Another Weird Week in Corolla, NC

You know how I tried laugh­ing off the short­com­ings of the Out­er Banks ear­li­er this month? That’s a hoot! Let’s just chalk that up to post-trau­mat­ic stress in the after­math of Irene, ok? I mean, who wants to see their vaca­tion des­ti­na­tion wiped off the map just as it’s time to kick back and relax?

Let’s get right down to it, shall we? The food: still ter­ri­ble. If it weren’t for the Har­ris Teeter con­ve­nient­ly locat­ed in Corol­la, we’d be at a total loss. The best meals we eat in the Out­er Banks are those we make our­selves. There are I think now three places that I will give mon­ey for food and they are: Corol­la Vil­lage BBQ, which we final­ly found after ven­tur­ing into the island’s his­toric dis­trict; Light­house Bagels and Deli, though the bagels were much doughi­er than I remem­bered them being; and Bad Bean Bur­ri­to, locat­ed in Tim­BuckII stripmall.

Every­thing else? For­get it.

You can spend an awful lot of mon­ey try­ing to find some­thing good to eat in the Out­er Banks and it’s my belief that you should­n’t even both­er try­ing. There’s not a good seafood restau­rant to be found. If any­one knows where to get a decent piz­za, please let me know because our old stand­by, Cos­mo’s, has fall­en off since we dis­cov­ered it in 2009.

Lodg­ing is anoth­er mat­ter alto­geth­er. We lived in three dif­fer­ent hous­es in the five years we’ve gone to Corol­la. Last year was our first week in a pala­tial house (pic­tured above) and we could­n’t have been hap­pi­er after being holed up with our two month old in a run­down rental dur­ing back-to-back Nor’east­ers in ’09. This year the cracks have start­ed to show. I guess famil­iar­i­ty does breed con­tempt! The couch­es are thread­bare, the fridge won’t close, the beds are atro­cious­ly uncom­fort­able and, yes, the cable pack­age isn’t exact­ly opti­mal. No inter­ac­tive guide? No wi-fi? We may as well camp on the beach!

I kid, but you’d think rental com­pa­nies would con­sid­er mak­ing upgrades reg­u­lar­ly since the rental mar­ket is so soft.

Over­all though, things went pret­ty well, con­sid­er­ing we dodged two hur­ri­canes and a trop­i­cal storm. Katia wrecked the beach for us, which meant spend­ing more time in the pool (not a bad thing) and Lee just brought sti­fling humid­i­ty to the area. It’s still a great place to spend a week doing absolute­ly noth­ing and that’s what vaca­tion is all about at this point in my life. Relax­ing as much as pos­si­ble while chas­ing Char­lie up and down a beach and play­ing in the ocean. Wish I did­n’t have to wait a year to do it all again.

How to Improve OBX

We just got back from a love­ly week in the Out­er Banks. It was our fourth week-long stay. It’s like heav­en on Earth. Mostly.

I’ll offer three quick ways to improve the experience:

  • Cable TV. I don’t know what it is, but every­one seems to skimp on their cable pack­age. I know it’s pricey, but it’s impor­tant to peo­ple who are spend­ing any amount of time in a house. Maybe you don’t spring for HBO, but if you have an HDTV in the house, have an HD plan.
  • Shop­ping. Is there any zon­ing in the Out­er Banks? How many beach-relat­ed out­lets does one munic­i­pal­i­ty need? Would­n’t it be bet­ter to have a bet­ter mix of shops? Helen point­ed out how all the shop­ping seems to be in a race to the bot­tom right now. She’s not wrong.
  • Food. It’s abysmal. There’s a rea­son every­one cooks at home. I’ve had the most over­cooked fish in my life in OBX. Want to know what’s worse? BBQ. You’d think some­one would have a well-regard­ed, fam­i­ly-run spot that peo­ple line up to eat. No such thing. Sooey’s and Pig­man’s are decent, but I don’t spend the rest of the year look­ing for­ward to eat­ing at those places. Could some­one step up and fill the void?

Like I said, I always have a great time, but that’s most­ly because I unplug from every­thing and just spend time with friends and fam­i­ly. It does­n’t mean that I have to treat the beach house like a her­mitage. Give me a rea­son to go out and spend mon­ey, OBX!