New Year’s Eve and More on the OBX

Once upon a time, the island closed right after Christmas. But today, many things are open straight through New Year’s and beyond. So if you’re in the Outer Banks this New Year, there’s plenty of thing you can do.

New Year’s Eve Parties

Not only are many restaurants still open, many of them are hosting New Year’s Eve parties. Here are a few of our favorites.

The Roadside Bar and Grill Crab Pot Drop

Times Square drops a big disco ball. We drop a crab pot. What could be more Outer Banks than that? And so everyone can participate, the crab pot drops at 10pm, not Midnight. It’s great family fun.

New Year’s Eve at Aqua Restaurant

If you’re looking for some more grown up fun on New Year’s, check out how Aqua does New Year’s. Some of the best views in Duck, champagne and delicious dinner await you.

Basnightâ??s Lone Cedar Café – New Year’s Eve Celebration

Live music combined with the usual great food and drink available at Basnight’s makes this a New Year’s to remember. Festivities last until midnight. Of course, if you’re just looking for a place to eat out, Dinner service starts at 4:30.

Kelly’s Outer Banks Restaurant and Tavern New Year’s Eve Celebration

2 DJ’s, a great menu, and all kinds of cocktails are waiting for you at Kelly’s New Year’s Eve celebration. And don’t worry if you’re the designated driver, they also have ‘mocktails’ (which are really more like dessert.)  Party favors are included.

Outer Banks Brew Station New Year’s Eve Bash

This party is brought to you by some big names on the Outer Banks; Outer Banks Distilling, Outer Banks Brewing Station and Mom’s Sweet Shop. This promises to be a great time for everyone. Not to mention it’s the home of the biggest balloon drop on the beach.

Day After, Before, And Beyond

Of course, there’s more to do here then just New Year’s. These Events are fun before and after the party.

Aqua’s 2nd Annual New Year’s Day Recovery Party

This unique Event takes place at aqua in Duck the day after New Year’s. They start at noon so you don’t even have to get up early for them. Barbeque, live music, comfort food and recovery cocktails are a few of the highlights.

Winter Lights

If you missed the Winter Lights at Christmas, don’t worry. They’re up until January 23rd.  And now that Christmas is over, it won’t be so crowded. It’s a great time to see them.

Horse Tours

Wild horses are great symbol for the New Year and great to see at any time of year. Hose tours are open year round and it’s a great thing to do on New Year’s Eve day, before or after New Year’s.

Poulos Family Christmas Lights

Featured on the HGTV and the Today Show, this Christmas light spectacular will fill you with the holiday spirit. The last day to catch these lights is December 31st. So if you’re in town prior to New Year’s, this is a not to be missed Event.

Even though summer is over, it’s still a great time to be at the Outer Banks. Be sure to check out our specials page for last minute deals.

Don’t Wait to Book Your Outer Banks Vacation

The holidays are a great time to get together with family and friends and talk about your summer vacation plans. If you’re thinking about an Outer Banks vacation for 2016, now is the perfect time to book it. So why should you consider booking early? There are many reasonsâ?¦

Get the Home You REALLY Want

Would it surprise you to know that many of our homes are already booked? It’s true. Homes start booking up to a year in advance so guests can get the ones they really want. But it’s not too late to book now. Calling early next year or before this year even ends ensures you can secure the home of your dreams.

The New Homes Are Here

Didnâ??t find the exact home you wanted last year? Don’t worry, you have another chance. Now is the time of year when the new homes join the program. And since they don’t have much rental history yet, they’re not booked solid yet. Soon though, everyone will know about them. Be sure to check out all our new homes here

Flex Payment Plans

Reserve now and have more time to pay. Our Flexible Payment Plan lets you book with as little as 25% down. Then you just make smaller payments up until thirty days prior to arrival. And with no credit card fees and no interest, everyone in your party can call with their own credit card and pay.

Early Bird Specials

This time of year, there are all kinds of weekly or daily specials as we approach the New Year. You could get a discount on your house, your taxes paid, or even be entered in a contest to win a prize. It’s a great time to book a house. See all our current specials here.

Start Saving for Extras Now

Of course, an Outer Banks vacation is more than just a great house and beach. It’s also about going out to eat, buying souvenirs, going on tours and having adventures. Booking you vacation now puts you in the mindset of planning for it, which helps you save for all those extras you want to do.

Plan Your Travel Time

Most our guests arrive by car. However, some do arrive by plane particularly ones who coming from further inland or attending family reunions. Booking your home early enables you to plan out your trip. You can reserve your flights, plan out your car route and decide if you’re going stay overnight anywhere en route.

Part of enjoying your vacation is the anticipation. By reserving now, you can look forward to a vacation in your perfect house, be less stressed about money, and know you’re going to have some great memories to look back on.

What are you waiting for? The time to book is NOW.

Beach Christmas Crafts

Ever wonder how you can turn all of those beach treasures you found on your last vacation into lasting memories?   Wonder no more. This article will tell you how to incorporate your finds into Christmas crafts and decorations.   Gather the family the make these crafts and plan your next OBX vacation together!!

Pearled Oysters on the Half Shell

Oysters are famous for two things; pearls and being delicious. Though you may have already enjoyed the oyster and didn’t find a pearl, here’s a way to enjoy a ‘pearled oyster’ at Christmas. oyster pearl


  • Oyster shells
  • Gold leaf (kit)
  • Pearlescent acrylic craft paint (the kind with mica in it so it sparkles)
  • A way to drill a hole in a shell
  • Large fake pearl
  • Aleene’s Tacky Glue (or glue gun)
  • Ribbon for hanging (your choice of colors)

Drill a hole in the top of the oyster shell. This is how your oyster will be hung. Paint the entire shell with 1-3 coats of pearlescent paint. Since craft paint is not as heavily pigmented as professional grade, the beauty of your inner oyster shell will shine through the paint.

