A Jolt of Happiness

By Molly Harrison | Tuesday, July 5, 2011
A view of newly nourished beach in Nags Head.

I love living at the beach. I don't feel like I take it for granted a single day. Every time I look at the water - hundreds of times a day - I feel a little jolt of happiness (maybe something like the serotonin ping a teenager gets from a text notification?). Growing up, I never could have imagined that I'd live by the water and that one of my daily summer decisions would involve the question: ocean, sound or pool?

Sure, living at the beach has its down sides - our bikes, wagons, strollers and scooters are all rusting; our windows are forever crusted in salt; sometimes I crave more shade - but those things are so minor as to be inconsequential. And non-beach dwellers always want to bring up hurricanes and sea level rising, but I'm just going to appreciate whatever time I've got on this island...

And, yes, it's a little crowded out there right now. How about those beach accesses on July 4? Not a parking spot to be found, and I don't think I've ever seen so many people on the beach in my life. * If you want the beach to yourself, try late night. Last night I wasn't sleepy, so I biked over to the beach and walked at midnight. Not one other soul was out there. Very cool, and I'd forgotten how much I like watching the white of the breakers in the pitch black of night. * The newly nourished beaches in Nags Head are very accommodating to the crowds. If you haven't seen them, it's worth checking out. The engineers say the beaches won't always be as wide as they are now (they overshot the sand with the intent of having the beaches equal out later when the nor'easters come). They're so wide now, you can't really tell if it's low or high tide. The latest update: Milepost 14.9 to 16.5 is done, and 18.3 to 19.8 is under way. One dredge is out getting repairs until mid-July, but one is still working in South Nags Head. (Thanks to John Ratzenberger for the beach nourishment photo.)...

If you can get up off that beautiful beach this week, here's what we've got going on...

Corolla: First of all, it's Wild Horse Days, a festival that raises awareness about the Corolla Wild Horse Fund and the wild horses. This one started on Tuesday, July 5 but also runs Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Currituck Heritage Park and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Wild Horse Museum in old Corolla Village. You'll find games, activities, art, horse rides, a petting zoo and a lot more. It's not just for kids. They have beer and wine tastings too. Call (252) 453-8002. * The Whalehead Club's Wednesday Wine Festival is from 3 to 7 p.m. and features live music with Steep Winding Road and, of course, tastings. *The Whalehead Club's Summer Concert Series on the Lawn has the band Connected playing on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. * Also on Thursday, at 7 p.m., is the popular Moonlight Legend, Lore and Ghost Tour in which you walk through the club by lantern light, beginning at dusk. * Don't forget the daily tours of the Whalehead Club; daily, free, nature-oriented programs (except Sunday) at the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education; or daily climbing of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse.

In Duck, Duck Town Park is bustling with activity all week. Thursday night The Fuzz Band is playing at the Summer Music Series in Duck Town Park. * Next Tuesday at the Duck Unplugged concert at 6 p.m., look for local favorite Laura Martier performing with her daughter, Lucy Martier. * The park has special programs too: Tuesdays at 10 a.m., it's the cast of The Lost Colony in the Morning Music and Theatre Series; Wednesdays at 10 a.m., it's the Family Magic Show with OBXtreme Magic at 10 a.m. (free but tickets are required and are available at Kellogg Supply Co.) * Thursdays at 10 a.m. it's Children's Story Time...

Down in Kill Devil Kitty Head, or the central beaches, if you will, the Outer Banks Daredevils are playing baseball on Thursday and Sunday this week and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week. Call (252) 441-2175. * The Comedy Club at the Ramada in KDH has Chris Coccia and Chip Chantry on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 9 p.m. Call (252) 201-9950. * Besides a great beach and bathhouse and awesome fishing, Jennette's Pier has programs like Beach Exploration, the Wonders of Wind, Kids Fishing, Plankton Investigation, Night Beach Investigations, Marine Crafts and Story Time, and even a Parent's Night Out. Go to www.jennettespier.net to see details. * Favorite Outer Banks photographer Ray Matthews has opened a new showing of his work at Glenn Eure's Ghost Fleet Gallery in Nags Head. Called "Chasing the Light" the show is up through July, with a reception on July 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. * Outer Banks Epicurean cooking classes are fun, out-of-the-sun activities: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are "Cookin' Outer Banks Style"; Tuesday and Thursday there's a Colington Crab Shedder Tour and Cooking Class (in season); and Wednesdays at 9 a.m. there's a Colington Crab Kayak and Cook; call (252) 480-0050...

On Roanoke Island, the North Carolina Symphony is coming to Roanoke Island Festival Park on Friday at 8 p.m. Bring a blanket or chairs and a picnic because seating is on the lawn. The show is free. I'm curious to see how they play out the theme (pirates!), and I do love sitting on the lawn for a show at Festival Park. * The Lost Colony is going on Monday through Saturday every week at 8:30 p.m. - you know that, right? * The Lost Colony crew also puts on a kids' show, Pirate! A Boy at Sea, on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m. * The Elizabethan Gardens is a great place to visit, and they have a cool workshop for kids every Wednesday called Scratch and Sniff Garden. It's from 10 a.m. to noon. * The Roanoke Island Maritime Museum in downtown Manteo has a Community Sail in Shallowbag Bay every Tuesday night from 6 to 8 p.m. Call (252) 474-1750 for details. * The N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island has a new interactive exhibit called Operation: Sea Turtle Rescue! There are interactive activities and a live green sea turtle to view. * Don't forget the Manteo Farmers Market on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon...

On Hatteras Island, the new Hatteras Island Farmers Market is receiving rave reviews. It's on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Hatteras Realty location on N.C. 12 in Avon. * The annual Carey LaSieur Foundation Annual Picnic, which funds scholarships for local students, will be held on Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Community Building. * Be sure to catch a summer program at the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station. There's a program Monday through Friday at 2 p.m., with the favorite being the Beach Apparatus Drill on Thursdays...

On Ocracoke, there's a lot going on in Deepwater Theater: story telling, Ocrafolk Opry, Molasses Creek and more....

In the bars clubs, I can't tell you about it all. It's just too much. Check our weekly By Night listings...

OK, so that's an epic. If you can't find something to do in that list, or in our list of By Day activities, then you've got a problem. Or maybe you're just sitting on the beach. And that's OK too...

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.