Outer Banks Milepost 3.1

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Issue 3.1

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startingpoint roadmap I CAN MEASURE gokite MY LIFE IN milepost TERMS OF PETS.

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Their lives. And — more importantly — their deaths.

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There was Joshua Running Scared Timid Dog, the aptly named “Sheltie” who failed to outpace a car when I was three. Nicole, a mis-titled tomcat I married in kindergarten — don’t judge — and who departed this world once I left for college. Three tarantulas: one splattered; two discovered with toes curled up. A half-dozen newts that drowned — or at least didn’t float. The list goes on. Each backyard funeral elicited an outpouring of condolences from friends and relatives. However, with the exception of immediate family who shared the animals’ daily joys and responsibilities, I don’t think any of them felt any actual loss.

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THE BUSINESS OF THE OUTER BANKS IS NATURE.

I’d argue this is the greatest disservice yet. Because our economy and environment aren’t just inseparable — Be careful what you wish for. they’re symbiotic: nobody wants to visit Photo: Cyrus Welch a polluted, paved coastline; and nobody will defend a coastal area they can’t appreciate firsthand. The truth is, the business of the Outer Banks is nature. And anyone who says otherwise has their own pet project to push.

It’s the same for “pet projects” — the euphemism we sometimes use to describe certain political issues: the closer you are, the more you care. Yet, when you listen to public debate, it’s the people who have no real connection — and suffer no real pain — who often cry loudest. Take last December’s Bonner Bridge closure. A whole pack of elected officials held a press conference, making pleas on behalf of the people. Behold the financial woe! The families hurting! Meanwhile, two of the most vocal politicians admitted they’d rarely been past Oregon Inlet. And both gladly supported other decisions that drained local wallets — when it fueled other pet projects they held more dear.

But, as our latest “Question Authority” shows, the frontlines of these battles aren’t between huge, faceless interest groups. They’re between neighbors. And when we wholeheartedly support or oppose an entire philosophical viewpoint without considering case-by-case impacts, we don’t just give up the ability to decide our fate person-to-person — we sacrifice our individual humanity to serve their giant needs.

Likewise, the Southern Environmental Law Center and Audubon trumpet their legal assault on Hatteras as a noble defense of future jobs and wildlife — yet, I guarantee neither has bothered to personally inspect the fallout. Because, down south, business sucks. And countywide, attitudes toward protecting wildlife have never been

So be careful whose water you choose to carry as we slip down the path that pits cash versus conservation. Because, when a pet project dies, and its various champions head home, they still keep the contributions, the votes, the political influence — whatever it is that drove them to speak up to begin with. And us? We keep the corpse. — Matt Walker

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worse. In fact, these attitudes have created the ultimate wedge issue, where economy and environment are at perpetual war with rows of holy warriors lined up on either side. And neither can live while the other draws breath.

Look, I have no tolerance for the SELC. I think they’re cowardly guns for hire with zero concern for collateral damage. And I believe Audubon uses our access problems as a nationwide ATM — sucking cash from every inland grandma who equates “beach driving” to turfing her garden, crushing precious plovers like plastic flamingoes. In fact, to me, Big Green and Big Business are interchangeable. Both make money off natural resources. Both will say anything to win, no matter whose lives they ruin. And when a given crusade no longer fits their agenda, both will leave town in a second and never look back.

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Thank you for reading Outer Banks Milepost. We hope you’ve enjoyed it. If not — before chucking this issue in the nearest dumpster — please consider one of the following equally satisfying ways of expressing your disgust: rip it to shreds for Fin the Squirrel’s nest. Soak up some grape juice and feed it to Mavis. Roll it up and swat Rufus for stealing your wave. Or simply add it to that six-month stack of newspapers you’ve yet to recycle. (Trust us: you’ll feel better.) Then, send any and all feedback — positive, negative or just plain confused — to: editor@outerbanksmilepost.com. Or light us up on Facebook with your opinions and ideas. We promise to find some way to re-purpose them.

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Outer Banks Milepost is published quarterly (sorterly) by Suite P Inc. All contents are the property of Suite P Inc. and do not reflect the opinion of advertisers or distributors. Nor do their contents reflect that of the creative types (who would never, ever sell out). Comments, letters and submissions are usually welcome. Please include SASE for return delivery of all snail mail, however, Milepost and Suite P Inc. still aren’t responsible for any unsolicited materials. And don’t expect much else to move much faster than IST (Island Standard Time). Oh yeah: if you reprint a lick of this content you’re ripping us off. (Shame on you.) To discuss editorial ideas, find out about advertising or tell us we blew it – or just find out what the waves are doing – call 252-441-6203 or email: editor@outerbanksmilepost.com; sales@outerbanksmilepost.com. www.outerbanksmilepost.com


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03 StartingPoint

Heavy petting.

06 UpFront Biting ticks, chasing foxes and failing history.

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15 GetActive

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16 Nature

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28 GraphicContent

Feral cats just got less fertile.

Every wildlife picture tells a story.

Zoological Zodiac.

30 Nurture

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Five animals that bring out the best in their humans.

36 Question Authority With environmental debate getting increasingly political, one anthropologist talks to the public.

41 GoBike

The full scoop on rocky roads.

43 GoGaze

Nightlife goes au natural.

44 FoodDrink It’s a brave new world for local oysters. “Tree of Life” By Meg Rubino www.megrubino.com “I’ve always related people to trees. We’re all different sizes. Different shapes. Different textures. We’re born from roots — our parents — who come together to create new life. And then, in order to grow up, we have to reach out. So I see this whole ‘Tree of Life’ imagery all around us. And when nothing else inspires me, I come back to my tree and each one spawns another variation. Sometimes the leaves are made from colored paper; sometimes it’s the birds, which are drawn to the tree as a source of life. This time it’s the trunk. But just that ripping of the paper creates a bold edge — and gives each painting its own unique soul.” — Meg Rubino

46 ArtisticLicense

This china’s made here.

49 SoundCheck

The wind cries EZ.

51 OutThere

Stark and stormy.

52 EndNotes

Dig into spring. milepost 5


upfront soundcheck

DOCTORS CALLED getactive ME A MYSTERY When it comes to treating Lyme Disease, diagnosing the problem is the most difficult part. startingpoint

At first it felt like a horrendous flu: high fevers, brain fog, aches, dizziness. Only it went on for months. Every time I started feeling better, the symptoms returned, escalating to include sinus infections, fatigue and short-term memory loss. Doctors did CT scans and blood work but nothing came back. This started in October 2012. Only in April 2013 — after postponing grad school and being called “a mystery” by four doctors — did I finally push for a Lyme Test.

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It came back positive. Scientists have learned a lot since Connecticut reported the first cases of Lyme disease in 1975. They know it’s transmitted by tick bites, particularly the blacklegged tick or “deer tick.” And they know it’s the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States. In North Carolina, the Department of Health and Human Services reported 127 confirmed and probable cases for 2012, representing 54 of the 100 counties in NC. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data does not include patients who have had negative test results but are symptomatic.)

They also know the illness is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. But as the bacteria breeds it can alter its DNA codes, confusing the immune system. Bodies haywire and exhibit random, fleeting symptoms, leading patients to be misdiagnosed with illnesses such as Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, ADHD, Rheumatoid Arthritis and even Depression. Left untreated, Lyme Disease progresses to its second stage, affecting neurological, cardiovascular and immune systems.

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Besides the initial flu-like symptoms, Lyme affects individuals differently, which makes diagnosing cases extremely difficult. Only one-third of patients report finding the telltale “bulls eye rash.” Furthermore, the ELISA and Western Blot tests frequently give false results. The irony? While the CDC recognizes tests aren’t always accurate — and recommends diagnosing from

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both symptoms and blood work — many doctors won’t consider treating Lyme disease without a positive test result. That leaves many patients frustrated and suffering for long periods of time. “I went down the crazy roads for six months,” says 36-year-old Kill Devil Hills resident Shane Cook, who had three negative tests and saw 17 doctors before being properly diagnosed by a California lab specializing in tick-borne illnesses. “It wasn’t

until every part of my body was shutting down that I finally linked up with a doctor.” Last summer, Virginia passed the Lyme Disease Testing Information Disclosure Act of 2013, which demands patients receive notification that tests can give false negatives. Unfortunately, North Carolina has no such laws. But even legislation can’t force a diagnosis, so until testing improves the best way to beat Lyme’s is to avoid getting bitten.


On woody outings, wear light colors to see ticks more easily. Walk in the center of trails away from tree limbs. Wear bug spray, tuck pants into socks. Shower immediately afterward, making sure to inspect hairlines, underarms, ears and belly button. Wash and dry clothes on high heat for at least an hour to kill any unseen ticks. And check pets for any stowaways. And if you do find a tick? Remove it quickly and properly. Using tweezers, grab close to the skin without crushing the tick and pull straight out, then apply antiseptic to bite. Kill the tick, and keep it by scotch-taping it to an index card or placing it in a container. Then write down the date and place on the body it was found for reference; it may help with diagnosis and treatment if symptoms develop. Removing the tick within 24 hours reduces risk of transmitting the disease. But if you find yourself feeling flu-like symptoms that don’t get better, push for a test — and keep pushing until you get answers. “You’ve got to fight for your rights,” says Cook, who started a support group on Facebook that currently includes 70 local patients and their family members. “If you’re well enough. Unfortunately, some people are so sick they can’t even do that.” Still, while a positive diagnosis may come as a welcome relief, it’s only the beginning of a longer battle. The complexities of this disease requires finding a doctor who is “Lyme Literate” to administer an individual treatment plan that can include antibiotic

therapy, dietary restrictions and herbal supplements. Like everything else with Lyme Disease, what happens next depends on the individual case. Some patients show immediate signs of improvement. Others get worse before they get better.

ONLY ONETHIRD OF PATIENTS REPORT FINDING THE TELLTALE “BULLS EYE RASH.”

It’s been nearly a year since my diagnosis. At first I could barely walk and had the concentration of a goldfish. By midsummer, I started to make my own meals. When the holidays came, I was able to once again maintain a small todo list. These next months will require more patience as I fully regain the strength of a healthy, 24-year-old grad student. But at least I’ve figured out the mystery. — Sarah Hyde

For more on Lyme Disease, its symptoms and treatment opportunities, contact the National Capital Lyme Disease Association (www.natcaplyme.org) or LymeDisease.org. For state info try CarolinaLyme.org. And for local experiences and support group opportunities, find the Outer Banks Lyme Disease group on Facebook.

Since 1979

THIS IS WHY WE DON’T WRITE TEXTBOOKS… Well, we sure stepped in it this time. Not only did winter’s “Super Nerds” feature make a massive historical error — we did so in a story about the Outer Banks History Center (“The OBX Files”), which stated: “Poet/ adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh arrived here in 1584, more than 20 years before John Smith’s soles touched Virginia.”

later explored South America.) So why are so many streets, parks and even the capital named after him? Because Raleigh and his pals pooled the dough to fund the Roanoke Colony expeditions, proof that in America — even pre-colonial America — spending a pile of cash is the quickest way to put your name on the map. Nonetheless, our editors regret the error. We promise to spend the rest of the school year studying North Carolina History for Dummies. And, in the meantime, we will punish ourselves accordingly.

Well, it turns out Raleigh never put so much as a pinkie toe in the Tarheel State. In fact, he never actually set foot in North America. (Though he

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FOX ON THE RUN getactive startingpoint roadmap gokite milepost graphiccontent

For more than two decades, a British sport served as local tradition.

Imagine a beautiful winter morning. The late-rising February sun peeks over the horizon, casting its rosy glow over a lessdeveloped Outer Banks. It is the 1950s, and suddenly the sound of a horn shatters the chilly air. The hunt is on. For 25 years from the late 1940s to the early 1970s, hunters and hounds assembled in Nags Head for the annual Valentine’s Day Fox Hunt. Headquartered at the Carolinian Hotel, the multi-day event often drew 100 hunters. Roanoke Island’s Lib Fearing, who moved to Dare County in 1947 — the same year the Carolinian opened for business — remembers the Valentine’s Day Fox Hunt as “the social event of the season” with hunt breakfasts, oyster roasts on the beach and gala balls with live music and dancing among the activities. “It was the center of social activity on the beach,” Fearing recollected. “Saturday night was a big night.”

