Posted by: jackiepolis | August 11, 2014

A Day in the Life of an Intern on the Deep Blue Sea

Posted by: jackiepolis | August 8, 2014

25 Years of Tradition

Posted by: jackiepolis | July 28, 2014

Just Keep Swimming!

Are you having a rainy day at the beach? Will your kids drive you crazy if you don’t go out and do something fun? There’s no better solution for this than the Outer Banks Aquarium on Roanoke Island! Rain or shine this is one of the top attractions the Outer Banks has to offer. There are so many different types of fascinating fish along with other animals such as otters, sharks and sting rays! Every tank or exhibit has a panel giving fun facts on each habitat.

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As much as I love history and learning new things, I’m a very hands on person, I like to always be doing things. This aquarium has many opportunities aside from just walking around and reading. There are many shows about dinosaurs, shark tank adventures and the BRAND NEW Sea Turtle exhibit! We didn’t have time to see these but had a blast doing other activities. Jackie isn’t the biggest petting zoo fan, but I really enjoyed petting the sting rays! At first I was a little nervous, but the associate assured me that these rays were harmless because their stingers were removed. We moved onto a massive tank that not only had fish but dun dun dun…SHARKS! Unlike fearless Jackie, as you can see in the picture below I am terrified of sharks.

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Even though our day was ending the adventure wasn’t. The gift shop had a wide selection of souvenirs for us to bring back for our families and to also serve as a memento for our wonderful day. On top of shopping, the aquarium provides a miniature, reasonably priced restaurant for lunch or just snacks. It is located right on the beautiful sound with picnic benches to kick back and relax. Outside there are also more activities for kids such as the tyrannosaurus trek and “walking on the sands of time.” The sands of time is a large sand box with hidden fossils(replicas) inside for the kids to go exploring. National Park Service quoted,

“Based on information obtained at sites from New Jersey to Florida, the NC Outer Banks appear to offer the greatest concentration of these Pleistocene fossils”

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There is so much more that the Outer Banks Aquarium has to offer, but I don’t want to completely ruin the surprise for you so go check it out and have a fun filled day with your family! And now Jackie and I must go watch Finding Nemo.

 

Posted by: jackiepolis | July 25, 2014

Pack Up and Fly Away

I am sure many of you are out there wondering how in the world are you going to get to the Outer Banks to see your family while they are enjoying a lovely family vacation while you are stuck a plane ride away. Like you may know from some of my other posts part of my summer internship down here is to Live like a Local but to Travel like a Tourist. I did exactly that this past weekend.

 

I would like to let you know joining your family while they are down here is easy as pie! On Friday afternoon I made a journey to the Norfolk airport in Virginia to fly for the weekend to see my family in New York City. Not only was it effortless for me to get to the airport but my flight cost a mere $161.00! It is almost unheard of to take a flight anywhere now a days so inexpensively (trust me I know, I spend hours on websites researching for my major).

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It takes around an hour and a half to make the journey from Duck to the Airport. It is an easy straight shot however you will need to cross through the Chesapeake Expressway, a toll road that costs $3.00 on weekdays and $6.00 on weekends. There are also many taxi shuttle services in the Outer Banks that can take you to the airport if your family cannot pick you up on their way down to the area.

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Experiencing it first hand and not being a newby to flying this airport is extremely easy to navigate. There are two terminals, A and B, and 30 gates in total (unsurprisingly I was at gate 30, a total of a three minute walk through the terminal). The long term parking lot has no shuttle to get to the building considering it is an eight minute leisurely stroll to get there. Another great thing about the Norfolk Airport was that I only had to stand behind two others to get through TSA. It was a breeze!

 

There is no reason for you to miss a family get together due to distance. Flying in and out of Norfolk is hassle free and often times inexpensive!

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Posted by: jackiepolis | July 14, 2014

Exploring the Sound

Relaxing all day on the beach may not be everyone’s cup of tea while on vacation. Sure, the sun, salt, and sand are great but there reaches a time in the vacation when the kids have had enough. Lucky for you the Outer Banks has so much more to offer. If you have read Kristin or my own posts in the past you are familiar with our adventures. Last week we strayed away from the beach and went to the other side of the peninsula, the sound.

