Finding the Love in Manteo, North Carolina!

Manteo Travel Blog

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Sunset Before Landing

My friend Sarah and her fiancé are both from the South, but both now live in NYC.  Because they know so many people who live in different states up and down the east coast, they decided that Manteo, North Carolina would probably be the most central for everyone.

There was no way that I would miss Sarah’s wedding, that and I had never been to North Carolina before.  Many people I have spoken to love the Outer Banks.  I can’t tell you how any times I have heard this.  I am from the West Coast, I had never heard of the Outer Banks before.  Have you heard of Puyallup Fair?  If you aren’t from the West Coast you haven’t, it is all about location, baby! 

My friend, Ashley would be joining me for the wedding as she is friends with Sarah, also.

Checking Out The Water
  Ashley also enjoys crazy road tripsand had no problem with our side jaunt in Richmond, Virginia.  Yes, it would seem like it would make more sense to go through Norfolk to get to Manteo, but the price tag was over a $100.00 more per person to go that route.  Even if we went through Norfolk, we would still have to get a rental car, so why not enjoy the company of Richmond, Virginia on our outing?  Done and done!

The day of our flight we left around 1:00PM for a 2:30PM flight, due to an emergency landing at LGA, all flights were delayed for almost two hours.  No big deal usually, but we still had a four hour drive ahead of us once we landed.  The good thing about Virginia is that it is only about a 45-60 minute flight.

The Pier
  The bad thing about the plane to Virginia is that the plane is very tiny!  I was having flashbacks to the flight from Arkansas as it was about the same size.  I understand that maybe the places I had been flying to lately are not US hotspots, but still!  By the time we got into the air it was about 5:45PM, we ended up waiting almost 3 hours to get on the flight.  Luckily, we were treated to the most beautiful sunset right before we landed in Richmond. 


The Richmond airport is pretty small, which made finding our rental car pretty easy.  We were a little disappointed that we would be seeing most of Virginia and North Carolina in the dark, but we would see both these states in all their glory on Saturday and Sunday.

Poisonous?
  So, unfortunately most of the drive was uneventful.  Well, except for the guy who flipped us off because we tailed him a little as he was going 10 under in a 65 in the fast lane.  At first I wasn’t sure, but it was indeed a loud and proud one finger salute.  One thing I have learned, the Southerners for the most part are not fast drivers. 

Also, on the way to North Carolina, I was a little perturbed to find that there were a lot of scary bridges on the way.  Well, scary to me.  I am aware that Manteo was on the water, but I refused to believe this until faced with it as denial is always better for the short term.  Luckily, after we got off of the bridge, we began to see the charm of North Carolina once we hit the Kitty Hawk area.  First off, any restaurant that claims “I Got Crabs at Dirty Dicks,” is alright by me.

More Scenes From the Gardens
  As soon as Ashley saw the sign, it became her North Carolina obsession and she knew before she left, she would own her own T-Shirt.  I would more than gladly help her as I believe everyone should have the chance to achieve their dreams.

Another interesting thing to note was that everything was closed as it was almost 11PM that is except for the drive thru liquor store.  I never would have believed it unless I had seen it with my own eyes, but yes, they exist.  It is almost like a car wash, actually.  You go through a tunnel and to the right you will see the many options available for your liquor needs.  To the left is a friendly clerk to help you achieve those booze filled dreams.  This is a dream for boozehounds everywhere as you will never have to leave your car again.  Somehow, I don’t see this catching on in NYC anytime soon…

When we arrived at our hotel, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the Roanoke Inn, which we would be staying at, would be right on the water.

The Lighthouse at Night
  What was even better was that the room we would be staying in would have a waterfront view!  After, putting our things in our room, we decided that we wanted to walk along the water to the lighthouse at the end of the pier.  The night was beautiful for October, though the humidity was more than I expected.  NYC gets humid, but the humidity in North Carolina is a lot thicker if that makes sense.  My hair was freaking out!

Still, the night was beautiful with the lights around the pier dancing on the clear, smooth surface of the water.  It was absolutely perfect.  That is until we ran into a sign warning us about the water quality as human and animal waste may be an issue.  Hmm, that kind of killed the mood a bit, so we decided to head back to the hotel as we would have a full day before us tomorrow at the wedding.

The Lighthouse at Day

But before getting into our hotel room, I was attacked by a huge roach looking thing.  Okay, maybe I wasn’t attacked, but it sure felt like it as that thing was vile.  I had left NYC, why would there be roaches?  Ashley informed me it was a Palmetto bug, which is in the roach family.  So technically it wasn’t a roach in the sense I was used to.  Uh, huh…  If it is in the family, it is a roach!  Also, it turns out that these things can fly!  Holy crap!  We have water bugs in NYC, but I have never seen these things fly and if I did, I would leave the apartment until it die either by someone else’s hands or natural causes.

The next morning we got up early, even though we hadn’t gotten to bed until 1AM.