Once paint is dry, apply gold leaf to the rim of the shell. Once dry, glue the pearl in the deepest part of the oyster.  Once the entire oyster is dry, thread the ribbon through the hole at the top and tie a bow.


Ship’s Wreath

If you want a nautical themed wreath this year, don’t settle for gluing seashells to  a regular run of the mill wreath. This year, a truly special wreath that calls to the sea, starts with the base.


  • Ships ‘wheel’ (you can buy them in stores around the Outer Banks or get a craft version online) 
  • Package of decorative Christmas lights with battery pack (available in craft stores)
  • Snow spray in a can (they make it to simulate snow frosted windows)
  • Pack of plastic snowflake ornaments
  • Silver glitter spray (Rustolem makes a good one.)
  •  Aleene’s Tacky Glue (or glue gun)

Give the wheel a complete first and second coat of silver spray paint. Once dry, spray the wheel with the canned snow. You’re not worrying about complete coverage with this spray. In fact, you want it to be a little ‘spotty’ so the silver glitter will shine through.

Once dry, hide the battery pack behind the center part of the wheel. The main wire can ‘hide’ behind a spoke until it gets to the outer rim. Wrap your lights in a pleasing arrangement around the outer rim and spokes until it ‘looks right.’ Spot glue your lights and battery pack into place. Glue snowflakes to outer rim and spokes of wheel. Now you have a nautical wreath.

Sea Urchin Snowman

People often say ‘urchin’ like it’s a bad thing. However, this season, urchins are the perfect thing for decorating your holiday home. And that’s a good thing.

MATERIALS  urchin snowman

  • 3 sea urchins; small, medium and large
  • White paint
  • Black rhinestones or sequins
  • Length of decorative cord or ribbon
  • Aleene’s Tacky Glue (or glue gun)
  • Craft top hat (optional)

Paint your 3 urchins white and let dry. You want them to be all white so you’ll need many coats. Then, glue the urchins together;  the smallest one on top and the largest one on the bottom. Attach sequin/rhinestones to be eyes, nose, mouth and buttons. Wrap the cord/ribbon around the ‘neck’ of the smallest urchin (where the small and the medium one join) Finish with a top hat, available in a craft or doll section.

Jeweled Seashells

Seashells are often called ‘nature’s Jewels’. So it’s fitting for the holidays that fake jewels and the ‘jewels of the sea’ combine to make something truly breathtaking.


  • A variety of seashells
  • An assortment of rhinestones, crystals, and beads
  • Aleene’s Tacky Glue (or glue gun)
  • Ribbon for hanging (your choice of colors)
  • A way to drill a hole in a shell
  • Pearlescent acrylic craft paint (the kind with mica in it so it sparkles) Optional

If you’d like the seashell colors to be muted, first is to paint the shell with 1-2 coats of mica pearlescent craft paint. Or, you can skip this step entirely.

Drill holes in the top of shells for hanging.  Decide where you want the rhinestones/crystals and glue them on. They look best in harmony with a shell’s natural lines; along the rim or following lines up or down.  Let dry, thread a ribbon through the hole, tie and hang.

Faux Sea Glass Christmas Balls

This is an unusual method I came across for making any glass object look like sea glass. It’s not limited to Christmas balls. You can do it with glasses, plates and bottles too, as long as you remember they are neither food safe nor waterproof.


  • Clear Glass Christmas Ball Ornaments
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Food coloring
  • Mixing palates, sticks and paint brushes (paper plates and fat toothpicks work just fine)
  • Ribbon for hanging

Squeeze a big puddle of Elmer’s glue onto a plate. Mix in drops of food dye until desired color is achieved. Paint the balls and let dry. The Elmer’s will cause the food dye to dry to a finish that looks just like sea glass.  

Sea Shell Tea Lights

Fire resistant, translucent and beautiful, Sea shells are the perfect holders for candles. And since it’s candle season, here’s how to turn your seashells into candles.


  • Scallop, whelk, or other shells with a definite impression in them
  • Candle wax
  • Candle wick
  • Glass beads (no plastic)
  • Aleene’s Tacky Glue (a glue gun should never be used around candle crafts.)
  • Scents and dyes (optional)

If your shell seems ‘tippy,’ add on beads to act as feet. This will stabilize the shell and prevent it from spilling out hot wax. Once the feet are dry, place the wick inside the shell as the included instructions show.

Melt the candle wax according to the instructions and add in whatever scents and dyes you like. Then, pour in the melted wax, being careful that the wick does not disappear in the wax. Let cool, then light and enjoy.

Sea Shell Soap Dish

Not just for Christmas, this soap dish can be used any time of year. It also makes a great present or wonderful guest bathroom accent.


  • Large Oyster or scallop shell (you need a shell with a shallow depression)
  • Large beads
  • Pearlescent acrylic craft paint (the kind with mica in it so it sparkles)
  • Aleene’s Tacky Glue (or glue gun)

Give your shell 1-2 coats of mica craft paint. This will help mute the colors and help it blend in better with your décor. Glue 3-4 beads to the bottom of the shell to prevent tipping. These will act as its feet.  Let dry. Now, you have a soap dish.

Sparkling Beach Mason Jars

Mason jars aren’t just for canning or catching fireflies anymore. They also make fun home décor accents. By combining seashells, lights and ornaments, you can make a truly dazzling display.


  • Mason jars
  • Battery powered lights
  • Small silver/blue/gold Christmas balls
  • Sparkling beads
  • Shells

Arrange the lights in the jar the way you want. Make sure that the battery pack is outside the jar so you can turn it on and off. (Depending on the fit of your jar lid, this may involve cutting out a tiny piece of side from the lid.)

Fill the jar with seashells, Christmas ornaments, and beads. Then close the jar and turn on the lights.

Seashell Toothpicks

What could be better than serving your holiday hors d’oeuvres with a combined beach and nautical theme? This is a great way to use your small shells.


