Tern of the Century is in an area referred to as the “North Beach area”, as opposed to the South Beaches of Nags Head, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills. The North Beach area is mostly residential, quiet with quite a bit of real estate owned by the National Audubon Society and maintained as a refuge….. served by a 2-lane road. The South Beach area, on the other hand, is quite busy and commercial….surf shops, T-shirt shops, mini golf, fast food, a 5-lane highway….you get the picture. Just in case you are concerned about services in close proximity to Tern, read on….
How close is the nearest grocery store?
Harris Teeter (upscale) is 1 mile north of Spindrift at the entrance to the Currituck Club. $$$
Food Lion is about 3 miles north in the Monteray Plaza shopping area which also includes restaurants and shops. $
Tommy’s Market is 4 miles south….select cuts of prime beef and gourmet offerings. $$$$$
Beer and wine is sold at the grocery stores. Liquor is only sold at ABC stores. There is an ABC store directly across Rt. 12 from the entrance to Spindrift.
Where can I buy fresh seafood?
Our favorite local place is Carawan’s which is a “shack” located in front of the Wal-Mart in Kill Devil Hills near the Wright Memorial Bridge. There is also nice fresh fish sold at Dockside in Duck.
I don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen during our vacation…tell me about the local restaurants.
Right across Rt. 12 from the entrance to Spindrift is the Ocean Club Centre with two nice (beach casual) restaurants. Our favorite is Metropolis Little Bar and Bistro, a tapas bar with an imaginative chef.
Three miles to the north is Timbuck II (just across the street from Monteray Plaza Food Lion). Outer Banks Seafood is a favorite there, as is Mike Dianna’s Grill Room, North Banks Restaurant and Raw Bar, and Route 12 Steak and Seafood.
If crabcakes are tops on your list, be sure to dine at Oceanfront Grille at Corolla Light. Yum!
There are several good restaurants in the Duck area ….Roadside is our fav….no reservations, but the wait is worth it.
Yes, there are many, many restaurants on the Route 12 By-pass south of the bridge, but why would you want to fight five lanes of traffic to go out to dinner? If you do, get a Sunny Days booklet at the grocery store and take your pick of what the south beaches area has to offer.
Where can I knock myself out shopping?
Head north to Timbuck II where there are neat shops, a book store and the Cotton Gin, an institution on the Outer Banks – don’t miss the Vera Bradley bags on the second floor balcony!
Or go south to Duck to the Scarborough Faire area where you could spend the day browsing in the shady complex. Lunch at Fishbones, anyone?
If you want to play in the traffic, head way south to Kitty Hawk and Nags Head. The proverbial “Outlet” strip is at milepost 14.5 (MP 14.5) with lots of T-shirt shops along the way.
What is there to do besides play in the sand at the beach?
How about Drive ON the Sand? Head north on Route 12 and the pavement will terminate….drive onto the sand to the Corova area. There are million dollar homes up there! In fact, the 4 bedroom home that used to sit on the lot next to Tern was put onto skids and hauled to Corova rather than be demolished. Be on the lookout for the wild ponies that roam freely in the Corova area. …also sea turtles and big shells not found on “our” beach. The ponies have been in the Currituck area for over 400 years. They are direct descendents of Spanish mustangs and are strictly protected and loved by the locals. Note that this is a 4-wheel drive area….leave your Lexus at home!
Golf, anyone? There are many courses close to Tern. Most are near the Wright Bridge; the Currituck Club course is directly across from the entrance to Spindrift and is open to the public.
The Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education is a FREE interactive educational experience located in the Heritage Park near the beautiful Corolla Lighthouse and Whalehead Club. There are numerous programs offered throughout the summer, free, but pre-registration is required.
A must-do is a visit to the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. First lit in 1875, it still houses its original first-order Fresnel lens. Although no longer used by ships for navigation purposes, the lighthouse flashes at 20-second intervals from dusk to dawn and can be seen for 18 nautical miles. If you elect to climb the 214 steps to the top of the brick lighthouse, you will be rewarded with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and Currituck sound. Admission is charged….the fascinating story of the duplex lightkeepers’ house is worth the cost!
While in the area, stroll through the restored Corolla Light Village….it is charming.
The Whalehead Club (www.whaleheadclub.com) is a lovely Art Noveau structure built in 1922 as a hunt club. Tifany light fixtures, a tin roof and a ballroom highlight this lovely building. Tours are offered; admission is charged. On Thursday evenings bring a picnic dinner, sit on the lawn and enjoy free musical concerts.
When I am too sunburned to go to the beach (usually by Wednesday), where should I spend a day?
Two great choices in this category. First, visit the Wright Brothers Memorial (MP 8) administered by the National Park Service…it is in Kitty Hawk (duh) on the site of the actual First Flight. While in the area, why not try hang gliding…haven’t you always wanted to crash face first into a sand dune? No? Then spend a day at Festival Park on Roanoke Island (Manteo), about an hour south on Rt. 12. A reproduction sailing ship, the Susan B is a fascinating look into the daily lives of those brave enough to cross the sea in that tiny vessel. Costumed interpreters in a mock village setting will entertain all age groups, as will the movie about the Indians who once lived in the area. The children will love sifting for shark’s teeth and fossils. A day at this park is truly memorable.
Back to the beach…are there sharks?
Well, yes, to be honest there have been sharks in the neighborhood. They feed at dusk, so stay on the beach, not in the water after dusk!
Are there lifeguards on the beach?
Yes, there is a lifeguard stand 30 yards from Tern. Take heed and DO NOT SWIM when the RED Flag is flying.
We're coming from Michigan...what is the closest airport?
On the map it looks as if Raleigh, NC is the closest airport, and it may be, but the road from there to OBX is slow going with little towns , 35 mph speed limits and mean cops. It is best to fly into Norfolk, Virginia (ORF) which is served by Southwest , American, Continental, Delta, United Express and USAirways Express. All of the major rental car companies are at the ORF airport. Drive time from ORF to Tern is about 1 1/2 hours. Of course, the very best and closest airport is the private strip that is just a mile from Tern of the Century!