Lucille Purser (later Winslow) and her sister and brother-in-law, Lima and Julian Oneto, who owned and ran the Carolinian, worked hard to promote the new hotel. The weekend’s chief organizers were Oxford, North Carolina, brothers Chandler and John Ray Watkins — who hunted the area several years before the official Carolinian affair. They had their own rough kennels back in Nags Head Woods and acted as hunt masters. And let’s not forget the fecundity of foxes. In a February 1950 article in the Gastonia Gazette, Dare County publicist/promoter Aycock Brown wrote, “Foxes are so numerous here at the present time that they are becoming a threat to wildfowl, birds and small game… Several have been seen along the ocean’s surf where the animals go apparently to catch sand crabs.” Hunts took place at Bodie Island, in Nags Head Woods and on Colington Island. After the sounding of the horn, groups released

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a pack of hounds to seek out the quickfooted, elusive fox. The hunters followed the dogs, not on horseback but in true Outer Banks style, traversing the sandy terrain in jeeps and other 4WD vehicles. In 1965, the foxhunt was moved to the beginning of April to coincide with the formal opening of the Carolinian, which had undergone extensive renovation and expansion during the winter. That same year marked the first time mounted hunters on horseback were included as part of the pursuit. Even North Carolina Governor Dan K. Moore was invited to make an appearance, but had to decline. By 1972, area landowners were becoming more enlightened and fox-friendly. The Coastland Times reported that “a goodly number of acres are posted ‘No Hunting.’” The Dare County Humane Society looked to end the hunt, claiming that it violated several anti-cruelty laws. (If the dogs over-

took the smaller animal it was sometimes mauled by the canines.) A budding animal activist network emerged as letters to the editor graphically described gruesome accounts. Mole reporters participated as whistleblowers, adding to the negative perceptions. In 1972, the hunt took place in Currituck to make the event less visible. However, a Coastland Times article in March 1973 said the true reason for the event’s move was a lack of open space. “First Bodie Island, where foxes were plentiful, came under protection of the National Park Service,” lamented Ed Lamm, who took over as hunt master after the death of the Watkins brothers. “Then Nags Head Woods and Colington Island gradually built up and some of the landowners aren’t anxious to have fox hunters and fox hounds running around on their property.” By the early 1970s, the sound of the hounds

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officially went silent. But memories of the Valentine’s Day hunt remained preserved for almost another quarter-century — in the form of a mounted stuffed fox, which served as part of the Carolinian Hotel’s decor until 2001. One final trophy to remind the Outer Banks of its love affair with fox hunting. — Sarah Downing

Foxy lady, circa 1952. Photos: David Stick Collection/Outer Banks History Center

Sources for this article include: “British Nobleman to Follow Hounds in Big 4-Day Nags Head Fox Hunt,” Gastonia Gazette, February 11, 1950; “Rousing Start for Fox Hunt at Nags Head,” Coastland Times, April 2, 1965; “Letter to the editor,” Coastland Times, February 25, 1971; “Population Explosion Kills Fox Hunt at Nags Head,” Coastland Times, March 3, 1973.

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A seasonal tally of recent events and their potential impacts startingpoint

GIMME SHELTER After considering input from fresh sources — and reconsidering Roanoke Island Festival Park’s live stage around the corner — Nags Head’s Outer Banks Event Site announced they were scrapping the proposed amphitheatre from plans. Instead, look for a more weatherproof permanent structure to house winter events like Taste of the Beach and wedding expos. But don’t start electric sliding just yet, all you DJs and caterers — it’ll be years before any contractors get to say, “I will.” +2

dumpsters at eight Hatteras ORV ramps, eliminating lifeguard service inside the Seashore and taking down the Wright Bros.’ Centennial Pavilion to save on maintenance utilities. Better hope these changes keep the heat turned on. That glider probably makes great kindling. -2

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JEEPERS CREEPERS Faces were redder — and tempers hotter — when news broke in Dec. that a volunteer firefighter had left digital video recorders in the women’s bathroom of a Currituck station, as well as the tanning bed of a Grandy Radio Shack. Police are asking anyone who used the fake-bake facility between 1998 and Feb. 2012 to call 252-453-2670. They’ll also be inspecting footage closely to identify victims. (Very closely.) -3

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THE CRYING OF LOT 30 Dec.’s Kitty Hawk meeting saw plenty of tears from residents who fear a proposed 30-lot subdivision west of Kitty Hawk Woods would risk flooding, fill wetlands and — worst of all — “turn [Kitty Hawk Village] into Kill Devil Hills.” Still, the planned collection of three-bedroom homes passed unanimously with the developer likely to return for final approval within a year. Expect the period of mourning to last at least twice that long. -2 HOLY ROLLERS Hallelujah! Nags Head answered the prayers of local parishioners — and bored pre-teens — by approving The Ark’s expansion plans in Dec. The first phase of construction will replace the popular roller skating rink that was lost when the church’s Family Life Center burned down in Oct. 2012. Updates also include an expanded sanctuary — and an indoor basketball court — making the triple-sized addition a slam-dunk for revivalists and recreationists alike. +3 WHAT WOULD TARZAN DO? Look for locals and visitors to fly higher — and stay fitter — this spring, as


First Flight Adventure Park announced plans to post up in Nags Head, stringing a web of zip lines and rope courses to the west of Dairy Queen. With a max height of 60 feet, obstacles soar higher than a JetPak and stay quieter than a go-kart track, offering a fresh perspective on swinging tourist attractions. +2 CALL OF THE WUSS Who shoots a harmless animal for no reason? That’s what U.S. Fish and Wildlife want to know, as they reported the 15th dead endangered red wolf since Jan. 2013 — ten of which were confirmed or suspected gunshot kills. One year in, and no one’s come sniffing for the $2500 reward. But the real question isn’t, “Who shot them?” It’s, “Why aren’t more humans howling?” -2 STEPPED-UP CHARGES Expect to pay $2 to stroll Jennette’s Pier this summer, as the state facility replaces its “requested donation” box with a mandatory walk-on fee. (Kids 12 and under get by with a buck.) Cheapskates cry foul, saying their tax money built the facility. Officials respond they need the dough to stay liquid and follow fair competition laws. And anglers hope the charge will filter out a few bystanders — and clueless questions like, “You fishing?” -1

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NO MORE PENCILS, NO MORE BOOKS Don’t worry: you’ll still get teachers’ dirty looks — especially if you bust one of the brandnew computers that Dare County Schools wants to give students. It’s all part of a plan to make learning fair for low-income families — and keep pace with modern technology. Critics question the $225k+ price tag. Officials say textbooks are dated and expensive. And parents note the ton of online homework currently in place. If approved by the school board, look for every kid between 6th and 12th grade to be tapping a laptop starting this fall. +3 SNOW DAZE There was sledding. Shredding. And likely some bedding, as back-to-back Jan. storms dumped six inches of snow in parts of Dare County, left a pair of record lows in Cape Hatteras and turned the whole Outer Banks into a fun winter festival. Of course, after two weeks of school closures and lost business, what began as a surprise party felt like a hangover. But come next Dec., we’ll forget the ice cream headaches and be itching to lace up our party boots. +2 TOTAL +2 For detailed reports on many of these stories and breaking local news on a daily basis — plus page after page of local discussion — visit www.outerbanksvoice.com and www.islandfreepress.org.

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SMART-ASS COMMENT OF THE MONTH “I think this is a step in the right direction — especially if the hands-on exercises are done during classroom hours instead of saved for parent torture hour, I mean homework.” — Just Beachy, “Dare County schools moving toward digital learning,” Feb. 2, 2014, Outer Banks Voice

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YOU’VE GOT TO GET AWAY FROM THIS BEACH. You’re tired of the wind, sick of being pelted by sand, weary of the weather — but you can’t buy a ticket to the tropics or even gas for a road trip. But you can escape to the woods. Here’s four nearby preserves that promise natural beauty with no one around.

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NAGS HEAD WOODS ECOLOGICAL PRESERVE It’s sad how many locals take this maritime treasure for granted. (Maybe because the entrance is just a mile west of French Fry Alley’s unnatural glow.) But with Nags Head Woods turning 40 this year, there’s no better time to get reacquainted.

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Long before being designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974, residents would seek shelter in Nags Head Woods. Shielded by Run Hill to the north and Jockey’s Ridge to the south, today these dune formations offer solitude and protection during windy days or a fresh distraction in the best of weather. Six trails wind through 1,200 acres, offering a rare combination of deciduous swamp and maritime forest — including oak trees that approach 500 years old. You can run, bike or ride horseback on the packed dirt road — or roll along the paved multi-use trail, perfect for strollers and folks with mobility issues. There’re fresh water ponds and brackish sound beaches, 300+ plant species and 50 species of birds — plus amphibians, reptiles and mammals. There’s even a butterfly garden and historic family cemeteries. And unless you want to bowhunt for deer — which requires a $50 permit — it’s all free and open from dawn to dusk.

Don’t let the gray highlights fool you. Nags Head Woods is still vibrant at 40. Photo: Chris Updegrave

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outthere gohunt

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In 2012, the Nature Conservancy expanded the preserve by 20 acres with a $545,000 purchase of private land in Nags Head. (The town chipped in $25,000.) But as improvements continue, focus remains on preserving the integrity of the woods. “We don’t want to love it to death,” says Aaron McCall, northeast regional steward for The Nature Conservancy. “You can either protect it too much, or use it to the point where it is no longer what it was.” milepost

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PINE ISLAND SANCTUARY AND AUDUBON CENTER Uh-oh — we said the “A” word. But this place proves not all bird love is evil. Since 2010, the National Audubon Society has made this former part of the Pine Island Clubhouse an oasis of openness that begins at the Currituck county line. Head west at the sign and you’ll find 3,000 acres of marsh, bottomland, dry sand areas and upland maritime forests — as well as two birding observation platforms along a three-mile nature trail that’s perfect for hiking. And to mix things up further, a multi-million dollar project plans to renovate the 1913 hunting lodge, plus build a visitor center, dining hall, outdoor pavilion and science laboratory to create what center director Robbie Fearn predicts will be a “leading conservation hub.”


MERRYTIME FORESTS Four woody ways to get outdoors this spring

BUXTON WOODS NATURE TRAIL

KITTY HAWK WOODS

There’s no higher point on Hatteras Island. And arguably no place as historically poignant, as Buxton Woods once sheltered both Native Americans and English settlers. The 1,007-acre North Carolina Coastal Reserve houses a remarkable ecosystem of maritime forest, swamps and wetlands situated on a dune ridge. It all abuts Cape Hatteras National Seashore, with a 3/4-mile trail access off Lighthouse Road, as well as a 4.5-mile Mountains to Sea trail, both located by the picnic area. Trail entrances also exit Old Doctors Road and Water Association Road off NC 12. Home to numerous mammals and reptiles and amphibians, 350 species of migratory residents stop over during their annual fly-bys, while some highly respected residents stay put yearround — including the mighty bald eagle.

Every ying has its yang. For Wright Memorial Bridge’s weekend traffic jam, that yang is Kitty Hawk Woods — 1,877 acres of peaceful forest, marsh and swamps, spitting distance from the pile of angry visitors stacked up like sardine cans. The main entrance is right off Woods Road in Kitty Hawk. More interior trails wait at the west end of Eckner. Both give way to a diverse population of trees, plants and animals — plus a system of 30-foot dunes. All of it waits just a 1/4-mile from the ocean, yet feels light years away from the bypass’ bustling headache. — Catherine Kozak To learn more about Nags Head Woods, visit www. nature.org. Get info on Kitty Hawk and Buxton Woods at www.nccoastalreserve.net. For more on Park Service trails, see www.nps.gov/caha/ planyourvisit/hiking.htm. And for more info and a site plan video of Pine Island’s Audubon Center, visit: http://pineisland.audubon.org.

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How therapy dogs help Outer Banks readers Sweaty palms. A dry mouth. That emptystomach feeling as you stare at a dozen blank gazes.

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Reading out loud to an audience can scare even the bravest of adults. But when you’re a child, such fear and stress can cause real learning problems. So how do you relieve the pressure? Start by removing the humans — then replace them with friendlier, furrier faces.

up an appointment. The libraries have three trained therapy dogs available for 20- to 30-minute blocks. The child picks a book, sits down next to their favorite pooch and reads at their own pace. The more they read in such a comfortable environment, the more confident they become. The more confident they become, the better they read.

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Shelley, Nags Head Ace

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In 1999, Salt Lake City, Utah, became the first community to introduce the concept of kids reading to dogs in a neutral environment to reduce stress and build self-esteem. In 2010, a University of California study showed a 10-week course could improve students’ aptitude by 12%. No wonder similar programs are springing up nationwide. Last summer, the libraries in Cape Hatteras and Kill Devil Hills launched their own called “Tales to Tails.”

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“When I see the kids reading to the dogs it really strikes a chord,” says Kathy Lassiter, branch manager of the KDH Library. “It’s all positive and pressure-free. It improves their self confidence overall.”

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The concept is easy. Parents simply register any child, grades K-5, by calling and setting

One local foster parent had an eight-yearold who was reading at a kindergarten level. But after only one month in the Tales to Tails program, her daughter is catching up to peers and practicing daily. More importantly, she’s happy to do it. “She actively seeks out new books now,” says the mom. “And she has this opportunity to create a bond with a wonderful animal.” These librarians hope stories like hers will appeal to other local parents looking for options. Because that bond is where the real benefits lie. “We have seen kids who may not smile or speak,” says Jen Paley, former chapter director of Therapy Dogs International in Schenectady, New York. “As soon as they spend some time with the dogs, they start opening up. It’s a powerful thing.” — Fran Marler

For more on KDH’s Tales to Tails program, contact Kathy Lassiter at 252-441-4331. In Cape Hatteras, ask for Helen Hudson at 252-986-2385. milepost

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Auto && Marine PA I N T S

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LOVE TRAP Feline Fix Foundation roadmap shows a softer side to fighting ferals.

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Why the shift away from euthanizing ferals to “trap, neuter, release?” Because killing them doesn’t work. You trap one cat and five others keep reproducing litters. But the new method is “trap, neuter, return” (TNR). Because once you remove a cat from a colony, an unsterilized one just moves in and restarts the whole process. So we trap them. A vet sterilizes them and gives them rabies vaccine. Then we return them. We also do a full ear notch to show the cat’s been sterilized and treated.