  • At least 12 Shells smaller than a nickel
  • A box of toothpicks
  • Red or green beads/pearls
  • E6000 Craft Adhesive

For this one you need a stronger bond than Aleene’s provides

Glue the colored people to the top of each shell. Once dry, glue the shell to the top of a toothpick. These tiny skewers look great stick out of seafood based hors d’oeuvres (think shrimp)

Beach Snow Globe

Who says snow globes have to be filled with snow? How about one filled with sea shells and glitter instead? You won’t believe how easy it is to get professional snow globe and a lot of fun for not a lot of money.


  • Snow globe kit (a flower ‘aquarium’ or a jar with a tight fitting lid you can glue will also work)
  • 2 part water proof Epoxy for glass
  • Glitter
  • Sand
  • Seashells
  • Baby oil

Mix the epoxy with sand and spread along the bottom of your globe. You can have a thin layer or be creative with peaks and valleys. Let dry. Then glue your shells into place on sandy base.  Let dry.

Fill the glass part of the base 2/3 full of baby oil. Baby oil does turn green the way water can and it makes the glitter fall slower.  Add a 1-2 tablespoons of glitter depending on the globes size. (adding too much glitter will make it impossible to see your shells.)

Turn base over and epoxy it to the globe. One dry, your beach snow globe is ready to be shaken and enjoyed.

Just because the summer is over doesn’t mean you have to give up all things beachy. By incorporating a beach theme into your holiday decorating, you can enjoy the beach all year long. And if you’re giving a beach vacation for Christmas this year, don’t forget to check out our Specials Page.


*As always, proper care is to be used around anything chemical, sharp, or hot. Atlantic Realty is not responsible for any damage of person or property related to these instructions. Slight risk is the nature of crafts.

25 Days of Christmas

Wondering what there is to do on the Outer Banks in December?  The Outer Banks has its own unique celebrations and traditions. Plus, many attractions and businesses are still open until after Christmas. Here are 25 of our favorite things for Christmas on the Outer Banks, one for each day of Christmas.

Events with * next to them are available on more than one day. Be sure to check on alternate dates if it’s something you’re interested in.  Plan a December visit and take part in these Christmas activities. 

December 1

*The Poulos House

Also known as the Outer Banks Christmas House, this one of our longest running, and most special, traditions. Jim and Ann Poulos spend 12 weeks decorating their house to be ready by December.  It has trains, a toy mountain, life sized Christmas scenes and decorations you might remember from your childhood. As for the lights, they have lights galore. Admission is free, but since it costs over $3,500 in monthly energy bills, please consider making a donation when you visit.

December 2

*A Holiday Horse Tour

Ok, so it’s just a regular horse tour. But there’s just something about a chill in the air, the horses’ shaggy winter coats and the possibly of snowflakes that makes this tour feel special. Horses don’t care that it’s December, they’ll be out, frolicking and eating like they always are. You might even get to see a foal or two. You can get 10% off your holiday horse tour with our Explore the Shore Pass.

December 3

2nd Annual Beach Food Pantry Holiday Chefs Challenge

Like Iron Chef? You’ll love the Outer Banks version where YOU are the judge. Chefs from 14 restaurants compete to create the best dish from items commonly left at food pantries. You not only get to sample the dishes, you also get to vote for your favorite with culinary coins. They are also serving heavy appetizers and drinks. And don’t miss the auction; there are all kinds of goodie baskets. A good time is guaranteed by all and the money raised helps the food pantry. 

Festival of Trees Holiday Bizarre And Silent Auction

This is the first day of The Festival of Trees fundraiser. This day features a bizarre and silent auction. Different items have different times they go on sale. It’s a great way to stock up on some last minute shopping of some rather unusual presents. All proceeded go to Hotline, a domestic abuse shelter.

December 4

First Friday and Christmas Tree Lighting

On the first Friday of the month, Manteo has their First Friday celebration. This time of year, it’s combined with the Tree Lighting Ceremony where you can see them light the big Christmas tree in Downtown Manteo. Afterwards, you can pop into some of the shops, find unusual presents and sample some local fare. 

December 5

The Manteo Christmas Parade

You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you watch our annual Christmas Parade. There are fancy cars, local celebrities and a good, down home Mayberry feel. It’s a reminder of a simpler time that you can share with your family for years to come. Santa even arrives on a firetruck. Santa and firetrucks, what kid wouldnâ??t love that? Even the leashed dogs are welcome. Afterward, you can dine at one of the local restaurants or check out a boutique or gallery.

Duck Christmas Parade

The Duck Christmas Parade is an afternoon of fun and frivolity. It starts with Emmie St. James and her Jazz Gentlemen. There are light snacks and hot drinks. Then, they light the Crab Pot Christmas Tree. The classic small town parade culminates in the the arrival of Santa.  Afterwards, kids get one on one time with Santa while you snap a picture.  

The Festival of Trees Auction

The Festival of Trees is Hotlines biggest and most fun fund raiser. Each Outer Banks business decorates a tree. The attendees bid on their favorite tree and it’s delivered to their home or office. But the real fun is what’s its decorated with. Each tree has something unique to the business. The Restaurant Association Tree has gift certificates to many restaurants. Festival Park’s tree is usually done in antique reproduction glass ornaments. But it’s more than just an auction, it’s a party with food, drinks, music and the Snow Princess.

These events are scheduled so you can do them all; morning, noon and night.

December 6

*Visit the Aquarium

Rated #19 out of the best aquariums in the country by Trip Advisor, the Roanoke Island Aquarium is a must see site. Shark tanks, a touch tank with rays and horseshoe crabs, turtles, otters, and a wide verity of fish await you inside. The Aquarium is also home to STAR Sea Turtle Rescue where you get to meet sea turtles and hear their stories. Kids can also participate in a simulated rescue. Thought the day, different programs ensure you’re your never bored. There are even special add on programs, such as fish crafts and behind the scene tours. You get one aquarium ticket free with our Fun N Sun Pass.

