The Outer Banks: The Perfect Hideaway for a Travel Writer and a Hotel GM

Our Path to Paradise

Summer is on the wane. And if you’re like me, you’re looking forward to embracing fall while clinging to your favorite memories of summer. I shared my best trip this summer with my boyfriend, Steve, an overworked hotel general manager. It occurred late summer on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and it included everything you’d ever want from a great vacation. Yes, you guessed it! Just as Serge Gainsbourg sang in his late 1970’s hit “Sea, Sex and Sun,” we had all the key components of a perfect beach getaway.

Our First Dinner Out

More Wonderful Seafood from Awful Arthur’s

Shucking Oysters: A North Carolina Speciality

Oh yes, we reveled in extraordinary surf, the main reason so many people love the Outer Banks. We also took immense pleasure in the beach throughout our entire stay. We feasted on seafood, lots of fried food, doughnuts and ice cream. (It is the South after all.) We savored swills of wine and frosty beers perched high on the dunes at sunset. We sipped tea together and marveled at the sunrise (they’re the best here) one morning when we managed to pry ourselves out of bed. We accompanied each other on long walks on the beach and drive-arounds to scout out the best surf spots of the day. We shopped for food, surf wax, salt water taffy and bikinis, potentially loaded forays that tested our togetherness, especially when the bikini was not found. We chilled in our modest—but wonderful—seaside apartment, cooking huge breakfasts, eating leftovers from our big nights out and listening to the Grateful Dead, Merle Haggard and other classic tunes. Our days were measured by the tides and the swells; our nights were punctuated by the moon and deep sleeps made possible by the incessant crashing of the surf outside our window. Either way, the presence of the wind and water lulled us into a continuous state of happiness, the sort of euphoric sense of well-being and relaxation that’s best achieved at the ocean or perhaps after a day on the slopes.

Just One of Countless Windswept Scenes

After my first visit to the Outer Banks two years ago, I wrote extensively about this magical place, but didn’t include a single address. And like the first time, I didn’t take a single note on this trip either. It was a vacation. Even travel writers need a vacation.

I can no longer, however, ignore my natural propensity to share travel information, even when it comes to the Outer Banks, my boyfriend’s special sanctuary that he’d prefer to keep to himself. There’s so much to chose from at this well-loved tourist destination that I’d like to point you in the right direction. The below establishments should prove to be a good start. We enjoyed them all and it’s my wish that you will, too.

And keep in mind that fall is a great time to visit the Outer Banks.

Days Inn Oceanfront Wright Brothers, Kill Devil Hills, 252-449-0827; they have houses, apartments and rooms for rent at reasonable prices right on the beach.

Awful Arthur’s Oyster Bar, Kill Devil Hills, 252-441-5955; we came here to feast on steamed clams, fried shrimp and fresh grilled flounder in our bathing suits (with coverups!) and flip flops. Now that’s a vacation!

Kelly’s Restaurant & Tavern, Nags Head, 252-441-4116; enjoy fine dining and a happening night life at this renowned OBX establishment.

Thank you to Three Dog Ink and Gulf Stream Creative for the use of the photos in this post.

Mike Kelly, Owner of Kelly’s and Steve’s Former Boss When He Was a Newbie to the Hospitality Industry

Kelly’s Spread

 

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