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Travel: Beadh Respite 

A weekend away makes a world of difference.

While checking in, we learned that the 12-acre oceanfront resort consists of three inns — Main, North and South. The lobby (Main Inn) reflects its natural surroundings — a profusion of light wood and windows with carefully placed sculptures of waterfowl. Stairs lead to an upper tier with comfy sofas and chairs, a fireplace and, in the late afternoon, servings of coffee, tea, cookies and scones. The peanut butter cookies were my favorite.

Our beachfront suite in the South Inn contained a wet-bar area with microwave, refrigerator and coffee maker. The décor was beach inspired — sand-colored walls, chocolate-brown wicker furniture, sea-blue cushions and pillows. The large marble bathroom held a Jacuzzi as well as a shower. The next morning, I realized that our deck provided the perfect view of the sunrise.

After a stroll along the beach, I walked across the street to the resort's spa for a much-needed massage. In addition to a multitude of spa services, the facility has a yoga/pilates studio, hair salon, indoor pool, steam room and whirlpool. The spa was an oasis of calm for me — I'd traded the computer and cell phone for soothing music and a massage that ended with a warm towel wrap.

Later in the evening, we visited The Left Bank, a distinctive restaurant on the sound side of the resort. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide a magnificent view of the Currituck Sound, just feet away from the restaurant's edge. Instead of an evening sunset, we were treated to a natural light show that preceded a late-day thunderstorm.

Contemporary in design, The Left Bank has a circular interior, featuring a creamy onyx bar backed by a grand gold-leaf mirror and a bustling open kitchen, a true culinary theater. It reminded us of restaurants we'd discovered in larger metropolitan areas such as New York or Washington, D.C. — refined yet comfortable. Our meal started with seared sea scallops and a main course of rockfish and prime filet, and it ended with an espresso chocolate torte, banana mousse and a chocolate martini (a must, my husband says). Food portions are more European in size than American — in other words, don't expect leftovers — and prices reflect the restaurant's exceptional status.

Since we had only two days to relax in Duck, we didn't have the chance to take the Coastal Kayak tour of the Pine Island Audubon Sanctuary that stretches from the ocean to the sound. The three-hour tours cost $45 and can be booked through the concierge at The Sanderling or individually.

We did, however, have the chance to drive to the northernmost end of the beach, passing by million-dollar homes, golf courses and tennis courts. We also stopped by the small village in Duck and wandered through Tommy's Market, a gourmet shopping experience; the Garden Alchemy, filled with home and garden décor; and Sea Dragon Gallery, where I found a hodgepodge of contemporary crafts.

Spring is a great time to visit The Sanderling as the rates are much lower than in the heat of summer. After my two-day beach fix, I felt as though my deficiency had been corrected, for a few months anyway.



For more information on The Sanderling, call (252) 261-4111 or go to www.thesanderling.com.

For more information on the Outer Banks, go to www.outbanks.org




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