Paisley & Pearl

Outer Banks Vacationing Made Easy

Gone Fishin’

September 29, 2016 by | 0 comments

Disclaimer: I’m not a fisher-girl. So I don’t know the lingo.

Back in April, David got to enjoy a classic OBX experience, Deep Sea Fishing. One of his best friends invited him to join a mid-week business perk fishing trip. The weather had been rough, so they were iffy as to whether or not they were even going to go out. As semi-experienced deep sea fisher-men, they took Dramamine the night before. Get it in the system.The seas were rough, 7-10 Ft swells, to be exact. They had booked The Trophy Hunter, a 54 Ft  B&B Works out of Oregon Inlet. The captain drove up to the top of the Bonner Bridge to ascertain the state of the inlet. He said, “Roger that,” they took more Dramamine and took off (shoved off, set sail, anchors away, etc.)


They went out about 25 miles, a three hour tour (actually, it took about 2 hours to get to the
gulf stream.) David has a set of very respectable sea legs. He says the key is to always look at the horizon, don’t look down. He fared very well, let’s just say one of his companions is a landlubber. Yikes, but to be fair, they had 7-10ft seas. Just look up at ceiling of the room you are sitting in right now. That’s likely 8ft.


As soon as they dropped the line in the water the reels went wild! Yellow fin and Mahi 552lbs in under two hours. At times there would be 5 fish on the line! Crazy! Captain Kenny on Trophy Hunter definitely put them on the fish! Around 11:30 the live wells were already full and the weather was turning for the worse, so they headed back to shore. At the end of the day, due to the very rough seas, they were the only boat that went out. Like I mentioned, 7-10 Ft swells. David said that when the boat would crest the top of a swell, they could see Mako and Hammerhead Sharks in the adjacent swell. Scary stuff.


When they pulled into Oregon Inlet, they had the fish cleaned and then took them back to the captain’s cottage and vacuum sealed it, all 256 lbs of it! The guys hosting the trip gifted us with 62lbs of Yellow Fin Tuna and we (and about a couple dozen of our friends and family) have THOROUGHLY enjoyed it! Of course, we had Seared Tuna for dinner. I don’t believe I have ever had fish that fresh before. It was DELICIOUS! We’re still enjoying the spoils of the day. There are still a couple tenderloins in the freezer, after this weekend, there will be one less.

These guys have great stories that go back three decades. This one has all the earmarks of a legend, an OBX fishing invite, rough seas, sharks, a ginormous haul and a great meal. I have no doubt this one will be added to the compilation. Particular thanks to Goodrich and our hosts.

As I stated in the beginning, I’m not a fisher-girl. Stories like this kinda make me want to be, kinda. David highly recommends Trophy Hunter for your next OBX Deep Sea Fishing Excursion!


Wishing you Fair Weather and Fond Memories,


Paisley & Pearl

September 1, 2016

Hurricanes and OBX: What to Know

With the close of Peak Summer Season in OBX, another season opens. Hurricane Season.
“Tropical cyclones have affected North Carolina in every month between May and December; about 35 percent of the storms struck the state in September, and 80 percent affected the state between August and October, which coincides with the peak of the hurricane season.”
As I write this, I believe there are three named storms swirling around in the Atlantic now, Hurricane Hermine looks like she could be knocking on our back door in a few days.
Interestingly enough, our major hurricane last season came upon us July 4th weekend. Crazy stuff. Thankfully, it made landfall late in the week, on a Friday, as I recall. One of our families (with teen kids) decided to ride it out and had a fabulous adventure, made even better by Mike & Lisa’s Hurricane Care Packages. Our other family, with small children, decided they’d be more comfortable avoiding hurricane scenarios and hurricaned very happily in Williamsburg, VA. I believe both made the right call and both were happy with their decision.
True confessions, I haven’t ever ridden out a storm in OBX, but I’d really like to. For the most part, it seems, locals stay put. Even during Mandatory Evacuations, many folks stay. There’s even a group called the Ocracoke Crazies (so named by Jim Cantore) for their insistence on riding out even the fiercest storms. These folks are residents of Ocracoke, which is a tiny island due east of Hatteras and can only be reached by ferry. Translation: when a storm hits you’re on your own. So, Ocracoke Crazies, what was meant to be a bit of a derogatory term these folks turned into a badge of honor.
One of the great things about hurricanes (yep, you read that right, I said “great things about hurricanes,”) is that we know they are coming, usually several days prior to making landfall. This advance warning gives us plenty of time to prepare (to the best of our ability) and make decisions. Back in the day, the barometer began to drop and folks knew to batten down the hatches and get out of town.
So how does all of this affect you and your trip to The Outer Banks?
1. Still come. It’s one of the most beautiful, family-friendly, historically-rich, recreational yet relaxing, good-time-had-by-all, places on earth. They aren’t a weekly occurrence, don’t let the possibility of a storm keep you from booking a fall getaway.
2. You can purchase peace of mind. If you’re coming in peak hurricane season but would like to have some security, buy trip insurance. This can be purchased through and can be used for family or medical emergencies.
3. We’re paying very close attention too. Once a storm is named, be assured our team is watching it like a hawk. Mike and Lisa, who are pros at this, give us their opinion of it’s course, local buzz and recommendations.
4. Our number one concern is your safety. If there is a mandatory evacuation, we’ll refund (prorated) your stay. If you read our VRA, you’ll see this policy listed as an “Event.”  If it’s questionable, you make the call and we’ll come up with a solution that fits your family. However, this isn’t a rainy day policy, it’s a safety thing.
5. The sky after a storm is one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever see.
Wishing you Fair Weather and Fond Memories,
Paisley & Pearl

