Holiday Lights on the OBX

One of the most popular Christmas traditions on the Outer Banks (as well as any town) is looking at the local Christmas light displays. The Outer Banks has some truly amazing light displays, one of which has even been on national television. Below is a list of some of our favorites. If you happen to visit the Outer Banks during the holiday season, be sure to check these out!

Private Homes

The Corolla Christmas House, right along N.C. 12 in Corolla– this thoroughly modern light display entertains visitors with their impressive computerized light show.

Grandy Lights, 118 Woodhouse Drive, Grandy– 70,000 lights hooked up to 140 musical segments. Only one word describes it; Wow.

5111 Lunar Drive, Kitty Hawk– Colorful lights and glowing inflatables? Check.

206 Clamshell Drive, Kill Devil Hills–  The Mennicucci family collects donations for the food pantry, so bring some cans when you come look at the lights.

959 Wingina Ave., Manteo-Lights timed to music, courtesy of the Dillon Family

The Outer Banks Christmas House, Ocean Acres Drive, Kill Devil Hills– This is the famed Outer Banks Christmas house, owned by the Poulos Family as seen on the Today show and other extreme decorating shows. You have to see it to believe it!

The Poulos Family has been setting up this massive Christmas display for almost 40 years

Government Sites

Aviation Park, Kill Devil Hills Town Hall, Veterans Drive- Aviation Park does fun things with their frog pond and lights.

Manns Harbor Post Office- A post office? Seriously? Yes. Just across the bridge is a tiny post office with a musical light display and definitely worth the trip.

Downtown Manteo, Roanoke Island Festival Park– You might have seen the Elizabeth II before, but you’ve never seen her all decked out in lights. Impressive doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Elizabeth II all lit up. Photo courtesy of OBX Entertainment.

Elizabethan Gardens Winter Lights

Over a million lights, wooden sculptures, inflatables and more make up this  spectacular display of Winter lights at the Elizabethan Gardens, one of the most beautiful places on the Outer Banks. Tickets are $11 for adults, $9 for youth, and $6 for children. You can find out more about the Elizabeth Garden’s Winter Lights here.

Winterlights at the Elizabethan Gardens features displays including Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth in lights.

Do you know of any amazing displays that we missed? Be sure to share in the comments below. We would love to add to our list.

We wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season and hope to see you on the Outer Banks soon!

Thanksgiving on the Outer Banks

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays! With family and friends gathered together for fun and especially food, memories are bound to be made. What could be a better way to get everyone together than with a destination Thanksgiving on the Outer Banks? We’ll provide the home with plenty of room for everyone including gathering spaces, large dining tables, and gourmet kitchens for pulling off the best Thanksgiving meal ever!

Don’t feel like cooking? Never fear. The Outer Banks has several restaurants dedicated to helping you have a fantastic Thanksgiving. Whether you want a big bountiful buffet, a fancy multi-course meal or you want food to take home and serve in that great house you rented, we have you covered with a variety of options. After all, you’re on vacation too!

Thanksgiving Dinner is easy on the Outer Banks


Ready for a food coma? These buffets can provide it. Not only is it all you can eat, the food is varied and fantastic which will please even the pickiest of eaters. There are many traditional favorites as well as things unique to the Outer Banks like oyster dressing. Yum.

Red Sky-Duck

This restaurant featuring Chef Wes is always a treat. Some of the highlights include turkey with cranberry relish, she-crab bisque, prime rib, and of course, a variety of oysters.

Captain George’s-Kill Devil Hills

Of course, Captain George’s is always a buffet, but for Thanksgiving, they offer the “The Captain’s Traditional Thanksgiving Buffet”. It includes some items not usually on the menu such as turkey, prime rib, mashed potatoes, and of course seafood. Lots of seafood.

Lone Cedar Cafe -Nags Head

One of our oldest restaurants on the water, this menu is really something. Highlights include the usual turkey and prime rib, but then also things that are uniquely Outer Banks like oysters, ham hocks, crab dip and local fresh fish.

Roosters — Kill Devil Hills

This restaurant burst onto the scene a few years ago and has really made its mark. Not only does it have the traditional favorites, it has Outer Banks favorites like oyster dressing, fisherman’s’ stew and cranberry relish.