December 7

Holiday Red Wolf Howl

Red wolves are the rarest wolves in the world, with their numbers being less than 100 worldwide. Thanks to North Carolina’s aggressive conservation program, this state is the only place in the world that has red wolves. A howling is your chance to see them and howl at them. December’s a great time to unleash your wild side.

December 8

*Visit Festival Park

This unique living history experience shows you the history of the Outer Bank featuring the military settlement of 1585 preparing the way for ‘future’ Lost Colony. Costumed Historic Interpreters treat you to what life was like back then. There’s a life size replica composite sailing ship, a Native American village and a military encampment.  There’s also an indoor museum talking about the Outer Banks history of piracy, the civil war and the 1920’s duck hunt exhibits where you get to ‘shoot ducks’.  You get one Festival Park ticket free with our Fun N Sun Pass.

December 9

*Day in Duck

Duck is home to all kinds of cute shops, restaurants, and of course, the Duck Boardwalk. One part nature trail, one part functional footpath, the wooden Duck Boardwalk takes you over the sound where you can see a verity of different animals. It also connects you to all the sound front shops and restaurants.  You  can pop in and out them at will for a shopping/dining experience like few others.

December 10

*Trio Wine and Cheese

Trio is one of the most unusual restaurants and wineries on the Outer Banks. Not only to they boast a great sandwich menu, they have a very unique way to serve the wine. Instead of buying it by the glass or the bottle you purchase a wine card. Then you go around to different stations, swipe your wine card and decide if you want a quart, half or full glass of wine. It’s a great way to try all the wines you’ve never tried before. Gourmet cheeses are also available.

December 11

*Holiday Promenade in Rodanthe, Waves And Salvo

Take a short drive to the Southern Outer Banks and check out the Holiday promenade of the Tri-villages. Anyone is welcome to join in. You can participate on foot, bike, skate or more. Flashlights are recommended and they will be serving hot drinks and goodies. A good time is guaranteed.

December 12

Tram Tour at Alligator River

Running 9-12, this 3 hour Tram tour will introduces you to the wildlife of the Outer Banks. Some of the animals you have a chance of seeing include bears and cubs, red wolves, alligators, turtles, wild boar, frogs and more. Since this is a nature preserve, animals cannot be seen on command. Admission is free, but reservations are $10. If you’d like to drive your own car, you can come back any time and do that for free.

Islands Farm’s Christmas Past

See how an Outer Banks family lived in the 1800’s with this unique program. Help make candles, decorate the tree and get to know the farm animals. Later, you can warm yourself by the fire and wait for St. Nicolas’s arrival by ox-cart. Ox-cart rides with St. Nicolas are available.

Cape Hatteras Light Winter Climb

Up for a climb? This is your chance to climb the tallest brick lighthouse in the world for free.  The view is spectacular, and at twelve stories tall, the climb is truly an accomplishment.

December 13

Dare County Candy Drop

A unique opportunity to see Santa.   The Berlin Candy Bomber will be flying over Manteo airport, dropping 1,000 candy bars each with their own parachute. All children are welcome to catch a candy bar and enjoy other treats while waiting for Santa. Then, they can tell Santa what they want for Christmas. Adults get to view the inside of a C-54 and discover its role in World War II.

The Great White Fishmas

We’re back in Manteo, this time for the Aquariums annual Great White Fishmas. Enjoy holiday crafts with aquarium elves’, see Santa scuba diving with the sharks, decorate sweets with Mrs. Clause and celebrate Christmas under the sea.  It’s also the last chance to see the ‘old aquarium’ before the renovation.

December 14

Ladies Night at The Gardens

Mondays are Ladies’ Night at The Elizabethan Gardens. This where you can socialize, shop and sip champagne, all in one fun, adult-themed evening. There are also some surprises. Ladies’ night helps you take the stress out of holiday shopping so you can leave feeling triumphant and rejuvenated.

December 15

The Art of Centerpieces

Christmas crafts, and food. What could be better? Have dinner at the Elizabethan Gardens while you create an elegant centerpiece for your Christmas table. While basic supplies are provided by the gardens, you are encouraged to bring whatever you like for your centerpiece.

December 16

*Take a Holiday Boat Ride

Though it’s true many dolphin tours will be closed that time of year, not all the boats are dry-docked. The Crystal Dawn is still open for business, as are many others. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could even rent your own boat for the day. 

December 17

Wright Flight Day

It’s the anniversary of flight; The Write Brothers proved humans could fly on December 17, 1903. There’s always a big to-do on the Outer Banks of First Flight day, particularly at Wright Memorial, so be sure to check it out.

December 18

*The Winter Lights

In the summer, the Blooms of the Elizabethan gardens are stunning. In the winter, the gardens are just as stunning, but for a different reason; the Winter Lights. Lights, decorations and events are just part of this month long weekend spectacle. It’s a not to be missed event.

December 19

Winter Lights Dinner with Santa

Though the Elizabethan garden’s winter lights run all December, their dinner with Santa only happens once. For a flat price you get admission to the gardens, a great dinner and the opportunity for your little one to meet Santa. It’s an experience not to be missed.

Festivus Road Race 10K/5K , Jingle Jog 1 Mile and Little Elf  1/4 Mile

That’s right, we celebrate Festivus here, sort of. If you’re into running, this is the perfect stop for you. Depending on your fitness level, you can run 1 mile, a ¼ mile or an entire 10k. It’s a great way to get your running fix.

December 20

*Shop Downtown Manteo

Downtown Manteo has more antique stores, boutique stores and galleries within walking distance than any other town on the Outer Banks (with the exception of Duck.) It’s a great way to get you holiday shopping done, grab a treat and enjoy a nice relaxing shopping day away from the hustle and bustles other chain stores.

December 21

*See the Sunset Over The Jockey’s Ridge Christmas Tree

Jockey’s Ridge is the highest natural sand dune in the country. All sunsets over it a great, but for Christmas, the park service places a large tree on its highest peak. This sight is sure to fill you with a sense of wonder and delight.

