See You at the Wedding Expo!

If you’ve always dreamed of saying “I do” in front of a gorgeous soundside sunset, or you want to exchange your vows with the crashing waves of an endless ocean behind you, the Outer Banks is the place to do it, and a Twiddy and Company event home will provide you these possibilities and much much more! As one of the top beach wedding destinations in the country, the OBX prepares for wedding season every year by offering brides-to-be a one-stop-shop of wedding resources, all wrapped up into one beautiful weekend...THIS weekend. The Outer Banks Wedding Association presents its 19th annual Wedding Weekend and Expo this Saturday and Sunday, January 14th and 15th.

By pooling together the talented local wedding professionals who pull off hundreds of picture-perfect nuptials every year, the Outer Banks Wedding Weekend and Expo provides brides and their entourages with all of the ideas, planning assistance, and preparation tools needed for the Outer Banks wedding of your dreams. As always, Twiddy and Company is happy to be a part of such a wonderful event and is excited to have a booth at the expo and also to have a stop along the tour this upcoming Saturday evening.

Everyone knows that choosing the right baker, makeup artist, and florist, are all incredibly important parts to planning your perfect Outer Banks wedding, but first things first, determining the venue is where you should begin. One of the most alluring things about the Outer Banks is that the natural backdrop of the area itself outshines many other destination wedding locales, so couples from all over the country and the world choose our barrier islands every year as the place to tie the knot.

Twiddy and Company event homes are the ideal venues to incorporate the scenic, seaside beauty of the Outer Banks into your wedding ceremony, reception, parties, or all of the above. Fusing the natural outdoor setting with all of the comfort, amenities and conveniences you will come to discover are actually integral aspects to a flawless wedding day, Twiddy and Company takes great pride and responsibility in making your wedding an event you and your guests will always cherish. Many of Twiddy’s event homes are built, designed and decorated with the idea in mind that they will one day function as the setting for the day you will never forget, and that is apparent in everything from the architecture down to those small details you never think about until you actually need them.

Featured this year at the Twiddy and Company expo booth will be The Sound to Sea Beach Club, The Chesapeake, Atlantis, Caribbean Dream, and Caribbean Paradise. These homes, spanning from the 4x4 beaches just north of Corolla all the way down to Kill Devil Hills, exemplify the selection of pristine elegance, coastal comfort, and ultimate accommodations you would expect in an event home for your Outer Banks wedding.

When asked to give advice to upcoming Outer Banks brides, many previous OBX brides have all said the same thing...attend and get as much as you can out of the Outer Banks Wedding Weekend and Expo. So Twiddy and Company is excited to see you out this weekend at our booth at the North expo site, booth #136, and on Saturday, from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m at the gorgeous event home, Atlantis, in Kill Devil Hills. We look forward to helping you in any way that we can to make your Outer Banks wedding dreams come true!

The Outer Banks Wedding Weekend and Expo will be held at the First Flight Middle and High School in Kill Devil Hills on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. enjoy the wedding tour.

Things to do on the Outer Banks in the Winter

From December to March, the Outer Banks slows down for the winter, but to some, it is the best time of the year to visit. If you’re thinking about an inexpensive, peaceful, relaxing getaway between the bustling holidays and the emergence of spring, consider an Outer Banks vacation. Whether you’re looking for a road trip with your friends, a romantic weekend getaway, or a week-long break, here are a few of our favorite things to do on the Outer Banks in the off season to help you find all of the goodness you’re looking for in a winter respite.

Lighthouse Hopping

While the lighthouses of the Outer Banks are closed for climbing during the shoulder seasons, vacationers still have the rare opportunity to visit and explore the grounds of 6 lighthouses within a span of a day! Start with the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla and head south.

During your drive, have someone read about the alluring history of the next, upcoming lighthouse, and then jump out to enjoy Bodie Island Light Station in Nags Head, Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse in Manteo, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse on Hatteras Island, and then catch the ferry to finish up at the Ocracoke Lighthouse on Ocracoke Island.

Bundle up and don’t forget your camera, because these beacons of light are each unique and set among some of the most gorgeous backdrops you will ever see. Take your family Christmas photo posed in front of your favorite Outer Banks lighthouse or catch a photo of the sun setting behind one for a spectacular keepsake.

