photograph by Baxter Miller

Duck’s Cottage used to be over there, says owner Allen Lehew as he points toward Currituck Sound, less than 100 yards away. Now, it’s part of a boardwalk shopping village, which didn’t exist when the 1,000-square-foot cottage was built in the 1920s. The town of Duck, in fact, didn’t exist then either. Originally, the quaint cottage was home to the Powder Ridge Gun Club. (What did they hunt, you ask? “Ducks!” Lehew laughs.) Since 2002, it’s been home to around 2,000 books — buyer Jamie Anderson tapes handwritten recommendations to the shelves — and the best coffee in town.

Try the cold brew or snag a bag of coffee beans, like the customer favorite, Coconut Crunch. Though the coastal community thrives on tourism, Lehew keeps his business open every day except Christmas, so locals always have a nearby porch where they can read the paper or watch the seagulls. “We see the same faces, year after year,” Lehew says. “When one young man first came in, he’d get one of our lattes — with no espresso — and he couldn’t see over the counter. Now, he’s taller than me.”

Duck’s Cottage
1240 Duck Road
Duck, NC 27949
(252) 261-5510

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Emma Laperruque works as a food writer and recipe developer at Food 52 in New York City.