Mulligans — Nags Head

This restaurant features traditional favorites of ham, turkey and beef, along with Outer Banks favorites like crab cakes, shrimp and grits, and oysters.

Multi Course Meals

If you’re not a buffet person, then you still have options for Thanksgiving. These restaurants serve a 3 course meal from a set menu with several choices.  These types of menus make for a longer, more relaxing meal with your family.

Ocean Boulevard Bistro & Martini Bar-Kitty Hawk

This is one of the few restaurants that offer a four course menu instead of a three course. The appetizer course has things like sautéed shrimp, meatloaf and oysters. The next course is either soup or salad, and includes favorites like the Bistro Salad or beef and barely soup. The main course has not just turkey and prime rib, but also flounder and scallops. It is the Outer Banks after all. And the desserts offer such things as apple and cranberry tart or bourbon pecan chocolate chess pie.

Lifesaving Station -Duck

This four course meal also has plenty of options. From appetizers of blue crab dip and mushroom bisque to the salad, to the entrees of turkey, seafood and prime rib, it has it all. There’s even a vegetarian entrée option. Dessert has everything from flourless chocolate torte and pumpkin spiced Swiss roll.

Beach Bistro — Kill Devil Hills

The only one of two oceanfront restaurants in Dare County, the Beach Bistro is a little more laid back than most other multi course meal restaurants. Entrees center on turkey, steak, seafood and Portobello mushroom (good for vegetarians). There’s a soup or salad. Dessert is a variety of traditional Thanksgiving favorites along with flourless chocolate cake.

Pumpkin on a beach
Thanksgiving on the Outer Banks

Pick Up Meals

Feel like having Thanksgiving in that great house you rented but don’t actually want to be the one to cook it? Don’t worry. These restaurants have you covered.  They specialize in take-out Thanksgiving that you can get the day before and then just heat up at home. You can fill the house with those great Thanksgiving smells and just relax on the actual day.

Coastal Provisions — Southern Shores

This long time local’s favorite offers an oven ready (raw) turkey that is brined and already has the spices and veggies on it. But it doesn’t stop there. If you don’t love turkey you could also get ham or crab cakes. The huge list of sides is impressive and ranges from traditional stuffing; Outer Banks stuffing, mashed potatoes and even spinach dip.  There is going to be something on this menu for everyone.

Tommy’s Market — Duck

Ducks premier grocery, deli and bakery, Tommy’s offers all sizes of turkeys and you can get them baked, fried, prepped or completely raw. Naturally, they have all the popular sides, salads and a wide variety of homemade cakes, pies and rolls to go with them.  If you want a good old fashioned Thanksgiving feast, Tommy’s is the place to go.

Bones Doghouse BBQ

BBQ for Thanksgiving? Of course. Not only can you get the typical pork, brisket and ham, you can also get a Turkey, smoked or fried. The sides are more BBQ than Thanksgiving, but with choices like mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese (for the kids) new potatoes, pasta salads and roasted red peppers, you can find something the whole family will love. Best of all, you don’t even have to go pick it up. Bones Doghouse BBQ delivers.

Grocery Stores

As a last resort, stores like Publix, Harris Teeter and Food Lion offer take home Thanksgiving meals, so if that’s something you’re interested in, be sure to check them out. The prices are economical and provide everything you need for a stress free meal.

Still haven’t made your Outer Banks Thanksgiving plans? Search our Vacation Rental Homes here. We have availability for the week or just the weekend. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thanksgiving Dinner at the Outer Banks

Thanksgiving is almost here. It’s turkey day, or rather oyster day, as we like to think of it here at the Outer Banks.  And if you’re staying in a large home with all your family, it can be overwhelming to have to cook Thanksgiving dinner in an unfamiliar kitchen.

Thankfully, since we’re talking about Thanksgiving, there are plenty of places on the Outer Banks where you can have Thanksgiving Dinner.  This article features the highlights. To see the offerings in more detail, visit the individual websites.

Thanksgiving Buffets

Thanksgiving is simultaneous with ‘all you can eat’. That’s why so many restaurants offer buffets with hams, turkeys, and plenty of oysters. Check out these buffets.

