Outer Banks Milepost: Issue: 4.1

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Issue 4.1


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maybe i just gokite don’t get it. roadmap


Lord knows economics was never my strong suit. (My half-brother Ephraim done got all the book smarts.) And energy policy? Well, guess you could say, I’m no scientist, either. But there’s something about this whole push to drill for oil and gas off the Outer Banks that just don’t square right. It’s almost as if it makes no durn sense at all.


Now, if you were to ask our governor, Mr. McCrory — and them two Senators, Mr. Burr and Tillis — they’d tell you drilling offshore will fix all North Carolina’s financial woes by adding 17,000 jobs and nearly $1.9 billion in revenue to our state’s economy per annum. But then I read on the internets that tourists and seafood contribute nigh on $2.2 billion and 51,000 jobs each year already — including just about every dang piece of work here on the Outer Banks.



Again, I’m no math whiz, but ain’t 2.2 more than 1.9? Weren’t 51 bigger than 17? Don’t that mean the state loses money if one of them rigs blows up 50 miles off Rodanthe? And won’t that put a heap of folks outta work with nothin’ to do but not go fishing?



No, wait. It’s energy in-dee-pen-dence. That was what President Obama was talkin’ about when he opened federal waters for drill leases just this January. We need to make our own energy right here at home. But then I saw America would burn through whatever oil and gas awaits off NC in just 100 days — while wind farms could generate just as much power inside of 17 years. After that, it’s all gravy! They’d also create 25,000 more jobs to boot — without risking the work we already got.

Updated for 2015! Carolina starts selling all that two-dollar fuel. We’ll be as loaded as the Clampetts! I think. But then it seems like I saw where all these oil states’ budgets are bleedin’ funds by the bucketful right now. Maybe that explains why oil companies don’t suggest conserving the gas we got when they say America must stand on its own two feet, energy-wise. They’s worried about the state’s bottom-line and not their own. Well, prices’ll go back up. And when they do, the Outer Banks gonna see its slice of the pie! We gonna get money for beach nourishment and keeping NC 12 runnin’ smooth, and dredging Oregon Inlet nice and deep. Might even get that there Currituck Bridge. Whoo! Won’t that beat all! But sounds like the federal gub’ment still don’t got the system set so Carolina shares in the profits. And even if they fix that, no laws say Raleigh has to give one red cent back to coastal counties. But if there’s a spill, we sure get all the problems. And I don’t see much good in a big beach or deep inlet when no people can use ’em. Or even wants to.

Offshore Drilling

A Reference

Here we go again...

for the

Rest of Us!

But there won’t be no spill. ’Cause drilling’s safe. Ask anyone in Houston, they’ll tell you. They been saying so since way before that there Santa Barbara spill in 1969. And then that Exxon disaster 20 years after that. And they were just about screaming “safety” five years ago — right up until BP had that little whoopsie in the Gulf that killed 11 workers and gushed for months, leaving folks hurting for quite a spell after.

But then, the way these drilling folks tells it, wind technology is “too far off.” Kinda like the moon used to be — before we got all fired up about conquering space. And we know how that all turned out: buncha wasted tax money and nothing to show for it but fancy computers and smartmouthed phones that never helped no one.

But that’s okay, because the oil companies always clean up lickety split. And they pay back every single person they wronged the second it happens. Almost. Maybe 45,000 business folks are still waiting for checks? That’s all. And I’m sure next time it happens, those high-dollar lawyers won’t keep filing appeals to drag things out like they done in the Gulf…and Alaska…and Montana…and Nigeria…

Nope. It’s cheap gas. That’s what it is. People need “relief at the pump.” And lord knows, won’t it be sweet when

Phew! But that is a headscratcher, ain’t it? Because it almost sounds like the state has an economic problem. And an

energy problem. But instead of takin’ the path that could solve both, they gonna take the path that solves neither. And mo’an that, they gonna gamble the sure-fire multibillion dollar fishin’ and vis’tor industries that keep coastal folks afloat in exchange for fewer jobs and dollars — and no guaranteed share of the federal revenue. But I must be figurin’ wrong. Because then the only answer would be that all these educated executives and politicians ain’t really worried about creating jobs or energy a’tall. They just saying things that sounds good to line their own pockets and win elections. And that’s just plain crazy talk. Because I may be dumb, but I know one thing: people in power never lie. — Matt Walker

Ed. note: The public comment period for the Offshore Continental Shelf, 2017-2022 Oil and Gas Leasing Problem ends Mar. 30. If you think drilling offshore makes no sense for the Outer Banks or North Carolina, go to www.boemoceaninfo.com and say as much.

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: kerosene sponge for wiping off tarballs ten years from now; windshield rag for earning spare change in a post-drilling tourism apocalypse. 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. milepost 3

Southwestern Flair With A

Coastal Kick

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” — Robert Jones Burdette “Hey! Ho! Let’s go!” — Dee Dee Ramone Issue 4.1 Spring 2015 Cover: You grabbed it, you name it. Photo: DSD

Southwestern Grille and Wine Bar

Reader You Brushes & Ink John Butler, George Cheeseman, Marcia Cline, Carolina Coto, Jesse Davis, Fay Davis Edwards, Laine Edwards, Travis Fowler, Dawn Gray, Amelia Kasten Chris Kemp, Ben Miller, Ben Morris, Holly Nettles, Daniel Pullen, Charlotte Quinn, Meg Rubino, Stephen Templeton Lensfolk Matt Artz, Chris Bickford, Russell Blackwood, Aycock Brown, Mark Buckler, Rich Coleman, Chris Creighton, Amy Dixon, Lori Douglas, Julie Dreelin, Tom Dugan/ESM, Roy Edlund, Bryan Elkus, Chris Hannant, Bryan Harvey, Ginger Harvey, Anthony Leone, Jeff Lewis, Jared Lloyd, Matt Lusk, Ray Matthews, Mickey McCarthy, Brooke Mayo, Dick Meseroll/ESM, Ryan Moser, Rob Nelson, Crystal Polston, Daniel Pullen, Ryan Rhodes, Terry Rowell, Tom Sloate, DJ Struntz, Aimee Thibodeau, Chris Updegrave, Cyrus Welch Penfolk Ashley Bahen, Hannah Bunn, Sarah Downing, Paul Evans, Jim Gould, Sarah Hyde, Catherine Kozak, Dan Lewis, Fran Marler, Matt Pruett, Mary Ellen Riddle, Sandy Semans, Shannon Sutton, Michelle Wagner, Clumpy White, Natalie Wolfe, Michele Young-Stone Design/Production Jesse Davis Sales Force Laurin Walker Big Mouth In Chief Matt Walker

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Blame It All On Suite P Inc. PO Box 7100 • KDH, NC 27948 252-441-6203 editor@outerbanksmilepost.com • sales@outerbanksmilepost.com 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




03 StartingPoint

Stupid is as stupid does.

06 UpFront

Critical masses, creepy invaders and crazy nightcrawlers.

14 GetActive

Buy Mother Nature a beer.


17 FirstPerson


18 QuestionAuthority


22 DIY

gohunt rearview

Jason Hill finds your lack of faith disturbing. Cruising streets and rolling tape with Senator Marc Basnight.

Follow us on Pinterest!


Like us on Facebook!


Five stories of personal fulfillment.

32 GraphicContent

Print’s not dead, it just smells funny.

34 Citified

Make an urban jungle your next adventure.

43 GoMake

The Outer Banks has a new lair for mad inventors.

44 GoShow

This sexy model will get your motor runnin’.

47 GoBeachcomb

Poseidon’s puke never looked prettier.

48 FoodDrink “Heartsong” by Amelia Kasten www.ishkabibblie.tumblr.com “I like technology. A lot. This poster is very detailed. It has lots of line work. Lots of shading. It looks almost like Art Nouveau from the 1900s, except it’s done on a computer. All my art is. Basically, you draw on a special tablet that connects to your cursor. So it’s like painting, but you have every type of brush and pen at your disposal. You don’t have to mix colors. You don’t have to wait for paint to dry — or rush if it’s drying too fast. It lets you work very quickly, so you can keep up with your train of thought. I have programs that do 3-D modeling, programs that make animated movies. It’s like no matter how big an idea is, you have the means to make it possible — and still make it look completely natural.” — Amelia Kasten

“Mommy? Where do food fests come from?”

50 ArtisticLicense

Please do touch.

53 SoundCheck

We like mikes.

54 RearView

The Waterfront Shops • Duck


Saluting a century of U.S. Lifesaving.

57 OutThere

Full speed behind.

58 EndNotes

Seize the dates.

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EVERYONE’S Agetactive CRITIC soundcheck

How websites like Yelp and Trip Advisor are changing the local service industry. startingpoint Social media is more powerful than ever. Facebook and Twitter let the masses steer public opinion on everything from movies to world events. Meanwhile, sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor turn average folks into fiercely opinionated food and travel critics. And while in the past an upset customer might yell loud enough to scareoff a waiting six-top, an online comment can scream at the whole world — allowing one person’s experience to stain a business’ reputation for years to come.

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“Seven years ago we got a bad review on Trip Advisor,” says Michael Montiel, owner of Kitty Hawk’s Rundown Café. “It stayed up for two and a half years before it was finally bumped off.”

Montiel had clearly explained to her that the restaurant did not take reservations, specifically for that reason. Still, she went on Trip Advisor and wrote horrible things. “It was heartbreaking,” Michael says, “because we did nothing wrong.” And it’s more painful when you consider just how much of an impact one angry client can have. A Harvard Study from 2011 determined a one-star decrease in a business’ Yelp rating leads to a 5.9 percent drop in revenue. And research by Convergys found a single negative comment on Twitter or Facebook can cost as many as 30 customers.


