The journey to the beautiful beaches of the Outer Banks of North Carolina starts in Currituck County. The 40-mile stretch of North Carolina’s Caratoke Highway is dotted with unique pit stops and opportunities for travelers to engage and contribute to the community they love to visit year after year. For many residents of Currituck County, the late spring to early fall months is make-it-or-break-it time as the population on the beach goes from 35,000 year-round swelling to over 250,000.
Buying local isn’t a trend. Buying local is an investment that reaches far beyond the profit and successes of a single business and contributes to the heart of a community. Every dollar spent at a local business will generate two-to-four times the economic impact than if it were spent at a non-local business. It’s called the Local Multiplier Effect and it means that nearly half of what is spent on a local business recirculates throughout the community.
“It’s a huge wheel or domino effect on everybody,” said Eddie-jo Powell of Powell’s Roadside Market along the highway in Sligo.
She and her husband William operate the Currituck County staple that stems from a 250 year-old family farm operated over 5 generations. Along with growing and selling their own produce, when people buy local it allows them to support other farmers and in-home businesses in the county and across the state.
The next time you’re headed for a family vacation on the Outer Banks, be sure to swing in to some of these local businesses to stock up on produce or to stretch your legs from the long journey. Bookend your journey to and from the Outer Banks with a pit stop at any one of the local businesses throughout Currituck County.
This year, Powell’s market will celebrate 35 years selling fresh produce at their roadside market. The farm goes back over 400 years, 250 of which have been in the hands of the Powell family. Just 10 minutes over the Virginia state line, it’s one of the first businesses you’ll encounter and is a great place to get out and stretch your legs. They specialize in fresh produce like asparagus, pumpkin and cabbage, while working with farmers across the county and state to provide in-season produce like corn each summer. They also work with local in-home businesses to provide everything from hand-crafted products to baked goods, fudge, jams and jellies.
Red wine is good for your heart. Any wine is good after a long road trip. Especially wine whose grapes were picked by hand, fermented, aged in oak barrels for years and served all on site. Sanctuary Vineyards is located just off the highway in Jarvisburg and is open 7 days a week. If you’re looking to stretch your legs, they offer tours of the winery. It’s also a good place to stock up for your vacation if you’re looking for a truly authentic taste of the area.
The craft beer industry is alive and well thanks to local businesses like the Weeping Radish Farm Brewery. Beyond a wide selection of Bavarian-inspired beers, there’s also a German master butcher in residence committed to buying meat from sustainable local family farms.
If you’re looking for a boost of adrenaline to get through the last bit of your drive, swing by the motor sports park or Digger’s Dungeon just 2 miles down the road. The locals-heavy, visitor-friendly motorsports park hosts everything from mud bogs and stunt drivers to auto cross while Grave Digger’s Dungeon lets you take a ride in a monster truck for just $5.
Need something to write home about? The onsite bakery of Grandy Greenhouse and Farm Market may be what you were looking for. Fresh vegetables come from farms throughout the region while they also offer frozen yogurt and handmade items at their nearby Rose Tree Gifts. Started by a husband and wife team over 25 years ago, the market is a perfect stop for a snack.
A father and son team launched this heaven-on-earth BBQ company in 2006 and have been going strong ever since. You’ll know you’re in the right place if you see a parking-lot full of cars with North Carolina plates. Not only is it a favorite among visitors, but it’s been steadily keeping the community hunger-free through fresh, home-made, family recipes.
A 15 minute pit stop on your way to the beach could prove to be a memorable experience for you and your family. Beyond stretching your legs and maybe grabbing a bite, a quick visit can mean the world to local business owners and your vacation experience as a whole.
For small business owners like Eddie-jo Powell and her husband William, “It’s a way of life, it’s not just a job,” she said.
Shopping and visiting local businesses means those businesses are able to employ people in their community, and their community becomes stronger as a result.
“We don’t want to just be known as a tourist stop,” Eddie-jo said.
She enjoys engaging and educating customers, putting a face on where the food comes from.
“We would like to see more family businesses evolve and survive.”