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6 Sep 2017
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History & Culture
I came across a very interesting article today that answers a question that I've often wondered. Why do so many Pittsburghers prefer Outer Banks vacation rentals? The article written by Stephen Huba from does a terrific job of answering this question. The article explains that residents of Western Pennsylvania have been vacationing on the Outer Banks for years:
"Many Pittsburgh district sportsmen … were going to the Banks when the islands could be reached only by boat and the best road was the beach at low tide," he wrote.
The opening of the wooden Wright Memorial Bridge in 1930 - and its concrete replacement in 1966 - helped smooth the 500-mile trip. What used to be a 12-hour drive can now be made in less than nine, said Joe Pasquale, 72, of South Park. 
I remember when I first moved to the Outer Banks from Michigan, I was delighted to see how much of a Pittsburg Steelers fan base there was on Outer Banks. I am a Steelers fan because for many years in Michigan you had to have another team to root for besides the Lions or football season was just more stress than fun.  When I first moved to the Outer Banks I assumed that everyone would be cheering the Carolina Panthers, then it dawned on me that there were a lot of Redskins fans, which made sense because Washington DC is just a 4 & ½ hour drive north. However, the longer I lived here the more it became clear that there are just a ton of Steelers fans on the Outer Banks. You can see Steelers bumper stickers, and house flags year round. Plus, there are at least 3 bars/restaurants in the area that automatically turn black and gold on any given Sunday. 
The article goes on to explain why many Western Pennsylvanians make the trek to the Outer Banks instead of going to closer destinations like the Jersey Shore:
"There's just always a ton of Pennsylvania people down there," said Tom Gamber, 52, of Greensburg.
A native of Eastern Pennsylvania, Gamber grew up going to the New Jersey shore but has been vacationing in the Outer Banks for about 15 years. His family has stayed all along the coast, including Avon, Corolla, Nags Head and Kitty Hawk.
He prefers the more laid-back pace and reasonable rates of the Outer Banks.      
"Going to the beach for the sake of the beach is kind of what I like about the Carolinas," he said.
The article also points out that marketers on the Outer Banks have been marketing to Western Pennsylvanians since the 1950's, I thought that this was a really cool insight:
Marketing of the Outer Banks as a Pittsburgh vacation destination dates back to at least the 1950s. Newspaper advertising often called North Carolina "Variety Vacationland" and touted its historic sites, beaches, and sporting opportunities.
"Along the same historic coast which saw the First Colony and the First Flight, you will find miles of fun in surf and sand. North Carolina's fabulous Outer Banks and two national parks are now easily accessible by paved roads," read one newspaper ad in 1953.
Simply put, the Pittsburgh - Outer Banks connection is a very special connection that has been alive and well for years, and it looks like generations of yinzer's will be recharging their batteries on the unspoiled and secluded beaches of the Outer Banks for years to come. Here We Go!