Pier in the Middle of Nowhere
  For some reason, North Carolina was throwing off our groove.  We went downstairs to get breakfast, but it was a pretty simple spread.  Nothing wrong with that, but we were craving more than cereal.  Still it would tide us over until later that afternoon.

Manteo is a beautiful town and a great location for weddings.  In fact, if I was looking for a romantic getaway this would be the place.  If you are looking for a wild and crazy time, Manteo is not the place for your.  In fact, most of the Outer Banks is not for you.  It really caterers to couples who want to get away and have alone time. 

There are definitely things to do her as there are there are a lot of little shops and they are all reasonably priced.

Ashley and her Bike
  You can get anything from kites, to candy, clothing and tourist items.  There are outlet stores near Kitty Hawk if you are into larger shopping sprees, as well.  

After walking around a bit, we decided that we wanted to head out a little farther and hopped onto the bikes that the hotel provided.  Ashley’s was probably the newest as it was in the best condition.  Mine was a little bit more weathered.  When I started riding it quickly, it started to make a noise like I had put a playing card in the spokes.  I felt 12 again!  I hadn’t really been on a bike for a while, but it comes back to you quickly.  It didn’t take long for me to start riding like a maniac and trying to pop wheelies in the street while screaming over my shoulder at Ashley.  So much for the romantic weekend folks!

If you go to Manteo, you have to go on a bike ride, this was one of the best moments on the trip, I kid you not!  We decided to cross a gravel road to get to a pier that looked inviting.

Choppy Water at the Pier
  A little note, bikes on gravel is a very bad idea, though we both survived.  Also, anther obstacle was that it was very windy on this particular Saturday.  Not sort of windy, but CRAZY windy!  Ashley had to coax me a bit to get out onto the boat dock, but finally I decided to face my fears. 

When I came to the end of the pier the wind almost knocked my skinny butt into the deep choppy water.  That is when I decided it was time to sit down and take a breather.  This is also the time we both did stupid replicas of the Next Top Model photos.  Yes, I watch this show because I think Tyra is absolutely self absorbed and I can’t get enough.  I don’t like reality TV, but this is just so bad it’s good!  I am happy to announce we both smiled with our eyes!!!

Ashley for some strange reason wanted me to do a jump photo in the middle of the pier as she knows I am a fan of this genre of photography.

Bike Riding in Manteo!
  The problem is, I really was afraid the wind would knock me into the water.  For some reason, Ashley can talk me into stupid stuff.  She informed me that if I did fall into the water she would throw me one of the orange life preservers.  She became obsessed with these things.  In fact, after we took the photo (I didn’t get blown into the water), she decided to try one on.  One thing you may want to know, when in Manteo.  When you lift one these orange circle life preservers from the pier it will set off a siren to alert someone.  At this point, we knew it was time to leave and grab lunch as being arrested would put a damper on the whole wedding thing.

The best part of the Inn we were staying at was that on the second floor next to our room was an outside area where there were a bunch of rocking chairs.  We decided to go to Poor Richards to grab lunch as it was right by us.

Diggin' the North Carolina Vibe!
  Let me say apparently this is the place to be.  The line was out the door and most of the people appeared to be locals. The food is well proportioned and the cheap.  It is also very good!  What even made it better was our view from the rocking chair deck. 

After lunch, we decided to get ready for the wedding as we wanted to get there a little earlier as it was at the Elizabeth Gardens.  The gardens are very beautiful and well worth checking out.  Apparently, this is also the place to get married as there were three wedding going on at the same time.  My only complaint was that most of the women were in heels and we were sinking into the ground as the gardens are very soft soil.  It really wasn’t the gardens fault, but my achilles were aching!  The wedding and reception would be taking place at the gardens also, so at around 8PM and after a few cocktails, I kicked off the heels and went with the ever popular choice of going barefoot.

All Hail, Queen Elizabeth!
  There were many of us, trust me.

As expected the wedding was beautiful and the service was very special.  I won’t get into it as the blog is about Manteo and you don’t know Sarah. Though, I can guarantee you wish you did.  She is fantastic and I adore her!  After the touching ceremony, we headed to the reception where there was plenty of North Carolina BBQ for everyone!  I have never been a huge fan of BBQ, though the rumor is that North Carolina has some of the best.  Part of it is I eat fish and chicken only and people in the South eat anything with good meat on it.  Still, it was a good meal though I mostly ate the fixings.

Because the space was on public property, we had to leave around 11PM which was okay because it appeared as if it was clearing out anyway.

The Bride and Groom
  But the evening had been a great success with lots of food, a live jam session and lots of dancing.  The only down point was that there are mosquitoes everywhere!  I had heard the rumors, but I wasn’t a believer until I woke up the next morning with 10 bites on my body.  I would have had more, but Ashley kept hitting me all evening when she spotted one on me.  Come to think of it, she may just have been using that as an excuse.  Not cool!

