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.

The Cookie Crumbles at New Cookie Bakery Crumbl in Southern Shores

A plate of Crumbl chocolate chip cookies.
A plate of Crumbl chocolate chip cookies.

It’s that wonderful scent of freshly baked cookies that that seems to reach out and beckon to the unwary. And even the wary.

It doesn’t seem to matter. Crumbl, the new cookie bakery that opened just a couple of months ago in Southern Shores is doing a lot right. And one of the things they are most definitely doing right is baking cookies fresh all day long.

Even though they smell like home, these are not the cookies you and your mom and dad would sit around baking. These are huge, multiple serving behemoth of cookies.

Ok…admittedly, even though they’re really big, a lot of people just go ahead and eat the whole thing. But they are so big they could be a multiple serving dessert.

Crumbl is a national franchise that seems to be really taking off. The Southern Shores store, owned by local Dave and Susan Bramwell, is the only one right now on the East Coast, so the couple may be somewhat cutting edge in their business model.

What sets Crumbl apart, aside for the wonderful taste of the cookies, is how the company sets up their business.

It’s simple—they bake cookies and nothing else.

There are two cookies that are always on the menu—the chocolate chip, which is a rich full-flavored cookie made with milk chocolate chips. The other cookie is a sugar cookie. And Wow is it sugary.

The other four cookies rotate, Monday being changeover day. So if you’re in the store, find a cookie you really like, Sunday will be the last day to get it.

Crumbl is located at 5385 N Virginia Dare Trail. That’s that little strip center on the access road between NC 12 and US 158 just past the Southern Shores Town Hall.

Another wonderful reason to spend some time on the Outer Banks. Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates has all the perfect locations and best homes.

Couture by the Shore Coming to Duck Woods Soon

Fashion, food, a little wine and it’s all for a good cause. Couture by the Shore is celebrating its 9th annual fundraising event for the Outer Banks Relief Foundation, and this is one fashions how that should not one missed.

It’s an afternoon affair on Saturday, May 11 beginning at 11:00 a.m. at Duck Woods Country Club in Southern Shores. 

There are 10 retailers outfitting the runway models this year: Birthday Suits, Foxy Flamingo Boutique, Grays Sportswear, Honey & Hive Boutique, Life’s A Beach, Mudpie, Outer Banks Boarding Company, The French Door, Untucked, and Zen & Zip. 

And the models? They’re employees and friends. In other words friends and neighbors of just about everyone on the Outer Banks.

The event, as much as it’s a lot of fun, serves a really important function—it is one of the largest fundraisers for the Outer Banks Relief Foundation.

The Relief Foundation is often the first organization to reach out to local residents in times of need. If there is a house fine, they are often the first ones to offer the financial assistance needed to find temporary housing. When families face devastating illnesses, it’s the Relief Foundation that often stops forward to provide transportation or other services.

In the 13 years since the organization was founded, the foundations helped more than 850 families, providing $1.75 million in aid. That’s more then 65 families helped every year.

Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates is a proud sponsor of this event and we would love to see the Duck Woods banquet room filled to capacity.

Tickets are available at any of the ten stores dressing the models.

Surf & Sound Series-World Class Music for the Outer Banks

Musicians of Surf and Sound in performance at All Saints Episcopal Church in Southern shores. Katie Hyun, violin; Amanda Halstead,  piano, Jacob Fowler, cello.
Musicians of Surf and Sound in performance at All Saints Episcopal Church in Southern shores. Katie Hyun, violin; Amanda Halstead, piano, Jacob Fowler, cello.

A Tradition of World Class Music

For the past four years the the Surf and Sound Series has been a part of the Outer Banks August scene that to the Bryan Cultural Series. We have to hope it becomes a summer  tradition that becomes a part of local life.

Bringing five world-class classical musicians to the Outer Banks for a series of concerts, Surf and Sound travels from Southern Shores to Duck, Buxton and Manteo in a series of concerts that are musically as fine a performance as there is anywhere.

