Stripers Bar and Grille

By Jennifer Grant

Our plans to eat breakfast while looking out over the marina had been slightly foiled by Mother Nature. The sky was dark and gloomy and the rainfall had just turned heavier as we pulled into the parking lot.


The stormy weather reflected how Laura and I felt about both our trip coming to an end and the four-hour car ride ahead of us that day. Determined to make the most out of our last meal of the trip, we parked, dashed out of the car, and ran for shelter from the rain at Stripers Bar and Grille in Manteo.


The restaurant turned out to be more of sports bar than I had anticipated. Along with its expansive brunch menu, we were also given a list of game day selections. Behind us, a football game played on all the televisions in the bar, while Top 40 pop music blared. Our table was in the perfect location to look out onto the Marina, but with all the fog and rain that day there wasn’t too much of a view. I found myself wishing we had visited on another day, when perhaps we would have seen boats out in the water and would have been met with sunshine instead of looming clouds.


I wasn’t expecting to see many complex brunch items on the menu, and yet I was pleasantly surprised. I was drawn to the crab egg benedict with a side of grits, while Laura opted for a benedict with pan-seared vegetables rather than crab. I laughed when she told me she was partial to Maryland crab and would only order it there.


My breakfast came out steaming with a thick layer of Hollandaise sauce and large chunks of crabmeat. By that point, I had worked up an appetite, so I quickly cut into my breakfast and watched the dripping yolk fill my plate. The grits were good, but were a different consistency than I was used to. They reminded me of rice pudding in a way, which was unexpected, but actually enjoyable.


As we ate, I overheard a very peppy and positive couple talking to a bartender. Just retired, they had recently moved to North Carolina from California, and wanted to discover all the state had to offer. Their excitement was contagious, and as Laura and I left the restaurant, I found myself feeling grateful for the opportunity we’d had to explore the Coastal Plains that weekend.

Front Porch Cafe

By: Dannie Cooper, 2013

On the third day of our travels along Route 64, we woke up in Plymouth and drove out to Manteo. Finding ourselves without caffeine and a little hungry, we decided to stop somewhere in Manteo.  One of our travel mates had heard of the Front Porch Cafe, so we thought we’d give it a try.  Unfortunately, the address listed on their website did not exist.  Luckily, we stumbled across the actual location as we drove past our hotel. 

I liked the place the instant I walked in.  It felt like a festive, locally-owned Starbucks. The room felt like it was lit with natural light – not too dim and not too bright – and it was very spacious, with a variety of seating options. The walls were shelves packed with their wares, including local coffees, coffee syrups, teas, wines (including select Vineyards on the Scuppernong labels), Island-made jams, artistic mugs, tea kettles and greeting cards. The radio played a selection of popular songs, and not just the Top 40 on repeat. The staff was super friendly.  Overall, the place had that nice local feeling without making me feel like the tourist or outsider. In fact, when we stopped in the next day on our way out, the barista recognized us, which added to the place’s great feel. 

I ordered a plain bagel with butter and a hot chocolate.  The bagel was nicely toasted, but not burnt, and the butter was applied in a nice amount – not too greasy, but not too dry.  My first sip of hot chocolate was amazing.  It was the perfect temperature, and I was very happy to not have to worry about burning my tongue.  The best part was really that the hot chocolate didn’t have an aftertaste to it.  Bitter aftertaste is the reason I have a love-hate relationship with most hot chocolates, but the Front Porch Cafe’s hot chocolate was all love.

Yet what really stood out to me as I walked around was the bra-ha-ha entries at the back of the room.  According to one of the staff members, the bras are part of a national bra-ha-ha which is meant to raise breast cancer awareness.  All of the bras are made by local students of all levels and are meant to raise awareness within the community.  For me, this was just another aspect of the Front Porch Cafe that illustrated their friendly, local charm.

For more information on the Front Porch Cafe, please visit:

Elizabethan Gardens

By Mei Bess, 2013

Elizabethan Gardens, home to the largest bronze statue of Queen Elizabeth I and ten acres of beautiful landscaping in Manteo, NC. Construction began on June 2, 1953, the same day Queen Elizabeth II was crowned Queen of England. As we drove past the entrance to find a parking spot the beauty of its exterior stunned me. “We should’ve filmed as we were driving by!” Bubba exclaimed. She was my entertainment and driving companion for most of the trip. The history was clear from the parking lot. We could already see the historical iron gates and antique furnishings – which we later found out was obtained over the years through donors.

