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Roanoke Island – Gateway to the Outer Banks

On a recent spur of the moment weekend getaway up to the Outer Banks, we chose a spot to stay purely by location. Our plan was to spend the weekend photographing the beach around Nags Head, lighthouses, shrimpers and anything else that came in front of our eyes! From looking at the maps and hotels nearby, Roanoke Island became the logical choice. We couldn’t have made a better decision!

We stayed at fabulous little hotel along the causeway between the Island and Nags Head: the Oasis Suites Hotel. With water out the front and out the back, the setting was ideal. Just a few words about the hotel in the event you’re ever considering spending any time in the area. This was truly a suite of rooms. In all honesty, we were expecting (and would have been happy with) a single room. We were stunned upon walking in to our 3rd (top) floor suite into the living room with deck overlooking the water to the south. What we thought was the bedroom off of the living was actually the guest bedroom. Down the hallway & through the kitchen area, fully furnished with stove, micro, full size frig, we came to the bath area with walk-in shower and jacuzzi. Off of the bathroom was the master bedroom. We could not have been more pleased or comfortable.

The photos below should give you a good idea of the beauty that literally surrounded us. Across the street to the marsh provided and ideal spot for sunrise over Rodanthe Sound and behind the hotel gave us sunset across Croatan Sound. Click on the main image below and you can sroll right to the remainder of the photos.

Driving off of the causeway to the west brings you on to Roanoke Island itself. The north end of the island is Manteo, the birthplace of English colonization in America. We knew of Manteo because it is home to one of the fine aquariums in the North Carolina collection of great aquariums. Unbenownest to us until we tripped over it, there is a waterfront portion of town lined with lovely homes, restaurants and shops, not to mention a lovely marina tucked in the harbor adjacent to the Roanoke Island Festival Park. Among other things, this park includes walking trails that wind along the inlets, the bay and throughout the downtown and marina and continues along the manteo waterfront and past, yes….a lighthouse with a very interesting history! Click on the photo below to scroll through some scenes we captured along the waterfront.

One of more exciting attractions along the waterfront downtown was the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum and the adjacent boathouse which is named after George Washington Creef, a local builder who developed the Shad boat in the 1870’s. The Museum is also a working boat shop where volunteers and staff take on projects including small craft restoration, exhibit design, and new boat construction. Unfortunately the museum itself was not open at the time of our visit, but the Boathouse was and I was thrilled to be able to photograph some of the boats there.

At the very southernmost tip of this small island is a charming little fishing village called Wanchese with a lovely protected harbor where, you guessed it, fishing boats! This quaint village was actually the very first fishing village on Roanoke Island and it is believed that it was populated around 1500 years ago by indigenous fishing families. Little did they know that NatGeo would end up in their village filming Wicked Tuna Outer Banks! While the fishing and shrimping is not what it was during its heyday, there are still a significant number of boats providing seafood products in North America and Europe as well!

To see more photos from our Outer Banks visit, please click on the photo below.

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