SENC Magazine - Fall 2021

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FALL 2021


Turning over a new

Cutting-edge craftsmanship in Wilson

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Visit us at or call (910) 275-6124 for more information Southeastern North Carolina Magazine | 3

Let this Fall charm you with its colorful beauty and savory flavors


othing says Fall better than the crisp air of an early morning and the beautiful changing colors of the leaves.

ON THE COVER Sebastian Correa Photo Artisan Leaf

PUBLISHER Jim Sills EDITOR & DESIGNER Ena Sellers WRITERS Lauren Branch Chris DeWitt Annesophia Richards Misti Lee ADVERTISING Alan Wells CONTACT

Southeast North Carolina Magazine is a publication of the Duplin Times and APG Media of Eastern NC. Contents may not be reproduced without the consent of the publisher.

4 | Southeastern North Carolina Magazine

I am ready for the cozy sweaters, the plaided scarfs, the must-have tall boots, and the scent of everything “Pumpkin spice” as we welcome the new season. In this edition of Southeastern North Carolina Magazine, we invite you to join us in this adventure as we meet artists, explore new places, learn about wild animals, admire the constellations and even tease your taste buds! First stop, Wilson, home of Artisan Leaf. Learn about Chilean import, Sebastian Correa, whose craftsmanship captures the essence of the town’s tobacco-rich history, showcasing its heritage in his one-of-a-kind pieces made with curated tobacco leaves that bring out the rich golden hues and dark chocolate tones of cigar leaves. The next stop is Wilmington. Meet Richard Bunting, who takes us into the journey of glassblowing using centripetal force, gravity, and a pipe at 1500 degrees to create his colorful and intricate conch shells known for their exquisite designs and vivid colors. If one of your favorite Fall traditions gravitates to the spooky, let’s talk about ghosts as we visit our next destination. Kenansville is home to The Country Squire — a charming, candle-lit restaurant with a vintage inn and winery. The Country Squire is known among the locals for its food, wines, and friendly spirits, whose stories are shared by the employees, visitors, and paranormal investigators who visit the popular event venue. Do you enjoy mysteries? If so, check out our Urban Legends feature, covering the tales of the Maco Station railroad worker who lost his head in Brunswick; the ghost ship off the coast of Cape Hatteras, and the famous Fort Fisher Hermit, who lived in a WWII bunker. Are you ready for some serious cuteness? Destination: Columbia, NC, home of the

extremely endangered red wolf. These beautiful animals need all the help they can get as there are only 10 wolves left living in the wild. Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is the only place left where there are red wolves living in their natural habitat. Learn about the biologists and conservationists who are doing everything they can to continue restoration efforts and find out how you can help. Do you enjoy nature? How about grabbing a backpack, jumping on a kayak, and paddling to a remote destination? Our next stop takes us to Cape Hatteras. Meet Sue Rakes. She is a master photographer and creator of the Camping Camera. Her passion for photography and adventure, along with her technical expertise in capturing the beauty of the Milky Way makes her a great subject matter expert. Join us, as we dive into astro photography. Ready for a girls brunch? or a romantic candle-lit picnic with your honey? We got you covered! Our next destination is Mayfair in Wilmington. Meet charcuterie artist Lauren Wilbun, known for her upscale, rustic, unique, and savory charcuterie picnics. Wilburn has made a name for herself delighting clients with a unique experience as they feel transported into the pages of a southern living magazine. Wilburn presents beautiful displays of cured meats and terrines paired with cheeses, fresh herbs, and colorful fruits that tantalize your senses, but, the experience goes beyond that as she brings a full setup for the decor to create the perfect mood for your special outing. Our next stop is the quaint town of Warsaw. Meet chef Amanda Ezzell, owner of Ezzell Catering and Something Good food truck. Ezzell recently competed against 50 of the top chefs in NC during the NCRLA Chef Showdown, placing among the top 15. Her southern-style cuisine has made Ezzell a favorite among locals and surrounding towns. If all this reading about food has you feeling adventurous in the kitchen, check out our Cooking Corner and try your hand at making a Peruvian Ceviche. This lime-infused, spicy dish is a showstopper and is not for the faint at heart — It is HOT. Literally. Want more? Check out Play Dates. We have added more events and locations to keep you entertained and busy well into mid-November. We hope you enjoy our Fall edition of SENC! Visit us on Instagram and tag your favorite photos! Who knows, you might be featured next.

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Enjoy some of our favorite Instagram finds for southeastern North Carolina! Our picks for top Instagramers’ photos:

It’s beginning to look like fall! @mikesfarmnc #happyfallyall


Train Crossing Neuse River @Ben Lindemannphotography

Pier Sunset @stjamesplantation #sunset #longexposure #brunswickcountync

White Lake NC @marycarlyle #whitelakenc

New Bern @scott armstrong #travelingpets #newbern

Do you have beautiful photos, unique artwork or artisan product we should know about? Tag us @senc.magazine or send us message on Instagram! Southeastern North Carolina Magazine | 5

Columbia Cape Lookout National Seashore

Cape Lookout National Seashore


New Bern

Cape Lookout


Morehead City


Swansboro Hubert Sneads Ferry Surf City Kenansville

Burgaw Hampstead


Wrightsville Beach Carolina Beach Fort Fisher


Wallace Wilmington 6 | Southeastern North Carolina Magazine


Artisan Leaf


Blowing Glass



A showcase of Wilson’s tobacco-rich heritage


Feature Red Wolf The world’s most endangered canine

Turning glowing bubbles into fine art






Food Corner


Play Dates

Country Squire Food, fun, and spirits

Urban Legends


Explore the mysteries of Southeastern North Carolina

Astro Photography Experience a magical adventure

Wilmington culinary artist finds niche, success in the midst of a global pandemic

Chef Amanda Ezzell leaves her mark on North Carolina’s culinary scene

How to make a Peruvian ceviche

Find out what’s going on up and down southeastern NC

Feature • Food Corner • Play Dates • Folk Southeastern North Carolina Magazine | 7

8 | Southeastern North Carolina Magazine

A variety of tobacco is utilized to create this special poker table top. Artisan Leaf Photo

Artisan Leaf

a showcase of Wilson’s tobacco-rich history, heritage Story by Lauren Branch


ebastian Correa has always been an artist. He says he never saw himself working in the tobacco industry. Looking back, he never saw himself using tobacco with his art. Not until his close friend George Newson, showed him a tobacco bar a local craftsman made for him out of tobacco leaves. They both fell in love

with the product. It was then when the idea of Artisan Leaf started to take shape, and Correa moved to North Carolina to study under Louis Thorpe — the local craftsman who used tobacco leaves for his crafts. Correa says he considers Thorpe his mentor. Reggie Harrison, who now serves as the face of the business, joined Correa and Newson, and the three men launched Artisan Leaf, opening its doors in downtown Wilson in 2017. “He takes care of the stuff that I don’t want to do, and I take care of the stuff

he doesn’t want to do. So he is sort of the front of the company, and I am the back of the company,” Correa laughed. Newson came from the tobacco industry and brought a lot of knowledge and experience. He now serves as the tobacco curator, helping to build and maintain relationships with the farmers. He also helps to find the right tobacco for their products. Correa is the sole tobacco artisan for the company, from his knowledge, the only one of its kind. He designs a variety of products both small and large items, from gifts, table covers, to Southeastern North Carolina Magazine | 9

