Experience the Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo on your Next Vacation to the Outer Banks

Vacationing to the Outer Banks any time of the year has its perks for many different reasons. One of the reasons is the many various parks that are located on the island. Staying in one of our Outer Banks vacation rentals will allow you and your family to enjoy all the beautiful parks and wildlife refuges located on the OBX.  From Pea Island Wildlife Refuge near Hatteras Island to exploring the Elizabethan Gardens just over the bridge in Manteo. The Outer Banks is bursting with natural history for you to share with your family. So grab your camera and start exploring this unique barrier island located off the NC coast. 

The Outer Banks Secret Gardens

If you have ever read the book “The Secret Garden,” you know that within the walls stood a beautiful garden hidden from the world. The Elizabethan Gardens happens to be just like that garden only located here on the Outer Banks. The gardens are lush with beautiful greenery with flowers and bushes you may not have seen before. Take a stroll down one of the many paths that the gardens have to offer or sit on one of the many carved marble benches. Treat yourself to a day to explore the park a little with the family.

What to Do in the Gardens

The Elizabethan Gardens is part of the NC Birding Trail, and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to see some incredible birds native to our area? Not only are there birds to spot and photograph, but you can see some history as well.  Some of the other extraordinary exhibits that you will find at the gardens are the Virginia Dare statue, or the bronze statue of Queen Elizabeth I. Take a stroll beneath the Crepe Myrtle trees as you listen to the water in the fountain nearby. There are so many different options and things to explore when you visit the Elizabethan Gardens. 

A Little More Information on the Elizabethan Gardens

Visiting the Elizabethan Gardens can be one of the highlights of your trip as you explore the land and sea here on the Outer Banks. The gardens are located a little north of Manteo over Roanoke Island and are within the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. It’s just a hop, skip and jump over to the Elizabethan Gardens from Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, and Kitty Hawk. Admission to the park is $9 plus tax for adults, $6 plus tax for Youth (6-17), $2 plus tax for Children (5 & under) & $3 plus tax for 1 Pet per owner. Imagine how many memories will be made when exploring the exquisite grounds of the Elizabethan Gardens!

We here at Joe Lamb, Jr & Associates are proud sponsors of the Elizabethan Gardens, and we invite you to explore the garden on your next stay with us. By staying in one of our Outer Banks vacation rentals will find your next vacation relaxing and restful. We look forward to hearing all about your visit to The Elizabethan Gardens on your next trip!

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.

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.

The Lost Colony-Great Theater for the Whole Family

The Lost Colony. Pageantry and a great night of theater on Roanoke Island.
The Lost Colony. Pageantry and a great night of theater on Roanoke Island.

The Lost Colony is now into its 82nd year, making it by a considerable margin, the longest running outdoor drama in North America.

There’s a good reason for that.

The play has everything. Pageantry and wonderful costumes making it a feast for the eyes. But even more important, it’s a great story.

The play, The Lost Colony tells the story of the first attempt by the British to colonize the New World—the failed City of Raleigh on Roanoke Island. 

To this day, no one knows what happened to the 117 colonists who journeyed to the north end of Roanoke Island. We are discovering, though, more and more historic fact, and one of the remarkable things about Paul Green’s 1936 script is that it is still relevant and fact-based.

The play makes it clear that incompetence of Governor Ralph Lane contributed to the failure of the colony. And history leaves little doubt that his violent confrontations with the Native American villages created hatred, mistrust and eventually warfare.

Taking place at a time when when the might of Spain sought to quash the upstart navy of Great Britain—an undertaking the failed when the English navy crushed the Spanish Armada in 1587.

The play brings all of this to life.

The fears of Queen Elizabeth I as the Spanish Armada sails for England, and her desperate plan to save her nation that forbids any ship to leave port. All British ships were to be part of the fleet that would assail the Spanish.

The pleas of Sir Walter Raleigh and Joh White, who returned to England to gather supplies, know what the fate will be without resupply, but their words fall on deaf ears.

At the City of Raleigh, it’s winter and with no help from the local Indian nation the colony is dying.  Finally they make the choice leave, carving the word Croatoan into a tree.

The play is suitable for all ages. It is an outdoor performance at night. Bug spray is probably a good idea and it may be a good idea to have a light jacket or sweater handy. Waterside Theater is on Roanoke Sound and it can get a bit chilly at times.

Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates is a proud sponsor of the play.

