North Beach Sun Winter 2021

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DRAWN TO THE SEA THE MARINE ILLUSTRATIONS OF VAL KELLS

FREE!


NOW OPEN FOR WEEKEND BRUNCH Also Serving Dinner • For Full Schedule Visit our Website

(252) 715-2991 | 3712 N. CROATAN HWY. | MILEPOST 4.5 | KITTY HAWK | THEPONYANDTHEBOAT.COM

2 | W I N T ER 2021


ViLLAGE

TABLE

TAVERN O PEN

YEAR ROUND ON THE WATERFRON T IN

D UCK

Serving creative regional classics, exceptional wines and craft beers, inspired cocktails created with house-made mixers, and the beach's largest selection of premium liquors.

V ISI T

OUR WEBSI TE FOR MENUS , LIVE MUSIC AND EVEN T INFO

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N O RT H B E ACH SU N | 3


A perfect escape for

winter fun! The Wheel House Lounge

The newest craft cocktail bar located inside of Outer Banks Distilling, specializing in Kill Devil Rum cocktails. The distillery gift shop is open from 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. and the Wheel House Lounge is open from 12:00-7:00 p.m. Closed Sundays and Mondays. 1 510 Budleigh Street 252-423-3011 outerbanksdistilling.com

Bloom Boutique

A fashion-forward boutique offering unique, high-quality women’s clothing and accessories. Pop in for a personalized enjoyable shopping experience. 2 107 Fernando Street 252-305-8638 bloomboutiqueobx.com

Sisters Boutique & Gifts For your wardrobe + home. 3 207 Queen Elizabeth Avenue 252-305-8582 @sistersofmanteo

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Sam & Winston

A family-owned shop with fine art, books, gourmet kitchen goods and high-design gifts for ladies, gentlemen, children and dogs. 4 108 Sir Walter Raleigh Street 252-475-9764 @shopsamandwinston

Downtown Books

An independent bookstore offering best-sellers for all ages and genres. Stop in for author signings including Angel Khoury's Between Tides (Nov. 27) and John Railey's Lost Colony Murder on the Outer Banks (Dec. 3). 5 103 Sir Walter Raleigh Street 252-473-1056 duckscottage.com

Laughing Lollipop

Take a walk down memory lane in this little mom and pop sweet shop! Ice cream, throwback candies, chocolates, homemade cotton candy, fun gummies, bulk candy and more! 6 101 Budleigh Street 252-473-2579 laughinglollipop.com Like us on Facebook


nest

The Tranquil House Inn

A charming 25-room coastal Carolina inn located on the waterfront. Recently rejuvenated for 2021 and originally built in the style of the stately Outer Banks’ inns of the 19th century, the charm of cypress woodwork and stained glass will greet you at every turn.

nest

Distinctive clothing by CP Shades, Frank & Eileen, Juliet Dunn, Wilt and other niche brands. Sophisticated accessories, jewelry and fragrances for you and your home. 9 Magnolia Lane 252-473-5141 nestobx.com

1587 Lounge

Sleeping In, Ltd.

A cozy tapas lounge and event venue on the charming historic downtown Manteo waterfront, where small bites and cool drinks await you! The 1587 Lounge is located on the waterfront within the Tranquil House Inn. 405 Queen Elizabeth Avenue 7 252-473-1404 tranquilhouseinn.com

LOUNGE

Celebrating 22 years in 2022! Fashion, sleepwear, jewelry, home textiles and more! It’s a “gotta have it” kind of place. 10 101B Fernando Street 252-475-1971 Like us on Facebook

Mermaid's Purse

Charlotte’s

Offering a variety of unique gifts and treasures for all ages. 11 101 Sir Walter Raleigh Street 252-473-6880 @mermaidspurseobx mermaidspurseobx@gmail.com

Full-service ladies’ boutique specializing in fashions that are traditional with a contemporary flair. Seasonal makeup events with Trish McEvoy and designer trunk shows. Check website for details. G IN 8 103A Fernando Street RK 252-473-3078 PA shopcharlottes.com ET AS

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MARSHES LIGHT N O RT H B E ACH SU N | 5


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WE DELIVER ON THE PROMISE

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52 29

Winter 2021 10 FROM THE DESK 13 BUT FIRST... 14 WINTER EVENTS CALENDAR OUTDOORS

16 STUNNING WEATHER, ISN’T IT?

Plummeting temperatures lead to cold-stunned creatures LOOK BACK

18 SET IN STONE

The history of The Elizabethan Gardens' Virgina Dare statue

REAL ESTATE

26 BUSINESS BRIEFS 29 HOME SPOTLIGHT

The One in Southern Shores

32 TOWN REPORT 34 SUN SALUTATIONS 38 FIVE FACTS

Things you didn't know about Nags Head Woods Preserve

40 DESIGN SNAPSHOT The space between

ABOUT THE COVER: A collection of local marine life. Illustrations by Val Kells ©2021 THIS PAGE: Photos courtesy of Brooke Mayo, Elizabeth Neal, and Village Realty (clockwise from top left).

18 COMMUNITY

42 KEEPING UP WITH THE CURRENT

CurrentTV keeps locals informed FEATURE

44 DRAWN TO THE SEA The marine illustrations of Val Kells LIFESTYLE

50 FOUR IF BY SEA

Dear Santa: A holiday miracle FOOD & BEVERAGE

52 MEAN GREENS

New takes on cooking with collards THE LOCAL LIFE

58 TSHOMBE SELBY

Outer Banks tenor makes it big


N O RT H B E ACH SU N | 9


F R O M T H E DE S K

staff We’re all part of a narrative that’s still being written. WHETHER YOU APPROACH THE NEW YEAR (and the ever-growing activities surrounding it) with excitement or a bit of preemptive exhaustion, there’s something undeniably satisfying about turning the page on that particular calendar – a sense of accomplishment mixed with some vaguely defined notions of possibility and potential. But while much is made of “newness” as we approach those last few days of December, it’s not exactly that simple. Unconsciously or not, we celebrate both the beginning and the end of a year simultaneously because all those mixed feelings don’t exist in a vacuum. We can’t move forward if we don’t choose a starting point, and we can’t mark progress without first having a point of reference to measure it by. We talk a lot about that sort of context here at the North Beach Sun. An idea for a story is nothing without also figuring out a compelling way of telling it, after all, just as a single photograph can’t capture the whole of an experience, and bare biographical facts won’t ever adequately illustrate a life. Much has changed in the world over the past year, and in many ways we’re all still coming to terms with that. On the Outer Banks in particular, this has included a real estate boom of epic proportions, a record-making number of seasonal visitors, and an overall growing level of interest in these barrier islands that hardly seems proportionate given our size. So where do we go from here? The trouble with talking about hypothetical futures is that they can so easily become abstract. But only looking at hard statistical data generated by market reports won’t get you very far either. Neither a projection nor a past accounting will ever fully explain why so many people are drawn to the Outer Banks. But consider this: In 2022, the North Beach Sun will have been in continuous publication for 35 years, the past decade of which has seen it evolve as a magazine under the direction of the Baldwins – and in that span of time there’s never been a shortage of stories to share about the diverse people and things that continuously make this narrow strip of land so special. Because when you get right down to it, that’s the ultimate context: The shared narrative that all of us on the Outer Banks are still writing together, piece by piece – slowly shaping and reshaping a community that’s both our largest achievement and our greatest work in progress. As always, we hope you enjoy this issue!

PUBLISHERS Adam & Cathy Baldwin PUBLISHERS Adam &EDITOR Cathy Baldwin Amelia Boldaji EDITOR Amelia Boldaji ART DIRECTOR Dave Rollins ART DIRECTOR Dave DESIGNERS Rollins GRAPHIC Adam Baldwin GRAPHIC DylanDESIGNERS Bush Adam Baldwin Dylan Bush CONTRIBUTORS Ted Alcorn CONTRIBUTORS Cathy Baldwin Cathy Baldwin Amelia Boldaji Amelia Steve Boldaji Hanf Steve Hanf Catherine Kozak Catherine Kozak Katrina Mae Leuzinger Katrina Leuzinger Fran Marler Ryan Moser Brooke Mayo Elizabeth Neal Amanda McDanel Britton Ricketts Ryan Moser Elizabeth Neal SALES MANAGER Britton Ricketts Helen Furr SALES MANAGER ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE HelenTurek Furr Faith ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Faith Turek

The North Beach Sun is published quarterly by Access Media Group. All works contained herein are DISTRIBUTOR the property of the North Beach Sun.

Donna Roark

The views expressed in the articles contained herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, The North Beach Media Sun is published by editor or Access Group. Thequarterly published Access Media Group. All works contained herein material, advertisements, editorials and all otherare theisproperty ofin the North Beach Sun.Media content published good faith. Access Group andexpressed North Beach Sun cannot guarantee and The views in the articles contained herein no liability for any or damage of any doaccepts not necessarily reflect theloss views of the publisher, kindeditor caused errors, omissions thepublished accuracy of or by Access Media Group.orThe claims made byeditorials advertisers. material, advertisements, and all other content is published in good faith. Access Media Group and North Beach Sun cannot guarantee and acceptsNORTH no liability forBEACH any loss or SUN damage of any kind caused by errors, omissions or the accuracy of 115 West Meadowlark St. claims made by advertisers.

Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948 252.449.4444

NORTH BEACH SUN

Publisher

Editor

editor@northbeachsun.com 115 West Meadowlark St. Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948 252.449.4444

editor@northbeachsun.com 10 | W I N T ER 2021


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but first...

The visitors’ center at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills is part of a historic landmark that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, and the flight room pictured here is one of its biggest draws. But the full-size flyer on display is actually a detailed replica of the Wright brothers’ 1903 design – though it can be easy to see how it could be confused with the original flyer, which is exhibited in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Photo by Ryan Moser.

High Flyers

DECEMBER 17, 2021, MARKS THE 118TH ANNIVERSARY of the first successful powered, controlled and sustained flight – a feat which sent Orville Wright soaring a distance of 120 feet in 12 seconds. More than a century later, that moment is still remembered as a revolutionary breakthrough in aviation, and has inspired a near-endless number of technological advancements…many of which have paid tribute to that historic milestone made on the Outer Banks.

A Flyer of Many Fabrics has been considered the world’s first working airplane since its debut in Kitty Hawk, but unlike its modern-day counterparts, many of its original components were decidedly fragile – including the unbleached muslin fabric that covered the plane’s wings. This was likely why Orville Wright completely re-covered the flyer with new fabric before loaning it to the London Science Museum in 1928, and the Smithsonian subsequently re-covered it a second time in 1985.