December 22

*Take a Family Portrait

Christmas is a time for making memories and that begins with family. A picture is the best souvenir you can take home from this experience. The Outer Banks is home to many talented photographers who can do everything from beach shoots to studio shoots. Next year, you can even use it as your Christmas card.

December 23

*Create a Critter

You’ve heard of Build a Bear? The Outer Banks has its own version call Create a Critter. So much more than bears, you can get just about any ‘critter’ stuffed. It’s a great way to give your little one both a great toy and a great memory. And since you’re doing it before Christmas, your special gift won’t get lost in the avalanche of toys a few days from now.

December 24

*Eat Out At Your Favorite Place

Many restaurants are closed Christmas Day. But they’re all open Christmas Eve. It’s a great time to enjoy that big dinner with family and friends. With a variety of restaurants to choose from, there’s sure to be something to please everyone. Best of all, there are no dishes after.

December 25

Merry Christmas!

It’s time to open the presents, eat a big breakfast (and an even bigger dinner,) and watch the kids play with their presents. Later, everyone can gather around the flat screen TV to watch a holiday themed movie and snuggle around the fireplace sipping hot coco.

It’s time to celebrate, and there’s no better place than on the Outer Banks.  And don’t forget to check out our pre-decorated homes so you don’t have to fuss with a tree.  What? You say there are two more days at the bottom of this post? You’re right. Though I said 25 days, these two after Christmas events are worth celebrating.

December 26

Winter Lights Thank You Santa

It’s the Winter Lights with a twist. They are accepting thank you notes on Santa’s behalf. It’s one of the few ‘official’ drop off points. And donâ??t forget to thank the reindeer too. It’s a great way to keep the celebration going and teach children the art of the ‘thank you’ note.

January 6th

Old Christmas

Don’t take the tree down yet. It’s Old Christmas here on the Outer Banks. Rodanthe is the last village in the country to celebrate Christmas on January 6th (also called the Epiphany or Twelfth Night,) and one of less than 100 places left that celebrate it in the world. So if you’re down that week, stop on by, meet Old Buck, sing old fashioned carols, eat oysters and make memories you can’t find anywhere else.

Merry Christmas.  christmas tree on a beach

Happy Hanukah.

Joyous Kwanza.

Good Winter Solstice.

Happy Ramadan.

Merry Festivus.

And Happy Holidays to anyone we forgot. We hope to see you soon.

Oysters 101

It’s Winter Holiday time; a time for family, friends, and oysters!

Oysters are the traditional winter holiday meal for the Outer banks whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years. Outer Bankers will eat oysters for any reason, and that’s good since they’re so good for you.

Here are some more facts you probably didn’t know about oysters:


Thanksgiving Dinner at the Outer Banks

Spending Thanksgiving at the Outer Banks but don’t feel like cooking? Don’t worry, many Outer Banks restaurants are open and offering either buffets or special menus for the holiday. Though you will find turkey on any holiday menu, you’ll also find items that say ‘Thanksgiving’ to locals; such as oysters and other shellfish.  And don’t forget to make the reservations. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only times of year restaurants insist on them.

Here are a few of our favorite places.


Corolla is a place for enjoying nature and reflection in the off season. Therefore no restaurants are open Thanksgiving Day. (Though many take out places are.) If you’re staying in Corolla on Thanksgiving, we recommend either cooking in your vacation rental home, taking out, or visiting Duck.


Red Sky Café

Red Sky’s buffet is so famous; it was even featured on WAVY TV 10. Chef Wes is a master of putting together different things for a unique experience. Offerings include salmon, turkey, roast beef, oysters, and more. They’ll even be a few surprises, like cranberry relish and shrimp and grits. 252-216-8646

Lifesaving Station at the Sanderling Resort

The Sanderling offers a four course meal in a beautiful historic lifesaving station.  You have a choice of three different items for each course. Beef, turkey, rockfish, crab cakes and duck are just a few of the items on the menu. 855-412-7866


Fishbones Sunset Grille & Raw Bar

This charming restaurant has great food a fantastic view of the sound. It specializes in Caribbean/Outer Banks fusion dishes. It has the usual ham, beef and turkey, but it also has its own unique dishes like apricot dressing and Mahi.   252-261-3901  

Kitty Hawk

Ocean Boulevard

Offering upscale dining and a great experience, this is one of the few restaurants that don’t do a buffet. Instead, they offer a Four Course Celebratory Menu  with children under twelve offered a  limited 3 course menu for  a much smaller price. 252- 261-2546

Kill Devil Hills


Beachside Bistro

This is one of the few truly ocean front restaurants on the Outer Banks. It’s normally casual dining, but they go all out for Thanksgiving with panko encrusted turkey breast, baked ham, roast beef, oyster stuffing and more.  252-255-1063


Jolly Roger

If you’re looking for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings, check out the Jolly Roger.  This restaurant has a Thanksgiving dinner more like you’d find in restaurants up north or further inland. So if you’re not the biggest seafood fan, here’s where you’ll want to go. (And if you’re staying in 457 Lakeside Villas, you’re in walking distance.) 252-441-6530


Captain George’s 

Of all the places on this list, Captain George’s is the only one that offers a buffet year round. In addition to the traditional Thanksgiving feast, Captain George’s also offers local favorites like shrimp and crab legs. It’s your chance to get your fill of seafood and turkey.  252-480-6677


Port O’Call Restaurant

With their unique Victorian antiques and Gaslight Saloon theme, dining here is an experience in itself. When you combine it with their traditional Thanksgiving feast featuring local and traditional favorites, it’s an experience not to be missed. Now in their 50th year. 252-441-7484

Nags Head

Owens’ Restaurant

Founded in 1946 by Bob & Clara Owens, Owens is oldest restaurant still in the family. Their buffet features local favorites such as shrimp, rockfish, oysters, and of course, turkey. All meals have the traditional Owens taste and great service. 252-441-7309


