There is definitely merriment around these parts this time of year. I am not sure if it is after the deep sigh of relief that Hurricane season is over, the beginning of the trout bite, then thinning of the traffic after all of the fall activities, or the official kick off of local oyster season, but Thanksgiving on the Outer Banks is truly a magical time of year.
Check out cashiers at the grocery store, restaurant workers, and even postal workers offer up a cheery greeting and wishes for a ‘’Happy Thanksgiving” abound as you crisscross town preparing for the big day. Passing fellow parents in the school hallway or while socializing at a holiday kickoff cocktail party; hugs abound and people are genuinely excited to connect and spend time with one another. Almost as if we are gathering around a communal table at each interaction and somehow sharing that connection of gratitude with each other.
My first Thanksgiving living here, I was alone and enjoyed what may be one of my favorite Thanksgiving meals at Owen’s Restaurant. Growing up in the country in Virginia, we never had striper or shrimp on our turkey day table and they were a welcome addition to the usual suspects including stuffing, casseroles and mashed potatoes. Now years later, I spend Thanksgiving with my husband, two daughters, my mom and our dog- that is kicked off with a mimosa or bloody mary and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Then we bundle up and take everyone, including the toddler and dog, for a long hike in Nags Head Woods, which has become an annual tradition. Family dinner with relatives and football end the evening and then we are up early the next morning preparing for another annual tradition- the post turkey day Oyster Roast. While you can get oysters year round, there is nothing like a salty local oyster in late November: maybe because it is best chased down by a cold beer with friends and a heap of gratitude.