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PA R T S

In one year, Aimee Thibodeau has sterilized 117 cats. Even more shocking was that not one was hers. “I thought there was just one running around the neighborhood,” says the 39-year-old Southern Shores resident. “Then it had nine babies in my backyard. That’s when I discovered there was no local resource to keep feral cats from reproducing.” So, last March, Aimee started Feline Fix Foundation, reflecting a nationwide trend in feral kitty control that screams “trap, neuter, release” instead of “kill, kill, kill.” So rule one: fix your cat. Two: don’t feed ferals. What else can people do to help? Well, if you’ve got a colony, call us. Or if you’re up to the challenge, buy a trap at Ace for $50 and ask your vet for a discounted rate. Dr. Jay Taylor has been very helpful for us. Roanoke Island Animal Clinic works with Friends of Felines in Hatteras. And if you own a restaurant with a dumpster colony, put a donation jar out. Fifty bucks a cat isn’t a huge investment. Besides, if you have six cats now, you’ll have 60 before long. And there are lots of cat groups that can use volunteers and donations, like Feline Hope — which shelters cats for adoption — and Ability Friends, which collects food. And Coastal Humane Society will help low-income families with pet sterilization.

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How many feral cats does Dare Co. have? I’ve heard 5000, but there’s too many to really count because of all the food sources from restaurants to fisheries. But the real problem is owners who don’t fix their cats or can’t afford it.

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outthere

Why not put feral cats up for adoption? There’s simply not a home for every kitten. The SPCA has hundreds already. When you do the research, TNR is the one method that’s working. Reno decreased their feral cat population by 75% over 10 years. Our goal is to fill feral colonies with ear notches instead of kittens. Because it’s the only way to fix the problem. Got ferals? Try Feline Fix Foundation at 252-7223033 or find them on Facebook. On Hatteras Island, call Friends of Felines (252-995-4725; www. fofhi.org). And for financial help with sterilization contact the Coastal Humane Society (www. obxcoastalhumanesociety.org) or call the SPCA (252-475-5620) about low-cost clinics this spring: April 19 (cats only) and May 16 (dogs only).

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“I’m no wildlife photographer.

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BAG OF TRICKS

To me, humans are the most interesting animals to shoot because you can capture them in their natural state — or interact with them to create a certain mood or composition. But I’ve always enjoyed shooting beach landscapes in winter. The sand, ocean and lighting get so dramatic. So, whenever it snows, I go looking for photos. And sometimes I come back with a different kind of portrait.” — Chris Bickford


NATURE

Sixteen photographs that capture the wonder of Outer Banks wildlife. It’s easy to get jaded by nature’s beauty. At least in our neck of the woods. The Atlantic Flyway keeps hundreds of bird species soaring overhead. Offshore, the Gulf Stream and Labrador Currents co-mingle to produce a teeming universe of marine life. On land, whole neighborhoods back up to national seashores, state parks and refuges — not to mention an estuary system that’s the envy of the whole East Coast — filling our backyards with mischievous fauna. Spend enough years surrounded by such a biological bounty, and before long, another dolphin, another bear — even another snowy owl — becomes just another day in paradise. That’s when a good picture can snap you back to reality, stopping time to let you bask in every majestic detail of every breathtaking sight — instead of watching it whizz past in a blur of fins and feathers. With that in mind, we tapped a few local lensmen to send us some favorite wildlife shots, and tell the story behind them. Some photograph animals for a living. Others just when the opportunity arises. But each time they capture one of God’s glorious creatures it releases a whole new appreciation for our little world. And reminds us all of what we’ve been missing.

Seagulls, Nags Head “Birds aren’t people. You can’t say, ‘Hover six feet off the ground and look at me.’ But on this day, I had some chips in the car, so I ran back and grabbed the bag and let the seagulls do what they do best. I must have laid in the sand and snow for an hour throwing one at a time. Even then, I remember thinking ‘I wish that one bird would move a little left.’ But by then the bag was empty and they moved on to greener pastures. As seagulls are prone to do.”

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“Wildlife photography is all I do.

SHOOT TO LIVE

In fact, I just released a photographer’s guide that covers the whole Outer Banks. But it doesn’t just say, ‘Go here, it’s real pretty.’ It talks about the significance of it historically or ecologically. I spent 10 years here as a kayak guide building up a knowledge and appreciation for local wildlife. So once I started shooting photos, it became a perfect fit. And now it’s how I make my living.” — Jared Lloyd

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Harbor Seal, Duck “Most of the seals we see on our beaches are pups. They aren’t as large or aggressive as adults, so when winter comes they follow the food south to the Outer Banks. I used to help out the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, which works locally to make sure people don’t harass them or take them home. I’d get a call saying a seal was in a certain location, and I’d go keep it safe for a couple hours and take photos for identifying marks. Of course, I’d also get a few shots for myself.”


Wild Horse, Carova

Red Foxes, Carova

“I’ve spent a lot of time shooting wild horses. This day, the snow was really dumping in Carova. I was hoping to get a pulled-back shot with big flakes falling, but the horses moved up into the thick underbrush. They like that maritime forest in winter because of the live oak acorns. Most horses won’t eat them because the tannic acids can be poisonous. But for our guys it’s a main staple of the winter diet. In fact, they might be the only population of wild horses that eats them.”

“Red foxes like sandy soil, so Carova is littered with dens. This one had five kits. At sunrise, they’d all come out and play on what amounts to their front porch. I like this photo, because it’s an obvious mom and a kid hanging together. It’s an intimate moment people, especially parents, can relate to. I can’t stand when biologists put scientific separations between humans and the natural world. As an artist, I want to bridge those worlds. I want people to connect.” milepost 19


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LABOR OF LOVE

I shoot a lot of fish because I love to fish. I shoot surf because I love to surf. But there’s always critters in the dunes and in the water from Corolla to Ocracoke. That’s why wildlife photographers come here from all over the country. Those guys get incredible images, because there’s a big difference between stumbling across an animal and paying your dues. But it’s still good to keep a camera with you at all times, because you never know what you’ll get.” — Matt Lusk


Tobacco Hornworm, Kill Devil Hills

Snapping Turtle, South Nags Head

White Marlin, Gulf Stream

“When this caterpillar grows up, it will be a hawk moth the size of a small hummingbird. In the summer they can kill tomato plants overnight, leaving nothing behind but stalks. Looking through the macro lens, you could see how; their mouths never stop chewing. I watched this guy eat five leaves in less than five minutes, one after the next. Like a little chipper shredder.”

“The day Hurricane Irene came in, I was walking around South Nags Head shooting folks boarding houses. When I got there, the road was bone dry. When I came back to my truck, the water was so deep I thought I’d gotten turned around and found the wrong road. The next morning I went to shoot the same stretch and caught this snapping turtle walking out of the ocean. It was so bizarre, because they’re always in ponds or ditches. You never see them anywhere near the beach. Maybe he got washed out in the flooding or pushed out a drainpipe — I have no idea — but you could tell he was super lost and bent out of shape. Just like a lot of us were.”

“It’s always a risk jumping in the water 60 miles offshore. I’d done it with dolphins before, but these marlin were way more intense. I thought there would be maybe two or three, but when I jumped in I saw more like 25. One would slice through the bait ball and send sardines scattering for the others to feed on. Sometimes one would come at me and dart away. They weren’t trying to hurt me, but it was still scary. Because they’re still seven to eightfoot fish with giant swords coming out of their faces and swimming faster than you can ever imagine.”

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Tundra Swans, Lake Mattamuskeet “Lake Mattamuskeet is the largest natural lake in the state. It’s home to thousands of birds, everything from bald eagles to snow geese. And it’s just on the other side of the Pamlico Sound. Every December they do sort of an open house. They tow a tram behind a pick-up truck and take people through sections that are normally closed to the public. I left before sunrise. It was foggy the whole drive down and for the whole first half of the tour. I didn’t think I’d shoot anything, but slowly the fog lifted and I got this photo. I like it because even when the lake is foggy, moody or a little bit bleak — the birds still make it a wondrous place.”

“I took my first photographs here 40 years ago.

PULLED-BACK PERSPECTIVE

When I switched from film to digital, I started reshooting all my landscapes and wildlife. Doing that, you notice things. For example, in the ‘70s it seemed there were more geese on Pea Island — now there’s more ducks. And more strange visitors like white pelicans. They’re more of a Florida bird, but we’ve had a flock up here the past four or five years. Or that snowy owl everyone’s been talking about on Hatteras. One time I saw a pink flamingo. I guess it just ebbs and flows. One thing I do know: there’s still lots of wildlife on the Outer Banks.” — Ray Matthews

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“The more you go to a place, the more you get to know it.

REPEAT OBSERVER

And after three or four times, you learn to sneak up on a heron at Sandy Run or an oystercatcher at Oregon Inlet. I spend a lot of my time in Nags Head Woods and the Kitty Hawk Coastal Reserve, and I’ve found that if I go looking for things, I usually end up finding them.” — Chris Updegrave

Fiddler Crab, Nags Head Woods “Every summer in June and July, fiddler crabs come up out of the sound by the thousands. They’ll go a quarter-mile up into the woods to do whatever it is they do. I got on my belly and backed this guy into a corner, but you don’t have to go far to find them. The ground is so thick with crabs, you can’t miss them; you have to watch your step as you walk down the road.”

Luna Moth, Alligator River “You’ll find these guys dead all the time. This one was alive at the bottom of a signpost. Once again, I had to lay in the muck. I got chiggers from shooting that picture. Actually, I think I had chigger bites all summer — all over my ankles, my feet, my back and stomach. You can take landscape shots in the woods all day long. But when you lie down on your stomach with a decent lens and get two inches from a lizard or bug — or a mushroom that’s smaller than a dime — what you see can be pretty interesting.”

Dragonfly, Sandy Run, Kitty Hawk “I just moved back after 20 years. So I’m really happiest shooting skimmers and oystercatchers — all those rare birds that seem to cause so much controversy. But in the dead of summer, not much moves in the middle of the day. That’s when I go looking for bugs. At Sandy Run there’s always millions of dragonflies, but getting close enough is very difficult — especially when your camera’s making all these mechanical vibrations — so to get a good picture is pretty thrilling.”

Green Heron, Sandy Run, Kitty Hawk “Green herons are special because they’re one of the few animals that use a tool. People go to Sandy Run to feed the turtles. This heron would grab a piece of bread, fly away from all the action, and drop it on the surface — and when a fish came to get it, the heron would nail it. This heron was even more special because he wasn’t spooked at all. He hung around by the boardwalk all last spring. Anyone could take a walk back there and get within 20 feet of him.” milepost 25


SCIENTIFIC METHOD

“I’ve spent my whole life trying to understand animals. My background is in biology research education. I used to work at The Outer Banks Center of Wildlife Education in Corolla. Then I went to Audubon’s Pine Island Sanctuary and Center. I started shooting photos to document behavior. Now, I take a more artistic approach. But the two passions still go hand-in-hand. That allows me to predict what’s going to happen, and put myself in the right position to capture the action.” — Mark Buckler

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Blackbelly Plovers, Corolla

Cottonmouth, Corolla

Peregrine Falcon, Cape Point

Bumblebee, Downtown Manteo

“During breeding season, these plovers are striking. In winter, they’re pretty blah. But I saw some foraging in mud flats outside the wildlife center, so I walked out on my lunch hour. As I was shooting one, another got too close and they just erupted into this wrestling match. It was just a quick tussle — no more than two seconds. But it captures a moment in time the human eye can’t see.”

“When I do photo workshops, I always encourage students to get on eye-level with their subjects because it makes for a more intimate image. Of course, to get eyelevel with a snake you’ve got to lay down in front of it. I saw this guy slithering in the grass, so I circled around at a safe distance — about 15 feet. He checked me out for a minute, I got my pictures, then I backed off.”

“Peregrine falcons are the fastest animals on the planet, clocked at speeds over 200 mph. They’ll fly high up, tuck their wings back and dive straight down in what’s called a ‘stoop.’ Then, they’ll slam into other birds, feet-first, like missiles. They don’t always hunt that way, so I don’t know if that happened here. I just caught it flying off with this laughing gull — or what’s left of it.”

“This bee isn’t at all what I was looking for. I was shooting the waterfront when these sunflowers caught my eye. Luckily, the bee was on the one flower that let me crop out the storefronts. You don’t need national parks to get spectacular images. Just get creative in your own backyard. Part of the benefit of living here is you’ve got nature on all sides.”

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The Barnacle

Tight-lipped. Crusty. Scarce of teeth. The Barnacle clusters along the oldest marine surfaces. Strangers find them abrasive, but friends know nobody sticks closer. Compatible with the Osprey or Nutria. Avoid the Duck.

The Osprey

Highly spirited. Focused. Perpetually fish hungry. The Osprey attacks with deadly skill — then flies around squawking about it. Compatible with the Barnacle or the Pelican. Avoid the Plover.

The Pelican

Happy. Confident. Cruisy. The Pelican rarely leaves sight of the ocean — even if it sinks the rest of their life. Compatible with the Osprey or Night Owl. Avoid the Cottonmouth.

The Plover

Timid, fragile and passive-aggressive, the Plover causes conflict then hides behind others. Compatible with the Flounder. Avoid the Nutria and the Osprey. (Not to mention the raccoon and 4x4.)

