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UNCLE JACK'S WEBLOG
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Tourists at work
       Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. have been playing tourist again for the past couple of weeks, discovering numerous facets of the Outer Banks that had escaped their attention during the many years they were forced to work for a living. Among them are the nature preserve at the end of the paved road in Corolla, the restored Whalehead Club and its grounds, the wildlife museum next door to the Whalehead Club, the Pea Island North Pond walking trail a few miles south of Oregon Inlet, the new wildlife museum across from Fort Raleigh on Roanoke Island, the maritime research center newly constructed on the sound between Manteo and Wanchese, and last but not least O'Neal's seafood restaurant in the Wanchese Seafood Industrial Park. See the pictures for further info about these attractions.
       He didn't get a picture of O'Neal's restaurant but he can tell you that they serve the best fried oysters, shrimp and softshells he has tasted since the demise of Basil and Beulah Daniels' cafe on the causeway many years ago. This is an unpretentious eatery located in the front room of O'Neal's wholesale/retail operation next door to the Bayliss boatworks. He will probably rue the day he even mentioned it because it seems to be popular enough already.
      


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The nature preserve in upper Corolla has two trails through the marsh from road to sound. This boardwalk has informative signposts along the way with info about marsh flora and fauna. Bugless fall and winter are the ideal times to visit.

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Pack a lunch and sit on a bench and enjoy this pleasing view of Currituck Sound. The boardwalk is about a half-mile long and wheelchair friendly.

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Another path through the woods, sans boardwalk, provides a slightly more challenging walking experience. No less beautiful but probably more snake-ridden during warm weather.

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The restored Whalehead Club is spectacular. At $10 the unguided tour is a bit pricey but worth every penny in Uncle Jack's estimation. The grounds are lovely.

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Don't miss the wildlife museum to the left of the boathouse and over an arched bridge. It's a winner. Including the lighthouse and the collection of old Corolla buildings nearby a visitor could spend hours here.

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The Pea Island bird sanctuary south of Oregon Inlet offers more walking trails, partly handicapped accessible. This is part of the North Pond trail at the visitors center a few miles south of Oregon Inlet.

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Hurricane Irene blew out part of the protective levee around North Pond which is now being repaired. Salt water intrusion and blowing sand have made this pond foodless for the migrating waterfowl who would normally congregate here.

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New New Inlet entrance viewed from the south. Some observers say the inlet appears to be shoaling up at the ocean front and may close itself. Time will tell.

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Post-Sandy the ocean seems to have crept closer to the row of derelict houses on the beach in South Nags Head at Seagull Drive.

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It's not too soon to reserve Uncle Jack's Beach Cottage in South Nags Head for next season. Google it for further information.

posted by Uncle Jack at 10:24 AM

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Except for short hiatus in Baltimore Uncle Jack has lived in Nags Head for over 45 years. He was a columnist for the Outer Banks Current and its successor, the Outer Banks Sentinel, for 20 years. A collection of his columns is available from Amazon Kindle under the title Uncle Jack's Outer Banks. He and Mrs. Uncle Jack, aka Sue, live in South Nags Head whence he observes and sometimes comments on the passing parade.
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