I love being able to do something that is historically relevant, that’s creative, and that’s kind of rethinking tobacco. ~ SEBASTIAN CORREA

interior designs and installations. He makes it very clear that he is not a tobacco artist, but instead a tobacco artisan. “It’s not art. It’s more like artisan if you will,” said Correa as he explains his goal is to showcase the beautiful colors of the leaves. “I am not an artist when it comes to Artisan Leaf. I am an artisan.” As an artisan, you are working with certain materials, and you are trying to make the materials come to life, he said. “My job is not to come up with stuff. My job is to make this product beautiful the best way I can.” “We have standardized products, but because all the leaves are different, even when we try to standardize all the products come out different. So it does have a little bit of an artsy feel because everything is one of a kind, but the intent is just to showcase the beauty of the leaves,” Correa explained. Artisan Leaf’s work captures the essence of Wilson’s tobacco-rich history making it a statement of pride. “Wilson and the people here are very supportive,” said Correa. “Outside of town, it has been mostly word of mouth because people don’t know this product exists, so a lot of the clients see or hear about us.” Artisan Leaf contracts with local 10 | Southeastern North Carolina Magazine

The leaves are cured to set the spectrum of color and prevent fading over time. farms to get their tobacco leaves and visits them during the heat of tobacco season to pick leaves for their products. Even though Correa goes to the same farms, he likes to get leaves during the different stages of the growing process. He will visit a farm up to 3-4 times per week for up to a month, spending at least an hour or two and leaving with at least one large bag full. Correa said that the leaves have a good shelf life as the colors are set and the humidity is gone. He keeps the leaves in bags to retain moisture so the leaves don’t become frail and explained that they can look different every year depending on how the growing season

is going and how much rainfall the farm has had. He said the team tries to be very strategic in their approach. One of Correa’s favorite pieces was a project he did for a young man who bought in four leaves he cultivated with his grandfather about 20 years prior. “Once we were done the guy gave me a hug. I gave him a hug. I met him 2-3 weeks earlier and (created) something that is now a family heirloom to him,” said Correa. “So that was really awesome!” Correas’ favorite jobs are those that carry a meaningful value for his clients. He enjoys being able to create

Artisan Leaf’ custom pieces are created using burley, cigar, flue cured or mixed leaves.

custom projects, like when they bring their own leaves. “It’s really cool. I never imagined I would be doing anything like this, but now that I’m doing it, I absolutely love everything about it. I love being able to do something that is historically relevant, that’s creative, and that’s kind of rethinking tobacco.” Correa, takes a lot of pride in his work — as he should, and said he wants his clients to love their products as much as he loves making them.

Artisan Leaf Photos Southeastern North Carolina Magazine | 11


Turning glowing bubbles into fine art Story by Annesophia Richards


ichard Bunting remembers the exact moment he realized he wanted to enter the complex world of glassblowing. It was while on a trip to Seattle to visit family 18 years ago that he came across the work of master glass artist William Morris on display at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery. Bunting was fascinated with the beauty of glass as an artistic medium and couldn’t wait to get his own (gloved) hands on a bit of molten glass and a blowpipe. Soon afterwards, he enrolled himself in a ten-week glass studios program at the Toledo Museum of Art, and the rest, as they say, is history. Bunting’s panache for art stems from his early beginnings in musical theatre. He was introduced to the performing arts by his mother, and he and his brothers grew up singing with her in their church choir. His choir days led to a decades-long career in theatre, and at 70 years old, Bunting continues to perform on stage while turning glowing bubbles into fine art in his free time. “Glass is addictive,” says Bunting. “The ability to move something around that is liquid on the end of a pipe that is 1500 degrees is just a fascinating process to watch.” Having spent years traveling for acting and renting glass studio time in a variety of cities, Bunting settled down permanently in Wilmington two years ago, where he performs regularly with Opera House Theatre Company. Unfortunately, Wilmington is no longer home to any glass blowing studios, so Bunting makes 12 | Southeastern North Carolina Magazine

the drive to STARworks Glass Studio in Star, North Carolina whenever he can find open studio rental time. “I’ve never had my own studio, because with glass work, the furnace has to remain on 365 days a year,” says Bunting. “It really is a seven day a week job, and the time and expense required makes it impossible for me with my acting.” Although glass blowing may seem like a fairly recent artform, the technique has existed for centuries. Syrian craftsmen in the 1st century BC discovered that hot glass could be blown from the end of a hollow tube into countless shapes and forms. Although new technologies in glass production have led to the introduction of more modernized equipment, the basics of glassblowing remain unchanged to this day. “Basically, blown glass is heat, gravity, and centripetal force,” says Bunting. “You use centripetal force to open things up, like a plate. You use gravity if you’re stretching pieces out, as long as it’s hot enough. If you’ve got cold glass, you can blow as hard as you want, and it’s not moving. As glassblowers say, hotter is always better.” Bunting finds inspiration for much of his work from living on the coast, from his ocean-hued platters and vases to intricately rolled seashells, and everything he makes is freehand. He currently sells his artwork at Artshak Studio and Gallery in Southport and Art In Bloom Gallery in downtown Wilmington, where his pieces are always a favorite with the public. “Richard combines technical expertise, experimentation, and artistic expres-

You use centripetal force to open things up, like a plate. You use gravity if you’re stretching pieces out, as long as it’s hot enough. If you’ve got cold glass, you can blow as hard as you want, and it’s not moving. ~ RICHARD BUNTING

sion to shape molten glass into exquisite art,” says Gallery owner Amy Grant. “His colorful and unique designs bring a creative spark and originality to Art in Bloom Gallery.” “Conch shells are what I sell the most of and really are my favorite thing,” says Bunting. “You can cut glass when it’s hot enough with scissors, and being able to fold and wrap it, then stretch and pull it into a seashell shape, it’s really quite fascinating.” Bunting says the process to make one shell usually takes about an hour. Then the piece heads to the annealer, a furnace designed to aid in the gradual cooling of the glass back down to room temperature. Depending on the size of the piece, this step takes about 16 hours on average before it’s completed and ready to be removed. Because he works individually, Southeastern North Carolina Magazine | 13

Bunting keeps his pieces on the smaller side, since larger sculptural glass requires the assistance of four or five people. He says he’d eventually like to branch out and do other types of glass art, such as flower making, which would require an assistant. “I’d love to do calla lilies,” says Bunting. “It’s all a learning process as with anything else, so I need to learn how to make them and let them survive long enough to get into the annealer.” Another element of the learning process is how to return to the craft after an extended time away. Although Bunting’s acting career had periodically made finding time to work in a studio challenging, nothing could ever have prepared him for the prolonged gap caused by COVID. STARworks Glass Studio closed for rental artists for almost a year and a half before reopening this past summer, which meant Bunting didn’t get the opportunity to hold a blow pipe throughout the same time frame. “The frustrating thing is having not been able to do anything for 17 months, it’s almost like I’m having to relearn it all,” says Bunting. “But I don’t get angry, because anger in a hot shop is not good. Most things happen because I do something that’s my own fault, so then I learn from it and go ‘ok, now I remember how to do this so it doesn’t happen again.’” When asked what makes glass blowing unique compared to other forms of art, Bunting says it’s all about how the process commands the artist’s immediate attention. Unlike other projects that can be started and then set aside to finish later, hand blowing glass cannot be completed at leisure. “I’ve had other types of projects going back 20 or 30 years, like when I’ve started refinishing a piece of furniture and just think I’ll get back to it eventually,” says Bunting. “But with glass, once you start a piece, it either falls off, ends up in the trash, or it goes in the annealer. You start and either end up with a finished piece or you don’t, and for my personality that’s great because I have no other options. Plus, the finished product is always beautiful, at least to somebody.”