The Lost Colony Ghost Tour-History & Fun

An evening of fun, history and a touch of fright. What could be better?

Do the spirits of the first English colonists roam the forest of Roanoke Island? Are there, in fact, ghosts wandering about The Lost Colony?

For the next two week, there is a chance to discover for yourself if it’s true or false.

The Lost Colony is offering their annual Ghosts of the Lost Colony tour, that may even include a chance meeting with a spirit form beyond.

The tour dates—April 15-27—give lots of chance to see if the spirts really do remain from the ill-fated attempt to build an English town on Roanoke Island.

Is The Lost Colony and the site of what was briefly “The City of Raleigh” haunted? There is speculation that it is and unconfirmed reports of sightings of spirits.

The tour is a half mile nighttime walk through the forest the borders The Lost Colony. It’s about an hour long and include a talk about the history of the Colony and perhaps a chance meeting with a spectral presence. 

Tours are scheduled to leave at 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. 

Unlike the earlier Halloween tour, that was designed to scare everyone, this tour has been created with the whole family in mind. So, bring the kids—they’ll have a great time.

A couple of suggestions. Comfortable shoes are a must. It is a half mile walk through the woods. The paths are well-marked, but it is at night. A light jacket is also a good idea. April nights on the Outer Banks can get a bit chilly.

The Lost Colony Ghost Tour is just one of many great events happening on the Outer Banks. Spend a week with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates and discover what life on a sandbar is really all about.

Winter Lights at Elizabethan Gardens a Holiday Delight

One of the many illuminated paths during Winter Lights at the Elizabethan Gardens.
One of the many illuminated paths during Winter Lights at the Elizabethan Gardens.

Roasted Marshmallows and Beautiful Lights

Winter Lights at Elizabethan Gardens is one of those Christmas traditions that is a reminder of how special the holiday season can be.

Any time of the year is a great time to visit the Gardens, a 10 acre site immediately adjacent to Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on Roanoke Island. But on a cool—or perhaps even cold—winter’s night there is magic in walking along the paths and witnessing the thousands of lights that illuminate the statues and trees.

The light show runs through the holidays until January 15 so there is plenty of time to check it out, but there is something special about the lights and Christmas.

There are, of course, Christmas lights everywhere—and some quite spectacular. But what makes the Winter Lights so special is how wonderful the experience is for the whole family.

In the middle of the Gardens there is the Great Lawn, and open space dominated by huge live oak and with a fire pit in the middle.

Next to the fire pit, a large screen plays the version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer that was narrated by Burl Ives. Best of all, though, is an endless supply of marshmallows and tongs perfect for roasting the marshmallows in the fire.

The artistry and creativity that has gone into some of the displays is remarkable. There are heron ponds that sparkle with shades of blue and sand colored lights around the edge. The statues that are so much a part of the wonder of the Garden are individually illuminated, creating a different vision of what they represent.

Winter lights is truly one of the unique holiday treats waiting visitors and residents during this time of the year.

If you are going, be sure to dress warmly. Roanoke Sound borders Elizabethan Gardens and the breeze off the water can be chilly.

Any time of the year is a wonderful time to visit the Outer Banks. The best accommodations are always available at Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associate.

This Weekend Features the Outer Banks Marathon Events

Outer Banks Marathon runners passing the Wright Brothers Monument.
Runners passing the Wright Brothers Monument.

It’s Veteran’s Day Weekend, which means on the Outer Banks it’s also Outer Banks Marathon Weekend.

What is now Marathon Weekend began as just the Marathon in 2006 with two goals in mind—get people to the Outer Banks in the off season and help fund the Dare Education Foundation, a local nonprofit that supports the school system.

Over the years it has grown and added another nonprofit—the Outer Banks Relief Foundation.

It is no longer just the Outer Banks Marathon, although that is the premier event. Sunday is the headline races, with the Southern Fried Half Marathon beginning at 7:00 a.m. at Jockey’s Ridge in Nags Head and the Marathon kicking off at 7:20 in Kitty Hawk.

Saturday though is the family day, the time when all the shorter fun races are held. For runners who want a timed race and a bit of a challenge, there’s a  5K and 8K. For families and and especially the youngest runners of all, there are two Diaper Dash races and a one mile fun run.

Sunday is the day for the more serious runners, although there are some pretty outrageous costumes mixed in with the hardcore running equipment.

What seems to set the Outer Banks Marathon apart, according to numerous reviews, is how beautiful the course is.