A young woman who managed the gift shop greeted us. There were wonderful trinkets and decorations in the shop, all of which would look excellent inside or outside of anyone’s home. The prices were a bit steep, but would definitely be a notable piece to any guests who visited the home of those who purchased an item. Soon, we were overwhelmed by the artificial scents of the little shop, so we made our way to the main attraction.

The garden was quite peaceful and serene.  They say you can tell how prestigious a college is by its number of bell towers and fountains, and in this case, it applies to this fountain-filled garden. In fact, the first décor, that everyone who walked into the garden would spot, was a fountain. There were at least three others that we came across, each one more elaborate than the last. The garden was decorated with a variety of statues, including Roman gods and goddesses and Virginia Dare, the first child of European parents to be born on American soil. There was a great lawn hidden in the right lung of the garden where, to no surprise, many weddings are held each year.

My favorite part had to be the colony walk. It was a dirt trail that led to a gate. Behind the gate were crashing waves and a massive body of water. Not only could I see the history all throughout the garden, I could smell it in the salt of the sea. We spotted what appeared to be a sailboat off in the distance. It was a beautiful ending to a wonderful visit to a glorious location that is a must-see if another trip is made to the coast.

Review of the Island Guest House

By Dannie Cooper, 2013

The Island Guest House is a cute hotel in Manteo, North Carolina.  From the road, it’s barely visible; only a sign in front of the main building marks its location.  As we pulled up the driveway past the main building, we were greeted by the actual hotel building with a row of colorful doors and shutters.  The location wasn’t much; the only view from the lot is the neighbor’s tall white fence.  Yet, the building is cute and cheery.

The inside of our room was about the same as the outside.  The room was simple, but had a nice feel to it.  We had two double-sized beds, a wicker loveseat and table, a micro-fridge, and a TV hanging on the wall, angled at the beds. The bathroom was clean, except for the slightly rusted showerhead.  The bathroom window was nice, but the style of the shutter made it possible for peepers.  The extra blanket on the shelf was a nice hospitable touch; however, the room was uncomfortably warm for October, even with the fan on and having turned the A/C to low.

The main building has a tiki bar out back, which I imagine is fun in the summer months, but the hotel is otherwise quaint and calm.  The hotel also features free WiFi for guests and a continental breakfast.

Overall, I enjoyed my stay at the Island Guest House.  It was simple and quiet, which is appealing for the laid back traveler.

For more information, visit the Island Guest Houses’ Website here.

At Home in a Foreign Environment

By: Phoebe Hyde

Located amongst the quaint, wood-paneled homes of Manteo, Full Moon Café and Brewery sits on the far side of the street from the water, offering a one-of-a-kind brew. Here, small batches of British ales are produced using imported malts and hops.  Housing both British and Irish style beers, Full Moon Brewery uses Otter malt as their base and adds various combinations of Black Patent, Brown malt, Crystal malt, and Roasted barley to the preferred taste of each beer. Fuggles, East Kent Golding and Challenger are the hops used at the brewery. From the Baltimore Blonde, named after the owner, Paul’s, wife—a blonde beer lover from Maryland—to the newly introduced Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch—an 11 percent alcoholic imperial beer named after Catherine the Great (who preferred a good stout), Full Moon Café and Brewery has a lot to offer. But only in Manteo. This small year old business does not have the size or the consistent, year-round revenue to bottle their beers. Only recently did they allow “to go” drinks (specialized for Manteo’s block party on the first Friday of every month).

We were able to connect with owner Paul Charron—a beer lover who discovered his love from drinking British ales throughout his life living in an Irish New York neighborhood. His enthusiasm and willingness to speak with us was admirable, as he balanced sharing the history behind his passion for brewing beer with greeting customers at the door and offering them either an indoor or outside patio table. It was clear that Charron is a well-involved business owner, as it is more common that a hostess be hired for the role of greeting customers. Instead, Charron runs his business from the floor, creating an extremely close-knit family-like group of employees, which is exuded in the way they all interact and share jokes not only with one another but with us. Each one of the six employees we had the opportunity to interact with engaged in open conversation with us, always with an ear-to-ear smile on his or her face. Some may say this is simply the nature of the restaurant business, but I beg to differ. There was undoubtedly a unique ambiance built by the employees and owners of The Full Moon Café & Brewery that encouraged our desire to spend an extended amount of time sitting at the bar counter. That, and the delicious taste of these one-of-a-kind, exclusively brewed mugs of rich caramel colored liquid that were sitting in front of us, of course.