14 | Southeastern North Carolina Magazine

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910 298 6040 Southeastern North Carolina Magazine | 15

Photos by Lauren Branch

Some guests claim that one of the squire’s ghosts inhabits this pantry seeking the return of the timbers to rebuild his old haunt. 16 | Southeastern North Carolina Magazine

Story by Lauren Branch


he Country Squire has been a staple in Duplin County for many years. The Country Squire has been a staple in Duplin County for many years. Nestled between Warsaw and Kenansville, The Country Squire is known as a date night location and a go-to venue for weddings and school proms. The Squire, as the locals call it, opened in 1961 and recently celebrated its 60th anniversary under current owner Iris Lennon, who took over in 1993. The vintage log cabin-style building

!""#$%!&'$%('#%!"#$#%& has had a few renovations added to the original building, which is more than 200 years old. The renovations increased sitting capacity up to 400 people and include a gift shop and a wine tasting room. The building features trees throughout literally coming through the floor and up through the ceiling, which makes for a very unique and inviting dining experience. Additionally, this family-owned inn, restaurant, and winery is one of the few wineries that offers a place for guests to stay overnight. Throughout the years, The Country Squire has been known for their great food and wine, but that is not the only Southeastern North Carolina Magazine | 17

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For years, we felt sure that it was the old lady, and there was never anything threatening. It was always laughter, voices, candles lit when you knew they were out. ~ IRIS LENNON thing they are known for, rumor has it, that there is a ghost in the building. More than two centuries ago, part of the building used to be home to a woman who died in the house today they call her The Squire ghost. “For years, we felt sure that it was the old lady. There was never anything threatening. It was always laughter, voices, candles lit when you knew they were out,” Lennon said.

Lennon’s curiosity pushed her to want to know more. She eventually started doing research and hired paranormal investigators to spend some time in there. More than one investigation team confirmed everyone’s suspicion that The Country Squire indeed had paranormal activity happening, but to their surprise, it was not just the old lady, but a man too and he is thought to be the original owner.

There is also a young child, also one person died on the dance floor, and another one died in the bathroom since opening. There are thought to be between 8-10 ghosts in the restaurant. This comes as no surprise to those who believe. Heritage Hunters stated that they captured a voice saying “I died here” in that same bathroom. The young child The Heritage Hunters Society said was Southeastern North Carolina Magazine | 19

I don’t think there is an employee here past or present that doesn’t have a story to tell. ~ IRIS LENNON in the midst, is known to be very friendly and playful with the employees. One past employee, Susan Raynor, had her run-in with the little girl along with many other paranormal experiences during her time at The Country Squire.

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“When I was pregnant with my first child, I was working in the back room where we had large parties. I left that room to go up to the front desk where people check-in and the owner was standing there. I stopped to ask her if we had to set up for an-

other party. Immediately behind her was a stairway that leads up to where they have the wine tastings now; that’s supposedly the building that caught on fire and a couple of people passed away in it. On the edge of the steps was a stack of old lunch menus. As soon as I walked down, there was a young girl with blond curly hair, she had on an old-timey looking dress. It was blue and white checkered gingham. She had a top in her hand. It was like an old tin-top-like back in the day that had a little handle at the top. She looked up and smiled at me. Mrs. Lennon, the owner, did not see her. I told no one about it.” Raynor also talks about a time she and another employee were setting up tables one night when, suddenly, the chandelier began to rock so hard that it hit the top of the ceiling. She also describes a chair scooting backand-forth, and a wood shutter going in and out. The stories go on and on. One employee was in the building alone restocking the bar. She heard voices in the kitchen and walked in to see who was there. She never found anyone in the building, and till this day believes the spirits were in the kitchen talking. “One of my favorites (stories) is that

the area that is the tavern, and when we first got liquor by the drink it was a tavern you know. We had a full bar and had seats for people to enjoy a cocktail, and we had a dartboard on the wall at that time…Several years ago the dartboard was in the wall with just three darts sitting in the board. This night several tables of guests were sitting around and three darts flew out of the dartboard and flew across the room. The guests were like what!? We just said that’s alright, it’s just the Squire ghosts letting you know they’re here and that you are welcome at the Squire,” she laughed as she told the story. She also talked about a waiter who was setting up tables and putting butter trays on the table. She happened to turn around and some of the butter trays were on the floor. She was the only one in the room. Another favorite story of Lennon was one time at an event. Someone was getting their photo taken, and

right before the person snapped the picture, the woman quickly looked over to her side in shock — the photo had a young girl in it. The description Raynor gave of the girl on the stairs is the same way she looked in the photo. The photo got a lot of attention and got passed around. There are many more stories that have been shared over the years. Stories backed up by paranormal investigators. The dim candle-lit restaurant has provided these hunters with several articles and proof, such as thermal imaging photos, and audio recordings. Lennon has a trophy wall in the middle of the restaurant showcasing her certificates from the ghost hunters. Some documentation can be found online at Haunted Country Squire including a thermal image of a woman, and an EVP audio recording with the voice of a little girl telling them to

Lennon has a trophy wall in the middle of the restaurant showcasing her certificates from the ghost hunters.

look at the Squire cat, which people call Hannah Thistle. EVP stands for electronic voice phenomena and has been used for years by hunters to pick up audio not heard by the natural ear. Southeastern North Carolina Magazine | 21

There are also other tools used, such as EMF (electromagnetic field) sensors and special lighting. These are some of the tools Heritage Hunters used during their investigation at The Squire. Michael LaChiana from Heritage Hunters is writing a book about more than a decade of paranormal research at The Country Squire. He is also working on a production for TV. One thing is for sure, there are plenty of stories that can be talked about in his book, but these eerie experiences haven’t stopped people from dining, drinking, shopping, or just getting away for the weekend at The Country Squire. Lennon explained that these paranormal activities have been happening all along and many have their own stories to tell, but the experiences are usually pleasant so everyone just laughs it off. “I don’t think there is an employee here past or present that doesn’t have a story to tell,” Lennon said.

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Rendering by ancient-origins

Explore the mysteries of Southeastern North Carolina Story by Chris DeWitt


ou don’t have to journey into the dark corners of the web or to a faraway destination to find adventure and stories of legend. Southeast North Carolina is home to much of the macabre and downright bizarre. Here, we explore three tales of the darker side of NC’s history. THE MACO LIGHT “In 1867, veteran railroad worker of the Maco Station in Brunswick County, Joe Baldwin, was sleeping in the caboose of a rolling train. He was awakened by a sudden jerk and immediately recognized what was going on. The caboose had detached from the rest of the train. He knew there was no way to get reattached to the main train, and more were scheduled to be on the railways that night. Joe knew he had to signal the oncoming train about the potential disaster.

If an oncoming train crashed into the runaway caboose, many lives could be lost. Joe had to decide whether to abandon the car and save his life or signal so the next train coming could try to stop. Joe chose the path of sacrifice, stood on the platform at the end of the caboose, and waved his lantern to warn the oncoming train. His plan worked successfully. His light was spotted, and the coming train was able to stop before crashing into the caboose at full speed, but still at enough velocity to cost Joe his life. Joe was tragically decapitated. His body was given a hero’s sendoff, but his head was never recovered. For about 100 years after this tragic incident, people still reported seeing lights moving up and down the tracks around Maco. It appears as one or two lights. Some believe it is good ol’ Joe still watching over the railroads or even looking for his lost head. There has been no sign of this ghostly apparition since 1977, however, which is when the railway tracks were pulled from the ground at Maco. Some theorize that

Joe knew he had to signal the oncoming train about the potential disaster. If an oncoming train crashed into the runaway caboose, many lives could be lost.

since Maco sits on a fault line, the light was produced by static electricity from the pressure built from the fault lines. This can explain why no one has seen the lights since the tracks were removed, or did Joe decide his work was Southeastern North Carolina Magazine | 23

Reports state the ship’s decks were washed, sails set, lifeboats were missing, and there were no signs of anyone on board.

done since the tracks are gone?

