"If you can survive your first winter in Hatteras you'll be fine", "Hatteras is so isolated, the winters will feel so long!", "Hatteras is too quiet in the winter, everything is closed" - that's what we heard from so many people when we said we would be making Hatteras Village our permanent, all-year round home....
We were warned that all the stores and restaurants are closed, the harsh Nor'easters blow and often cover the only road we have to Nags Head and the mainland, with sand and water......."life down there is not for everyone", we were told - and my thoughts at the time... JB and I aren't everyone - and some of the things that would put some people off living here all-year round, were the very things that we were looking for 😊
Whilst JB and I absolutely love the summer, having a few months of complete and utter tranquility is incredible. Hatteras is just the perfect place for us... we've found our home.
Our reality was a little different from the naysayers predictions...in fact there were many very pleasant surprises through the winter months - The main road, NC Highway 12 was free from heavy traffic, so trips to Kitty Hawk and the mainland were super easy, if needed. We didn't have to wait in long queues in the stores that did stay open....and the shelves were all well-stocked. We could always get a table at one of our much-loved restaurants, we had a chance to meet the amazing people that choose to live on Hatteras all year round, and people had time to chat, even if it was often through a mask (thanks to Covid 19).
I could drive Jake the Jeep nearly anywhere on the beach, take a sunrise ferry to Ocracoke without queueing for hours, and best of all when I took my pre-sunrise walk along the beach, I had time to sit, sip a coffee and write, usually having the entire beach to myself! There was just me, the crashing waves, the dolphins, pelicans, and the sunrise – alone with my thoughts and dreams…💗
As to "everything is closed down"...for eating out, we had "The Tavern on 12" in Frisco....awesome burgers and freshly caught fish were my particular favorites, "The Froggy Dog" in Avon was the place we headed to for a great breakfast, "The Lighthouse Sports Bar" in Buxton to watch football and enjoy good food (the loaded fries are incredible)...and a beer, "Angelo's Pizza" in Buxton for one of our weekly staples.... great pizza (delivered in time for our Friday movie and pizza nights), "Kat's Deli" for excellent sandwiches, "The Pamlico Deli"...simply delicious food, "Cafe Pamlico" for a beautiful sunset dinner and of course the wonderful "Cockeyed Clam", whose food and cocktails are awesome...and the key lime pie is the best I've ever tasted (and trust me I've tried many key lime pies all over the US and abroad😉). The staff in each of these places are super friendly and helpful, and the service is absolutely exceptional, we couldn't have asked for better!
Grocery shopping was always easy as we had "The Village Red and White" just along the road from the Inn, which has an awesome selection of food and drinks, "Connors" is a little larger and only 15mins away in Buxton, which also has everything you could possibly need...and more, and then for anyone who feels the need for a chain grocery store, there's a "Food Lion" in Avon. And of course, we had other essentials covered with a Post Office, Pharmacy, and Library in the village, with others in Frisco, Buxton, and Avon 😊
Even with the added restrictions due to the Covid 19 pandemic, we still didn't feel isolated, some may say it was because we were so busy working on the renovations, but I don't think so...as we took time to explore and have fun too - Hatteras is a unique and incredible place to live, and we are so happy to call the island our home.
So, launching into an adventure like ours, is not for the faint hearted – Now, it’s super easy to write about all the great stuff, the wonderful and intriguing history of the Inn and the village of Hatteras, the satisfaction you get from completed projects and the fun we’re having along the way…. but it takes a little more strength to write about our worries, stresses, and mistakes. The days when you’ve started yet another project and halfway through you look around and think “what the heck am I doing?”, or “I wish I hadn’t started this…”, when you walk into one of the rooms that is a “work in progress” and think…maybe we should just have painted over everything. When you’re tired, frazzled and feel like your finances are heading south rapidly. This is the point that it would be super easy to become overwhelmed and panic (trust me....really easy!!!!) – with only a few weeks to go to our opening and still having several projects to complete….
But…. When you’re as completely committed to something, as we are to getting this wonderful Inn back up and running for guests to enjoy for years to come…. putting your heart, soul, and every last piece of energy you have into it (not to mention your money!) …you have an underlying faith that everything will be fine.
If doubt does creep in, all I have to do is walk into one of the many completed areas of the Inn to see the work we have already finished, that may have taken longer than we anticipated, but turned out even better than we had imagined.
There is a Greek word that describes how we approach each of our renovation projects...with "Meraki"
Meraki – Definition: To do something with soul, creativity, and love – when you put something of yourself into what you are doing....And that's exactly what we are doing 💗
When a guest looks at the ceiling whilst lying on the bed, in the Seahorse Cuddy (a cuddy is a small room on a boat), they'll just see a nice clean, freshly painted ceiling...what we see is slightly different 😊
.....We see a huge transformation - a ceiling that was so badly damaged that it had been covered up with some awful tilework. JB painstakingly stripped it back (although I had the awesome job of pulling off all the nasty tiles - which was rather cathartic 😁) he reframed and put up new sheet rock, textured the ceiling by hand, applied 2 coats of primer, then 2 coats of paint before replacing the air vent and the light fixture....and finally it was finished - just a "nice, clean, freshly painted" ceiling.
In the small en-suite bathroom of the Mermaid Cuddy, a guest may think what a cute sink...
.....We remember the search for the perfect color and shape of the sink bowl, the design JB came up with, the trip to buy the MDF to make the form for the cement base and the shiplap that would be whitewashed and cover the support the cement base would sit on. JB mixing concrete out on the deck, in the chilly wind, pouring and leveling in the MDF form that had been constructed - making sure it was perfectly even, spritzing with water regularly to ensure it didn't dry too quickly, before he removed the form to reveal the smooth concrete base. Then it was time for him to seal and polish, before mounting it to the pretty, whitewashed support, affixing the beautiful glass bowl and adding the faucet..."a cute sink", perfect for a Mermaid's bathroom 🧜♀️
Many, many hours, but so worth it, as we now have a completely unique little vanity sink unit - designed and custom built by JB, just for the Mermaid Cuddy.
In my last blog post I promised I would give you a sneak peak at the latest completed rooms...Although we are still waiting on blinds to be delivered, (of course at almost 100yrs old, none of the Inn windows are standard measurements, and even vary between each window 😊), so not quite 100% complete, but I thought you'd still like to see them - so here goes...
Introducing The Lighthouse Suite
Deliveries are still arriving daily (often things have taken a little longer than usual due to Covid 19). We love adding the final touches...watching each room come back to life 😊
With our opening at the end of April fast approaching, we are now taking reservations and are super excited to get onto the next part of our adventure....Welcoming guests to "The Atlantic"!!
To check out availability at The Atlantic, just click on this link: https://theatlanticinn.client.innroad.com/
So, I've already started on the next blog post as things are moving quickly, and I want to make sure I keep you updated with our latest news. I'm so excited that I'll be able to introduce the next couple of rooms that will be ready...and although they are the smallest rooms in the Inn, Mermaid and Seahorse are going to be super special little rooms 🧜♀️
And now that all the restaurants and stores are opening up for the summer season, we just need to find the time to visit the incredible businesses we discovered last year, that have been hibernating for the winter....in Hatteras - "Sonny's Waterfront Restaurant" (JB and my default breakfast place last summer 😁), "Rocco's pizza" (next door to the inn), "Dinky's Waterfront Restaurant", "Hatteras Sol Waterside Grill, "The Breakwater Restaurant"," Harbor Deli", "The Wreck Tiki Bar", "The Snack Shack". In Frisco - "Quarterdeck Restaurant", "Frisco Sandwich", "Gingerbread Pizza". In Buxton - "Pop's Raw Bar and Grill", The Sandbar and Grille", "Rusty's Surf and Turf", "Fatty's Eatery", "Buxton Munch", and "Diamond Shoals Restaurant".....plus our all-year round faves listed earlier. Did I mention the absolutely phenomenal choice of eating places we have here? and that's before I even attempt to list all the great restaurants in Avon.
Hatteras Village, Frisco, Buxton and Avon all have incredible dining options, from quick take out, to gourmet cuisine - All different, All Unique, All Wonderful!!!!
Now, Can we survive our first summer as Innkeepers????
Until next time...
Take care and stay safe!
PS....and yes, occasionally NC12 did get closed due to the weather causing flooding and sand-cover..but the local DOT road crews are incredible and had The roads cleared and open so quickly, it never caused us any issues 😊