Montiel explains that the in the middle of summer, a woman called with a “headsup” that she would be bringing in 16 people for dinner around 7pm. When 7:30pm rolled around and the group had not arrived, he opened the section to seat waiting patrons. Shortly after, the woman arrived. She was upset there was no room for her party after she had made a “reservation” — despite the fact that


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In her defense, maybe the woman didn’t hear Michael’s no-reservations rule when she placed the call. Maybe she didn’t realize how the restaurant business works — or that one summer no-show can wreck a night’s numbers. Maybe she’s just

impossible to please. We’ll never know. But neither does the average person who reads any online opinion. All they get is an individual’s take — positive or negative — letting the total output determine a final score and a supposedly objective review. Perhaps in a big city the format works. With thousands of restaurants and millions of residents, customers are more informed of their options and the law of averages is more likely to balance out. But in a visitor

destination like the Outer Banks, where the number of first-time consumers rotates on a weekly basis — under summer conditions that are inherently challenging — crowdsourcing criticism is a whole new animal. In fact, it represents a subversion of our whole food culture paradigm.

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The fact is — locally — we’ve never had real restaurant critics and “mystery diners.” We’ve had articles that say, “This place just opened” or “This one has been here for years.” But nobody really picks situations apart with comments like “Great food, bad service.” Or, “I hated this appetizer, but I liked that dessert.” That’s always been the local’s job. We lived here. We ate here. We knew which places were killer and which to avoid at all costs. We knew who took forever — and who was quick on the fly. We knew where we could squeeze in during summer and where not to go until well after Labor Day. We figured it out. We told each other. The visitors found out by osmosis. Those places became the most in-demand spots. But what Yelp and Trip Advisor do is leapfrog that process — built on multiple visits and reliable feedback — and let a single person’s experience bypass all that collective data. And while it’s nice to think a local fan will go online and answer each unjustified pan with glowing praise, the Internet’s not exactly known for positive criticism — especially websites whose whole focus is popular feedback. As travel analyst Jared Blank told The Guardian in 2011, “No melon is ever ripe enough for people on Trip Advisor. There are hotels that rate in the top five in the world, and people are still complaining.” So how to respond? That’s the tricky part. In the good-old days, a chef could send out an app or comp a whole tab. They could even tell an unreasonable patron to “go to Hell” and cut their losses. Today, a restaurant may not even know someone’s complained. And if they do, there’s not a clear course of action. Dispute the claim, it sounds callous. Offer a discount, and the whole world starts whining. In fact, there are documented cases where consumers threatened to pile on negative chatter if they didn’t get freebies. Meanwhile, getting comments removed can be nearly impossible, no matter how false.

the fine art of reuse

No wonder people have lodged more than 700 complaints against Yelp with the Federal Trade Commission. Some businesses even go further. In 2010, several hundred hotels banded together, threatening legal action against Trip Advisor. Other businesses have tried to sue anonymous users directly. Last year, a British hotel added pounds to a couple’s credit card for posting a negative comment.

But while “lawyering up” and fining patrons may feel empowering, it only invites more negative press. And as your case winds its way through endless legal channels, another review goes live — 33 million each month for Yelp; 21 new posts per minute for Trip Advisor.

Today, a restaurant may not even know someone’s complained. And if they do, there’s not always a clear course of action.

As usual, it’s up to the business to protect its own reputation. Most experts agree: the best thing you can do is kill them with kindness. Say thanks for the business, present your defense, then leave it alone. And while you can’t make every customer happy, a polite answer at least validates their right to complain and shows you’re not some rude, faceless entity. “Taking the time to respond to all guests’ posts about their stay is how we differentiate ourselves,” says Simone Ryan, General Manager of Shutters on the Outer Banks. “It definitely shows that the business cares about what people think and how they are being treated.” It may be helpful to know that Simone doesn’t just run a

hotel — she’s also an avid Trip Advisor user. From dining to getting her nails done, she consults the site to find the best place according to the reviews of past customers. As a result, she speaks the language and understands that just being communicative is inherently helpful. But it’s more than just good for the customer. Just as a rude diner is less likely to bully a waiter when the owner’s nearby, regular interaction reduces the amount of illegitimate complaints online. When a patron sees a manager take time to respond to every comment — whether righting a wrong or showing gratitude for a thoughtful compliment — they’re less inclined to risk a false complaint. And that’s good for business. It’s a lesson Montiel says he’s learning already. In the past, he admits to checking Rundown’s reviews quarterly, or while he is on vacation in the winter months. Now? “I try be proactive and address comments as they arise,” he says. And if that means before or after the busiest of shifts, so be it. In other words: go ahead and add another task to that never-ending “to do” list. But for all the headaches, there are some benefits to the rise in online reviews. Last March, the Boston Consulting Group reported that small businesses using Yelp saw annual revenue increase by $8,000. And that same 2011 Harvard study determined that “chain restaurants have declined in market share as Yelp penetration has increased.” That’s great news here on the Outer Banks — an area where indiecuisine still dominates. The bottom line? Digital complaint departments like Trip Advisor and Yelp are only getting more popular, meaning each customer’s opinion will only get stronger. And if minding your “word of mouth” reputation online isn’t the norm already, it soon will be. — Natalie Wolfe

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A KDH food start-up becomes a sticky situation.


Invasive species and their impacts are nothing new to the Outer Banks. Lionfish pillage offshore wrecks. Red foxes raid hen houses from sound to shore. Gypsy moth caterpillars digest native trees. But there’s one creepy foreign creature you’ve probably never noticed — much less considered. A form of edible livestock small and slow enough to stay out of sight for the past 28 years: Cornu aspersa. You might know it better as the European brown garden snail, or — if you’re an adventurous eater — escargot.

are more or less the trash heaps of our earliest ancestors. And raising snails for food, otherwise known as heliciculture, is a practice that dates back to ancient times. Romans reportedly kept them in pens and fed them milk and wine to plump them up for their plates. But these particular snails were never found in North America until the 1850s — likely introduced by the French — where they quickly earned a reputation as pests among farmers, thanks to a penchant for devouring leafy greens.

Well before French chefs smothered this delicacy with garlic and butter, humans consumed snails in many forms. In fact, shells of these terrestrial gastropods often show up in prehistoric middens, which

In 1987, an Outer Banks entrepreneur decided to try propagating them for a burgeoning escargot business, hoping area restaurants would serve them to upper crust epicureans and

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gastronomes. The Outer Banks were much less developed a quarter century ago. Even Kill Devil Hills remained relatively rural.

He chose a nondescript spot in between the highways just south of the monument and raised the shelled delicacies in a small

He chose a spot between the highways and raised the shelled delicacies in a small shed.

greenhouse shed. Then, after a particularly hard blow, the structure failed and snails got loose. It turns out that the area’s moderate

temperatures and humid conditions were especially suited for the new fauna, which began to reproduce naturally in the wild. Suddenly, a fun idea for foodies became a serious matter for North Carolina’s economy, which faced a new potential threat to its lucrative agriculture industry. Should sticky snails attach themselves to old boards or beach chairs and become transported inland, they might wreak real havoc among farmers’ cash crops. According to David Pearce, a plant-pest specialist with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, the species is so destructive their effect “can be catastrophic.” Officials quickly moved in. They began exterminating the shelled intruders and believed the eradication efforts were

successful. However, when they checked again in 1995, 300 snails were found. In 1999, the Coastland Times reported that if the snail problem was not eradicated, “other states could put restrictions on North Carolina exports that could possibly be carriers of the snails, and that would mean increased costs to nursery operations, sod growers and other agricultural businesses.” So, the agents swept back in. To this day, they still visit the neighborhood where the snail farm originated, to poke around and make sure the slimy critters haven’t crawled too far out of bounds. While agents first tried methods such as molluscicides and manually killing the pests to keep their numbers down in the past, Pearce explains that currently, “the biggest objective is to contain the snail and keep it from spreading.” According to a report by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in 2011 an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy was initiated

that involved “using a more environmentally friendly product, systematically killing snails during periodical inspections and by raising awareness in the community.” The new IPM has brought the shelled nuisance numbers down. Every other week snail collection sites are checked — so often that the residents and neighbors recognize the state pest specialists. As Pearce says: “They call us the snail police.” — Sarah Downing Sources: Interview with David Pearce; “Escargot from your own Backyard,” Mother Earth News, June/July 1993; “Exotic Snails slow to disappear from KDH,” Coastland Times, June 22, 1999; “Are land snails a signature for the MesolithicNeolithic transition?” David Lubell, Documenta Praehistorica XXXI; Little Gray Farms website http://littlegrayfarms.com/little-gray-farmshome/about/; 2011-2012 Fiscal Year Report, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Plant Industry Division.

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LOCAL AS IT WRECKS? Think all Outer Bankers are slack? Not when it comes to car accidents. According to a troubling PSA by the Outer Banks Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Coalition, while year-round residents comprise just 15% of our summer population — we’re responsible for half of all traffic mishaps. Next time you hit the road, drop the phone, lighten up on the lead foot and we’ll all pull our weight to avoid catastrophes.

roadmap gokite A cheering, jeering look at recent milepost events and their potential impacts

graphiccontent gosurf

ARE THEY ILL-TEMPERED? Sorry, Dr. Evil. Laser-beam headgear might be light years away, but scientists are still finding ways to make sharks do their bidding. Apparently, our toothy friends share a penchant for the same rapidly changing water temperatures where tropical systems intensify. Now, researchers at the University of Miami are hoping some new, advanced tags will collect weather data while tracking movements, letting the sea’s apex predators help humans predict killer storms.