The Southern Shores always kicks things off at All Saints Episcopal Church.With a concert grand piano at the church, the musical selection allows the musicians a little more leeway and the music they performed this year took full advantage of having a piano on hand.

The Tuesday performance featured a work from a Hungarian composer Ernst von Dohnanyi, who is not all that well-known, but wow, was it amazing. Challenging, and complex, it was the type of music that broadens the understanding of what classical music can be.

The musicians also played a Dvorak composition—his Piano Trio No. 5 in E minor. The von Dohnanyi piece was wonderful, but there was no discernible melody. By comparison the Dovorak trio, with its distinctive melodies, seemed even more beautiful by comparison.

What makes the Surf and Sound Series so special is the musicians don’t sit in one place and wait for everyone to come to them. Rather they take the show on the road…and the first stop was an outdoor concert at the Duck Amphitheater.

Unfortunately concert grand pianos don’t travel well at all, so the Duck concert was all strings.

But that was fine. With a gentle breeze off the sound and and early evening temperatures in the upper 70s it would be hard to imagine a better setting to for an outdoor concert.

Again the music selection seemed to fit the setting perfectly. The Beethoven Trio was typical of music from the master—complex with moving parts everywhere, yet easily followed by the audience.

The Mendelssohn selection was the last major work he created. Written after the unexpected death his sister, the work was beautiful and sad yet in the final movement, there seems to be a sense of joy or at least acceptance for what happened.

Wonderful concerts. We haven’t had a confirmation yet, but hopefully the Surf and Sound Series will be back for a fifth year next summer.

There is always something happening on the Outer Banks and Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates has all the best locations.

Bryan Cultural Series Brings Quintet to Outer Banks for Free Concert

The Surf and Sound Quintet in performance at All Saints Episcopal Church in Southern Shores.
The Surf and Sound Quintet in performance at All Saints Episcopal Church in Southern Shores.

World-Renowned Musicians Will Perform Four Free Concerts

The Bryan Cultural Series is one of the local organizations that helps to make the Outer Banks such a special place to live and visit. This is the week for the Fourth Annual Surf and Sounds Chamber Music Series.

Bringing five musicians with well-deserved international reputations to the Outer Banks, the Cultural Series is sponsoring four free concerts beginning Tuesday, August 21 at All Saints Episcopal Church in Southern Shores at 7:30 p.m.

The music is classical music and in past years the performances have been breathtaking—wonderful interpretations of the music.

The Wednesday performance will be at the Town of Duck Amphitheater, at 6:30. The performance in Duck will be a string quartet—the fifth instrument in the quintet is a piano, an instrument that does not travel well.

The last two performances will be at Cape Hatteras Secondary School on Thursday, and a Friday evening performance at the Dare County Arts Council Gallery in Manteo at 7 p.m.

A playbill for the performances has not yet been made available, but in the past the musicians have presented a wonderful collection of compositions, ranging across centuries to include Haydn and Mozart then venturing into the late 20th century a contemporary sound.

By all means, check out the outdoor performance at the Duck Amphitheater. There is something magical about listening to great musicians perform some of the most remarkable music ever composed in an outdoor setting.

The Bryan Cultural Series has truly come to the fore in brining great performances to the Outer Banks and their next performance may be their most ambitious and genoursy yet. In cooperation with Elizabeth R and Company, a free performance of La Traviata will be presented on September 15 at First Flight High School.

There is always something worth checking out on the Outer Banks. Check out our Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates homes for the best locations.

The OBX Great Dogwood Trail Traffic Experiment

Traffic approaching the prohibited left turn onto S. Dogwood Trail in Southern Shores.
Traffic approaching the prohibited left turn onto S. Dogwood Trail in Southern Shores.

This was the weekend of the great South Dogwood Trail experiment in Southern Shores…the weekend when, working with NCDOTand the town of Kitty Hawk, a left hand turn onto South Dogwood Trail off US 158 was prohibited.

Was it successful?

That’s hard to say, and there probably will not be anything approaching an answer for some time.