Basnightâ??s Lone Cedar  Thanksgiving on OBX

Basnight’s is pleased to hold their 9th Annual Thanksgiving Feast. Shrimp & grits, fried oysters, redfish, rockfish, crab dip, ham hock, prime rib, and pork tenderloin are just a few of the delicacies that wait you. And did I mention there’s turkey?  252- 441-5405


Mulligan’s Raw Bar and Grill

For over 20 years, Mulligan’s has offered great food at great prices. Their Thanksgiving buffet has all the Outer Banks favorites from turkey, ham and oysters as well as some other Outer Banks favorites like crab cakes and oyster stuffing. 252- 480-2000


Pamlico Jack’s

It’s oyster season and Pamlico Jack’s is having their annual Thanksgiving Oyster Feast. If you don’t care for oysters, don’t worry, they have plenty of turkey, beef, ham and even fried shrimp on their buffet. And their chocolate mousse is amazing! (252) 441-2637


Kelly’s Outer Banks Restaurant and Tavern

A local’s favorite for over 30 years, Kelly’s Thanksgiving buffet offers a variety of salads, sides and desserts in addition to their traditional main courses of ham, turkey, beef and more.  No one leaves hungry from this buffet.  252-441-4116

The Outer Banks is a great place to be at Thanksgiving. Our large homes can accommodate the entire clan, while the restaurants can take care of Thanksgiving dinner. Good friends, family, the beach, good food and no dishes to clean after. What could be better?

A Taste of the Outer Banks this Thanksgiving

Bring the Outer Banks To Your Thanksgiving Dinner Table

Thanksgiving is a time to feast with family. Turkey, cranberries, and sweet potatoes are the traditional Thanksgiving fare.  This year consider giving your meal an Outer Banks twist.  These recipes have been passed down by Outer Banks locals for generations, but our versions have been updated for modern tastes and times.

Bon appetite.


This is the section for sides and appetizes to go with your holiday meal. It’s a way to add a touch of the Outer Banks without overshadowing the main course.

Hush Puppies

An Outer Banks favorite, everyone has a hushpuppy recipe. Here’s ours.

  • 2 cup of cornmeal
  • 1 T flour
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 t chopped onion (optional)
  • 1/2 cup corn (optional)

You will also need a fryer of some kind. You can use one of those ‘daddy fryers’ or just make due with a deep pan and a stove. You want to make sure your fryer is deep enough to cover the hushpuppies. (Hushpuppies float when they are done, so they need some room.)

Mix together all ingredients and stir by hand until well blended. Drop spoonfuls of batter into the fryer and wait for them to rise. Drain on paper towel and serve.

Mock Turtle Soup

Prior to the modern age, turtles were plentiful and easy to catch. This is why they became a staple of the Outer Banks diet. Turtles were said to have a unique consistency and taste like seven kinds of meat. Fortunately, there are many substitutes for turtle in the modern age. Our neighbors in England substitute oxtails. Here in America, we use veal since this is the closest meat in both taste and consistency.

  • 2 lb. veal
  • Large stock pot
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 2-3 onions (depending on your taste for onions)
  • 1 can evaporated milk

Chop veal, potatoes and onions into fine pieces. Place in a large stockpot and cover with water. Cook until done. Stir in evaporated milk over warm (but not still on) burner. Season to taste.

Oyster Soup

Traditionally, Thanksgiving on the Outer Banks wasn’t turkey season, it was oyster season. Even today, you can find restaurants on the Outer Banks offering all kinds of oysters on their Thanksgiving buffets. Eating it raw is one of the easiest ways to eat an oyster, but this recipe is pretty easy too.

  • Butter (for sautéing)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 qt. chicken broth (store bought can be used)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 dozen raw oysters in shell

Shuck the oysters and put them in bowl along with their own juice. Dice both the onion and potato into fine pieces and place in pan. Add the melted butter and sauté until the onions are tender.

Add chicken soup and cook until the potatoes are tender. Add in the heavy cream and stir until it starts to thicken. Add in oysters and juice and heat through. Season to taste.

Dressings and Sauces

Need a little something extra to go with your meats, salads and desserts? The Outer Banks has a recipe for that too. Get your taste buds ready for some really great food.

Sauce for Duck

The Outer Banks has a long history of duck hunting. In fact, the town of Duck was even named after this practice. Duck’s Cottage and the Whalehead Club are the only surviving examples of the Duck hunting clubs of the 1920s. Whalehead is the only historically preserved example of a duck hunting club. They call this ‘sauce for duck’ but it could go on any meat, such as ham or turkey.

  • 1 orange
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 T currant jelly
  • 1 T grated horseradish
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Start by melting the current jelly. Use your beater to mix the juice and rind from your fruits to your other ingredients.  Pour into a pot or an oven safe pan and heat until the liquid is runny. Then pour over meat and serve.

Fig Preserves

Preserving fruits was a common thing to do on farms during harvest time. Without electricity, preserving them was the best way to keep them all winter. Preserving back then usually involved salt, sugar or brine. This recipe calls for sugar. The resulting preserves were usually served on toast, salads and other foods. It even makes a good topping on salads, ice cream, or plain cake.  

  • 1.5 lb. figs (pitted dates can also be used)
  • 1/2 lb. of sugar
  • Orange/lemon slice

Rinse the figs. Pour in the sugar and let them sit overnight. Figs don’t need to be refrigerated, so that’s your call.  In the morning, the figs will be soft. Pour the sugar and figs into a large pot.

Add your citrus slice. Stir the figs over a low heat until the sugar is melted. Turn the heat up to medium after the sugar is melted cook over a medium heat until figs turn tender. Mash with potato masher and let cool. Spoon into jar and keep in fridge until ready to use.

Squash Relish

Squash was present at the first Thanksgiving. It also grows pretty readily on the Currituck mainland. Squash enjoys being one of the power foods that we should all eat more of. However, squash recipes are few and far between. This relish is a great way to invite squash to your Thanksgiving feast. 