THE MYSTERY SHIP OF THE OUTER BANKS The massive vessel Carroll A. Deering was making a return trip to Hampton Roads, Virginia, from Barbados on Jan.29, 1921. The ship passed the Cape Lookout Lightship. The lighthouse keeper reported seeing a crew laboring. One of the crew reported that the ship lost its anchors out at sea. The next day, the ship passed the SS Lake Elon southwest of the Diamond Shoals Lightship around 5:45 p.m. The Carroll A. Deering appeared to be full steam ahead on a strange course. That was the last anyone heard of the Carroll A. Deering before it was found run aground and abandoned. Two days later The Cape Hatteras Coast Guard Station saw a large schooner in the early morning, aground on the shoals. Reports state the ship’s decks were washed, sails set, lifeboats were missing, and there were no signs of anyone on board. Due to heavy seas, no other boats could reach the ship. The wrecker rescue was eventually able to get to the bizarre scene confirming it was indeed the wreckage of the Carroll A. Deering. There were no signs of the crew, or 24 | Southeastern North Carolina Magazine

National Park Service, Cape Hatteras National Seashore Ghost Ship of the Outer Banks. Photo by Mariners Museum.

the anchors. Strangely enough, there was food prepared ready for the crew. Attempts to clear the doomed vessel wreckage were unsuccessful so it was destroyed and sunk to eliminate it as a navigational hazard. In April, 1921 Christopher C. Gray reported finding a note in a bottle that stated pirates ransacked the Carroll A. Deering. Handwriting experts of the time verified this note to be authentic and written by the Carroll A. Deering’s engineer, Herbert Bates. But a later investigation by the federal government that year ruled it as a hoax. In May, Lula Wormel (wife of the

ship’s master), Captain Merritt (the former master), and Rev. Dr. Addison Lorimer visited Washington DC and then Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover to commence an investigation. Hoover obliged. Investigators sifted through many findings and possibilities, including Bolshevik sympathizing pirates, rum-runners, and even mutiny. Some local guardsmen told investigators they believed the crew took everything they could gather and wrecked the ship intentionally for profit. Others rumored the crew may have disappeared when they navigated through the Bermuda Triangle. One hundred years later, we are still left to speculate what happened. This mystery is just one of many that surround the often treacherous NC shores.

FORT FISHER HERMIT Robert E. Harrill (or Robert Harrell) was known as The Fort Fisher Hermit. Harrill began his reclusive lifestyle in 1955 at the age of 62 after the end of a tumultuous marriage and unsuccessful job pursuits. He endured a troubled life since his youth, and it seemed to follow him through life. Harrill was committed by his in-laws to a mental hospital in Morganton, NC, right after

Wreckage of the Carroll A. Deering. No remains of the ship can be seen on the seashore’s beaches today. Photo by Mariners Museum.

Cape Lookout Lightship. Courtesy photo.

Most were well meaning and friendly, just curious about the peculiar lifestyle of this quiet man in the marsh. the divorce. He managed to escape the facility with a key he made from a spoon. He hitchhiked all the way to Fort Fisher, a trip of 260 miles. Life did not immediately get quiet for Harrill. He was arrested for vagrancy and sent back to his hometown of Shelby, NC. He later returned to Fort Fisher in the summer, making an old WWII bunker into a place he could call home. He lived off the land, gathering food from the ocean and marshland and planted vegetation. Interestingly, Harrill learned the necessary skills from another hermit,

Empy Hewitt, who also lived in the marshes of Fort Fisher. Harrill was not a true hermit, however. He enjoyed the company of others and would even take pictures with people and talked about life with them. He even had a visitor registry. His records show he had over 100,000 visitors from all 50 states and around 20 foreign countries. Harrill became the second most significant tourist attraction in NC, only outmatched in visitors by the retired battleship USS North Carolina. Visitors donated funds to Harrill in return for his company and insight. Most were well-meaning and friendly, just curious about the peculiar lifestyle of this quiet man in the marsh. Others, however, were not so friendly and harassed Harrill. There were rumors Harrill had amassed a small fortune with donation funds and hid it somewhere in the marsh, which attracted further nefarious characters. Harrill’s popularity continued to grow as casual visitors, survival enthusiasts, and journalists wanted to get an inside look into his lifestyle and philosophy. He explained his popularity later in the New Hanover Sun in 1968, “Everybody ought to be a hermit for a few minutes to an hour or so every 24 hours, to study, meditate, and commune with their creator. Millions of

people want to do just what I’m doing. But since it is much easier thought of than done, they subconsciously elect me to represent them, that’s why I’m successful.” Sadly, Harrill’s life of peace came to an abrupt and controversial end in June 1972. Some passing teenagers found his body covered in bloody wounds and sand, laid spread eagle on a pile of trash. Some speculated it was a prank gone terribly wrong or an intentional homicide. The New Hanover County coroner ruled the cause of death as a heart attack, which remains listed as Harrill’s official cause of death. There have been some outcries for further investigation, with nothing progressing to date. His bunker still remains and can be visited from the Fort Fisher Hermit Trail at the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. The official Hermit Society and the “Friends of the Fort Fisher Hermit” keep Harrill’s legacy alive. There was a feature film directed by Rob Hill titled “The Fort Fisher Hermit” produced by the Wilmington, NC-based Common Sense Films partners in 2004. This story demonstrates that some urban legends are indeed true. All of these stories tell pieces of Southeastern NC’s history. Southeastern North Carolina Magazine | 25

Wolf pups play fight, pouncing, and pinning one another to the ground. Play fight sharpens their survival and hunting skills, and also determines dominance as they grow. Photo by Kim Wheeler, Red Wolf Coalition, executive director

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The world’s most endangered canine Story by Ena Sellers


hen European colonists first arrived in America, the Red Wolf was thriving with thousands of red wolves, however, they became nearly extinct in the 1900s due to habitat loss and predator eradication programs. “After centuries of applying the slogan of Taming the Wilderness in this country, there was a gradual realization on the part of a few people, that we were in danger of losing most of our native wildlife,” said Cornelia “Neil” Hutt, Red Wolf Coalition Board of Director’s Chair, Columbus, NC. “Habitat was being destroyed in the

Wolf biologists do a health check and head count on red wolf crossfostered pups.

Photo by Ryan Nordsven, USFWS Southeastern North Carolina Magazine | 27

Photo by Rebecca Harrison, USFWS name of industrialization and agriculture.” Along with the lost wild habitats went many endangered species and efforts to reverse the damage led to conservation initiatives, “one of its hallmarks was the Endangered Species Act (1973),” said Hutt. “Recovering an endangered species is a painstaking, incremental process,” and the ongoing effort to restore the red wolf is no exception. “The first captive-born red wolves were reintroduced to the wild (in 1987) at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in a pioneering attempt to save the species from extinction,” said Hutt. Currently the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in Columbia, NC is the only place left where there are red wolves living in the wild. Nearly two decades ago, wolf pups born in captivity were reintroduced to the wild for the first time as part of a cross-fostering program. Biologists started taking very young wolf pups, 10-14 days old, and placing them in wild red wolf dens with pups about the same age. At the same time, wild pups got their blood drawn for genetic record and a tiny passive integrated transponder was inserted subcutaneously between the wolf’s shoulder blades for identification. According to Hutt, the dens are often well-concealed under tangled forest un28 | Southeastern North Carolina Magazine