THE 1903 WRIGHT FLYER

Although great care was taken to replace the fabric according to the exact 1903 specifications as part of a long-term preservation project at the Smithsonian, the current fabric’s pristine appearance may explain why many museum visitors think that the flyer doesn’t look old enough to be the original.

In July of 1969, the Apollo 11 crew accomplished the first human lunar landing, with Neil Armstrong becoming the first person to step foot on the Moon – which he did while carrying some muslin fabric from the 1903 Wright Flyer’s left wing, and a piece of wood from the flyer’s left propeller. On April 19, 2021, a small, robotic helicopter named Ingenuity became the first aircraft in history to execute a powered, controlled flight on another planet. After hitching a ride to Mars on NASA’s Perseverance rover, the Ingenuity made its groundbreaking mark with a small piece of fabric from one of the Wrights’ flyers taped around a cable underneath the helicopter’s solar panel. Apollo 11 Lunar Module Wright Flyer

Perseverance Rover / Ingenuity Helicopter

Distance traveled

Distance traveled

Distance traveled

Total flight duration

Total flight duration (each way)

Total flight duration (one way)

120 feet

12 seconds

224,000 miles 4 days

300,000,000 miles 204 days

N O RT H B E ACH SU N | 13


winter events Though events may look a little different this winter, the Outer Banks is always full of fun things to do! Some of the following events were still being modified or added as of press time, so please don’t forget to check individual websites for the most current information.

AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSICIANS OF NORTH CAROLINA EXHIBIT October 13 – December 30

This free exhibit at Roanoke Island Festival Park celebrates the contributions of individuals and bands to regional and popular culture, and also features various musical genres highlighting African American musicians. roanokeisland.com

CHRISTMAS IN COROLLA

November 26 – December 18 (selected dates) Stroll through the winter wonderland of Historic Corolla Village, complete with thousands of lights, Christmas trees and holiday displays. visitcurrituck.com

HANGIN’ WITH SANTA & KITES WITH LIGHTS November 26 – 27

Take the kids to Kitty Hawk Kites across from Jockey’s Ridge in Nags Head on Friday or Saturday for pictures with Saint Nick. While you’re there, watch the night sky light up on Saturday as enormous kites with festive lights soar above Jockey’s Ridge. kittyhawk.com

WHALEHEAD’S CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS

November 26 – December 18 (selected dates) Step back in time to 1920s Corolla during this Christmas tour of the magnificent Whalehead mansion. visitcurrituck.com 14 | W I N T ER 2021

WINTERLIGHTS PRESENTED BY SOUTHERN BANK November 27 – January 16 (selected dates)

Stroll through an illuminated winter wonderland at The Elizabethan Gardens this holiday season. Check their website for dates and times. elizabethangardens.org

THE BIG CURRI-SHUCK November 27

Enjoy all-you-can eat steamed oysters, steamed crabs, barbeque, local wine and live music from 12-5 p.m. at Sanctuary Vineyards in Jarvisburg. sanctuaryvineyards.com

CHRISTMAS IN DOWNTOWN MANTEO December 2 – 4

Santa stops in Manteo on Thursday to kick off the town’s holiday celebrations. On Friday evening, watch the Grand Illumination in front of the historic Manteo courthouse, and then enjoy the Christmas parade through downtown Manteo on Saturday. townofmanteo.com

FIRST FRIDAY December 3

Downtown Manteo comes alive on the first Friday of each month from April through December from 6-8 p.m.

2021-2022

DUCK’S YULETIDE CELEBRATION December 4

The town of Duck invites everyone to “Keep the cheer here,” by shopping and celebrating in Duck this holiday season. Visit their website for current details regarding this annual Yuletide Celebration. townofduck.com

JACOB MARLEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL December 9 – 12

The cast of Theatre of Dare takes on this familiar Christmas tale – with a twist. In this play directed by Penelope Carroll, Jacob Marley’s attempt to save Ebenezer Scrooge from a hellish fate takes the audience on an irreverent, funny and moving journey. theatreofdareobx.com

HATTERAS ISLAND CHRISTMAS PARADE December 11

This hometown parade spreads holiday cheer throughout Hatteras Village, and you can catch a glimpse of Santa as he rides through town on a fire truck.

118TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF THE WRIGHT BROTHERS’ FIRST FLIGHT December 17

This milestone will be celebrated at the Wright Brothers National Memorial, the same place the very first flight occurred. firstflight.org

OUTER BANKS JINGLE JOG CHRISTMAS RUN December 18

Warm up on a winter morning with a Christmas-themed oceanside run through Southern Shores. theobxrunningcompany.com

MANTEO’S NEW YEAR EVE CELEBRATION December 31

Celebrate the New Year in a familyfriendly atmosphere in downtown Manteo, with festivities that include fireworks, live music and an early ball drop. manteonc.gov

STARRY NIGHTS ON HATTERAS ISLAND February 12

The Hatteras Village Civic Association sponsors this free community event featuring the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center from UNC-Chapel Hill. A mobile planetarium theater, hands-on science activities, and telescopes will be provided for children and adults alike to explore the stars and beyond. starrynightshatteras.com

2022 WEDDING WEEKEND AND EXPO March 5 – 6

Meet local wedding professionals, take a tour of venues and restaurants, and register to win wedding giveaways at this two-day expo. obxwa.com


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Gather at the Duck Town Park for holiday music, tasty treats from local Duck businesses, the lighting of the Crab Pot Tree, and Santa!

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 4 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

This year, Keep the Cheer Here! Our shops and restaurants are open and ready to get everything checked off your list. Learn more at doducknc.com.

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OU T D O O R S

Plummeting temperatures hit pretty hard for those of us on dry land, but for sea life in our local waters, it can be much worse.

Stunning Weather, Isn’t It? By Fran Marler

THE WIND PULLS AND PUSHES, CALLS AND LEADS. Like an arctic maestro unleashing a wintry tune, the elements seem to be at the mercy of its every whim. Rising and falling, a swirling cold front eventually collides with an area of relative warmth over the Gulf Stream, and more often than not, there’s only one outcome. The cold air wins. An abrupt temperature drop on the Outer Banks isn’t uncommon during the winter season – and we’re all familiar with how bone chilling an icy tempest can feel when you factor in the wind chill. But as bothersome as those cold snaps may be on land, their offshore effects are many and far reaching. Especially when it comes to marine life. “During these strong cold fronts, there can be a quick drop in water temperature,” says Dr. Jim Morley, a biologist with the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI) and East Carolina University whose research focuses on marine ecosystems. “Because fish and other marine life are ectotherms – cold-blooded creatures whose body temperature matches the surrounding water – these cold snaps can take them by surprise, causing them

16 | W I N T ER 2021

to become stressed and immobilized during these periods.” The resulting condition is most commonly known as cold stunning, and it’s a hypothermic reaction that can affect an array of sea creatures. While symptoms such as lower heart rates, decreased circulation and lethargy might not seem that dire to the general public, prolonged exposure to dangerously frigid water can lead to secondary health issues that can ultimately be deadly. Those who are familiar with cold stunning here on the Outer Banks have likely been introduced to the phenomenon through the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island – a state-of-the-art facility that provides medical care to sick or injured turtles. In conjunction with volunteers from the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles and National Park Service personnel, local beaches are combed for turtles showing symptoms of a cold stun when temperatures drop dramatically. Once they’re found, the turtles are then carefully transported to the STAR Center where their recovery process can begin. But while sea turtles seem to suffer the brunt of these brutal cold snaps – and therefore tend to dominate the news surrounding cold stunning – fish can also be deeply affected by abrupt changes in temperature. “Fish blood contains a specific amount of salt – sodium and chloride – and part of gill function helps regulate this balance,” Jim says. “When metabolism slows due to cold stunning, gill movement and cellular function also begin to slow, and the concentration of salt can increase in their blood – which can be fatal. Their physiology simply isn’t


Cold stunned sea turtles are allowed to warm up slowly at the aquarium’s rehabilitative STAR Center before being given swim tests and an intake examination (inset photo courtesy of the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island).

engineered to combat these sudden changes in temperature.” With so much at stake in terms of marine life, it only makes sense that one would want to understand the contributing factors involved in local cold stunning events – and geographically speaking, it might seem reasonable to cast a wary eye toward to the glacial flow of the nearby Labrador Current. “It actually doesn’t even play a role,” Jim counters, while pointing out that local cold stunning more typically occurs in the shallow waters of the Pamlico and Albemarle sounds – where there’s not a lot of connectivity with the vast oceanic depths that tend to inhibit such sharp temperature drops on a wide scale. Which isn’t to say that our relatively shallow coastal waterways aren’t teeming with species that can be affected by cold stunning. “We have a diverse range of marine life here,” Jim explains. “And every species has a range of temperatures in which they can be successful and survive.” In addition to the particularly vulnerable tropical species that often get swept up in our estuaries – including everything from Florida-native pink shrimp to stone crabs – common fish such as speckled trout, which has an extreme northern limit that only extends to the Chesapeake Bay, can take a major hit during a cold snap. Other species such as juvenile red drum and green-tail shrimp also fare much better during warmer winters, while brown shrimp and fish such as tautogs tend to be more winter hardy. “While a large range of marine species can be affected, it can be very hard to say how it will affect entire populations,” Jim says. “In other words, a cold winter or rapid temperature drop can have an impact on local marine species, even when a mass mortality event isn’t observed.” Unfortunately, there’s also no way to prevent a cold stunning event. During the winter months, coastal weather can be extreme, unpredictable and oftentimes unforgiving – and the water only needs to dip below 50 degrees in order to be a threat. There are, however, agencies in place that are ready to help should you witness a marine animal suffering from cold stunning – including the offices of CSI, the field office for the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries in Manteo and the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Marine Mammal Stranding helpline. “It’s always important to report a stunned turtle or any occurrence where marine life seems to be in distress,” Jim says. “We’re here to learn and help in any way we can.”

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L O OK B AC K

SET IN

STONE A 19th-century sculptress created a marble statue of Virginia Dare that defied historical records – and took more than a century to find its place on Roanoke Island.

