A Springlike December Day on the Outer Banks

Waiting for a wave as pelicans soar overhead.
Waiting for a wave as pelicans soar overhead.

We seem to be in an almost springlike weather pattern right now on the Outer Banks. Hard to imagine that Christmas just happened and the New Year is almost here.

The high today topped out around 60. The winds were so light they were barely noticed and the sea had a beautiful sheen to it. The waves were breaking in smooth predictable patterns.

Surfers were running a critical eye over conditions. The waves weren’t really all that big, but but for someone with a longboard or paddle board, there was something to ride.

There was a small pod of dolphin just beyond the break this morning at Kitty Hawk. It was a little bit surprising to see them in December. Although the local dolphin population doesn’t migrate for thousands of miles as many other ocean mammals do, they do head for warmer waters as winter sets in

There was a SUP on the water this morning. He was doing pretty well with the waves. Using his paddle as a rudder, he was able to get a couple of good long rides from some waves that surfers might have passed on.

There were a few families and a couple of dogs enjoying the beach, but for the most part there wasn’t much to disturb anyone seeking some time to relax and enjoy nature.

The weather will change. It always does, although for the next few days the Outer Banks forecast calls for very mild December days.

It all makes for a great time to visit us here at Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates. Give us a call or check us out online and let us show you has we can make your next vacation truly memorable.

40 Years of Lighting the Outer Banks Sky – The Poulos Family Christmas Lights

Some of the many decorations at the Poulos home for the public to see.

In the darkest of nights, which is what the winer solstice is, the beauty of Christmas lights have a power beyond the decorations of the season.

A lot of homes and businesses take the time to create Christmas scenes with their lights, but, there are two places on the Outer Banks that take that whole concept to a new level.

The Elizabethan Gardens designs their Winter Lights every year with something a little different, and walking through the gardens on a cold winter night is absolutely breathtaking 

But no one has given what the Poulos family has given to the Outer Bank community over the past 40 years. That’s how long Jim and Ann Poulos have been treating the locals and visitors to their own vision of Christmas lights.

Ann passed away last year, but according to a number of reports she made Jim promise the tradition going.

And what a tradition it is.

Located on Ocean Acres Drive, on maybe two acres, wandering around the paths packed with lights and decorations lifts the spirit and is a wonderful reminder the spirt of Christmas is truly found in giving.

Finding a parking place approaching the property can be a bit of a challenge. Our recommendation is to grab the first open spot on Ocean Acres after it turns into a dirt road. There may be a bit of a walk to the lights, but it is worth every step.

Santa is almost always on hand, to the delight of children, of course. But what makes the Poulos lights so magical, is that for kids, Santa is one part of a glorious experience.

Families have been coming back year after year, and it has become a true part of Outer Banks Christmas tradition.

The family will keep lights going through December 31. Make an effort to see it. It’s worth it. 

Winter is a marvelous time to explore the Outer Banks. Plan a winter getaway with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates and take the time to learn about life on a sandbar.

Winter Lights at Elizabethan Gardens-A Must Do Part of Christmas on the Outer Banks

Winter Lights at the Elizabethan Gardens is a wonderful holiday event.
Winter Lights at the Elizabethan Gardens is a wonderful holiday event.

There is so much happening during the Holiday Season on the Outer Banks that it’s hard to make a simple recommendation. So we’ll hand out multiple recommendations over the next few weeks.

Our first recommendation, and it is a must do, is Winter Lights at the Elizabethan Gardens.

At any time of the year, the Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island is exquisite. But on a December night when the dark of winter seems to last so long, the magic of thousands and thousands of miniature lights illuminating the trees and statuary of the Gardens is exquisite.

There is so much that makes this special. 

Certainly the beauty of the lights and how they are used to create stories all their own is wonderful.

There is, though, more to the evening than just the lights, as spectacular as they may be.

