Hanging Out in the Outer Banks

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This editor caught the OBX fever, and would certainly be happy to be going back for the Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival (Nov. 8-15) when different programs for all ages will include the hottest spot for birding in North Carolina, the Pea Island Wildlife Reserve. Or better yet, plan to be to be on hand for next year’s Outer Banks Taste of the Beach, March 15-18. This annual event showcases local seafood and international wines and beers, with such events as seafood and wine pairing demonstrations and dinners, cooking classes, a chowder cook-off and a tapas crawl of area restaurants.

the sanderling’s a standout Condos and rental houses—priced for every budget but particularly handsome and grand in and around Duck—are by far the most popular lodging option for those who frequent the islands. For shorter stays and coastal chic accommodations, The Sanderling Resort & Spa stands in a class by itself, with a friendly, service-oriented staff sans pareil. This invited guest’s opinion is seconded by Conde Nast Traveler readers who once again voted the property onto the “2011 Gold List.”

With Outer Banks, Victorian-style architecture, the whole resort complex fits right into the landscape, unified with the signature OBX cedar-shake siding. Built in 1985 along a 13-acre beachfront site, Sanderling actually divides its 88 rooms and suites among the North, Main and South Inns. All have huge balconies and dormers and overlook the Atlantic (Main and South Inns) and Currituck Sound.

Additionally, and ideal for families, The Sanderling has three, 3-bedroom homes, one 4-bedroom home and one oceanfront 6-bedroom home available year-round. The homes, located next to the resort, offer the same services and amenities, including room service and housekeeping, as the guestrooms with private beach access.

Dining options include the Lifesaving Station Restaurant (star attractions: the Sanderling chowder, a thick, rich mix of shrimp, corn and crab, as well as goat cheese hush puppies) and the AAA four-diamond Left Bank, enjoying sunsets over the sound and an appealing menu of contemporary American dishes that show off the bounty of sustainable, artisanal and local ingredients produced by local farmers and fishermen.

Sitting between indoor and outdoor swimming pools, The Sanderling Spa is a beauty. Its facilities include a hot tub, steam rooms and a workout room. The day we visited, the female members of a wedding party were enjoying a day of massage, body, skin and nail care treatments and a bit of yoga. According to sales manager Wendy Murray, “Starting appropriately in June, we host destination weddings—often back-to-back—using ceremony and reception sites that range from the beach to sunset locations.”

Year-round, the resort has a special offer of Buy Five Nights and Get Two Nights Free in the 3-, 4-, and 6-bedroom homes. For more information on the resort, visit thesanderling.com. For more information on the destination, visit the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau website at outerbanks.org.