Fishing

Many fishing enthusiasts consider winter to be the best time of the year to cast a line on the Outer Banks. Dubbed the “Billfish Capital of the World,” the Outer Banks boasts incredible fishing opportunities for everyone from novices to professionals.

Surf fishing, pier fishing, sound, ocean and charter fishing...you name it, the Outer Banks offers it in the wintertime. So if you’re looking for the relaxation and peace coupled with the excitement and satisfaction of snagging that big catch, head to the Outer Banks in the winter and enjoy all of the fishing your heart desires.

Four-Wheel Driving on the Beach

 

One of the most treasured activities on the Outer Banks is 4-wheel driving on the beach. Permitted year round, driving on the beaches of Corolla and Carova grants unique access that not many other beach destinations on the East Coast provide. Enjoy miles and miles of seaside beach driving, scenic sunrises, ocean views, and to the delight of many visitors: the chance at a glimpse of the famous wild horses of the Outer Banks. Driving on the beach is the perfect Outer Banks wintertime activity, as you can stay warm and toasty in your vehicle on those chilly days, while exploring the wild beauty the OBX has to offer.

Oyster Season!

For all of you oyster lovers out there, winter is the best season of the year to enjoy fresh local oysters. Whether you like them raw, steamed, fried, or in a stew, visitors and locals alike enjoy a bounty of fresh oysters all winter long in restaurants up and down the Outer Banks. Stop by and enjoy them in one of the many local eateries, or take them out by the bushel and have your own personal oyster roast at your Twiddy and Company vacation rental.

Beachcombing

The Outer Banks is an exceptional place for shelling enthusiasts to hit the jackpot, as the unique geography of the area features shorelines facing both the north and the south, attracting myriad shell types. Also, the intersection of the Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current off the coastline, which contributes to exciting fishing and watersports opportunities, is also a factor in the different kinds of shells that wash up in abundance on the shores of the OBX. Consequently, the best time for combing the beaches of the Outer Banks for shells is during the off season, when there are naturally less people on the beaches to discover your treasure before you do.

Renowned Restaurants

It’s no secret that the Outer Banks is chocked full of world class restaurants, intertwined with hidden local gems and everything your palette could desire in between, but one secret many people might not know is that winter is an excellent time of year to enjoy the culinary delights of the OBX.

Although many Outer Banks restaurants take the winter off, there is still an excellent array that remains open, and the best part is, you don’t have to call ahead for reservations or wait an hour for a table. Walk right in, sit among the locals, and enjoy the culinary delights of the Outer Banks in the winter, hassle-free!

Local Music Scene

During the wintertime, many local hot spots and restaurants are packed with patrons enjoying the local talent, as there is an affluence of skilled musicians who hail from the Outer Banks. While summertime is a busy time for these musicians, a winter vacation to the OBX allows visitors the chance to enjoy the local musician scene in its natural habitat, and to get a taste of what it is like to be a local on the OBX.  

Birding

The slender chain of the Outer Banks provides the perfect habitat for hundreds of native seabirds year round, but is also a temporary home to numerous migrating flocks that make a pitstop on the Outer Banks every year, as well. The area is widely renowned as one of the best places on the East Coast for bird watching and even boasts two different bird watching festivals.

Take a walk along the shore, the boardwalk in Duck, or visit one (or all) of the five sites on the Outer Banks that are a part of the North Carolina Birding Trail, locations that are considered to be among some of the most significant bird watching areas in the state. These include:

  1. Jockey’s Ridge State Park
  2. The Elizabethan Gardens
  3. Roanoke Island Marsh Game Land
  4. Bodie Island Lighthouse Viewing Platform
  5. Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

During the winter, visitors can enjoy an exclusive peek at American Oystercatchers, Snow Geese, Piping Plovers, Loons, Horned Grebes, American Avocets, Canadian Geese, Diving Ducks, Pelicans, Terns, Tundra Swans, Mallards, American Black Ducks, Northern Pintails, American Wigeons, Scoters, Northern Gannet, and even the rare White Pelicans, among many others. The unique ecosystem of the Outer Banks includes beaches, maritime forests and marshland, which provide the perfect habitat for a plethora of birds, therefore offering birding enthusiasts an exquisite chance to observe and enjoy these beautiful creatures during a wintertime vacation on the OBX.