July 26, 2016

The Spot: Smoothies, Acai Bowls and Ice Cream

As some of you know, David and I travel extensively with his work. We absolutely love it. He recently had work in Hawaii. It was fantastic and while we were there, I made it my business to find the best Acai Bowls on Oahu. I did a lot of  “research” and enjoyed every minute of it. Needless to say, I developed taste for them. So when we were working a long day in OBX a couple weeks ago and the mercury hit 95 degrees, checking out the only place in town (to my knowledge) that sells Acai Bowls was a logical choice to do some “research.”

The Spot. th

It’s located near MP 10.5 in Nags Head. If you’re an OBXpert, you’ll likely remember the building as Logan’s Ice Cream Cottage. The Secret Spot Surf Shop now owns and operates it, thus the stepping stone pathway through the corn hole setup, between the two buildings. This was my first visit and there were several things that I loved:

  • Convenient Location: It’s a great spot, convenient to everything. MP 11
  • Cute, clean interior with plenty of seating.
  • Great surfer garb and souvenir shop to appeal to the surfer dude or dudette in your family.
  • Nice Varieties of Sweets (w/ Health-Conscious Options): Acai and Pitaya Bowls, Smoothies and several flavors of Hershey’s Brand Ice Cream.
  • Fantastic service. The vibe is admittedly youthful and the folks that served us were very courteous and fun to interact with, like they were enjoying themselves or something. Shocker. Service: Two Thumbs Up.
  • Accessible Hours: In peak season, they’re open from 9am-11pm.

We ordered a Spot-tastic Smoothie, which is their strawberry, banana concoction. It was DELICIOUS! The only drawback, is that they stopped serving the Acai Bowls at 7pm. Which isn’t so bad, gives us a reason to go back – next time we’re in town.

Until then,

Wishing you Fair Weather and Fond Memories,


Paisley & Pearl

July 13, 2016

Commitments, Unicorns and Skirt Steak: Ortegaz’s

So. David and I have made a fresh commitment. Lately, we have found ourselves slipping into set patterns. I don’t mean lounging around in sweats and bunny slippers, binge watching Seinfeld episodes.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

Most times we are in town it’s typically a 24-36 hour window of time. We have our favorite local spots. If you’ve ever been our guest, you’ve gotten the list of our top 20 restaurants from Manteo to Duck with your check in information. They’re fantastic, and I admittedly have my go tos, but I recently came to the realization that I’m doing my guests a disservice.

So, back to that commitment, we’re going to visit one new restaurant each time we’re in town. Hey, it’s research and it’s one more reason I love my job!

What to expect: New restaurant highlights.
What not to expect:

  • Negative reviews. I’m not into disparaging comments. Maybe they just had a bad night, maybe I just had a bad night. There are enough outlandishly good restaurants in OBX to be able to avoid the Meh ones.
  • Drink recommendations. I’m a half-a-glass-of-wine-once-every-6-months kinda girl. It’s just the way God made me. Makes me a poor judge of beverages but a fabulous DD.

We actually launched this effort a few weeks back. Without further adieu, here’s the first review:

We were in town about three weeks ago and had gotten a recommendation from one of our owner friends and from our buddy at Front Porch in Manteo for Ortega’z. So we took the opportunity to do dinner with our contractor and great friend, Jimmy. Who, by the way, is not only an outstanding contractor and talented surfer, he’s also a great foodie. He hadn’t been to Ortega’z either, so it was the perfect set up.

