09/26/13

What Are Your Top Five Things To Do On Hatteras Island?

We all know that there are so many wonderful things to do here on Hatteras Island. Our pristine, family-friendly beaches and quaint villages offer a variety of activities for you and your family to enjoy while visiting us.

The Huffington Post recently listed its top “5 Free Things to do on Hatteras Island.” It is no surprise that spending time enjoying the beaches of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore is top on the list. There is nothing quite like a day at the beach for exploring, relaxing, and playing in the surf!

The Huffington Post list also includes: a trip to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum where admission is free, although donations are encouraged; attending programs offered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge; visiting Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island Lighthouses (there is a fee to climb them, but not to walk around the grounds); and taking a free ferry ride from Hatteras to Ocracoke Island for the day.

We would love to hear what you and your family like to do while visiting us! What are your Top 5 Things to do on Hatteras Island? Please share them with us on our Surf or Sound Facebook and Twitter pages, and follow us on Pinterest to see of few of ours!

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04/24/13

Maintain Your Green Thumb on Hatteras Island with Salt Tolerant Plants

Warmer weather has graced us with its presence and everyone is walking around with a little “Spring” in their step. We get busy sprucing up our homes whether it’s clearing the clutter, spring cleaning, or ordering fresh new pillows for our living space, but the outdoors are calling! We’ve been cooped up during the short days of winter and we long to head outside to get a good dose of vitamin d and feel the warmth of the sun on our bare skin.

As we step outside and gaze around our yards, for the first time in many, many months, we’re excited to weed last year’s garden beds! (The glamour of weeding quickly fades as warmer temperatures and an increase in humidity = happy plants (and every other living thing that has been lying dormant throughout the winter). Weeding becomes second nature and can get old fairly quickly, so once the beds are weeded the planning commences. What will we plant this year and where? What plants did well last year and what didn’t? Which plants needed more sunlight? Which plants survived the salt air and wind the best? As we juggle all of this in our heads and jump for one scenario to the other, there are certain factors we must, without a doubt, keep in mind. After all, we live on a sandbar, also known as Hatteras Island

There are a few factors to consider when working alongside Mother Nature in your private sand lot at the beach. First and foremost, respect the salt air. There are plants that are very tolerant of salt spray, which are the tiny droplets of salt water carried through the air from waves crashing on the beach. Secondly, windy conditions can also pose a problem for very delicate plants. It is not uncommon to experience a constant 15 mph SW wind during the summer months on Hatteras Island. Of course that does not include gusts, which can reach 25-40mph at times. Other factors are high temperatures and very little rain. We did experience a good amount of rain last summer (2012) but typically Hatteras Island may experience a few brief thunderstorms here and there throughout the summer. Oh, and don’t forget the sandy soil! Sandy soil allows excessive drainage, which can be an issue for certain varieties of plants. In order to enjoy your time in your yard to the max (without breaking the bank), take note of a few plants that do exceptionally well here at the beach.

Review this list of suggestions for nurturing your green thumb while dwelling on an island…
Highly Salt Tolerant:
Yaupon
Live Oak
Century Plant (Agave Americana)
Oleander
Rosemary
Yucca
Palmetto
Pampas Grass
Lantana

Moderately Salt Tolerant:
Eucalyptus
American Holly
Crepe Myrtle
Sweet Bay
Bottlebrush
English Ivy
Coral Honeysuckle
Virginia Creeper
Yarrow
Asparagus Fern
Mexican Heather

Slightly Salt Tolerant:
Butterfly Bush
Gardenia
Dwarf Nandina
Fountain Grass
Purple Coneflower
Hardy Hibiscus
Canna Lily

Hopefully this compilation will save you time, money, and the frustration of trying to make the traditional plants of the season thrive in the more challenging conditions of the coastal environment. Do a little research on the above list and decide which plants will work best in your space. Also track sun exposure, as some plants love the sun while others tolerate it for only short periods or prefer to stay in the shade (sounds like some beachgoers you may know).

See you at the garden center!


04/22/13

Lyrids Meteor Shower set to peak on Earth Day 2013

Are you up for a night of the best free entertainment you may witness in the late hours of April 22, 2013? Lyrids meteor shower is set to peak on Earth Day (late night, 4/22/13 to early morning, 4/23/13) and will appear to originate in the region of the sky that features the constellation Lyra the Harp. The Lyrids have been observed for at least the past 2600 years, according to written record.

If you’re willing to stay up late, you are in for quite a show! The shower is said to average approximately 10-20 meteors per hour and has been known to produce large bursts of activity of nearly 100 meteors per hour. In 1803, due to the earth’s passage through a thicker part of the dust trail that causes the shower, more than 700 meteors were seen per hour from Richmond, Virginia.

Head on out on the night of the 22nd and get set up. Make sure all outside lights are off (if you have control over that) or move as far away from street lights/city lights as you can (preferably Hatteras Island, the best place ever to view a meteor shower). Get comfortable. Give your eyes time to adjust to the dark and watch for bright meteors in the northeastern part of the sky. Locate the very bright star Vega, from which most meteors will appear to originate. It’s your chance to witness a free light show of bright meteors with highly visible tails!

Enjoy the show!

The sky is clearing...Perfect night for a meteor shower on HI!

The sky is clearing...Perfect night for a meteor shower on HI!


03/15/13

Fan Photo Friday

One of the many reasons to vacation on Hatteras Island

If you’re in the right place (Hatteras Island) at the right time (during nesting season), you might be lucky enough to witness baby sea turtles hatching and making their journey home (to the sea).


Thanks to Vickie Kay Rowe Willard for submitting this photo to our Facebook page!

Sea turtles visit the Outer Banks in early to mid summer to lay eggs. The sea turtle nest cavities in the sand are 18-22 inches deep, on average, and contain between 75-150 ping pong-sized eggs. Those eggs hatch 55-80 days after they are laid. Most adult sea turtles nest every other year or every three years, laying 3-4 cluthes (nests) of eggs during nesting season (May-August).

Fun Fact:
Turtle crawl – The unique pattern left in the sand when a sea turtle crawls to or from the sea. Some people say that the pattern resembles tractor treads.

Things to keep in mind:
Do not crowd the nesting female – Sit quietly away from her – Do not shine any lights on or around her head, as she may abandon her effort to nest – No flash photography – Turn off outside and inside ocean-facing lights as sea turtles will head towards house lights instead of heading to the sea –

Check out N.E.S.T. on the Outer Banks for more information on sea turtles and how you can help while you’re here!


02/22/13

Fan Photo Friday

As his sister patiently waits for him to catch up, this little guy is charging the boardwalk to set foot on the beach for the very first time! Can you imagine what must go through the mind of child upon seeing such a huge expanse of water and an endless sandbox for the first time ever?

Thank you to Rebecca Buckner Carbis for submitting this priceless photo to our Facebook page!


02/21/13

Not just another day at sea…

On February 21, 1854, a 250-ton barkentine, Orline St. John, was dismasted in a strong gale off of Cape Hatteras. As heavy seas battered the large vessel and its crew, many people tried to seek refuge out of harms way. Concerned with their safety, several crew members tied themselves to the rigging in hopes of not being swept overboard. After the storm passed, the crew was left to fend for themselves for about 10 days before they were rescued. Unfortunately, four crew members did not return home.

Barkentine : a sailing ship of three of more masts with the foremast square-rigged and the others fore-and-aft rigged