Explore the Wright Brothers National Memorial on your Next Vacation

Kitty Hawk, North Carolina a small fishing village on an isolated strip of beach on the mid Atlantic coast provided the perfect opportunity for two brothers from Ohio to make their dreams come true. The Outer Banks is such a special and magical place and the Wright Brothers knew it only too well. 

“We could hardly wait to get up in the morning.”

-Orville Wright

When you are staying in one of our OBX vacation rentals, The Wrights Brothers National Memorial should be included in your trip plans. The Wright Brothers National Memorial is located in Kill Devil Hills and is open every day, except for Christmas Day.  

 Did you know? 

  • The visitor center was considered an ultra-modern design in 1930 when the design was first chosen and was dedicated in 1932.
  • The memorial was the Original Selfie Spot! In the 40s and 50s, the most popular thing to do was to get dressed up in your Sunday’s best and take photos in front of the commemorative boulders. 
  • Thanks to a coin toss, Orville was the first brother to become airborne!

Walk Where History Was Made

Wright Brothers National Memorial is the place where the Orville Brothers spent years working on the mysteries of flight, and there is so much to take in and learn. Make sure you bring your walking shoes, as there is so much ground and history to be discovered. Aviation and History lovers will find plenty of reasons to love the 428 acre park which features relics from the past and exhibits showing the 1900s Outer Banks environment the Wrights Brothers experienced and more. The memorial is a way-finding marker for the Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk areas of the Outer Banks. With its flat topography, the monument is viewable for miles. 

Get Into the Memorial

The memorial is located at Mile Marker 7.5 in Kill Devil Hills. The National Memorial, visitors’ center and Centennial Pavilion are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, 7 days a week, year-round, and every day except for Christmas.

Admission to the Wright Brothers National Memorial is required as for those 16, and older are $10 each, but children 15 and under are free of charge.  You are welcome to bring your furry friends with you as long as they are on a leash at all times. Joe Lamb has plenty of pet friendly rentals available, so you can plan ahead and bring your puppers with you! 

Plan Your Trip

Joe Lamb has a large assortment of vacation rentals available to meet your families needs. 

Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates is one of the most trusted vacation rental managers in the local area by growing into a market leader in the Vacation Rental and Sales Industry. Joe Lamb Jr. and his family have played a vital and intricate role in the Outer Banks Community for decades.

Over the past 50+ years, Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates have worked diligently to help promote the Outer Banks for the amazing beach and family vacation destination that it is, helping to increase tourism in the area and grow our beautiful community.

The Beach-Is There One that is the Best on the Outer Banks?

Kitty Hawk Beach in the summertime.
Kitty Hawk Beach in the summertime.

People are always asking us, “What is your favorite Outer Banks beach?” 

It’s a tough question to answer, because the truth is, we don’t have one.

When it comes to the beach, or at least an Outer Banks beaches, all of them have a some characteristics in common. From Carova to Ocracoke all of our beaches have a nice soft sand and especially now that so many have been nourished, they tend to be fairly wide. Although there are some exceptions, for the most part, Outer Banks beaches are pretty easy to get to.

All North Carolina ocean beaches are in the public domain, meaning anyone can use the beach when they are on it. Access to the beach, however, is not a public right, and crossing private property to get to the beach is trespassing. Please use public access to get on the beach.

Rather than call out specific beaches, we thought it would be better to give a more general description of each area and what the beaches in each area have to offer.

Corolla

From the southern border of Currituck County at the Sanderling in Duck or where the NC 12 pavement ends north of the Village of Corolla, there’s about 12 miles of wonderful, soft sand.

Currituck County provides four parking areas for beach access. By far the largest is the southern access off Yaupon Road, a little bit south of the Harris Teeter shopping center.

The bathhouse at this access is wonderful. Large and well-maintained, there are a good number of outdoor showers and a fairly large parking area.

One thing to be aware of though, it is a fairly long trek to the beach; about a quarter of a mile, although there is a boardwalk that makes things easier. However, this is one of the best beaches anywhere with a lot of room between the sea and the dunes. 

Farther north in the more built up areas of Corolla, parking for beach access is either immediately adjacent to the dunes or across the street.

Something for parents with younger children to consider, the Albacore Beach Access is very close to the Food Lion in Monterey Plaza, and is the closest to retail stores and businesses.

The beach tends to be a bit wider farther south than on the north end toward Carova.

Carova is the 4WD area of the Currituck Banks, north of Corolla. It’s’ a very nice beach but be aware, the beach is the road in this area. If you do decide to drive to Carova to enjoy the beach, Currituck County does require a permit to park on the beach.

Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head

These three towns, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head are actually the core of the traditional Outer Banks vacation spots. They are the most built up and because of that, they will have more businesses, stores and services within easy walking distance than other areas.

Kitty Hawk has the name recognition. Kill Devil Hills is actually the largest town on the Outer Banks. And Nags Head is where it all began–the first tourists started coming to Nags Head in the 1820s.

There are too many parking areas and beach access points to note them all. Look for the CAMA Beach Access sign. Generally that denotes a parking lot for the beach, although sometimes it’s simply an access point with parking elsewhere.

Beach access sign.
Beach access sign.

All of the beaches in this area have been nourished and they are in very good condition, and we don’t have a clear favorite at all. 

The widest beach is probably south of Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head. It is a great location for families. The bathhouse is large and well-maintained and there are a couple of places very close by for food and beach necessities. That area is also a popular surfing site.

Coquina Beach, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, South Nags Head

We had to include Coquina Beach. The entrance is directly across from the entrance to Bodie Island Lighthouse about a mile and a half south of the intersection of Old Oregon Inlet Road and NC 12, which is considered South Nags Head.

This is very much the original look to the Outer Banks. Not a home in sight; rolling sand dunes covered in sea grass; and a beautiful beach.

The parking lot is huge and there is a wind powered bathhouse with showers.

We highly recommend this beach—it is absolutely beautiful. But, be sure to take everything you’re going to need. The nearest businesses, stores or restaurants are at least four or five miles away.

About Duck and Southern Shores

We haven’t included the towns of Duck or Southern Shores for a reason. Their beaches are wonderful, but access to their beaches is permit only for property owners. People renting in a home in those towns do have permission to use the beach.

A recent lawsuit in the town of Duck may allow public access, although that ruling may be appealed.

Are you ready for summer? Here at Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates we’re gearing up and can’t wait to hear from you.

Home Sweet Sandy Home–Life on a Barrier Island

Section of an 1822 map of coastal North Carolina showing three inlets that no longer exist, and no inlets where two are now located.
Section of an 1822 map of coastal North Carolina showing three inlets that no longer exist, and no inlets where two are now located.

Welcome to the Outer Banks where, as the saying goes, we live on island time…except we don’t really live on islands. More like sandbars that have managed to rise from the sea. 

That really is what a barrier island is and the Outer Banks are barrier islands and like all barrier islands they are not a permanent land mass. Left to their own devices, barrier islands migrate, generally to the shore.

The process is well documented. A large storm overwashes the sandbar. Sand is picked up from the ocean side and deposited on the landward or estuary side. 

The evidence of that process can be clearly seen if you know what to look for.

Where the Inlets Lived

On barrier islands, inlets open and close all the time and as they do so they leave a very clear footprint of where they have been.

At the north end of Duck, looking out across Currituck Sound, the water is dotted with small muddy islands. That is the remnants of Caffey’s Inlet that was open from about 1770-1811. The small islands are sand deposits from when the inlet was open.

More evidence? Check out the whole north end of Currituck Sound.

Currituck Inlet was so well known and so well defined that at one time the fledgling US Government established a customs house at what is now the town of Currituck. The customs house closed in 1828, as did Currituck Inlet.

The process continues to this day.

On Pea Island, in 2011 Hurricane Irene opened a passage to the sea that has historically been an inlet. The area is called New Inlet and since it was first noted by European explores in 1656 it has spent far more time open than closed.

Nonetheless, the processes that allow for the ocean to overwash the sandbars and move the Outer Banks to the west have been dramatically slowed by human intervention. 

Although the Outer Banks are barrier islands, there are a couple of true islands that are a part of what is typically included in a description of the area. It should be noted, though, that they are not directly on the shoreline.

Two Real Islands

Roanoke Island, where the Lost Colony tried their luck in the 1580s is now the home of Manteo and the fishing village of Wanchese. It’s unlike any other island in the Outer Banks area.

It was probably an island before the Outer Banks formed some 10,000 or 12,000 years ago. Geologists how have looked at its history feel there were rivers that flowed northward toward what was at one time the Roanoke River Delta. At that time the eastern shore of the Untied States was at least 40-50 miles to the east.

Roanoke Island’s nearest island neighbor is Colington Island about four miles north across Roanoke Sound.

Colington Island, at the end of the road that goes by the Wright Brothers Monument in Kill Devil Hills, is mostly a residential area. It actually is much more similar to the Outer Banks than Roanoke in a lot of ways.

It is actually a series of relict dunes, so it was probably either part of the coastline at one point or very close to it. The soil of the island is very sandy in keeping with its geological history.