The first captiveborn red wolves were reintroduced to the wild at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in a pioneering attempt to save the species from extinction. ~ CORNELIA “NEIL” HUTT

dergrowth and can be challenging to locate. Female wolf movements are monitored closely during denning season. Thanks to radio collars and aerial telemetry, biologists know whelping time based on the limited wolf movements. The female does not leave her den for several days after giving birth. After the pups have been placed in the den and biologists leave, the wild wolves’ surrogate parents move the

new family to a new den, and the pups along with their offspring. “The fostered pups have the same survival rate as wild-born pups in their first year of life,” said Hutt. “A successful fostering event relies on precise timing and coordination.” From 2002 to 2014, 22 red wolf pups were successfully cross-fostered, according to Hutt. Unfortunately, in recent years, the wild population of red wolves has dropped to 10 collar-tracked wolves living in the wild. “The red wolf faces multiple challenges in the wild,” said Hutt. Human-caused mortality is potentially the biggest threat to this critically endangered animal. Although red wolves do not prey on domestic livestock, there is a misconception and fear of these animals, who often get shot by landowners. While red wolves are predators, they are elusive animals and generally avoid humans and human activity. Red wolves who do not get shot, oftentimes, get run over by cars. “Only a small percentage of newly-released captive-born red wolves will make it in the wild, but a few will survive the passage from captivity to living free. Enough did in 1987, so pups were born in the wild the following year,” said Hutt. “Wild red wolves rarely live beyond 4 or 5 years, and only about 30 percent of wildborn pups survive their first winter.” According to Sierra Club magazine, “the slow pace of red wolf recovery in recent years might come down to pressure from some private landowners near the 1.7 million-acre red wolf recovery area who don’t want wolves on their property.” There is also the problem of hybridization with coyotes, which it’s exacerbated by human-caused mortality. To combat hybridization with coyotes, biologists started sterilizing coyotes in the areas where the red wolf live. “Although red wolves and coyotes are separate species, they are closely related and can mate and produce fertile offspring,” said Hutt. “Coyotes reside everywhere now in the southeast, so this problem exists in the present recovery region.” According to Hutt, a lack of support

for red wolf restoration by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission is also part of the problem. “Until this agency becomes more diverse and represents interests other than those of hunters and anglers, there will be resistance from the NCWRC,” said Hutt. Hutt said that last year the Southern Environmental Law Center sued the USFWS for failing to fulfill its responsibilities to the red wolf under the Endangered Species Act. In January, a judge ordered USFWS to develop a comprehensive red wolf recovery plan within the next 14 months. Visit the Red Wolf Coalition Facebook page to learn more about the red wolf and the conservation efforts to save them from extinction.


Lifelong mated pairs. Beyond howls, red wolves communicate through scent marking, facial expressions, and body posture. They are more active at dawn and dusk.


Red wolves get their name for the reddish fur behind the ears and along the legs and neck. They are much smaller and leaner than gray wolves, but larger than coyotes, and weight approximately 60 lbs.


Grassland and Wetlands


Approximately 6 yrs


Red wolves like domestic dogs are also a species in the Canis genus. Photo by John Froschauer, PDZA

Source: North Carolina Zoo. Southeastern North Carolina Magazine | 29

A view of the Milky Way at Cape Hatteras. Photo by Sue Rakes

Story by Ena Sellers


here is something magical and hypnotic about the beauty of starry nights. Contemplating the vast sky and admiring the constellations like a trail of fairy dust. Here on the East Coast, a trip to the Outer Banks provides the best condi30 | Southeast North Carolina Magazine

tions for stargazing and photographing the Milky Way.

The Outer Banks is among the best locations in the world for astrophotography as there is little to no light pollution to block

the breathtaking views of the Milky Way across the vast expanse. The best time to plan a stargazing trip to the beach is in the days leading to a new moon, which is when the skies are the darkest. “We have to leave our cities to get to dark skies, to witness the cities of stars,” says Sue Rakes, master photographer and owner of Sue Rakes Photography.

Sue Rakes, an adventurer at heart and a master photographer by trade. She travels around South Eastern North Carolina and beyond doing explorations of light in remote locations — usually not accessible by road.

“The Cape Hatteras National Seashore is working on being recognized as a Dark Sky Sanctuary by the International Dark Sky Association,” she said. “The environment of skies like this are absolutely breathtaking, and sacred and cannot be described fully until one participates in its vast endlessness.” “I started working at the Outer Banks in dark skies photographing the Milky Way seven years ago — It fascinates and humbles me tremendously.” According to Rakes, at the end of the night during the Summer months in the Northern Hemisphere, “the Milky Way

has a profoundly different shape from early Spring.” Rakes has traveled around the world camping at some of the most fascinating, unique and sometimes secluded places to get “the” perfect shot. Rakes,found her true calling in photography and her work has earned her multiple awards and recognition. It has also afforded her the opportunity to do what she loves the most for a living — camping and taking photos, leading to the creation of the Camping Camera. “The Camping Camera was conceived as an idea to begin sharing my

landscape and dark sky work,” said Rakes, who currently teaches photography workshops for astrophotography and macro work among others. Her adventurous spirit, and unique approach to teaching photography makes her workshops twice as fun. Rakes added that this is a great opportunity for female photographers who want to learn astrophotography, but have not ventured out on their own as they don’t feel comfortable out in the wilderness alone. Rakes currently teaches night photography workshops at the Outer Banks Southeast North Carolina Magazine | 31

32 | Southeast North Carolina Magazine

The Milky Way is one in 150 billion galaxies visible to our telescopes. Photo by Sue Rakes

among other locations. However, her workshops are not limited to night photography. “I taught my night photography attendants how to create Milky Way panoramas on our second clear night out on the Outer Banks,” said Rakes. “It was cold and challenging but these gals persevered and have lovely images, memories and skills to apply on future quests with night skies.” According to Rakes, students don’t have to have pro-level gear to capture the night skies.

Rakes is a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate and an active member of the Professional Photographers of America. “I took several classes with a hard ass professor in the Physics Department in photography and darkroom labs in the early 90s,” she said. “Fell totally in love with photography and the dark-room magic then. A few years later I went to Randolph Community College in Asheboro and spent two more years working with black and white film. I think I was one of the few landscape photographers who loved square format back then.”

Rakes is a huge fan of Ansel Adams and his dedication to his darkroom adjustments. “Some of his prints did not see the light of the public for decades until they reached his exacting vision. I think I most love the extremely technical and perfecting landscape photographers like Dave Morrow, currently he backpacks on big trips in the places I love and has a very scientific mind. Night sky work is exact and technical for sure,” she added. For information about astrophotography, call 919-618-4761. Southeast North Carolina Magazine | 33

Photo by Collective Law 34 | Southeast North Carolina Magazine

Photo by Michelle Brinn

Photo by Collective Law

Story by Ena Sellers


harcuterie originated in ancient France as a means to preserve meats. Today, the concept has evolved into a culinary art prized for its flavors and striking visual presentation. Dazzling spreads with an array of cured meats, pâtés, rillettes, and terrines paired with crackers and cheeses carefully fanned, or arranged into organic shapes, fill the landscapes of charcuterie boards. Fresh herbs, fruits, and nuts provide colors and textures that capture the senses.