Lone Cedar Café

Hungry? This restaurant opens as early as 10:30 with their full buffet, including shrimp and grits, oven roasted turkey, pan blackened local catch, fried jumbo green tailed shrimp and more. It’s a Thanksgiving like no other.


Looking for oyster stuffing? Mulligan’s has that. They also have a lot of other great things on their buffet too such as Oysters Rockefeller, crab cakes, and oh yes, turkey too. It’s all you can eat with an assortment you’ll love.

Pamlico Jacks

It’s time for Pamlico Jacks’ annual Thanksgiving and oyster feast. This buffet opens at 10am so you can even have Thanksgiving dinner for breakfast, giving you the rest of the day to play.


This restaurant features over 25 things on their menu, including prime rib, Shrimp Daniel and many more favorites.

Red Sky

Turkey, prime rib, topped oysters, and bacon and red blissed potato soup are just a few of the tempting treats that await you at Red Sky’s buffet. They fill up fast, so reserve early.

Captain George’s

Already famous for its seafood buffet, on Thanksgiving, this restaurant goes all out. It features a traditional Thanksgiving buffet and all the trimmings along with their famed crab legs, shrimp and more.


Special Menus


If you’re looking to avoid all the hassle that comes with a buffet, than these restaurants might be just the thing to please your family rather than a buffet, they offer a special menu, crafted with care. 

Lifesaving Station

This classic Outer Banks restaurant in Duck is serving a four course plated meal in an upscale atmosphere. Choices include turkey, blue crab baked brie, scallops and more. 

Ocean Boulevard

This restaurant is offering a four course plated meal with lots of seafood and some Outer Banks favorites such as hunters stew (hearty stew with duck) sea scallops, oyster chowder, panko crusted turkey and even chocolate pot de crem with toasted marshmallow.  And that’s just the beginning.

Take Out

If you’d rather have Thanksgiving at the house you rented, there are also plenty of places that do Thanksgiving take out.

Tommy’s Natural Foods Market 

An upscale grocery in Duck, Tommy’s offers a variety of either fully cooked or ready to cook items. This way you can have dinner at that beautiful home you rented.

Currituck BBQ

More than just barbeque, you can also get fried and smoked turkeys and hams to go. Orders must be made in advance, so order early.

Grocery Stores

Many of the Outer Banks grocery stores offer premade or ready to make meals that you can order in advance. Some popular stores include the Publix, the Food Lion, The Harris Teeters, and the Fresh Market.

Coastal Provisions

Even though this restaurant is closed the day of Thanksgiving so the employees can be with their families, you can pick the food the day before Thanksgiving.  They offer a premade holiday feast for 6 for only $99. It includes oven ready turkey with stuffing, cranberry orange relish, rolls, green been casserole and more.  Itâ??s a perfect way to have a no fuss no muss Thanksgiving.


Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be stressful. When you rent a home at the Outer Banks you don’t have to worry about where to put everyone, because the home is plenty big. And by utilizing some of these options, you don’t even have to stress about cooking. All you have to do is have a Happy Thanksgiving.


Halloween on the Outer Banks

Fall is one of the most popular times of year to visit the Outer Banks. The weather is still nice, with an occasionally 84 degree day, the fishing is great, the shops and restaurants don’t have the summer crowds, and the vacation rental homes are at their “Off Season” rates!   And of course, thereâ??s Halloween, everyoneâ??s favorite October Holiday. If you happen to be on the Outer Banks for Halloween, you donâ??t have to miss your favorite Holiday. Here are some great Halloween events and activities to take part in during your visit.


Wanchese Woods Haunted Trail — Fridays and Saturdays in Oct

Get ready to scream…. with delight. Famous for being the largest haunted trail in the state, the Wanchese Woods turns everything you know about haunted trails on its head. Set the beautiful (and somewhat creepy) location of a real woods, this trail is old school with chainsaws, clowns and creatures from local legends.