THE $33,000 QUESTION What’s a human life worth? That’s a question Currituck’s BOC better be ready to ponder. In Dec. the board voted to yank the Corolla Ocean Rescue’s lifesaving contract and give it a new provider, ending a 24-year relationship to save the county $32,576 — a 1.2% discount. Is it a savvy cost-cutting measure? Or a beancounter boner turned potential PR nightmare? We’ll find out as rescue stats surface over the next four years. TANKS FOR THE HELP Cape Hatteras access warriors found an ally in the least likely of places last Dec. when Congress tacked a public lands package to the national defense budget. As a result, the DOI received orders to change the current ORV Plan by adjusting wildlife buffers and adding corridors around closures, among other tweaks. Look for public input sessions before summer and a final strategy by Dec. 19. And while it won’t be a complete about-face to pre-2007 rules, any lighter restrictions will surely boost morale. MORE PROOF THE GAME IS RIGGED Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin earned cheers from the home team when he denied the NC Rate Bureau’s request to raise rates by 35% in mid-Dec. — effectively giving coastal residents a 9% decrease. Score! Unfortunately, insurance companies really


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IT’S COMPLICATED Democrats got a digital “Dear John” letter when Rep. Paul Tine announced he’d updated his relationship status to “Unaffiliated” one week before 2015’s legislative session began. Tine says the decision to “play the field” meant he could caucus with Republicans and better serve his one true love — his constituents. Former supporters say he used them to win an election, and wonder just how long he’d METER BEATERS Remember when the General Assembly kicked back a 100-year, 39- been looking outside the marriage. In the end it’s all for the best, as the former bedfellows can move on to find willing partners; and inch sea-level rise prediction for being too extreme back in 2012? In Dec. the Coastal Resources Commission released a 30-year study, everyone knows who they’re screwing with. using more historical data and regional differences to secure much SOFT SPOT friendlier news. Sort of. While Wilmington’s down to 2- to 5-inches, The final design is still fluid, but Nags Head’s vision for Dowdy’s Duck is more like 6- to 12-inches. But that’s just ’til 2045. Tack on 55 Park remains firm — less pavement, more open spaces. As revealed more years and you can bet our troubles are at least a foot. in Jan., all three concepts for the five acres feature an obligatory hate losing. And they don’t have to, because state rules allow them to raise rates by as much as 250%, provided their clients agree. By Feb., “consent to rate” letters were already in play, giving policyholders two options: agree to a rate hike — or take a hike and go find another insurer.

There goes the neighborhood, eh? Is Wanchese Seafood Company trading their international scallop biz for a huge pile of clams? That was the rumor floating around in Jan. According to Undercurrent.com, all 15 Daniels siblings tentatively agreed to sell the third-generation family biz to Canadian-based Cooke Aquaculture for $5 million apiece, potentially changing the face of our small fishing village forever. (Or at least the accents.) But would you turn down that much shuckin’ money?

ball court, two playgrounds and an outdoor pavilion. But the bulk goes to grassy areas, trees, dunes — even a children’s garden — with plans to make this open space oasis part of a sea-to-sound trail from the beach to Nags Head Woods. Look for a final decision by April or May. And local appreciation as far as the eye can see.

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 “This is so true — I am from here and every person with an OBX plate drives so crazy. Calm down, locals. It’s not that serious. Just leave earlier, you a--holes.” — Kyle, “New video calls on locals to be more careful,” Nov. 11, 2014, OuterBanksVoice.com

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There are two topics you’re not supposed to discuss in mixed company: religion and politics. On the Outer Banks you can add one more: the environment.


Whether it’s migrating birds or rising sea levels, even the most philosophical discussion has tangible effects — and potentially physical consequences. But there is one group trying to make for more friendly dialogue on ecological issues. All you need is an open mind and a thirst for fresh information — and maybe a couple of cold ones. “Having a few drinks after work isn’t extraordinary on the Outer Banks,” says member, Bobbie Stager, who sometimes hosts meetings at Waverider’s Coffee and Deli. “But having a few drinks and calmly talking about the environment in a public setting definitely is.”

Founded in 2009, the Outer Banks group is just one of 800 Green Drinks chapters in all fifty states and across the world — including far-flung locales like Mongolia, Albania, Vietnam and Costa Rica — providing places where people casually swap facts and opinions about environmental sustainability. There are no membership fees. No attendance policy. And, most importantly, no political agendas or direct advocacy. And while the politics may be lacking, there’s no shortage of information, as members include government officials, non-profit representatives, business professionals, retirees, surfers, fishermen, scientists and teachers. “My biology, anatomy, and forensic courses have all benefited from information gathered at Green Drinks,” says Manteo High School Science Department Chair,

“My favorite so far was called, ‘Sand: Hold a Mountain in your Hand,’” says frequent attendee, Andrew Milne. “I was astonished to see the vials of sand from around the world and find out that there’s more to the beach than what meets the eye, like learning some sand is actually fish poop.”

There are no fees. No attendance policy. And no political agendas.

Too gross? Don’t worry. Just as wine snobs avoid Pinot Grigio, it’s acceptable for attendees to skip topics they may not enjoy only to indulge in future discussions. And no matter the subject, the conversations often go longer — and stretch wider — allowing for recent strangers to become lasting collaborators. Or just good friends.

Patricia Holland. “The beauty of the group is the relaxed environment. There’s no pressure to agree or disagree, so that allows for a wide range of views.” With help from the Outer Banks Green Drinks blog, participants can study up and come prepared to enjoy presentations by local residents and regional scientists. Phil Wayland, owner of Chip’s Wine and Beer Market, might give a thirst-quenching presentation on organic and sustainable wines. Captain Marty Brill could offer adventurous tales of trips to the Gulf Stream. Maybe a presenter from NC Sea Grant will describe a sexy and somewhat disgusting overview of slimy sea creature reproduction. Or a researcher from UNC Coastal Studies Institute might share bone-chilling research from Antarctica. With the help of such experts, even the most seemingly mundane subjects spring to life.

“It is a great way to spend an evening on the Outer Banks,” says Lindsay Dubbs, Associate Director of UNC Chapel Hill’s Outer Banks Field Site. “In fact, it’s a welcome opportunity to meet new people in an area where population turnover is overwhelming.”

Home Fashions

Like a rare Cabernet, the Green Drinks conversation is robust, the crowd complex and the topics linger long after you’ve taken a sip. With luck, it will only get better with age and provide a powerful social lubricant that’ll continue to foster environmental awareness. And while a few healthy pours may draw the audience and fuel discussion, it’s never mandatory. “What’s funny is I don’t even drink,” laughs teetotaler, Milnes. “The food and conversation is satisfying enough.” — Jim Gould

Outer Banks Green Drinks meets the second Wed. of every month — except June, July and August — from 7 to 8:30pm. For locations and topics go to www. obxgreendrinks.blogspot.com. For more info email OBXgreendrinks@gmail.com.


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Dark side of the dune. Photos: Roy Edlund.

Star Wars fanatic Jason Hill explains the noble cause behind his fixation. upfront I’ve always been a wicked Star Wars nut. So when my tattoo artist set up a fullsize Storm Trooper in his store, I was like, “Whoa! I want one!” That’s how I found out about the 501st Legion.


The 501st is George Lucas’ preferred costuming organization. It’s all characters from the Dark Side: Darth Vader, the Emperor, all types of Storm Troopers. We have 13,000 members in 47 countries. We’ll march at Disney World parades and go to conventions like Comic-Con. But really where it’s at is doing events for worthy causes. People hire us to appear at baseball games and store openings, then they make a donation to a charity. So, even though we’re dressed up like bad guys, we’re really the good guys.


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But first you have to get in. The costumes are actually kits you assemble, so you send in photographs of your work to be approved. It’s not easy. Or cheap. A good Storm Trooper will cost you $1000. Darth Vader can be $3000 or more. And some people think the 501st is too picky, but it keeps people from rolling up in a Yoda mask from Wal-Mart. Putting them together is the fun part. Cutting stuff up. Painting it. Figuring out what to use. My Tusken Raider mask is a latex shell custom-fit over a batting helmet. The robes and bandages are soaked in coffee and tea. The rifle is a modified black powder gun. The whole point is to be as realistic as possible. Some guys even freeze scenes frame-by-frame to match the dirt streaks on their armor. It’s pretty geeked-

out. But the conventions are great for seeing how people do their builds and to show stuff off. And there’s plenty of message boards and videos online to help you learn. It really is a brotherhood.

Even though we’re dressed up like bad guys, we’re really the good guys.

May the 4th is Star Wars Day, so last year my eldest son and I went to Avalon Pier dressed as Storm Troopers. [laughs] And we’ve been having a blast making Jockey’s Ridge look like Tatooine and sharing the photos. That’s the thing about Star Wars: it’s

such a huge phenomenon, you can make a connection with someone just by posting a picture of their favorite character. I’d really like to do some local events, but we need a few more people to join the legion. A buddy’s working on Boba Fett. I’m building another Sand Trooper for my older son. And my 9-year-old’s got his Jawa approved already. I figure the four of us make a solid group. We’ll always take more people though. You just have to be careful about who buys what. You can’t have four Darth Vaders walking around. That just looks weird.

For more on the 501st Legion, go to www.501st.com. And to take part in a Jockey’s Ridge shoot on May 3, email Jason Hill at Hill66.jh@gmail.com. milepost 17

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Photo: Drew C. Wilson/The Virginian Pilot

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Cruising streets and talking story with former NC state senator, Marc Basnight


“Can you talk right now? Meet me at McDonald’s and we’ll go for a ride.” He may no longer be the state’s most powerful politico, but when Marc Basnight agrees to meet for an interview, you still drop everything and hop in the car. Which is exactly what we did this December. And while cruising streets between Nags Head and Corolla isn’t the most formal setting, in this case, you couldn’t pick a more fitting approach.

one here much cares about us.’ That was a mistake — they looked at me like Benedict Arnold.”

Basnight soon proved his loyalty to the graphiccontent state and his district. Over 26 years of



After all, when the Manteo native became a freshman senator in 1984, roads in Eastern North Carolina were cramped at best — crumbling at worst. It took almost six hours to get to Raleigh. And the psychological distance between the capital and the Outer Banks was even greater.



