Apr 14, 2020

OBX Books

Curl Up with a Good Book About the Outer Banks

There are many interesting books about the Outer Banks that take place on our unique barrier island. From historical fiction to gorgeous photography, there’s an OBX book on our favorites list that will pique your interest. We’ve even included a few OBX children’s book choices for pint-sized readers.

Circa 1903 by Larry Tise

Circa 1903: North Carolina’s Outer Banks at the Dawn of Flight by Larry Tise

Have you ever wondered what the Outer Banks was like when the Wright Brothers took their famous first flight? Circa 1903 goes into great detail explaining what life was like on the North Carolina coast at the turn of the century. From descriptions of the earthscape to travel routes to what people did for fun, this book is chock full of Outer Banks history. The book is in an easily digestible format, with many interesting pictures and maps from the era.

We had the pleasure of meeting Larry Tise in Corolla when he presented Circa 1903, which he refers to as “an elongated meditation on the North Carolina Coast.” We couldn’t agree more.

Larry Tise

Wright Brothers by David McCullough

Historian David McCullough thoroughly tells the story of two unknown bicycle mechanic brothers who traveled from Ohio to the Outer Banks and subsequently changed the world. Wright Brothers gives a behind-the-scenes account of Orville and Wilbur Wright’s famous first flight. The book brings a human element to the story and helps the reader get to know the brothers, telling the story of who they were, based on information in the Wright Papers, which includes diaries, notebooks, and private family letters.

Wright Brothers McCullough
The Outer Banks House Ducharme

The Outer Banks House by Diann Ducharme

The Outer Banks House is a lovely coming-of-age story that takes place on the Outer Banks just after the end of the Civil War. Ducharme exhibits stunning attention to detail when describing the Outer Banks in 1868. This work of historical fiction is impressive in both the storyline and account of the North Carolina Coast post-Civil War.

Hoi Toide on the Outer Banks Wolfram and Schilling-Estes

Hoi Toide on the Outer Banks by Walt Wolfram

Accessible by boat or plane only, Ocracoke Island has its own distinct dialect: High Tider. Hoi Toide on the Outer Banks explains how this small island 34 miles off the coast developed its own brogue, how it still exists today and gives linguistic elements of a language that is unique to Ocracoke. The roots of High Tider are intriguing, as the brogue was influenced by both Elizabethan English and Blackbeard the pirate.

Memories of Manteo and Roanoke Island as Told by Cora Mae Basnight by Suzanne Tate

A native of Manteo, Cora Mae Basnight was an excellent storyteller and loved to tell stories about her hometown. She was well-known for playing the role of Agona in The Lost Colony for 27 years. Suzanne Tate published a collection of her stories for all to enjoy. We recently sat down with Cora Mae Basnight’s daughters and they shared their favorite stories from the book.

Legends of the Sandbar Bickford

Legends of the Sandbar: A Life of Surf on the Outer Banks by Christopher Bickford

Local OBX photographer Christopher Bickford’s book about surf culture on the Outer Banks is a work of art. Outer Banks beaches, as well as many local surfers, are shown in a beautiful light, complete with dramatic action shots. This book looks lovely on any coffee table and is one you’ll pick up and flip through again and again.

Graveyard of the Atlantic Stick

Graveyard of the Atlantic: Shipwrecks of the North Carolina Coast by David Stick

Outer Banks Historian David Stick published 13 books and many articles about the area before he passed away in 2009. Graveyard of the Atlantic: Shipwrecks of the North Carolina includes factual accounts told at a fictional story’s pace. The book gives sufficient background on the rough seas off of the Outer Banks, and then focuses on shipwrecks that made news during the 1800’s and 1900’s, up to the early 1950’s. From the Gulf Stream to pirates, this book explores multiple challenges in the seas off of the OBX coast.

Hurricane Izzy Smrdel

Hurricane Izzy: An OBX Story by Greg Smrdel

Local author Greg Smrdel has ridden out several hurricanes on the Outer Banks, including Hurricane Isabel, which, at the time, weather forecasters dubbed “The Hurricane of the Century.” Hurricane Izzy serves as the backdrop in the story about an OBX local and his adventure during the storm. Many recognizable Outer Banks places and landmarks are found throughout this light and enjoyable story.

Journey Through the Outer Banks Snyder

Journey Through the Outer Banks by Wes Snyder

Wes Snyder, a local photographer, gives a visual tour of the Outer Banks, including notable landmarks, wildlife, and many, many different versions of the OBX sky. The book is divided into three sections: Northern Outer Banks, Roanoke Island, and Southern Outer Banks. This colorful book is a beautiful representation of the OBX and a great introduction to the uniqueness of the different areas of the Outer Banks.

Surfin' Spoon Hines

Children’s Books

The Surfin’ Spoon: Sebi Goes Surfing by Jesse & Whitney Hines

This charming story features a spoon named Sebi that dreams of becoming a surfer. Sebi lived inland, away from the ocean, and was stoked when his parents moved the family to the Outer Banks. Sebi could finally learn to surf! Written by former professional surfer Jesse Hines and his wife, Whitney, the story is based on Jesse’s life and surfing adventures. Little readers can increase their vocabulary with the included surf lingo glossary at the end.

Authors Jesse and Whitney Hines are owners of Surfin’ Spoon Frozen Yogurt Bar in Nags Head, which features Sebi on its logo. Sebi is featured in two additional books as well. All three books, as well as gift cards and their epic t-shirts, can be purchased at the yogurt bar or in Surfin’ Spoon’s online shop.

Good Night Outer Banks

Good Night Outer Banks by Adam Gamble and Mark Jasper

This Outer Banks board book is perfect for the tiniest fans of the OBX. Part of the popular Good Night Our World series, Good Night Outer Banks is chock full of popular OBX landmarks, including Jennette’s Pier, the Town of Duck boardwalk, Currituck Beach Lighthouse, and many more. There’s even mention of ghost crabs and the Corolla Wild Horses.

Outer Banks Book Stores

Most of the books featured on our list are available on Amazon, but why not support a local OBX independent bookstore? Each store has its own character, and we recommend stopping in when you’re on the Outer Banks.

Duck's Cottage
Delicious coffee at Duck Cottage.

Duck’s Cottage

The Waterfront Shops
1240 Duck Road
Duck, NC 27949
(252) 261-5510

Part coffee shop, part indie bookstore and all-around awesome!

Downtown Books

(sister store of Duck’s Cottage!)
105 Sir Walter Raleigh Street
Manteo, NC 27954
(252) 473-1814

Island Bookstore Corolla

The Island Bookstore

Three OBX locations:

  • 1130 Corolla Village Road
    Corolla, NC 27927
  • Scarborough Faire Shopping Village
    1177 Duck Road
    Duck, NC 27949
  • 3712 North Croatan Hwy C
    Kitty Hawk, NC 27949

Twiddy & Company

Twiddy & Company

Apr 14, 2020

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