Friday, January 19, 2007

Enjoy the Outer Banks Year Round with Area Festivals

Thanks to a fairly temperate climate that keeps the Outer Banks pleasant all year long, this strip of the Mid-Atlantic shoreline is a great place to stay no matter the month. Currituck and Outer Banks locals and businesses thrive on the continuous tourism coming into the area, and the festive spirit stretches for months as various annual festivals are planned. All are invited to participate and enjoy in the celebration of the best the North Carolina shores and Outer Banks have to offer.

Bird watchers and birding enthusiasts will want to take note of two particular events. The annual Wings Over Water weekend is designed to educate visitors on the natural preserves in the Outer Banks. Thought the area was just beach...think again! The Carolina coast is home to a number of marshes and wildlife refuges. At Wings Over Water and at the annual Purple Martin Roost Festival people can learn how to preserve this fragile environment while also enjoying the natural beauty of the area. Wings Over Water is held normally in early May, while the Purple Martin festival, celebrating the delightful little birds of the same name, happens in Manteo in August.

Another favorite natural attraction of the Outer Banks are the wild mustangs that roam the shores of Currituck. Unstabled and unmarked, these horses fend for themselves and frolic on the beaches. If you stay in Currituck you may embark on a guided Jeep tour to see these horses in their natural habit, and if you happen to be here in June you can celebrate Wild Horse Days with the family. Proceeds from the festival benefit the horses, preserving the remaining herds for future generations.

June is also roughly the time of the Dare Days Festival, a days long celebration of Dare County heritage. As one of the first counties founded in North Carolina, Dare Days bring to light the colonial history of the area and its importance in the shaping of our nation. Later in August, the story of Virginia Dare, the first English settler born in the New World in reenacted in a special presentation of The Lost Colony, the longest running outdoor drama in the Carolinas.

And, if you have a taste for best of the Outer Banks, summer's end bring the annual Knotts Island Peach Festival. For two days the island is alive with music and fun, and everything peachy! Guests may pick from the orchards or sample baked goods, maybe even a sip of peach wine. Speaking of wine, stay into October and you can enjoy the annual Currituck Food and Wine Festival. Here the local vineyards come together to share the year's harvest and wine lovers can try sweet muscadine wines, fruity dessert wines, and local cuisine.

The Outer Banks is a festive place to visit, no matter the time. Plan your vacation to the northern shore accordingly and you will find more than just beach and sunshine, but many opportunities to learn, have fun, and celebrate!