Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. September Interviews 9/1 Carol Perry 9/8 Nupur Tustin 9/15 Maggie Pill 9/22 Veronica Bond 9/29 Rhys Bowen Guest Blogs 9/18 Mark Leichliter -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Outer Banks-Bodie Island

Last week, I started a series on the Outer Banks of N. C., the setting of my new novel, Sparkle Days. My main character, Abby Jenkins, owns a champagne and sparkling wine store in Nags Head, which is the largest and most commercial town on the Outer Banks. Nags Head is located on the southern tip of the most northern island of the Banks, Bodie Island. The original name of Bodie Island was Body Island due to the bodies washing ashore there from shipwrecks on the surrounding shoals. The Graveyard of the Atlantic became the resulting moniker of that area of the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the nasty connotations of the name, it was changed.

As mentioned last week, Route 158 directs mainland traffic onto Bodie Island at Kitty Hawk. Route 158 runs south to Nags Head and returns to the mainland via Raleigh Island. N.C. Route 12 traverses the islands to the north and south hugging the ocean.

Currituck and Albemarle Sounds border Bodie Island’s western edge and the Atlantic Ocean borders the east. Although Bodie Island extends north to Virginia Beach, there is no road connecting the most northern town of Corolla (pronounced Cor-ralla) to Virginia Beach. There are houses north of Corolla, but they are accessible only by four wheel drive. At Currituck National Wildlife Refuge, barriers stop four wheel drive access.

Corolla is home to the recently restored Currituck Lighthouse, which is open for touring.  Brick in composition, it was first opened in 1875. Try the Corolla Pizza & Deli for lunch after walking up the lighthouse’s spiral stairs. The area of Whalehead is south of Corolla. The Whalehead Club on the Sound always reminds me of a home in which Jay Gatsby may have met Daisy Buchanan not only because it was built the same year that The Great Gatsby was published, 1922, but the architecture depicts Fitzgerald’s descriptions.

South of Whalehead, Route 12 passes through Sanderling, named for the birds that inhabit the area, and continues to Duck, a preppy area with quaint shops. The Duck Deli To Go can provide sandwiches for lunching on the beach. Southern Shores, to the south of Duck, is the most southern of the “northern” beaches on Bodie Island.

If you arrive on Bodie Island by way of the Wright Brothers Memorial Bridge and continue on Route 158 to the south, the progression of towns, which are indistinguishable from one another except by landmark and location, are Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head. These three towns are the most typical of beach towns with commerce located around Route 158 and residences near the beach located on parallel Route 12. The commercial area provides shops, adventure and water parks for youngsters, and restaurants.

 Tour The Wright Brothers National Memorial where you can muse through the museum and then walk up to the monument on top of the hill where the first flight began. Try Mako Mike’s for dinner in Kill Devil Hills or visit an old Nags Head institution, Kelly’s Restaurant and Tavern, which caters and features live entertainment. On the ocean side of Nags Head, try Sam & Omies, a favorite of mine, and where I wrote “thank you” notes to my wedding guests twenty-seven years ago. Watch the game at the bar and enjoy the seafood.

All of the areas mentioned in this blog have rental homes in abundance. Here are some rental companies you can try:
Southern Shores Realty
Kitty Dunes Realty

Beach Bum Tip #2
Take all medications and first aid kits with you to the Outer Banks. Although there are a few emergency access sites along Route 12, there is only one hospital, the Outer Banks Hospital in Nags Head, which can be as far as an hour away from Corolla and about two hours away from Ocracoke.

No comments: