Years ago when Walter first visited the Outer Banks, there was little more than a dirt road leading North to Duck. “Back in those days it was pretty quiet,” says Walter. It was the 1940s then, and there was still an operating lifesaving station where the Sanderling Inn is today.
Walter fell in love with the wild and beautiful Outer Banks as it was in those days, an unspoiled paradise. Decades later in the mid-1970s, he returned to the Outer Banks with his family. Still enamored with the area, they purchased a summer home in Duck.
“We went to the Outer Banks to have family time,” says Walter. Long beach days without televisions or modern-day distractions made for good family-bonding summers.
At that time the only retail business for miles in either direction was Winks. Even so, Walter had the vision and the foresight to purchase a large tract of land along Duck Road to build his idea of the perfect shopping village.
“My original vision was to have something where people could come and totally relax, sit back and smell the roses. I wanted to take them away from the shopping malls and strip malls from home,” says Walter.
Walter spent several years financing, planning and building Phase I. By 1983, Phase I was completed and soon followed by Phase II with Phase III finished a couple of years later. Keeping Scarborough Faire close to its natural setting was a high priority. Says Walter, “We went to a lot of trouble to save every tree. We wanted to keep as many as possible.”
Walter went to great lengths to ensure that Scarborough Faire incorporated as many elements of traditional Outer Banks architecture as possible. “We wanted to make sure the architecture carried the Outer Banks heritage. We did a lot of research on the life-saving stations, and used cedar siding and wood siding,” says Walter.
The years he spent crafting Scarborough Faire were both taxing and rewarding for the young family. Walter recalls the three years that the family had to commute from Virginia every weekend during the building phases of Scarborough Faire, “My daughters used to say they were ‘Stuck in Duck’ all those years!”
Looking back, Walter says, “I relish that I put in the time and the work.”
Today, Walter has conveyed ownership role of Scarborough Faire to his wife, Val. Paul Shaffer, who oversees the various shops and restaurants on a day-to-day basis, remains in the on-site manager role. Even though over 30 years have passed since Phase I was completed, the original flavor and natural maritime setting remain untouched.
So go on and take a stroll through Scarborough Faire. Savor the history and soak in the ambiance. In this hidden gem, you’re sure to find a beautiful treasure!