Editor’s Note: Terry Bell and her husband created Outer Banks Restaurant Tours in 2011 based on what they had seen in other vacation locals. Outer Banks Restaurants, being some of the finest you will find anywhere, seemed like a natural fit. Below you will find her story. Terry has also agreed to provide local restaurant reviews. These best restaurant reviews can be added to your list of must eat places on the Outer Banks. And make sure you give Terry’s business a try. It’s like a smorgasbord of the very best. Not often you get that type of opportunity! To contact Terry about Outer Banks Restaurant Tours, please call 252-722-2229 or check out the Outer Banks Restaurant Tours website for more details. Now from Terry herself ...
One of the benefits of being empty nesters is that you finally have a chance to do some of the things you've always wanted to do, but postponed or forgot about while working and raising a family. For my husband and me, that has meant being able to travel to places we’ve always wanted to go to and to experience life in different parts of this country and the world. Our favorite travel tip? Restaurant tours.
These tours are offered in many cities throughout the United States and the world. Most operate similar to a pub crawl, where visitors get to experience several restaurants on a tour. Usually samples of food are expertly paired with wine or beer. Often, traditional, sometimes ancient methods of preparation are demonstrated.
What we have discovered is that perhaps the best way to truly experience a place is through the food of the region. Think about it. Cultural and culinary traditions develop because of the geography, climate, geology, and history of a region. Things like proximity to the sea, a temperate climate, rocky soil, famine, wars, and immigration can impact the types of food and methods of preparation that are unique to any given place in the world. Experiencing local cuisine, prepared with fresh, local ingredients in season, and having the opportunity to talk with local people about their food can provide tremendous insight into everything that makes a place special. Restaurant tours have allowed us as tourists an opportunity to encompass all these facets of knowledge about a region and condense them into one very enjoyable, informative, and satisfying afternoon.
The tours had the added benefit of allowing us to sample several restaurants in an unfamiliar area, thereby cluing us into the best places to eat while we were there. Plus, we just like to eat really good food!
As a result of our experiences on restaurant tours in other cities, we realized that this is something that the Outer Banks did not offer, in spite of the many excellent restaurants here. Armed with little more than a love of good food and wine, and hungry stomachs, we set about the task of changing that!
In January of 2011, we began to approach local restaurants to determine their level of interest in participating on a tour. Most restaurant owners loved the idea and were eager to participate. Thus, Outer Banks Restaurant Tours was born! This past summer, Outer Banks Restaurant Tours offered tours in four areas of the Outer Banks: Kitty Hawk, Duck, Roanoke Island (Manteo), and Corolla. The tours in Duck and Roanoke Island were walking tours, while the tours in Kitty Hawk and Corolla were driving tours. They were offered early in the week so that participants would have the opportunity to go back to the restaurants or markets during the remainder of their stay.
Owners and chefs graciously made themselves available to meet guests and spent time chatting about their background, their restaurant, and their food. Along the way, participants also picked up little tidbits of information about local farming, the local fishing industry, and local history. Small plate samples of signature dishes were provided, paired with wine or beer. Some owners and chefs offered cooking demonstrations and kitchen tours for a behind-the-scenes look at fresh, local ingredients and food preparation.
While each tour has its own unique character, the common factor uniting all these owners and chefs is that they are passionate about what they do, and that comes through loud and clear in their presentations and their food.
Outer Banks Restaurant Tours is planning to operate from mid-May through September, 2012. If you are a first-time visitor, this is a great way to find the best places to eat. If you are a regular visitor to the Outer Banks or a full-time resident, don’t despair! A restaurant tour can introduce you to new places to eat and allow you to experience old favorites in a more personal way. So, whether you are a bona fide foodie or you just like to eat, there is something for everyone on these tours! Bon Appetit!
Terry's current list of recommendations. Check back every month as Terry lets us in on her favorites!