“I remember my first speech,” he recalls. “I said, ‘Fellow senators, I come to say this region I represent has been screwed. I believe we should’ve been part of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Because no milepost


service — and a record nine terms as the senate’s President pro tempore — the Democratic leader garnered bipartisan support and drew attention to coastal issues from water quality to infrastructure to education. He also brought in plenty of dollars, helping fund facilities from Roanoke Island Festival Park to Jennette’s Pier to the NC Wildlife Center in Currituck. All that ended in 2010 when the Republican party won control of the General Assembly for the first time in more than a century. In January 2011, Basnight announced he was battling A.L.S. — the debilitating neurological condition also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease — and retired from politics. Four years after stepping down, it’s easy to see how he made the ascent. And while his speech may be

slower, his mind still fires on all cylinders. Over several hours — and two separate interviews — we drove from Whalebone Junction to the Whalehead Club, covering issues from economics to religion to poverty to mortality. No matter the subject, he was well-informed, open to debate, disarmingly candid and plainly humble. “Any number of people out here could’ve created change when I was elected,” he insists. “Whether it was me or someone else, the change was gonna come.” Today, change has come again. This time pushing the tide of power more inland, and further right, making it a perfect moment to ask the senator about the next round of challenges. Because whether or not you agree with his views, Marc Basnight commands a level of experience no other Outer Banks politician can claim: both an innate, boots-on-the ground familiarity with local issues — and an understanding of how power works from here to the White House. — Matt Walker

MILEPOST: A lot’s changed since you stopped serving in Raleigh four years ago. What impacts do you see? And are they positive or negative or both? SENATOR MARC BASNIGHT: Change will affect people in different ways. Some positive. Some negative. But all change is created at the wishes of the people. So, if there’s to be any dissatisfaction it can be expressed in the voting booth. Our whole form of government is reflected in what you see here [gestures toward everything outside the car]. Bob Woodard, Paul Tine, Bill Cook, the governor, the president — they all determine who we are in the brief time that they are elected. Now, did I vote for the new group of commissioners? No, I did not. My philosophy is different. But the new board now represents me, and I want to do everything I can to help make them successful. I’m now a big cheerleader. Really? Many people feel that the Dare County coast is under attack. That it may even be retribution for your years of influence. Not at all. I was close friends with many Republicans in the senate. I also consider Governor McCrory a friend. I have no enemies. I do believe that when power shifts there’s a different priority system. I honor that. Again, it represents the very wishes of the people. When I first got elected, it was hard to explain our plight in this region of North Carolina. We had no roads at that point. I-17 coming out of Deep Creek was two lanes, killing people. Highway 168 coming out of Chesapeake was a disgrace. Highway 64, too. It used to take me five and a half hours to get to my capital. I could get to Richmond faster. Yet, because of the people, change did occur. There’s now a greater focus on urbanization — Raleigh, the I-85 corridor and the growing areas in the state. It’s a different kind of change. And it may be fine. We’ll have to see. What were some of the other challenges you faced besides roads? Education was underfunded, so we created a small schools funding mechanism. And

now Chowan County, Pequimans County, Hyde County, Washington County, Currituck — they all get special funding. But the big initiative took some time: funding the university and community colleges at a level unheard of in America — $3.1 billion dollars. Sad to say our public schools have surrendered to mediocrity, but our universities are leading the world. Bloomberg Businessweek recently ranked Duke’s business school number one, overtaking the University of Chicago — the first time a northern school was defeated in the rankings of full-time MBA programs. And if you scroll down that list of the top 20 business schools, you’ll also see UNC Chapel Hill. And right behind Chapel Hill, you’ll see Cornell and MIT. [grins] You obviously made environmental issues an important part of your legacy, as well. One of my favorite accomplishments was making the legislative building more green. We put big cisterns underneath the lawn. Big concrete tanks that were 40,000-plus gallons. All that runoff once went into the Neuse River. That water now goes underground and in the dry season it sprinkles the lawn. I also took out light bulbs in the senate chamber where we debate and put in LEDs and didn’t say a word to a damn soul. One day I announced we were saving about $40,000 a year on electricity. I also told them I put motion detectors on the lights in all the bathrooms. One member stood up and said, “I’m witness to that fact! I was sitting on the throne reading the paper and the lights went off.” [laughs] I enjoyed that moment. But what we were doing at the time, no one in America was doing. Nobody. We couldn’t find one assembly that was collecting the water off their roof. The current legislature seems to have taken the opposite approach. Most notably was the rejection of the 100year coastal plan in 2012 in favor of a 30-year review with different methods. Does that feel like a black eye for the state? No. I have looked at the 30-year review and it does not bother me. I don’t believe you can predict 100 years out. Also, people in

general will not focus on 100 years. They can’t focus on a week.

“what we were doing [in raleigh] at the time, no one in America was doing. Nobody.”

But isn’t that the job of government — to think long-term? It almost seems like developers and other industries are telling the scientific community what to do.

There are elements that will definitely do that. No question. There are some who develop land that would not want any review. None. Not even a five-year review. I believe 30 years was a good compromise, as long as it’s independent and not anticlimate change — or extreme climate change. So what challenges will the Outer Banks face in the next 30 years?

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The challenges are about the same: erosion. I’m a big fan of beach nourishment. In hurricanes, water is the primary damaging element, not wind. A properly funded beach nourishment plan can help. I believe it would be prudent to let any house go up one story. Not for more bedrooms. But for adding space underneath for storm water to move in and out. Of course, my ancestors came here because of water. And of all the people who live here now, the vast majority, came because of the influence of big blue. [Points at the ocean.] What we now sell is clean water. When you say that, I immediately think about offshore drilling, because it threatens our whole economy. I don’t like the fracking bill, either. Injecting wastewater beneath our aquifer seems shortsighted at best. I’ve never been for drilling out here. The risk is way too great. Ten years before the BP spill, I went to the Gulf Coast. In Galveston Beach they have kerosene cans


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questionauthority to rub off the oil when you come off the beach. But the value of fracking to the common man overwhelms me. The price of gasoline is so low in America — the heating bill, manufacturing bill, restaurant gas bills — that the little guy is winning. My wish would be to fix fracking. Disclose everything in the wastewater. Be transparent, be safe and use new technology.



I equate fracking to Obamacare. On the left side of politics is Obamacare; on the right side is fracking. What I say to both is “fix it.” Don’t smash it; fix it. And let the generosity of the solution benefit our people. But energy has always driven the world. Horses. Rail. Coal. I hope that natural gas is a bridge to renewable technology advancing.



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I guess that’s my frustration. Because between the wind and tides, it seems like the Outer Banks should be on the leading edge of renewable energy.

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Obama killed the damn wind farm on the Outer Banks. He did. How so?


I funded a 4-year study by UNC Chapel Hill that supported a wind farm in Pamlico Sound. Duke was ready to put up three 5-megawatt turbines for a one-year test, and then erect 172 turbines. The largest investment they have ever made — billions of dollars. I got temporary blessings from everyone: marine fisheries, CAMA, the military, U.S. Fish and Wildlife. But the impression Duke got from Fish and Wildlife was that — while they would go along with three turbines — they in no way would commit to a wind farm. Duke didn’t want three! I didn’t want three! Three were a symbol! So Duke’s people came in my office and said, “If you can’t get some pathway to a large wind farm on the water, it’s dead.”

Do you think you would’ve gotten a better response from Bush? Same damn thing with Bush. He had banned the commercial take of rockfish in federal waters. When he came to North Carolina, I gave him a letter, explaining why that wasn’t helpful. He responded — but he wasn’t helpful. Now, Bill Clinton was helpful. He really followed through on the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. That’s how it got moved? [Nods.] I had asked the engineering department at NC State to determine whether it could be moved. That was the main concern I had: that it would fall. They came back with a report that it could be moved — no problem. I took it to the people. The people were divided, but the National Park Service decided to move it. Then they came in with no money. One day, Norma Mills, my chief of staff, said, “The president is coming to North Carolina to speak about public education.” I said, “Norma, tell his people I need some limited time to talk privately with him about the lighthouse.” I rode with the president in his limo from the legislative building to Air Force One. I gave him every reason to move the light. He said, “Senator, I don’t do pork barrel.” I said, “Well, you’re wrong, Mr. President. This isn’t pork. This is a piece of national maritime history. And it’s about to become a big-ass pile of bricks.” He said, “I’ll get back with you.” Two weeks later, he called: “I’ll put moving the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in my budget request to Congress. But you have to get [U.S. Senators] Jesse Helms and Lawton Faircloth on board.” I never got Jesse, but Lawton did not sit back. He secured the money.

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Obama came into Raleigh. I told him, “Mr. President, your speech on renewable energy noted we have no wind turbines in the water. Duke Energy’s ready, but Fish and Wildlife surprised us. It’s all right here.” I handed him a letter. He handed the letter to a man beside him. Weeks later, we heard nothing. Months went by. Finally, a letter came in the mail. It said, “We received your letter and we thank you for your comments.” [laughs]


Do you ever wish you’d run for a U.S. seat? No. I was probably at my limit. Now, I look at Congress and I am baffled by their inability to make simple changes that guide opportunity for all people. For example, to me it’s very simple to reign in the banks on Wall Street. But, no, the banks own [both parties]. It’s so disgusting to see Democrats and Republicans craft a budget bill that removed one of the strong tenets of FrankDodd. And what they did is push wealth to

the top and take it from that framer [points to a house being built]. Now, is that right? I would say no. But that framer very well could’ve voted for that to happen in some way, shape or form. If he voted Republican or Democrat, he did. Shame on both parties.

Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?

So knowing that — and knowing that the electoral process is supposed to represent the will of the people — is the system failing?

Well, you don’t look back. You look forward. I never toast my accomplishments. And I never weep about my failures, whatever they may be.

