Where has the time gone???
It feels like we only just re-opened the doors of our beloved Atlantic Inn, when in fact we are about to begin our third year of welcoming new guests and catching up with returning “friends”.
What started as a rather crazy idea…. giving up our lengthy and successful careers in healthcare and clinical research, selling up our horse-farm, and starting not only new careers as innkeepers, but an entirely new lifestyle, maybe wasn’t such a crazy idea after all.
Were there some crazy moments?
Well, when you move all your earthly possessions, your two yellow labradors and a rather portly orange barn-cat, to a string of barrier islands, made up entirely of sand, 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina…..and no, not to one of the main towns of these beautiful islands like Nags Head, Kittyhawk or Kill Devil Hills….heck no, we chose to buy and renovate a run-down, century old hotel on the southernmost point that you can reach by car without taking a ferry – Hatteras Village….So yes, we’ve had more than a few crazy moments, but our lives are so much more enriched with our continued adventures. We get to live in what we consider to be one of the most incredible and beautiful places on our little blue planet and meet the most wonderful and interesting people, who often become our very good friends. It’s an adventure we live every day and one we love to share with others 😊
Our Atlantic Lives 😎
With the quietness that our wonderful Hatteras winters bring, we decided to close the inn mid-December for a couple of months to get some much-needed rest and relaxation, and to work on several new projects around the hotel, before re-opening in March. We also thought we would spend the Christmas holidays with John’s Dad in Nebraska... which turned into a bit more of an adventure than we had originally planned.
Our rental RV
As we needed to take Bailey and Bodie with us on our trip, we rented an RV so they could travel the 3500-mile roundtrip with us. Having never done the motorhome thing before, we tried to plan for most eventualities, including opting for a smaller type RV – A four-wheel drive Mercedes Sprinter van (which in hindsight was just as well as we were soon to find out), ensuring the RV had overnight power for light, heat and water without having to be parked at an RV site, packing warm clothes (we’ve gotten pretty used to our much more temperate Gulf stream influenced weather here in Hatteras 🌞), food for the trip etc. The one that we couldn’t have factored in was the “once in a generation storm” that blew in as we drove across country.
Driving through Kansas...
By the day we left, the reports of an impending, massive snowstorm had taken over the airwaves, and we began to think maybe this wasn’t such a brilliant idea after all…. but too late, we were committed to the trip, so off we set. Suffice it to say, we have a few stories from that adventure that I’ll go into more detail on, sometime in the next week or so, in my other blog “My Atlantic Life”. All I'll say for now is with temperatures of -17 degrees and a wind chill temp of -35 degrees....taking the dogs out was a bit of a challenge.
I have to say, it may have been a bit of an arduous trek through some rather awful driving conditions, but it was so completely worth it to spend a few days with John’s Dad, that was priceless💕 ....and as an added bonus, the drive back through Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina was awesome!
Some of our Travels...
We arrived safely back late on New Year’s Eve….and, after all our driving, all we wanted to do was sleep. Welcoming in the New Year had to wait until the next day (which included taking Bailey and Bodie to the beach for a swim and then back to the inn to watch some football).
New Year's Day in Hatteras and no snow.....just Sun, Sun, Sun 😎
With their beach towel bathrobes, the boys looked like they were having a spa day....next they'll be wanting a pedicure and a massage 😂
So how did we fare in 2022?
Here are just a few of the highlights:
- We opened at the beginning of March with one of my women’s retreats, which was an awesome way to kick off the season. The “My Atlantic Retreat” was a great success, with the best group of ladies - we laughed, we cried (just a little), we learned, we had fun, forged friendships and above all, relaxed and enjoyed ourselves.
"My Atlantic Retreat" March 2022
- We had so many returning “friends” to the "Atlantic", JB and I were astonished, with often the percentage of returning guests way outnumbering our new guests. It was nothing short of amazing!!
Just a few of our incredible "Friends"
- Guests chose to stay more nights on their visits with us, including many who had just booked one night, as they passed through Hatteras on their way to, or from the ferry, deciding to stay longer at the "Atlantic" after they had checked in.
- We built a fantastic new deck (well JB did, I only helped a little…usually with the nail gun!!) – The “Courtyard Deck” replaced the old patio area at the back of the inn, with a beautiful area to eat, relax and enjoy the phenomena that is the *“Atlantic Effect”. With an outdoor shower and flexible lounging and dining area, the “Courtyard Deck” is the perfect place to unwind and catch up with friends after a busy day on the beach.
*The “Atlantic Effect” is hard to explain, or put into words – there is just this incredible feeling of calmness, connection to our natural world (as opposed to the constant barrage of digital information, good, bad, and indifferent, that we are often constantly “connected” to), and a sense of “belonging"….Is it the Atlantic Inn? – the century old structure, the aged wood paneled walls…. maybe it’s the comfy beds or the tasty, cooked breakfasts? Is it Hatteras Village? the wonderful residents, the fishing marinas, the incredible restaurants? Is it the Ocean, the salty air, the dancing dolphins, and soaring pelicans?.....or perhaps a magical combination of all three!