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The Flounder

28

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gohunt

outthere

Lazy, cross-eyed and flat broke, the Flounder flops from couch to couch, at constant risk of being stepped on or tossed back. Compatible with the Cottonmouth and Pelican. Avoid the Bull Shark.

gosurf

graphiccontent

The Cottonmouth

Sneaky. Cold-blooded. Unpredictable. The Cottonmouth holes up in a dark den of hidden dangers, spacey thoughts and a poisonous lifestyle. Compatible with the Night Owl. Avoid the Duck and the Bear. (And Bear Drugs.)

Illustrations by Chris Kemp

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The Nutria

Rooting. Tooting. Often shooting. The Nutria sinks its teeth into everything soundside, coziest next to a monster truck and its fellow furry swamp rats. Compatible with the Osprey and Pelican. Avoid the Duck.

The Night Owl

Flapping. Yapping. Never napping. The Night Owl lives for the late hours, perching up at bars and parties in a hunt for non-stop hoots. Compatible with the Cottonmouth and Nutria. Avoid the Carpenter Bee.

The Duck

Preening. Proud. Brightly plumed. The Duck flocks toward exclusive zip codes and waterfront property that reflect shiny status. Compatible with The Bull Shark and Frog. Avoid the Barnacle.

The Carpenter Bee

Busy-bodied and semi-buff, the Carpenter Bee frames out a sturdy life built on constant labor, faith and/or the occasional safety meeting. Compatible with the Osprey and the Pelican. Avoid the Cottonmouth.

The Frog

Here. Gone. Then back again. The Frog winters in other tourist destinations before returning to its favorite summer pad once the season heats up. Compatible with the Duck and the Night Owl. Avoid the Nutria.

The Bull Shark

Looking sharp and moving constantly, the Bull Shark secures its place at the top of the food chain by chomping competitors, leaving scraps for other fish (who may be eaten at any time). Compatible with the Duck and the Frog. Avoid the Flounder.

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nurture

h for 2014 s e r f A BoAtloAd of

Five superhuman tricks that beg the question, “Who’s training who?”

In the beginning, man domesticated animals to serve his needs. The oxen plowed the field. The dog hunted game. The cat kept barns and houses free of mice. Over time, however, those roles reversed. Today, most pets chill on the couch while we do the dirty work, whether it’s pouring the food, cleaning the poop or petting their furry little heads. It’s enough to make you wonder if we’re getting the short end of the proverbial Frisbee. But even though we do all the chores, they still help out in ways we rarely consider. In an age where everyone looks out for number one, sacrificing time and energy to nurture a needy creature is among the last selfless acts of modern society. In that way, these beasts provide a greater service than ever before — just by bringing out the best in human nature. Because, as the following five tales show, the more we care for them, the more we grow ourselves.


“Everything is both a possible food source — and a cause for concern.”

NOBODY’S

BABE MEET MAVIS.

She’s what breeders call a “micro-mini potbelly pig.” Cute, isn’t she? So pink! So tiny! All wet kisses and wagging tails, plus a wiggly little nose that squeals and snorts and pokes into everything. Well, she’s not so micro-mini anymore. This photo was taken last August, back when Mavis was roughly 6 pounds. By December, she was tipping the scales at more than 50, along with a lot of food bowls, boxes and bins. Anything that once held — or might someday hold — something worth eating. “I’ve seen her lift the whole couch with her snout,” says her adopted daddy, Jarvisburg vintner John Wright. “She’s basically programmed to find food. You can’t train it out of her.” Or as his wife Brooke Mayo puts it: “She’s a hot mess is what she is.” Mavis only gets 1/8 cup of special kibbles each morning. The rest she forages. That makes everything in the house or yard both a possible

food source and cause for concern. Even as we speak, Mavis circles the house sniffing broom bristles, baseboards, the hem of Brooke’s skirt… She sneaks a few stray crumbs off the pants of their three-year-old daughter Poppy, then zooms out front to find a stray apple or root in the lawn. “She’s torn the yard up ten ways to Sunday,” John laughs. “We’ll have to move her if we ever want grass again.” So what possessed them to get such a crazy creature? “We were at a birthday party with a petting zoo,” says Brooke. “Poppy fell in love with the pig. John had already said ‘no’ to another dog, but he said ‘yes’ to Mavis.” In some ways, bringing home Mavis was like adding an oversized puppy. She uses the same doggie door as their boxer, Juicy. She loves having her belly scratched and snuggling at nighttime. Ask her to “sit pretty,” she’ll push back on her hind legs. (For a piece of banana, of course.) Take

Photo: Brooke Mayo

her to the beach, she’ll roll around in the hot sand then hop in the water. “We had no idea she could swim until we took her out fishing,” says Brooke. “She started eating the bait so we let her off the boat, and next thing we knew she was splashing in the sound having a ball.” But the more you get to know her, the more you realize Mavis is her own unique animal. You can’t feed her meat scraps. (She might start test-tasting fingers.) Or make her stay put. Most notably, she’ll get a lot bigger — some potbellies reach more than 150 pounds — and live way longer. While the average dog survives ten years, Mavis’ life expectancy is closer to 30. “It’s likely we’ll still have Mavis when Poppy graduates from college,” says Brooke. “She might even be married with kids.” That’s a whole lot of years mending pickets and locking cabinets. Luckily, Brooke works from home as a wedding photographer and John’s right next-door at Sanctuary Vine-

yards. That makes it easier to monitor Mavis’ antics — and watch her and Poppy frolic, as they hop on the trampoline, play Ring Around the Rosy or just go for a long walk. “She’ll follow Poppy a mile back to the creek and run along beside her the whole way home,” says Mayo. “Then she lays down under the vines and eats squirt grapes. It’s the sweetest thing.” Cute, clumsy or borderline catastrophic, they maintain Mavis is always entertaining. So much that she’s inspired a children’s book to come later this year. Brooke’s shooting the photos while John writes the story. It’s appropriately titled, Pigwrecked. “Basically, a pig gets shipwrecked on the Outer Banks,” explains John. “Poppy finds her and takes her home where she meets all the ducks and chickens and gets in adventures. And though she never gets back to her parents, she ultimately realizes her family is here.” And they live happily ever after. — C. White milepost 31


“Her pines are twittering with frisky furballs.”

Photo: Chris Hannant

The very young need formula every two hours, a heating pad to keep warm and a little bit of snuggling. At about nine weeks old, they’re introduced to food and water and get slowly acclimated to the outdoors. Then, as soon as possible, she kicks them out for good. “They do better in the wild if you don’t befriend them too much,” Lila insists. “And they should never, ever, be kept as pets.” Still, Lila can’t help but spoil them a little. A special room holds cages filled with sticks, leaves and cardboard boxes. And a photo album features furry foster children riding shoulders and sharing baskets. (One sports paper rabbit ears for Easter.) In a few short weeks, Fin will be too wild to handle, but for now he’s quite friendly. In fact, the home inspector who found him says he ran right up. “I tell people not to be worried when that happens,” says Lila. “The squirrels aren’t rabid; they’re just looking for help and they’ll go to a person in a heartbeat.”

THESQUIRREL LADY DEEP IN THE WANCHESE WOODS,

down a winding drive covered in pine needles, stands a stately house on a sprawling waterfront property. Its views are regal. Its interior, elegant — complete with a sitting room and a fine grand piano. And its owner is equally refined, an individual respected across Roanoke Island for her philanthropic work with the Elizabethan Gardens and the Outer Banks Community Foundation. But for some longtime residents, Lila Schiffman has an even more distinguished reputation. “Neighbors knew I was a sucker for animals,” Lila says, fondly stroking a seven-week-old rascal named Fin. “They brought me a half-dead little fella that I was able to help and release. That’s how I got my start as ‘The Squirrel Lady.’”

Lila first began dragging critters home as a young girl, including an injured crow she raised as a pet. When she moved to the Outer Banks in 1974, the reputation followed. Soon people were dropping squirrel orphans off at her doorstep. Forty years later, she’s taken in roughly 300 cases that were lost, injured or abandoned — and released nearly as many. “Hurricanes always bring me a lot,” she says, noting that high winds knock down nests. “During Isabel, I had 25 on formula. And a recent big nor’easter brought me 21. The doorbell would ring and I’d just know it was another squirrel.” Caring for them is no easy task. She keeps records of weight, what they eat and when they use the bathroom.

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Finding a person to keep them isn’t so easy. Most vets don’t have the space or resources. So, when squirrels come to Roanoke Island Animal Clinic, they call Lila. Today, the towering pines in her yard are twittering with frisky furballs she saved. One day she hopes another animal lover will join the cause and help carry the torch. Until then, she’ll keep taking them in and setting them free. And loving them every step of the way. “I feel very successful because my recent babies I’ve raised are out there waiting for me each morning,” she states proudly. “It’s all about sharing a love of animals, and for all living things. Because everybody deserves a chance in life.” — Hannah Bunn

Any animal lovers who are seriously interested in learning about fostering orphaned and injured squirrels can contact Ms. Schiffman at lilasch@embarqmail.com.


A MISSOURI BEER EMPIRE PUT UP THE CASH. A Florida surf star took home the trophy. But ask anyone who watched Bud Light Lime’s Labor Day Cup two years ago, and they’ll tell you: an Outer Banks local stole the show. “The waves were so small that first day that the pros were struggling,” recalls Jennette’s Pier’s Assistant Director, Daryl Law. “But down the beach you could see Rufus catching waves. Pretty soon, everyone was watching him instead of the contest.”

“You’d be hard-pressed to find a more amped grom.”

Rufus isn’t some undiscovered amateur or retired ex-ripper. He’s a five-year-old chocolate lab. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a more amped grom — or a more proud papa than his owner, Ryan Biggs. “He knows he’s surfing, for sure,” beams the longtime KDH surfer. “When a wave comes, I’ll say, ‘Okay Rufus, here we go!’ He’ll get in take-off position with his paws down up front like he’s hanging ten. [laughs] He rides some of the waves better than I do.” Technically, they ride waves together. While Rufus is capable of surfing solo, they’ve found the tandem approach works better. Biggs steers and keeps things stable; Rufus rides the nose and wags his tail. Just like he did their very first wave. “Our first summer at the beach he kept swimming out to me when it was small,” Biggs recalls. “Finally, I pulled him up on my longboard and paddled him into one. Right away he was hooked. That’s when I knew we had something special.” They’ve surfed every summer since. The second the water hits 65 degrees, Ryan fetches Rufus’ stick — a clawed-up, foam-top StandUp Paddleboard that’s beefy enough to float

MAN’S BEST BRO Photos: Leigh Biggs

them both — plus a specially handled life vest for safety. Then they load up the car in search of the perfect wave — the smaller and softer, the better.

the sand and bask in the cheers — then charge back out for another ride. In fact, Ryan’s worried Rufus may be getting a little too stoked.

“If it’s too critical, he sits there,” Ryan explains. “But on laid-back days, he’ll walk the board. If I twirl my hand, he’ll do a 360. Sometimes, I can even get a little dog floater at the end before he runs up the beach.”

“I used to let him run around on the beach while I surfed when the waves were good,” Ryan says. “But he started following me out no matter how dangerous it was. So now there’s days when I surf and days when he surfs.”

Rufus will rush to his mom, Leigh, who films all the action — maybe scratch his back on

And then there’s days when nobody surfs. In the past 18 months, Ryan and Leigh had

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“I think we both only surfed a few times last summer,” he admits. “But anytime it’s under waist-high, I’ll take Rufus. When it’s that small, I have more fun with him, anyway. And isn’t that what it’s all about?” — Dale Pelon

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Brutus may have lost his mean streak — along with some other key parts — but he still holds command of the building. In fact, part of the whole appeal is watching Brutus come and go as he pleases. He’ll slink in and out like a sleek black phantom in white socks, silently appearing in the best possible position for a scratch behind the ears. Like all local bachelors, he’s always seeking some physical contact, ingratiating himself with students, volunteers and customers. Sometimes he won’t even wait for them to reach the door. “He likes to walk out and meet people,” says Moye. “I don’t know if it’s certain times or cars, but he does it every day.” Once inside, Brutus will post up to the left of the counter, like some royal beefeater or the concierge at a five-diamond resort. As kids run downstairs from art classes, they all stop to pet him. Brutus politely accepts their attention like a valet takes his tips, then slips out to meet the next arrival. And while he always sleeps outside on the porch, he never leaves the grounds. At least not intentionally.

“He’s like a black phantom in white socks.”

“One day, I pulled out on the bypass and heard this horrible scratching and screeching,” Julie recalls with horror. “Then I saw Brutus slide off the roof and hightail it into the bushes across the road. Luckily the next morning he was back home waiting for me. I couldn’t imagine losing him now.”

BRUTUS THE

GREAT BEFORE THERE WAS “RANDY THE BLACKSMITH” or “Fred the Potter” — before

there was “Charlotte the Batik Artist” or even “Julie the Owner” — there was Brutus the Cat. Smooth and dapper in his tuxedo suit, waiting at the door to welcome you with a come-hither stare, a gentle meow and a charm-offensive no one can resist. “Oh, sure, he’s Mr. Greeter now,” laughs Julie Moye, founder of the KDH Co-Operative Art Gallery. “But you should’ve seen him back then. He was constantly fighting and getting

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in trouble. You wouldn’t even put your hand near him.” That was 13 years ago. Julie had already fallen in love with the building’s quirky style and perfect bypass location. She wasn’t about to let its furious, feral landlord scare her off. In fact, she was all set to give him away. But while watching him limp across the front deck one day, the lifetime dog owner felt a sudden soft spot for the hard-living feline. Right then, she decided to keep him. Well, most of him. “The first thing I did was get him neutered,” says Moye. “And he mellowed out instantly. From that day on he was ‘Mr. Love’.”