ILLUSTRATIONS BY BRITTON RICKETTS STORY BY AMELIA BOLDAJI

V

irginia Dare is remembered as the first English child born on New World soil, and a marble statue bearing her name in a quiet corner of Roanoke Island’s Elizabethan Gardens does nothing to dispel that account. But the oft-told story of Virginia most commonly begins and ends with her birth – shortly thereafter she vanished along with the Roanoke Island colony of 1587, fatefully immortalized by virtue of her infancy. The statue in the gardens is not that Virginia Dare. Wearing an expression of both confidence and calm, this Dare is a full-grown woman. With arms lightly crossed and a bent knee, she’s simply adorned by a few strands of beads and a slight covering of fishnet that drapes just above the bowed neck of a heron. This Virginia is self-possessed with only the slightest suggestion of mystery. She’s also a radical reimagining of the stories that have long defined her history – a bold creation that was made possible by the imagination of a young woman with virtually no prior connection to Dare, the colonies, or even the island that this statue now calls home. continued on page 20

18 | W I N T ER 2021

Louisa Landers’ Virginia Dare sculpture in its permanent home amongst the oaks at The Elizabethan Gardens. Photo by Elizabeth Neal.


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MARIA LOUISA LANDER – KNOWN BY MOST SIMPLY

– was born in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1826. One of eight children in a well-to-do family, Louisa demonstrated an early interest in anatomy when she began sculpting figures out of stone and wood with a penknife, and her family happily supported her artistic ambitions from the start. The Landers were not unaccustomed to weathering accusations of unladylike behavior, after all. Only 20 years prior to Louisa’s birth, her grandmother, Elizabeth Derby West, notoriously paraded a series of prostitutes through the Salem courts in order to publicly prove her husband’s infidelity – making her one of the first American women to retain her family fortune in a divorce suit. Equipped with both the means and her open-minded family’s full blessing, Louisa had every reason for optimism when she sailed to Rome at the age of 29 to study under renowned sculptor, Thomas Crawford – who famously crafted the Statue of Freedom on the United States Capitol building. Under his tutelage, Louisa’s talent flourished until he passed away suddenly only two years later. Faced with finding another teacher, Louisa decided instead to bet on her own abilities – and pursue an independent living by opening her own studio. AS LOUISA

WHILE LOUISA WAS AHEAD OF THE CURVE IN MANY

she wasn’t the only sculptor attempting to establish a career in Rome at the time. A sizeable community of expatriate artists was already thriving there well before she arrived, including a number of professional female sculptors who valued Italy’s welcoming attitude toward the arts. This was an era when local guidebooks commonly listed artist studios for wealthy visitors who wanted to return home with an original piece of artwork to demonstrate their good taste – a social convention that was still popular when novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne and his family arrived there in 1858. Louisa quickly met and befriended the Hawthornes – especially Salem-born Nathaniel, who was reportedly taken by her talent and independence, leading him to commission her with a bust of himself, and, according to rumors, later base a character on her in his 1860 novel, The Marble Faun. He also recorded his admiration of Louisa in his diaries – including the fact that he thought one of her recent works in particular was very beautiful. The piece he chose to single out was an intriguing marble statue of a then little-known woman called Virginia Dare. WAYS,

AS ACCEPTED AS FEMALE SCULPTORS WERE IN ITALY

the broader truth is that history hasn’t always been kind to women’s work – and for all her class and educational privileges, Louisa wasn’t excepted from that inequity. As a result, much of what we know about Louisa today is taken from a variety of outside accounts – the whereabouts of most of her artwork is still unknown, and the bulk of her firsthand writing and other correspondence has been lost. Given these limitations, a few key events seem to hold up. At some point during Louisa’s travels abroad, she visited the British Museum in London, where she came across the 16th-century watercolors of John White – the English artist and explorer who drew the native people, plants and animals he encountered during an early expedition to Roanoke Island in 1585. White was also appointed governor of the ill-fated English settlement attempt on Roanoke Island in 1587 – during which his daughter, Eleanor, gave birth to Virginia Dare. About a week after his granddaughter was born, White sailed to England for supplies, not knowing that a war with Spain would delay his return for three

DURING THE 1850S,

One of eight children in a well-to-do family, Louisa demonstrated an early interest in anatomy when she began sculpting figures out of stone and wood with a penknife. 2 0 | W I N T ER 2021


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long years – at which time he found the settlement abandoned, sparking the legend of a lost colony that would endure for centuries. The story was immediately compelling to Louisa, who had long been drawn to the subject of strong female characters faced with adversity. Even though Virginia Dare was barely more than a footnote to White’s narrative, Louisa was inspired to imagine Dare as a mature female protagonist who had chosen to embrace a Native American upbringing in the southern wilderness. It was a fresh, new reinvention of Dare that would go on to captivate Hawthorne and countless others over the next few decades. THE LIFE LOUISA HAD CARVED OUT FOR HERSELF IN ITALY was soon brought to an abrupt end, however. The summer after she met the Hawthornes, Louisa briefly left Rome and returned to find that rumors had begun circulating about her supposed impropriety with an unidentified man – and perhaps even more damning – the suggestion that she had posed in the nude for other artists. That there was no evidence to substantiate these claims was beside the point. Nathaniel was one of the first to sever all contact with her via a curt note, and despite her attempts to rise above the vicious gossip, her reputation was damaged beyond repair. The rumors persisted, and valuable commissions dwindled until Louisa made the difficult decision to return to Salem in 1860. This meant that her unsold sculpture of Virginia Dare was also poised to Louisa was inspired undertake its first (of many) journeys – to imagine Dare as but like its creator, luck was not on its a mature female side. En route to Massachusetts, the ship protagonist who had carrying the statue promptly sank. chosen to embrace Sources say Dare’s statue spent about two years underwater off the a Native American coast of Spain before Louisa paid to upbringing in the have it recovered and sold to a collector southern wilderness. in New York City. This, too, didn’t last – before the sale could be finalized, a deadly fire broke out in the collector’s studio, and the sculpture was one of the only things that escaped unharmed. When the collector’s heirs subsequently refused to honor the sale, Virginia was reunited with Louisa in Salem. There was just one problem: Civil War was now raging across the nation. THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR USHERED IN A PERIOD OF TURBULENCE,

but Louisa staged at least a couple of successful exhibits in Boston over the next few years – including a popular one featuring the Virginia Dare statue as a fundraising event to benefit the Union soldiers. In preparation for that exhibit, Louisa composed a four-page pamphlet that included a list of her recent sculptures, a short history of the 1587 colony on Roanoke Island, and a two-page essay in which Louisa declared Dare “The National Statue,” elevating Virginia as a patriotic symbol of a young woman living freely on American land. By all accounts, critics unanimously praised Louisa’s talent during this period of her career, but for unknown reasons, no major works were attributed to her after the Civil War ended in 1865. From a historical point of view, the trail of her life then went cold for almost three decades, until Louisa relocated in 1893 to Washington, D.C. – a city she called home, with Dare’s statue as a companion, until shortly before her death at the age of 98. WHILE LITTLE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE ABOUT LOUISA’S LATER

we do know that she almost sold the Virginia Dare sculpture at least one other time at the behest of a North Carolina woman named Sallie Southall Cotton. In the early 1880s preparations were well underway for the much-anticipated Chicago World’s Fair of 1883, and Sallie had been tasked with forming an exhibit to represent the state of North Carolina. Though it was her first foray in public service, she quickly proved herself an able organizer – and her interest was YEARS,

2 2 | W I N T ER 2021


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piqued by the snippets of stories she heard about Virginia Dare during her promotional travels in the eastern part of the state. Armed with the idea that North Carolina could be crowned the “Mother of the Colonies” through its link with Dare, Sallie approached Louisa about purchasing the statue for the fair – but due to the state’s meager budget, Louisa wasn’t ready to part with it quite yet. The two women reportedly struck up a friendship anyway, and Sallie ultimately convinced Louisa to will the sculpture to North Carolina. Almost 30 years later – thanks to Sallie’s efforts – Louisa’s statue arrived in the state where its subject was born. THE NEXT CHAPTER OF THE VIRGINIA DARE SCULPTURE

was unquestionably its least celebrated one. A few years after Louisa’s death in 1923, the statue made its way to Raleigh where it was briefly displayed in the state’s Hall of History. Vocal objections to the topless figure soon arose, however, and Dare was unceremoniously relegated to the dusty basement of the old Supreme Court building. The statue languished in storage for about another decade (though some say pranksters occasionally dressed it up with lipstick) until Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green conceived of a new dramatic form – the symphonic drama – to depict the circumstances surrounding the 1587 English settlement attempt. The play was called The Lost Colony and it opened on Roanoke Island with great fanfare during the summer of 1937 – almost When the statue arrived exactly 400 years after the at [Waterside Theatre], events it depicted took its display was deemed place. inappropriate because Government initiatives no evidence existed to created to kickstart the suggest that Dare had economy during the Great Depression helped fund survived childhood. the venture, including the construction of an open-air venue called Waterside Theatre. Unofficial sources claim that someone in Raleigh took this as an opportunity to be rid of the Dare sculpture – but when the statue arrived at the theatre, its display was deemed inappropriate because no evidence existed to suggest that Dare had survived childhood. Yet another important world event was on the horizon as well, and the now-controversial statue reportedly remained in its packing crate – fate undecided – for the duration of World War II. IN ONE LAST TWIST, THE STATUE OF VIRGINIA DARE

eventually wound up in Paul Green’s possession after WWII – though it wasn’t long before a small group of women attending a performance of The Lost Colony in 1950 broached the idea of establishing an Englishinspired garden as a permanent memorial to those early colonists. The Garden Club of North Carolina enthusiastically adopted the project, and by the time The Elizabethan Gardens formally opened a decade later (on the 373rd anniversary of Virginia Dare’s birth, no less), the playwright had added Dare to the gardens’ priceless collection of donated statuary. At long last, Louisa’s Dare concluded its final chapter with a satisfying coda. A little more than a century after its creation, the marble figure that traveled between continents, surviving the elements, several wars and a number of other trials, had – like any good mythical character – found the one place it truly belonged. In the hush of the gardens and the shade of an ancient live oak, Virginia Dare had finally come home. 2 4 | W I N T ER 2021


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business briefs R E A L E STAT E

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Outer Banks Beaches Remain a Top Draw

Photo courtesy of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Remnants of Old Bridge Now a Restored Fishing Spot To the delight of Outer Banks anglers and visitors, the Bonner Bridge Pier opened in October on the south end of Oregon Inlet for fishing opportunities 24 hours a day. The 1,046-foot fenced fishing pier was once part of the old Herbert C. Bonner Bridge that was demolished to make way for the new Marc Basnight Bridge in early 2019. For much of the 55 or so years the Bonner Bridge was in use, the two piers on its south end were popular with fishermen and women of all ages. While no fees are required to access the new Bonner Bridge Pier, a state recreational fishing license – which can be purchased at ncwildlife.org – is required to fish there. Parking for about 70 vehicles is also available nearby. A New Opportunity to Float Your Boat at the Seashore Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s first officially designated kayak launch opened in late August at the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center. A picnic table and parking for trucks, trailers and other vehicles are located nearby, and interpretive signage provides information about Oregon Inlet and kayak safety. The $17,000 project, supported by sponsors TowneBank and Ocean Atlantic Rentals, was funded in part with $10,000 from Outer Banks Forever – the nonprofit partner of the Outer Banks national parks – as well as a grant from Bass Pro Shops and numerous other private donations.

