• Tuesday, October 18th - Sunday, October 23rd

The Outer Banks, and the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge in particular, is known as one of the best bird watching destinations in the world, and the annual Wings Over Water celebrates this distinction like no other local festival. The weeklong event, which is held each October, features a wide range of educational programs, lectures, and opportunities to meet and greet with fellow birders. During this year's festival, attendees will also have the opportunity to go on guided birding trips, attend art and photography workshops, take a tram or kayak tour of National Wildlife Refuge, visit an ancient maritime forest, and much, much more. A complete schedule can be found online at the organization's website, and attendees should note that some programs do cost a small fee to participate.

The festival and accompanying programs take place throughout the Outer Banks, particularly at the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on Hatteras Island and at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge on the Dare County mainland. As a result, festival attendees can easily join in the fun regardless of where they're staying on the Outer Banks. Potential visitors will want to register beforehand for their favorite trips or workshops online to ensure a spot, as space is limited for many of the programs. Essentially, Wings Over Water is a fantastic way for newcomers and birding experts alike to come together and discover, in detail, the inherent wild nature of the Outer Banks at its best. With plenty of tours, trips, workshops and seminars to choose from, every nature lover will find an enticing reason to join in the fun.

The Cotton Gin

The Cotton Gin

Jarvisburg location is temporally closed. For those traveling to the Outer Banks, The Cotton Gin is a beloved landmark with its large windmill and picturesque gardens. The Cotton Gin has stood in the same location since 1929, starting as a working cotton gin and growing to a gift store with 4 locations. Visitors are treated to a unique shopping experience in our main store in Jarvisburg, as well as our beach stores in Corolla, Duck, and Nags Head. Explore room after room filled with décor for your home and coastal fashions for both men and women. Discover the brands you really want, like, Vera Bradley, Vineyard Vines, La Mer Luex, Simply Southern, Lindsay Phillips, Scout, Pandora, Kameleon, Brighton, Spartina, Tommy Bahama, Southern Tide and Salt Life and Old Guys Rule - all under one roof!

 

Don’t forget the gourmet market, or shop our beautiful linens for your bedroom and bath. We also feature coastal books and fine art, or just a whimsical fun gift to bring home to family and friends. Stop by soon and don’t forget to try our estate grown wines in our stores or visit our vineyard and winery, Sanctuary Vineyards, located adjacent to the original Cotton Gin in Jarvisburg.

 

Most know The Cotton Gin as a must-stop shop for fine gifts, beachwear, souvenirs and so much more, but this retailer has a long-standing history within the Outer Banks. A local landmark that holds almost a century of memories, The Cotton Gin started from humble beginnings and continues to adapt to the times and tourists. Tommy Wright’s family has been in the Outer Banks for nearly 200 years. His great-great grandfather, Jacob Francis Wright, shipwrecked in Duck back in the early 1800s. Calling these barrier islands his new home, Wright and his family acclimated to their new environment.

 

Adaptation is a common theme for the Wright family. Tommy and his wife Candace, who continue to steer The Cotton Gin, have seen not only their business change with the times, but the Outer Banks as a vacation destination as well. A farm market in Jarvisburg eventually transformed and flourished into several retail locations dotting the Outer Banks.

 

“As the area changed and tourism took off in the 1960s, the family saw people coming for vacations, so they began to grow vegetables and things developed from there,” says Tommy Wright. The Wright family expanded upon the farm market and began to remodel a working cotton gin, later transforming the gin into The Cotton Gin general store in the late 1960s. While the additions to the farm store drew visitors, it was their encounters with the Wright family that kept people coming back year after year, which is something that remains true today.

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