Photo by Collective Law

Wilmington culinary artist finds niche, success in the midst of a global pandemic Meet charcuterie extraordinaire Lauren “Law” Wilbun, owner of Collective Law. Wilbun found her niche as she combined her passion for décor, her experience with event coordination, and her culinary talents to make her dream become a reality. Wilbun attended culinary school at Johnson & Wales University, where she graduated with a Baking and Pastry Arts degree before relocating to Wilmington. Living in Wilmington provided Wilbun with opportunities to get hands-on experience in interior décor, styling, and event coordination, be-

coming the steppingstone that led her to launch Collective Law in October 2020 — a year, unlike any other year as the world faced the challenges of a pandemic. Wilbun said she launched Collective Law unsure of where it would take her. Today, only a month away from her first year in business anniversary, she can look back at how much Collective Law has grown. Q: What has been the most rewarding moment since you started Collective Law? A: On a business level, getting my Southeast North Carolina Magazine | 35

E WA ARD DS ALIGNMENT CENTER Alignment Services for Passenger Light Truck & Heavy Duty,Brakes on ALL Vehicles, King Pins

Michael Edwards, Owner Monday-Friday - 8am-5pm 517 Warsaw Road Clinton, NC 28328 Email: Phone: 910-490-1292

We have been locally owned for over 40 years and family owned for the last 12 years. We are a certified tire dealer of Nexen, Michelin, Nitto, and Firestone, and we stock tires for cars, trucks, SUV’s, vans, tractors, and all your other farm equipment. We are a friendly tire shop that is a Bridgestone Firestone dealer in Clinton, NC. WE SPECIALIZE IN FARM AND AGRICULTURAL TIRES, CONSTRUCTION TIRES, PASSENGER CAR, SUV AND LIGHT TRUCK TIRES.

Michael Edwards, Owner 910-592-4741 • 3 17 S.E. Blvd., Clinton NC • 36 | Southeast North Carolina Magazine

Photo by Collective Law

studio in Mayfaire was definitely rewarding, allowing me to really streamline my business plan. But for me, the most rewarding aspect was being able to provide a different experience for clients to enjoy. I have always enjoyed creating a welcoming and unique experience for friends and family and I am so grateful to share that with others.

Photo by Kam Goodrich

Q: What inspires you? A: There are a few different components that inspire me when creating a charcuterie board. Rustic, inviting, and realistic. I think it is very important the board is visually appealing— your eyes eat first. But, you also want your board to be inviting and realistic. So sometimes having your board curated on a more rustic, simple level is okay. And as far as being realistic, every board I create, I create it as if I am going to enjoy it. Q: How would you describe your style and influences? A: I like to think of myself as a timeless minimalist. I think it is so important to stick with a timeless look. This way, everyone can appreciate it. It’s a mixture of old and new, combining textures and simple colors. Q: Do you have a favorite spice or favorite pairing? A: I love mixing savory and sweet. My favorite pairing is goat cheese and honey. Q: Can you share with us one of the sweetest moments you’ve experienced with clients? A: Proposal picnics — they are a mixture of many emotions, surprised, sweet, funny. I am always present (but hiding) whenever I have a proposal picnic. The initial surprise is so sweet and memorable; that it turns into laughter because they usually are so blown away with the entire experience. Being on the beach surrounded by what can only be considered a living room set up (pillow, blankets, candles, flowers, etc.) and then having your loved one propose ... It is a very special moment! Southeast North Carolina Magazine | 37

Weddings, Bridal and Baby Showers, Rehearsal Dinners, Elegant Plated meals, buffet, hors d’oeuvres, Fresh Flower arrangements, wedding cakes and favors, Rentals

Private Parties, Corporate Events, Bereavement Meals, Box lunches, and full bake shop menu.

Somethin’ Good Food Truck available for various functions. @EZZELL’S, LLC. @SOMETHIN GOODTRUCK

WARSAW, NC 910.289.0336

38 | Southeast North Carolina Magazine


Southeast North Carolina Magazine | 39

Story by Misti C. Lee


s she stood over a bowl of dry ingredients, her measuring cups and spoons at the ready, Duplin County chef Amanda Ezzell knew she’d had just about enough of the pastry school where she was studying. It was 2011, a few weeks into the program, and she knew it wasn’t for her. “I knew I was not where I needed to be because they were training me to do all the things that the textbooks said to do, but a lot of the things I was making didn’t taste good to me,” said Ezzell, who has since made a name for herself as an up and coming North Carolina

40 | Southeast North Carolina Magazine

chef and owner of Ezzell’s Catering and the Somethin’ Good Food Truck. “I stepped back because I thought I cannot take out everything that was born and raised in me. Simply put, we eat good food. There were things I was trying in the pastry arts program and I thought `I would never serve this.’” Having already graduated from culinary school, and with a lifetime of Southern cooking and recipes influencing her, Ezzell left the program and got busy doing what she knew she should – tweaking those family recipes and cooking good food made from the freshest local ingredients. “I do Southern cakes, not European cakes and tortes,” Ezzell says. “You don’t want to whip egg whites and not include the yolk. That cake needs the whole yolk. They wanted me to do that

and I was anti all of it. I don’t put Crisco in my frosting. I use butter, one hundred percent butter.” This year, Ezzell earned bragging rights and put her name even more solidly on the North Carolina culinary scene by making it to the final round with the Top 15 semi-finalists during the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association Chef Showdown. The competition had 48 chefs from around the state vying against each other, with the winners announced at the final showdown in Raleigh in August. She made it to the Top 15 in 2019, too. When she presented a deconstructed version of “Sunday dinner at Grandma Reba’s House” to the judges, she talked about how important farmers and the foods they grow are to her and

Duplin County. Using North Carolina ingredients, Ezzell put a French twist on her competition plate, creating a chicken terrine, collard wheels topped with a spicy Muscadine blueberry pickle relish and a vegetable fritter using rutabagas, sweet potatoes, turnips and fresh-from-the-field sweet corn that she smoked over pecan wood and charcoal. The lacy cornbread and “chicken skin cracker” were a hit with the panel of judges, who called her dish “delicious” and “perfectly cooked” and referred to her cinnamon ring pickles as “super old school.” “She has a Southern style with a chef’s touch,” her mother, sidekick and sous-chef, Carolyn Ezzell says. “She takes the skills she learned in culinary school, all the sauces and glazes that she learned, and adds to them. The fla-

vors are there. That’s always been her philosophy. The food has to look good, be presented nicely and has to taste good.” “I always say if I wouldn’t eat it, I wouldn’t serve it,” Amanda says. It’s that determination to stick to her roots plus a natural ability to take a traditional recipe to the next level that sets her apart. She may have started out using typical cheddar cheese to create pimiento cheese, but by the time Amanda perfected it, she had seeded and diced jalapeno peppers, turned them into candied jalapeno peppers, and then folded them into the mixture to create a dish all her own. With her nephew, Zachary Blackburn, behind the grill on the food truck, Amanda’s signature pimiento cheese is dolloped on top of flavorful burgers. She’s also

perfected a Cajun cream sauce that accompanies her Jumbo Shrimp & Grits. It’s a crowd pleaser that helped her win the People’s Choice award at “A Taste of Duplin.” “Zach says you could put the sauce on a flipflop and eat it and it would be good,” Amanda laughs. Through the years, she’s made plenty of Sour Cream Coconut layer cakes and other sweets, and recently has expanded into cookies. Using an old recipe as inspiration, her Lady Finger cookie line, made with all natural ingredients and no preservatives, are a hit. They’re being packaged and sold to specialty stores, including Reeds Fine Foods in Charlotte and Simply NC in Clinton. Ezzell grew up in Warsaw in Duplin County with her sister, Ashley,

Southeast North Carolina Magazine | 41

Kii Kinston-Lenoir County tyy

Visitor & Information Center



Ma e s y ur fi t p in ir un y” n Rd., 1 01 E t N w B rn 252-522 0044


, NC

Kinston-Lenoir County Parks & Recreation Department 2602 W. W Vernon V Av A enue, Ki Kinston t NC 28504

