"Everyone is just so nice!"
I think one of the best things from visitors here on the Outer Banks is how nice they think most people who live here are. From shopkeepers to wait staff to doctors and medical professionals, surfers, fishermen and other locals. Well, we, all of us, should be nice and kind and polite and considerate to each other. Always, or most of the time anyway. I know that I have gotten kinder and nicer and more accepting and happier since moving here. Why is that? Several reasons, in my opinion.
We are pretty laid back here on the OBX. We live on an island and know that some things, a lot of things, just cannot be rushed. We don't think about who has a nicer, bigger car...or a brand new home, or who is dressed the best. Life is short and things can change in an instant. Hurricanes and storms teach us that. We also know we have to depend on each other when bad weather is headed our way.
The beach is free. We do not have to pay to park or to walk to the ocean and stay there as long as we want to. With friends and family, or by ourselves, no matter...it is beautiful and a nice way to relax, restore and reflect. Watching our children and grandchildren play in the sand and in the water is a reminder of of the continuation of life and that while money is nice, (it really is), being happy and content is even better.
While the Outer Banks is a long stretch of barrier islands, we are also a "small town" and that is nice. I am pretty sure that when I am in almost any restaurant here, or go grocery shopping or clothes shopping, I am going to run into other locals. And that is a "good" thing. I may run into a lawyer in his/her business clothes because they just left court, or my doctor, who is on his way to a gig (he plays the saxophone) or my neighbor. "Hey, how are you?" What is new, how are the kids, are you going to the Chili Cook-Off next week?"...and so on.
At social gatherings, whether at some ones house or at a public place, I will be among locals who are dressed up, locals who have on flip flops and shorts (all year long...yes, very true...there are grown men here who, I guarantee you, do not OWN a pair of long pants), musicians, surfers, young, old, and so on. We seem to get along pretty well. I think that is because we know we live in a beautiful place and while it is not always easy, it is always beautiful. It is a relief to know that no matter how stressed I get, I can take time to head to the beach, even for a few minutes, watch the waves, listen to the birds, feel the sun and salt air and at peace.
Good food. Oh my gosh, yes! Fresh, very fresh seafood. Served in so many different ways by Outer Banks chefs who pride themselves on using local seafood. This is important. Very important to us. I encourage you to always ask your server if their seafood is locally caught. I recommend checking out this website; www.OuterBanksCatch.com. You can see which restaurants and seafood markets offer locally caught seafood. Ask your server what is in season and ask for their recommendations. They will tell you the truth. Everyone wants to be proud of where they work and restaurant workers are no exception. Fresh seafood to cook and eat at home...simply prepared or, if you are a good cook, you can fancy it up some. Whatever, seafood is good and good for you. And fishing is an honorable profession. We have many local families here who earn their living fishing and have been doing so for generations. Hats off to them. This is hard work and a big part of the Outer Banks heritage.
If you want things to do, there is lots to offer here as well. Lighthouses, historic sites, The Lost Colony, Jockey's Ridge, sailing, surfing, skim boarding, photography...or you may want to do nothing but lay on the beach. And that is OK too.
Simple things are very appreciated when you live here...a walk on the beach, catching a sunrise, watching the sun set...and noticing how everyone around you gets oh-so-quiet while it is happening. Going to John's Drive In for a milkshake, going to Fish Heads at the Outer Banks Fishing Pier and having a cold drink and listen to the live music on the deck.
So, take a deep breath...bring sunscreen, a book and a blanket. Don't worry about sand on your feet, in your car, in your house...you are at the beach. Listen...waves, kids laughing, seagulls...Smell, the ocean air. Feel the gentle salt breeze and warm sun on your skin. Enjoy your time here. Turn your phone OFF, you can do it, even for just an hour or two. Bring a bag or a bucket and gather some beach treasures. Bring another bag and pick up trash. You will feel good about doing it.
And please come back just as soon as you can. We do appreciate it.
Until Next Time, I am
Your Outer Banks Blogger