Real Estate

market snapshot The remarkable blazing-hot Outer Banks housing market amidst Covid-19 impacts has started to cool somewhat, with sales and inventory flattening a bit toward the end of last summer, according to the September 2021 Outer Banks Association of Realtors MLS Statistical Report. 2 6 | W I N T ER 2021

An analysis by Visit North Caroliina, the state tourism office, found that statewide tourism spending declined a whopping 31.7 % in 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions. By comparison, the Outer Banks only suffered a mild downturn for the year, however, dropping just 2.2 % – even with a two-month closing of the barrier islands last spring. “For our local tourism industry to accomplish what it did, despite the closure, statemandated capacity limits and the operational changes forced by a global pandemic is nothing short of remarkable,” said Outer Banks Visitors Bureau Executive Director Lee Nettles in an October 8 press release announcing the findings of the annual study. “It’s a tribute to the popularity of the Outer Banks and a testament to the hard work and ingenuity of our local tourism partners.” The study, entitled “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2020,” reported a number of other interesting details: 11,803 tourism-related jobs were counted in Dare County, amounting to nearly one-third of its population; local visitor spending generated $123 million in state and local tax revenue, slashing an average of $3,244 off each resident’s tax bills; visitors spent a total of $1.4 billion in Dare, making the county the fourth largest vacation destination in the state; and that state tourism spending in 2020 totaled $19.96 billion. The study also reported that North Carolina is the nation’s fifth most-visited state. Last of Iconic Kelly Eateries Sold Mako’s Beach Grille & Bar in Kill Devil Hills served its final customer this past October, making it the last of owner Mike Kelly’s three local restaurants to close. Known until recent years simply as Mako Mike’s, the restaurant was purchased in 1994 from the late Frank Gajar, Kelly’s former business partner. In 2017, Kelly sold Kelly’s Restaurant & Tavern in Nags Head to a national grocery store chain, although the property has yet to be developed. Two years later, he agreed to sell his sound-front Nags Head restaurant, Pamlico Jack’s, to the Dare County Tourism Board. Then in early 2021, Dare County announced that it would buy Mako’s in order to expand property for the county’s emergency medical services and the town of Kill Devil Hills’ public safety facilities. Published reports estimate that the revenue from the three sales totaled $9 million.

The year-to-date number of days on the market for residential properties was one of the most notable figures in the report, dropping from 114 days in 2020 to 55 in 2021. Residential sales for September 2021 are still up a respectable 12 percent, with 2,340 units sold versus 2,092 sold in 2020. Land/lot sales topped the charts, however, shooting up 90% this year, with 746 units sold in September 2021, compared with just 392 units over the same period the year before. Inventory has been relatively level for the past three months, the report stated, although residential

properties are still down 31%, from 723 units in 2020 to 501 units in 2021. Lot/land inventory is also down 14 % over 2020, from 664 units to 568 units. The overall September 2021 residential median sales price is up 17% over September 2020, from $423,200 to $495,000 – though numbers in specific areas can vary. Ocracoke Island, in particular, far exceeded other Outer Banks areas with year-to-date sales, rocketing up 169% over 2020. Southern Shores also reported the biggest leap in median sale prices over September 2020, from $510,000 to $760,152 – a 49% increase.


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HOME SPOTLIGHT

The One rises slightly above a grove of live oaks in Southern Shores.

Finding The One A concrete and timber retreat that feels right at home in Southern Shores STORY BY AMELIA BOLDAJI

W

orld War II had just ended when Frank Stick – a celebrated artist, author, conservationist and developer – purchased about 2,800 acres of land slightly north of Kitty Hawk. It was a reported $30,000 investment of a lifetime (equaling approximately $430,000 today), but Stick had ambitious plans to create a tranquil ocean-to-sound community there – an area which he dubbed Southern Shores. Seventy-five years later, Southern Shores still owes a great deal of debt to its founding father in many ways, including his popularization of the town’s signature flat top houses in the late 1940s – a design concept that remains deeply ingrained in local architecture, and continues to thrive in various forms to this day.

The One in Southern Shores is a perfect example of that legacy. Built by Raleigh-based architect Nathaniel Meiggs along with his wife, Sarah, The One is a four-bedroom home with a distinctive rectangular shape that blends well with its surrounding sea of ancient live oaks – a type of structural harmony with nature that would’ve made Stick proud. “The Outer Banks is a very special place,” Nathaniel says. “We wanted to celebrate its architectural history and carry on that legacy of thoughtful design.” The One’s flat roof is an obvious nod to Stick, but other, less apparently inspired features include the house’s use of concrete and its spacious floor plan that highlights exposed juniper beams and cypress paneling. And the Meiggs N O RT H B E ACH SU N | 2 9


3 0 | W I N T ER 2021


An abundance of windows, natural wood and concrete create a polished look in spaces that were meant for entertaining, such as the toplevel kitchen and the bottomlevel lounge area (opposite page). The One blends classic local architectural styles with a modern sensibility in the second-floor dining and living areas, as well as its tastefully decorated bedrooms (pictured here, top to bottom). Photos courtesy of Village Realty.

didn’t restrict themselves to drawing from flat tops either – Nathaniel had long admired the old cedar-shake Nags Head cottages as well (the couple were even married in one in 2014), and that led them to embrace the warm glow of wood paneling and covered exterior spaces positioned to best take in the breeze off the Atlantic. “We also borrowed the notion that materials left in their natural state can be allowed to age gracefully,” Nathaniel explains. “It looks great right now with its natural tans and beige tones, but eventually our cypress siding will patina into a soft grey – and letting materials be “It looks great right what they are is something I strive for.” now with its natural On a personal note, The One has also tans and beige tones, allowed the Meiggs to realize their life-long but eventually our dream of having a home on the Outer Banks. Nathaniel grew up on a potato farm in Camden, cypress siding will North Carolina, and spent the tail end of every patina into a soft summer vacationing on the Outer Banks with grey – and letting his family (a tradition they still keep to this day). During his years at North Carolina State materials be what University (where he went on to earn a Master they are is something of Architecture degree), Nathaniel continued I strive for.” to divide his time between Raleigh and the Outer Banks – spending his summers living on -Nathaniel Meiggs, the east side of Helga Street in Kill Devil Hills while making his spending money waiting tables Architect at Kelly’s Restaurant, and, eventually, meeting his wife, Sarah. “Having a home on the Outer Banks has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember, but it’s hard to say that this was planned – [it was more that] we really fell in love with the lot and its magic,” Nathaniel says thoughtfully. “Before we started building, I spent a night out here to study how and where the sun came up, and what the wind was doing – we really wanted to take our time and make sure we built something that celebrated the site as much as anything.” “We stumbled into the house’s name much as we stumbled onto the lot,” Sarah adds, while pointing out that house – rather fittingly – holds the first address spot on their street. “A single visit was all it took for us to realize we’d found ‘the one.’” N O RT H B E ACH SU N | 31


town report R E A L E STAT E

COM PIL ED BY C ATH ERI N E KOZ A K

Currituck County The Currituck County Water Department has launched a new program to prevent contaminants from entering the drinking water system. As a proactive measure to stop backflows and cross-connections that can carry pollutants and other toxins, the county is working to enforce existing regulations and forestall problems that could harm the drinking water quality. Backflows happen when the water flow reverses because of a change in the water system, such as a break in the water main or excess pressure on a customer’s water supply, while cross-connections describe a link between potable water and potential pollutants. Charles Sawyer has been hired as the county’s new water department backflow cross-connection operator. Sawyer is charged with inspecting facilities connected to the system, assessing potential contaminations of the water system, and ensuring that all devices are tested and maintained by certified professionals.

Duck An increase in trash pickup days throughout the town has become unpopular with some Duck residents, but it’s unlikely to change for the time being. At the October 6 town council meeting, representatives from Waste Management, Inc. explained that labor shortages and an enormous spike in the volume of trash created by Covid-19 disruptions will make it difficult to quickly return to the former pickup schedule and routing system. Although the majority of the 357 residents who responded to a town survey agreed to a trial change that split the town into southern and northern routes and doubled trash pickup days to four times a week, many residents have 32 | W I N T ER 2021

since complained about increased traffic backups and noise. Council members agreed to continue discussions with Waste Management and the community in an effort to resolve this issue.

Southern Shores With a labor shortage that has made it difficult to fill a police officer position, the Southern Shores Town Council agreed during its October 5 meeting to increase the officer salary range in order to attract more candidates in a highly competitive job market. At the suggestion of Town Manager Cliff Ogburn, the council agreed to create a separate pay scale for the police department that will allow it to adjust to market forces. The town’s previous advertisement for a police officer position offered a salary range of $44,354 to $66,531. As of November 1, the annual starting salary for that position will range from $47,354 to $71,031.

Kitty Hawk A conceptual building for town police, emergency management services (EMS) and fire services that meets the expectations and needs expressed by Kitty Hawk town officials would cost close to $10 million, nearly twice the $5.5 million budgeted, according to a presentation given at a town council meeting on September 7. David Woodward, with Baltimore-based architectural design firm, Manns Woodward Studios, told the council that for the project to meet that budget, either the size of the building or a portion of each service space would need to be reduced substantially. Another option would be to eliminate the fire or EMS services. The council thanked Woodward for his suggestions, and has not taken further actions on the matter as of press time.

What’s happening in your town? Here’s a report from all over the Outer Banks.

Kill Devil Hills Major drainage and road upgrades on west Third Street between the U.S.158 Bypass and Bay Drive started this past fall, after the Kill Devil Hills Board of Commissioners approved a $2,639,375 contract in September with FCS II, LLC for water line, drainage and right-of-way improvements. With additional fees for sideway construction and engineering, the total cost for the .67-mile-long project is $2,944,415. The project is expected to be completed by May 2022.

