Over the summer our family made the move from Boston, Massachusetts to Asheville, North Carolina. Recently, I decided to venture out and explore my new southern state. I had heard from friends about their memorable trips to the Outer Banks. I did some research on the area and decided to take a trip to the quaint coastal town of Manteo on Roanoke Island.
The town of Manteo wraps around Shallowbag Bay on the eastern side of Roanoke Island. Manteo has many attractions, whether visiting for a day or for a week, and I had the opportunity to adventure this delightful coastal town for a day and night.
For visitors the downtown offers blocks of homegrown gift shops, boutiques and book shops, not to mention some of the regions best restaurants, all conveniently located adjacent to the beautiful Manteo waterfront.
Here are a handful of interesting and fun things I got to see and do while visiting Manteo:
Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse
At the edge of the harbor front you will find Roanoke Marshes Light, a charming lighthouse that serves as a great backdrop for fabulous Manteo photos.
North Carolina Aquarium
Another major attraction in Manteo is the North Carolina Aquarium which features exhibits on everything about the Outer Banks. Guests can expect to see land and sea turtles, sharks, river otters, alligators and local and tropical fish. The aquarium is open every day, year round, and is most definitely worth the trip.
Enjoy acres of perfectly manicured gardens and sculptures, as well as beautiful flowers and trees. A gift store and plant shop are on the premises as well. Open year-round, the Elizabethan Gardens is a must-see for everyone.
Roanoke Island Festival Park
The Roanoke Island Festival Park features a real-life recreation of everyday life in an early American colony. I had the chance to explore the workings of the settler’s village, a neighboring Native American camp, and a cool art gallery. Visitors can also explore the elaborately constructed replica of the Elizabeth II, a detail-perfect example of the ship that brought the original colonists to Manteo. Unfortunately, I was not able to tour the ship when I visited as tours are available during the summer months and guided by costumed interpreters.
The Tranquil House Inn
One of the top 2 places to stay on the Outer Banks, this charming waterfront resort resembles an old seaboard inn back in 19th-century Manteo. The guest rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated with reproductions of antiques. Rear porches look out on the water and wine and cheese is served each evening from 5 to 6 pm. The hotel’s 1587 Restaurant offers the freshest ingredients including herbs grown from the Inn’s own gardens. The atmosphere is elegant, but very relaxed and guests have a perfect view of Shallowbag Bay that is truly fabulous.
Whether visiting for a day trip or taking a relaxing week’s vacation, a trip to Manteo should definitely be on the Outer Banks agenda. I found there was plenty to love in this small town and plan to return next summer.