The race begins beneath the heavily forested canopy of Kitty Hawk Woods on the Woods Road, through a residential area to parallel Kitty Hawk Bay before circling the Wright Brothers Monument. The packed dirt roads of Nags Head Woods are next and that may be the most beautiful part of the course.

The race ends in downtown Manteo, with it’s classic small town look and feel.

There are a couple of challenges on the course. Nags Head Woods is a little bit hilly, but the real heartbreaker comes at mile 23—the Washington Baum Bridge, 640’ of a 4% grade connecting the Outer Banks with Roanoke Island.

The difficulties aside, runners have been almost universal in their praise of local support and organization.

The Outer Banks Marathon is a Boston Marathon qualifying race.

The Holidays are coming and there is no better place to spend time with family than the Outer Banks. Check out our listings at Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates.

Lost Colony Wine & Culinary Festival on Tap for This Weekend

Tasting wine at last year's Lost Colony Wine & Culinary Festival.
Tasting wine at last year’s Lost Colony Wine & Culinary Festival.

Great Wine, Great Food and a Great Time

The 2nd Annual Lost Colony Wine & Culinary Festival is here. Last year was great time with over 100 wines available to try and some local microbrews on tap. All of it in one of it at The Lost Colony on the north end of Roanoke Island.

It would be hard to imagine a more beautiful setting to sip some wine and some fantastic hors d’oeuvre from some of the finest Outer Banks chefs to go with it.

The weekend is actually two events wrapped up into one weekend.

Friday night is the Vintner’s Dinner. This year at 108 Budleigh in Manteo, The Lost Colony is bringing in two chef’s from Durham—Josh DeCarolis of Mother & Sons Trattoria and Phil Bey who will be working with Sam McCann of Blue Point in Duck.

it should be a very interesting evening. Francis Ford Coppola’s Virginia Dare Winery will be on hand to pair their wines with each course.

Saturday is when the fun really gets going with wines from around the world and a couple of local breweries on hand. Elevating the whole experience, there will be tasty treats from some of the best Outer Banks restaurants—Argyle’s, Basnight’s Lone Cedar Café, BlueWater Grill & Raw Bar, Café Lachine…and that’s just a partial list.

There will be a silent auction as well and live music. A real treat—look for Joe Mapp to perform. One of the finest guitarists around, Joe very rarely performs in front of large audiences, so be sure to check him out.

There will also be a number of seminars on wine offered: Uncovering the Mystery of Sparkling Wine; Wines and Hard Cider from the Russian River Valley; and Taking the Mystery out of the Craft Beer Aisle.

For more information or to purchase tickets, check out Lost Colony Wine & Culinary Festival online.

There’s lots to do on the Outer Banks this fall. Be sure to book your fall getaway with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates.

New Pea Island Bridge Named for Richard Etheridge

From NCDOT. Getting ready to remove the old bridge with the Richard Etheridge Bridge next to it.
From NCDOT. Getting ready to remove the old bridge with the Richard Etheridge Bridge next to it.

New Bridge Opens on Pea Island

Even though it opened for traffic a little while ago, the Richard Etheridge Bridge down on Pea Island had its official naming yesterday.

When Hurricane Irene created a new inlet just north of New Inlet on Pea Island, NCDOT moved quickly to get a temporary bridge in place. Yes, it looked like a tinker toy, but they had it in place and open for traffic in six weeks.

It performed as advertised for six-and-a-half years, although traffic had to slow way down to cross it.

It was never going to be a permanent solution, and everyone knew it.

The new span, the Richard Etheridge Bridge, is almost twice as long—663’ vs 1100’—and beautifully engineered. It is not, however, going to be the permanent solution.

This bridge has a planned lifespan of 25 years, and the long-range strategy calls for it to be replaced with a bridge probably somewhere to the west.

Who Was Richard Etheridge

Naming the bridge for Richard Etheridge is appropriate.

Etheridge was the captain of the Pea Island Lifesaving Station from the 1880s through the 1890s.

The Pea Island Lifesaving Station was the only all African American crew in the Lifesaving Service and was consistently rated as one of the best on the Outer Banks.

He was a slave when he was born in 1842 on Roanoke Island. Although it cannot be confirmed, circumstantial evidence suggests that his father was John B. Etheridge, his owner.

When Northern forces captured Roanoke Island, he was freed and quickly enlisted in the Union Army, rising to the rank of sergeant.

