FEATURING THE COROLLA WILD HORSES
This year we did something a bit different for our holiday. A ‘family’ holiday. Not just the ‘Parker Pack’, the majority of the clan!
Sister, with her husband and two small children, picked Granny and Granddad up from the airport nearest them and also travelled by car to Outer Banks, North Carolina.
Henry, Reese, hubby and I packed up the truck and headed out to join them. We made one stopover en route just outside Washington. Next day we collected Father-in-law and his lady friend from the airport a little more than an hour from our rented accommodation. The long story version includes luggage issues and a second trip to the airport. We’ll stick with the shorter version.
My husband scored points for finding The Dolphin Inn. This beautiful seven bedroom home located in Southern Shores, North Carolina sleeps 17. Our group consisted of 8 adults, two children, and two dogs. Yes, The Dolphin Inn is Pet-friendly and has a Fenced-In Dog Kennel Area under Live Oak Tree for shade.
Staying at The Dolphin Inn is like staying at a friend’s place – and from now on when we visit, we will be staying at a friend’s place. Our host Jorge Herrada checked in with us to make sure we had everything we needed and provided so many suggestions regarding places to visit and things to see and do. Thank you, Jorge!
The layout is perfect – you certainly don’t feel as though you’re tripping over each other. The spacious kitchen, dining area with large table and plenty of seating and great room are all open on the top level. The great room boasts a selection of books, games, movies, a gas Fireplace, and a Large Screen Television with an abundant selection of Movie Channels (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax), a Tivo/DVR, and free Netflix shows. If you need to stay connected to work amenities also include free wireless internet. Budding astronomers in your group will enjoy the 70MM Refractor Telescope on the top level, set up to capture the galactic views on one of the many clear evenings.
The accommodation is situated just over a block to the ocean (a nice little walk with the dogs) and with decks framing the Inn, there is no shortage of picturesque views of the ocean. The Inn has a private pool, hot tub, volleyball court and pirate ship playhouse for the kids. View of deer not guaranteed but a definite bonus!
Guest privileges include Golf Club membership at the local Kilmarlic Golf Course, Bowling Club membership at the Outer Banks Bowling Center, as well as free boat launching at a nearby Marina. There is also free Tennis at the private tennis courts nearby and discounted rates on several other activities such as the wild horse tours.
We made several trips to visit the quaint town of Duck, which is located just over two miles North of Southern Shores. We rented kayaks from Kitty Hawk Kites (located in Duck) and enjoyed the beautiful views while burning off a few of the calories consumed at some of the local eateries.
One additional shop to mention is ‘Salty Paws Biscuits ‘ for All Natural Dog Treats!
Kitty Hawk, located just two miles south is convenient for groceries and other conveniences.
During our stay, we also visited Currituck Beach Light Station. Henry & Reese waited with Granny as John (hubby) and I ventured up the 220 steps to view the horizon at the top. It seems Henry & Reese were as much of an attraction to other visitors as the lighthouse! I’m sure Henry enjoyed the attention.
The one definite thing on my list to do was the Corolla Wild Horse tour. The Spanish Mustangs living in Outer Banks are the last in the world. We booked our tour with Corolla Outback Adventures. Proceeds from the tours are used to ensure the herd of wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs are protected, and responsibly managed. The tour company was founded by the Bender family who also generously donated a large portion of land on the northernmost Currituck Outer Banks where the horses roam freely.
Our history began in 1962 when the Benders began taking folks on tours from Kill Devil Hills to Corolla, there was no paved roads past Kitty Hawk to Duck, and phone numbers had 4 digits.
Over the years Corolla Outback Adventures has preserved a family history and tradition that was started in 1962 by my mother and father. Bender’s Beach Service guided fishing, hunting and sightseeing parties, sharing with them the beauty of the area we call home.
Growing up beyond where the road ends has given me an entirely different perspective. Things may change around us but this area remains timeless. Our family donated over 60 acres of land as a Wild Horse Sanctuary and we are fortunate to have exclusive access to observe them in their natural habitat.
I hope you’ll join us on our next OBX wild horse tour!
– Joan Bender, Owner & Jay Bender, Manager
Cattle Egrets perch on the backs of the wild Mustangs. The horses welcome them as the Egrets feast on bugs, horse flies, and ticks, keeping them away from the horses.
At one time (centuries ago), these tree stumps (buried far beneath the sand) were part of a Maritime Forest.
After the tour we enjoyed a beverage in the ‘Beer Garden.’
Henry & Reese were quite happy to relax at the Dolphin Inn when their people were out doing ‘people things.’ As you can see, there were plenty of opportunities to take them out (and wear them out) on other occasions. OBX offers the best of both worlds. A ‘dog-friendly’ holiday destination. We will visit again.