No. Not at all. The system behaved just like it was supposed to. The change will come. There will be some maverick, some leader that the people will galvanize on. But you don’t wish you were one of the leaders to try? No. I didn’t have that talent. I would raise too much hell. [smiles] Considering the current state of politics, can you see why a lot of people feel apathetic? What do you say to those who feel like ‘”why bother?” I always say that your opinion is not heard if you don’t vote. Thom Tillis won by 75,000 votes. Yes, one vote would not have changed that election. But maybe — just maybe — one day that one single vote on the board of education or the town council, maybe that would turn the tide. Maybe. But that’s a pretty simplistic answer. The reason to vote is much deeper than that. I was voting in Manteo one time. Walking in, a woman outside the building screamed, “Yes! I did it!” Then she turned to me and said, “Kiss my ass.” She had obviously stated her protest. And it overjoyed her. [grins] But it is such a wonderful chance of expression. It’s the one time we’re all equal. Your vote counts as much as Bill Gates’. No one gets greater value for their vote than anyone else.

In 1989, Coast photographer Drew Wilson joined Senator Basnight as he traveled the whole district. “We left at 4:30am and returned after midnight,” says the long-time Outer Banks lensman. “Every ten or fifteen minutes he’d stop to talk to farmers or fishermen or go in a grocery store — anyone he saw who might give him an idea of what was going on in the district. And that was one of the important differences about him. You didn’t put on a suit or attend a function to get access.” Photos: Drew C. Wilson/The Virginian Pilot

two with breast cancer at 44 years old. How frightening is that? I’m 67. Life expectancy in Afghanistan is 45 years of age. I got a pretty good deal when you look at it like that. But I have no fear of death. None. I am what I am.

Obviously A.L.S. took its toll on your political career. How are you handling it otherwise? I’d assume it must be frustrating at times. Not really. It is what it is. I always look at the condition of other people who are much worse off than me: a child dying; a mother of

So what piece of advice would you give to Outer Bankers moving forward? Face challenges head on. Do not ignore them. Face them. But it’s the people that make this place. The people who have moved here and have lived here and that are so passionate about issues. Incredible, incredible people. You see that work truck in front of that house? Some average guy is making his living in December out here. When I see trucks and dumpsters in the middle of winter, I know everything is okay. And the men and women I know and love have an opportunity here that you don’t have anywhere else. You can go to Raleigh and make more money. But you won’t see the same sunset. You won’t feel or hear the sweet voice of nature. You’re right. Every time I worry about the character of the Outer Banks changing, I remind myself of that. I’ll tell you a little story: I was surfing in South Nags Head one summer. It was just me in the warm water. One of those slick, calm days. A little swell was running — barely enough to get you moving — but I loved it anyhow. I was in a school of baitfish. A pelican flew down out of the sky right next to me. You rarely saw pelicans then — we didn’t have them. He scooped up a pouch of fish. I laid there on my board, and me and him looked each other in the eye. I’ll never forget that. Never.

Ed note: The preceding interview was edited for space, flow and clarity. To read a full transcript — including everything from raising the minimum wage to burying power lines — go to www.outerbanksmilepost.com. milepost 21

Five Tales of Tenacity and Triumph Dreams can be big — or small. They can be lifelong ambitions or last-minute flights of fancy. Some start and finish in a matter of months. Others go on forever, testing mettle and rewarding merits no matter how much you stumble. But major undertaking or minor distraction — future business or philanthropic effort — all dreams are essentially personal challenges that beg you to take the first step. And all are doable. milepost


INCH BY INCH. How one man found surfing salvation inside a hardware store.

Jon Ranta smiles and sips coffee, basking in the

morning sun beside a Currituck storage space. In one corner lies a plastic bin with bungee cords, clamps, glue and some wooden spars. In the other is a fully rideable

hollow-bodied surfboard. Day by day, piece by piece, he takes the contents of one box and transforms it into the finished product, using only the most rudimentary of tools and — most importantly — a box of yardsticks. One hundred and twenty to be exact. “It turns out yardsticks are half the weight, thickness and less knotty than pine spars,” Ranta explains. “And they’re cheap. In under a month I have a finished product that only cost $75 in materials.” It’s a far cry from the modern boardbuilding process. But then Jon’s story is one that runs against the grain. Born in 1959 in Glendale, California, Ranta began surfing Malibu. He came of age during a surfing revolution pulsing with life, born from outlaws such as Miki “Da Cat” Dora. Before long, he was fully absorbed in the L.A. surf scene. He started out cleaning the shaping room at Kennedy Surfboards and eventually took over as their airbrush artist. “I would surf, work and sleep in the shop in a Clark Foam box, wake up at 7am and do it all over again,” he recalls. “Things were great then: the waves, the boards — I was learning so much.” But, as with the times, life would soon invert itself. In 1974, at the age of 15, Ranta and his family were forced to leave California and head to Ohio. Surfing faded into the past, but the creative urges remained. He became a commercial sign painter and learned to play drums. He dabbled with chasing Great Lakes swells and even built a few wooden boards out of long, stiff laths. But the designs were too heavy. The waves were too small. And the surfing void remained unfulfilled — until many years later, when he took his mom to the doctor’s office. “I looked down at a table and laid eyes on a Surfer magazine,” he remembers. “I felt that stoke immediately and knew that, no matter what, I had to get back to the beach.” In 2014, after decades of being

landlocked, he and his wife made the leap. Primed with tales of punchy waves and pristine beaches told by their Ohio neighbors, they made their way to the Outer Banks. But soon after arriving, disaster struck: a scam left them virtually penniless. Jon had no money — and no surfboard. But he had the ingenuity. And the drive. And one day, while walking through Ace Hardware, he realized he had access to the right materials. “Basswood,” says Jon. “That’s what yardsticks are made of. They’re also an eighth of an inch thick, which is normal for stringers. They’re made to hold their shape — and they’re lighter. The perfect wood for lathwork.” After explaining his idea to the people at Ace, they decided to float Jon his first bundle for free. Construction info he scored off of YouTube. Over several weeks, Ranta laid out the plans for a 7’6” funboard on a long piece of brown paper and got to work. “I can write out the exact dimensions and proceed with the rest of my tools,” he says. “I use an X-acto knife and a hacksaw blade with a handle fashioned out of duct tape to make all my notches. I also use a Dremel, which is powered by a car battery and a voltage inverter.”

look dazzling on anyone’s wall. But how would it work in the water? There was only one way to find out. “I road it a couple times in small stuff,” he says. “The rails are a bit boxy, but it’s functional. Then I took it out during Hurricane Gonzalo. I got smashed by a set wave, broke my leash and was forced to swim after my board.”


spars get clamped and glued to create a hollow framework — like an airplane wing.

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What he discovered on the beach set his gears turning once more. “I flipped the board over and immediately noticed some rattling on the inside and a crack towards the nose,” he says. “Right under where you stand some of the ribs had broken. I knew I needed to make the next board stronger.” And so he did. His newest creation is a 10’6” gun and has some modifications. He drilled smaller holes in the spars and reinforced the ribs with supports. He even switched up materials — sort of. “Home Depot yardsticks are a quarter-inch thick,” he laughs. “So I used them as the stringer.”

There are no templates. No foam. No planers. Nothing but freehanded curves, ruler-edged lines and yardstick spars, clamped and glued to create a hollow framework — like an airplane wing — with a veneer of flat yard sticks that goes over top.

He named the board “Spearit,” a testament to the force driving his art. Jon hopes he can keep making more. He may even move onto sea-faring kayaks. One day, he’d like to have a studio showcasing his waveriding art. If nothing else, he’s got a constant creative challenge. And the means to stay wet — and happy — even in the hardest of times.

After three weeks of labor, and trading sign work for a glass job, the pile of lumber evolved into a finished piece. It’s pretty. Polished. Boasting a shiny lacquer that would

“I believe in the Constitutional Right,” he says, “the Pursuit of Happiness. And if I can make some money along the way, well, that’s just a bonus.” — Fran Marler

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How does a native Texan go from the world of New York finance to Carolina pecan farmer?


Meet Jim Harris: Wall Street banker by profession — pecan farmer by passion.


The love affair began in 1975, when Jim Harris and his then-girlfriend Linda Daniels visited her family in Manns Harbor. The rural coastal village was a far cry from the hustling, bustling streets of New York, but it had its own excitement for the man who had finished at Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration just two years before. There was a pond to attract waterfowl. A rustic family cemetery that reached back two centuries. But what captured his heart was the pecan grove planted by Linda’s grandfather — perfect rows of trees that clearly had not seen any TLC for a very long time. “There was a barbed wire fence

around it, the grass was high and horses were grazing there,” Jim recalls. “I asked Linda’s mother if I could cut it. I rented a mower and it took me two weeks. But Linda’s mother was so impressed at how it looked that she kept it up after that.”

“There was no Social Security then,” Jim explains, “and Linda’s grandfather and his brother planted the pecans so that their widows would have future incomes.”

The word “pecan” comes from the Algonquian for “a nut that requires a stone to crack.” It is the only nut that is indigenous to the US. And Linda’s mother, Oma Pearl, had roots that are nearly as deep in the area. (Some of the plot’s family headstones predate the Civil War.)

Two years later, the price fell to 14 cents a pound. Sales plummeted because they were too expensive for those hard-hit by the Great Depression. The grove silently weathered the decades for 48 years until Jim first arrived. He and Linda married in 1976, and for the next three decades the couple returned to Dare County for visits, where Jim laid silent plans for the plentiful trees.

In 1927, Oma’s father, Clarence, planted the pecan grove of 50 trees,and on the property adjoining it, his brother, Roy, planted 150 of the trees two years later. Pecans sold for about 17 cents a pound — about four times the price of peanuts — so a grove was considered a good investment.

After semi-retiring to Manns Harbor in 2008, Jim turned his attention back to the grove in earnest. But instead of riding around on a mower, he bumps through the trees on a golf cart. And with the help of his wife and his landscaper, Michael Coley, they’re bringing the 88-yearold pecan stand back to life.

“I do all the research,” says Jim, “and Michael does the physical work. Linda’s more of a silent partner.” They began in 2012 by pruning the trees, fertilizing them and stripping the ground vegetation. Later they thinned out the grove to increase sunlight and air circulation. They’d planned to pump water from the pond, but discovered there was too much saltwater intrusion.