  • 5 cups of minced unpeeled squash
  • 2 cups of minced onions
  • 2 ½ T salt
  • 1 ¼ cups vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • I small pepper each, red, green and optional hot pepper 
  • 1 ¼ t dry mustard
  • 1 ¼ t turmeric
  • 1 tsp celery seeds
  • ¼ t nutmeg
  • 1 T cornstarch

Mince the peppers and set them aside. Combine the salt, squash and onions; cover with water and let stand overnight.  In the morning, squeeze out as much water as possible. 

Combine all ingredients in large pot. Bring to a boil and stir until well blended. Continue to boil for 35 minutes. Season to taste.



Ready for some Outer Banks Desserts? We have several to choose from  — whether you like down home favorites or fancy. Enjoy.

Prune Cake

Don’t let the name fool you, it’s delicious. And since it’s made with mostly healthy ingredients, you CAN have your cake and eat it too.  You can also make this recipe with figs or dates instead of prunes.

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 cup flour
  • 2 cup prunes
  • 2 t each of vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon
  • 1 t each of baking soda and salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans

Start by cooking and mashing the prunes. The nuts should be chopped and set aside for later.

In a separate bowl, mix together all the wet ingredients, including the prunes. Then add in the dry ingredients. (except for the nuts.) Use a mixer to beat until smooth. Fold in the chopped nuts by hand.

Bake in a greased pan at 350 for one hour.

Buttered Rum Cake

Rum, (fermented sugar,) has a long history in coastal communities. Supposedly, the town of Kill Devil Hills was even named after a shipment of rum ‘strong enough to kill the devil’ washed up on its shores. And of course, nothing’s better than buttered rum. This cake is a little more ambitious as it actually has two parts; cake and filling.  

I’ve provided the recipe for both parts. However, if you donâ??t feel like baking a cake from scratch, you can also use a store bought cake mix.


  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups sifted flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 cup milk

Combine all ingredients in large bowl and beat until smooth. Pour into four shallow cake pans to create layers. (or you can cut layers later.)  Bake at 350 degrees until done. 


  • ½  cup chopped raisins
  • 1 ½ cups chopped walnuts
  • 2 lb. sifted powdered sugar
  • ½ lb. butter
  • ½ cup rum

Combine the sugar, butter and rum in a pot over a low flame and stir until smooth and runny. Remove from heat and separate out 1/3 of the icing. Let cool.

Fold in minced raisins and walnuts in the 1/3 icing and mix until uniform.  Between each layer of cake, spread out a generous serving of walnut, raisin and rum icing. Once all the layers have been assembled, take the remaining icing and ice as one solid piece.

Chocolate Supreme

This is the newest recipe on the list. They used to make it a local restaurant that sadly doesn’t exist any longer. This is can be served as a dessert in fancy bowls or just added to another dessert on a plate.  



  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 stick of butter

Mix together and spread in a 9″x13″ pan. Cook at 300 degrees for 25 minutes.



  • 1 cup Cool Whip
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8oz of softened cream cheese

Mix ingredients together and spread on cooled first layer



  • 2 packages of Jell-O Instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 3 cup of milk

Combine the pudding and the milk until thick. Spread the pudding on top. Then let cool in refrigerator. Scoop out into bowls (or plates) and garnish with whipped cream.


Don’t forget, if you need a bigger house to accommodate all the relatives, there’s nothing like a home on the Outer Banks. Many larger homes come equipped with everything you need to cook that feast. Feel like visiting but not cooking? No problem. Many Outer Banks restaurants are open for Thanksgiving.

See you soon.


Halloween Fun on the Outer Banks

Fall is one of the best times to visit the Outer Banks.  Not only is the weather warm, the summer crowds are gone, and the rental rates are low, but there is plenty of activities and events available during the month of October. 

Pumpkin Picking At the Island Farm

Pumpkin picking is a Fall favorite, and the Island Farm adds a new twist. Included with the price of admission, you get to ride in an ox drawn wagon to the pumpkin patch where you and your kids can pick out your future jack o’ lantern.

Draped In Black

For the history lovers in the group, be sure to attend the Victorian funeral at the island farm. You won’t find any ghosts here, just Victorian ‘people’ showing you how funerals in those days were done. You’ll see everything from the festivities down to the mourning attire. If you adore history, this is a not to be missed experience.

Haunted Segway Tour Though the Outback

Though most of these activities are fun for all ages, this one does have both an age and weight requirement. (13-65 years) That’s because you drive your own personal Segway in a “follow the leader” type tour. This tour takes you through the back country of Corova, and tells you all the creepy stories from this part of the Outer Banks. You’ll explore abandoned cemeteries, see where incidents took place, hear some great stories. Who knows? You might even get to see a horse or two.

Costume Parade

On October 25th you can attend the Outer Banks newest parade, the costume parade. Brought to you by Kelly’s Restaurant and Tavern, the same people who bring you the annual St. Patricks’ Day parade.  The costume parade is only in its second year and promises to be bigger and even better than last year.  Young, old, and even pets show up in their best costume to show off, have fun, and maybe win a prize.  There are several prizes available in a variety of categories. You don’t have to be local to enter, you just have to be here. Special ‘guests’ include Queen Elsa from Frozen, Mike Myers, OBX jetpacks, and the Haunted Hearse.


Are you ready for something really scary? Then check out Psychopath, presented by the Lost Colony on the grounds where the real colonists mysteriously disappeared over 400 years ago.  This event is never the same so it’s difficult to predict what it will like. But, I can predict it will be good scary fun for all involved. It’s recommended for ages 10 and up.

Wanchese Woods  Pumpkin Picking at Island Farm

Hidden off the main road is the fishing village of Wanchese. Each Halloween 7 acres of the woods takes on decidedly haunted flavor, mixing local legends with well-known tropes. Though the main attraction is meant for people over 13, this year they have added two new additional attractions. The first is a much less scary version designed for younger visitors and the second is a much scarier version of the woods which is so scary that it requires a special ticket.  Enter if you dare!

