5 Days in OBX

My girlfriend and I headed to her vacation house in Waves, NC, for some relaxation, water sports, fishing, and OBX tourist traps. Good times!

Austin Creek Grill

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by nas on June 28, 2006

Editor's Note: This property has closed.

If you've heard of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), then you'll probably like this place. The Austin Creek Grill was founded and is still run by two CIA graduates, and the restaurant exemplifies all of the traits of such a venture. This becomes clear as soon as you walk in, where you are greeted with a wall on your right full of newspaper articles, award certificates, and photos of spectacular culinary constructions (e.g. a life-size turkey made of chocolate).

For the uninitiated, CIA restaurants are well-recognized for their inventive menu options, fresh (usually local) ingredients, excellent presentation, and high attention to detail during the dining experience. The Austin Creek Grill demonstrated all of these qualities and more.

Drivable from just about anywhere in the Outer Banks, this restaurant is located at the southernmost tip of the island, at Hatteras Landing in Hatteras, NC. Once you get there, you'll find that most seats have an excellent view overlooking the water, so the location cannot be beat. The only thing we'd recommend is to avoid sitting too close to the kitchen, as the double doors tend to be opened frequently and the kitchen isn't the quietest place.

The food was by far the best we had in the area. We started with house salad, which had mixed greens, tomatoes, toasted goat cheese, and an exquisite raspberry chipotle dressing. We then followed this with seafood entrees, which were clearly prepared using the freshest local fish.

At the end of the meal, we were so pleased with our experience, we requested to speak with the head chef, whom our server promptly fetched. We let him know what a great meal we'd just had and bantered about the CIA a bit (which is located in our hometown of Poughkeepsie in upstate New York). Afterward, he was kind enough to send us complimentary desserts.

The website for the restaurant, including the current menu (changes seasonally), can be found at http://www.hatteraslanding.com/austincreekgrill/index.htm.

Windsurfing Hatteras

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by nas on July 11, 2006

Located on the Pamlico sound, this huge windsurfing and kite surfing outlet is well-known as one of the best of its kind in the Outer Banks, which is itself recognized as the premier place for water sports in the U.S.

As I had only windsurfed once prior to this trip, I opted to re-take the beginner lesson. The instructor gave a half-hour land lesson, and then we walked outside to the sound, which is right behind the store. The nice thing about learning on the sound is that there is great wind, but very little waves. My previous experience had been in the ocean in Maui, which is great for intermediate boarders but terrible to learn in.

Whereas some places are eager to get as many students in and out, Windsurfing Hatteras cares about the student, so they won't even allow you to schedule lessons unless the winds are right. If there is too much or too little wind, they'll postpone the lesson until the following day.

At the end of the lesson, I was able to easily get onto the board, pick up the mast, and start tacking (going back and forth across the current). That is a significant improvement compared to my first attempt, even though I started practically from scratch both times.

The cost for lessons was $59/person for the 1st day (2-hr) lesson, or $177/person for the 3-day package (6-hrs). You can also try kite boarding. If you are already experienced, then this place offers a wide array of rentals, as well as equipment for sail.

If you choose to do any water sports in the Outer Banks, definitely check this place out. Their website is:

Ocean Air Sports
39450 Highway 12 South
Avon, Hatteras Island, NC, 27915
(252) 995-5000


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