They’re not quite at that level, but they’re officially in business. It’s called O.P. Food Products, LLC. Jim and Linda are owners. Michael is the manager. Della Basnight’s in charge of marketing. All share in the profits. Today, you can find them — shelled and unshelled — under the label “Oma Pearl’s Locally Grown Pecans” at restaurants like Basnight’s Lone Cedar, Darrel’s and Cafe Lachine. But it’s not so much the sales that keep them motivated, but reviving the grove.

The grove silently weathered the decades for 48 years.

“So we put in a well and a sprinkler system,” says Michael, who was a commercial fisherman before he turned to landscaping. “It takes about 36,000 gallons to water the field.”

Along the way the men picked the brains of specialists — a professor from NC State University and experts from the local extension office — learning something with each new step. They now know there are five pecan species in the grove. The identity of one remains a mystery — it is most likely a result of crosspollination — but they all do most of their nut producing every other year. In 2013, the farm yielded 4,800 pounds; 2014 is estimated to be about half that amount. (One of the future projects is to fill in empty spaces with other species that produce every year.) Collection requires dragging a specialized contraption across the ground, which flips nuts up into a bin. A smaller, hand-sized model picks up the stragglers in a rolling wire basket. Then they pour them all in big red bags to deliver to a large scale pecan processor that buys and sells pecans, as well as shells others’ nuts for a fee. Jim calls it “the cracker.” “Last time we were there, a semi came in full of pecans,” notes Michael, eyes wide with excitement. “A semi!”

“Doing this has been fun,” says Jim. “We’ve enjoyed getting the trees back into production and putting some organization into it.” Ask about the wild Muscadine grapes growing nearby and other farming opportunities and you can see the wheels start turning in both Jim and Michael’s heads. And why not? Jim and Linda have slowed down work-wise. Sort of. Jim still serves on the El Paso Electric Company Board of Directors in Texas. He’s an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina’s Keenan-Flager School, as well as president and chief operating officer of Seneca Financial Group. But otherwise, there’s plenty of free time — as long you don’t count the hours spent on environmental issues and political activism. But the pecan farm puts them outside the office and in touch with nature. And while Jim’s big bank resume sounds impressive, his agricultural rep is quickly catching up. “I’m pretty certain that this is the largest single pecan grove in Dare County,” he says. “And possibly the state.” And the more he invests, the more it returns. — Sandy Semans milepost 25

THE SECRET OF MY 6S He’s ambitious. He’s motivated. He’s entrepreneurial. He’s 12. In case you hadn’t noticed, the Outer Banks is now a Petri dish of preteen boarding culture. There’s more skateparks, more surf shops, more contests, and more grommets littering our beachbreaks and concrete than ever before. And at least one of ’em, Kill Devil Hills surfer/ skateboarder Payton Savage, is frothing to exploit that energy…all for the good of the groms. Taking the innocent, juvenile concept of a lemonade stand and supercharging it into his own homegrown surf/skatewear company — which he cleverly dubbed “6S.” And it all milepost


started with a daydream and a sketch pad. “I was 7 when I started thinking about making a company,” he says. “I was just doodling around, thinking, ‘6...S. 6S… Success!’ Like when you land a skate trick or get a good surf day, it’s just about being successful in life.” But the idea didn’t find a home, so to speak, until his parents, Ken and Mandy, moved the family from Bethany Beach, Delaware, last spring. “We saw early on that Payton wasn’t into soccer, baseball or other things kids liked to do,” Mandy explains. “His teachers didn’t consider surfing or

skateboarding actual sports, so we told Payton he had an opportunity to shine a different light on those pursuits and present them as something positive.” With their respective countercultural backgrounds and inherent lack of chaperones, coaches and numerical, fielded structure, boardsports represent freedom. And to some, where there’s freedom, there’s trouble. Fortunately for the Savages, the Outer Banks was already well ahead of the mind-opening curve. “Back where I used to live, I was the only kid in my school who surfed,” Payton remembers. “So I didn’t really fit in. But

this is an island. There’s more surfing and skating, so once we moved down here I didn’t even have to get used to the place. I felt at home immediately.” Payton casually introduced 6S to his newfound pals while Ken invested: one $16 pack of plain white t-shirts; stencil materials and spray paint. It’s not just a guerilla marketing tactic used at tradeshows for years, it’s a cheap, easy way to promote a company without having to learn (or pay for) specialized screen-printing skills. Setting up shop in his garage, Payton cut and sprayed a few different designs to wear to school. Before long, the other sixthgraders wanted in.

school property. Turns out, it was a commendation from a situation at school where one boy acted inappropriately toward a girl, and Payton had stepped in to help resolve the situation. They could not have been more relieved. “The whole genesis for 6S was Payton wanted to be a positive influence,” says Ken. “That was the difference with the Outer Banks, and one of the reasons we wanted to be here. The community actually embraces surfing and skateboarding as sports.”

Setting up in his garage, Payton sprayed shirt designs to wear to school.

“I told my friends they could be on the 6S team,” he says. “The next day I had shirts for everybody. Then we started spraypainting the grip tape on our skateboards, the corners of our surfboards, and we made hats. I got one of my best friends to be my rep. He spreads the word while my dad and I make the shirts and hats for the kids on the team. I kind of look at 6S like what Tony Alva and Christian Hosoi did when they were young — riding their own boards and promoting their brands into big [franchises].”

Before diving into his next big project — an Instagram account to showcase 6S products, modeled by his growing posse of male and female teamriders — Payton’s making 6S wax from candle companies’ ultra-cheap cutoffs. They just got 50 pounds to press into skate wax, and they’re researching how to make surf wax, all in the shape of the Tarheel State. In the meantime, 6S demos at Aviation Skatepark keep the kids engaged, while the parents have their own adult time (hopefully not at the bottom of the steps). The Savages also hope to get involved with the local ESA District contests this season.

And while the almighty “bro deals” still carry weight, eventually Payton felt compelled to start selling his vision.

“It’s just a way for families to get together, love up on each other and encourage all our kids together. It really is a fellowship in itself.”

“Usually for friends I sell them pretty cheap, like five to seven bucks,” he says. “But I may need to start selling them for $10 to make a profit. I wanna give some of that money back to the community, maybe the youth group at church, then use the rest to buy more product: shirts, hats and, eventually, stickers.”

Truth be told, Payton’s ultimate goal is to become a pro surfer one day, and eventually a surfboard shaper, rather than a business tycoon. But no matter where his path leads, the 6S tags will follow.

At the height of the craze, Ken and Mandy received a call from the First Flight Middle School principal. At first they feared their son had been busted for selling shirts illegally on

“I already have some 7th graders wearing the shirts,” he smiles. “The profits aren’t there yet. But more than that, I just want 6S to be a positive thing, so maybe one day people will stop looking at surfers and skaters as a bunch of punks.” — Matt Pruett


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Every hot pepper grown in this KDH yard funds a small business in a developing country. Blame it on Charlie.

Not the person — the pepper plant. For five years, Aubrey Davis hauled his beloved potted pal around D.C. in a Polynesian green Geo Metro. For a mechanical engineer working at the White House during the Clinton Administration, the plant served as a reminder of his two-year stint in Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer — and a symbol of his free-spirited ways. “I was still single,” notes the 50-yearold Winston-Salem native. “I was also probably the only National Park Service employee living at a campground.” That was more than 20 years ago. Today, he’s married and settled in Kill Devil Hills. And with the help of his wife, Karen Loopman-Davis, the couple grows more peppers than could fit in a milepost


U-Haul, much less a hatchback. Come summer, close to 150 plants will crowd their yard. Pots spill across the edges onto neighbors’ lots and into the right of way. A mix of verdant green leafiness that bursts with rich red, purple and yellow blooms — some mutant-big or freakishly full. “They’re beautiful,” Aubrey says, “because they’re all so different.” Maybe on the outside. On the inside, they’re a variation of the same flavor: hot. Simmering jalapenos and habeneros hang beside scorching ghost peppers and borderline-lethal Carolina Reapers. That’s the whole point, as every fall the couple picks, dries and grinds their crop to turn into a spice mix called Peppers4People. And that’s when the

real purpose of all their labor comes to fruition, as each bottle sold isn’t just packed with rocket power — it’s a tiny economic engine that fuels small businesses in Third World countries.

“I always say that, without credit, most of us wouldn’t have homes or businesses,” says Loopman-Davis. (The couple owns the Outer Banks Brewing Station along with partners Eric Reece and Tina MacKenzie.) “I’m lucky to have a mortgage and a car payment. I want others to have that opportunity, too.” That’s where microloans come into play. With the help of Kiva — a nonprofit organization that connects a network of micro-financers with small businesses throughout the developing world — sales from the dried peppers go toward giving a leg-up to start-ups who can’t get cash elsewhere. Since 2005, Kiva has facilitated $6.5 million in loans from 1.3 million lenders. The group works through 289 field

partners who administer the loans within 85 countries where people lack access to traditional banks. Every penny of each transaction goes toward funding someone’s business efforts, and the repayment rate is close to 99 percent. So far, the couple has converted roughly $9000 in pepper sales into 125 loans for folks in about 40 countries. Recipients are selected from the Kiva website, which has hundreds of profiles of people who need some assistance for business ventures. They say how much they need, and the lender chooses the amount they want to give. And while no direct contact or followup is allowed, Loopman-Davis says that just reading the stories online is heart-warming. “Here’s a pretty cool one,” she says, scanning her file. “We just lent $100 to help this guy in Rwanda with a solar mobile phone charger kiosk, since many areas don’t have electricity. Africa is so up-andcoming — the enthusiasm and ingenuity of the people is amazing.” Some of the other recipients include farmers, grocery stores, cheese makers and food market and restaurant enterprises. The nationalities include Latin American, South American, Pacific Island, MiddleEastern and African countries. The couple also tends to favor women — who face many more challenges than men in developing countries — and entrepreneurs in their line of work.

