evacuation orders as well as the science of forecasting to others. This post will be about what you should expect as a visitor arriving in the next days, weeks, or even months.

This was a storm with sound-side flooding of epic proportions. Whether or not it was worse than Emily really doesn’t matter. For individuals who lost businesses or homes or other property, it is a very difficult time. Islanders are a hearty breed, and that is a point of pride. But any time there is a storm with this kind of impact, it takes a while to recover. You may not see all of the damage as you drive along. But in the neighborhoods on the back roads, along the creeks and ponds, there will be piles of debris. Business owners all took a huge hit with a loss of business on what should have been a big October fishing and holiday weekend. Margins are tight, and this kind of loss creates a lot of worry. The off-season is tough here, and so if people seem pre-occupied with other thoughts, it might be because they are worried about making it through the next six to eight months. Some businesses will be a total loss. Others might not have suffered any damage at all. Such are the vagaries of wind and tide.

At our motel, we will be cleaning out sand for some time. The storm pushed a lot of water through. The parking lot will likely not be pristine. We lost both propane tanks for the pool and hot tub, so unfortunately we have to close the pool area for the season. It was about time anyway, but the storm has forced the issue. We lost some shingles and will be meeting with roofers for estimates and time frames. We are currently going room to room removing plywood and checking for water damage to the HVAC units. All of this takes some time, and while we may not be at 100% we will do what we can to make your stay the kind of stay you expect at Cape Hatteras Motel. We are certain all other businesses have the same plans and goals. What we ask of you is to pack a little extra patience and please, please, please drive carefully on the roads, especially this week. We look forward to seeing you beginning Tuesday, October 11, and hope Highway 12 will be re-opening between now and then!

We also wish to thank everyone for their words of concern and support over the past week. Trust us, it really helps you get through the storm!

Hurricane Matthew Track Update - Cape Hatteras Motel

Thursday PM Hurricane Matthew Update From Cape Hatteras Motel

Cape Hatteras Motel will be closed for guests beginning today (Thursday). We expect to re-open on Tuesday with Monday being a clean-up day.

The motel phone will be checked periodically for messages. We will get back to you as quickly as possible. Check back here and on our Facebook page for additional updates. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

We are working to get the motel ready to receive guests on Tuesday, but there may be the need to park on the soundside for a few days due to sand removal.

Hurricane Matthew - Outer Banks Motel

Hurricane Matthew Updates From Cape Hatteras Motel

Cape Hatteras Motel is now preparing for any impacts from Hurricane Matthew.

If you have reservations at any time during the next week – from October 5-12 – please call the motel directly to discuss at 252-995-5611.

You can obtain additional information by following the Motel’s Facebook page for regular posts and updates.

All Seasons Beach - Cape Hatteras Motel

A Beach For All Seasons On Hatteras Island

We are often asked, “What’s it like at other times of the year?”

The majority of our guests visit with us during the peak season between Memorial Day and Labor Day when we have the most cars on the road, the most rooms booked, the most people on the beach, and the hottest days and warmest nights. It is what people want when they think about their summer vacation in all its glory! As we are now about to transition into the fall months with Labor Day just around the corner it’s a good time to let folks know what they might expect during the other seasons. We increasingly have “all seasons” visitors who want to give the fall, winter or spring a try.

The caveat for all of this is the weather. We do live on an island and we do have storms from time to time. But even then, unless it is a very significant storm which causes major damage, storms have their own beauty and power. They are especially magnificent when viewed from the island’s perspective. But let’s assume for the purposes of this blog post that weather, at least severe weather as in a major hurricane or nor’easter, is not a problem.

September is a lovely month. The water is still warm enough to swim in without a wetsuit, the days usually are very comfortable as the humidity begins to drop. For the most part the crowds, such as they are, are individuals without children as school is in session.  Most of the eateries and shops are still open, and have fairly regular hours.

Moving into October the temps are still mild, but the water begins to cool off. This is a big fishing month and there are some tournaments that take place on the weekends, so weekends stay pretty busy. If a restaurant stays open past Labor Day it is usually a good bet it will be open, at least part of the time, through Thanksgiving.  It’s always good to check in with the front desk and we can give you a pretty good idea of who is open and when.

Thanksgiving is really great on the beach. The air is crisp and clear, not usually terribly cold, and the shelling begins to improve as the ocean gets moving a bit more. When the winds are up, the kiteboarders and wind surfers are here, but by November, some sort of wetsuit is usually needed.  Fishing is still very popular through the month.

December brings some folks here for Christmas, more for the week following and into the New Year. Typically it is cooler, but last year we had temps in the 70s at the end of December, so you never know. Birding, shelling, fishing, and beach walking in general are extremely popular. There are fewer eateries and shops open, but our grocery stores are always open and there are a few restaurants that stay open until the New Year.

January and February are the quietest months. We can see snow (truly a beautiful scene) and you often have the beach all to yourself. Valentine’s Day Is becoming more and more popular for a romantic beach get-away. We add some wine and chocolate to make the stay even more enjoyable!

Depending on when Easter falls, the island slowly comes back to life during March and early April. The air temperatures can become quite warm, but the water is still too cold for swimming without a wetsuit of some type. Again, due to the winds, this is prime time for kiteboarding and wind surfing.

As April moves on into May, everything begins to pick up. Shops and restaurants reopen, some families bring their children here during the Easter holidays, and everyone and everything is getting geared up for the summer season. Then, before we all know it, it’s Memorial Day and the cycle begins anew.

We hope to see you sometime during the year – certainly there is a month that is best for you!