Sun, warmth, and beaches—the three summer essentials. Think endless sand, a salty sea breeze, and the lull of waves crashing on the shore. But why is beach fun only associated with the summer months when all of the best elements are waiting for you year-round? We sat down with Wendy Coulson Murray of Sanderling Resort to learn more about the many winter offerings of the Outer Banks during the off-season.
First things first, how accessible is the Outer Banks from Baltimore and what are the best means of travel?
Travel time from Baltimore to Duck, which is located in the Northern Outer Banks, is only about five hours. With the closest airport being Norfolk 90 miles away, driving is the easiest way to get to our barrier island. You can enjoy a beautiful drive down the Outer Banks scenic byway and take in the coastlines of the Pamlico Sound and Atlantic Ocean.
When planning a stay, what are the top things to do and best places to visit during the winter months?
During the off-season, there is not the same hustle and bustle of the peak season, so traffic and wait times at local businesses are non-existent. While it’s true that not everything is open, a majority of businesses are ready for visitors. The Town of Duck has a lovely mile-long boardwalk right on the Sound to stroll along and visit coffee and boutique shops. The Resort can assist with bicycle rentals, so you can pedal a short five miles into town. It’s also a perfect time to walk along the beach looking for sea glass, go see the wild horses in Corolla, climb a lighthouse, or go to the Wright Memorial. If you’re an early riser, the sunrises are incredibly vivid during this time of year—and you’ll never want to miss a sunset. They’re like beautiful paintings.
What are some of Sanderling Resort’s off-season offerings?
Along with room service, the Lifesaving Station and No. 5 Bar are open daily for all three of your daily meals. The Spa at Sanderling offers wonderful winter promotions to help you relax. Our “Winter Antidote” facial with Gotu Kola Balm and Manuka Honey will bring back the natural glow zapped away by the cold. Since February is the month of love, take advantage of one of the couples treatment rooms with a massage. Our indoor pool and outside heated hot tub are also readily available. Many enjoy playing games or putting together puzzles in the Grand Gallery and each building has its’ own lobby and fireplace to enjoy reading a book. The perfect way to end the evening is making a s’mores around the firepit under a starry night sky.
To ensure the best packing, what is weather generally like?
We are located right on the ocean. The sunny days are normally in the upper 50s or lower 60s, so layering is always a good option. The evenings can dip down into the 40s, requiring something a bit warmer.
Finally, what is your favorite thing to do this time of year?
Personally, I enjoy eating out at some of the restaurants that I don’t get to enjoy during the hectic busy season. We have miles of beauty to explore on foot and I love the peacefulness of running during the off season, whether it be on the trails in Nags Head Woods or along the Beach Road where I can listen to the sweet sounds of the ocean.