From the ground, observing the intersection, it appeared as though traffic was moving in a typically slow summer pattern to the intersection of US 158 and NC 12 about a mile to the west. That’s the intersection that leads to Duck and Corolla and is invariably a bottleneck on summer weekends on the Outer Banks.

There was significantly less traffic on South Dogwood Trail than there has been over the past few years. However, because right hand turns and through traffic coming from Kitty Hawk road could still access the blocked street, there was still an increase in use.

The use of South Dogwood Trail as a way to get around the 158/12 bottleneck has become a significant safety issue for Southern Shores. The roads are narrow, and designed for residential use. None of the roads that are used after leaving the highway were ever designed for the volume of traffic that uses them on a weekend summer day.

Much of the problem lies with GPS systems that tell drivers the best route is through the tree-lined streets of residential Southern Shores.

NCDOT seemed to do a very good job of telling drivers that a left turn at S. Dogwood was prohibited. Signage and barrier barrels sealing off the turn lane, kept motorists from even getting into the left turn lane.

Will the experiment be repeated?

That is a possibility, although the the state and local authorities want to go over data NCODT collected before drawing any conclusions.

Summer on the Outer Banks is spectacular. Check out Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates. for vacation possibilities.

Outer Banks Beach Nourishment Project Gains National Recognition

The beginning of the Outer Banks intra-local beach nourishment project. Duck, spring 2017.
The beginning of the Outer Banks intra-local beach nourishment project. Duck, spring 2017.

Intra-Local Effort Recognized for Multiple Community Benefits

What does a couple of years of planning and $38.5 million earn? When it comes to beach nourishment, recognition as one of the best projects in the nation.

The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) which is a trade organization for companies engaged in nourishment, recognized the Intra-local project, taking note especially that it took a couple of years to move the project forward and that multiple towns and jurisdictions worked together.

“The take-home message for these projects is a multi-town beach nourishment project can be successful even when the odds seem to be against you,” Lee Weishar, chair of the association’s Best Restored Beach Committee, said.

The initial observation is that the project, that included the towns of Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills, performs as advertised. Although there were a number of significant storm events over the fall and winter of this past year, overwash and flooding was minimal with no reported infrastructure damage.

For a town like Kitty Hawk that is remarkable. The town’s beaches in particular suffered significant loss of sand and even storms that were not particularly strong caused widespread road closures as waves overtopped the dunes.

The ASBPA ranks nourishment  projects on three criteria:

  • The economic and ecological benefits the beach brings to its community;
  • The short and long-term success of the restoration project; and
  •  The challenges each community overcame during the course of the project.

The funding for the project was an innovative combination of local and Dare County money. Contributions from the towns were significant, but the lion’s share came from County coffers.

“Dare County is committed to preserving our beaches,” county board chairman Bob Woodard told the Outer Banks Voice.“They are the engine that drives our tourism economy and they require ongoing attention.”

Take some time to explore Outer Banks beaches. Check out Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates. for the best properties and the best locations.

Tshombe Selby-An Outstanding Afternoon of Music

Tshombe Selby getting the audience to clap along in his performance of "You Better Mind."
Tshombe Selby getting the audience to clap along in his performance of “You Better Mind.”

An Afternoon Treat in Southern Shores

Tshombe Selby is a man who is going places. After being treated to an afternoon performance at All Saint Episcopal Church in Southern Shores, there can be no doubt that this is an artist who is going to make a name for himself.

And he’s local. Well, not local anymore since he now lives and works out of NYC, but there is no doubt that his roots are on the Outer Banks—Manteo to be exact.

If there was any doubt about that it was laid to rest by the SRO audience that fills date rectory for the recital.

Selby has always had a rich, powerful voice, but what is coming to the fore now is the ability to modulate that power. Even singing softly he still fills the room with music, but what stood out in his performance on Sunday was the ability to use the full dynamic range of the music.