Nags Head On September 1, the Nags Head Board of Commissioners promoted Andy Garman to the post of town manager. Garman, who has served as the town’s deputy town manager since 2019, previously served as Nags Head’s town planner, and later, as director of community development in Duck. He returned to Nags Head in 2014 in the dual role of deputy town manager and director of planning and development. In other news, Nags Head oceanfront property owners are invited to apply to participate in the 2021-2022 dune vegetation cost-share program that started in October 2021. Grantees are eligible for reimbursement of up to $500 in order to plant approved native dune plants, with additional funds provided for properties wider than 100 linear feet or those working in conjunction with at least one adjacent property. Any interested oceanfront property owners of single-family homes, residential condominiums, cottage courts or motel/ hotels are eligible to apply, and funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Manteo In an October 19 press release, the town of Manteo announced that Town Manager James Ayers is stepping down from his position. Hired in January 2019, Ayers succeeded former manager Kermit Skinner, who retired after more than 30 years. Ayers had previously served in various municipal administrative positions in South Carolina and Asheville, North Carolina. The town board said it will announce its options for filling the position in the near future.

Dare County More options for two popular activities in Dare County – camping and eating – may be on the horizon, with the October 2021 approval for the construction of a proposed campground in Skyco, and the go-ahead to expand the number of food trucks allowed in unincorporated areas. Following an earlier recommendation from the county planning board, the Dare County Board of Commissioners voted in favor of a zoning amendment that will allow businesses to locate as many as five mobile food trucks on their property. In 2018, the zoning ordinance was amended to allow one food truck on properties in unincorporated areas of Dare, which encompasses Hatteras Island, Colington Island and Roanoke Island, except for the town of Manteo and mainland communities. In a separate meeting, the county planning board recommended a proposed 120-unit campground in Skyco, which would be located on 415 acres off N.C. 345 and will include space for travel trailers, tents and cabins.


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VanderMyde Group Named Top Performing Team of the Third Quarter

Beach Realty Recognizes Top Agents

Coldwell Banker Seaside Realty is pleased to announce that the VanderMyde Group is the firm’s top producing team for the third quarter. Heather VanderMyde, along with team members Kiirsten Farr, Will Gregg, Kasey Rabar and Trish Berruet rank number one in the firm in sales volume and units sold for both the quarter and the year. “I would highly recommend Heather and her team to anyone listing or purchasing property on the OBX. Great team, kept me up-to-date via voice, email and text. Did an awesome job staging the property for picture and videos,” said a recent five-star review. Team leader Heather VanderMyde can be reached at (252) 202-2375 or hvandermyde@gmail.com.

Beach Realty & Construction is pleased to announce the top three producing sales agents year-to-date: Ilona Matteson (Duck office), Joanne Kepler (Corolla office) and Jackson Dixon (Kitty Hawk office). All three agents are veteran top producers and have long affiliations with Beach Realty. Ilona Matteson joined Beach Realty as a sales manager in 2002 and eventually went into sales fulltime. Joanne Kepler came to the Beach Realty team in 2005, and Jackson Dixon joined the team in 2010. Beach Realty & Construction is a full-service real estate company offering real estate sales, vacation rentals and new construction and remodeling. For more information, contact salesteam@beachrealtync.com.

Brindley Beach Vacations and Sales Brindley Beach Vacations and Sales Names Edith Rowe and Catherine Strachan Top Two Sales Agents, Year-to-Date Edith Rowe has won the Top Sales Agent Award for the past four years. This award is based on closed sales volume. She holds a broker’s license and has been in sales on the Outer Banks since 2000. In addition to a thorough knowledge of real estate and construction, Edith brings to the table a degree of local sales acumen and familiarity with the area found in few agents. Contact Edith at (252) 202-6165, toll-free at (877) 642-3224 or at edithroweobx@ gmail.com. Catherine Strachan has worked on both the listing and selling side of several foreclosures and short-sale transactions, a valuable skill in today’s volatile market. She is a designated Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource Specialist, as well as a Resort and Second-Home Property Specialist, who also specializes in the vacation home market. Contact Catherine at (252) 489-9540, toll-free at (877) 642-3224 or by email at obxproperty@gmail.com. Brindley Beach Vacations and Sales Welcomes Pamela Howard to the Sales Team Pamela Howard grew up on the historical Inner Banks plantation estate of her late-great-uncle Wolfman Jack, and spent summers on the Outer Banks. She specializes in representing buyers and sellers in real estate and investment properties on the Outer Banks and the Inner Banks of North Carolina. She also recently appeared on HGTV’s show How Close Can I Beach, in the episode “Sandcastle Dreams in Duck.” Pamela can be reached at (252) 331-3303 or at pamela.obxbroker@gmail.com. 3 4 | W I N T ER 2021

Lisa Walters Named Top Producing Agent of the Third Quarter Lisa Walter is the firm’s 2021 third quarter top producing agent. This honor is based on total sales volume for the July 1 through September 30 timeframe. “Lisa is professional, very knowledgeable and understands the dynamics of the Outer Banks market,” said a recent five-star review. Lisa can be reached at (252) 489-1980 or lisa@sandmanteamobx.com. Coldwell Banker Seaside Realty Welcomes New Agent Kirsten Shackelford Kirsten Shackelford has joined Coldwell Banker Seaside Realty at the Kitty Hawk location. Kirsten grew up in a real estate family and has a degree in software development, experience as a civil paralegal and a passion for efficiency. Kirsten can be reached at (252) 945-3997 or kirsten@cbseaside.com. Coldwell Banker Seaside Realty Welcomes Diane Kirkpatrick to the Kitty Hawk Location Diane Kirkpatrick recently joined the Coldwell Banker Seaside Realty sales team. Diane and her family relocated from the Chicago area two years ago, where she sold real estate with Re/Max Advantage Realty for close to 30 years. Diane can be reached at (224) 754-9329 or dianekirkpatrick@cbseaside.com. Ashley King Joins Coldwell Banker Seaside Realty and the Burrus King Team Ashley King has joined Coldwell Banker Seaside Realty at the Kitty Hawk location. Ashley and her mother, Renee Burrus, have joined forces as the Burrus King Team. Although both are based on Hatteras Island, they service clients all over the Outer Banks. Ashley can be reached at (252) 216-6325 or ashleyking@cbseaside.com.


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N O RT H B E ACH SU N | 35


sun salutations Twiddy Premier Sales Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates Shelley O’Grady Elected to OBAR Board of Directors Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates would like to congratulate Shelley O’Grady for being elected to the Outer Banks Association of Realtors’ (OBAR) Board of Directors. Shelley is excited for this opportunity to serve as one of six directors-at-large working with the OBAR Board of Directors.

Southern Shores Realty Southern Shores Realty Adds Two New Agents: Rachel Neal and Rick Owens Rachel Neal is Southern Shores Realty’s newest agent. Rachel has been in the real estate and construction business for the past 15 years. After graduating from James Madison University in Virginia, she obtained her real estate license while simultaneously starting a construction company with her husband. She provides a unique perspective when guiding clients to buy or sell by evaluating current and future value, envisioning potential improvements and negotiating repairs. Rachel can be reached at (252) 599-6200 or rachellneal@gmail.com. Rick Owens joined Southern Shores Realty in August. Rick made his way to the Outer Banks after living in the northeast and then in central Virginia the past 20 years. Prior to entering real estate, Rick gained over 30 years of financial experience in retirement savings and several years in mortgage lending. Rick has excellent customer service skills and a strong work ethic. Rick can be reached at (804) 852-7935 or at rick4obx@gmail.com.

Twiddy Premier Sales recognizes Janice Scarborough for her many years of service with the Outer Banks Association of Realtors. The company wishes to thank her for her willingness to help the realtor community. Janice is a thoughtful and dedicated agent who graciously helps others achieve their real estate goals. Call Janice at (252) 722-2410 or email jscarborough@twiddy.com. Congratulations to Jason Summerton on his continued success and consistently ranked position as the number one sales agent in the 4x4 area of Corolla. Since 2006, Jason has been a leader in 4x4 sales, and his expertise makes him a fantastic resource for buying or selling in the most unique area on the Outer Banks. Contact Jason at (252) 202-0105 or jasonsummerton@twiddy.com.

Village Realty Village Realty Announces Top Three Agents of 2021 Caroline Basnight has been named the top-selling agent for Village Realty in 2021. As a mother of three, local restaurateur and one of the hardest working agents on the beach, Caroline hits the floor running every morning. As her many clients will attest, Caroline is diligent, responsible and very knowledgeable.

Willey Real Estate Group Earns Agent of the Month for the Third Consecutive Month

Cathy Turner is Village Realty’s second top-selling agent for 2021. Cathy has been selling Outer Banks real estate for 34 years – it would be tough to find an agent with more experience in purchasing, remodeling and owning rental homes. Cathy is well-respected within the community, not just for her real estate knowledge, but also for her volunteer spirit and charitable giving.

Sun Realty enthusiastically congratulates Hugh and Gerri Willey of the Willey Real Estate Group on earning Agent of the Month for the third consecutive month (July, August and September). This husband-and-wife team provides stress-free transactions and an excellent customer experience for all their clients. The Willey Real Estate Group can be reached at (252) 489-8491. They’re the “full-time, overtime, anytime OBX realtor!”

Eddie Goodrich is Village Realty’s third top-selling agent for 2021. Eddie has been involved in real estate brokerage and land development on the Outer Banks since 1983. Eddie was, in part, instrumental in bringing the Outer Banks Hospital and Spring Arbor Assisted Living Facility to the Outer Banks. Eddie has also been a managing partner in numerous developments throughout the Outer Banks.

Sun Realty

3 6 | W I N T ER 2021

The OBX Legacy Home Sales Team have had a banner year. The team is comprised of top-producing agents Hunter Davis, Martha Springer and Kaleigh DiPietro. They are a powerhouse trio with more than $50 Million in year-to-date sales. For all of your real estate needs, call Hunter Davis at (704) 936-6456 or email hdavis@twiddy.com.


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N O RT H B E ACH SU N | 37


F I V E FACT S

Nags Head Woods PRESERVE

1

Call of the Wild

Nags Head Woods is the best remaining deciduous maritime forest in the world – an extremely rare scientific designation which basically means that a lot of things that wouldn’t normally grow and live together, do. There aren’t many places where you can watch beech tree leaves fall while enjoying the smell of magnolia blossoms, after all, and an impressive number of furry, finned and feathered animals love it, too. The woods are home to more than 550 plant species, about 50 types of amphibians and reptiles, roughly 20 different mammals, and at least seven species of freshwater fish. It’s also considered a significant stop-over for migratory birds, hosting upwards of 150 bird species each year – about 50 of which nest there.

