At first glance, the villages of Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo seem to be one town. In fact, many folks – locals and visitors alike – call them “The Tri-Villages.” Their borders touch and one village appears to run seamlessly into the next, but to many – locals and longtime visitors alike – the villages are distinct places, each with a unique identity, history and personality. Why do the three villages appear to be one? A local legend says there was a time you could tell the three apart, but you needed the village limit signs to do so. That same legend claims surfers or beach loving vacationers wanted a souvenir to take home, so they stole the “Welcome to Waves” sign every time a new one went up until the powers that be decided to remove the signs permanently. Rodanthe
? Waves? Salvo
? What’s with the strange names? There are stories behind those names and the names these villages used to go by and you’ll learn those soon. What’s the difference between the villages? Let’s find out.
Waves, the second of the Tri-Villages
, has long been viewed as a little sister to Rodanthe, but now, with both villages growing up and spreading to their geographical limits, they appear as one contiguous town. There’s no signage demarking the two villages, though heavy woods and a marsh (now the Sound-side sight of a campground) once separated the two villages. Local legend says there was once a sign welcoming folks to Waves, but that sign was stolen by surfers or visitors who wanted an unusual vacation souvenir; when that sign was replaced, the replacement was stolen and so on until the powers that be decided enough was enough and they needed no town sign.
As Waves was developing its own personality, it went by many names: South Chicamocomico, Little Kinnakeet, and eventually South Rodanthe. It wasn’t until 1939 when Postmaster Anna E. Midgette (a family name you’ll see often on Hatteras) renamed the post office and the town “Waves.” Today, that’s the only post office in the Tri-Villages, “North Rodanthe” is just plain old Rodanthe, and Waves keeps calling visitors to come see what the name is all about.
Surfers and watermen take this call seriously and it seems everyone in the village has a surfboard or two strapped to the top of their car or in a rack at home. While that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, it’s safe to say watersports are a way of life in Waves. At REAL Watersports
, a devoted group of surfers and kiteboarders have set up a watersports campus in the center of the village. There, the REAL Watersports shop sells and rents gear, and you can take surfing or kiteboarding lessons. In fact, you may see the kites – they look like giant parachutes – pulling kiteboarders around the Sound behind REAL Watersports when folks are taking lessons or the pros are out staying sharp. Catering to the surf lifestyle, REAL also has Watermen’s Retreat
(rental condos, cabanas, and cabins for visitors on a surfin’ safari) and the restaurant Watermen’s Bar and Grill
. Within the village, there are plenty of rental homes
as well as another campground.
Several restaurants and cafes
in Waves offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a small market carries groceries; visitors stocking a beach house or gathering their camp supplies will be best served by grocery stores in nearby Avon or by the stores and specialty shops found north of Whalebone Junction.