There is a wonderful feeling of rightness as the seasons change on the Outer Banks. A sense that, here on the shoreline of North Carolina, at the edge of a continent, life in the slow lane somehow brings the patterns of nature more clearly into focus. “Life in the slow lane” is a phrase used with caution, because most of us tend to work very long and hard hours during the summer. Yet it is an apt description of a lifestyle and a place to live.

This summer has been extraordinary by any standards–high occupancy, retail stores full, restaurants packed–but it is coming to the end of its cycle.

We know this because the college kids are getting ready to go back to school. The college kids leaving are the first tangible sign that summer is ending. North Carolina schools start up again on the 28th and it’s an early Labor Day this year, falling on September 3rd.

Autumn is the most beautiful time of year on the Outer Banks. The searing heat of mid summer has moderated just enough to be warm but pleasant, the ocean temperatures are still in the mid 70s to 80, there are still enough folks visiting for all the businesses to stay open, but the lines at restaurants are a memory from the summer. In some way, however, there’s more to do in the fall than any other season.

There’s a couple of golf tournaments–the Century Links Classic for the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce  on September 18 and the Paul Shaver Memorial Classic in November. On the last weekend in September the Outer Banks Charity Classic is a fundraiser for Dare Home and Health.

Things really kick into another gear in October. There’s so much to do on Columbus Day weekend (October 5-7) that it would take a few gallons of coffee and a willingness to ignore traffic laws to do everything.

The Duck Jazz Festival has become one of the premier jazz events on the East Coast. Held on Sunday the 7th, it is a free event and typically 3000-4000 people show up. A lot  of the musicians are in town for the weekend and they’ll get booked into local bars and nightclubs–and sometimes they’ll just show up and sit in with someone and jam.

The Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival is new this year and is a weekend long event held atRoanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo. Live music on Friday and Saturday–workshops and jams on Sunday. An amazing lineup headlined by Rhonda Vincent.)

Also Artrageous, the Dare County Arts Council’s fundraiser is that weekend.

The following weekend is Mike Dianna’s Mustang Music Festival up in Corolla. Two days of an extraordinary range of music on two stages. An amazing event–get there if you can.

The following weekend–on October 20th–the Outer Banks Seafood Festival. A full day of fresh seafood, music and fun.

Looking back over how much there is to do in September and October, maybe it doesn’t slow down all that much. And there’s still November to come. We’ll talk about that some other time. No matter how hectic it may seem at times, though, the one thing you never want to forget is to dig your toes into the sand and look out over the ocean.