In the 1870s the Lifesaving Service, the predecessor to the US Coast Guard, was hiring local watermen who understood the environment around them. Etheridge became Surfman #6 at Bodie Island, the lowest rank and the only rank an African American was permitted at that time.

Nonetheless, his work was noted with one inspector writing, “…one of the best surfmen on this part of the coast of North Carolina.”

Promoted to command the Pea Island Station, he was noted for expecting his crew to be the best. His expectations paid off when the schooner E.S. Newman ran aground on Pea Island.

He and his turfmen rescued the captain, the captain’s wife, their three-year-old child and all six crewmen in a hurricane so powerful it had overwashed Pea Island.

It took a while but in 1996 President Clinton awarded the Coast Guard’s Gold Lifesaving Medal posthumously to the descendents of the crew.

When Hurricane Irene created a new inlet, it also exposed the remains of the Pea Island Station water tower, indicating how close to the bridge named for Richard Etheridge is to the station.

Coastal Studies Institute Looks at Pamlico Sound Shipwreck

Restored landing craft (LC) at a California museum.
Restored landing craft (LC) at a California museum.

Science on the Sound Looks at Pappy’s Lane Shipwreck

From a shipwreck and marine archeology to harnessing the energy of the Gulf Stream, Coastal Studies Institute on Roanoke Island is does very interesting work.

That’s why their Science on the Sound series always seems to be so interesting. And the lecture coming up this Thursday, January 25 falls into that “interesting” category.

On the north end of Rodanthe, in the shallow waters of Pamlico Sound there has been a deteriorating wreck for a number of years. Named for the road the is closest to it, the Pappy’s Lane Shipwreck has attracted the attention of CSI’s Dr. Nathan Richards and his intern team of marine archeologists.

The upcoming Science on the Sound will feature what has been discovered about the shipwreck.

Some things we do know. The ship probably sank sometime in the 1960s. It’s most likely use at that time was to tow barges filled with rock and ballast for the construction of NC12.

The team has identified the remains as a WWII landing craft; its designation LC stood for Landing Craft, but there were a number of varieties of the craft. LCI was Landing Craft Infantry able to land 200 men at a time. The LCS was used in support. There was also used as a weapon platform at times.

After the war there was little use for the ships and they were often sold off as surplus, the most likely fate of the Pappy’s Lane ship. Substantially deteriorated, there is no hope of salvaging the wreck.

The investigation of the wreck has been funded by NCDOT. Construction is about to begin on the Jug Handle bypass to the S Curves north of Rodanthe. The Jug Handle will swing into Pamlico Sound and reconnect with NC12 very close to Pappy’s Lane. The shipwreck is in the proposed route of the road.

Finding the Holiday Spirit on the Outer Banks

Illuminating the night and creating holiday spirit at the Elizabethan Gardens Grand Illumination.
Illuminating the night and creating holiday spirit at the Elizabethan Gardens Grand Illumination.

Thanksgiving is almost here and that, of course means the Holiday Season is just around the corner.

Sometimes it takes just a bit of effort to get into that Christmas spirit, so in the interests of promoting goodwill and cheer among all our visitors to the Outer Banks and local residents, here are two Thanksgiving weekend events that we think will get just about anyone into the spirit of the season

Grand Illumination-Winter Lights

Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island is a magical place at any time, but as the days get shorter and the nights darker, strolling the paths of the Gardens, illuminated by thousands and thousands of lights in the trees, plants and everywhere is amazing. There are also some wonderful special decorations that seem to create a wonderland.

This is a not to be missed Outer Banks tradition.

The Grand Illumination is always the Saturday after Thanksgiving and it s a wonderful celebration of the Outer Banks community. High school choirs perform, there are cookies and cider—and best of all, maybe, the fire pit in the middle of the Garden seems to have an endless supply of marshmallows for roasting.

It’s hard to imagine a better way to find the holiday spirit.

Handel’s Messiah at All Saints Catholic Church

Located in Kitty Hawk, All Saints Catholic Church is as close to a perfect setting to perform Handel’s classic holiday opus as there could be. Spacious with amply seating, with it’s high ceiling and hard walls, sound reverberates. Perfect for the Messiah.

John Buford, who is conducting, is the First Flight High School music director, but that is just one small part of what he does. A remarkably talented musician, he is classically trained and has a real knack for bringing out the best in his choirs.

The performance begins at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.