In the Great Lawn, which is in the heart of the Gardens there is always a roaring pit fire with free marshmallows and tongs of roasting. Do not be cynical and channel that inner child. Roast a few marshmallows. Or better yet, go with a child and roast marshmallows together.

There is usually a very family friendly Christmas movie playing on a screen that has been brought it as well.

Elizabethan Gardens is closed on Sundays and Mondays, and will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Years, which still leaves a lot of opportunities to go.

It is weather dependent. If it is raining too hard, the evening event will be cancelled, so it won’t hurt to call ahead if there are any doubts.

An important tip—the wind off Croatan Sound can be very cold. Dress accordingly.

There is so much to do on the Outer Bank at this time of the year. Play your stay with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates to see what it’s all about.

Starvin’ Artists Party-An Outer Banks Christmas Gathering

Fun, Food and Wonderful Art

Christmas must be getting closer—the 33rd annual Starvin’ Artists Christmas Party is happening tomorrow, Saturday. The gathering is at Cozy Kitchens in Kitty Hawk on Kitty Hawk road from 4-9 p.m.

For anyone in the vicinity—come by and check it out.

In the past the Starvin’ Artists Party has been one of those local events that people heard about it mostly through word of mouth. It is not, however, a locals only event—truly all are welcome

And the reason all are welcome is because the artists are tying to avoid starvation over the winter months until April…or maybe March…when our visitors come calling again.

It’s a great event—a lot of fun. There is no telling who will be there.

Red Dawn—Dawn Moraga will be probably be there. Her house was used last year for the gathering and, well, it seemed a bit overwhelmed by the turnout.

Vic and Elen Berg will also be on hand. Vic is a guide—has been one for 42 years, and a remarkably talented bird carver. He also is usually the provider of the meat for the bear chili and other rarely seen food.

Beyond that it’s hard to say. What we do know, however, is the level of artistry will be outstanding.

What seems to make the event fun and a bit more interesting is how wide ranging the items on display will be. There is always some excellent pottery, paintings in addition to Red Dawn’s and jewelry. But there are also wonderful handcrafted items that make fantastic small gifts—hand made soap, scents and candles have been part of the past few Starvin’ Artist gatherings and will probably be on hand tomorrow as well.

The event is a lot of fun, and with Cozy Kitchen’s hosting this year, there should be room for the artists to spread out and really show what they can do.

There is always a reason to visit the Outer Banks. Book your home for your next visit at Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates.

Outer Banks Holidays Begin with Tree Lightings

Seasons Greetings lights up the Town Green in Duck.
Seasons Greetings lights up the Town Green in Duck.

This is certainly a great weekend to celebrate the holidays. Christmas is coming—we know that because there were tree lighting ceremonies in Manteo and the Duck—and tonight, Sunday is the first evening of Chanukah.

For most of the folks that live here and our visitors, the tree lightings really seem to mark the true beginnings of the holidays.

Manteo Tree Lighting

Thanksgiving was so early this year that the tree lighting fell on November 30, first time in a while it’s been in November.

The event is so perfectly all the things we associate with the holiday season that it’s no wonder so many people pack the waterfront area of the town.

There’s free Brunswick stew fromMt. Olivet Church in Manteo, hot chocolate and plenty of sugary treats.

What really makes the evening so wonderful are all the local dancers, singers and performers who take to the stage. Held on the front steps of the old Dare County Courthouse, it is a wonderful showcase for how much people care in the community.

There was a little bit of rain this year, so some of the entertainment was compressed, but Santa still made his appearance—with the combined choruses of all the Manteo schools and the tree lit up the night beautifully.

We weren’t able to get to it this year, but there is a Christmas parade on Saturday every year in Manteo.

Town of Duck and It’s Crab Pot Tree

The Town of Duck has its own distinctive way of lighting up the night with festive lights. Stacking crab pots in the shape of a tree, lights are draped over them and it makes for a different but wonderful way to welcome the holidays and pay tribute to the history of the area.

