he barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina are dotted with quaint towns and villages, each with its own individual character and charm — but Duck has one thing no other Outer Banks community can claim: A Soundside Boardwalk.

The mile-long boardwalk — which extends from Aqua Restaurant & Spa to Sunset Grill — can be accessed from strategic parking and pedestrian right of way crossings to play, shop and dine.

Throughout Duck, an array of shops are arranged in a low-key collection of shopper-friendly complexes, including Osprey Landing, Scarborough Faire Shopping Village, Scarborough Lane Shoppes, The Waterfront Shops, Wee Winks Square, Duck Commons, Duck Soundside Shops and Loblolly Pines.

Shops range from gourmet markets and funky gift shops to upscale boutiques and specialty merchants — and all within walking distance. Along the way, you can enjoy a favorite coffee, tea and fresh-baked pastry or stop for a relaxing meal at The Bluepoint Restaurant, Aqua Restaurant or Sunset Grille, where a stunning sunset and live music are on the menu.

There’s no shortage of fun to be had in this quaint community, from live music to special events designed to enhance the Duck experience. Here’s a sampling:

Each Tuesday from May through September, Tommy’s Natural Foods and Wine Shop in Duck hosts its Taste it Tuesdays event.

The public is invited to sip wine and micro-brews and sample more than 20 specialty foods, including salsa, dips, olive oil, balsamics, marinades, cookies, homemade cakes, coffee, tea and more. The event, which is from 2 to 6 p.m., is free.

Tommy’s Natural Foods and Wine Shop is at 1242 Duck Road. For more information, visit tommysmarket.com.

On Tuesday, May 8, visitors are invited to enjoy Spring Nature on the Boardwalk.

The event, which is from 6:30 to 8 p.m., includes a guided stroll along the Town of Duck’s soundside boardwalk to check out wildlife and local plants with an NC Aquarium educator.

A morning walk is planned from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 23.

The walks start at the Town Hall and head either north or south on the boardwalk.

The guided walks are free, but space is limited.

To register for a date, call (252) 255-1234 or email Betsy Trimble at btrimble@townofduck.com.

If you’d like to nurture your inner Gordon Ramsay or Giada De Laurentiis, head to The Spice & Tea Exchange of Duck, where co-owners Terry Bell and her daughter Megan Scott host the monthly Spice & Tea Exchange Chef Series Dinner.

An admitted “foodie,” Bell envisioned the shop as a must-stop destination for people who find joy in cooking, just as she does, and so began the monthly event, which features a culinary master from a popular Outer Banks restaurant.

“We get some of the best chefs in the Outer Banks to cook right in front of you with the opportunity for you to take photos and ask questions as they cook,” Bell says.

On Sunday, May 6, Coast’s own epicurean Amy Gaw shares her chef secrets. Gaw is a food entrepreneur who has eaten, cooked and written about food on the Outer Banks and surrounding areas for more than three decades. A clean food advocate with a focus on local seafood, Gaw also is an author and founder of Outer Banks SeaSalt.

Each event is $45 per person and includes the cooking experience, adult beverages paired with the meal and copies of the recipes to take home. Reservations are required, and payment is required at the time of reservation.

“You can eat at your favorite restaurant all summer and never see the chef. Here, you can personally interact with them, ask questions, get tips, watch them work and learn.”

The dining experience, which is from 6 to 8 p.m., is limited to a small group of participants (generally 16 guests) to ensure a personalized experience, and guests also are treated to wines especially chosen to compliment the meal.

The Spice & Tea Exchange of Duck is at 1171 Duck Road, D-4. For more information, call (252) 715-4500, email duck@spiceandtea.com or visit spiceandtea.com/duck.

On May 19, head to Duck and feast your eyes on specially chosen local art on display —and for sale — at the Duck and Beyond art show 2018.

The event is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Duck Waterfront Shops, 1240 Duck Road.

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