On Saturday, we decided it was time to head back to Richmond but not before taking one more walk around Manteo.  We stopped at the Magnolia Café to have a real Southern breakfast as we no longer had to care about wearing cocktail dresses to the wedding.  Yes, the food is greasy and yes there is a lot of it, but we didn’t care.  It was good and cheap!  Being used to NYC prices, both Ashley and I would keep looking at the check at the end of the meal to make sure it was for real.

More of the Gardens

After breakfast, we were a little upset to leave as we would have liked more time, but the town of Duck was calling us.  Well, that and Dirty Dicks.  First off, Dirty Dicks claims it has the best crabs in town.  Now, I don’t know much about crabs as I have limited experience and and the crabs I usually get start with a “K” rather than the “C,” so I will take their word for it.  There were plenty of items to buy though which made Ashley very excited.  She was even more excited to see that most of it was on sale for half price as the tourist season was just about over.  I have to say that the “I Got Crabs from Dirty Dicks” thong was way over priced at $18.00, though.  You can get two fancy thongs at Victoria’s Secret for that price!  So, sadly, she had to walk away.

Dirty Dicks Has Crabs! Or That is the Rumor, At Least...

Our next task was to visit Duck, North Carolina.  Someone told me that the Wright Brothers really flew their plane in Duck rather than in Kitty Hawk.  Now, I have no idea as aviation is not my specialty.  But Kitty Hawk is still claiming it and Duck’s got nothing that I could find.  The whole thing is just a big mystery, that or some crazy person is claiming this because she loves Duck so much.

Still, amidst all the controversy, Duck was still a very lovely town.  It’s similar to Manteo in that it’s a costal town with a lot of small shops and eateries, but it has the one thing that Manteo is missing.

Duck!
  Ducks!  Maybe that is where they got the name!!!  I kid you not, they are all over the place, I even have the photos to prove it.  They are plentiful, noisy, and absolutely delightful.

Duck was all I had dreamed of and more.  It also had a lot of sales going on as tourist season was over and they had to get rid of inventory.  Good for me as everything was half price or more!  The only disappointment was that the ice cream shop was closed the day we went.  This killed my spirit a little as that is what we were looking forward to in Duck.  No worries, down the street from the shops there is a walk up window that serves fried goods and ice cream. 

I order the small cookie dough and was a little dismayed to see it cost almost $3.

Geese
00.  That is NYC prices.  I was even more dismayed to see it was two HUGE scoops!  I had to remind the guy I ordered the small, he told me it was.  Whoa!  They don’t mess around in North Carolina!  I hate to say it as I hate to waste good food, but there is no way I could have finished it.  If I had, I would still be in a sugar coma and I would not be able to bring you this Blog.

After our ice cream, Ashley and I left Duck quite satisfied.  North Carolina had been very kind to us and I kind of wished we had had one more day.  I absolutely loved the Outer Banks and now understand why people speak so highly of it.  I seriously would love to go back next year if possible as it really was that amazing.  I am happy to report that North Carolina far surpassed my expectations as I had a wonderful time.

Strangely Comfortable...
  Until next time North Carolina, thank you!

geokid says:
I'm glad you enjoyed Manteo. I lived on Ocracoke for a while. Manteo was the closest shopping for many things. It is a very nice town.
Posted on: Jan 06, 2009
binky says:
Yeah, it was a blast! I would go back in a heartbeat, but this time, I would have bug spray and save a pint.
Posted on: Oct 21, 2008
surfingcowboy says:
I LOVE that part of the country, I miss North Carolina sometimes. Glad you had fun.
Posted on: Oct 20, 2008
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Sunset Before Landing
Sunset Before Landing
Checking Out The Water
Checking Out The Water
The Pier
The Pier
Poisonous?
Poisonous?
More Scenes From the Gardens
More Scenes From the Gardens
The Lighthouse at Night
The Lighthouse at Night
The Lighthouse at Day
The Lighthouse at Day
Pier in the Middle of Nowhere
Pier in the Middle of Nowhere
Ashley and her Bike
Ashley and her Bike
Choppy Water at the Pier
Choppy Water at the Pier
Bike Riding in Manteo!
Bike Riding in Manteo!
Diggin the North Carolina Vibe!
Diggin' the North Carolina Vibe!
All Hail, Queen Elizabeth!
All Hail, Queen Elizabeth!
The Bride and Groom
The Bride and Groom
More of the Gardens
More of the Gardens
Dirty Dicks Has Crabs!  Or That is…
Dirty Dicks Has Crabs! Or That i…
Duck!
Duck!
Geese
Geese
Strangely Comfortable...
Strangely Comfortable...
View From the Pier
View From the Pier
The Elizabeth Gardens
The Elizabeth Gardens
Hunting Season!
Hunting Season!
A Southern Kitty!
A Southern Kitty!
Just What it Says!
Just What it Says!
Lone, Dude
Lone, Dude
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photo by: Zagnut66