So, you live on the Outer Banks?
When you live on the Outer Banks:
...and you travel, either the people you meet will know and love and have been to the Outer Banks or they will say "Where?".
If you order something by phone, the operator will have to ask you the name of your town at least twice...especially Kill Devil Hills. And while they say your order will get there in two days, you know that it will most likely be three or four days.
You will get asked, a lot, "have you been through a hurricane?". Answer, Yep, several times.
You will get asked the following:
"Shrimp and grits??? Sounds awful, do you like it?". Yes, Yes I do. It is delicious.
"Do you fish?" Nope.
"Does it snow there?" Yes, but not often. And if it snows for more than 30 minutes..things start closing and the rush for the grocery store begins.
"So, do you live there ALL the time, all year?" Well, yes, yes I do. And in fact my favorite time of year is late fall and deep winter. Beautiful, quiet, peaceful.
"Well, what do you DO in the winter?" I work, I read, I go to movies, I visit friends, eat out, walk the beach...same things all do all year long except I eat out more often because the restaurants are not crowded.
"But, what about shopping, malls, clothes, SHOPPING, concerts, museums?" Don't miss malls at all. Not one bit. If I cannot find it here, I order it. And we have lots of concerts, fund raisers, cook-offs, lectures and other entertainment and cultural events here. The bridges do not close... and there is something we want to see or go to...we do it.
"Where do locals live?" All over...soundside, soundfront, oceanfront, Kitty Hawk, Corolla, Carova, Hatteras, Manteo...all over.
Yes, we have a hospital, good schools, even a very good community college. Many doctors here now.
As with any small town, it is nice to see so many children who go off to college, come back here to live and raise their families. Just this morning I had an appt. with my attorney, who is one of my oldest daughters best friends. While the Outer Banks is spread out, we are still a community and while not everyone knows everyone else, I am pretty sure you know SOMEONE who knows someone else who knows the person you ask about.
This is not the life for everyone. It is not all beach days and suntans and cold beers on the boat. Unless you are retired or wealthy, you have to work, same as anyplace else. Same bills, same stressors. .
For the most part I have found locals to be very kind-hearted and accepting, generous of heart and spirit. And laid back. Hippies, nerds, surfers, fishermen, millionaires, teachers, doctors, musicians...we all seem to get along and it really does not matter how much money you have.
It is normal to wear flip flops all year, or Birkenstocks...not everyone does it, but if you do...that is OK. Dreadlocks? Fine, Tattoos? Whatever. Gay, straight, black, white, Mexican, rich, poor, old, young...does not matter. I will say that I have never met a racist or bigot since I moved here in 1972. We have very active political parties here...and the local elections can be quite competitive. BUT, they are done in a respectful way.
When you live in such a small community, word gets out fast and if someone is a jerk or is acting like one...we all know about it. I am not trying to make it seem like this is just the oh-so-perfect place to live. We have issues. Drugs, poverty, crime. Make no mistake, this is not Nirvana. But, to me, it is a very nice place to live. And even if I have a bad day or night or week or month...stopping by a beach access and seeing the ocean and birds and maybe even some dolphins makes it a little better.