For the past nine winters, Karen and Aubrey have taken their two daughters — now 10 and 11 — on five-week adventures. They’ve gone to Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, British Tortola, Indonesia, China, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Next year, they plan to go to Chile and Patagonia. The following year, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. This past December, they traveled to Myanmar to spend Christmas in a Buddhist temple. Each stop’s a lesson in different cultures and personal values, like sharing with others and living frugally.

So far only one loan has defaulted. Not that they expect to yield a return. The Davises view Peppers4People as an exercise in helping others and proving that humans are essentially honest and hardworking. And they’re equally committed to showing their own family this firsthand.

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They better enjoy the break while they can. Because soon after they return, it’s time to begin their own farming efforts. Seeds go into trays on their kitchen table in February. By May, the plants are covering the yard. Come August, a tangle of green will rise from the various pots and raised beds, before turning colors — like the Black Cuban variety — which starts out purple with bright green leaves, before ripening to red. Toward fall, they’ll pick. And pick. And pick. Filling whole kettles with burning hues. Then they scrape out the seeds — where the worst of the fire resides — to knock down intensity. They’ll grind ’em up, blend them together and pour the mixture into glass containers. Then they paste on the label to sell at the pub — $10 for a 4-ounce bottle; the super hot blend is $20 for 2 ounces — both of which do quite a sizzling business.

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“We live in a 1,000-square-foot beach box,” Aubrey says. “We drive cars that are older than most of our employees. What we do spend our money on is travel.”

Each bottle sold is a tiny economic engine.

“I think it’s fun to help out people who do the same business we do,” Davis says. “And we just roll over payments into another loan.”


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“They’ll light you up,” Aubrey brags. “You will still feel it on your tongue 30 minutes later.” And that Third World farmer who is helped by the pepper profits? He’ll enjoy the lingering warmth for years to come. — Catherine Kozak

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Not everyone becomes a published author. Then again, not everyone tries. Want to write a novel? Start by

drawing a picture. First in your mind, then on a canvas. Or, if you’re Michele YoungStone, use small squares of wood, 1950s magazine clips and the occasional Altoid tin. Add postcards from pretend settings and cut-up sentences of potential dialogue. Maybe record a musical mix-tape to soundtrack your thoughts. It sounds obsessive, but for Michele it’s necessary. Because no reader will believe her stories unless she believes in them first. “For me, writing a novel is like an act of faith,” explains the former Richmonder. “I don’t outline. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I just have to keep imagining scenes and writing them down and hope the characters keep telling me what to do next.” Characters have been telling YoungSmith what to do for as long as she



can remember. By second grade, the self-professed loner and lover of misfits knew she wanted to be a writer. Not a magazine editor, internet blogger or e-book dabbler. A real-life novelist. The kind that receives uncorrected proofs and goes on book tours. The kind that only comes with a big-name publisher. “It’s not a very popular opinion right now,” she admits, “but my feeling is: if you can’t find someone else who believes your book should exist, then maybe it shouldn’t.” Elitist? Maybe. Easy? Never. For seven years Michele submitted stories while teaching high school English. When VCU accepted her into their Masters Writing program at the age of 30, she stopped teaching and got back behind a desk. Here’s where she found out how to really write. She learned to take tough criticism.

Most of all she learned “the craft.” “Getting all your ideas out on the page, that’s the artistic part of writing — the freeing part of it,” she says. “Then you have to get it in some kind of order. That’s the craft part: learning what’s going to keep the reader turning pages.” In 2005, she emerged with more confidence, a finished novel — and no idea what to do next. Apparently, so few authors ever get book deals, professors don’t even bother with the nuts and bolts of securing a publisher. Thus began a whole new education. Armed with a copy of the 2004 Writer’s Market, she spent four years bombarding New York City book agents with printed manuscripts and personalized queries. She’d pop two or three in the mail each week, then wait for a reply. She got hundreds of rejections and a few close

calls. Or what she calls “wasted champagne.” “One agent loved the book, but her boss didn’t agree,” she remembers. “Another called me halfway through reading to make sure I hadn’t sold it — then called a day later to say ‘nevermind.’ She hated the ending.” Then, on Nov. 14, 2008, her phone rang: she had an offer. That afternoon it rang again: she had two. Suddenly, instead of begging someone to believe in her words, she was choosing between battling editors. In 2010, The Handbook for Lighting Strike Survivors went from lifelong fantasy to Random House reality. The following year, it became a Target Book Club pick of the month, sparking a two-book deal with Simon and Schuster.

Indeed. Months before its March release, Above Us Only Sky was already topping booksellers’ mustread lists. In the book, Young-Stone paints a surreal world of modern fantasy and tragic history. Troubled girls are born with phantom wings. Best friends see the future. Lithuanian ancestors suffer — and survive — constant brutalities, from 19th century Cossacks to Hitler to Stalin. It’s a daring, imaginative work where scenes don’t move from start to finish, they move from vision to vision. Fluttering around like a murmuration of starlings that moves independently, only revealing its true form at the very end.

s r o o d t u O e h T y o Enj This Spring!

She got hundreds of rejections and a few close calls. Or what she calls “wasted champagne.”

“To go to New York and walk inside the office and see all these titles by big-name novelists,” she recalls, “and see your book among them? It just feels amazing. There’s nothing like it.” In 2012, Michele moved to the Outer Banks to nurture her dream. Posted up with her husband and son on the canal-front in Colington, she punked-out her home office with funky art and words of encouragement, then began punching keys and channeling characters. But selling a finished piece of fiction is one thing. Taking a book from pitch to pagetuner inside of a year is a whole other process. And if she thought her grad-school professors and classmates were keen on red ink, she wasn’t at all prepared for her editor’s first round of feedback. “She basically told me to start over,” Michele recalls. “It felt like having my heart ripped out. I was miserable all last summer. But I learned to trust my process. Looking back it really helped me grow as a writer.”

“I like books where the story’s not all laid out,” she explains. “I like the idea of helping people see things differently than ‘beginning, middle and end.’ That’s traditional storytelling, but that’s not how life really is.” No. Real life revolves. It stops, starts and stops again. Or, in Michele’s case, it writes and rewrites. Already, she’s working on two more novels. One’s a new tale depicting Tory life in the days after America’s Revolution. The other — Perfect Birds — is a love story between two women in 1960s England. That one’s much closer to completion. In fact, it was supposed to be her followup to Lightning Strike — before her publisher nudged her toward writing what became Above Us Only Sky. And as she digs back in to the sophomore effort for another round of edits, she says she knows why. “Because it sucks!” she laughs, holding a red pencil and a stack of typed pages. “It’s all over the place! But I still cried at the end. So the story’s there. The characters are there. I just need to put it back together. And I know exactly what to do.” — Matt Walker

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What’s the hottest trend in printed matter? Niche magazines. While newspapers flounder nationwide, community rags flourish like never before. Just check your closest coffeehouse: we’ve got free quarterlies for kids. Pubs for pub-lovers. Slack journalism and sixth-grade humor for locals. (Guilty as charged.) Pick a passion, someone’s trying to document daily life — or lack thereof — and make a cool buck in the process. But there’s still some key demographics that remain untapped. Read on for titles that are sure to crowd newsstands and registers in years to come. All they need is the right person to put them in motion. It’s so easy, anyone can do it.

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citified. Sometimes the best cure for the coastal blues is concrete and bustle.

Familiarity breeds contempt. Variety is the spice of life. Get out of your comfort zone. If a few vague clichés aren’t enough to make you wanna bail town and “hit the big city,” maybe we can offer a couple more tangible arguments. Like the fact you’ve been cooped up with the same familiar faces in the same old haunts all winter long — if not a lifetime. Or the scary prospect that another season starts in a matter of weeks, making this the last chance to leave Dodge ’til well after Labor Day. And while

a quick trip to warmer waters may sound comparatively easy — and physically pleasurable —mentally, it’s the same damn thing as chilling at home: sit on the beach, swim in the sea, dive in a bar. Repeat. Not a city. A city’s a whole different world. A whole different energy. Full of brilliant skylines,

amped people and more exciting things to do inside 24 hours than our sleepy strand can stir up in a decade. Art occupies alleyways. Music electrifies street corners. And life crashes into you at the speed of 1000 choices per second: What to eat? What to do? Where to go? How to get there? And there’s never a wrong answer, because just asking the question sparks your imagination and rewires your brain.

What follows are three photographic takes on three hot metropolises with comments from local people who love them. Whether it’s a month in Music City, a week in the Big Easy or a weekend in the Big Apple, when the urban jungle calls, they holler back. And each time they return home, they don’t just feel renewed — they feel recharged. Bright lights, big difference. Photo: Ryan Moser



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New Orleans’ charm flows from its Few cities have a more colorful history — and lively present — than New Orleans.

The body of a 21-year-old. Because if there’s one thing that never gets old in New Orleans, it’s a party. And while Page prefers to visit during Jazzfest each spring, you can go anytime and see something wild.

Between its European ancestry and Creole traditions, the Big Easy is among the delta’s richest stomping grounds. A fertile crescent of jazz and voodoo that can only come from distilling so many potent ingredients for a very long time.

Getting there.

“New Orleans is definitely my favorite city,” says KDH flower girl and French Quarter fan Page Roper. “It feels like this collection of stuff that’s been here forever. It has narrow streets and wrought iron gates and spooky above-ground cemeteries. And everyone’s so friendly. Like a Southern town trapped in a city’s body.” milepost


You can fly out of Norfolk for $400. One stop in Atlanta and it’s a $40 cab ride to the French Quarter. And everyone knows Bourbon Street for the bars and nightlife, but there are other parts that are really nice.

Staying there. The Audubon cottages go back to the 1820s. They have the oldest swimming pool in New Orleans. It’s very private. And very expensive — around $400 a night. A nice hotel runs for about $200. Or find a

Main Image: New Orleans lets you paint the town any color you like — anytime you want. (And doesn’t care if you spill some on yourself, either.) Top left: Spooky by the grace of God. Bottom left: It’s easy to get carried away on Bourbon Street. All photos: Chris Bickford


deep roots, close quarters and Southern hospitality. townhome on VRBO.com. Share it with four people and you’ll get it down to $50.

