Snug Harbor on Nelson Bay ranks tops in NC with 5 stars in “U.S. News” best nursing homes rating


During my visit to Snug Harbor on Nelson Bay, a retirement oasis nestled in the serenity of the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina, I saw what life in a retirement center should be. Upon entering the facility, I was immediately struck by the non-institutional design.  I expected to see a nursing home.  Instead, I found a sea captain’s retreat. 

Formerly a retirement home for Merchant Marines, the decor of Snug Harbor remains nautical.  A well stocked library, complete with classical leather armchairs, is situated behind the receptionist’s alcove.  A large fireplace invited me into the living room area.  I was surprised to find a true Southern style Happy Hour taking place with several folks participating in a Broadway show tunes sing-a-long.  To the delight of the residents, a visiting concert pianist was tickling the ivory of the grand piano.   I walked the halls and saw residents enjoying fine dining with friends in a beautifully appointed dining room.  Next door was an option for mealtime for those who preferred fast food in a diner styled atmosphere.   Further down the hall, flowers adorned a quiet chapel in respect for a fallen resident. 

What I didn’t see was what I have normally seen in assisted living facilities.  There were no embarrassing half-tied hospital gowns or medicine carts blocking the hallways.  No one sat strapped into a gurney chair trying to break free.  No one was sitting alone in a room staring into space.  Residents were dressed as if they were expecting company.  They were navigating the very wide halls without impediments.  In a hobby shop, painting, creative writing, gardening, and wood-working were being encouraged.  

When Jennifer Gildard, Marketing/Community Liason, invited me to hold a reading of The Caregivers, I was pleased to visit again with the residents of Snug Harbor.  It is no surprise that this facility has now been awarded 5 stars in the U.S News best of nursing homes ratings.

For more information, visit Snug Harbor’s website:


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