Outer Banks Articles & Shorts - Issue 27: Spring 2022

Publisher's Letter

I’m writing this on the first day of March. Spring is in evidence everywhere I look – daffodils, tulips, daphne odoras, trees beginning to leaf out – and it’s 64 degrees outside. Weird. Historically, we’ve had some Outer Banks snowstorms in the first week of March.

Speaking of history, think back to this time two years ago. COVID was just beginning to capture the nation’s attention. We weren’t sure how much we had to worry about; surely, after just a little bit of down time, life would be back to normal.

And here we are … two years later … and? One thing that intrigues me is that if everyone reading this posited their own answer to that question, we would have many, many different takes. Some would say that they’ve gone underground, so to speak. Some would say they’ve used the time to better themselves. Some have fundamentally shifted their daily routines.

But one thing I think most Outer Bankers would agree on is that this past year-plus has been the busiest time most of us have ever experienced here. We’ve welcomed more visitors than ever before, which meant more work by businesses that were short-staffed, which meant, in most cases, much more stress. Again, weird, that we’d have our most populated high season in the middle of a pandemic. (And, heck, it’s the time of year that locals appreciate getting into their favorite restaurants without a wait, and that’s not even happening!)

But we Outer Bankers are ever resilient. We’ve learned how to deal with adversity through our many hurricanes and nor’easters. And somehow local business owners adapted to the rushed pace and kept their heads and, for the most part, their smiling faces. No small feat … and major kudos.

It’s no exaggeration that the entire world has changed over the past several years. We’ve changed with it. But at least here on the Outer Banks, the constancy of Mother Ocean, our spectacular sunrises and sunsets, our starry nights, seeing familiar faces most places we go, long walks on the beach, wide open spaces on our National Seashore and the predictable return of spring anchor our hearts to a place of peace.




Resort-Ready Style All Year Long

By Leah Wingenroth
The Cotton Gin knows style isn’t seasonal – it’s all year round! With each passing year, The Wright family, longtime owners of The Cotton Gin, find new ways to create an exciting shopping experience unlike any other. For more than 60 years, The Cotton Gin has sought innovation in the world of retail, marrying a... Read More

A Nags Head Tradition: 40 Years of The Dunes Restaurant

By Beth P. Storie
Picture a blustery March morning in 1983. It’s cold and windy, but that’s no deterrent to Rufus and Roxie Pritchard, new owners of The Dunes Restaurant, because it’s their opening day. Their very first opening day as owners of a restaurant. Rufus is up at 4 a.m. to get things ready to greet guests at 5:30. The first... Read More

The Beauty of the Windswept Tree

By Molly Harrison
People fall in love with Ocracoke Island for so many reasons — the ocean waves, calm sound waters, weather, history, people, wildlife and on and on. Another element of the island that stirs people’s hearts is the trees. “The wind-sculpted trees are a striking sight,” says lifelong resident Amy Howard, whose home and... Read More

A First-Timer's Guide to Corolla and the Currituck Outer Banks

By Leah Wingenroth
For many lucky sightseers and ocean lovers, summer vacation at the beach is drawing near. Whether you’re an annual Outer Banks visitor or you’re gearing up for your first summer in paradise, you’re undoubtedly starting to get excited for a relaxing week or two in the sun after a long winter. But what about a change of... Read More

How to Unwind on Ocracoke

By Molly Harrison
There’s more than one way to vacation. Some getaways are geared to action and activity, some are focused on experiencing new cultures and some are simply for resting and recharging. When you need to unwind your mind and untangle the tension in your body, Ocracoke is the perfect choice. This tiny island on the... Read More