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Nor could they imagine losing Brutus’ best buddy and son, Junior — a much bigger, less social version of the old man. But while both cats are equally loved, Brutus is particularly appreciated. He’s the black-and-white figure prominently displayed on the company’s website, their business cards, and a custom-crafted tile mat situated inside the side door. Customers not only ask about him, they purchase artwork featuring his image. One more reason Brutus remains an indispensible part of gallery life. “Nobody’s ever complained,” laughs Moye. “Even staunchly anti-cat people seem to be smitten. Plus, he moves a lot of product. He actually pays his keep.” — Brendan Riley


Maybe for the birds. For the humans, it’s serious work. Strict regulations require two years of study just to become an apprentice, three years of practice for a General Falconry license, then five more to become a Master Falconer. Furthermore, keeping hawks healthy and happy takes lots of space and close attention — including weighing them daily, calculating calories and monitoring weather temps so they’re perfectly tuned to catch their quarry.

Photo: Chris Hannant

“They fly to his glove at the blow of a whistle.”

BIRDS OF A

FEATHER

AT IT’S MOST THRILLING, falconry is like a

mix of car chase and dogfight. The squirrel turns tight corners high up in the canopy. The hawk circles and dives in hopes of sinking its talons. The human runs behind in hot pursuit. The most inspiring moment? Watching a raptor gracefully — and willingly — soar from up high down to an outstretched hand. But for the most crucial part of the process, you won’t even see the bird. Just a man tromping through the woods, banging trees with a stick, and screaming “Ho, Ho, Ho!” like some demented blend of Robin Hood and Santa Claus. “My job is flushing dog,” explains Nags Head Elementary schoolteacher, Doug Potter, breath misting after a fastpaced, failed attempt. “The only reason to own hawks is to hunt. And the only reason they stay with you is they realize you provide a valuable service.”

d en Op Roun r Yea

Potter’s provided that service for 17 years, one of 100 falconers in all of North Carolina — and one of only three living east of Greenville. He currently owns four Harris Hawks: a breeding pair and two hunting birds, Tess and Rain. Using mouse bits as treats, he’ll spend a month teaching them to fly to his glove at the blow of a whistle. Then they’re off to find prey. But with the exception of using ankle bells to monitor location — and making some noise — he basically lets nature takes its course. “We’re not doing anything that doesn’t happen in the wild every day,” he says, pulling vines as Rain’s feet ring in the distance. “We don’t harm our birds or the existing raptor populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service calls it a ‘non-impact sport.’”

“Like any athlete, you want a weight where they perform at their absolute best,” Potter explains. “My birds work best between 850 and 920 grams. That’s about two pounds.” A couple ounces lighter, the hawk might not be able to give chase. Too heavy? It might not want to. That’s the real threat. Because once they fly off, they might not come back. No big deal for the bird — it reverts back to the wild almost immediately. For the human, recovery takes a while. “The whole reason we do this is we love our birds,” says Potter, who’s lost just three in 15 years. “I have a special relationship with my hawks that I don’t have with any of my other animals. It’s a relationship of trust. And it’s always the bird’s choice whether to come back or not.” So three times a week, Potter hits the woods to strengthen that relationship. Sometimes he comes home with squirrels for the freezer. Others, nothing but sweatstains and branch-stings. Either way, he enjoys a few hours outdoors. A healthy, heart-thumping race through the forest. And the keen understanding of a creature that most folks only see at a distance. “Sorry we didn’t catch anything,” he shrugs as Rain lights on his fist for one last mouse morsel. “But to be honest, I really didn’t expect to.” — Matt Walker

For more on falconry, contact the North Carolina Falconers Guild at www.ncfg.org.

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True grit? Or wasted money? Beach nourishment views change as much as our shoreline. Photo: Matt Lusk

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CONSIDER THE SOURCE

In an age when politicians and activists increasingly twist environmental debate, one anthropologist asked people for their honest opinions.

graphiccontent Are you a Lorax — or an Onceler? Are you the

outthere

months she and six grad students talked to 208 Dare County residents. No SELCs. No NC-20s. And no direct questions. Instead of “How much do you hate catch limits?” or “Which McMansion would you burn to the ground?” — they asked things like, “Do you see changes?” and “Where would you put tax dollars?”

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What’d she find out? A whole lot. Mainly that residents are quite aware how economics and the environment affect each other — especially when it impacts them firsthand — leading to more nuanced perspectives than you might believe.

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bunny-hugging, pro-regulation eco-terrorist who “speaks for the trees?” Or the soulless pro-developer willing to pave over plovers and parks to make every penny? Quick, pick a side. Because when it comes to environmental debate in Dare County, there are only two teams: those who will protect nature no matter who it hurts economically; and those who will fuel the economy now matter how much nature it kills. Or so the various politicians and activist groups would have you believe.

rearview

“A lot of people do have middle-of-the-road opinions,” she notes. “And very few realize how many others share the same opinion as themselves.”

Last summer, Avenarius decided to bypass those paths. For six

We sat down with the good doctor to hear more about what we think, why we think it and what it means for Dare County in the future.

“The message war is the biggest war of all,” says East Carolina University Anthropology professor Dr. Christine Avenarius. “So we have all these special interests who try to put discussion into a particular framework and stimulate people along a particular thought path.”

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MILEPOST: What prompted the project? DR. CHRISTINE AVENARIUS: The idea was to restart the dialogue on coastal management. To see what a wide range of people think in terms of environmental changes and economic issues — not just the groups invested in certain issues or people running for political office. There’s also been an increase among the general population of people who question the objectivity of science — or they’re more interested in what they believe or see as common sense. So, I wanted to go out and ask them, “What do you actually see? Do you see change in the environment? Or are these scientists crazy?” How did the interview process work? These long sit-down interviews had several parts. One was to collect observations about the environment with open-ended questions: “What are your favorite places in Dare County?” “What are your least favorite places or eyesores?” And from there, we’d say, “What on the beach or sound have you seen changing? How do you know?” And we were hoping they’d mention climate change or sea level rise, but at the most 20% of people mentioned that at all. But everybody — 90% if not more — can describe areas that have changed. And they describe it as “erosion.” So one of the messages I’d turn over to our dear scientists is that people really don’t see evidence for sea level rise. And some would say as much as, “How do I see sea level rise? I don’t see it.” But they do see beach disappearing and sand accumulating. So they are aware. Very aware. And they have very interesting descriptions like “Mother Nature takes,” or “Watching the coastline change is like a mother who might not notice her child grow.” Or “Oregon Inlet is like taking a wild child and making him sit still in a seat.” [laughs] I love that one. But a lot of people who live in Dare County say things are always changing. And it always comes back to, “You cannot fight nature.”


Placing them in order of importance forces them to analyze the decision. Yes. And the pile sort task is my favorite task to tease out people’s awareness. Because if you ask, “Are you for or against beach nourishment?” people would say, “Of course, I’m for it.” But by having to sort it, they’d say, “I’m for it, but it doesn’t make sense.” Or, “I have to be for it because that’s our economy.” So while 60% of people are for beach nourishment, two-thirds of these people have reservations. Or if you look at business owners — people who really own a business with employees, not freelancers — these people are mostly for it regardless. And who are the 20% who say, “No support, waste of funds”? Younger people who aren’t invested with homes or businesses and older people who are retired. The people with the least to lose. Is it safe to say it’s always about money? And the more solid the viewpoint, the more that person has at stake — or less? Yes. And that’s what makes these beach nourishment figures so revealing. People with a regular paycheck, who work for the government or teachers, they know their

money is coming every two weeks for years to come. Or retirees who’ve made their money, they say, “Beach nourishment is the stupidest thing ever.” But they have easy talking, right? It’s not that the people who are for beach nourishment don’t have the same facts, but they have to survive. They say, “I’m for it. I hate being for it, but I’m for it.” Is that just human nature? I think that has to do with the scarcity of the environment and the lack of security. Because when there’s a conflict between the environment and development, that’s where you hear, “I know this may not be the right thing to do, but I can make money and put that away.” Or “Just this once.” But a lot of people said, “I want the environment to stay the way it is, but let me make money first.” That was the punch line I got out of this study, particularly with economics. How did the findings play out by region? Is it pretty localized? Very localized. KDH to Duck people say nourishment is needed — “Yes, yes, we must have it” — but they don’t care about Mirlo Beach. And most Hatteras people are not putting beach nourishment first, either, because few Hatteras folks own property at Mirlo Beach. For them, only the bridge counts. They’re also the only ones who are 100% “We want the short bridge,” whereas a lot of people say, “Long bridge, short bridge — I don’t care, just give me a bridge.” What about Manteo and Manns Harbor? Manteo and Manns Harbor are certainly against beach nourishment — for obvious reasons — and some are surprisingly proregulation, particularly the older ones. I think it has to do with age and seeing that, left to their own devices, humans will sometimes make a series of selfish decisions. A lot of these older Manns Harbor and Manteo people, 60 and over, say, “Thank God for the Park Service. They should buy up more land. That’s the only thing that keeps these development crazies in line.” I also talked to some young people in the fisheries and many of them are really struggling. They want to protect their

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But you never actually asked, “Can man fight nature?” Right. This is all without being prompted. Then the second part, I identified 18 different projects to dip into people’s ideas about economic constraints or opportunities in relation to the environment — which included such things as widening Hwy 64 toward Columbia, the Mid-Currituck Bridge, beach nourishment projects, the dredging of Oregon Inlet, various Bonner Bridge ideas — and we asked people, “If you were king or queen of Dare County, where would you put tax money over the next five years?” And then we asked them to take these 18 cards and make piles of which they favored, which were maybes, which would be bogus. Some people had an “I Don’t Know” pile. Or an “I Don’t Care” pile. Again: it was entirely up to the person. We also had people comment. So it was a great opportunity for people to say, “Here’s why I like the short bridge” or “Here’s why I like the long bridge” or “Here’s why I think ferries are bogus.”

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And nobody wants more density. And for a lot of people the largest thing that keeps us from being a Myrtle Beach or Virginia Beach is a sewage system. As long as we don’t do central sewage, we’re good. The moment we allow that to happen — in a wider area than the few things we have — then the high-rises will come. Then we’ll have absolute density.

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Any place where everyone agrees? Oregon Inlet. Ninety percent are for dredging. Even the people who say, “Beach nourishment is bogus, let Mother Nature do its thing.” Why? They feel fisheries should be sustained — “We cannot let these Wanchese people die out.” So that’s another big contradiction. Because if you want to line it all up — “I’m for the long bridge. I’m for no beach nourishment whatsoever. Everything should be as natural as possible.” — they should also say, “Let Oregon Inlet close up again.” But that wasn’t the case.

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What about other issues like energy? We did ask about different evaluations of energy opportunities, such as wind turbines and solar panels — how were they supported or not. We asked about fracking, too, but of course everyone was anti-fracking. Only the affluent, elderly, ultra-conservative folks were for fracking. And most people were very much against offshore drilling, fearing that it would influence tourism.

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But these are things people might feel are necessary too — whether it’s for jobs or tax revenue or power — so they’ll say, “I’ll take that eyesore.” But you could turn this around and say, “You’ve been able to live with a Wings store. You could live with a wind turbine.” And that’s where there’s a lot of room for education. For example, how much wind turbines might contribute in terms of economic benefits. Very few people had that information, but they did say things like, “They’re not efficient.” Information is power. But if information is fed to you by an interest group, it is easy to get your viewpoint skewed. That’s the big problem of our time. We never get full information. And the only hope we have for the future is people who are willing to think for themselves and not align themselves with a particular group. But if you want to reform or introduce a new idea, you have to understand all the different arguments that people have for or against a particular project, and then really pitch against it. But then people would have to be open to listen to that argument. That’s another big problem.

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the box stores and Wings were an eyesore; 75% said French Fry Alley; 50% mentioned the light poles; and in Hatteras it was the Rodanthe water park and Mirlo Beach houses. And, again, we just asked, “What is an eyesore?” This is what people came up with.