Because it was once part of the shoreline and is made up of once upon a time dunes, the terrain is far more varied than Roanoke Island, which is pretty flat.

Interesting little fact—Roanoke Island was the first attempt by the English to colonize North Carolina. Colington Island was the first permanent settlement—1663.

Roanoke island and Colington are fairly close to one another, and for the most part, especially in the northern Outer Banks, things are clustered fairly close together. There is an exception to that though.

Hatteras Island Farthest From Mainland

Very few, if any, barrier islands are as far from the mainland as is Hatteras Island. It’s so far across Pamlico Sound—18-20 miles—that one European explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano first entered it in 1529, he thought he had discovered a passage to the Pacific Ocean.

He probably didn’t sail too far into the sound. If he had, no doubt he would have noticed that the waters were just too shallow to be an ocean. The maximum depth of Pamlico Sound is only 26’.

There is so much to explore and learn about the Outer Banks that it could be the study of a lifetime. Spend a week or so with Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates and begin your journey of discovery.

Outer Banks Community Celebrates Grand Opening of Jubilee Music Store

Some great hard driving rock outside and bluegrass inside at the Jubilee Music Store Grand Opening and Fundraiser.
Some great hard driving rock outside and bluegrass inside at the Jubilee Music Store Grand Opening and Fundraiser.

Here’s what makes for a great day on the Outer Banks—some music, a great cause to support and helping a friend. Oh…and some free food is always nice.

That pretty much sums up what Jubilee Music Store’s Grand Opening and Fundraiser was all about on Sunday.

About a month or so ago, Ronnie Swaim, the owner of Jubilee Music, moved his store about 20 yards from his cramped quarters on the tip end of Seagate North in Kill Devil Hills to his new digs in the middle of the plaza.

The new space is more than twice as big, so he finally has all his instruments on display, although a rumor is floating around that there are still some he doesn’t have out. The new store also has a small stage where he’s planning on having an occasional acoustic group play and some open mics.

So a Grand Opening was certainly called for.

But it ended up being more than a grand opening. During the move, Ronnie and his wife Nancy found out she was in stage four cancer, and in typical Outer Banks fashion, what was just a grand opening became a Grand Opening and Fundraiser.

Ronnie is a heck of a musician, plays bluegrass guitar about as well as it can be played. But like musicians the world over, it’s about the music, not one style. 

Because of that, he is genuinely respected and liked by Outer Banks musicians. So the day had bluegrass and acoustic music inside and some great hard driving rock n’ roll outside. 

And hotdogs and sodas too.

Which made it a fantastic day and real tribute to the affection the community feels toward Ronnie and Nancy.

The Outer Banks community is remarkably friendly and giving. Spend some time with and see what the real life on a sandbar is all about. Check out our listings at Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associate.

Women’s Club Craft Fair This Wednesday & Thursday

Spend an hour, spend some money and feel good about it.
Spend an hour, spend some money and feel good about it.

The Outer Banks Women’s Club is one of those organization that seems to fly under the radar, yet they keep doing good work over and over again.

Founded in 1971, the Women’s Club is one of the oldest if not the oldest charitable organization on the Outer Banks doing the type of work that they do. Their contributions over the years have had a real impact on the quality of life on the Outer Banks.

Every year they hand out a number of scholarships to Dare County students. They work with organizations like the Dare County Saving Lives Task Force, an organization that has taken on the task of educating the public about drug abuse in our community and what can be done to improve conditions and our response.

When international students come to work for the summer, Women’s Club members are often welcome them to the Outer Banks.

There are other areas as well where the Women’s Club is on the front lines—in the arts, public issues and conservation. 

And it all takes money.

One of their biggest fundraisers of the year is coming up this Wednesday and Thursday, August 7 and 8. 

The 46th Annual Senior Citizens Arts & Craft fair at the Baum Senior Center in Kill Devil Hills is a great opportunity to pick up something that truly represents the Outer Banks. The room in which it is held will be filled with some very good works of art, pottery, crafts and usually some home baked goods. The times are 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. so there’s plenty of time to get there.

This is a great chance to create a memory of the Outer Banks and feel good about helping people in need.

Jubilee Music Store Move-Short Distance, Big Change

A small--very small--sampling of the Jubilee Music Store inventory.
A small–very small–sampling of the Jubilee Music Store inventory.

As moves go, Jubilee Music Store in Kill Devil Hills, the distance was not far. But when it comes to what the new store looks like and what it has to offer—well, that’s a completely different story.

The old location was kind of crammed into the a store on at the end of plaza. It gave the store a kind of an old-fashioned pre-slick looking retail feel to it. Which was great, perhaps, for ambiance but wow were things packed in there.