2

Blast from the Past

r Youo Log

The woods haven’t always been populated only by flora and fauna, however. Long before oceanfront property became a hot commodity in Nags Head, a community of around 40 families resided among the trees along the sound – complete with their own schoolhouse, churches, a gristmill and a shingle factory. The community thrived there well into the 1930s, and when the tourism industry started growing, many of the houses and other properties were propped up on logs and literally rolled over to the east side of the island. A few of those buildings still stand on the beach road to this day, including the Outer Banks Beachcomber Museum, which was once Miss Mattie Midgett’s General Store.

3

Preserving to Conserve

r Youo Log

Despite – or perhaps, because of – the woods’ natural beauty, there was at least one other major attempt to turn it into prime real estate. In the late 1970s, developers reportedly created a man-made pond on site, and plans were underway to construct a spec house – until debris from the pond was dumped on a colony of rare orchids, invoking the ire of the Dunes of Dare Garden Club. In addition to cleaning up the site, the gardeners lobbied for Nags Head Woods to be declared an area of environmental concern under the Coastal Area Management Act. The woods were designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974, and its roughly 1,200 acres is now managed by The Nature Conservancy.

4

BY KATRINA MAE LEUZINGER

the Outer Banks’ stunning beaches are rivaled only by its woodlands – particularly in the sound-side Nags Head Woods Preserve. With a variety of trails beloved by everyone from casual dog walkers to dedicated marathon runners, the preserve has long been an important part of the local community (even dating as far back as the early 1800s!), but some of its biggest claims to fame include its diversity of plant and animal life – and an odd folklore or two. AS FAR AS SCENIC DESTINATIONS GO,

38 | W I N T ER 2021

Too Cool for School

Although spring break is more typically associated with sun, sand and the sounds of boisterous parties, a large (and growing) number of students at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, have committed themselves to spending an “alternative” spring break in Nags Head Woods. For the past 12 years, groups of students have traveled nearly 400 miles from the western side of the state to volunteer their time doing a variety of trail maintenance while learning about conservation and how coastal development can impact the forest. Often joined by students from other colleges and the Coastal Studies Institute in Wanchese, Nags Head Woods frequently inspires around 500 hours of volunteer service every year.

5

Legend Has It

In certain circles, no story about Nags Head Woods is complete without mentioning Goatman – the area’s most famous rumored resident. While urban legends about Goatman aren’t unique to the Outer Banks (similar tales have popped up everywhere from Texas to Wisconsin), our homegrown iteration was likely popularized in the 1980s, and accounts tend to vary slightly. Some say he’s a real man who wears a goat head like a mask, while others insist that he’s truly half-man, half-goat, invoking any number of much older mythological figures. The only constant in local accounts is that Goatman haunts a yellow shack located in Nags Head Woods – and that once a trespasser sees the cabin lights flicker on, it’s already too late.


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Let me help you accomplish the greatest return possible when you sell your Outer Banks property. Buying or selling an Outer Banks home doesn't have to be difficult. Edith combines technology, a high degree of local sales knowledge, and familiarity with the area found in few agents. Heavily invested in the Outer Banks of North Carolina herself as an owner of both investment and primary residences, you will find Edith's knowledge an invaluable asset in your own Outer Banks home experience.

OVER

$50 MILLION SOLD 57 UNITS CLOSED IN 2021

21 YEARS

$41.6

EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH BUYERS AND SELLERS

SOLD IN 2020 *

MILLION

(YEAR TO DATE)*

#1

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*Based on information from the Outer Banks Association of REALTORS®

N O RT H B E ACH SU N | 39


DE S I G N S NA P S H O T

4 2

3

Compiled by Amelia Boldaji • Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Neal 4 0 | W I N T ER 2021


The Space Between PUTTING TOGETHER THE VARIOUS PIECES

OF A PROJECT ISN’T ALWAYS EASY – but builders Matt and Rachel Neal of Neal Contracting in Kitty Hawk have a way of making it seem effortless. In their line of work, a room’s final effect often comes down to the smallest details, blending factors such as light, space and texture to create a look that’s both perfectly modern and unmistakably timeless.

1

Cyprus Slat Wall

Matt had a concept like this in mind for years, so when the owners of this oceanside home in Southern Shores gave him the green light to construct a slat wall room divider to set off the main living area, he went for it – and structured many of the room’s other design features around it. “The wall adds a vertical element,” Matt explains. “And I love how it makes you want to run your hands across it.” 2

Entertainment Center

Another one of the room’s main highlights from the start was a sizeable entertainment center positioned directly opposite the slatted dividing wall. Custom crafted by Cozy Kitchens in Kitty Hawk, the entertainment center was designed with enough space to house everything from audio/visual equipment to a selection of books – all with a wall mount to give it a floating, ethereal feel despite its large dimensions.

1

3

White Oak Flooring

4

Triple Window Set

Although juniper may be more traditionally used in local beach construction, the Neals tend to favor white oak, which is also indigenous to this area. With its distinctive grain, the lightly toned wood adds an organic texture to the room that’s long-lasting and versatile enough to complement a mix of other woods – while also providing a subtle match with the entertainment center’s bare white oak features.

Placing a set of windows as close together as possible allowed the Neals to open up the space and highlight its spectacular views – particularly since an identical set of windows mirrors them on the other side of the room. Paired with the 360-degree pattern of windows directly above, the room is bathed in natural light more often than not. “And you never have a gloomy day,” Rachel adds cheerfully.

N O RT H B E ACH SU N | 41


C O M M U N IT Y

Current Keeping Up with the

Y

ou might not think you’ve ever heard of CurrentTV, much less watched it – but that may not exactly be true. Even if you don’t subscribe to cable and stay glued to the television screen, chances are you’ve seen some CurrentTV content. All those adorable Outer Banks SPCA Pet of the Week videos that tend to circulate online? CurrentTV did those. And the Covid-19 video updates with Dare County Department of Health and Human Services Director Dr. Sheila Davies that we relied on for the latest information all those months? Ditto – all CurrentTV productions. Granted, you might have missed a few other captivating pieces the CurrentTV folks produced, but they’re working to change that. With any luck, their slogan of “Know Dare” will grow into the equally important, but slightly less catchy adage of “know that Dare County offers this informative news source.” “I think we have some work to do with the branding and the name recognition, but I also believe that the work that’s being done is shared frequently and helps many, many people,” says Dare County Public Information Officer Dorothy Hester. “The main thing is seizing the opportunities that exist, because video is an essential part of communications now.” CurrentTV has replaced the old GovEd Television that was developed to broadcast government meetings. It now consists of two separate CurrentTV channels – one focusing on education and the other on government – in a partnership with the towns of Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head and Manteo, plus the Dare County government, Dare County Schools, the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI) and The College of the Albemarle. The CurrentTV government channel (191 via Charter Cable) broadcasts town meetings as well as video segments on a variety of local happenings, while its education 42 | W I N T ER 2021

channel (198) features school highlights and specials such as the CSI lecture series, Science on the Sound. And no, you won’t find the next Wayne’s World on CurrentTV. There’s a difference between government access and public access. “It seems to come up every once in a while…some communities have a public access channel where any group out there can submit something,” Dorothy explains. “[With CurrentTV] everything we program has to be tied to one of the entities that’s a participating member, so it truly has to be something that involves one of the towns or the county or the schools.” That’s because CurrentTV is funded with money the state government collects as part of those fees in your television bill – and all of Dare’s participating group members have a stake in both the funding and the programming. “CurrentTV allows us to provide local, unfiltered information directly to the public,” says the town of Nags Head’s Public Information Officer Roberta Thuman, who’s been involved with her town’s programing for a number of years. “All of Dare’s municipalities, the county and the school system work together…and I think we have some of the best programming in the state. We have a lot to work with, after all – a close-knit, caring community and a picturesque environment provides for really interesting communityoriented shows.” The numbers seem to bear that out. Even as more and more folks “cut the cord” and drop cable, CurrentTV’s reach is actually expanding. Much of that is likely due to its flexibility. The CurrentTV.org website lets visitors watch videos in real time or on demand. Popular segments like the SPCA Pet of the Week, beach safety public service announcements (PSAs) and a variety of historical features are readily available with the click of a mouse. So, too, are specials on everything


With more than $13.6 million in sales since January 2021 and more than 40 years in real estate, John Myers is your Outer Banks Realtor with the knowledge, experience, and dedication to help you make the most of your investment.

John Myers Broker

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*Based on information from the Outer Banks Association of REALTORS® MLS for the period 01/01/2021 through 11/5/2021.

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Dare County’s CurrentTV brings information to life By Steve Hanf

from local gardening tips to news about the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum and National Park Service events. Video producer Charlie Burroughs has worked at CurrentTV about a year now and loves the variety of content he gets to shoot alongside other local contract videographers like Benny Baldwin. “Our ‘Destination Dare’ segments are always popular. That’s when all the towns produce a bi-monthly video, and it gets combined into one “CurrentTV allows 30-minute segment,” Charlie says. “It’s a great us to provide update as far as what’s going on in the towns – local, unfiltered and we’re always trying to produce interesting information directly stuff.” to the public.” Going forward, Dorothy hopes to expand -Roberta Thuman, on CurrentTV’s mission to give everyone the Public Information chance to get to know Dare better. To that end, Officer, Town of they’re purchasing equipment that will enable Nags Head livestreams from the field – enhancing coverage of festivals or special events like the opening of the new Bonner Bridge Pier, for instance – to better share what’s happening in each town and throughout Dare County. From feel-good stories to more serious PSAs like “Love the Beach/Respect the Ocean,” CurrentTV strives to be a reliable source for news – at a time when keeping our community connected is more important than ever. “We strive to tell stories and provide information in a way that’s effective,” Dorothy says, “but also in a way that people can relate to.”

NEW TO THE OUTER BANKS? HAVE A BUSINESS TO PROMOTE?