The Town Green has become the cultural center of the village and that’s where everything happens. The music—Just Playing Dixieland was a lot of fun, with a highlight when they brought some of the younger children on stage to shake bells and sing Jingle Bells.

There’s always cookies and hot chocolate. The Dare County SPCA is always on hand—it is a very dog friendly event—and even though it is very different than the Manteo tree lighting—it still has the same feel of togetherness and joy.

Santa Claus does, of course, come to town, and in Duck he has a bounce in his step and a joy in his laugh that will make all children smile.

The holidays are the perfect time to visit the Outer Banks. Check out our Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates listings for the best accommodations.

Santa Claus, Tree Lighting and the Spirit of Chrismas

Friday, November 30, is when the Manteo Christmas Tree will be lit.
Friday, November 30, is when the Manteo Christmas Tree will be lit.

Annual Event Welcomes Santa and the Holiday Season

Tomorrow night, Friday, is the night…the night that jolly old elf, Santa Claus comes to town in Manteo.

In what may be one of the most amazing small town Christmas celebrations anywhere, the town of Manteo lights the giant fir tree on the waterfront and welcomes Santa Claus to the Outer Banks.

The Annual Manteo Tree Lighting has been a part of the town’s holiday traditions for over 45 years, and it includes—but is not limited to—free Brunswick stew from a local church, hot chocolate, choirs from local schools and churches singing and of course the big guy in the bright red suit, who always throws the switch on the lights.

It all centered around the old Dare County Courthouse that’s now the Dare County Arts Council Gallery, which is a great place to gather.

After lighting the tree, Santa heads into the upstairs gallery to wait the throngs of children waiting to whisper their Christmas dreams to him.

It’s great fun and for anyone on the Outer Banks, it should not be missed. It will be a little bit chilly, but not too bad tomorrow night. There will be a lot of people on hand, so parking can be a bit difficult. It’s worth it though.

If getting to the Manteo celebration can’t be worked out, don’t despair, there’s still the the Crab Pot Tree Lighting in the Town of Duck on Saturday.

This is a daytime event and it is a blast.

When Santa shows up in Duck, he always seems well-rested and at his best, so we’re very confident in giving the Duck Santa a five out of five star rating.

The Duck celebrations include live Dixieland music from the stage on the Village Green and hot chocolate.

Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates is definitely in the spirit of the season. Check us out and see what’s available to celebrate the holidays on the Outer Banks.

Tree Lightings Mark Beginning of OBX Christmas Season

Santa arriving at Duck to the excited cheers of the children.
Santa arriving at Duck to the excited cheers of the children.

The first weekend in December on the Outer Banks is a pretty special time. That is the official opening of the Christmas Season.

Sure Thanksgiving gets all the press, but as far as the Outer Banks is concerned until the Christmas Trees are lit in Manteo and Duck, it’s just not official yet.

Duck-Holiday Spirit with a Twist

Of course, the Duck tree lighting is done with a distinctive twist. The shape is right and the lights are there, but there’s not actual tree. The tree shape is created by crab pots and it does give a nice, distinctive touch to the celebration.

There is a lot about the Duck celebration and a much of it is that the way the town goes about it is just a little but different than anyone else. There is music, but it’s Dixieland from Just Playing Dixieland—a local group and they are very good.

Pets are encouraged—well, dogs. We’re not sure how cats would do in that environment. But it is nice to see.

There is, of course, hot chocolate and cookies, but best of all, when Santa comes to Duck, he is absolutely at his best. Santa, when he comes to the town, may be the best reason to put the Duck tree lighting on the annual to do list.

Manteo-The Spirit of Small Town Christmas

That is not to denigrate Manteo at all.

In fact, the Manteo tree lighting is so perfectly small town America and community that it feels as though there should be a painting of it somewhere.

