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!
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!
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!