ADVERTISE WITH US! The North Beach Sun is read by potential customers and industry professionals all over the beach. If you brought a business with you or are starting a new one, we are a great resource for getting your name out there.

sales@northbeachsun.com N O RT H B E ACH SU N | 4 3


F E AT U R E

RED BULLSEYE

Priacanthus macracanthus

WAHOO

Acanthocybium solandri

HARVESTFISH Peprilus alepidotus

Drawn TO T HE

S

Sea

he calls them her “fish caves.” The room on the lower floor of Val Kells’ house contains her tech – a couple of computers, three monitors and a high-end scanner. The second-floor space features her drafting table, paintbrushes and a palette for her watercolors. Both rooms offer expansive views of Kitty Hawk Bay on a quiet stretch of Colington Harbour. But just in case the vista isn’t inspiring enough, sticky notes with inspirational quotes also dot her workspace. “Life is short, hug your dog.” – Unattributed “You can succeed when nobody believes in you, but you can’t succeed when you don’t believe in yourself.” – Coach Lou Holtz And the quote that perhaps best describes Val’s life’s work: “It ain’t bragging if you’ve done it.” – Ty Cobb Thanks to a series of remarkable events over the years, Val has become the preeminent illustrator of fish ranging from the frigid waters of Alaska to the 4 4 | W I N T ER 2021

WEAKFISH

Cynoscion regalis

How a passion for marine science, mixed with boundless creativity, created the perfect career for illustrator Val Kells By Steve Hanf Illustrations by Val Kells ©2021

tropical coasts of the Caribbean – and work on her latest book is now taking place here on the Outer Banks, a spot that Val has come to call home with no plans to leave. “This space is perfect for an artist because of the northern light,” Val says about the position of her duplex, which she rented sight-unseen after months of searching. “I got lucky, and the fish gods smiled upon me. This is the perfect place for me to be doing what I’m doing.” The current task at hand is her seventh book with Johns Hopkins University Press, A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes: Bermuda, Bahamas and the Caribbean Sea. It’s the third offering in a series that started with A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes: From Maine to Texas in 2011, and was followed up by A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes: From Alaska to California, which took more than four years to complete. continued on page 46


There’s no place like home.

That’s why I swim 8,000 miles.

I’m pulled back to the nesting grounds where I was born. Seriously. We sea turtles follow Earth’s magnetic fields across the globe to lay our eggs. From poaching to pollution, think of all the obstacles I face.

Aquariums require advanced ticket reservation • visit ncaquariums.com/roanoke-island N O RT H B E ACH SU N

| 45


Freelance marine science illustrator Val Kells at her soundside home studio in Colington Harbour. Photo by Ryan Moser.

SERGEANT MAJOR

Abudefduf saxatilis

FRINGED FILEFISH Monacanthus ciliatus

RED LIZARDFISH Synodus ulae

“After growing up on the water, being underneath the water with the living reef and all those fishes absolutely made me fall in love with marine life.”

“I was like, ‘Sure, who else is gonna do it?’” Val says with a laugh. Each field guide contains hundreds of pages of complex, beautifully illustrated fishes, along with details about each species. But perhaps most remarkably, Val doesn’t just spend hours drawing and painting each fish – she also drafts the text, lays out the pages and organizes the thousands of names in the index. “Normally, the author writes it, the illustrator does the illustrations, a photographer does the photography, and the words go to a copy editor – and when all that’s done, the whole package goes to a designer, and the designer spits out a book,” Val says. “But because Hopkins had faith in me, they gave me carte blanche to have complete control over it.” That faith is the result of Val’s decades-long relationship with the editors at Hopkins – a career-defining turning point in a life full of many unexpected twists.

4 6 | W I N T ER 2021

Colorful posters of Val’s work featuring fishes from coast to coast decorate her home, but it’s a series of nondescript photos that offer the greatest hints about her past: A young Val learning to fish with her grandfather, and older images of her huddled over the galley of a ship bound for the Arctic, or conversely, sailing to Bermuda. Val grew up on the waters of Long Island Sound and enjoyed an endless stream of art classes in New York City. Life-changing moment number one came when she spent a summer at SeaCamp in Big Pine Key, Florida, at the age of 15. “My whole world exploded,” she recalls about the nonprofit organization’s marine science-based curriculum. “After growing up on the water, being underneath the water with the living reef and all those fishes absolutely made me fall in love with marine life.” Val still planned to go to art school at Boston University, though – before losing confidence in her skills thanks to a few discouraging high school teachers. Instead, she chose to major in marine biology, which steered her life in yet another turn


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ROUNDSCALE SPEARFISH Tetrapturus georgii

BIGEYE TUNA Thunnus obesus

STRIPED BURRFISH Chilomycterus schoepfi

DEEPWATER SQUIRRELFISH Sargocentron bullisi

GREAT BARRACUDA Sphyraena barracuda

when she boarded the Regina Maris to track humpback whales in Greenland during her junior year. Instead of taking the normal academic cruise and getting right back to her studies, Val was offered a job to remain on board as a deckhand. “I called my parents from Newfoundland,” she remembers with amusement, “and I said, ‘Hey Dad, I want to quit school, stay on the boat and earn a dollar a day.” With her parents’ blessing, Val did just that, embarking on a journey that wound up covering untold thousands of miles. She sailed on the Regina to Bermuda and the Virgin Islands, landed in Puerto Rico for a time, then disembarked and moved to Colorado to be a river guide in Steamboat Springs. Once there, Val realized she needed to finish her degree, and friends recommended the marine sciences program at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Val enrolled, and then discovered the shock of a lifetime – Santa Cruz had a science illustration program. “I was like, oh my god, this is a combination of my love for marine science and my love of drawing,” Val says. “And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.” Shortly after graduating, Val landed her first big client: California’s Monterey Bay 4 8 | W I N T ER 2021

Aquarium. Starting out, she did a number of black-and-white illustrations for the aquarium’s publications while continuing to work on a number of other freelance gigs. Waves of aquarium jobs followed over the years, with Val providing illustrations for displays at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk in Connecticut, state aquariums in Florida and Texas, and even the three North Carolina state aquariums. Today, many aquariums have turned to digital photography to highlight marine exhibits, but Val still insists that her illustrations offer several advantages. “I can illustrate a fish facing left, fins up with healthy colors, whereas if you were to take a picture of a fish in an aquarium, their fins might be down or they’re moving away from you, and the ambient light isn’t natural,” she explains. “There are all these factors that don’t make [photographs] look exact – but I can make things look like they are in nature.” Spending time in aquariums was also Val’s inspiration for getting involved in field guides. While browsing an aquarium gift shop one day, she noticed that the birding field guides on the shelves were beautiful reference books – while the premier fishing guide at the time was clumsily done, out of date and unattractive. Val had worked on a book about sea turtles for Johns Hopkins’ press a few years


RED DRUM

Sciaenops ocellatus

RED LIONFISH Pterois volitans

BLUE ANGELFISH

Holacanthus bermudensis

“There are all these

earlier, a token project with just a handful of illustrations – but in factors that don’t make so she can capture every detail. For studies a little farther from [photographs] look exact – the end, it was a crucial introduction for her pitch. home, Val devours image after image online, exercising her “I said, ‘I’ve got this idea for a field guide, and I’m giving you first but I can make things look photographic memory as she focuses on fins, scale patterns and crack at it. If you don’t want to do it, I’m taking it to Princeton. If like they are in nature.” the proportions of fish after fish. Princeton doesn’t want it, I’m taking it to Florida State,’” Val says. That research leads to a pencil drawing on tracing paper, and “At the time, Hopkins hadn’t dipped their toes into field guides eventually ends with a beautiful watercolor painting ready to be yet, and I thought they’d be stupid to pass up such a huge market.” scanned. Some species might take hours, while others can be They didn’t, and the field guides Val’s done with them remain full-day, or even two-day, affairs based on their complexity. hugely popular and relevant, often being purchased by college classrooms, anglers, “One of the best pieces of advice I got at Santa Cruz was to make a million divers and even government agencies. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric mistakes,” Val says. “That’s how you learn, and figure out your own style – now, 30-odd Administration (NOAA) recently bought a hundred copies, according to Val, and a years down the road, you can pick out a Val Kells’ illustration versus someone else’s friend once sent her a video of folks on the NOAA Okeanos Explorer using her book because I’ve developed a unique style.” to identify Cusk-eels. She says this matter-of-factly, without a wisp of ego. It ain’t bragging if you’ve done Results like these are the reasons Val works so laboriously over each and every it, after all – and Val has just about done it all in the niche world of marine science illustration in her collection, which numbers in the thousands. illustration. While home on the Outer Banks, she loves seine fishing in local sound-side grass “I think everyone has something they can do very, very well, and I was fortunate flats, afterwards taking photographs of her catches and placing them in viewing tanks enough to find that,” she says simply. “I illustrate fish for a living – how great is that?” N O RT H B E ACH SU N | 49


F OU R I F BY S E A

when a clearly overworked elf on the tail end of a magicmaking bender deposited us near the final workshop door. As I peered over the shoulders of the group in front of us, my first instinct was to run. This “Santa” looked straight out of the scene in Miracle on 34th Street when Mrs. Walker has to fire a drunken imposter in a filthy red suit right before the big parade. His suit was rumpled, ill-fitting and dirty, but it was ultimately his face that caused the most horror: Not only was he decidedly not a jolly old elf, his faux beard and eyebrows gaped at the sides where they were barely attached with visibly peeling glue. I desperately wanted to shield Harbor’s eyes and run the other way shouting, “You smell like beef and cheese! You sit on a throne of LIES!” Yet, with nowhere to go, we proceeded forward, and I cringed during the entire four minutes my precious firstborn sat on the pretender’s lap. Yes, she had been good. Yes, she would like an American Girl doll. But despite much of her outward appearance, the watery look in her eyes and her wavering smile told all. When we finally walked away, her tears began to brim in earnest. “Mommy, I don’t know if I believe that Santa’s real,” she whispered as those tears fell like fat raindrops. Damn you Macy’s, I thought. You’re the biggest department store in the world, and you sent someone from your C-list to work that day. We both promptly sat down in the middle of the store’s petites section and cried, this time without joy. Upon returning home, I became determined not to let Santa go down like that. Here on the Outer Banks we’re fortunate enough to have not one, but two, local heroes who faithfully step up to play Santa every year – which reached the entrance to they do proudly and selflessly with Santa’s workshop. From huge hearts, impeccable costumes there, an elf personally and authentically white beards. escorted us back to a While the men most commonly private workshop where known as “Duck Santa” and “Manteo we were greeted by Santa Santa” are both exceptional, Le Hook himself. With a jolly laugh, in Manteo is a social acquaintance, a sparkling disposition The McDan so I reached out to him directly to el gir and real whiskers, that Manteo Santa. ls with the real-deal explain the situation – begging him Santa made all of my to do whatever he could during a daughter’s Christmas pre-arranged visit with Harbor later dreams come true. We both had that week. tears in our eyes as we left with hearts full of the holiday When we walked into the Christmas spirit. Shop in Manteo a few days later, I held my breath as both While planning a second trip a few years later, I asked my daughters approached him. “I heard you met one of Harbor what was on her new to-do list since she was my helpers in New York City,” Le/Santa exclaimed without older and had already experienced a variety of the city’s prompting when he caught sight of them, and I let out a charm. Without hesitation, she declared that she wanted huge sigh. Harbor’s eyes instantly lit up, and I knew I had to visit the American Girl doll store and to see Santa at found my Christmas miracle. Macy’s. Again. A few months later, I was standing in line at a local My heart immediately screamed internal cheers. She supermarket when I noticed a man with a long white believes! We still have the Christmas magic! Her teacher’s beard and a bomber jacket waiting behind me. After words echoed in my ears, however, and I approached our getting over the initial shock of seeing Le in his street set appointment time at Macy’s with caution. clothes, I quickly asked the cashier to add a grocery gift The Santaland wonder we remembered was still card to my bill. I had already known that I was going to be evident in the long line leading up to his workshop, where forever grateful to Le for pulling off that bit of childhood we were regaled once again with skating penguins and magic, but in that moment, I also realized that I had the the same snowy train-scape. But as I anxiously awaited perfect opportunity to repay his kindness. the arrival of our personal elf, I felt a tinge of foreboding “Thank you, Santa,” I said as I handed him the gift in my motherly instincts – which was slowly confirmed card. “This dinner’s on me.”