252.939.3332 42 | Southeast North Carolina Magazine

The Lighting Gallery 1144 US Hwy. 258 N. Suite B, Kinston, NC 28504

Mon.-Fri. 8am-5pm 2 5 2 -5 2 3 -7 8 7 8

and her parents -- Ronnie, a Pentecostal preacher and beautician, and her mother, Carolyn, a registered nurse -where both were known for their singing and their cooking skills. Amanda was raised on staples from the garden – collards as often as you could get them, butter beans during the summer, sweet corn on the Fourth of July, and buttery pound cakes at Easter when they could be served alongside juicy red strawberries, just picked off the vines. The best dishes were on her Granny Ezzell’s and her Grandma Wooten’s Sunday dinner tables, as well as church homecomings, where everyone filled the table with their favorite layer cakes and comfort foods. She also grew up watching Ronnie make his popular Hot Crab Dip, along with two other favorites, meatballs and mini pastry shells, all of which have found their way onto the catering menu. While he taught her almost everything he knows, he has probably held onto a few secrets. “I hope he shares with me one day,” Amanda smiles. Growing up, Amanda watched her Grandma Wooten, her maternal grandmother, roll out dough and then cut strips of pastry to make “chicken and pastry,” the star of the table. Bowls of butter

beans, rutabagas, squash, beets, green beans and collards always filled the table on Sundays, alongside biscuits and cornbread. “Mama was the youngest of nine and every time we got together, it was like a major event,” Amanda says. “Grandma’s table was seven or eight feet long by about five feet wide. It was a big table, and it was covered from one end to the other with all kinds of vegetables, because she wanted to make sure there was something on the table that everyone would like to eat.” “When I sit here and think about it, I think that’s one of my drives, because my grandmother and mother alike want to make sure that the people that are in their presence are well taken care of all the time,” Amanda says. “It’s funny, when talking to my dad, he’ll say when my Grandma Wooten would fry chicken -- she had the best fried chicken of anybody -- she would tuck him a couple pieces of chicken breast to the side and hid it for him, because she knew that was his favorite and she would take care of him.” When she was frying cornbread just before everyone sat down to the table, Amanda’s Grandma Wooten knew everyone was going to pass by and get a sample. “There was always a basket where she was frying her cornbread, and everybody knew they could reach in and get a piece to hold you

I think that’s one of my drives, because my grandmother and mother alike want to make sure that the people that are in their presence are well taken care of all the time. over until the meal was ready,” Amanda says. “I have very, very vivid memories of that.” Today, Amanda and Carolyn, back from a catering run, are in the kitchen prepping for a busy weekend that includes catering two weddings and a food truck event. Chocolate chip cookie dough is about to go in the oven, a tray of pound cakes is waiting to be iced with butter cream, chickens are being prepped for the fryer and a popular grape salad is about to be assembled. First, though, Amanda concentrates on a bowl of flour, a mound of softened butter and sugar. Pretty soon, she’ll have the dough turned out onto a floured countertop. This time, she isn’t standing over a bowl of ingredients at baking school and listening to an instructor with an assignment from a textbook. She’s standing in her own professional kitchen with years of experience and training under her belt. As she kneads the dough, Amanda knows when it’s just right. She begins placing rolls, one by one, into rows to be baked, lining them up a dozen at the time. Today, she prepares the cinnamon rolls the way she knows best – not the French way, but with butter and sugar and honest to goodness Southern flair. Southeast North Carolina Magazine | 43


Cooking Corner Surprise your house guests with a Ceviche

44 | Southeast North Carolina Magazine

Peruvian Ceviche Ceviche is a lime-infused raw seafood dish. Ingredients • • • • • • • • •

2 pounds of jumbo shrimp (de-vained) 1 ½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice 2 pounds of Code or Mahi Mahi fish fillet 3 small Chilean habanero or red peppers ½ cup fresh cilantro (coriander) 2 medium thinly-sliced purple onions Salt and pepper to taste 2 medium sweet potatoes 1 cup yellow corn

Preparation Peel the shimp and run a small knife down the back, his will allow you to pull out the vein easily once it is devained you can steam or boil it for a few minutes until it looses the transparent appearance. Cut the fish in small squares, add the shrimp, habaneros, onions, cilantro and lime juice and let it marinate for 45 minutes. Cook the sweet potatoes and the corn, let them cool and serve with the ceviche.

Budín de Pan is a tender bread pudding with crunchy edges. Spiced with cinnamon, clove, and soaked in caramel sauce. It can be served with ice cream or whip cream.

Budín de Pan Ingredients • • • • • • • • •

1 lb French bread, shred into small pieces 2 cans of evaporated milk 1 cup white sugar 3 large eggs ½ cup butter, melted 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon salt ½ cup raisins or cranberries (optional)

Caramel Syrup • • •

1 cup sugar 1/4 cup water cloves (optional)

Caramel Preparation The Caramel Syrup should be done last. In a microwave safe dish, put sugar, water and cloves. Microwave for 4-5 minutes or until sugar begins to melt. It will bubble and turn into a caramel color when it’s ready. The caramel will be very hot, so carefully strain out the cloves and pour the caramel into the smaller baking pan.

Photos by Ena Sellers

Preparation In a large bowl whisk together evaporated milk, sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and raisins. Mix in bread and let soak for at least 20 minutes, until thoroughly saturated and soft.

On a separate baking pan (large one) pour hot water and fill about one third. Carefuly take the small baking pan and place it inside the large pan, makeing sure the water doesn’t get into the budin mix.

Pour the budin over the caramel while it’s still hot.

Preheat the oven at 350°F. Place the pans in the oven and bake for ap-

proximately 1 hour. To check if ready, insert a knife in the center of the budin — it should come out clean. When done, remove from the oven and let it let cool to room temperature before unmolding. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Swirl to coat the bottom of the baking pan.

Southeast North Carolina Magazine | 45

Play Dates Events and places to visit in Southeastern North Carolina SEPT


Seafood Celebration 522 W Willis Landing Rd, Hubert, NC

Celebrate NC Fisherman and our wonderful coastal waters at the Seafood Extravaganza, featuring Shrimp Boil, Oyster Roast, Food Trucks and a concert with Highway Miles on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. Enjoy beer barn, wine shop, slushies, ice cream shop, funnel cakes, kid activities and much more.



Fall Fun Fest 3700 US-70, New Bern, NC





Summer Music Series Wrightsville Beach, NC

The Oceanic Restaurant in Wrightsville Beach Crystal Pier, presents free live music on the Crystal Pier every Sunday through Sept. 26 from 4 to 7 p.m. 46 | Southeast North Carolina Magazine


Justin Castellano 147 Front St., Swansboro, NC Justin Castellano, a local favorite will be performing Sept. 18 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Willy Nilly Warehouse.




The New Bern Fall Fun Fest will take place Sept. 19 from noon to 5 p.m., and will feature rides, live entertainment, wrestling, crafts, vendors, and food at the Craven County Fairgrounds.







Blue, Brew & ‘Que Festival Duplin Events Center Kenansville, NC

Bluegrass Bands will fill the air on Sept. 18, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. The festival will feature a barbecue contest and beer sampling from local breweries.



Wilson County Fair 2331 US 301 South, Wilson, NC

TUE The Wilson County Fair will take place Sept. 21-26 and will feature a large carnival midway with amusement rides, performances, comedy, food, agriculture exhibits, and much more.

Music on the Lawn 307 Cedar Point Blvd, Cedar Point, NC Enjoy live music, food, and drinks at Music on the Lawn with Jason Addams, The Madd Fiddler on Sept. 24, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Salty Air Open Market.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON UPCOMING EVENTS: Many festivals, concerts and other events have been canceled for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. All of the events listed here were still on schedule as of press time, but it’s best to check with each venue to ensure that the event is still going on as planned.