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Coastal Explorations is a locally owned company in the historic Corolla Village that specializes in kayak and stand-up paddle boarding rentals as well as kayaking tours on the sound. We were lucky enough to get to go on one!

Bright and early Monday morning Kristin and I made the trip along Route 12 from Duck to Corolla to start our weekly assignment. Singing the latest Miranda Lambert song, the twenty five minute drive flew by. Smelling fresh of sunscreen we met our guide Claire and a nice couple from Tennessee who would be joining us on our tour.

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Coastal Explorations has a killer mile long dock that we wandered down until we got to the kayak launching site. Claire gave us a brief lesson on how to kayak (how to get in the boat, hold the paddles, and turn) and with that we were off. We kayaked the sound listening to birds chirping and watching fish swim around our boats. We also learned a little about the history of the area. If my arms hadn’t been so sore I would have had no idea we kayaked for nearly two hours.
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I would highly recommend taking your family on a kayak tour of the sound. Coastal Explorations offers many different types of tours including sunrise, kid friendly, and of course the general tour Kristin and I took. Even if kayaking is not an interest of your family take them out on Coastal Exploration’s dock to watch a beautiful sunset. Exploring the sound is a great way to connect with nature and experience a different wonder that the Outer Banks has to offer!

Posted by: jackiepolis | July 11, 2014

A Day in History

Most people are unaware of the significant amount of history at the Outer Banks. Today, Jackie and I got to experience a small taste of it.  We spent our morning visiting two of the most well-known spots on the Outer Banks: The Wright Brothers Memorial and Jockey’s Ridge. You may be asking yourself, what makes these places so special? Let me tell you.

The Wright Brother Memorial

“Will and Orv…think life at Kitty Hawk cures all ills, you know” -Katherine Wright

Back in 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright flew the first airplane ever in our very own Kill Devil Hills. The Wright’s moved from Ohio and grew up as mechanics fascinated by the idea of flying. They picked the Kitty Hawk location to attempt their dream specifically because of the large sand area for safe landing and consistent wind gusts. Here at the Wright Brother Memorial you have multiple avenues to experience the history. There is a good sized museum with different walls of facts, pavilions with different shows and a memorial on the hill to honor the brothers’ accomplishments.

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But more than just another factual site, you have the opportunity to experience the process firsthand. In the picture below is the exact spot the Wright Brothers changed the world.It was so cool to know that I was standing in the very place that history was made. You also got to see the different landings the planes made; it was amazing to see the progress of their persistence. wright2 The monument was so fascinating that Jackie and I just had to visit it a second time. The museum is not open at night, but we highly recommend visiting the memorial again if you’re in the area. Not only is it a good workout to hike up the hill but the sunset is beautiful! wright3 wright4

 Jockey’s Ridge

After visiting where the first flight took place, Jackie and I traveled just a little further down to the largest sand dune on the East Coast- Jockey’s Ridge. Saying this place was big would be an understatement. There was so much space for people to enjoy different activities such as rolling down the dunes, flying kites or hang gliding. There aren’t many places in the United States that you can hang glide, but Jockey’s Ridge offers opportunities to briefly experience this adventure! jockeys3

We interviewed one of the hang gliders who said, “If you come to the Outer Banks, I highly recommend hang gliding. It’s just something you need to do. The best part is the thrill, you may not be going too high but you feel like you’re flying.”

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Posted by: jackiepolis | July 7, 2014

Wild, Wild Horses — Carova Beach

Posted by: jackiepolis | July 1, 2014

Live like a Local, Travel like a Tourist

Posted by: cguardtwiddy | June 19, 2014

An Afternoon in Duck with Outer Banks Restaurant Tours

Terry Bell was also kind enough to show us around Duck last Tuesday! If you get a chance, take this tour! Duck is a friendly walking town so it was a great afternoon spent checking out the shops of Duck and seeing the sights. I especially enjoyed our walk on the boardwalk. (We spotted an otter!)