Originally brewing beer as a hobby, Charron realized his interest was expanding elaborately and would need to be moved out of his family’s home to maintain good relations. His wife had previously started the Full Moon Café in 1995, so he decided to merge his “business” with hers. Charron custom built a brewing system in the now Fill Moon Café & Brewery, and today handcrafts each batch produced.

Today, Full Moon Café and Brewery has six handcrafted beers. Four out of six of them are session beers—low alcohol, British style beers that one can drink many of in one sitting (or “session”). Newly introduced to Charron’s menu, however, are two high gravity beers—a 9 percent alcoholic scotch ale named Stone of Destiny, which Charron claims makes Guinness taste like water, and an 11 percent alcoholic Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch as mentioned earlier.  Stone of Destiny is a Scotch ale, with caramel, cocoa, and coffee flavors with a hint of smoke. It has a rich dark color, and is recommended as an Autumn seasonal. Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch is an imperial stout—a beer known for requiring higher alcohol content to allow for preservation along the long export journey from 18th century London to the Russian royal court. While the other session ales are a bit calmer, their flavors are not to go unrecognized. The first brewed beer, The Lost Colony (after the town’s nickname which can be read about here), was brewed five years ago, and has an ever-changing recipe. After all, it has quite a name to live up to, and Charron just can’t seem to reach complacency with his various recipes for the northern English style ale. He claims he has changed the recipe at least five times. The Lost Colony is currently a Walnut colored red ale with a sweet malty taste. Caramel, coffee and molasses flavors from the imported British malts imbue the liquid. In addition to that, the Charon Stout is offered. This is a dry Irish stout with molasses, caramel and toasted malt flavors. Stouts are robust full flavor porters but less filling and with fewer calories than most beers. Then, Manteo Porter is brewed with a blend of Crystal, Brown and Chocolate malts for a creamy delivery balanced by traditional Fuggle hops. And last, Baltimore Blonde (the one named after Charron’s wife) is a British bitter with citrus flavors and aromas, and a dry finish. This beer is a little darker and a bit more bitter than most blondes. He is not in love with the current recipe, but stated, “you can’t change a beer that you’ve named after your wife.”


To suppress our buzz we looked to the wide-ranging café menu that perfectly complements the brewery favorites. Looking for a small snack, we ordered an appetizer to split between four of us—baked brie. This brie was served alongside thinly sliced green apple wedges, and topped with roasted almonds. Two triangular white bread baguette wedges, grilled and lightly buttered also came with the dish. This small appetizer was beautifully served, making one hesitate to jump in with their butter knife and ruin the display. Truly one of the best presentations of any dish I’d seen in the area. The brie was simply warmed, and not encrusted in a pastry crust as many baked brie recipes often are. This allowed for the taste to be a bit milder than expected, which for some may be appealing, as brie is known to be a particularly potent cheese. If the rest of Manteo hadn’t been urging our exploration, we would have undoubtedly spent a majority of our time at this homey restaurant, jumping into the Carolina crab cake sandwich or the moon melt which made our mouths water as they passed by on their way to other patrons’ tables.


Full Moon Brewery & Café stands out in my mind as one of the most noteworthy places I visited along Highway 64. The ambiance and culture of the restaurant is matchless and unrivaled in the area. The restaurant blends a tourist-dominated demand with a congenial, cozy environment, making travelers feel relaxed in a foreign environment in case the shore side villas weren’t enough to do the trick.

Manteo: A tourist destination, or a small town?

By Mia Brady

Despite the fact that I have attended college in North Carolina for the past four years, the Outer Banks is a place that I had not yet managed to journey to before this road trip. As we pulled up to the final stop on our Highway 64 tour, I stepped out of the car expecting the ocean to be somewhere in sight; I had heard from friends of the Outer Banks’ amazing beaches and rolling sand dunes. But rather, I found myself facing a beautiful harbor full of boats, and streets lined with picturesque shops and restaurants. Manteo grabbed my attention; I was curious about this beautiful end to Highway 64, and start to the expansive Outer Banks.

Manteo is a small town on Roanoke Island, which lies directly between the mainland and the barrier islands of the Outer Banks. In order to visit the beach towns of the Outer Banks, it is essential for travelers to drive through this charming town. There is no question from where their temptation to get out and walk around may come. Manteo does not have much of what I assumed or anticipated of the Outer Banks, but after spending just a few hours in this town, there is no question that rather than the appeal of rolling beaches, this picturesque town has an appeal of it’s own.