So, again they were worried about the economy, not the ocean. Yes. And, surprisingly, with wind turbines it was 50-50. Younger people and business people were very much for wind turbines. It’s some of the older people, or people who were worried about birds that weren’t. But most of it was unsightliness. They say that wind turbines look horrible.

gohunt

rearview

More horrible than a day-glo Wings or light poles on the side of the bypass? That’s funny you say that, because we asked about eyesores: 80% of the people said

Seeing this research, what is the future of the Outer Banks? Is it a wake-up call? Or are we doomed to fight each other for our own selfish interests? Well, I’m always optimistic. It should be a wake-up call. And the number-one thing people might get out of it is to just talk more to each other and make time to really get information and really participate in the decision making. But the other problem lies in that people are at a crossroads of being a community that’s locally focused and an urban sprawl/globally influenced society. So, if it suits you, you’re an urban citizen too busy doing your thing to worry about others. But when it’s your school, it’s an issue. Or if your friends are in trouble, then everyone rallies and donates to help. Where it gets complicated is that Dare County is not Dare


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So basically, everyone’s a hypocrite? Is that what it comes down to? Most of us, yeah. [laughs] Without taking would benefit from making coalitions that are it too far. We have different opinions and 10 wider than, “This is what we do in Manteo we shift them based on how they affect our 0 or Hatteras.” Because this whole UNDER closed ranks 25% -own backyard. And of course, we all feel 50% 50% -75% 100% idea of being a locally focused community we should be able to comeBORN to Dare County 25% still works on one level. But on some other — but we should close theHERE gates behind us. level, it doesn’t. — Matt Walker 30 - 39 40 - 49 50 - 59 60 +

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The preceding interview was edited for space, flow and clarity. For a complete 80 transcript of the full two-hour discussion 70 — including60the pressure to generate revenue, how 50 peoples’ attitudes change over time and 40 the larger cultural factors that influence 30 our decisions — go to www.outerbanksmilepost.com. 20 10 0

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firstperson gobike gofast The elusive “gravel grinder,” captured in its native element. Photo: Rob Nelson

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Most importantly, bring a friend. In a worst-case scenario, you’ll wish you had someone to go for help. Best case? You’ll want someone to share the experience. To this day, I’ve yet to see another biker who wasn’t along for the ride. In fact, I rarely encounter another human — besides the occasional hunter or state vehicle — all just as surprised to see me as I am to see them.

200 MILES OF TRAFFIC-FREE ADVENTURE AND BREATHTAKING SCENERY.

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THE ROAD questionauthority LESS TRAVELED

Sometimes loose gravel is the best pavement.

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Riding bikes isn’t for everybody. And bobbling down bumpy roads isn’t for all bikers. But if you’ve got a cycling itch no smooth surface can scratch, leave the bypass and Route 12 behind — and point your handlebars west toward the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge and a hybrid craze called “gravel grinding.”

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“Basically, it’s road riding on unpaved roads,” explains Jan Heine, editor of Bicycle Quarterly magazine. “Mountain biking is about mastering the trail — a lot of technical skill and major bumps. This is more like road cycling, where skill is important, but the experience is more gliding through the landscape. And anytime your tires slip it’s a liberating feeling.”

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Over the past 10 years, more lifetime cyclists have begun chasing that feeling on gritty back roads. Perhaps “roadies” are getting tired of battling traffic and angry motorists. Or maybe mountain bikers are sick of breaking shoulders and paying hospital bills. Whatever the reason, this year more than 60 100-mile-plus “monster cross” and “adventure races” await from Utah to the UK. But you don’t need to pin a number to your jersey to prove yourself. Alligator River National Wildlife

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ankle twist can become a major problem. And a tiny mechanical issue can leave you fully screwed. Always use reliable gear that can handle rough terrain. Gears are not necessary — in fact, they can end up a liability — but plump tires are preferable. You’ll also want to bring water, food and the ability to fix a flat tire or make any repairs.

Refuge is home to some of the best gravel-grinding grounds on the whole Eastern Seaboard — 200 miles of twisting, turning, traffic-free adventure promising immense solitude and breathtaking scenery. Starting is easy. Just park your car in the lot at Milltail Road and take off. Ten miles in, the gravel ends and the dirt roads begin. From there things get more intense with every mile. Expect stretches of knee-high grass and deep puddles. But that’s the whole challenge — and half the fun. Just hoist your frame up and start hiking. Curse the cold water with a few choice screams to scare the birds skyward. Or, if it’s truly impassable, you can turn around and find another path. The more you familiarize yourself with the terrain and the weather, the better you can pick your routes. And in the wake of a major storm, stick to “Wildlife Drive.” These gravel routes are closer to the highway and stay marked by small signs — sometimes QR codes for wildlife interpretation — and they remain relatively bikeable in the worst conditions. But even on the sunniest days, you still need to be 100% selfsufficient. When cell phone service is practically nil a simple

But why? In an age of triathlons and “Tough Mudders” you’d think more cyclists and extreme fitness buffs would push their limits by pedaling off-road. Is it the lack of an entry fee that keeps them away? The fact there’s no scoreboard or time limits? And is wading through mud puddles any more intense — or insane — than swimming through ice baths and running among electrical wires? These are the riddles I ponder every time I go on a solo ride for 60 miles through the untamed wilderness. And whenever I press fellow bike nerds for answers, these are the questions I get in return: Q: “Aren’t the roads straight and flat and boring?” A: Yes. But so is every paved road on the Outer Banks. Q: “Aren’t the bugs really bad?” A: Yes. Just like your backyard. Spray down, keep moving and you’ll be fine. Q: “Don’t you see a lot of bears out there?” A: Yes… if you’re lucky. And that’s the real reason to trek through the refuge: the animals and sights you might come across — or might come across you. I’ve startled alligators basking in the sun. Watched countless bears. Nearly run over snoozing bobcats. Crept up on slinking otters and swung wide around rattlesnakes. One time I even bunny-hopped a moccasin. But of all the cool things I’ve seen, I’ve rarely seen the same thing twice. And I could never say that for Bay Drive. — Jesse Davis milepost 41


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gogaze Kitty Hawk Bay’s rosy afterglow. Photo: Mickey McCarthy

the danger of sea turtles being attracted to the light. Now, as part of NPS’ “dark sky initiative,” they work on ways to eliminate or decrease light pollution as more places around the country turn a pitch-black park into a big tourist attraction. Places like Cherry Springs State Park. This 48-acre outpost became Pennsylvania’s first “dark skies park” in 2000. Officials ask visitors to keep flashlights down or use a red light filter. Now the park is known as one of the best places to stargaze on the East Coast — it’s also one of eight International Dark Sky Parks — with backdrops so black, the Milky Way can sometimes shine bright enough to cast a shadow.

LIFE AFTER DARK

Don’t expect such a dazzling display close to home, as our sky’s intensity can change due to many factors. “There is actually a bit of light pollution on the Outer Banks,” says Jim Manning, executive director of San Francisco’s Astronomical Society of the Pacific. A former Chapel Hill resident, Manning used to visit Dare County. The bypass often shines brighter than Orion’s belt. And that’s not all: “The other problem is you get a lot of ocean haze.”

Outer Banks night moves beyond happy hour and last call

The temperature is face-slapping cold. The air is salty and clean. Purple-red patches of cloud linger on the edge of the horizon. And the moon is a big, yellow bully daring me to stay indoors — too huge and ominous to ignore. So, zipping my jacket to my chin, I meet it head on, looking for a new sight, a strange sound or whatever surprise might spring from the shadows. Because, as Milton so aptly queried in Paradise Lost: “What hath night to do with sleep?” No matter the season, the after hours on these barrier islands can be stunning, spiritual and intriguingly spooky. But it wasn’t until I began running at sunset that I learned to fully appreciate the Outer Banks’ dark side. The biggest shock? It’s actually easier to see. There’s no summer sun glaring off the water. And low humidity keeps cool weather skies clearer, so even a partial moon illuminates everything like a

giant flashlight. Add porch bulbs, ambient glow from nearby houses and some leftover sizzle from a lingering sun — and the night hours are often the best time to look around. A head-clearing neighborhood walk is just the beginning. You can hit the beach to chase ghost crabs with a flashlight. (Flip them over, rub their stomachs and they pretend to sleep.) Fish late on a local pier to find out what weird creatures are lurking below — or above. Head to the sound to see bioluminescent algae. Feel like bending the rules? Enjoy an uncrowded run at the closest skate park or late walk on Jockey’s Ridge to watch the heat lightning. Or just lay in your backyard and watch the stars stand out — and occasionally stumble — as the sky circles overhead one constellation at a time. Actually, if you’re really looking for bright stars, you’re best off in Ocracoke or Pea

Island. On a satellite image of the East Coast at night, the Outer Banks is about the only substantial blotch of darkness south of Maine — largely due to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, where it’s not developed for miles.

“Cape Hatteras is exceptionally good for stargazing,” says Cyndy Holda, spokeswoman for the National Park Service Outer Banks Group.

WATCH THE SKY CIRCLE OVERHEAD ONE STAR AT A TIME.

Holda says they began limiting campfires and night driving on beaches because of

For the best view of meteor showers, falling stars, satellite streaks or asteroid near-misses, he recommends sticking to the calmest seas and soundside locations several miles from development. But if you’re just hoping to see something unique, the easiest way is just to go looking. Because every night on the Outer Banks offers some sort of spectacle. Clouds can hide the moon, enhance it in artful patterns, or disappear altogether to leave your standard breath-taking diamonds-on-black velvet. Several times, I’ve seen rare planet alignments. Once, in a freak stroke of luck, the Northern Lights blazed over the beach in South Nags Head. Most recently, I saw what looked like a comet, green-red tail and all, blazing out of nowhere. And that’s the best part of exploring after hours: the most awesome discovery is the one you least expect. — Catherine Kozak milepost 43


fooddrink Joey Daniels and company sow sweet salvation. Photo: C. White

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HOPE gokite ON THE HALFSHELL milepost Can farm-raised oysters help save local waters? When it comes to Outer Banks seafood, what lives on the menu can change as fast as the weather. Fresh shrimp arrive between July and November — with the highly coveted greentails appearing the final two months. Winter rockfish might not show up at all (and still can’t satisfy demand when they do). And local oysters come and go quicker than you can say, “Pass me the hot sauce.”

“It’s sad to watch the harbor die,” laments the Wanchese native. “To see fish houses closing up. We felt it was time to try something different.”

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That is, until now. Thanks to Joey Daniels and the Wanchese Fish Company, we very well may see local oysters all year-round.

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That something was Bodie Island Oysters. Like many in the Daniels clan, Joey grew up on the sound and the food that came out of it. Today, myriad factors threaten that existence: mismanagement of resources, over-regulation, the skyrocketing cost of gas to fuel the boats and increased imports of less expensive seafood. So, when Joey


Give Your Castle a saw Virginia’s oyster cultivation business increased five-fold in recent years, he approached the board of the Wanchese Fish Company to start its own operation. Eighteen months after “planting” their first crop, Dare County’s first cultivated oyster became available for distribution last fall, hitting plates up and down the East Coast. It’s not just a healthy development for consumers — it can help oysters and the sound, as well. According to The Nature Conservancy report on global shellfish, 85% of the world’s oyster reefs are no longer, making it “the most severely impacted marine habitat on the planet.” To see firsthand the effect of oysters on the ecosystem, just look north to the Chesapeake Bay. The native East Coast oyster, Crassostrea virginica, was once so plentiful that the first Europeans to arrive marveled at its abundance, with oyster reefs often piled so high off the bottom they broke the surface of the water. But after more than three centuries of overharvesting, increased runoff and development, current wild stocks in the Chesapeake and other estuaries are a fraction of what they once were. And that puts the health of these waters at risk. “Oysters are ecosystem engineers,” says Rowan Jacobsen, author of The Living Shore and A Geography of Oysters. “They transform estuaries from algae factories into the most productive protein factories on Earth… All ocean life, like terrestrial life, depends on its primary producers — the organisms that capture the sun’s energy through photosynthesis and use it to build their bodies.” The Eastern oyster, which can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day, is the next stage in that pyramid. Without the oyster, Jacobsen notes an estuary can “choke on its own richness. Algae blooms can thicken a bay like filé powder in gumbo, blocking light and robbing the water of oxygen as the algae die and decompose, suffocating animal life in the process.” The more oysters die, the dirtier the water gets, creating a vicious cycle of less seafood

and more pollution. Conversely, the more healthy oysters we can put in the water, the more we can reverse the process.

“OYSTERS TRANSFORM ESTUARIES FROM ALGAE FACTORIES INTO PROTEIN FACTORIES.” — ROWAN JACOBSEN

Peering over the edge of Daniels’ boat, just west of Bodie Island Lighthouse, you can literally see the results. Sunlight penetrates all the way to the bottom, which sprouts sub-aquatic grasses in the formerly barren landscape. As he pulls a cage of living shells from the water, a range of creatures tag along — baby shrimp, minnows, eels, crabs. All benefit from the oyster’s filtering habits. So does the flavor, as clean, brackish water makes for a sweet, salty dinner. “Oysters taste of the last thing they drink,” says Daniels. “And our oysters don’t spawn when it gets warm, so they don’t get milky like wild oysters will.” But farm-raised oysters aren’t just good for estuaries and taste buds, they can help save the commercial fishing industry. For years, local restaurants have relied on Virginia and Gulf oysters for a regular supply. The more diners learn they can get Outer Banks oysters year-round, the more they’ll demand them, creating a variety of jobs, from those who work the boats to the welders that make the oyster cages. In fact, Joey’s already helped some fellow watermen become their own oyster farmers. And he’s happy to share whatever wisdom he can, knowing every piece helps protect a way of life on the Outer Banks. “Anytime you can give something back to the water,” he says, smiling as we head back to Wanchese, “it’s a good thing.” — Dan Lewis

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endnotes

Jaclyn Smith doesn’t make dresses. Nor does Williams-Sonoma craft pretty party plates. Every cup, platter or piece of fabric begins in the mind of an artist, who sends it up the company ladder where it either crashes to pieces or — if they’re lucky — flies into production. But that’s where things really get sketchy, as corporate suits can take liberties with someone else’s creation.

