Feeling thankful

By Molly Harrison | Monday, November 22, 2010
Nellie Myrtle Beachcombing Museum will be open on Friday.

So I'm sitting on a ferry in the Abacos last week staring at the turquoise water and daydreaming in a pining sort of way about living on an island. Then the obvious occurs to me: I ALREADY live on an island (I know Nags Head is technically on a peninsula but it feels islandy). * Two days later, I'm back home, in a boat, skimming across the slick calm Pamlico Sound on a 70-degree late-November day, marveling at how the sky and sea are exactly the same grayish-blue color and the horizon has all but disappeared because of that. * What was interesting was that I felt the same feeling of reverence for water and islands and life by the sea here as I did there...

We all know the Caribbean has us beat on winter weather, water color and clarity and abundance of islands to explore, but the Outer Banks beats the Caribbean in some respects. Take seafood for instance. Conch is edible, but I'd much rather eat greentail shrimp, blue crabs and scallops, which you just can't get in the Bahamian islands - and our varieties of edible fish beat theirs too. Their tropical fruits are abundant, but fresh vegetables are scarily scarce. Thanks to N.C.'s temperate climate and actual soil instead of sand, I came home to lettuce, broccoli, butternut squash, collards and even a few of the very last cherry tomatoes in our garden. And, spoiled American that I am, I was glad to get back to some of those things you just can't get in the Bahamas (the only milk they had in Elbow Cay was $10.50-a-gallon nonorganic whole milk)...

Anyway, point is, it's great to go away, but it's great to come home, too. And sometimes you have to go away to appreciate what you have at home...

And, now, on to the reason you're actually here (what, you're not here to see my vacation slide show?): this week's Outer Banks events...

It being Thanksgiving week and all, I think we can all expect quite a few visitors in town. And it's supposed to be in the high 60s this week, so that sounds just perfect for everyone...

If you had your heart set on a Turkey Day 5K, you'd better plan your own. Both the Advice 5K Turkey Trot in Duck and the Gobbler 5K in Nags Head are full. But you can easily map out your own course for your friends and family. My family has a tradition of taking a long nature walk on Thanksgiving morning to set the tone of thankfulness. You've got a lot of choices if you go this route: Pea Island, Nags Head Woods, Alligator River NWR, the beach, Bodie Island Lighthouse, Kitty Hawk Woods, Buxton Woods...

If you're not planning to cook on Thanksgiving, you're in luck. Outer Banks restaurants are cooking up some turkey, seafood, sides and desserts, but you'd better make your reservations early in the week! See our Restaurants/Dining page for ideas on where to go. Some restaurants are also offering Thanksgiving meals to go...

Now on to that other Thanksgiving tradition: Black Friday. Personally, I would rather swallow thumbtacks than get involved in Black Friday mall and super-store shopping in the city, but I can deal with the Outer Banks-style Black Friday. Yes, Tanger Outlets will be a zoo, with overflow parking on the Bypass, and some bargain gluttons will wait in line to get in TJ Maxx or Belk, but there are some more low-key shopping opportunities for the rest of us. All of the local shops have sales (see our Shopping page for a rundown) so pick your favorite store and head there. * And there are a few other events to tell you about: Hatteras Island Arts and Craft Guild Holiday Show is at Cape Hatteras Secondary School in Buxton on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. It's all local artists and they've got food and free admission. * Elizabethan Gardens' Black Friday Gift Shop and Plant Sale is on Friday, and everything is 15 percent off (Friends get 25 percent off). * The Whalehead Club's Black Friday Porch Sale, in which everything from the gift shop is discounted, including their popular Copper Collection, is on Friday. There's a bake sale too. It's from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m...

One of my favorite shopping opportunities is Stan Akins' Rug Show and Sale. Stan frequently travels to Turkey and imports gorgeous hand-woven Oriental rugs, kilims, textiles, tribal items, artifacts, pottery, clothing, home accessories, jewelry and more. The rug selection is vast. He's also a got a great selection of Pashmina scarves, and usually a couple of local artists are there selling their works too. Stan's show is at 4810 S. Croatan Highway (MP 10.5) in Nags Head, just south of Ace in the old medical building. It's running Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and next Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (except Sunday, which is 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.)...

If you're not shopping, here's a lot of other stuff to do with the family:

To get everyone in the Christmas spirit, Kitty Hawk Kites holds its annual Hangin' with Santa festivities on Friday and Saturday. Stop by the Kitty Hawk Kites Nags Head location to take photos with Santa on a demo hand glider. On Saturday, they've got Kites with Lights. Climb up Jockey's Ridge just before sunset and you'll see lighted kites dancing to holiday music...

The Nellie Myrtle Beachcomber Museum is having its Open House on Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You'll see the famous collection of shells, sea glass, messages in bottles and much more. Admission is free. The museum is at milepost 13 on the Beach Road in Nags Head, just south of Jockey's Ridge. The curators put this quote on their press release: "It is perhaps more fortunate to have a taste for collecting shells than to have been born a millionaire." - Robert Louis Stevenson. LOVE THAT!...

Island Farm on Roanoke Island is hosting a family-oriented event on Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fall Foodways at Island Farm will show how island families prepared for winter in the 1850s. They'll be doing hearth cooking, food preservation, butter churning, corn husk braiding, ox-drawn wagon rides, corn shucking and more. Bring a non-perishable food item for the Roanoke Island Food Pantry and get $1 off admission...

Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site & Museum in Rodanthe is having its End of Season Celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday. There will be refreshments, entertainment, Santa (1 to 3 p.m.), self-guided tours and a gift shop sale. Admission is free with a contribution to the Hatteras Island Food Pantry...

If you're headed out to the bars this weekend, there's lots to do. The Comedy Club Presents Patrick O'Donnell and Tim Grill at the Comedy Club at the Ramada Plaza Hotel on Friday and Saturday nights at 9 p.m. * Outer Banks Brewing Station has a good lineup this weekend: Jesse Chong Band on Friday and TR3 on Saturday. * Kelly's has Trainwreck on Friday and Cheap Thrills on Saturday. * Port O Call has Southern Culture on the Skids on Friday and Fried Chicken on Saturday. Beach Road Grill has The DreadNecks on Friday and Chistian Benedi on Saturday. * Keep looking around the By Night site for more ideas...

One more thing to tell you about: the N.C. Aquarium Society is selling engraved fish planks for the new Jennette's Pier, which is opening in May 2011. For $200 you can support the education exhibits and programs at the pier and get a personalized fish tile permanently embedded into the deck boards of the pier. It's a great gift or memorial idea. Go to https://www.jennettespier.net/buy-plank/...

Well, have a great Thanksgiving week. I hope you have a great meal and a great time on the Outer Banks. If you're feeling thankful about something, make a comment about it below. We'd love to hear from you!...

About the Author Molly Harrison
Molly Harrison is managing editor at OneBoat, publisher of OuterBanksThisWeek.com. She moved to Nags Head in 1994 and since then has made her living writing articles and creating publications about the people, places and culture of the Outer Banks. When not working she practices and teaches yoga and spends as much time as possible outside and in or on the water with her husband and two children.