En route to OBX: Wilted in Williamsburg, Day 1


Every year (except for 2020 closed down so many things), I head south from Washington, DC to the peaceful coastal string of small towns in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, which stretches 175 miles along the coastline but is never more than one mile wide. 

            The Outer Banks, a barrier island that separates the North Carolina mainland from the Atlantic Ocean, is best known now for its sandy beaches, lighthouses, fishing, and paddle boarding. Historically, it’s the site of many shipwrecks, earning it the nickname “the graveyard of the east,” and more happily, the place where the Wright Brothers took their first, iconic flights. 

            This year getting there was dicey and the 5.5 hour drive was not meant to be completed in that timeframe. After 5.5 hours on I-95, we had just reached Williamsburg, VA, which is normally less than 3 hours from me. Exhausted, my traveling companion and I decided to get dinner (we hadn’t eaten all day) and take a 1-night rest in Williamsburg, which is usually a town we both like to visit. Seafood lovers (we are both vegetarian/occasional pescatarians), we pulled into an old favorite of ours, Captain George’s. However, on this night, the Captain didn’t have very steady sea legs and our meal was rather lacking, despite a good effort and a lot of attention from our very nice waiter. 

            Normally, Captain George’s is a pescatarian’s delight; at $49.99 per person, it’s an all-you-care-to-enjoy self-serve buffet. The big attraction her is the giant crab legs but we don’t partake in them. However, it was like dinner and show with the woman at the next table ripping the crab legs open with her teeth. It was like a reenactment of Madison the mermaid in “Splash,” eating a lobster with the shell on. 

            Maybe we were just too hot and tired but the flavors of what we tried just didn’t hit the spot. I surmise it could have been too many fried fist options for me, since I normally eschew fried foods. The soups (she-crap and New England clam chowder) and the sea-leg salad were hits. The tossed salad is always good, but who fills up on salad at a seafood buffet? However, the steamed clams were a bit rubbery, the Norfolk Special (for those of you who don’t know, that’s shrimp and other seafood sautéed in butter) tasted oddly greasy instead of buttery, and the blackened Mahi Mahi and broiled salmon, along with the other options we tried, were all rather bland. We filled up quickly on mediocre food and left. It was definitely enough to eat and the staff was friendly but, overall, we found the majority of food to be lacking in the flavor profile department. For $130+ for our meals and tip, it was a disappointment.  

            We trudged out, rather for a relaxing night, but Fate just laughed at us on that thought. Compared to the hotel experience we were about to have (see next post), Captain George’s was a delight. 

Boat-shaped buffet with line of hungry patrons

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