*Note; there is both a regular version and an extreme version of this attraction. Choose accordingly.   To purchase tickets, please visit 


Pumpkin Patch Saturdays– All Oct  Image courtesy of Island Farm

Just because youâ??re not at home, doesnâ??t mean you canâ??t have a pumpkin. But why settle from one from the store when getting one can make a memory? Saturdays in October, the Island Farm will have you take an ox cart to their very own â??pumpkin patchâ??, where you and your family can pick your own pumpkin to take home. Not only can you go home with a pumpkin, youâ??ll get to go back in time too with animals, reconstructed building and living history. Itâ??s most fun you can have on a farm.


Haunts For Hunger — Oct 19-21 & 23-25

Fight hunger and go on a great ghost tour at the same time! The first annual Haunts For Hunger by Outer Banks Tastes and Tales, takes you through Downtown Manteo and regales you with true scary stories of the area. They have both a normal scary tour, and an earlier â??just scary enoughâ?? tour for little ones. All proceeds go the local Food Pantry. And if you have any leftover nonperishables, you can bring those along too. Tickets must be purchased in advance.


Halloween Arts and Crafts Expo — Oct 24

Held at the Secret Island restaurant, this arts and crafts festival is the perfect way to get yourself into the Halloween â??spiritâ??. It features dozens of local vendors selling handcrafted items. Admission is free, which is great because with so much to choose from, youâ??ll be hard pressed to decide what youâ??re taking home.


14th Annual Trick Or Treat Under The Sea — Oct 24 and 25 

Due to its immense popularity, Trick or Treat Under the Sea at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island will be held not one night, but two! Tickets must be purchased in advance and cannot be bought at the door. There are games, magic, contests, special programs, live animal encounters, places for the kids to â??trick or treatâ?? and more. Itâ??s a safe environment where kids can enjoy the fun of Halloween, even if they arenâ??t local.


Halloween International Film Festival — Oct 25 – 27

The third annual Outer Banks Entertainment Halloween International Film Festival spanning 3 days is a great event for older teens to adults who canâ??t get enough horror. Held in the R/C theaterâ??s decaplex, it features meet and greets with some of the filmmakers, question and answer sessions, photo ops and of course, itâ??s a chance to meet like-minded Halloween lovers.

October 26th features an After Party at the Secret Island restaurant.  *note: this event is not suitable for small children.


Trick or Treat Night — Oct 27

Thereâ??s no need to miss Halloween just because you aren’t home. First Flight Elementary sponsors a night thatâ??s open to the public. It includes food, photo booths, crafts, a cakewalk, and so much more. Youâ??re kids and you will have a blast. Plus, you get the added bonus of helping out the local school (since this is their fundraising event of the year.) So, come on down and have a great time!


Halloween Costume Parade — Oct 28

Originally founded by Mike Kelly, the costume parade is now in its 5th year. This is a free parade for everyone, even the family dog. Thousands of dollars in cash and prizes are given out for best costumes in each category, and there are certainly a lot of categories. The parade begins at 3pm at Aviation Park.

Prior to the parade there is Trick Or Treat party, suitable for all ages. A good time will be had by all.


Roanoke Island Maritime Museum Haunted House — Oct 31

This is a great haunted house attraction for kids and adults. The antique boats and scary sea stories make a perfect backdrop for an evening of Halloween fun.

After the haunted house, thereâ??s a trick or treat expedition to Downtown Manteo, where kids can knock on the doors of the historic home with their costumes, buckets and pillowcases. If you have a child upset about missing Halloween while on vacation, this is the must do.


Many families flock to the Banks for October. But just because youâ??re far from home doesnâ??t mean you canâ??t have some Halloween fun. There are plenty of events so that your kids, and all Halloween lovers will have a frightfully good time.  Give us a call today to get your Outer Banks accommodations for Halloween all set! 


Christmas on the Outer Banks

Not only is the OBX a great place to visit during the summer, it’s a great place to come for the Holidays. It’s true it’s too cold to swim, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. Here are just a few of the things you can check out when you’re here in December. 


Santa Paws Pet Supply Drive (Whole month of December)

This is your chance to see the NC Aquarium and help out a great cause at the same time. You can get into the Acquarium for FREE when you bring a 7 lb bag of dog food. The food is given to the local shelter so we can continue to care for dogs and cats until they can find their forever homes.