Walking around Manteo, its homey feel is palpable. With Manteo’s quaint shops and restaurants, storefronts with porches and patios, and neat streets, downtown Manteo is an attraction of the Outer Banks for all to see. We spent the first half hour or so just walking around, and getting a feel for this place before really diving in and speaking to the locals. It wasn’t until we spoke to locals that we really understood that Manteo is far more than a quaint little town, but rather, a quaint little town that is torn between a tourist destination, and a town focused on it’s locals.

After popping into a small jewelry store, and speaking briefly to the owner, she directed us to The Coffeehouse On Roanoke Island, a quaint coffee shop just around the corner, with the promise that the employees would love to give us meaningful insight on the town of Manteo.

Leaded by the antique sign pointing us up the stairs, we climbed until we reached the front door of this welcome shop. Upon entering, I immediately noticed the homey feel of the small, little coffee shop. With plush couches, antique tables and lots of framed photos, newspaper articles and signs, I had no question that The Coffeehouse On Roanoke Island was a great place to gain a better understanding on the community feel in Manteo.

As we approached the counter, and pondered what to order off the huge colored chalkboard, featuring drinks like Forbidden Fruit smoothies and Butterscotch milk shakes, we were greeted by the friendly employees. After ordering our drinks (I got a delicious ice coffee with a sugar free vanilla flavor shot), we took some time to peruse this unique spot, noticing framed local newspaper articles and a chalkboard wall for guests to sign. A few minutes later, as the coffee shop became less and less crowded, we took the opportunity to introduce ourselves, and start up a conversation with the employees, Monique and Bethany, two young women in their 20s.

When initiating conversation with these two women, we had no idea that 45 minutes later, we would walk out of the coffeehouse with some strong insight and opinions on the town Monique and Bethany grew up calling home, and still call home today. Monique is the new owner of the shop, and her mother was the former owner. Bethany, the younger woman, has worked in the shop for years, and has lived in Manteo her entire life. While the small town is appealing to tourists and travelers with its quaint shops and stores filled with antiques and gifts, the distinction between attention on tourists and attention on locals is a struggle for the small bayside town.

Bethany and Monique contribute business for The Coffeehouse on Roanoke Island to both tourists and locals, noting that they have a stream of regulars every morning until about 10 am. After 10 am, the tourists come wandering in, looking for a smoothie to cool them down or a cup of coffee for a pick-me-up. But as business owners and locals, they have their own opinion on the way Manteo caters to them as locals. The Coffeehouse takes pride in their ability to stay open all year. Their website states, “We are open YEAR ROUND to serve the community and do thank the locals for their support!!” While the coffeehouse is able to stay open all year long, this is not the case for many Manteo restaurants and shops.

Living in Manteo has its pluses, as both women note that it was a great place to grow up, and Monique is even raising her own children in the area. But there is no question that in terms of negatives, living in a town like Manteo can make it difficult to be a local. The women note that they wish more establishments stayed open for the locals, as residents, particularly youth, run out of things to do off-season. But the truth of the matter is, how can a small town, whose tourist season greatly supports many of the establishments financially, function the same way in the off-season as the tourist season?

Paul Charron, the owner of a Full Moon Café & Brewery on Queen Elizabeth Street in Manteo, is native to Manhattan. He picked up, and left and moved down to Manteo, saying he’d live nowhere in between. Paul and his wife Sharon have been operating this corner restaurant, just a few blocks from the bay in the heart of downtown Manteo, for the past 17 years. A unique menu, the recent added value of homebrewed craft beers, and recognized as a hotspot on the Outer Banks by The New York Daily News and The Washington Post, this is not a place to miss when visiting Manteo.

While Paul and Sharon run a successful business, Paul stated that staying open year round was simply out of the question for them, and reaped far more problems than it did benefits. There simply is not a big enough pool of people in the off-season to run the restaurant smoothly. While Full Moon as been running since 1995, the brewery component of the establishment was just added in the past year. At the rate that Full Moon has been growing, this relatively small restaurant is incapable of catering only to locals. With a steady stream of customers during tourist season, Paul has noticed that locals to Manteo will not take the time to wait as tourists will. Staying open for locals year round is just simply not something that Full Moon has the means to do. The same can be said for many other establishments in Manteo.

Manteo is a charming bayside town with friendly locals. This town is also a charming vacation spot for tourists. It is a beautiful town, that like many other tourists destinations, is torn between a destination, catered towards visitors, and a small town, with businesses and citizens living their day-to-day lives. Regardless of the tear between a tourist destination and a small town, Manteo is a place that is enjoyable to all; whether you are a local or a tourist.