The move to where Mom’s Sweet Shop used to be was not very far at all. Both stores were in Seagate north and the moving consisted of loading guitars, mandolins, a few trumpet and just about every other instrument imaginable onto carts and wheeling it about 40’ or 50’. 

The change, though, to what the new location offers is monumental.

Suddenly everything is on display and seeing how much is still hanging from all the walls and how filled the store is that is actually slightly more than twice as big, it gives pause to wonder how everything ever fit in the old store.

Jubilee Music is a musician’s dream store. Owner Ronnie Swaim encourages shoppers to pick up instruments and try them out. He seems to believe—quite correctly—that the best way to sell a guitar is for someone play it.

Good news about the old location. The Mustang Outreach Program will be using it for their studios. The Mustang Program works with young musicians (eight years and up) to hone their performance skills. Under the direction of Ruth Wyand, the program has been tremendously successful.

Mom’s Sweet Shop seems to have hit a bit of a snag in getting their new store ready for the season just north of Seagate. They’re taking over what was the Kitty Hawk Duck Village Outfitters. Workers are there every day, so they’ll probably be open soon.

There’s a lot happening this summer and Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates has the best homes in the best locations.

Three Surprising Outer Banks Facts

The Kitty Hawk Wright Brothers Monument on Moor Shore Road.
The Kitty Hawk Wright Brothers Monument on Moor Shore Road.

Summer is here and the Outer Banks is alive and well and filled with guests. With everyone having a great time and enjoying the the sun, sand and surf, it can almost seem as though the Outer Banks just happened one day.

That’s not the case, of course, so we thought it might be fun to take a look at three little know facts about the Outer Banks. As it turns out, they’ll all be about the Wright Brothers.

The Other Wright Brothers Monument

The Wright Brothers Monument perched on top of Big Kill Devil Hill is not the only monument to the Wilbur and Orville Wright on the Outer Banks.

On Moor Shore Road in Kitty Hawk there is much more modest monument, this one created and paid for by the citizens of the town.

The monument, placed in May of 1928, marks the location of Bill and Addie Tate’s house where the Wright Brothers stayed in 1900 when they first arrived on the Outer Banks. 

The inscription reads, “On this spot, September 17, 1900, Wilbur Wright began the assembly of the Wright Brothers’ First experimental glider which led to man’s conquest of the air. Erected by the Citizens of Kitty Hawk, NC, 1928.” 

The citizens paid for the whole thing raising $210 to do so.

Moor Shore Road

We can’t talk about the Kitty Hawk Monument without mentioning Moor Shore Road.

Paralleling Kitty Hawk Bay, Moor Shore is one of the oldest roads on the Outer Banks. It was the route the Wright Brothers would have taken to get to Big Kill Devil Hill from Bill Tate’s house.

Moor Shore stops at the Kitty Hawk Bay multi-use path now, but at one time, it would have been a continuous road connecting with what is now Bay Drive in Kill Devil Hills then continuing to the high sand dunes that gave the area its name.

The route along Moor Shore to the the Wright Brothers Monument is a great bike ride.

No Forest or Grass at Kill Devil Hills in 1903

The reason the Wright Brothers moved their camp to Kill Devil Hills in 1901 was there was nothing to stop the wind. No trees, no buildings…nothing. 

The stabilized dune and trees along the border of the Monument did not exist in 1901. If it had, the brothers would certainly have chosen a more open, exposed location.

There is so much to do and explore on the Outer Banks that one visit may not be enough. Check out Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates for the best in Outer Banks accommodations.

John’s Drive In & Tar Heel 2 Open for OBX Season

John's' Drive In on the Beach Road in Kitty Hawk has reopened for the season.
John’s’ Drive In on the Beach Road in Kitty Hawk has reopened for the season.

John’s Drive In and the Tar Heel 2 Produce stand have reopened for the season and all is right in the world of the Outer Banks.

The weather is warming, the days are getting longer, traffic is picking up on the Bypass so yes, the natural progression of the seasons is once again on us.

John’s Drive In on the Beach Road in Kitty Hawk and Tar Heel 2 in Kill Devil Hills are about as iconic as businesses could be on the Outer Banks. Both are family owned small businesses that have stood the test of time, occupying the same locations for over 30 years.

For visitors who have not been to John’s Drive In—well, until you go, you have not experienced the real Outer Banks. The burgers are made the way burgers were made 30 or 40 years ago, so don’t expect some super lean cut of meat.

The specialty, though, is their dolphin boat. A huge portion of perfectly fried mahi-mahi bites with very hot french fries. It is the perfect beach food.

