No matter how much time I spend in Duck, the ability to stroll the town’s length never loses its enchantment. It’s one of the few places on the Outer Banks where you can walk a significant stretch with uninterrupted views of the water. The Boardwalk, managed by the Town of Duck, stretches along the town’s Village Commercial District from Aqua Restaurant & Spa to The Blue Point. It’s a 0.78-mile-long walkway over the sound with nothing to the west but water and the distant Currituck mainland. the boardwalk skirts the perimeters of boutiques, galleries and restaurants with waterfront views. Occasionally it dips under a canopy of oak trees or winds through a maze of marsh grass. Along the way, people walk their dogs, families amble from shop to shop, couples stroll hand in hand and others capture the perfect shot with their phones and cameras.
Back toward the road, a dedicated sidewalk also connects the town. The Town of Duck completed the third phase in its walkability project by extending the sidewalk to connect with the shared-use path at the Ships Watch neighborhood. Now, pedestrians and cyclists can easily and safely reach every restaurant, shop and attraction within the town’s limits without ever stepping foot in a car.
The walkability makes the town’s shopping experience a leisurely meandering among the shops, galleries and boutiques. Stop at a cafe or candy shop along the way to pick up a coffee or ice cream for the road. The ease of going back and forth between the boardwalk and the sidewalk creates an idyllic balance of the picturesque town and the pristine natural beauty.
For dining around town, you can access the restaurants via the scenic route no matter which way you choose. In the evening, walking is the way both locals and visitors use to reach their destination, maybe stopping for a craft cocktail or glass of wine along the way. And if they time it just right to be by the sound during sunset, they’re rewarded with a sky streaked with fuchsia, violet, peach and orange, all reflected on the water.
This walkability is a year-round luxury localized to Duck that makes the town all the more a destination to shop, play, dine and stay. Unlike some attractions that close with the season, the boardwalk stays open throughout the year.
Take a promenade in October, November, December … even in January, it’s still a treat! During the fall and winter sunsets, the sky over the Currituck Sound softens into a cool lilac hue and the surroundings quieten, silent save for the occasional flock of Canada geese. Viewed from the boardwalk, this world feels exclusive, and you feel privy to one of the Outer Banks’ best views that comes with basking in such beauty.
But then, should the chill chase you indoors, there are plenty of warm, inviting spots that beckon you inside. Curl your fingers around a cup of steamy hot cocoa from the coffee shops, or run your hands over the selection of fine scarves at boutiques. Stop in at restaurants for a fortifying meal or beverage to power you through the rest of your on-foot adventures in Duck.