Tips from Your Innkeeper

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!

Hatteras Colors - Cape Hatteras Motel

All the Colors of a Cape Hatteras Summer

When you dream about your Hatteras vacation, whether it’s a daydream in the office or an actual nighttime version, in all likelihood it’s in color. That’s because the colors of the summer on the Outer Banks are vivid, varied, and truly unforgettable.

The sand is a great place to begin. Whether it’s a golden hue you see or a more reddish tinge near the tide line, the sunlight makes the sand shimmer and the brightness can be overwhelming. Couple that with a beautiful blue sky and the contrast is magical. Near the end of the summer, the sea oats tassel out, and their green and gold colors along the dunes create a waving buffer between sand and sky.

The ubiquitous JoBell flowers combine a dark yellow and deep red to add to the summer landscape. Beach umbrellas and tents provide the frivolity. Every color in the palette can be represented and again, when played up against the sand and sky, they stand out as if placed there like stickers in a child’s sticker book.

The lighthouse stands in stark contrast to everything else with it’s gleaming white and black-as-night stripes. The lighthouse is impressive no matter what the background, but on a day when the sky is bluer than blue and a few big puffy white clouds are around, it is just magnificent. In the early morning, those white stripes can take on a shade of pink and it’s a whole different look.

Which brings us to sunrises and sunsets. Talk about every color! Sometimes the sky is filled with various pastels and other times the sky is on fire. The scene can change from moment to moment on the same night, and especially with sunset, the colors linger long after the sun has actually set with purples and oranges streaking across the sky.

On a sunny day with a storm approaching the clouds can turn a deep, dark violet and the lightening streaks the sky. And of course after the storm, summer rainbows are our reward.

Lastly, there is the ocean. Every shade or blue or green can be seen there depending on the weather, the tide, and the prevailing wind. Sometimes the horizon is a dark navy blue and white ships dot the horizon. Other days the colors can almost be Caribbean and crystal clear. In the waves as they roll and break, there is a lovely seafoam green, one of the most relaxing colors we know.

So as you reflect on vacations past, or dream of future days in Hatteras, may all your dreams be in color, and may all your Hatteras dreams come true!

Big World On the Beach - Cape Hatteras

Small Island – Great Big World, On Hatteras Island

When you come to the Outer Banks, you might not expect to encounter the world. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of international visitors, and there are times at Cape Hatteras Motel when our registry looks like the United Nations! Visibility on the internet and a presence on external booking sites means all of OBX is now “out there” for the world to see, and the world is coming to our door step.

Our neighbors to the north, in Canada, perhaps really started this trend years ago with the strong interest in wind surfing which exploded a few decades back. But now, visitors can and do come from everywhere. This summer our motel has hosted visitors from Canada, England, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Argentina, China, Australia and Japan just to name a few. We have enjoyed sharing this part of our country with our visitors. For some of them, this is their first American experience, and we want to be sure they can appreciate not only the beauty of the Outer Banks, but the warmth and friendliness of our hospitality.

Additionally in the summer months you may encounter many internationals who are working in the service industries for the summer. You will meet them in the check-out lines at the grocery stores, serving your meals at local restaurants, assisting you at gift shops, and cleaning rooms and cottages across the island. This is an opportunity for them to not only see a beautiful part of our country, but also to earn money during the summer, and to improve on their English language skills. We have found most of these young people to be unbelievably open and friendly, anxious to learn more about our country and also anxious to share about their homelands.

Hatteras often feels like the end of the earth, people enjoy our remoteness as a great place to get away from it all. But in this age of computers, cell phones, travel websites and review pages, we are no longer a secret – even in the far-flung corners of our globe!

Hurricanes Dog Days - Cape Hatteras Motel

What A Difference A Day Makes On Hatteras Island

As this blog is being written, the calendar says July 31 which means tomorrow begins the dog days of August. It’s just one day, but there is a palpable change in atmosphere on Hatteras Island when we say farewell to July.

Believe it or not, many schools in the South begin their fall terms in August – some as early as August 1. So slowly, but surely, families must turn their attention away from vacation planning and onto books, backpacks and juggling sports and activity schedules. The number of young school-age people on the beach begins to decline. There are just a few fewer cars on the roads, the restaurants are just a bit less frantic (on most nights!) and the parking lots have a few more open spaces.

At Cape Hatteras High School the outdoor sign notes “that other Hurricane season” … that football practice begins on August 1 and cross-country practice is not far behind. An ad looking for school bus drivers was up not long ago. Shops are not purchasing any more summer items, so sales abound – especially for summer clothing and beach items. Entertainment schedules at the local venues are winding down, and “last whatever of the season” ads are popping up here and there.

At the motel, calls for reservations are now focusing on Labor Day weekend, the fall fishing season and bookings for next summer. For everyone working on the island, there is a realization that the busiest part of the season is now behind us and as quickly as it came upon us, Summer 2016 will soon be a memory.

While the days are still very hot, they are getting shorter. After two full months of summer, the ocean temperature is warm. The locusts are singing their songs in the trees and the sea oats are fully tasseled. It’s a lovely time on the beach – a slightly quieter time to enjoy what summer has left to offer!

Hatteras Island Weddings - Cape Hatteras Motel

Destination Hatteras Island for Romance & Ideal Weddings

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!