Jolly Roger for the most important meal of the day. They’re open beginning at 6:00 a.m. and their breakfast menu is not only vast, it’s cheap – really cheap. In fact, they’re known for their $3 breakfast which includes two eggs prepared just the way you like, hash browns or cinnamon apples, and two thick pieces of toast.After filling up your tank for the busy day ahead, we recommend checking out the Frank Stick Memorial Art Show in Nags Head. The exhibit runs from February 1 through 22 and features a wide-array of local fine art that pays homage to the natural landscape. The Art Show is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Saturday and noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.When you are done with the exhibit, head over to Tanger Outlet Mall located nearby to do some shopping. The Mall has big name brands like J. Crew and Coach Factory without the normal retail price tags. You can save a ton on stuff you need. Or just splurge on the things you just want. After all, you are on vacation.Then when your stomach is starting to growl, head north to Blue Moon Beach Grill for some lunch or early dinner. They’ve been voted one of the best restaurants in all of North Carolina by several publications because of their delicious and unique dishes. To start, order an adult beverage and either the Buffalo Shrimp or Fried Calamari appetizer.For your entrée and dessert, I’d recommend anything on their menu because you can’t go wrong. Their food is amazing, staff is friendly and courteous, and their prices aren’t bad either. Day 2 - More Good Food, History, and Wildlife Since you spent your first day on the Outer Banks checking out the southern beaches, it's time to spend the day on the northern beaches. Roll out of bed in your vacation rental home, load up the family vehicle, and head over to the Good Life Eatery in Kitty Hawk and order yourself something delicious from their menu (anything you order will be good). For breakfast, they've got everything from egg sandwiches and omelets, to hot cakes and crepes. Their entire menu is very reasonably priced and you'll be in and out in no time at all.For your first activity of the day, head north to the Whalehead Club in Corolla. The five-story, 21,000-square-foot house was constructed in 1922 and is most likely the most lavish home in Northeast North Carolina. Their guided "Legacy Tour" is $12 for adults and either the Club's curator or one of their educational team members will guide you through the magnificent home and go into great detail about the history, architecture, construction, and previous residents of the quarters. The Whalehead Club is open from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. every day and the last tour of the day begins at 3:15 p.m.After checking out where Edward Collings Knight, Jr. used to reside, stroll over to the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education that is practically located next door. This educational facility is dedicated to exploring North Carolina's wildlife, natural history, and heritage. The Center has both indoor and outdoor attractions for visitors to enjoy. Closed on Sundays but open every other day of the week from 9:00 a.m. till 4:30 p.m.When you're done learning about local wildlife habitats, head back south to Kitty Hawk for dinner - don't worry, it's worth the trek back. Trio is known for three things: wine, beer and cheese - it's pretty much a requirement to order one of the three if you stop in for lunch or dinner. They've got over a dozen continually changing beers on tap and a sizable wine menu to choose from.Give one of their cheese plates or Mediterranean Nachos a try to start, then decide one either a salad or panini for your entree. After you feel like you can't eat anymore, make room for one of Trio's scrumptious desserts. I'd recommend the Dark Chocolate Goat Cheese Cheesecake or Guinness Bread Pudding - you can't go wrong with those two. Stay for awhile and hang out, or head home and get ready for the last day of your Outer Banks mini-vacation. Day 3 - History, Wildlife, and Good Eats To start off your third and final day of vacation on the OBX, head over the Washington Baum Bridge onto Roanoke Island and stop in at Darrell's Restaurant for breakfast.The third-oldest restaurant on the Outer Banks, Darrell's breakfast is one of the best in Manteo. I'd recommend their Crabmeat Omelette or Country Ham and Eggs. Or if you're feeling extra hungry and you're not concerned with your calorie intake while on vacation, I'd recommend ordering their Blueberry or Pecan Hot Cakes.Following your meal, head to Fort Raleigh National Historic Site which is located only a few miles west from the restaurant. Sitting on 513 acres on the Northern end of Roanoke Island, Fort Raleigh was established in 1941 to commemorate the first English attempts to colonize the New World from 1585 to 1587. As you may have already learned from previous history classes, the colony ended with the sudden and unknown disappearance of 117 men, women and children. You can take advantage of your tax dollars and tour the visitor’s center and museum for free while you learn about the first English inhabitants of America. Be advised that the visitors center is only open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The visitor center is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.When you're done learning about Sir Walter Raleigh and the Queen Elizabeth II, get back on U.S. 64 and travel less than a mile down the road to the Coastal North Carolina National Wildlife Refuges Gateway Visitor Center. While you're inside, be sure to gather information on the surrounding wildlife refuges and check out some of the Gateway Visitor Center's educational displays. You can learn about some of the local wildlife including the endangered Red Wolves. Don't leave without grabbing a map of Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge which is your next stop.Hop back in your vehicle and head over the Manns Harbor Bridge to the Refuge. Once there, head down one of the gravel roads in search of wild and commonly spotted American Black Bears. Be sure to drive down Buffalo City Road and take a short walk on the Creef Cut Wildlife Trail which features a 250-foot boardwalk that overlooks a freshwater marsh - an ideal spot for watching wildlife. The Refuge is open from dawn until dusk and is absolutely free to the public. After you're done looking at birds, black bears, and alligators, mosey on back to the beach and stop in at Kill Devil Grill for lunch or dinner. Although it's the off-season, you may have to be put on a waiting list for a table. This is one of the absolute best restaurants on the Outer Banks, and many locals frequent once a week for dinner. I'd typically recommend an appetizer and entree, but it doesn't matter what you order, you're going to like what you get. Their service is impeccable, food is delicious, and I've never met someone who had a bad experience at Kill Devil Grill. Congratulations! You've made it through three event-filled days on the Outer Banks – but you still haven't seen it all. Time to start planning your return visit when it's a little warmer outside.
Saturday, February 1, 2014