It was quite fun. And quite good for my career. In fact, it helped me get a green card so I could stay in the states.” Over the next ten years, Lowe built a client base of key manufacturers producing nearly 50 collections for the biggest retailers — Pier One, Target and Crate & Barrel, to name a few. Meanwhile, her textile designs turned into dresses for Sears and K-Mart’s signature lines. Between deadlines, she road-tripped to Hatteras for weeks at a time. But while Vicky’s artistic side stayed fulfilled, her inner kiteboarder was far from satisfied. In 2011, she decided it was time to compromise again — this time by moving to Avon full-time.

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Just ask Vicky Lowe.

“When you put tons of work into something and it changes at the drop of the hat, it can be frustrating,” admits the 47-year-old native Brit and ex-New Yorker. “But one of the hardest things creative people have to deal with is making a living. You have to learn to compromise.”

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getactive Lowe first began compromising as a

package designer in London, decorating fancy chocolate bars and bold dish soaps. It was full-time. Creative. Fairly lucrative. But after eight years, she began questioning the work’s true value.

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“I was on a windsurfing holiday and I told some people what I did for a living,” she recalls. “They said, ‘Actually, what you are doing is creating trash.’ [laughs] Then one day, I saw my beautiful watercolor candy wrapper in a gutter. That sort of finished me off.”

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So in 1997, Lowe fled for New York City with dreams of making something more lasting — children’s books — only to find the market flooded with would-be illustrators. Her agent knew someone at Williams-Sonoma, so she sent off some whimsical doodles of an English bulldog. They bit. And in 2001, the high-end purveyor of house wares started rolling out dinnerware boasting Lowe’s distinctive style.

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OVER THE YEARS, VICKY LOWE’S PRODUCED NEARLY 50 COLLECTIONS FOR THE BIGGEST RETAILERS.

It wasn’t easy at first. After two decades of urban hustling, small-town life felt strange, even intimidating. After all, in New York, you might never meet your next-door neighbor. Here? “There’s no escape!” she says. “But I grew up in a small coastal village. And I think that’s one of the things that attracted me. There’s a simplicity. And the people here are willing to make sacrifices for that simplicity of life.”

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“At one point, I did a plate signing at their flagship store on 59th Street,” she recalls. “There were big window displays. Posters.

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It’s not always simple. Lowe flies back to New York five times annually to confer with clients, filling the gaps via email and Skype.


Making mugs, cracking smiles. Photo: Daniel Pullen

And some might not work at all. In the world of big volume dinnerware, cute little sketches carry huge weight. A smash idea might sell out for multiple seasons and make millions of dollars — a dud goes nowhere. (Except maybe Overstock.com.) That makes manufacturers super-picky about what they’ll choose to put near someone’s food. But after so many years she knows what to avoid. “You can never draw anything bug-related,” she says. “Butterflies, maybe. It’s actually quite a conservative world, but I have an idea of who is more adventurous. And those are the people I really enjoy working with — the ones who are willing to take a risk.”

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And if they’re not, she will. In 2011, Lowe started her own textile company, A Good Catch, making runners, pillows, tea towels and wall art. The designs are full of color and sass — and quite a few critters. There’s even the occasional seagull. (Try putting that on someone’s app platter.) She’ll print them up in small batches in Raleigh and sell them all summer in art shows and shops from Corolla to Ocracoke.

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“It’s not hugely profitable, but it’s my baby,” she says. “And it’s great because I can actually see people’s reactions to my designs or get suggestions for future ideas.”

But her real sacrifices come at the start of the year, when the dinnerware and textile worlds start choosing their collections. Vicky will trade the flannels and jeans for a business suit, racking up frequent flyer miles attending tradeshows from New York to Chicago to Frankfurt, Germany. She’ll confer with colleagues and clients about what styles are trending. Stockpile memories for inspiration. Then go back to her cozy pad on the Pamlico Sound and put ink to paper, based on whatever she’s feeling and what’s hot this season.

Sometimes its quirky lettering spelling out words like “local” and “fresh.” Might be a floral pattern or a simple color scheme. It all depends on the client. Either way, she scans the concepts into a computer and starts filling out templates, from teacups to pitchers to placemats to dish towels. “That’s when the collection starts to feel real,” she says. “And it’s actually quite fun. In fact, the hardest part is knowing when to move on to the next idea, because what works for Bed Bath and Beyond might not be appropriate for Lennox.”

And if she likes it, she can go back to her place overlooking the water and put it right into production — or hop online and pitch a big client. And when the wind’s right, she can drop everything and play on the sound. Still, one has to wonder: does she ever wish she was back in Manhattan, moving, shaking and signing platters? “I thought about that a lot when the bridge was closed,” she admits. “But I could never go back. When I did work for K-Mart, there was this huge American flag on the top of the building. And if that flag was flapping in the breeze, man, I was one miserable person.” — Harold N. Modd milepost 47


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Damn right, he’s got the blues. Photo: Chris Bickford

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“All I do is play music,” says EZ. “That’s all I do. If I’m not playing the blues, I’m helping churches out to keep a roof over my head. But music is my kung fu — it’s my way of releasing myself. And I’ll set up anytime, anywhere.”

milepost graphiccontent gosurf outthere You can hear it on the breeze. An easy flutter of hot leads and cool grooves. Broadcasting a “who’s who” of guitar gods, blues legends and ‘70s soul icons from Jimi Hendrix to B.B. King to the Reverend Al Green. The best part? You don’t even know it’s coming. One second you’re parking your car — or strolling out of CVS’ sliding glass doors — the next, you’re inside a concrete amphitheatre, sound washing across the strip mall in waves of telling tones and perfect phrasing. And it all flows from a guitar, an amp and a man named EZ Malone.

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“MUSIC IS MY KUNG FU, MY WAY OF RELEASING MYSELF.” — EZ MALONE

“A guitar, an amp and the Lord,” corrects the 52-year-old Grandy resident. “My talent came when I was five years old. Sitting on the edge of my bed, I said, ‘Jesus, teach me how to play.’ And the spirit came in my room and showed me what to do. Now, if I can hear it, I can play it.” Born Eli Malone to a family of 15 children, EZ’s father was an Evangelist minister; his mom sang spirituals to

Over the past three decades, he’s grooved all over the Outer Banks — both solo and with his band, The Heat — blistering ears and bruising hearts in clubs from Chilli’s to Kelly’s to Pop’s Raw Bar. In 1998, he even performed on national TV as part of an episode of Live at the Apollo. That gig led to an album, 2001’s EZ Does It. But record deals don’t always work out. Back-up players come and go. And the music biz never gets easier, even when it’s the only one you know.

POWER TRIO

EZ Malone only needs three things to perform: God, his guitar and a place to set up. open each sermon. By eight, EZ was a one-boy back-up band, traveling with his parents from Baltimore to New York to South Carolina, warming up the crowds with hymns like “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior” and “Holy Ghost Don’t Leave Me.” Then, when EZ was 14, his dad died and his mom gave up singing. The family splintered and young Malone found himself playing street corners and barbershops, leaning on his guitar, his faith and other lessons learned from his father. “My daddy was a driver,” says Malone. “But I’m thankful for that pressure, because what you couldn’t play, he made you play. And he would say, ‘I don’t want you to just play the guitar, I want you to make it talk.’” He’s been making it talk ever since. From ages 16 to 20 Malone played with Deacon Thomas Church and the Gospel Spectaculars. And when he wasn’t spreading the word, he was filling lounges and bars with blues and ‘70s soul — hot acts like James Brown and the Isley Brothers — a catalog he continues to this day. “I like stuff people can relate to and that has a groove,” he says. “If it grooves, it moves.”

When the weather’s good, he hits the road to rock various storefronts. For years it was Ben Franklin. Then K-Mart. Most recently, it’s Southern Shores’ Marketplace or — on summer weekends — Currituck’s Border Station. Shoppers spare some change and a few minutes, then walk away a few dollars lighter — and a whole lot happier — perhaps never even realizing the smiling man ripping riffs for silver coins is a goldstandard player.

“EZ is a true student of rhythm and blues,” says local bass fixture Mick Vaughn. “He pretty much exemplifies every guitar style from Albert King to Hendrix to George Benson. His hands are like Muhammad Ali — and that‘s no BS. He’s a presence.” A six-foot presence with 10-inch fingers. But it’s his skill and confidence that fills a room. On the day we meet, EZ walks into KDH’s Beach Music and grabs the best axe off the rack — a classic, ‘88 Fender Strat — plugs straight into a vintage Marshall stack and starts playing like he owns them both. First “Little Wing” flies high. Then “The Thrill Has Gone” sobs deep. “Play That Funky Music White Boy” cracks everyone up. Over an hour later, he rips Stevie Ray and channels Buddy Guy, bending strings and tweaking switches to tease out the perfect sound and emotion. Each person who walks in the door stops, stares and listens with a sense of pure joy and appreciation. But none more so than EZ himself, who lets loose with a “Come on!” or “Have mercy!” between each lick. “And I’ll tell you why,” he explains. “Because I’m very grateful to God for the talent he gave me. And I’m thankful for every note I make.” — Leo Gibson milepost 49


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All Saturday the wind blew hard south. Gusty and warm. Low clouds carried the smell of spring across the sound. Outside, we grilled and played cornhole. We could almost taste tomorrow.

On Sunday, we drove down and paddled out into a sunlight-kissed sea of familiar faces. All the boys were trading waves, turning to silhouettes against a cloudless canvas. After months of dark chilblains, we washed our brains clean in April’s warm embrace.

“WE WASHED OUR BRAINS CLEAN IN APRIL’S WARM EMBRACE.”

Midday we broke to refuel. The parking lot echoed with the sound of laughter and flip-flops. I sat on the Cherokee’s hood, playing guitar between blue sky and hot tarmac. On the beach, a pack of college girls baked in bikinis. Bikinis — the true harbingers of summer. We walked past, jumped in, and stayed out till the sun disappeared, reveling in the last rays of perfection. Riding home we saw the moon rise, full and clear. The west wind blew steady through the window, balmy and thick with new life. Cresting the bridge, I got a heady dose of that feeling. That ineffable feeling. That “why we live here” feeling. — Chris Bickford Look for Chris Bickford’s Legends of the Sandbar, a collection of photographs and essays depicting wave-riding life along the Outer Banks to hit bookstores in 2014.

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endnotes You can’t eat just one. Not when Taste of the Beach gathers 70+ events and 35 restaurants — plus two James Beard Award-winning chefs — for an endless buffet, Mar. 13-16. It makes for a tough choice Mar. 14, as Kansas City restaurateur Michael Smith takes on Tapas Fusion Night at the Outer Banks Brewing Station; meanwhile, bivalve biographer Rowan Jacobsen will be at Coastal Provisions’ Celebration of Oysters Wine Dinner to talk, shuck and slurp. But expect an everlasting list of tasty options to fill the weekend, including: Joe Lamb’s Best Outer Banks BBQ Showdown at the Sea Ranch on Mar. 14; Mar. 15’s OBX Chowder Cook-off at Southern Shores Crossing; and on Mar. 16 Pamlico Jack’s hosts two helpings of Sysco Foods Grand Tasting to hand out all the prizes. Get prices, times and tickets at www.obxtasteofthebeach.com. • Wanna burn off some calories between bites? Jog in Kelly’s 5th Annual Running of the Leprechauns 10k on Mar. 15. Or, just cheer your way skinny — and chug a few cold ones — as the 25th Annual Kelly’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade struts Nags Head’s beach road from Bladen St. north to Driftwood St. Deets at www.kellysrestaurant. com. • Even better, let your doggie walk you, as the Coastal Humane Society’s 17th Annual Walk-a-Thon joins the parade, raising funds to provide affordable sterilization, vaccinations and vet care for pets whose owners need help. More at www.obxcoastalhumanesociety. org. • Emerald ain’t just an isle in the Atlantic. See for yourself Mar. 5-Apr. 3 when Manteo’s College of the Albemarle Professional Arts Gallery hosts “Chroma: Jewelry in Color” — a national invitational show of contemporary work. More at www.albemarle.edu. • Feed your love of musicals over a cold bowl of gruel when Theatre of Dare presents Oliver! Mar. 7-9 at COA. Shows are 7:30pm Fri. & Sat.; 2pm Sun. Get tix at Gray’s in Kitty Hawk or at www.theatreofdare.org. • “Please sir, may I have some more saucy guitar?” You sure can, poured over a thick pile of noodling bass and thumping drumbeats when TR3’s new album Like Some Kind of Alien Invasion lands sometime this spring. More at www.timreynolds. com. • And rock star historian Sarah Downing’s latest book On This Day in Outer Banks History hits stores Mar. 11, serving up “a year’s worth of factoids, anecdotes and salty nuggets.” Details at www.historypress.net. • On Mar. 8, mark 102.7 personal milestones as the Graveyard 100 runs/walks/staggers the whole paved length of Bodie Island and Hatteras Island. (Learn more at www.graveyard100.com.) The good news is after that, May 3’s OBX UltraMarathon 50k will feel like a stroll on the beach. Register at www.obxultramarathon. com. • Jogging’s for saps. Salute the age of the automobile as 200 classic, cherry rides roll into First Flight High School, Mar. 13-16, for the Shamrock Car Show and Poker Run. Park at www.firstflightcruisers.com for details. • Working parents, start your engines. On Mar. 17, registration opens for Jennette’s Pier’s Summer Camps, locking kids down for whole weeks as they pursue interests from fishing to surfing to science. Snag a spot at www. jennettespier.net. (And for a full list of summer camps go to www.outerbankschild.com.) •

