TAEM Explores the Outer Banks by author Joseph J. O’Donnell

IMG_3641   The Arts and Entertainment Magazine recently journeyed to the Outer Banks of North Carolina as a travel destination interest for our readers. The area is the premier visitor destination on the Atlantic coast of the United States and is one of the only few locations where wild horses roam in this section of the country. Our adventure lasted five days and was planned by Maryann O’Donnell and photographed by both our publisher and our staff photographer Joseph O’ Donnell IV. We have included pictures of our visit along with tips and advisories for those who wish to make this journey.

IMG_3725   To make this trip we decided to drive as we luckily had the full staff aboard for it. Taking turns at the wheel proved wise as the six hour trip was long, but the weather was beautiful for traveling. We booked our hotel, the Hampton Inn in Corolla through Cheap Tickets. The area was more spectacular then we expected, as we were contemplating it to look similar to the Delmarva Peninsula region of the Atlantic coast. Corolla is, on the other hand, more upscale and visitor friendly. Our only problem with the hotel that we experienced was that their version of ‘Ocean View’ is not the same as those of Cheap Tickets. If you decide to stay at this hotel you should book directly through it and ask for ‘Ocean Front’. The Cheap Tickets version leaves you looking at the ocean from a balcony on the side of the building and not from the ocean side. We intend to rectify this with Cheap Tickets.

IMG_3695 The only other problem for this trip that we encountered was at a eatery called ‘Smokey’s Pine Island Diner’ which adjoins the hotel. All I need to say is ‘Customer Be Aware’ as their food is not up to snuff and they try to pad the bill with items that are supposed to be included with the meal. It is of no wonder that their customer count is almost non-existent as the owner is also nasty when his bill is questioned. I’ve talked to a number of people at the hotel, and on the beach, and they all shared these horror stories with us.

Aside from this there are many splendid eateries, large and small, along the entire range of beach communities. The ‘Route 12 Steak and Seafood’ and ‘Bubbies’ in Corolla gives you a great range of food choices and pricing. Both offered great and courteous service. A large Harris Teeters Supermarket service this area year round, so if you are renting a house on the beach this is the best location to acquire your food needs for the visit. The Kittyhawk and Duck communities also have many great dining spots but be prepared to wait in line. There are also many smaller eateries, such as ‘Spanky’s’, to help meet your cravings and we found that all were very hospitable and covered a wide variety of food choices.

IMG_3664   Shopping In Corolla was fabulous as there are many shops to choose from. The town of Duck offers the same varieties, although the parking and traffic is quite crowded. My money is on Corolla for all your shopping and gift needs. They also have many retailers who have any beach items that you may require, too.

Tourist stops such as the Whalehead Museum and historic Corolla Village is a must see, along with the Currituck Beach Lighthouse next door. We also toured the Cordova Beach are with their sand dunes and wild horses via the ‘Wild Horse Tours’ out of Corolla. This great adventure offers Jeep caravan trips along with multi-passenger tourist safari trucks. Both types of vehicles drive to the beach as an off-road tour and travel to the Cordova sand dunes where private beach residential homes and wild horses mix and mingle. This should be on everybody’s bucket list, and it was high on ours.

We are including many photos from our photographer with this article so that our readers can see the beauty of this area, and encourage all of them to make this travel location high on your list of vacation destinations.

JOD/ TAEM

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