 

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First stop was Coastal Cravings. Scott Foster gave us a background on the business, a hint to what goes on inside the kitchen, and a couple great stories about Guy Fieri’s trip into the store! We got to sample the smoked duck egg rolls, served with slaw and sriracha and paired with a Riesling. Delicious!

 

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Sooey’s BBQ was our next stop. It’s tucked away in Scarborough Faire, a walk away from the main drag of Duck Road. We tried all the best southern fixin’s! Brisket, barbecue, hush puppies, sweet potato waffle fries, and corn nuggets. Be sure to get the sides when you stop by, all freshly fried to order. It’s definitely one of the best hush puppies I’ve ever had! Jennifer shared her sweet secret about trying them with hot fudge…yum!

 

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Outer Banks Popcorn Shoppe, visited on last year’s Corolla restaurant tour, also has a location in Scarborough Lane in Duck! Take the tour at the start of your week so you can be sure to stop in again for a purchase – mentioning the tour will give you a discount at the Popcorn Shoppe that week! And be sure to ask to try the flavor of the month! We lucked out this month and tried Samoa popcorn, a Girl Scout Cookie lover’s favorite.

 

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After walking the boardwalk, we stopped in for a couple glasses of wine at Sweet T’s. Stacey Walters, or “Sweet T”, gave us a variety of samples and pairing recommendations as well as a history of each wine. Stacey really knows her stuff. The specialty store keeps over 200 bottled craft beers on hand. You’re welcome to stop by at the bar for a coffee or a beer on tap, or if you’d like to do wine sampling, Stacey also holds formal wine tastings Wednesday evenings and casual tasting parties on Fridays, a great idea for a fun evening together with friends!

 

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Then we headed to Tommy’s Market.  Lucinda Hudgins showed us around the store. She and her husband own the market and almost every item sold in the market is chosen by best quality whether it’s local, best for dietary needs, or just a product that is special by craft. We were welcomed in with stories of local and international partners, from coastal Carolina coffee to Kenyan tea and had samples of all their goodies, chocolates, cookies, jams, nuts, wine, you name it! Be sure to look for Lucinda in the store or for her husband, Stuart, behind the meat counter. They’re happy to help put the needs of their customer and communities first.

 

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We wrapped up our afternoon at the Red Sky Cafe. Our chef, Kenny, prepared us Chef Wes’ Shrimp n’ Grits. Jumbo shrimp, applewood bacon, with Cajun tomato cream sauce served on top of a bed of spinach and his redneck risotto! Absolutely delicious! It’s true…don’t snub the asiago grits! They make the meal!

 

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We had a wonderful day in Duck with Outer Banks Restaurant Tours. Full bellies, good laughs, and a great time had by all! Definitely consider it your next time in town, a new way to see the town and taste some of the best around! Check out our photo album of the tour:

Posted by: Twiddy Shelley | May 29, 2014

An Afternoon in Kitty Hawk with Outer Banks Restaurant Tours

A few of us were lucky enough to get a chance to join the Outer Banks Restaurant Tours again this year!! We had a blast on our last trip touring Corolla restaurants, which you can read about here. This time we got to tag along the Kitty Hawk tour. Terry Bell, owner of Outer Banks Restaurant Tours, was an excellent host and took us to some very awesome places! We learned a lot and it was such a unique experience. We highly recommend you give it a try when you come to see us!

We started the tour by meeting and all jumping in the van together, in which Terry greeted us. She welcomed us by giving us her story on what inspired her to start the business. She has a true passion for good food and cheer! We went over our itinerary for the day and off we went. We had a small group of only 4, which included Terry, to make for a cozy, intimate experience.

Our first stop was Trio, known for their wine, beer and cheese! We were greeted by one of their 3 owners who specializes in the cheeses! She walked us around and gave us a little tour of the restaurant. They have so many unique wines, beers and cheeses to choose from! All of their cheeses are unique and they can cut right from the block to give you the amount you want of any kind you desire! We then got to sit with the owner who specializes in wine. She was awesome and helped pair our wines with the wonderful plate they brought to us! The plate had an assortment of nuts, cheeses, salami, and a taste of a new yummy spread they just got in. It was so delicious and each sip of wine brought out more flavor of the foods! Trio also has an upstairs room with a pool table, that is free to play. There is also an option to rent the room out if you are looking to host a small party, rehearsal dinner, etc. Trio also has a variety of live music on various evenings of the week. It is definitely a great place to relax and enjoy some good food and cheer on any given day!