This year may have been the best attended in some time. We can’t be sure, but Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church ran out of their Brunswick Stew this year—and on a chilly night, it was missed.

Still the evening is fantastic.

Centered around the old Dare County Courthouse that is now home to the Dare County Arts Council, the evening features dancing from local churches and a dance school. Youth choirs fill the air with music, there’s a Yuletide log burning and yes, Santa does make an appearance.

It is a wonderful, wonderful experience and one certain to put the holiday spirit into anyone’s step.

Outer Banks Holidays-A Gift to Ourselves

jlmerchrChristmas 2016 wasn’t a very exciting day on the Outer Banks…except for the squeals of delight from children finding a perfect gift under tree.

It seemed almost deserted by the afternoon. There were almost no cars on the our streets and only few convenience stores were open.

Driveways, though were filled with cars and families poured out of their vehicles and into hugs and cries of joy of families reuniting.

When the Holiday Season is described as magical, perhaps this is what is meant—that the magic of families reuniting and the joy of children is a balm to concerns of everyday life. Perhaps the greatest gift is the gift we give ourselves, the knowledge that it is possible to know the simple joys of life and that for at least for one day or perhaps one week, it truly is a part of who we are.

Stores will open tomorrow. Bars and restaurants will be ready of locals and visitors who have come to the Outer Banks.

And that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Yet there remains a lingering sense of joy and shared experience that stays with us for days after the holidays—whether the holiday being celebrated at this time of the year is Christmas or Chanukah.

It’s a wonderful topic of conversation that seems to be almost be a greeting for the next few days.

In that way, the Outer Banks is much like any other place. We love talking about gifts and gift giving. We are happiest when we know that family is near, and the holiday season is a time to remember what is truly important in life.

The Outer Banks is truly a beautiful and unique place to live and visit. There is a splendor to the forces of nature at work here that is unlike any other place on earth.

The people who live here, though, and our visitors who come to enjoy an experience like on other, are like people everywhere—seeking the love of family and beauty of nature.

From the staff at Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates to our friends and families everywhere, we wish you the very best this holiday season.

The Magic of the Season-Outer Banks Christmas Lights

Santa and his reindeer at the Poulos House.
Santa and his reindeer at the Poulos House.

Christmas lights are part of the magic of the season. If that is the case—and it seems to be—then the Poulos house in Kill Devil Hills is a spellbinding place.

For 10 months of the year, the house on Ocean Acres Drive, which is the road to Nags Head Woods is nice home by the side of the road. There’s perhaps two acres to the property.

But Thanksgiving week through the New Year, everything changes.

For 37 years, the Poulos family has been creating magic, filling their yard with every imaginable Christmas light, holiday decorations, trains and symbols of religion.

The decorations have been recognized nationally, but this is really a wonderful local tradition—a time for families, or a date night or a place where local kids can go and just be kids.

Visiting the property and wandering about does not take all that long. Maybe a half hour or 45 minutes; but it’s a perfect investment in creating the spirit of the holidays.

Little children run around, their excitement palatable; high school kids seem to gravitate to the lights; families stroll by. And all of it lit by the twinkling Christmas lights, illuminated Santas and reindeer and Christmas elves.

It is an inclusive celebration of the holidays. The Poulos family has placed Chanukah Menorah where most people begin their journey. At the base of the menorah is word “Shalom”—peace in Hebrew.

On the roof of the house lights flash reading “Put Christ Back in Christmas.” One of the first decorations encountered is Noah’s Ark with animals entering.

A string of lights arcs over the road giving the feeling of entering a special place—which it is.

The family does not charge for the display or wandering through their yard. However, their power bills for the month are rumored to be in the thousands. There is a donation jar and donations are appreciated.

To get to the Poulos house is on Ocean Acres Drive in Kill Devil Hills. Turn at the light at Pigman’s Barbecue. The house is just over the rise in a hill when the street turns into a dirt road. On busy nights expect to park a hundred yards or so from the house.