We arrived at the restaurant at 7:15 on a Saturday evening in peak season. This is significant. My favorite restaurants typically boast a 1-2 hour wait time in the summertime, so walking in without a reservation and being seated immediately was like capturing a unicorn.

Another major bonus is the proximity. It’s about an eight minute drive from Nags Head over to downtown Manteo. Ortega’z is tucked away on Sir Walter Raleigh, a sweet little side street with an ample parking lot to the left of the restaurant. We chose to sit on the outdoor patio, which was strung with those great looking Edison bulbs, so wonderful atmosphere.

Between the three of us, we ordered the chips and salsa, nachos, skirt steak tacos and the fajitas. The entrees are in the $15-$20 range. They put a unique spin on their chips, but everything was delicious! We found out after-the-fact that Ortega’z was featured on DDD (Diner’s, Drive-ins and Dives.)


Sum it up: Great restaurant that still feels like a local’s secret.
Wishing You Fair Weather and Fond Memories,
Paisley & Pearl

May 19, 2016

Just Horsing Around

David and I enjoyed a couple days in The Outer Banks recently, just as the weather started to turn nice. We were playing around with our new camera and it turned out to be a perfect OBX day.

We went for coffee in Manteo and took a walk on the boardwalk that runs along the sound on Roanoke Island. It’s a beautiful place.


As we often do, we went to the Bodie Island Lighthouse. It’s an incredible thing to have such a beautiful and remarkable piece of history in our Outer Banks backyard and we never get tired of visiting it. Plus, it’s a stunning photo op. It had rained earlier in the day, so there were a couple of natural reflecting pools (obliging puddles.)

The lighting was just right, so we decided to drive across the street to Coquina Beach. This is one of the nicest public beaches in Nags Head. There’s plenty of room to spread out and quite often you may only be sharing the sandy stretch with a handful of people, translation: Peace and Quiet. Well, when we drove in the lot, I saw a horse trailer. I am a horse lover from way back, so I immediately set off across the dunes with camera in hand and the timing was perfect. The horses and riders were coming between the dunes, literally riding into the sunset. The result was some of my favorite pictures – ever.

Hope you enjoy the pics! Next time you’re in OBX, why don’t you take a few of your own? We’d love to see your adventures too!


Wishing You Fair Weather and Fond Memories,
Amy Underwood
Paisley & Pearl

March 9, 2016

Feels Like Spring

The first day of Spring may be 10 days away, but with temperatures in the high 70s, cherry trees and daffodils blossoming out, restaurants and shops that have been in hibernation in the off-season opening their doors and welcoming in guests, it may as well already be here. With the record lows and sheer number of significant snow and ice storms this winter, I don’t think anyone minds if we cheat the old man winter a few days.

The Outer Banks is definitely buzzing. It would be safe to say that this weekend’s events mark the beginning of the spring season. With the weather slated to be in the 60s, the 8th annual Running of the Leprechauns (5k & 10k) and the 27th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade hosted by Kelly’s Restaurant in Nags Head, it’s sure to be a great weekend.


The Running of the Leprechauns begins on Saturday, March 12th at 8am at Kelly’s Restaurant. There is a $38 entry fee and proceeds will benefit the Outer Banks Community Foundation.


One interesting bit of info: The parade boasts more than 100 entrants and 8,000 attendees making it the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in North Carolina! Who knew?! So grab a shamrock and make your way to Bladen St (MP11.4) on the Beach Rd (Hwy12) at 1PM this Sunday, March 13th.


So there you have it. If you haven’t already made plans for the weekend, OBX is a great place to be, but then again, I can’t think of a time when it’s not a great place to be!


Wishing You Fair Weather and Fond Memories,


Amy Underwood
Paisley & Pearl

February 5, 2016

Tandem at Last!

Well, we’re here, at last. It’s like a long movie that’s worth watching ’til the end. Some gripping scenes, occasionally it’s a tear-jerker with a great plot, a few slow spots, but there’s a happy ending and here she is, Tandem Cottage: Life’s Better When We’re Together!

Of the two cottages, Tandem was initially the one that caused me to avoid the project altogether. That’s right, I don’t always see the potential at first glance. Frankly, it was the brick front porch and foundation that caused me to drive right by, over and over and over again. It was only after another deal, that I really thought I wanted, fell through that we decided to give Little Cottages a chance. That’s when I first met our FANTASTIC realtor, Dawn Stultz, Blue Horizon Realty.