It’s no trick to spend Halloween at the Outer Banks and get ‘treated’. All you have to do is check out our selection of homes and our specials page. And if you love Halloween, then spending it here is the best treat you can give yourself.

Check out our Spooktacular Savings!

Happy Halloween.

Outer Banks Seafood Festival

The Outer Banks Seafood Festival will celebrate its 4th year in 2015.   Not only is this festival highlighting the best in local Outer Banks Seafood, but it also features live entertainment, fishing demonstrations, local fishing history, and more.  This article will show you the basics of the Seafood Festival so you can know before you go.

What Is It?

The Outer Banks Seafood Festival is put on by Outer Banks Catch, which is a local organization that works to promote locally caught seafood. It’s an all-day event honoring seafood and the coastal way of life. It features food, drinks, vendors, cooking demonstrations, boat exhibits, live music, crafts, and so much more. Admission is only $3 for people over 12. Sea bucks are available to purchase food, drink and activities. Shuttles take you from the designated parking areas to the Nags Head Event Space. 

When Is It?

The Outer Banks Seafood Festival takes place Saturday October 17th from 10am to 6pm. 


No matter what your age, you’re bound to find something you like at the Seafood Festival . There’s a kids zone set up where your little ones can have fun, learn and play. Storytelling, done in the oral tradition, will thrill you with stories and legends of yesteryear. Cooking demonstrations will give you a new way to cook an old favorite. And boat exhibits will show the history and future of our coastal vessels.


A wide assortment of vendors will be set up with things to buy, things to look at and things to educate. Outer Banks Catch will be there, telling you about the fishing life of local commercial fisherman and the importance of local seafood. N.E.S.T will be there too, to answer all your questions about sea turtles and how you can help. Atlantic Realty will also be there, answering all your questions about buying property on the beach. Many local artists will also be represented, offering sea inspired home and gift times. It’s a great opportunity to do your holiday shopping and maybe get a little something for yourself too. 

Live Music

Live music will be performed between 11:30-5.  Bands featured include the Southern English Band, Unknown Tongues, Croatan Highway Band, Old Enough to Know Better, and Johnny Waters and Company. There will also be an opening and closing ceremony.

For The Wicked Tuna Fansâ?¦

Captains Britt Shackelford, Greg Mayer, Charlie Griffin, and Tami Gray of Wicked Tuna Outer Banks will be on hand  1:30-2:30 p.m. and 3:30-4:30 p.m. for autograph signings and to answer questions about the show.  Additionally, Captains Griffin and Gray will be participating throughout the day in activities within the Outer Banks Catch tent. It’s a great way to meet some local celebrities and go home with the ultimate souvenir. Bring your Wicked Tuna gear and your autograph book.


Who could forget about the food? Restaurants from all over have been brought together to provide you with the best seafood the Outer Banks has to offer. Craft beers are also available. Sea bucks is how you purchase food and drink. Buy as many or as few as you need. Some of the restaurants and distilleries included are: Basnightâ??s Lone Cedar Café, Captain Georgeâ??s Seafood Restaurant, Dirty Dicks Crab House,  Jolly Roger, Kellyâ??s Restaurant & Tavern, Mulliganâ??s Raw Bar & Grille, OBX Moveable Feast, Ten O Six, Beach Road Bistro, Stripers Bar & Grille, Outer Banks Brewing Station, Weeping Radish, and many more.

So if you’re in town on the 17th, be sure to check out the Seafood Festival. A good time will be had by all, and a great memory will be made.  Planning a trip, visit our Outer Banks Specials Page for Deals and Discounts on last minute stays.    

Outer Banks Parade of Homes

What could be better than spending the day looking at Outer Banks homes in a no pressure environment? Well, if you love looking at homes, here’s your chance the OBX home builders association is sponsoring their annual Parade Of Homes, featuring their best work in design, innovation, and decorating. It’s the perfect opportunity to spend a nice day out looking at homes and go home the the ultimate souvenir; a great memories and ideas of how to bring Outer Banks style home with you. In this article, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about the Annual Outer Banks Parade Of Homes, sponsored by the Outer Banks Home Builders Association.

When Is It?

Save these dates! The Outer Banks Parade Of Homes runs October 8-11, 2015. So if you’re here for a week or even just a long weakened, it’s the perfect chance to see them. October is beautiful looking at houses weather; the temperature is not too hot or too cold. And if we chase the storm systems away, it’ll be perfect. Plus, you have more than one day to see them.

Touring On Your Time

One of the best things about the Parade Of Homes is that you can tour it on YOUR schedule. The homes run the gambit form Grandy to Hatteras. Just pick you favorite town and spend all day there if you want. In between homes, you can grab some coffee at one of local coffee shops or get lunch/dinner in your favorite Outer Banks restaurant.

Best of all, you can see as many homes as you want. Want to see them all? Great. Want to spend all day looking at one? That’s great too. Its home gazing on your schedule. Your single ticket price gets you into all homes all four days. There’s no limit, and you can revisit your favorites. So have fun.

Get Ideas For Your Own Home

So what will see interesting these homes today? It could be anything from a pet washing station, to impressive tilework, to a new thing to do with a pool. You’ll see innovations in technology, the latest in appliances, and possibly even a home where the lights and temperature can be run by your smartphone.

Not to mention, there’s the décor. These homes are interior designed by top decorators to show off the latest in beachy Outer Banks trends. You never know what will inspiration you will take back to your own home. 

Don’t Forget To Vote

Have a favorite house? Vote on it. These houses are eligible to win many awards, often based on criteria the sponsors deicide. However, there is one award that every home longs to get and cannot be controlled by any sponsor; the coveted People’s Choice Award.

To vote on your favorite house, just cast your vote.  There’s a box set up in whatever house you’re visiting. At the end of the parade, all the boxes from all the homes are tallied up and the home with the most votes wins.

So what are you waiting for? There’s nothing more fun than looking at homes on the Outer Banks!

Maps showing the OBX parade of Homes