And…we can’t forget their milkshakes. The real thing. Thick, filled with ice cream they are almost a meal in themselves.

Expect slow service. It’s not intentional. It’s just that everything is prepared to order and the kitchen is small.

Tar Heel 2 in the Seagate North Shopping Center probably has the best produce prices on the beach. Because he’s been dealing with local farmers for so long, Ed Goninan can usually get local produce when no one else seems to be able to find any.

Definitely the place where locals shop.

Things are really picking up on the Outer Banks. Summer is coming so make sure those Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates reservations have been made.

Ashley’s Espresso Parlour Now Open in KDH

Ashley’s Espresso Parlour, a comfortable, welcoming coffee shop with serving excellent coffee.

There’s a new coffee shop on the Outer Banks and it’s worth checking out. 

Ashley’s Espresso Parlour is something special.

It’s on the ocean side of the intersection of Helga Street and the Bypass in Kill Devil Hills, although it’s so close to Kitty Hawk that some people might say it’s there.

Ashley of Ashley’s Espresso Parlour is Ashley Barnes, the coffee roaster at Morning View Coffee in Nags Head for quite a number of years.

What she and her husband have created is a wonderfully relaxed, open feeling cafe that serves nothing but the finest freshly roasted coffees.

We’ve sampled some of what they have to offer and we are impressed.

The cappuccinos come with an extra shot so they’re full, rich and powerful. The coffee has a taste that can only happen when the coffee is fresh and the beans are ground to order and freshly roasted. 

Siphon Coffee-a different brew

Getting ready to brew a cup of siphon coffee.
Getting ready to brew a cup of siphon coffee.

Our favorite coffee drink though, is siphon coffee that, as it’s brewing has all the makings of a science experiment. It takes some patience—the process is not the fastest way to brew coffee—and a fair amount of coffee, but the result is a strong but wonderfully balanced cup of coffee.

The coffee is clearly the draw, but even though Ashley’s has only been open a few weeks, there are a couple of features that seem like they’re going to be part of what makes it such a great place.

First of all—it is very family friendly. We’re not sure if that’s because the location has a number of families surrounding it, or it’s the ambiance, but there always seems to be at least one child clutching a cup of hot chocolate.

Dogs are permitted, and they seem to get along very well.

The local artist Red Dawn, Dawn Gray Moraga, has quite a number of paintings on the walls. We’re not sure if that’s a permanent exhibit or if there will be other artists exhibiting over time.

There’s a ukulele hanging on the wall that anyone can pick up and attempt to play.

All of it comes together to give a feeling of a great place for a cup of coffee and to just hang out.

With more than 50 years of experience on the Outer Banks, no one knows the area like Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates.

Larry Sabato Is Coming to the Outer Banks

Dr. Larry Sabato, founder of the UVA Crystal Ball political report, is coming to the Outer Banks.
Dr. Larry Sabato, founder of the UVA Crystal Ball political report, is coming to the Outer Banks.

Larry Sabato and his Sabato’s Crystal Ball is coming to the Outer Banks. Political junkies take note. The place to be on Wednesday Feb. 6 at 7:00 p,m. is First Flight High School in Kill Devil Hills.

Dr. Larry Sabato is the founder and director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, and holds visiting appointments in England’s Oxford and Cambridge universities. 

His Crystal Ball looks into the future seeking political trends and analyzing how those trends affect elections. He and his UVA team have been remarkably accurate in their analysis and his Crystal Ball prediction are considered among the best in foretelling election results.

In addition to his 40 year teaching career at UVA, Sabato has written a number of books on American politics and appears regularly on television. 

Dr. Sabato is being brought to the Outer Banks by the Bryan Cultural Series

The Bryan Cultural Series seems to be at the center of some of the most exciting events happening on the Outer Banks. Although not the primary sponsor of the upcoming February performance of La Traviata, the organization was instrumental is securing the funds necessary to bring the opera the local stage.

Next up for the Bryan Cultural Series will be Clay Jenkinson appearing March 25-27. 

Jenkinson is best known for his Thomas Jefferson performances, but his repertoire is much broader than that. For his March appearance he will be performing as Meriwether Lewis, Sir Walter Raleigh and for his final performance of the series he will be presenting “Shakespeare, the Magic of Words.”

Tickets for all Bryan Cultural Series events are available online at Brownpaper tickets or on the Outer Banks at Duck’s Cottage Coffee & Books in Duck, Downtown Books in Manteo, Grays Department, Store in Kitty Hawk and Sea Green Gallery in Nags Head.

More good reasons to stay with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates when visiting the Outer Banks.