DEAR SANTA

A Holiday Miracle

L BY AM AN DA MC DA NE

THE START OF A NEW SCHOOL YEAR BRINGS

for both children and their parents, particularly during these pandemic times – but when my oldest daughter, Harbor, was entering fourth grade, I was especially nervous. Not only because she was graduating to “the upstairs” of her local elementary school, which is reserved for the upper two grades, but more because of what her teacher mentioned about the milestones associated with that step up during a pre-school year conference. According to said teacher, fourth grade was the year of sex and Santa – the time when those two sacred topics officially dominate lunch table conversations and become prime playground fodder. In my mind, those are also the two subjects that begin to predominantly haunt a parent’s soul as the inevitable white flag of puberty starts to wave, and memories of midnight feedings, diaper changes and first steps flash by in sequence. Is this the year we introduce these adult truths after all? I wondered, along with: Where did my baby go? During that tender year of pre-adolescence, I had also scheduled a surprise mother-daughter trip to New York City to see the sights and celebrate the holiday season – a follow-up to our first Christmas visit three years prior, which both inspired Harbor’s obsession with the bright lights, big city and came with a short to-do list: to see Santa at Macy’s. As promised, Macy’s Santaland was magical during that initial visit, with a line that wove through snow scenes, talking trees, icicles and holiday trains until we eventually ALL TYPES OF ANXIETY

50 | W I N T ER 2021


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F O O D & B E V E R AG E

Mean

Greens Collards are surprisingly versatile greens. Here are some inspired alternatives to preparing this southern staple. S TYLED B Y C HE F D AN L E W I S PHO TOS B Y B R O O K E M AYO

ANY SOUTHERNER WORTH THEIR SALT CAN ATTEST TO THE COMFORT FOUND IN A SIMMERING POT OF COLLARD

GREENS – it’s a dietary staple in many southern states, but North Carolina in particular has elevated collard production (and consumption) to an art form. Along with peanuts and sweet potatoes, North Carolina is one of the nations’ top collard producers, earning Eastern North Carolina the distinction of being informally known as the “collard belt” of the country – and the crop’s heartiness is undoubtedly part of its appeal. Typically a cool-season plant that’s grown in a variety of soils, collards can withstand a wide range of temperatures and are often eaten year round – though many believe that the leaves retain their best flavor when they’re picked just after a light frost. Collards are also simply packed with nutritional value. A one-cup serving of these greens contains a tremendous number of antioxidants, including 771 micrograms of vitamin A and nearly 35 milligrams of vitamin C, plus a significant amount of fiber, calcium and iron – all of which may or may not contribute to its rumored powers as an aphrodisiac. But those who only associate collards with Southern comfort, may have to think again. The domesticated collard plant actually originated in the eastern Mediterranean before spreading to Europe, where it quickly became a food staple. It’s also the oldest known green in the cabbage family, with ample evidence that it was grown by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Others who think of collards as a singular type of plant readily available in their local grocery stores, might also be surprised to learn that there are many different varieties of collards – some of

52 | W I N T ER 2021


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Leafy julienned collards, cabbage, red onion and carrot slaw, tossed with untoasted sesame oil, ginger, soy and rice vinegar. The slaw is topped with tempura-fried, pickled collard stems and toasted chopped peanuts.

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Mean Greens

Collards take the place of cabbage with these shrimp-stuffed collard rolls – including a filling of Carolina Gold rice with finely chopped shrimp and collard leaves. Rolls are served with tomato fennel coulis and grilled baby corn.

5 4 | W I N T ER 2021


The domesticated collard plant actually originated in the eastern Mediterranean before spreading to Europe, where it quickly became a food staple.

which have uniquely evocative names like Ellen Felton Dark, Morris Heading and Old Timey Blue. Most of today’s known collard varieties are rare heirloom types that have been passed down generationally within families, while others are hybrids that have been bred for disease resistance and high yields. In the early 2000s, two geography professors at Emory & Henry College undertook a project that led them to collect more than 100 collard varieties in a number of southern states as far north as Virginia, and as far west as Arkansas and Louisiana – a collection that was later donated to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s official seed bank as part of a broader government initiative to protect the genetic diversity of agriculturally important plants. But when it comes right down to it, collards themselves really aren’t very fussy – and the most traditional way of serving up any variety Southern-style only requires a large pot on a low boil, a bit of bacon and a generous helping of salt and vinegar to top things off. Legend has it that this recipe helped many Southerners survive the Great Depression during the 1930s, and, when served with black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, they’re still said to represent a prosperous future. Which doesn’t mean that collards can’t be elevated according to culinary standards. Since they’re ultimately just a green, going beyond tradition only means considering cooking principals with similar vegetables, such as cabbage, lettuce or kale. All that’s required is a willingness to turn over a new leaf.

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Mean Greens

Though normally made with Tuscan kale, this Tuscaninspired white bean soup substitutes collards for an earthy Eastern Carolina richness, along with bacon, onion, celery and cloves of roasted garlic.

56 | W I N T ER 2021


MP

9

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Collards

Beach Rd. Kill devil hills

Servings: about six cups 8 oz dried white beans (such as navy) 1/2 cup diced bacon or pancetta 1 small onion, diced 2 stalks celery, diced 1 tablespoon garlic, minced

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Soak the beans overnight in water, then drain. Render bacon or pancetta on medium-low heat in a soup pot until almost crisp. Add onion, celery and minced garlic, then cook together for about 5 minutes. Add beans, broth and herbs, and let everything simmer for several hours until the beans are tender. While the beans are cooking, combine garlic cloves with olive oil and roast them in the oven at 350° until nicely browned – approximately 20-30 minutes. Add collards and the roasted garlic cloves to the other ingredients for the last hour of cooking, then season all with salt and pepper to taste. (Optional: Can omit bacon or pancetta and use vegetable broth to make a vegan version.)

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Summer 2021 • Volume 136

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THE LOCAL LIFE

Tshombe Selby Tenor

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Story by Amelia Boldaji Photo courtesy of Ted Alcorn

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– from near-countless hometown performances over the course of his life to his debut at Carnegie Hall in 2015 and his current position as an extra chorister at the Metropolitan Opera House. Though his professional career led him to New York City in 2013, Tshombe’s roots are firmly planted in Dare County, where his family and some of his staunchest supporters have been cheering him on from day one – making up a pivotal piece of a success story that he continues to be eternally grateful for.

MANTEO NATIVE TSHOMBE SELBY IS A RISING STAR IN THE WORLD OF CLASSICAL MUSIC

How were you introduced to the performance aspect of music? The first music I knew was church music. My family has been a part of the Haven Creek Missionary Baptist Church [in Manteo] since its creation in the 1800s, and when I was young it amazed me that three people in particular – Delton Simmons, Eugene Austin and Dora Saunders – were able to sit down at the piano and make such wonderful music. I thought it was the coolest thing ever, and I wanted to do what they did. [Early on] I held my own concerts on our screened-in front porch, until neighbors called to have me pipe down. But I just sang harder! 58 | W I N T ER 2021

How did you wind up studying music at East Carolina University (ECU), and is it true that you started to gravitate toward the classical genre while you were there? I was introduced to ECU because the university choir came to the Outer Banks as part of an annual program to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. [The program] was started by Ruth Lewis [at Haven Creek], and the choir was under the direction of Billy Hines – who interviewed me while I was in high school. I sing really high, and took to musical concepts, so I was naturally drawn to classical music – and my undergraduate years at ECU in the choir with Hines was when I started to understand even more that I could be an opera singer.

After you graduated from ECU, you returned to the Outer Banks fulltime for a few years – what were some of your next steps from there? I had a lot of different jobs. [Laughs] I drove a school bus, worked at J. Crew, cooked in a Chinese restaurant, and was a bouncer and bartender at The Pit [in Kill Devil Hills]. I also sang in the choir for The Lost Colony roughly 75 times per season – and I never missed a show in three years. Lebame Houston and Barbara Hird of Elizabeth R & Company were the ones who told me I had better audition for The Lost Colony, and they put their entire backing behind me – they fundraised and started a scholarship in my name, and supported all of my voice lessons…without [them] things might not have worked out for me.

Manteo native Tshombe Selby at the Metropolitan Opera House, where he first landed a job as an usher and now performs as a chorister.

In addition to performing at the Metropolitan Opera House, what are your plans going forward? I’m also a fulltime student at Binghamton University in New York, and I’ll graduate with a master’s in opera this December – so I’m still working hard. It can be overwhelming sometimes, but my story is a timeline of blessings, and none of it would be possible without Dare County, Manteo. [People in the area] have done so much for me, and I think that when your community raises you, it’s important to give back – so I get home as much as I can and stay as long as I can. In our community, everybody helps each other…and even though my physical body may be in New York, my heart is always in Manteo.


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