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Wild Nigh t SATURDAY, MARCH 15, 2014 WHALEHEAD in HISTORIC COROLLA For more information & tickets visit www.visitwhalehead.com

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There’s no shame in starting early. Hop aboard Cravings’ Taste of the Beach beer sampler in Duck, Mar. 13. Photo: Ginger Harvey

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At Whalehead in Historic Corolla

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SUNDAY, MAY 25, 2014

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For more information & tickets visit www.visitwhalehead.com

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What’s that? No job? Better show up early for the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce’s OBX Success Jobs and Career Fair at Jennette’s Pier, Mar. 28-29. For a full TPS report on this 2-day event, call 252-441-8144 or visit www.outerbankschamber.com. • Every good marriage takes a good bit of work. Get a head start by attending Mar. 15’s Outer Banks Wedding Show at the Sanderling Resort. More DJs, photogs and caterers than you can shake an orange umbrella at. More at www.sanderling-resort.com. • Show your undying love for Mother Nature by helping the Friends of Jockey’s Ridge plant dune grass on Mar. 22 — then come back on May 18 for the annual meeting and picnic. More at www. jockeysridgestatepark.com. • Deep-fried seduction returns to Rundown Café’s Fried Chicken Night, every Mon. from Mar. 3 to May 19. Then shake a leg, a wing — your whole 8-piece box — every night on the Hula Deck starting Memorial Day Weekend. Stay tuned to www.rundowncafe.com for a full lineup. • In other local music news, watch SoulOne go loopy at Awful Arthur’s on Mar. 7. Sanctuary Vineyard’s Winter Sunsets host Bryan Dunn on Mar. 7 and Jug Tucker on Apr. 4. And Trio will be howling late every Fri. night with Laura and Dan Martier’s Birddog — and pour on more live sounds every Tues., Thurs. and Sat., 7:30-10pm. Stay up to date at www. obxtrio.com. • Area singer/songwriters, here’s your chance to hit the road: Tidewater Arts Outreach is inviting unsigned artists within 100 miles of Norfolk to battle for the title of Sea Level Emerging Artist of the Year. Submit an MP3 to the panel by Mar. 15. Ten semifinalists will be selected to perform/compete live at Attucks Theater on Apr. 12. Full deets at www.tidewaterartsoutreach.org. • Find your own rhythm, as Chip Hedenburg hosts free, open Drum Circles at Nags Head’s Ashtanga Yoga Center on Mar. 22 and Apr. 26 at 6:30pm — before heading to Barnes Street’s beach access on May 24. • Or, for a more civilized experience, Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts delivers Grammy-winning, Scots-Irish fiddler Jeremy Kittel to First Flight High School on Mar. 22 at 7:30pm. $25 per adult; $12 per student. More at www.outerbanksforum.org. • Glenn Eure’s Ghost Fleet Gallery is scaring up a string of spring art events. Start Mar. 1-8 as the Don Bryan Memorial Retrospective remembers a beloved fallen master. The 19th Annual Artist Self-Portrait screams “ME. ME? ME!” Apr. 1- May 15. “The Art 5” showcases a handful of distinct approaches, Apr. 1-30. And May 2-30, Joe Johnson’s countrywide travels hit the walls with “On the Go With Joe.” (Reception details at www.glenneureart. com.) And get versed in spoken words every second Thurs. at 6:30pm for Literary Open Mic Night. • Roanoke Island Festival Park springs to life Mar. 7, 6-8pm, with the unveiling of its Outer Banks Quilters Show. A patchwork of antique and new examples stays on display through Mar. 22. Then local students showcase incredible talents from all three high schools — and every conceivable media — when the Dare County High Schools Art Show hangs in the hall, Apr 1-27. More at www.roanokeisland.com. • On Apr. 5, NC Beach Buggy Association’s Operation Beach Respect attacks coastal litter at all open ramps on Hatteras Island. And their annual meeting and Member/Guest Picnic descends upon the Rodanthe/ Waves/Salvo Community Center, May 24. Go to www.ncbbaonline.com for battle plans. • Do a self-guided tour of duty with the Kill Devil Hills Historic Landmarks Open House on Fri., Apr. 11. (Be at Town Hall at 1pm; call 252-449-5318 for details.) Then join The Southern Shores Historic Flat Top Cottages Open House on Apr. 12, from 1-5pm. $5 donation; find ‘em on Facebook for more. • Post up at the Outer Banks Brewing Station for two more Ability Surf Slide Shows on select Tues. nights. March stars photos by Chris Bickford; April it’s lenswork by Matt Lusk. Buy ‘em a beer now and maybe you’ll make the cut. More at www. rideability.com. • Pray for surf shops as the Oakley Shop Challenge draws a range of VB and NC retailers, pros and other industry sell-outs for a single-day showdown at Jennette’s Pier, Apr. 11-12. Get the go-times and team lists at www.surfshopchallenge.com. • And come back on Apr. 19, as the first Outer Banks Duathlon wedges a 23-mile bike ride between two 5k runs. Pedal, jog, pedal to www.runcations.com to register. • Let’s make some noise! Outer Banks Bike Week roars into town Apr. 19-27, promising leather chaps, shiny choppers — plus a whole lotta hog at Lucky 12’s annual pig picking, featuring biker karaoke and music by the Jonny Waters Band, the Pat Russell Band and the Cody Austin Band on a TBD date. milepost 53


endnotes (Updates at www.lucky12tavern.com.) And Krunch burns audio-wheelies all thru Kelly’s for to the public through Dec. 31. Full deets at at www.obhistorycenter.ncdcr.gov. • There’s two two nights, Apr. 25-26. • But first, hold onto your colored eggs when Kelly’s 27th Adult fun ways to help Outer Banks Relief Foundation in May. Fitness freaks can run miles in the Easter Egg Hunt plays hide and seek Apr. 20 at 11pm. BYOF (Bring our own flashlight). • Wells Fargo Flying Pirate Half Marathon, May 3-4. (Registration details at www. With Easter and 4/20 colliding this year, there’s only way to make your spring any greener. flyingpiratehalfmarathon.com.) And fashion fiends can peep styles at Couture by the Shore And that’s by heading to Elizabethan Gardens. Start by getting dirty — and helping clean on May 10. Be at Kelly’s 11am-3pm for a silent auction and fashion show by 11 local boutiques — as volunteers and staff prep grounds with Mar. 8’s Spring Fling. Come back for Apr. 19’s — all to raise funds to help local families in need. $40 tix include luncheon and libations. More Easter Eggstravaganza sponsored by Bells and Whistles, a host of scavenger hunts, photo at www.outerbanksrelieffoundation.com. • On May 10, folks from across the East Coast dash ops, baked goods and garden tips. On May 3, the Ace Hardware Home & Garden Tour down for the Yuengling Nags Head Woods 5K. This year’s race salutes Mothers Day raises funds by showing off local homes’ happiest landscapes. For prices, times and details, weekend. Because nothing says, “I love you, Mom,” like chasing her through a haunted forest. call 252-473-3234 or visit www.elizabethangardens.org. • Dude, for some reason we totally More at www.nagsheadwoods5krun.org. • The world’s oldest, continuous hang-gliding spaced on the Dare Co. Arts Council. Come out for the International Women’s Day competition lands at Jockey’s Ridge, May Exhibit and Lecture, Mar. 7-31. Witness 16-20. Kitty Hawk Kites’ Hang-Gliding George Cheeseman’s wonderful world of Spectacular is guaranteed to keep your watercolors, Apr. 4-28. And, in May, get a double dose of Hilday Bayliss’ eyeeyes on the skies and your jaw on the popping pottery and Beth Burns’ fabulous ground. Get event schedules and updates fiber — plus the 17th Annual Mollie at www.hangglidingspectacular.com. • Fearing Memorial Art Show. Opening Keep your feet planted — and your flowers receptions coincide with Manteo’s First fertile — by attending May 17’s Coast Friday, 6-8pm; so you can also enjoy Gardening Festival at 300 Mustian Street downtown shopping, dining, sipping and in KDH. This one-stop shop features plant listening. More at www.darearts.org. • “Putt sales, garden art and over 50 vendors — putt give!” On Apr. 26, be at Professor plus food, kids’ activities and educational Hacker’s Lost Treasure Golf Course displays. Call 252-473-4290 for deets. • 11am-4pm to raise funds for local Pirate Meanwhile, on May 17, the Nags Head Putt Putt for Polio Plus. For $8 apiece, Surf Fishing Club plucks fish from the sea two-person teams help local Rotary Clubs raise funds to sink polio. And get like silvery flowers. Get more on this warrggghmmmmed up at Pamlico Jack’s member and guest tournament by going to Talk Like a Pirate Party on Apr. 25, 5-7pm. www.nagsheadsurffishingclub.org. • Say $10 charge includes food, door prizes and hello to warmer weather with a whole slew free speech therapy with Captain Darby. of hot music. Start May 17 when The Burg Peg-leg over to www.pirateputtputt.com returns to Sanctuary Vineyards. From 12for deets. • Yea! It’s Earth Day! On Apr. 26 6pm, there’re two stages of music, gallons celebrate at Wanchese’s Coastal Studies George Cheeseman’s vibrant impressions come to Manteo’s DCAC Art Gallery, April 4-28. of NC wine, plates full of food — plus Institute as the NC Coastal Federation hayrides, barrel rolls and a vintage swap and others offer hands-on activities in the lab and the marsh — plus a speaker series and meet. More at www.sanctuaryvineyards.com. • Then it’s time to say “so long” to Rehab. The student film festival. (And on May 8, learn about blue crabs at NCCF’s Wine and Dine at southern/alt-rock/hip-hop act will play The Pit for the last time on May 17 as part of their Basnight’s Lone Cedar.) Full deets at www.nccoast.org. • You can eat shellfish without being farewell tour. Details at www.pitsurf.com. • On May 18, Mike Dianna’s Grill Room corrals selfish. On Apr. 26, head up to the Waterfront Shops for the Duck ‘n Wine Festival, where The Ben Miller Band, Überlounge and more buck-wild acts for another rompin’, stompin’ area chefs do battle to help local causes. Tix and more at www.duckandwine.com. • What has 39 feet and squashes sickness? The Outer Banks Hospital Health Coach. This customized Mustang Spring Jam — all to raise dough for the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. Get tix at www. Winnebago delivers wellness check-ups to your organization or business. Call 252-449mustangmusicfestival.com. • On May 25, lose the boots, fill your cooler and kick off summer 4529 for info. • And what has more stories than a skyscraper? The Hatteras Storytelling a day early with the Whalehead Club’s Outer Banks Beach Music Festival, starring The Festival. Head south May 2-4 to hear the state’s most gifted gabbers stack up local lore, live Rhondels, Steve Owen & Summertime, The Craig Woolard Band and The Swinging music and plenty of food. Get a full earful at www.hatterasyarns.org. • On May 9, folks 5-andMedallions. Tix: $25; no glass bottles. More at www.visitwhalehead.com. • Then, on May 26, under fill Roanoke Island Festival Park for the Children & Youth Partnership for Dare doo-wop down to Roanoke Island Festival Park for more feel-good fun, as the Shallowbag County KidsFest. From 9:30am-12:30pm you’ll get face painting, art, ice cream — plus a fire Shag Beach Music Festival fires up The Tams, Jim Quick and Coastline, The Embers, The truck and United States Coast Guard vessel. (Rain date: May 16). Slide over to www. Holiday Band, The Carolina Breakers. Tix and deets at www.obxshag.com. • May 30, Koru darekids.org for more. • Stick around for May 10’s Relay For Life as folks of all ages do laps Beach Klub’s Rock the Cape raises cash for the Dare Co. Arts Council. Deets at www. around Festival Park to raise cash and awareness to help fight cancer. Learn more about darearts.org. • And, finally, here’s your chance to play sneak-peek-a-boo with The Lost funding or creating a team at www.obxrelayforlife.org. • As long as you’re stepping out on Colony. On May 29, watch the last dress rehearsal of America’s oldest outdoor symphonic May 10, take a walking tour through downtown Manteo as the Outer Banks History Center drama — and 2013 Tony winner. Warning: the action may stop to fine tune the show. All partners up with the Manteo Preservation Trust to celebrate its 25th anniversary. And be sure to pop your head in the gallery to see “An Eye for Art, A Heart for History” — free seats are $20. Price includes all pratfalls, nip-slips and wardrobe malfunctions.

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Open Year Round • Serving Lunch & Dinner

9.5 It's ALL Good! Milepost 9.5 • Highway 158 in KDH • 252.441.7889 • MamaKwans.com

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Serving Bonzer Breakfast and Slider Nights thru May

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We are opening March 14 We’re not open Mondays and Tuesdays yet We’re doing Slider Night again Slider Night is not on Thursdays this year. Slider Night is Wednesday! Bonzer Breakfast is back on Sundays 11:30am to 3:00pm Brett still has not cut his hair! Charles called his Mom! We won’t grow up! We can’t wait to see Y’all!

MP9 on the Beach Rd. • Kill Devil Hills • BonzerShack.com • 252-480-1010

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