Salvo North Carolina

The Outer Banks of Yesteryear

For most of our time going to the Outer Banks, we had never heard of the town of Salvo. We were quite comfortable with the northern end of the island and so never really wandered south of Oregon's Inlet. When we decided to acquire a second property, our realtor suggested that we take a look at some property on Hatteras Island. To give you some perspective on time line, this was 2005, about two year after Hurricane Isabel had devastated a good part of the Outer Banks. The first development we looked at was in Rodanthe NC. Our realtor showed us the lot and pointed out the beautiful unobstructed ocean view. "Wow," I thought, "this is the first development I’ve ever come across that didn’t have a dune ... what happened to the dune?" The answer was that Isabel had washed it away. If I have a great unobstructed view of the ocean, that meant the ocean would have a great unobstructed view of our new Outer Banks vacation home ... NEXT DEVELOPMENT.

The next development was in Waves, and was in the middle of an established neighborhood. Our house would be the nicest house in the neighborhood by a long shot ... one thing I was taught, you NEVER want to be the nicest house in the neighborhood by a long shot ... NEXT DEVELOPMENT.

The Salvo Beach: Pick any spot you want.

Finally we travel through the town of Salvo NC to a development called South Beach. It is so called because it is the last development before youenter 15 miles of Park Service land leading to Avon NC. That means no one can ever build any development south of you for 15 miles. (Seclusion ... the first star) In addition, the development was being set up as a rental community, and has a double dune as protection (stars two and three), and finally, we could pick out a piece of land that would situate us as the third house from the beach with great ocean and sound views (star four). The clincher, however, was the fact that it was about 12 noon, and we walked to the beach and found maybe six people on the beach ... wow, it was 1992 all over again! SOLD! This sure was heaven for us … and hence the name of our house, "Shore’s Heaven". (Had to have the Philly spin in there, since we don’t go to the beach in Philly, we go down to the shore.)

Okay, enough about how we found this wonderful town, now why should YOU want to vacation here? It is largely a residential community, with very wide clean beaches. The people are extremely friendly, just go visit the folks at the Blue Whale, which is the local general store or go visit Kimmie over at the Pea Island Art Gallery right across the street from the South Beach development to see one of the coolest art stores you will ever come across.

If you are into surfing of any kind (traditional, kite, wind) they have ALL of that here. As a matter of fact, the surfing in the Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo area is the best in the Outer Banks.

Beach driving is permitted (with some restrictions during bird nesting periods and now requires a permit), and there are several access ramps in the park service area, where you can pick and choose where you would like to go fishing. Beach fires are also permitted as long as they are set below the high tide line and a sufficient distance form the dunes. Salvo is located on Hatteras Island and is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Family picture on the Salvo beach at sunset

Did I mention the people? Another quick story: The first year we stayed at our house, my wife Janet purchased the book, Hatteras Driving Tour & Guide Book by Molly Harrison. She’s telling me all of these facts about the area, like it used to be called Clarks or Clarksville, but when the post office came in 1901, they renamed it "Salvo". Why? Well the story goes that during the Civil War, a Union Ship sailed past and when the commander asked what town they were looking at no one knew as it was not on the map. The commander ordered them to "fire a salvo". Apparently, someone marked the location as Salvo, and when the post office came to town in 1901, they came across another map that had named the area "Salvo", and so the name stuck.

I tell you that story to tell you this story. So my wife is getting all of these “fun facts” about the area, and decides to go to church that Sunday at Clarks Bethel United Methodist Church, which is at the end of the South Beach development. She was warmly greeted and invited to stay for “supper”, a luncheon they were having for the congregation where everyone brought a dish. She strikes up a conversation with a few of the parishioners about the things she read in the book including the old post office that apparently is in one of the people’s yards, and how she would have loved to see it as her father was a postman as well. Lo and behold, it turns out that every story she had read in the book was about either someone in the congregation or the ancestor of someone in the congregation. They did take her over to see the Salvo post office (kind of looks like a big shed painted in red, white and blue).

If you are looking for a town where you want to leave behind the hustle and bustle of your other 51 weeks of the year, Salvo is the place for you.

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