25 SAT


26 SUN

301 Hay Street, Fayetteville, NC Celebrating its 43rd year, the International Folk Festival features over 30 cultural groups who share the artistic vibrancy of their heritage. Performing arts, live music, international cuisines, cultural arts & crafts, and family-friendly fun on Sept. 25-26 from noon to 6 p.m.


1046 Cedar Point Blvd, Cedar Point, NC

Kick off the Fall season ‘Under The Sails’ Sunday, Sept. 26, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Enjoy over 25 art vendors, music by Bobby Webb Band, a food truck rodeo and pumpkin patch.

The Arts Council’s International Folk Festival


Fall Arts Festival

NC Muscadine Festival 195 Fairgrounds Dr., Kenansville, NC


The NC Muscadine Festival will kick off Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Duplin Events Center. Tickets are $20 in-advance. 20 wineries will be on site. Entertainment includes: The Antique Outlaws, North Tower Band and The Catalinas.


01 FRI

35th annual NC Seafood Festival 412 Evans Street, Morehead City, NC

The 35th annual NC Seafood Festival is scheduled for Oct. 1-3. For a full schedule of bands playing, visit






Chili Cook-Off & Craft Beer Festival

536 N. Eastern Blvd., Fayetteville, NC


522 Willis Landing Rd., Hubert, NC The 2021 Chili Cook-Off and Craft Beer Festival will kick off at noon on Sept. 25.

Woofstock 2021


25 SAT

Mike McManus Hurricane Alley’s Carolina Beach from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Dig out your tie-dyed shirt and old jeans. Put on your headband and love beads and come rock for a good cause. The 9th Woofstock fundraising event is set for Oct. 1, 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Southeast North Carolina Magazine | 47


02 FRI

Zombie Hayride & Haunted House 2112 River Rd., Fayetteville, NC

The undead have risen again at Black Ops Paintball in Fayetteville. Get your tickets to this year’s Zombie Hayride, Friday & Saturday from Oct. 1 through Oct.30, 7 p.m. midnight.


03 SUN

Bryan Mayer Jack’s Waterfront Bar, Morehead City, NC

Bryan Mayer will be playing at the Morehead City waterfront bar, Oct. 3 from 3 to 6 p.m. Enjoy live music, wood fired kitchen at this rooftop event venue.



Fall In The Ferry 1248 NC-210, Sneads Ferry, NC

Fall In The Ferry Saturday, Oct. 2 at 1 p.m.

103 Triton Ln., Surf City, NC


Scuppernong River Festival 108 Water St., Columbia, NC



Oktoberfest 2021



Scuppernong River Festival will kick of with a parade at 10 a.m. Vendors, food, entertainment and street dancing after the fireworks.

02 SAT

Celebrate Oktoberfest with live music, food trucks, giveaways and competitions from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Fall Fest & Medieval Faire 522 W Willis Landing Rd., Hubert, NC


02 SAT

Pumpkin patch, hay rides, petting zoo, pony rides, food trucks and music. 48 | Southeast North Carolina Magazine


09 SAT

MumFest 2021 Downtown New Bern, NC

Enjoy family fun, entertainment, exhibitors and great food at MumFest in historic downtown New Bern Oct. 9-10, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.


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3431 Arendell St., Morehead City, NC

The UNC Institute of Marine Science in Morehead City welcomes 9-12 grade students of underrepresented communities in STEM to our in-person event for a day of hands-on activities and opportunities to learn about STEM careers on Oct. 16 at 9 a.m.

Norwoood West



Brett Eldredge will be performing at the Riverfront Park Amphitheater in Wilmington, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m.


22 SAT

Onslow Oktoberfest 421 Court Street Jacksonville, NC

Military Appreciation Night will be held on Friday evening Oct. 22 with live music from Steel County Express a keg tap and a beer garden from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mike Corrado will be performing on Oct. 23, also there will be a beer garden, bratwurst, and more. For more details, visit


30 SAT

Goosebumps in the Grove Poplar Grove, Wilmington, NC

Two days of arts and craft vendors, trick or treating and carnival games at the Farmers Market in Poplar Grove, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Southeast North Carolina Magazine | 49




Mistletoe Magic Holiday Gift Show Crystal Coast Civic Center, Morehead City, NC

Pink Hill, NC

Your Hometown Pharmacy handling all your healthcare needs.

Step inside to enjoy the “Mistletoe Magic Holiday Gift Show” from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Browse the aisles for decorations, entertainment ideas for holiday gatherings, wood art, pottery, holiday crafts and many one-of-a-kind items. Admission is $5, children 12 and under are free. Santa Claus will be making a special trip to Morehead City from the North Pole. He will be eager to pose for photographs with children.

107 West Broadway • Pink Hill, NC 28572 Ph: 252-568-3161 •


06 SAT

15th Cape Fear Kite Festival 1000 Loggerhead Rd, Kure Beach, NC

Watch as serious kite flyers share their sky art at the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area for the 15th annual Cape Fear Kite Festival. This is the final kite event of the season. Nov. 6 and Nov. 7.


06 SAT

NC Poultry Jubilee World’s Largest Frying Pan 510 E Main St, Wallace

The North Carolina Poultry Jubilee, taking place in Rose Hill, has been a tradition in southeast North Carolina for more than three decades. The festival will be held Nov. 5 and Nov. 6. 50 | Southeast North Carolina Magazine



North Carolina Holiday Flotilla Wrightsville Beach, NC



The Great Pumpkin Blowout 8884 St Phillips Rd SE, Winnabow, NC

06 SAT

Has that jack-o-lantern on your front porch outlived his usefulness? Dispose of him in an unique and rather explosive way implementing the same technology used to detonate Civil War era torpedoe during the The Great Pumpkin Blowout, Nov. 6 from noon to 5 p.m.

North Carolina Spot Festival 14221 US-17, Hampstead, NC

06 SAT

Farm Horsemanship 3490 Stag Park Rd., Burgaw, NC Two-day horsemanship clinic at Vaughn Farm.

06 SAT

Enjoy Spot dinners , beer or wine at live entertainment at the NC Sport Festival Nov. 6, 9 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. and Nov. 7, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Admission is $5 kids under 6 are free.






Festivities begin Nov. 10 through Nov. 13 and feature a lighted parade of sailboats, motorboats, and yachts decorated for the holidays.

Cucalorus Film Festival 815 Princess St., Wilmington, NC

The annual Cucalorus Festival is scheduled for Nov. 10 through Nov. 14 at Jengo’s Playhouse.




National Women in Blues Festival 1310 S 5th Ave. Wilmington, NC

Celebrate the Arts presents the National Women in Blues Festival at the Cape Fear Blues Society on Nov. 15 and Nov. 16.

“Buy Where The Builders Buy” A Name You Can Build On™ Since 1919

701 W 14th St, Greenville, NC 27834 (252) 752-2106 • Other Locations at Wilson, New Bern, Jacksonville and Shallotte Southeast North Carolina Magazine | 51

Life insurance is more than a policy, it’s a promise.

Teddy Bostic

Nick Bell

Agent Kenansville

Agent Kenansville

Matt McNeill LUTCF Agency Manager

Lynn Mobley

Doug Pierson

Agent Beulaville

Agent Beulaville

Duplin County Farm Bureau 308 N. Main Street • Kenansville, NC 28349 151 Crossover Road • Beulaville, NC 28518

(910) 296-1486 (910) 298-8400 NCLFNP41000 *North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. *Farm Bureau Insurance of North Carolina, Inc.; *Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co., Jackson, MS *An independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

52 | Southeast North Carolina Magazine


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