The grand opening ofÂ Jennettes Pier in Nags Head was this past weekend (May 21, 2011) and I had a chance to preview what it’s all about and I admit it–Im reduced to one word descriptions. Wow! Amazing! Superlative!
AÂ 1000 long concrete pier, I’m sure there’s a hurricane out there somewhere that can take it down–but I’ve got to think it would have to be something bigger than Isabel that ripped the end of the pier off in 2003.
It isÂ an environmental marvel. Three wind turbines are capable of providing up to 50% of the facilities needs at full capacity, and during the winter, when power needs go down, the system is capable of selling power back to Dominion Power. There are solar panels on one of the information kiosks, and in the pier house (and even in the parking lot) there are so many concepts and ideas to limit the environmental impact of the site that has to be seen–no way to describe it all. It is, truly, a real life example of what is possible.
Fishing and cleaning stations are all along the pier, and I’m sure at 1000 feet out into the Atlantic and at a depth of right around 30, there’s got to be some king mackeral and cobia waiting to be caught!
The pier house–well, more like mansion. There are two aquariums inside showing the fish that you could expect to see under the pier. As well as a beautiful retail store, interactive information panels and a science and education lab.Â The upstairs ballroom is the capper. Big enough for parties up to 150 or 175 guests, spectacular views and a full catering kitchen–there is nothing else quite like it on the beach.
The pier is a state owned facility, although it will be administered by the NC Aquarium Society, and both the state and society see education as part of their mandate. According to Christin Brown, Education Coordinator for the pier, plans call for every Dare County student to visit the pier in the coming year.
In addition to being a platform for grade school education, the pier is already a staging gro
und for more advanced research. There are already a number of ongoing studies on wave energy, solar energy and long-term data collection of wave action, but in remarks at the press preview, Mike Muglia, Field Research Coordinator for the Coastal Studies Institute, felt the pier could become a center for field research.
Built by the state of North Carolina, this may be one of those times when government got it right. It’s the type of project that seems to promise tremendous benefit to the community. Locals will love it, visitors will flock to it, and most likely local businesses–especially at that little corner of Nags Head, have got to love it.
Don’t take my word for it. Take a day with the family, walk out on the pier, and see for yourself if the word ‘Wow’ comes even close to describing it.