The winter is also the perfect time to get a Twiddy and Company vacation rental at an excellent price, so head to the Outer Banks for a winter getaway, enjoy one of our welcoming homes at a good price, and check out one or all of these enriching Outer Banks activities for an off-season vacation you won’t soon forget!

-Abby Stewart

December Happenings on the OBX

Grab a special someone and head to the beach this month - we’ve got a ton of fun holiday events that you won’t want to miss!

 

The Poulos House | Nightly through December

There is no place on the OBX with more holiday cheer than the Poulos House.  Since 1984, the Poulos family has poured their heart and soul into creating one of the most popular holiday homes on the east coast. After being voted ‘the most decorated home in America’ and a few visits from Al Roker and HGTV, the family knew they could never turn back - even with the hefty electric bill.  Just head to Ocean Acres Drive in KDH and follow the cars. You can’t miss it!  Admission is free but donations are highly encouraged.

 

Third Annual Holiday Chefs Challenge | Thursday, December 1st

12 local area chefs participate in a “chopped” style food competition with proceeds going directly to Dare County’s food pantry.  Chefs have 60 minutes to make a dish that you then get to sample and vote on. The $50 ticket includes two drink, tastings and entertainment. This event is held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Kitty Hawk.

 

Town of Manteo Tree Lighting & Boat Parade | Friday, December 2nd

Head down to downtown Manteo for the Third Annual Town of Manteo Holiday Boat Parade.  The boat parade will start around 5:30 leaving Manteo high school and make its way downtown to the tree. This is always a good time, you don't want to missit. Admission is free. 

 

The 6th Annual Duck Yuletide Celebration | Saturday, December 3rd

This Saturday, Duck’s town green will transform into a holiday extravaganza featuring Just Playin’ Dixieland performing your holiday favorites, local choir carolers, and a grand entrance from Santa on the Duck Fire truck. All culminating in the lighting of the Town “Crab Pot” Tree. Participants will enjoy coffee and light treats provided by Treehouse Coffee and a hot chocolate bar provided by Ships Watch. Admission is free.

Before the Yuletide Celebration, enjoy shopping, dining and strolling through Duck during The Great Yuletide Elf Hunt organized by Duck Merchants from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pick up your “Yuletide Passport” at participating Duck Merchant locations to begin your elf hunt. Then, head to the Duck Town Green with your stamped Passport to receive a free gift for kids, be entered into a drawing for baskets full of Duck Merchant goodies, and to see Santa! Special sales and promotions will be available at each participating merchant. Learn more at www.doducknc.com

 

Christmas In Corolla | Beginning Friday, December 2

Historic Corolla Park and the Currituck Beach Lighthouse are lit up for the holidays but the real treat in Corolla is the Candlelight tour at Whalehead.  This exclusive tour features live performances on The Whalehead Club’s original Steinway piano, caroling, refreshments, and a first-look preview of the new Starkey Room exhibit and recent acquisitions. Make sure to go to their big Illumination event on December 9th - the whole town will be there!

Check their website for dates as tours are very limited and advance registration is required. For more information and to register call: 252-453-9040.

 

113th Annual Celebration of the Wright Brothers’ First Flight | Saturday, December 17th

Pay tribute to the Wright Brothers’ first flight in this annual ceremony featuring an aviation flyover. The event starts at 8:30AM and park fees will be waived.

 

Winterlights at Elizabethan Gardens | Call ahead for schedule

From now until the middle of January the most beautiful garden on the OBX will host a glowing winter wonderland full of festive lights and holiday decor. Even though it’s cold outside don’t worry, you can stay warm in their open-air fire at the great lawn. Make sure to check their calendar for more events going on as well.  

Admission: Adults $11, Youth (ages 6-17) $9, Child (5 and under) $6. Canines are allowed entry for $3. The Elizabethan Gardens are located in Manteo, NC.

Vacation Home Rental Hospitality, with Ross Twiddy

Vacation Home Rental Hospitality, with Ross Twiddy

Excerpt From Hospitality Academy.net

 

“When most of us think of hospitality we think of hotels and restaurants. But an area that has become increasingly popular is the vacation home rental market. In all of these industries – hotels, restaurants, and vacation housing rentals – the guest’s happiness is what ultimately determines success.”

 

“On this episode of Hospitality Academy, I brought in an expert on vacation housing rentals, Mr. Ross Twiddy. Ross is the president of Twiddy & Company, a family-owned and operated vacation rental business located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.”

