My frizzy hair blew from underneath a baseball cap moistened by a steady morning mist as I pedaled a tangerine-hued two-wheeler. I followed my husband down Duck Road for a leisurely Saturday morning bike ride accompanied by plenty of drizzle that dampened everything but our spirits. You see, Duck, N.C. is a beach town, but sunbathing on the sand is far from the only draw. We had arrived in this quaint Outer Banks locale the night before to enjoy a couples' weekend, and the way we looked at it, the rain provided a good excuse to get even cozier.
Duck happens to be my favorite spot in all of OBX, overall a top weekend getaway destination for Coastal Virginians seeking a quick trip. In Duck—located in the northern Outer Banks, with the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Currituck Sound to the west—you can ditch the car in favor of exploring by foot or beach cruiser. I find it more tranquil than touristy, more village than town, and my choice for experiencing a few days at a slower pace.
After breakfast, coffee, strolling the boardwalk and some perusing at the plentiful Waterfront Shops (Duck is known for shopping), my husband and I rode back to our home for this excursion—the Sanderling Resort, an inn that feels like a haven tucked perfectly into its surroundings. Though it's been around since 1985, this unostentatious but luxurious property underwent extensive renovations in 2013, reopening the following year with a coastal chic makeover including a new tranquility pool, hot tub and pops of signature orange accents throughout.
The Sanderling Resort Pool and whirlpool spa welcomes guests of all ages in
addition to the adults-only Tranquility Pool. Poolside food and beverages are
available from the Sandbar at both swim locations.
North Inn accommodations offer ocean or sound views.
Lobster Mafalda from Kimball's Kitchen, with roasted garlic beurre monté, heirloom
tomatoes and basil.
The Spa at Sanderling has 10 treatment rooms and coastal-inspired services.
Three private beach accesses and complimentary chairs and umbrellas make time
in the sand a must.
Though there are a total of 120 guestrooms, I re-entered the main two-story Beach House in awe of the resort's ability to maintain a bed-and-breakfast ambiance while providing the services and amenities of a larger-scale resort. With no shortage of quiet places to unwind, we settled first on sharing a signature cocktail at the Lobby Bar before heading to the second-floor lounge for board games, conversation and canoodling with a breathtaking beach view.
Soon enough it was time to get gussied up for a walk across the street to the Sanderling's signature restaurant—Kimball's Kitchen. Our expectations were high for this AAA Four-Diamond establishment, and the food and service did not disappoint. After sharing the decadent Hand-Cut Bison Tartare, studded with cognac and duck yolk, we moved to mains of medium rare Black Angus Filet Mignon and expertly seared Wanchese scallops with roasted heirloom cauliflower, spinach and bacon. The menu was just the right mix of skillful, Southern-inspired and approachable. While dessert was as tempting as expected, we decided to save our appetite for sweets for fire pit fun outside the Beach House. The Sanderling leaves the makings for s'mores in each guestroom, and the idea of rekindling childhood memories was too inviting to miss.
The sun rose with us the following morning, providing the perfect opportunity to spend our final few hours at the adults-only tranquility pool and private beach while sipping cocktails from the Sandbar outdoor eatery.
We decided on lunch at the Lifesaving Station, situated in the historic Caffey's Inlet Life Saving Station No. 5, the Sanderling's casual, three-meal-a-day dining option. The Coastal Crab Cake Sandwich and #5 Burger with pimento cheese and peppered bacon offered the sustenance we craved before getting back on the road toward home.
Leaving OBX with rays a-beaming wasn't easy, but rain or shine, we are never unhappy to be two lucky ducks under the spell of Sanderling charm.
Reserve bikes to explore all Duck has to offer, rain or shine.
Through the resort's partnership with Kitty Hawk Kites, guests can take advantage of
several water sports. Photo courtesy of Kitty Hawk Kites.
The Sanderling makes a great getaway any time of year, but the summer season is truly ideal for a stay. The resort partners with Kitty Hawk Kites to offer on-site bike rentals as well as water sports such as kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and surfing.
Summer season Mermaid School allows participants to experience swimming
complete with scaly tail.
Summer Mermaid School allows participants to learn how to master mermaid swimming techniques complete with tail.
Through May 31, book two nights and enjoy a third free, and after June 1, reserve four nights and get a fifth free.
For more information visit Sanderling-Resort.com.
Duck, Duck Go
Some visitors are naturally happy with Duck's 7 miles of beautiful beaches alone, but if you need some additional activity and dining ideas, try these:
The Blue Point: Local and sustainable high-end seafood done well with amazing views of Currituck Sound. 1240 Duck Rd.
Duck Town Park Boardwalk: The 11-acre park includes trails through the maritime forest and willow swamp, open green space, soundside views and access to the Duck Boardwalk. The Boardwalk extends nearly a mile along the Currituck Sound and can be accessed from the Town Park and other locations throughout the Town’s Village Commercial District.
Duck Donuts: Don't miss a warm and sugary confection at the original location of this now bustling and famous franchise. 1190 Duck Rd.
Scarborough Faire: Sprawling open-air shopping village with tons of quaint shops offering much more than the typical vacation chachkies. 1777 Duck Rd.