He is also animated in his recital—using hand gestures, facial expressions and body language to tell the tale of the songs he is performing. Since many of the selections he chose for the recital were in a variety of foreign languages—Russian, Italian and French—that ability made the afternoon that much more enjoyable.

The title of the recital was “An Afternoon of Spirituals and Arias.” Tshombe has been championing the American spiritual as a classical form of music for some time and his interpretations of them create a new appreciation of what are often considered something akin to folk music.

He had some fun with the spiritual as well, getting the audience to clap out the rhythm of “You Better Mind.”

Certainly the local crowd was there to cheer him on. Still the two standing ovations were well-deserved in this case—and he did have two encores ready to go.

Accompanied by Violetta Zabbi on piano, this was truly an outstanding afternoon of music.

Local Vocalist Tshombe Selby to Perform in Southern Shores


Tshombe Selby in concert last December at Holy Redeemer Church performing Handel's Messiah.
Tshombe Selby in concert last December at Holy Redeemer Church performing Handel’s Messiah.An Afternoon of Great Music on Tap

Tshombe Selby is one of those local lad makes good stories that makes everyone feel good.

Born and raised in Manteo, Tshombe dreamed of a career singing classical music. With a powerful yet beautiful tenor voice and a stage filling presence, it only seemed natural that at some point he would be successful.

The journey includes a degree in vocal performance from Elizabeth City State University and stint as assistant musical director at the Lost Colony.

A few years ago he left for NYC to develop his career and it’s looking more and more as though that was a good choice. He’s not a household name (yet), but by all accounts he is earning a living at what he is for him a dream job.

And now he’s coming back for a one afternoon concert this Sunday at All Saints Episcopal Church in Southern Shores.

Sponsored by the Bryan Cultural Series, Tsombe’s appearance promises a performance of virtuoso caliber vocals and a wide and challenging range of music. We haven’t seen the program yet, but as a performer Tshombe never disappoints.

The last time he performed on the Outer Banks was in December when he made sang at the annual performance of Handel’s Messiah at Holy Redeemer Church in Kitty Hawk.

Although his voice blended beautifully with the choir, the he could still be heard, that resonate tenor sound seeping through the choral arrangement. And when he sang a solo, it was powerful and beautiful

This should be a great afternoon of music and one not to miss.

Tickets are $15 and are available 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.

2018 Taste of the Beach a Tasty Time on the Outer Banks

Great Food and a Great Time at the Outer Banks Taste of the Beach

Serving seared scallops over grits at the Brewing Station table.
Serving seared scallops over grits at the Brewing Station table.

What’s not to love about the Outer Banks Taste of the Beach? It’s all about great food and drink and spending some time with friends and family.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

The Taste of the Beach wrapped up today with the Grand Tasting, which is about as grand a way to finish the premier Outer Banks food event as there could be.

Held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Kitty Hawk, the afternoon event featured some pretty remarkable creations from the chefs.

Hard to pick out a favorite with so many outstanding dishes, but one that really stood out was one of the simplest. Well stood out for us—others may have an different opinion, of course.

Sal’s New York Pizza in Kill Devil Hills served a mini sub with their homemade mozzarella. The richness of the cheese seemed to absorb the flavors of the herbs on the sandwich.

The owner mentioned that they make their own mozzarella to insure they have the right cheese for their pizza. That’s dedication.

The Grand Tasting is the big sendoff for the Taste of the Beach, but there were other memorable events as well.

Consistently one of our favorites has been the Chowder Cook-off, which celebrated 10 years of great chowder this year.

Held at Southern Shores Crossing and sponsored by Coastal Provisions, the chowder is consistently excellent with some very innovative recipes.

This year’s winner was Corolla’s North Banks with a lobster, shrimp and corn chowder with applewood smoked bacon. Great balance between the slight smokiness of the bacon and sweetness of the corn.  Loaded with seafood, it was a hardy, tasty dish, perfect for a cold March day…which it has been.

But even if it has been a bit cold this weekend, the Taste of the Beach seemed better than ever. Great food, great chefs and a great time. Plan on being here next year.