Winter Lights (Whole Month of December)

Just because it’s the winter doesnâ??t mean there’s nothing to see in the Elizabethan Gardens. Each Christmas thousands of lights transform the gardens into a winter wonderland. Traditional holiday décor, gingerbread ‘houses’ and more all combine to make this a spectacular event. There’s even a seasonal gift shop and plants to take home.

Manteo Christmas Parade (Dec 2)

It’s been called ‘the biggest small town celebration’. That means Manteo knows how to throw one heck of a party. This parade features floats, marching bands, singing and more. The highlight it when Santa arrives on the firetruck. In past years, as many as 50 floats were in the parade, and it just seemed to bet bigger each year.  After the parade, kids can get some one on one time with Santa.

Duck Yuletide Celebration and Elf Hunt  (Dec 2)

There’s actually two parts to this unique celebration. The first is a traditional parade and celebration featuring carolers, live music, hot chocolate and more.  It culminates with Santa’s arrival on the firetruck. The second part is the Elf Hunt. ‘Hunters’ pick up a â??Great Yuletide Elf Hunt Passportâ?? at select locations, then visit selected shops in search of the ‘elf’, filling up your passport as you go. At the end of the day, all successful hunters (those with a fully filled in passport) will get to enter a drawing for a chance to win some fun prizes.


Holiday Homes Tour (Dec 2)

Now’s your chance to see some historic Outer Banks homes, along with new ones built the ‘Manteo Way’ (renovated buildings that serve as business and residence.) Check in point is at Outer Banks Craft Distilling where you can partake of some light refreshments. Manteo Cyclery will provide bikes on a first come first serve basis. Commemorative ornaments are available.

TRiO Holiday Market (Dec 9)

Looking for last minute gifts? There’s no better kind than the ones handcrafted by local artisans.  From candles to jewelry, to soap and everything in between, the Holiday Market is your place to pick up some great stocking stuffers or last minute gifts.

St. Nicholas arrives at Island Farm (Dec 9)

Looking for a place for your kids to meet Santa? St. Nick is coming to the Island Farm. Instead of reindeer, he’ll come by ox cart then sets up in one of the quaint farm houses with a roaring fire, waiting for your kids to come and enjoy.  They’ll be hot apple cider, ginger cookies, ox cart rides, and a lot of fun.

Great White Fishmas (Dec 9)

Join the NC Aquarium’s Great White Fishmas. They’ll be crafts, cookie decorating, special programs, live music and more. And don’t forget the animals. You’ll see otters, jelly fish, alligators, turtles and so much more. There are even sharks you pet. Yes, SHARKS.

Poulos Family Christmas (Dec 17 – 31)

The famous Outer Banks ‘Christmas House’ has been featured on HGTV the Today Show and YouTube.  It takes 12 weeks to set up and $3500 in electric bills to run. A delightful mix of old and new Christmas traditions, you’ve never seen something quite like this before.

New Year in the New World (December 31)

Ok, so this is technically a new year’s thing, but it is in December and it is fun, so it’s worth mentioning.  Best of all, it’s family friendly. For this celebration, the streets of Downtown Manteo are closed and there will be a street fair party, complete with an early ball drop for kids. Live music, family friendly activities and food vendors are just the beginning of your great time.  The highlight of the evening will be the largest fireworks display in the state, and it will be choreographed to music. It’s the perfect way to ring in the New Year.

Olde Christmas (Jan 6)

The fun isn’t over yet. Hatteras Island is one of the last places in the country to celebrate “Olde Christmas” on the traditional date. It’s not the Christmas you’re used to because this one is steeped in Island Tradition. It features caroling, music, dancing, and the traditional Christmas food, oysters. The highlight of the evening is when ‘Old Buck’ the bull appears. In all of Rodanthe History, Old Buck has always been played by two locals, but the costume is supposedly made with the horns of the real ‘Old Buck’ who lived in Trent Woods.  Old buck plays with the revelers, doing his own dance through the crowd and mock goring people. He brings luck for the New Year.

There’s no better place to spend the holidays than on the Outer Banks. Even though you can’t go in the water, the beach provides endless opportunities to walk, and commune with nature. And the people of the Outer Banks have enough going on that you can celebrate Christmas in style. If you need to rent a house for your family, you can do that here.