“Today we talk about how the hospitality of vacation home rentals compares to the hospitality of hotels, why we are all in the experience business, how he handles last-minute changes and much more!”

Essential Learning Points From This Episode:

  • How do you know what’s most important to the guests?
  • What does he do to hire and retain great people?
  • How are they different than AirBnB, VRBO and other vacation rental home companies?
  • Why removing your “bad seeds” quickly is fundamental to your success.
  • What does the “family” in “family-owned and operated” mean to him in terms of his staff?
  • And so much more!

 

Click here for the full podcast interview on http://www.hospitalityacademy.net/025/

 

 

Ghost Stories of the Outer Banks

Entrenched between a graveyard of sunken ships and the scene of one of the country’s longest-running unsolved mysteries, the Outer Banks is more than just a sunny beach vacation spot - it is a supernatural tapestry, woven with the fabric of a tumultuous history, a chilling past, local legend and eerie folklore, bringing ghost stories to life from Corolla to Roanoke Island and everywhere in between. This is a collection of some of those tales.

The Ghost Fleet of the Graveyard of the Atlantic

Forever entombed on the bottom of the ocean, just off the coast of the Outer Banks, lies a ghost fleet of vessels, where thousands of ships have met their demise. The alarming loss of life was enough to prompt the government to establish life saving stations along the Outer Banks in the late 1800’s. Ghosts of the many sailors who went down with their ships are said to haunt the beaches along the coastline, frightening sounds of drowning screams have been reported, and some people claim to have seen “ghost ships” sailing atop the ocean at night.

Murder at Station Six

One of the lifesaving stations that was established in response to the massive maritime disasters in the late 1800’s was Station Six - the Kitty Hawk Life Saving Station - which is now a part of The Black Pelican restaurant. While the majority of the building has been rebuilt, part of the original structure remains, as does the spirit of a victim that is said to have never left.

Surfman T.L. Daniels was shot dead in that very building by Station Keeper James Hobbs 132 years ago. Today, restaurant workers and patrons alike have encountered bone-chilling experiences, including children seeing blood running down the walls, a ghost in the bathroom, an apparition in the corner of the dining room, and noises of footsteps and closing doors heard often in an empty restaurant. When entering the building, visitors will pass over top of the exact spot where Daniels was said to have been shot to death. Many workers refuse to go upstairs at night, as it is believed that the ghost of T.L. Daniels has never left the building.   

The Haunting at Whalehead

One of the most haunted places on the Outer Banks is the Whalehead Club in historic Corolla. Built in the early 1900’s by Edward Collings Knight, for his wife, Marie-Louise, the mansion has, over the years, transformed from a personal residence to an abandoned home, and then into a museum, curated to celebrate the era and history of the time in which the home was built, allowing visitors to tour the home.

In all of its states, eerie sounds and sightings have occurred, causing paranormal activity experts to recently visit the house -  only to confirm the suspicions of the many people who have been scared there.

Reports of clanging pots and pans, doors banging shut, and voices coming from empty rooms have been heard. In the late 1960’s when a government employee was allowed to stay in the home with his family while working in the area, the man reportedly awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of a creaking door and a bumping in the room he was staying in with his wife - Mrs. Knight’s old room. He went to the bathroom, planning on shutting the opened door on his way back to bed. When he came out, he stepped around a woman who was crouched down in the doorway, assuming it was his wife already attending to the opened door, but when he returned to bed he found her fast asleep.

During a more recent tour of the renovated home, a woman asked the tour guide about two men she has seen talking in the corner of the library, only to find that no one else had seen them. These are only a couple of the many haunted occurrences that have happened at the Whalehead Club in Historic Corolla.

The Curse of the North Room

Photo courtesy of Lighthouse Friends

The quaint, Victorian home found on the grounds of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse was first built in 1836. The North Room of this home is said to be haunted, after different families who lived there while tending to the lighthouse all experienced tragic events with only one connection...the North Room.

Believed to have been the first victim of the haunting of the North Room was young Sadie Johnson, daughter of the first lighthouse keeper whose body was found washed ashore after she drowned playing in the ocean. The North Room was her bedroom.

A family friend of one of the keepers came to stay at the house for a brief period of time, and while staying in the North Room, became infected with an unknown illness and died shortly after.  