The "Courtyard Deck"
- We opened the “Atlantic Innspirations” gift shop - An eclectic mix of gifts showcasing Atlantic Inn mementos (T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs etc.), ocean scented candles, soaps and body lotions, locally designed and handcrafted jewelry and home decor, pretty journals, books and cards. We even have a few gifts sourced from my homeland of Scotland.
"Atlantic Innspirations" Gift Shop
- Completed the renovation of the “Dawn Deck” on the upper floor, which is now a great place to have your morning coffee with friends
Our "Windchasing" friends having coffee on the Dawn Deck
- The “Atlantic” was host to several tour groups (we even managed to get a huge tour bus in the car park!)
- We cooked and served more than 2,500 breakfasts!!!!!!!!
Just a few of our yummy breakfast offerings
JB and I are so excited about this year, as you can imagine, owning and running an inn has been a bit of a learning curve for us both, but I think we have found our stride.....and we are definitely having fun! At the start of this adventure, if you had told me we would have brewed thousands of cups of coffee and cooked and served over 2,500 thousand breakfasts in 2022 alone, I’d have thought you were the crazy one…...not us! And although we had even more guests in 2022 than in the previous year, things were definitely a lot calmer and more zen in the kitchen 🙏
So, now with several weeks before we open in March, we are super busy working on some new projects that we hope to finish for our 2023 season
Here's a sneak peek...
- The addition of lighting around the “Courtyard Deck”
- Further upgrades on some suites and rooms
- We're applying for a license to sell wine and beer to our guests
- New flooring in hallways
- Upgrades to our car park
- The launch of our new bookable “Inndulgencies” - special extras that can be added to your stay for an additional charge.
These will include:
Chocolate covered strawberries
Private Yoga Lesson
Dessert of the week
A few of our "Atlantic Inndulgencies"
- We are pleased to introduce two new reward programs....
The "Friends of Friends" program - we have had so many new guests that were referred to us from existing "friends" that had already stayed with us, we thought it was time to reward those "friends". So, every time you refer a new guest to the Atlantic Inn and they mention your name when staying with us, you'll receive 1 x Referral Point. With 5 x completed Referrals Points- You will receive a complimentary * 2-night stay with us (*Consecutive nights)
Our new “Atlantic Innsiders” program - We now have quite a few loyal "friends" that have stayed with us on multiple occasions (the record is currently 13 separate stays of 2 nights or more!!! with a couple of others catching up 😁). As we offer a 10% discount to all our returning guests, we thought that these "special friends" deserved a little more. So the "Atlantic Innsiders" plan was designed.
The "Atlantic Innsiders" perks include:
15% Discount on every stay
Early check in
Complimentary glass of champagne on arrival
Free Atlantic Inn T-shirt
"Breakfast in bed" option
Free 2-night stay with qualifying number of stays (every 6 x separate stay of 2 or more consecutive nights)
You will be automatically enrolled after your 5th separate stay of 2 nights or more at The Atlantic Inn
We will also continue to offer the following discounts:
"Thank You" discount Military & First Responder Discount We proudly support our troops and first responders and all that they do for our country. So, as a small thank-you, we offer all military personnel and first responders a 10% discount off all stays, at any time of the year. Discount applied on check -in with relevant ID
"The Planners" discount Early Booking Discount Here's one for the "planners" amongst you... 10% Discount on your Summer Stay (Jun1st-Sept 30th), if you book before Feb 28th, 2023. Just use the promo code: early10 when booking
"Friends" Returning Guests Discount Our mission statement is: “May all who enter as guests, leave as friends" ….and with this in mind, we offer all our returning "Friends” 10% discount off all stays, at any time of the year
Discount code is available on check out e-mails, or by calling us directly on (252) 986-2700
So, we have a pretty busy few weeks ahead of us working our way through our "To Do" lists. but one thing's for sure....we will be taking plenty time out to just enjoy our lives here on this incredible island that we call home. Winters in Hatteras are truly special, not only are the beaches super-quiet and stunningly beautiful…..but we can always get a table at one of our much-loved restaurants, we don’t have to wait in long queues in the stores that stay open all year-round....and the shelves are all well-stocked - best of all, we have a chance to meet and catch up with the wonderful people that, like us, choose to live on Hatteras all year round.
For now, with no early morning breakfasts to serve, I get to enjoy my magical time, just before the sun rises, with the beach all to myself….well apart from my feathered friends and the occasional dancing dolphins. Then it’s back to work on the new Atlantic Inn website I’m currently designing, and to help JB with the many projects we have ongoing at the moment.
Here are just a few of my sights in the past week...
Another successful Spacex Launch as seen from our deck
Bodie's worn out after watching JB and me working all day😊
I'd best go for now, I promised JB I'd get this blog finished and ready to post. Look out for further posts as we work our way through our To Do lists, and get ready to welcome everyone to the Atlantic Inn for season 3!
Love and Hugs,