Bill Gates-Outer Banks connection in the news

Castle Sween via Seaside Vacations listing

What does billionaire Bill Gates’ divorce have to do with the Outer Banks? Perhaps, early in his marriage to Melinda Gates, there was some foreshadowing.

Since 1997, Business Insider reports, the Microsoft co-founder had an agreement with his wife allowing him to spend one long weekend every year with his ex-girlfriend, venture capitalist Ann Winblad. And they spent their annual getaway at her oceanfront cottage in Corolla.

Recent news of the Gates divorce after 27 years together revived an old 1997 TIME magazine story in which Bill Gates told his interviewer about the unusual arrangement. The Daily Mail and other national and international media outlets soon identified the vacation property as a beachfront house on Lighthouse Drive in Corolla.

A search of Currituck County property records shows Winblad is still the trustee for the blue, four-bedroom house listed as a vacation rental through Seaside Vacations. The house is listed as “Castle Sween,” the name of one of the earliest surviving stone castles in Scotland.

It’s unknown if the annual getaway between Gates and Winblad continues.

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Kari Pugh is digital director for, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at