In a journal on the coffee table in the living room, previous guests had written their impressions. I realized, upon reading it, that some families had come back to this house year after year. As I watched two big cousins put water wings on two little cousins for a trip down to the hot tub, one aunt rock a tiny niece to sleep, and two brothers-in-law shoot the breeze on the deck, I hoped that somehow we might do the same.

planning tools
planning tools
how to duplicate this beach house experience for yourself? to locate more than 125,000 rental properties all over north america, visit the web site of the vacation rental managers association - of which our agent's company, twiddy & company realtors, is a member. log on to www.vrma.com to browse through them, or call (800) 871-8762 to order a directory. to find a house in the outer banks specifically, try www.twiddy.com.

but why choose a professionally managed property rather than just finding someone who wants to rent out a home for a couple of weeks?

"what will you do if the hot water heater in your dream house in maui quits, and the person you've rented it from is in new york?" asks michael sarka, executive director of the vrma. if you work through an agency, you can be sure your house is complete, clean, and fully maintained - and you'll have a local number to call if it isn't. we were certainly glad when twiddy showed up almost instantly after we reported that the air conditioner at our house was on the fritz.

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family activities around duck


north duck watersports, (252) 261-4200, can set you up for parasailing, windsurfing, and jet skiing.

professor hacker's lost treasure golf, in kill devil hills, (252) 480-0142, includes a train ride and lots of great mini-golf architecture.