New York City
March 2003

Weekend Wonderland North Carolina’s Outer Banks
by Jan Aaron

Thinking of getting away with the kids for the Spring Break? Think about the Outer Banks, the strand of barrier islands off the North Carolina Coast as your vast playground. Do you fancy a trip without the kids? There’s that here, too. The Sanderling, a luxurious oceanside resort, caters to adults; Elizabeth’s Cafe and Winery serves elaborate wine-pairing meals; the sprawling Elizabethan gardens offer romantic nooks and crannies, and the merchants at Nags Head display tempting trinkets.

Friends drew a blank when I mentioned I was going to the Outer Banks. Accessible mainly by car or ferry, (take US Airways to Norfolk, VA), the Outer Banks, 417 miles from New York, seems a million miles removed, especially in the uncrowded off-season. Maybe you’re vague about their charms, too.

Actually, this is a very old place. The first English settlement was here. Blackbeard and his buccaneers dropped anchor here, and Wilbur and Orville Wright found the breezes to test the world’s first plane. Today’s jet set can visit the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kill Devil Hills, where a Museum displays a replica of their flimsy flying machine and a portrait gallery of air pioneers. New daredevils fly hang gliders at Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Care to join them? Step right up!

Water defines this place. The temperatures stay warm enough year-round for quick Atlantic dips. Romping on the beach, flying kites, kayaking in calm waters, and admiring the famous Cape Hatteras lighthouse are always in season. Care to bike, run or walk? Miles of pathways skirt the edges of pretty communities.

Don’t miss Roanoke Visitors Festival Park where interactive displays allow children to experience centuries of history, a movie dramatizes the first English landing from the Native American point of view, and the Elizabeth II, moored outdoors, has costumed mariners aboard. Target also the ultramodern North Carolina Aquarium, showcasing wet suit divers who tell kids about the state’s aquatic residents. A local ritual is breakfast at the Pier House. Order French toast! (For more information, visit www.outerbanks. org or call 800-446-6262.)#

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