Finally, the last keeper and his family to live in the house experienced yet another tragedy. The keeper’s wife contracted tuberculosis and was quarantined to the North Room...where she died. It is reported that workers later renovating the home and those who have recently worked at the lighthouse refuse to go into the North Room to this day.

Headless Blackbeard

One of history’s most notorious pirates, Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard, spent much of his time on the Outer Banks. Known to be an exceptionally brutal and torturous pirate, Blackbeard, was finally captured and beheaded in what is now known as Teach’s Hole, located in a cove just off of Ocracoke Island.

Legend has it that when Blackbeard was decapitated by Lieutenant Robert Maynard, his bloody head, which was said to have continued screaming after it was cut off, was hung from Maynard’s ship’s bowsprit and his headless body was thrown overboard, and is said to have swum around the ship three times before succumbing to the depths of the ocean below.

Since that day, sightings of a headless body swimming around the cove have been reported, and many people also claim to have seen a headless figure walking the shores of the beach at night, holding a lantern. It is said to be Blackbeard, to this day searching for his own head.   

Knocking at the Lighthouse

The old gatekeeper’s cottage, located beside the Bodie Island Lighthouse in South Nags Head, is said to be haunted. Every day, at 4 p.m., visitors and workers alike claim that there is an unexplainable knocking that comes from behind the brick wall above the fireplace.

The Lost Colony and the Legend of the White Doe

Few things are as mysterious as the unexplained disappearance of more than 100 people who settled on Roanoke Island in 1587 - a group of people who would come to be known as the Lost Colony. With only a single word, “Croatan,” carved into a fort post left behind as a clue to what might have happened to the ill-fated colony, the mystery of their demise has haunted historians for centuries, and some say the ghosts of those who disappeared still linger around the sleepy island to this day.

The most notable of the missing colonists was Virginia Dare, the first born child to English parents in the New World. Whatever became of the baby girl continues to baffle historians and the general public alike, even 400 years later. As local lore has it, the legend of the white doe tells of a mysterious, pure white creature that is said to haunt the island as it roams, and is believed by many to be the spirit of Virginia Dare herself. Some even say her essence will speak to those who are brave enough to approach the mystical animal if seen. So the next time you’re on vacation on the Outer Banks, don’t forget about who might be exploring Roanoke Island alongside of you, and keep an eye out for the white doe.   

 

Embark on a local-led ghost tour during your next Outer Banks vacation, or explore for yourself the mysterious possibilities that could be lurking around every corner of the sandbar.

Fall Events on the Outer Banks

Fall is officially under way here on the Outer Banks and everyone is ready to kick back and unwind with good company. Here's our top choices for events and entertainment:

Saturday 10/29

  • Oink and Oyster 12:00PM-4:00PM at Longboard's Restaurant. All you can eat fresh oysters, homemade BBQ, crabs, and all the fixin's. Beer, sweet tea, and water also included. 
  • Oystertoberfest 12:00PM-3:00PM at the Southern Shores Crossing Shopping Center. Enjoy AYCE steamed oysters and prepared dishes from top local restaurants. Sample 8 different North Carolina craft beers while you eat!
Monday 10/31
  • Creepy in Corolla 6:00PM-8:00PM at Historic Corolla. This kid-friendly haunted tour starts at the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and runs over to the Whalehead club with fun thrills and "Trunk or treating" in between. 

Sunday 11/6

  • 7th Annual OBX Shrimp Cookoff 12:00PM-3:00PM at Ocean Boulevard Bistro & Martini Bar. Outer Banks chefs prepare local shrimp in their favorite styles in a fun competition for best dish. 

Friday 11/11

Sunday 11/13

  • Outer Banks Marathon 7:00AM in Kitty Hawk. Run a half or full marathon through the most beautiful trails on the OBX. Make sure to register ahead of time or you'll miss out. 

Friday 11/25

  • Grand Illumination of the Winter Lights 6:00PM-9:00PM at The Elizabethan Gardens. Join the opening celebration of Winterlights as they light up the gardens for a spectacular 22-night holiday celebration. Santa will be there too!

Saturday 11/26

  • The Big Curri-Shuck 12:00PM-5:00PM at Sanctuary Vineyards. Put down the Thanksgiving leftovers and try out this all-you-can-eat oyster roast and get together at the local winery.

 

Need a place to stay while you visit? Visit www.twiddy.com and book your vacation rental today.