Halloween on the Outer Banks

Halloween or October in general is a great time to visit the Outer Banks; not only is the weather usually perfect- not too hot or too cold, but we have some great Halloween themed attractions in the area that you’re going to love!


Island Farm Pumpkin Patch (October 7, 14, 21, and 28)

Even though you’re not home, you can still make pumpkin flavored memories. The Island Farm is open Saturdays in October and has the perfect pumpkin for you. It starts with an ox drawn wagon ride by the last yoke trained ox in the country.  The cart takes you to the pumpkin patch were you can pick out your pumpkin. Plus, the Island Farm has appropriate fall themed farm activities such as stuffing a scarecrow, making a corn husk doll, candle making and more. And don’t forget the animals, they’ll be there too. The Island Farm has horses, chickens, sheep, and more.

Wanchese Woods Haunted Trail (Oct 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28)

Fridays and Saturdays in October it’s Haunted Woods time. Located in an actual woods with ‘history’, the woods is an old school style haunt with people, special effects, jump scares and more. It’s not for those with weak hearts, those who scare easily or who are claustrophobic. But, if you love a good scare, then you’re going to LOVE the Haunted Trail.  Be aware, because of its intense nature, a waiver is required.  (Also, they only take cash)

The International Halloween Film Festival (Oct 26-28)

Featuring 40 independent horror films from around the world, these short films are guaranteed to get you in the Halloween spirit. Some of the headline films are 3 Dead Trick or Treaters (Canada)  Sightings (North Carolina), The Barberâ??s Cut  (U.K.) and a stop-motion animated The Funhouse Waltz from New Zealand.  Many directors and actors will be on hand to talk shop about the films.  It’s perfect for the horror film lover and movie buff. Tickets are available for single days or all three.

Brewtäg (Oct 28)  Brewtag

Ok, this one’s not very “spooky” but they do always have it around Halloween, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it.  The Brewtag features inventors who are trying to get mini kegs to fly. You’ll be treated to all kinds of flying machines, and the kegs either fly, or fall with style.  It’s family fun for all, with music, food, fun and flying kegs. What could be better?

Halloween Carnival â?? (Oct. 28)

Held at Kmart, this carnival features games, costume contests and great prizes. You’ll also have a chance to see Halfmoon Hollow display of handmade, custom built Halloween animatronics and decorations on exhibit in a special walk-through experience. You’ll be amazed and have a lot of fun.

Halloween Tea Party (Oct 28)

It’s tea party time. The Spice & Tea Exchange is hosting a tea party where you’ll get to sample all four of their specialty Fall teas. You can also make your own candy apple at the candy apple bar, and partake of some frighteningly good treats. This event is perfect for any little girl (or boy) who loves tea parties or any adult who just loves tea.

Outer Banks Halloween Parade of Costumes (Oct 29)

It’s the 4th annual Halloween Parade at Kelly’s. This family friendly event features trick or treating, surprise guests, live entertainment, the haunted hearse, Star Wars 501st Legion, and the biggest costume contest in the county. Everyone is welcome, even dogs, and they can dress up too, or even be in the parade.  There are close to a dozen prizes you could win and all kinds of categories you could win them in.

Halloween At The WaterFront Shops  (Oct 29)

Duck does Halloween in this fun event put on by the Merchants Association.  Trick or treat in broad daylight at the shops along the boardwalk. Get a henna tattoo, caricatures, take a hay ride, participate in a raffle and enjoy the spooky music of DJ Allen.  It’s family fun at its best.

Trick-Or-Treat Night Fundraiser (Oct 28)

Though this technically takes place at First Flight Elementary Schoole and is a local favorite, it is open to all. You can trick or treat through the halls, see the haunted house, or participate in the cake walk.  There are also fun activities for kids like glitter tattoos, glow necklaces, rock painting, and a photo booth.  There’s also a silent auction for adults. Pizza and hot dogs are the kid friendly fair at this event. Best of all, your entry fee supports local education and the food pantry.

