Leaving it at the bridge…

It’s that feeling we experience deep within our souls when land turns to water, and nothing but a bridge separates us from the narrow sandbar known as the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  It’s that sigh of relief when we leave our problems on the other side of that bridge, and cruise highway twelve with the windows down.  The salty air makes us yearn for our first Atlantic Ocean bath of the week, and the pure beauty of it all keeps us coming back year after year.

People often ask me what it’s like living on the Outer Banks full time.  Something about fall (in particular) seems to overwhelm my heart with joy.  It’s almost as if the energy from the summer finally settles down, and everything seems to kick back and relax.  The air is crisp, the water is warm, and the ocean starts producing swell.  As a native Outer Banks surfer, everything revolves around the ocean.  My mood is directly affected by the tide, my blood runs red with salt water, and my toes get along very well with the course Outer Banks sand.  “What’s it like living on the Outer Banks full time?” – Breaking the cardinal rule of communication, I answer a question with a question; “have you ever been here in the fall?”

Sometimes I wonder if we truly enjoy everything the Outer Banks has to offer.  We seem so caught up in the hustle that we forget to stop and look around at the raw natural beauty of it all.  Just the other day I was in Rodanthe, and I witnessed an amazing moment take place between a boy and his father.  I was looking at the ocean (as I do frequently every day) and I heard this young boy (about 8 years old) ask his father if he could go swimming.  His father replied “no, we have to go back to the house and get cleaned up for dinner”.  The boy looked upset and said “but Dad, look how nice this is, we’ve been here for 2 days already, and we’ve spent most of our time inside the house getting ready to get in the car and then go inside again.  Can I just swim for a few minutes?” – His father looked at him with a smile, took off his shirt, wrapped his sunglasses and cell phone in it and ran towards the water yelling “last one in is a rotten egg!”

For me, that moment symbolized everything the Outer Banks stands for.  It was obvious that the father hadn’t been able to let loose all year.  But all it took was a catalyst (his son) to break the strong grasp that life tends to have on us all, and I could tell that the rest of their vacation was going to be different.  The Outer Banks truly is a magical place, and I feel blessed every day to wake up and drive south to Hatteras Island.  I may not be able to directly share that feeling with everyone, but I can do my best to show people who can’t be there.  Social media has opened up a new realm of exposure.  It is my privilege to share my home with all of you.  At this point in my life, there is nothing I’d rather be doing.

When you come to the Outer Banks, try to erase all of the noise, the buildings, the cars, the concrete, and focus on the natural beauty of it all.  Our local businesses are great perks, but the real star is the Outer Banks itself.

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Posted on July 6, 2010, in Stories and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. What a beautiful article. Thanks for sharing, I am a 40 yr. old mom and reading this gave me butterflys in my stomach, I love the ocean beyond what words can describe. My family and I are trying to plan out escape to get to either North or South Carolina as long as we are within minutes to the ocean it doesn’t matter. We are coming the 1st of August to see the Outer Banks and I think I am more excited than the kids.

    • Ms. Wilson,

      My family and I have been coming here for the last 10 years. I wouldn’t have it any other way. My wife and I think about OBX all year long and the memories my 2 children have will last a lifetime. I think once you spend a week here, you won’t want to go anywhere else.

  2. Sarah Richardson

    Thanks for summing it all up. Our family USED to come in September every year (until the kids go too big to skip school for a week-) and that is my favorite time. no- any time i can get on the island is my favorite time. and i agree. drive over the bridge, and empty your brain. you won’t need it for a while. lucky you. and keep writing. :o)

  3. Tina Evans Serra

    Excellent job Kurt!!! Looking forward to hearing more from you!
    Tina

  4. A truly magical place

  5. Flossie Jack

    Awesome article Kurt! Keep them coming! It really makes me feel like I am there again! I love that feeling going across that bridge and I also love coming in the fall, of course any time that I can get there! On the opposite spectrum is the sadness of crossing that bridge when leaving the Outer Banks. In the past 50 years, I cannot help but get misty-eyed when leaving! I used to out and out cry as a child after spending 2 weeks there and my grandmother would say to me “Don’t cry, we will come back next year.” I replied, “But a year is too long to wait.”

  6. I could not agree more. Those were the feelings we experienced when we were there last year. It was almost like we were in another country, as we had never been there before and were quite surprised at the pace of the Outer Banks. It seems everything slows down and you just get to feel renewed. I now know why people says they are suffering from withdrawal after leaving there. I can’t wait to return, hopefully late Sept. It really doesn’t matter though, anytime is a good time to go to the Outer Banks.

  7. Love this! You express the feelings of being there so well! I’ve been visiting since I was a kid…I’m 29 now and still get just as excited every summer for my time there. My husband and I keep talking about moving there and “living at vacation” haha….who knows, we just might!

  8. Eileen H Ritter

    An amazing article. Thank you so much for putting into words and onto paper everything that has been in my heart for years. Life becomes so special when we are in Salvo. Started going when our best friends’ daughters were just little…now they have little ones of their own and we are teaching them to love the area…and they do ♥

  9. What a fantastic article. The only thing I would change is the part about “leaving it at the bridge”. To me, the Outer Banks is so much more powerful than that. I live 7 hours to the north. Just the mere thought of a vacation on Hatteras Island and I begin shedding my thoughts and problems as I travel south on I-95. By the time I reach the bridge, I am a new man, ready for a week of imagining myself as a native islander.

  10. Kurt-you nailed it bud. That’s what its all about!

  11. Hey Kurt, I check out your beach report almost daily on facebook and love reading your blogs. I have to admit I have a bit of a crush on you as I feel sure alot of the ladies that watch do, anyway it’s all innocent. Noticed that you lived in Tortula, BVI at one point and wonder if you could possibly be acqainted with Virgin Island Ecotours in St thomas? A friend of mine, Sybille Sorrentino runs the adventure business and we have been corresponding lately and I am very interested in visiting USVI as well as BVI, anyway would love to meet you when we stay in Avon in August 2011. We are staying with outer beaches realty. Keep up the good work and Thanks for the HI daily fix! Mindi Carroll

  12. Amazing Kurt! I love it! Really sums up the OBX. My first visit was in 1978 and, as I stood atop Jockey’s Ridge overlooking the sound and the sea, I realized the unique beauty of the place. It is so rich with history and there really is something for everyone. I became enamored with it then and my passion for the place has only grown with time. I truly envy you. I have always wished I could live there. Maybe one day. In the meantime, I continue to cherish every little moment you share with us here in cyberspace…whether it be through pictures, videos, or your beautiful words! Thanks, once again, for sharing your passion with us.

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