 

Our next stop was Coastal Provisions in Southern Shores! We walked in and they had us all set up to sit in the Market’s Wine Bar and Cafe area. Coastal Provisions was founded by Dan Lewis & Scott Foster, former head chefs for specialty food chain Sutton Place Gourmet, Hay Day Markets and Balducci’s. With the goal of bringing great tasting foods to the beach, Coastal Provisions does just that. We started with a variety of oysters on a half shell, which were absolutely amazing! I have been by the market multiple times for their yummy lunch sandwiches, but had no idea they had such a great selection of oysters on the half shell. They get them from various places and they had so much amazing history to share with us about each oyster. Each pearl was a different taste! Then they brought us out their famous crab balls. If you like crab, you are going to LOVE these!!

Our third stop was The Saltbox Cafe’ located off Colington Road. This is their first season open and they serve nothing but the best. Stop on in and meet Chefs/Owners Randolph and Amanda Sprinkle as they prepare for you an array of tasty eats. Their menu focuses on local seafood, fresh meats and vegetables. You can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner inside or dine outside overlooking the lovely Colington Creek. You may also enjoy a cold beer or a glass of wine over an appetizer from their bar. Don’t forget to finish your meal with one of their house-made desserts. This is truly one of the best kept secrets of good eats on the Outer Banks! Oh one last tip, make sure you get the creme brulee if it is on the menu, one of Chef Amanda’s signature desserts!

Next, we headed over to The Bad Bean Baja Grill and Cantina. We were greeted with fresh, local strawberry margaritas which were out of this world. The head chef came out and told us his story and what inspires him with the delicious dishes he prepares. He then brought us out their fresh chips and salsa. The homemade salsa was just the right kick and you could taste the freshness. We then were served a pork-belly taco that was out of this world! The flavors and smells were amazing. If you stop in to see them, I highly recommend that pork-belly taco if they happen to have it on special! Apparently it is so fresh that you can’t always find it on the menu!!

Our fifth stop had the best view of all, Beachside Bistro on the oceanfront! We sat outside and got to enjoy an ocean view with a delicious glass of wine and a spread of delicious fresh seafood. The smoked tuna salad was great and the crab dip with pita pointers was super yummy. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you are looking for a good place with a great view, definitely stop by and check them out.

Last, we ended our awesome tour with frozen organic treats from Zen Pops. I absolutely LOVED their sea salt chocolate zen pop along with their homemade ice cream sandwiches we got to taste! If you are looking for a guilt-free, delicious treat, you definitely need to stop in!! We also got to meet the baker for Sweater Box Confections! We got to try her key lime macaroon and lavender cookies, which were so yummy. You can get her products at Zen Pops as well! For those of you who stopped in Lovies in Corolla, NC previously, you probably have tried some of the Sweater Box Confections goodies. Now that Lovies is closed, you will definitely need to stop in Zen Pops and get the best of both treats!

Overall, we had an amazing time with lots of laughs and many smiles. We left the tour absolutely stuffed, so make sure you don’t plan dinner that evening! Everything was so amazing and all our hosts at each restaurant treated us like royalty. They each had so much unique experiences and stories to tell, that I was able to learn something at each place. Living here for 9 years now, I left excited and enlightened to tell all my friends and family about all the awesome spots they need to fit in next time they head to see me! I can’t wait to go back to each one of the places on the tour time and time again! If you are looking for a fun, relaxing afternoon with great people, good food and plenty of cheer, this is the tour for you! Take a look at their schedule and book your tour with Outer Banks Restaurant Tours today! Watch the video below to see the experience we caught using Google Glass!

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Take a tour with us through the eyes of Google Glass…

 

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