Trunk Or Treat (Oct 31)

If you’re spending  the actual day of Halloween with us but the kids are sad over missing traditional Trick or Treat night, donâ??t worry, there is an alternative. Corolla hosts Trunk or Treat at the Whalehead Club. Locals and companies gather in the parking lot and have their trucks filled with all kinds of goodies, from candy to trinkets. The kids can go from trunk to trunk (instead of door to door) to collect their treasure and have all the fun of Halloween even though they’re not at home. Best of all, the Whalehead Club vets everyone who wants to participate, so you can be assured of safety. 

halloween parade

Thanksgiving on the Outer Banks

The food, the fun, the family. Instead of staying home this Thanksgiving, and having a score of relatives in your house, come to the Outer Banks and enjoy Thanksgiving in a home by the beach that will accommodate all of you.   Not sure what there is to do on the Outer Banks for Thanksgiving? Well, I’m glad you asked.


There are plenty of places to have Thanksgiving dinner on the Outer Banks. Most places offer all you can eat buffets featuring the Outer Banks favorite Fall treat, oysters. Some restaurants offer a special menu.  Here are a few of our favorites. 

Red Sky Café-Buffet complete with crab cakes and rockfish

Lifesaving Station at the Sanderling Resort– Special 4 course dinner

Fishbones Sunset Grille & Raw Bar-Buffet :  apricot dressing and Mahi anyone?

Ocean Boulevard– Special 4 course dinner

Beachside Bistro– Buffet with oyster stuffing

Jolly Roger-Traditional Thanksgiving meal like you’d find up north

Captain George’s-Traditional Thanksgiving Buffet, but includes crab legs and shrimp

Port O’Call Restaurant– Traditional buffet served in an old fashioned gas light saloon

Owens’ Restaurant– Oldest restaurant on the Outer Banks features an OBX Thanksgiving buffet

Mulligan’s Raw Bar and Grill-Buffet a mixture of traditional and Outer Banks favorites

Pamlico Jack’s-Buffet and annual oyster feast

Kelly’s Outer Banks Restaurant and Tavern– A local’s favorite  for over 30 years,


Of course, it’s not all about food. Here are some fun things to do before and after that Thanksgiving. Feast.

November 21-Bright Walkerâ??s Singing Bowls Sound Concert

A type of inverted bell from Tibet, singing bowls are used for mediation and relaxation. The sounds they make are unique to the instrument and are seldom played in public.

November 24-Outer Banks Running Club OBX Gobbler 5k & Fun-the Outer Banks Running Club sponsors this 5k run through Village at Nags Head along the sound. If you’re into running, you won’t want to miss this. It’s great way to open your appetite before the feast.

November 25-Grand Illuminations- Welcome to the opening of the Winter Lights at the Elizabethan Gardens. Even if you can’t be here for Christmas, this is guaranteed to put you in a happy Christmassy mood.

November 25- Poulos Family Christmas Lights-don’t head out of town without checking out the Christmas House. This stunning private display has been lovingly created by the homeowners for decades It’s been shown on TV several times.

November 26-Garden To Hearth– done in period style at the Island Farm, you’ll discover how eighteenth century farming families prepared for winter with cooking, preserving and more. Candle making and ox cart rides are available.


Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to go shopping. It IS Black Friday after all. And if you like Black Fridays, you’ll find we don’t have anywhere near the level of craziness you’ll see in metropolitan areas. Just be sure you check for hours. So who has some good Black Friday Shopping?

Tanger Outlet Center-this strip mall is perfect for those who want a little bit of it all. The brand name outlet stores each run unique sales and open at 6am

Belk-This department store has sales both in the store and online.  They’re also going to be offering extra discounts to Belk card holders. 

The Cottage Shop-Opening at 9, The Cottage Shop is just the place to find that special beachy something to take home with you. It’s the ultimate for souvenirs and home décor.

Wings-While this uniquely Outer Banks beach store doesn’t offer a special sale on Black Friday, it does feature a 50% off sale this time of year.  So if you get into town early, you have the opportunity to get your stuff now instead of later.

Farmer’s Daughter-This Outer Banks favorite offers a wide variety ofâ?¦well, everything. Some of it will be deeply discounted after Thanksgiving. 

Diamonds â??n Dunes-Though this fine jewelry store likes to be all hush hush about it, traditionally, they do have an After Thanksgiving sale. What’s on sale? Couldnâ??t tell you yet. You’ll just have to wait and see.

Big Box Stores- Of course, the Outer Banks has its share of chain stores. So if you’re into Wal-Mart, K-mart or TJ Max, Staples, or PetSmart don’t forget to give them a visit.

There’s no better place to be than the Outer Banks for Thanksgiving. Good food, good fun and good company in a great rental home all make for memories that will last a lifetime.  Can’t make it this Thanksgiving?  Gift the gift of a summer family vacation this year.  We are having a Black Friday Sale of our own.  Take advantage of the savings and cross a few names off your holiday gift list this year with a family vacation!  

Happy Holidays from the Atlantic Realty Family!


Old Christmas Celebrated on Hatteras Island

January is here, and with it, it’s Christmas again. But this is not the Christmas you’re accustomed to. This is â??Old Christmasâ??, and Rodanthe is one of few places in the world that still celebrates it. So if you’re in town, here’s what you need to know about Old Christmas.

What Is It?

Old Christmas is the community celebration of a uniquely Outer Banks Christmas. It’s celebrated the Saturday closest to the 6th. While traditional Christmas is a time for family, Old Christmas is a time for community. People from the tri villages, (Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo) gather together to share stories, drinks, oysters, and wait for the appearance of ‘Old Buck’ Also known as the ‘Beast of Trent’.  Visitors are welcome, and it’s truly a sight to see.

The Origins

Old Christmas is officially on January 6th also known as Twelfth Night or the Epiphany. Of course, the reason Rodanthe celebrates it has nothing to do with the Epiphany.

It has to do with the calendar.

In the 1700’s the Georgian calendar replaced the Roman calendar, shortening the year by 11 days. Since the Outer Banks was so isolated, it didn’t get this news until almost 100 years later. By then, the locals were pretty much set in their ways and didn’t want to change. But they did love a good party. They comprised, celebrating traditional (family) Christmas on December 25th by the new calendar and Old Christmas, (community Christmas) in January.

Old Buck

The legend of Old Buck started well over 100 years ago, when a wild bull inhabited Frisco Woods (known then as Trent.) Old Buck went around scaring villagers and livestock with his mighty horns.   Eventually, a hunter ended Old Buck and took his horns and hide as a trophy.

Today, Old Buck is the symbol of Old Christmas in Rodanthe. He is often played by one or two men hiding under a blanket adorned with Old Bucks real horns, (they say.) He’s led in by the masked keeper, whose identity is kept secret.

Old Buck gallivants throughout the revelers, mock goring people in a playful manner. Everyone agrees that Old Buck is the highlight of the evening and the symbol of Old Christmas on the Outer Banks.

Old Christmas of Yesteryear

Old Christmas traditions are as unique and varied as the islanders themselves. Old Buck is one of the few traditions still used in Modern Old Christmas, but there were some others lost to timeâ?¦

One of these was the ‘dumb table’. On Old Christmas eve, unmarried women made food offerings for the spirits. They set the offerings on the table and hid to wait for them to appear. If the spirits were pleased with the offerings, they thanked the girls by telling them the name of the man they’d marry. Since no one else spoke during this time, it was called the ‘dumb table.’ 

Adults and children alike would wear colorful homemade masks, sing carols and make candy while waiting for Old Buck to appear.

Old Christmas also hosted an ‘Oyster Shoot’, a shooting contest where oysters were given as prizes.

The traditional foods of Old Christmas, include oysters, chicken stew topped with pie bread, white turkey, (swans) duck, molasses candy and strong drink.

Drums and fifes are the traditional instruments of Old Christmas. Though drums are still used, it’s more in a ceremonial manner than for the music. Modern Old Christmas drums mark the arrival of Old Buck.

Old Christmas Today

Today’s Old Christmas is a little bit different. Old Buck and his keeper are still an integral part of the celebration and everyone looks forward to seeing him. Oysters and sweets are the favorite foods, though there are often other things to eat as well, such as chicken. They also still have the traditional Oyster Shoot. Today, a band has replaced the drums and fifes. There is dancing, merriment and good time is had by all. So if you’re on the Outer Banks in January, stop by the Rodanthe Community Center for a great time and a great memory.

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.

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.