Commercial Break:
If you have a dream of owning in OBX (like we did,) put her name in your contacts. I’ve worked with several realtors on the Banks, she’s the best I’ve ever met. I found out more about this project in the first 20 minutes than I had in 3 months of serious document-digging on the previous project. That’s one sign of a great realtor. To this day, if I call Dawn and mention a property, (aside from the fact that she actually answers her phone or calls me back promptly,) she almost always knows which one I’m talking about, has likely already seen it, knows a bit of the back history and gives me her professional opinion of the situation. She stuck with us during a long and difficult closing process. In my opinion, she just the best.


Without further delay, here’s Tandem Cottage!

The worst news about the house ended up being the best news, isn’t that how it usually goes? The broken floor girder made it necessary to raise the cottage. We took advantage of the opportunity and got it above Base Flood. The view of the sound is an added bonus. Jake Overton and his team did a fantastic job lifting the cottage and putting on the porches. We also have Jake and Jimmy to thank for the great exterior look. The classic Board and Batten pattern around the skirt of the house pays homage to it’s time period and reflects the interior of Kemp & Olive. Great minds think alike.

The interior held plenty of challenges in store for Jimmy and his team. Jimmy values the historicity of the structure as much as we do, so everything that could be saved, was saved. He and Jeremy removed the wall separating the kitchen from the living room, re-worked the attic supports, repaired ALOT of termite damage, reconfigured the bathroom, replaced nearly all the drywall and much more. We also added new electrical service, HVAC system, whole-house insulation, refinished the original hardwood floors and replaced the roof.

Once the structure was sound and the systems were in place, we moved on the cosmetic finishes. I had the colors in mind from the beginning. I believe I was inspired by the picnic tables at Kill Devil Custard in KDH. The interior Before and After is as dramatic as the exterior’s change:



Now, here’s the After:

Thanks for checking out Tandem Cottage. Please consider this our closing credits:

Firstly, I thank my Father God for giving our family this opportunity. We take it very seriously and have had SO MUCH FUN!!!

Our second largest debt of gratitude is to Jimmy Curtin. He’s the best contractor on the beach and he totally gets me. I don’t say, “I have this crazy idea,” nearly as much as I used to. Crazy is just implied. His craftsmanship is second-to-none and we trust him implicitly. Thank you, Jimmy. Also, special thank you to Jimmy’s right-hand-man, Jeremy. He’s an artist in every sense of the word and the cottage is the better for it. Thank you, Jeremy! Can’t wait to start our next project with you guys!

Thank you also to Jake Overton, his dad, Jay Overton and Overton Corp. They oversaw the raising of the house and repairing of the girder from start to finish. It seems improbable to call this process easy, but they made it look easy.

Particular thanks to Robert Finchem, Coastland Building Inspections; R.A. Hoy Heating & AC; Steve from Pipeworks; Mark Mosley, Advanced Electrical; Roof Busters; Brendan Wise, Wise Flooring; H&H Landdevelopers and all the rest that had a hand in this project. When I say, “We couldn’t have done it without you.” That’s a literal statement. We’re grateful.

So that’s it, Kemp & Olive Cottage and Tandem Cottage are complete and they lived happily every after.

The End.


Wishing you Fair Weather and Fond Memories,


Paisley & Pearl


January 28, 2016

Prime Time for Booking

As I look out the window there’s snow on the ground, quite a lot of it for our area. It’s always interesting to me that our busiest booking month for the entire year is January. This stunned me the first couple of seasons. Except for a stray week here or there, the condos are already booked solid in peak season and the spring season is filling up quickly. Here are a few suggestions on how to check all the boxes for a successful booking experience:

  1. Figure out where you’re going. I’ve written on this before. Especially in the Outer Banks, each city offers a different look and feel with differing activities and amenities. While it’s all quite accessible, people’s definitions of relaxing are as varied as the cities they come from. That’s why God made more than one beach. Do some prelim’ research online, talk to a friend that has been there, read reviews and look at a map.
  2. Fill out your invitation list. I’ve seen this happen a dozen times. It starting out with you and your spouse, planning a quiet getaway. Then your kids find out you’re going and they each want to bring a friend, then it’s his parents, your brother-in-law and your best friend from college. I’m in the “more the merrier” category, but every house has a limit. This is called its “Maximum Occupancy.” Be sure to respect that number and choose a house that fits your guest list.
  3. Fit your budget. This is a big one. More amenities, with more space and a better view means a bigger price tag. I find for myself it’s a good idea to fill out the price bracket in the search tool and only look at houses in my budget. It keeps me from falling in love with a property that’s out of my league. Another point is that while it doesn’t hurt to ask for a discount, I have found that most owners aren’t tripping over themselves to lower their rates this far in advance. You may have better success getting discounts with owners that still have open weeks as the season draws near. I’ll let you in on another little tip, because of the nature of the OBX rental market, it has been my experience that prime weeks often get more expensive as the season draws near. You may find a last minute cancellation, but chances are, owners are carrying a waiting list. Which is the perfect segway into Point 4…
  4. Find out about your selected rentals cancellation policy. A lot of life happens between now and the summertime. Plans change. It’s just that way. Be sure you have a firm grip on your rental’s cancellation policy. Do you get back the deposit? What’s the cutoff date? If your life is particularly volatile, you may consider purchasing trip insurance.
  5. Follow Through: Pull the trigger. Once you’ve answered the above questions, book it. Like, now. It’s my policy to hold dates for 24 hours to give prospective guest time to get things settled. Otherwise, it’s a first-come basis. I saw this play out a couple weeks ago, with in a span of 24 hours, 3 families wanted to book the same week. Two of them were within 20 minutes of each other. This isn’t about pressing the panic button, it’s a gentle nudge to avoid procrastination.


I  hope you find this helpful. Happy Booking!


Wishing you Fair Weather and Fond Memories,


Paisley & Pearl

January 21, 2016

Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Let’s talk about the weather. It’s a good topic, safe, totally PC and you’ve talked about it with likely thousands of folks over the course of your life. So we can talk about it too, right? It has come up quite a bit lately with our winter guests. In case you hadn’t considered it, The Outer Banks is beautiful in January and February. Not the throw-a-towel-down-on-the-sand-and-race-for-the-waves kinda beautiful (unless you’re a surfer with a great wetsuit or into Polar Bear Plunges – I’m neither.) It’s more of a quiet place to regroup after the holidays, reconnect with family and friends, live like a local and enjoy the weather – whatever it may be. My favorite word for Nags Head winter weather is “UNPREDICTABLE.”


David and I were in town between Christmas and New Years, outfitting Tandem Cottage. The temperature was in the upper 60s – it may have even hit 70 one day. It was crazy. The day after we left, the temperature dropped below freezing and Mike and Lisa let water drip in the sinks to keep the pipes from freezing. They were wearing flip-flops, of course.


Last weekend we were back in town, seeing to the final details of Tandem Cottage (pictures coming soon.) We arrived to torrential rains, like looking-for-an-ark kind of rain. Saturday, the weather was beautiful, 60ish, with a blue skies and a very slight breeze. David and I got a chance to try out my (new to me) toy,  A Canon T3 Rebel, but more on that later. The sunset Saturday night was one for the books, absolutely stunning. Since Monday was a holiday, we were able to stick around an extra day. Sunday night, was one of those not-fit-for-man-or-beast kinda nights. The wind was blowing straight out of the north, hard. I had to run a couple errands. So I bundled up, hat, scarf, gloves and ran squealing to the truck. It’s just what I do. Monday morning dawned clear and cool, back in the 50s.


So to recap, we had monsoon-like rains, 60-something degree-days, 30-something degree nights, beautiful sunsets, howling winds and blue skies. Sounds about right for winter in OBX.


I recently had an inquiry asking if there would be good weather for a stay in February. My answer, “It’s unpredictable, but it is its own kind of beauty.” One thing the locals say about weather in The Outer Banks, “If you don’t like it, don’t worry, it’ll change.” We saw that first hand this weekend. So grab a jacket, pack an umbrella and bring a good friend or a good book. Although the weather is unpredictable, one thing is certain- The Outer Banks will steal your heart.


Wishing You Fair Weather and Fond Memories,


Amy Underwood
Paisley & Pearl

December 9, 2015

T’was The Night Before…

Twas the Night Before Final Inspection and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse, (since we’ve already had our pest control company treat the property.)

The lights are all hung by our electrical contractor with care, in hopes that the Building Inspector will soon be there.

The cabinets are installed and the tile is in place, while I’m dreaming up artwork to fill up this space.

The new doors on their hinges and all fixtures installed, to tell you the truth, I’m completely enthralled.

What a flurry of action, the last few months have been, our contractors have been busy and now we’re almost ready to move in,

Then Come Surfers, Come Artists, Come Newlyweds and Families with Kids! Come Beachgoers, Come Fishermen, Come Explorers and all Canines!

It won’t be much longer, we’re practically through, ’til we hang out our sign and say, “We’re ready for you!”


Wishing you Fair Weather and Fond Memories,


Paisley & Pearl