Getting around. Streetcars are a great way to get a sense of the city. You can check out the Garden District, which has beautiful, multi-million dollar homes — Anne Rice has a house there — or go Uptown and check out Tulane. Or walk along Magazine Street, which has lots of clothing boutiques and bookstores. But I take cabs for quick transportation — especially after dark. New Orleans can definitely be dangerous. I’ve never been accosted, but bad things do happen. You need to keep your street sense.

Jammin’ at Jazzfest. I went to my first Jazzfest in ’91 and started

going back about four years ago. You can’t stay by the fairgrounds, so we’ll ride bikes. It takes an hour but it’s a beautiful ride. The other way is by cab, but when you leave the taxi queues can take three or four hours. If you’re at a hotel, ask for a service to pick you up. Or walk a few blocks to Liuzza’s. It’s this really cool place nearby. There’s always people playing music, vendors and food — it’s like a huge street party. You can go hang for a couple hours and then catch a cab.

Hear, drink and be merry. One thing’s for sure, there’s no shortage of bars. My favorite is the Maple Leaf in Uptown, which has live music nightly. And Tipatina’s and the Saenger Theatre both get really good bands. The Saenger got wrecked in Katrina, but they spent millions on restoration. It’s got chandeliers and

statues and crown molding. Gorgeous. And you have to go to the Blacksmith. [Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop.] It’s on Bourbon Street in this old, brick building from the 1700s — one of the oldest in the whole city.

Service with a smile. All the business owners walk up and talk to you and make you feel special. The man who runs Jacques-Imo’s is totally crazy. He’ll come out and do shots with people then go back to the kitchen. Antoine’s is a very nice, very old restaurant. They’ve got pictures of all the royalty and famous people who’ve eaten there on the walls, and a huge wine cellar where everything got destroyed during Prohibition. If you ask the waiter, they’ll give you a tour. Ours ended at the top of these sketchy stairs in a storage area full of boxes. He’s like: “Look at this

balcony.” And there’s a million-dollar view of the Quarter.

Anything goes. New Orleans is just — I don’t know — different. It almost feels like another country. Like the way people say “Burgone-dee” instead of Burgundy. And then there’s the whole Mardis Gras tradition with the Krewe balls that run thick and deep, and the Creoles dressing like Indians in big feather dresses. You can go into stores and get voodoo concoctions to ward off evil spirits. The streets are always so alive with performers and musicians. Every time you go you’ll see something wild — including stuff you maybe don’t want to see [laughs]. But you’re also never gonna offend anybody. And that’s a big part of its charm. milepost 37

Main image: Broadway musicals. Big screen TVs. Bustling crowds. No place on Earth offers more ways to watch people watching people than Times Square. Photo: Ryan Moser Top right: Pigeon hour in the urban jungle. Bottom right: Remember: in NYC, subways are a transportation method, not a dining option. Photos: Tom Spader

babylon by bus Taking a bite of the Big Apple

“If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.” If the motto alone wasn’t scary enough, add a few movies like Taxi Driver and American Psycho, and it’s easy to see how a visit to Manhattan can sound more than intimidating. The truth? The nation’s most populous city is more welcoming and accessible than ever. You don’t even have to drive. “New York’s a whole lot safer these days,” says Gut Rochelle, whose former rock band, the Needles, made multiple tour stops to this teeming metropolis. “And with the Tiger Bus it’s super easy to get there. It goes from Virginia Beach to Chinatown twice a day — $35 each way. If you saw something you wanted to do, you could hop on board at night and be there the next day.” milepost


Last May, Gut took his long-time partner, Sophia Duong, for a four-day birthday party bouncing around the Big Apple. They left VB on a Sunday, got back on a Wednesday, and packed in three full days of adventure between road trips.

Getting there. The Tiger Bus is insane. We both worked Sunday night, then drove to VB. We got on the bus at 11pm that night, and woke up on Canal Street at 7am. We cruised Monday and Tuesday, got back on the bus Wednesday at 4pm and were back home by midnight. But you gotta be prepared. Bring food and drinks, because they only stop once — an hour outside of the city to let you use the bathroom. — Gut

has never been more tempting.

Staying there. Don’t even bother with a hotel. You can find a place in Manhattan on Airbnb.com for $200 — which is cheap. We stayed at a Williamsburg Guest House in Brooklyn for $99 a night. It had private rooms with a shared bathroom and kitchen. We had a Chinese family staying with us who were super friendly and cooked constantly. It smelled amazing. — Sophia

Getting Around. The best thing about the Tiger Bus is you have no car, so you have to use the subway. Just get a day pass and go attack the city. Manhattan’s all on a grid: the avenues go north and south; the streets go east and west. So it’s not hard to figure out where you’re

going. But if you’ve never been, the best thing to do is take the Circle Line Cruise. It’s a tour boat that goes around the island, past the Statue of Liberty, and back. Along the way, they point out all the neighborhoods — “That’s Harlem; that’s Queens; that’s Soho.” You get off the boat and it’s like, “Alright, let’s go take over.” Just make sure you wear comfortable shoes. — Gut

What to eat. What’s not to eat? New York doesn’t have one Italian place or one Chinese place — they have whole neighborhoods. Right when you get off the bus in Chinatown there’s the Dragon Bakery, which is full of awesome delights and pastries for breakfast. Some sweet, some more savory. The croissants might be filled with mung bean

THE BEACH BOOK HAS BEEN YOUR GUIDE TO THE OUTER BANKS FOR OVER 20 YEARS! IT’s THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR YOUR COPY OF THE 2015 BEACH BOOK & THE BEACH EXPLORER. paste instead of jam. The nicest place we went was Balthazar. They had this lobster mac-and-cheese that was fantastic, and all different boutiquey oysters. Of course, pizza. There’s so much new food to try, you have to be careful not to over-do it. — Sophia

Showtime. No live bands this time, but we did go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the “Punk To Couture” exhibit, which showed how punk rock influenced fashion over the years. The other thing we did was the Late Show with David Letterman. If you know you’re going, you can go online and try to sign up for the lottery. If you’re lucky, you’ll get tickets. We got super lucky because our guest was Tom Hanks, the musical act was part of a Broadway show — and we were only

seven rows from the stage. We watched them record live that afternoon, and went home later that night and caught the replay on TV. We actually saw ourselves twice. — Sophia

Just wing it. The best thing, really, is not to plan anything. Walk around Central Park. Cruise through Greenwich Village and look at galleries and street art. Sit at a rooftop bar and have a drink. Just stand on the balcony at Grand Central Station and people watch — you’ll see every walk of life coming and going. That’s what’s so rad about New York City — the energy alone is enough reason to visit. But unless you go, you’ll never know. — Gut

This Year’s edition will feature “The Beach Book’s Guide to the Outer Banks” in the front section of our book. This section will highlight many of the local attractions and local businesses. It will feature everything you need to know about the beach, including The Hunger Guide, Fishing Guide, Adventure Guide & More! We will also feature stories about the history of this wonderful place called the Outer Banks!

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For most folks, Tennessee’s capital is synonymous with the Grand Ole Opry and great country music. But there’s more to Music City these days than just heartache and honky tonks. “The place has become so diverse,” says Lucky 12 owner Marc Ballog, who makes frequent surgical strikes to his second home. “Of course, all the country musicians live there — but so do the Black Keys and Jack White. The restaurants are insane. There are craft breweries, food trucks and organic grocery stores. To be honest, it’s gotten kinda frickin’ trendy.” Like antiques? Find an auction along Eighth Avenue South. Fashion? Hit Imogene + Willie for some high-end denim. Or stick

with the classics and mosey down Lower Broadway to Robert’s Western World for some cool Waylon covers and a cold PBR. Here, Marc explains how to make the best of a booming city that’s increasingly cosmopolitan, but still stays down-home.

Getting there. If I’m staying a while, I drive out. It’s only 12 hours, but I usually break the ride up with a night in Asheville. If it’s for a weekend, Southwest has several direct, daily flights from Raleigh that will put you there in under two hours.

Staying there. A hotel downtown is about $200. You can find them cheaper, if there are no conventions or hockey games. Or just get a room by the

Main Image: They don’t call it “Nash-Vegas” for nuthin’. Lower Broadway’s neon honky tonks guarantee pay-offs in good times and better music. Top left: Outlying towns like Leiper’s Fork let folks go from citified to country-fried in a matter of minutes. Bottom left: City slickness on the banks of the Cumberland. All photos: Chris Bickford

ole everything Music may be the best reason to visit Nashville — but it ain’t the only one.

airport for $60 night. It’s ten minutes away, and Uber only charges $27 to take 3 people downtown. Uber’s the deal out there.

Cozy shows. There’s like five Norvas and 50 smaller clubs within a couple of miles. And Nashville’s so centrally located, it brings in acts from everywhere. I try to plan my trips around a concert at the Ryman Auditorium. That’s where the Opry began. They call it “the mother church.” I’ve seen Jason Isbell. Jerry Lee Lewis. I saw Drive by Truckers one time and John Oates came out [laughs]. Another cool thing is to go see “music in the round” at Bluebird Bird Cafe. You can see country songwriters you’ve never heard of take turns playing some of the biggest hits in a real intimate setting.

Stadium seating. The Bridgestone Arena is where they do the CMA Awards — it’s also where the Predators play hockey. And there’s a pedestrian bridge that goes from downtown over the Cumberland River to the Tennessee Titan’s stadium. One time, a buddy and I were bored so we walked over ten minutes before kick-off and got tickets off a scalper for ten bucks. Two weeks later, all my friends went out there to see the Steelers play. It cost $40 to sit on the fifth row. Best seats I’ve ever had.

are huge. It’s like New York or Charleston. There are so many funky restaurants. One of my favorites is the Pinewood Social Club; they have a vintage bowling alley from Indiana out back and a bar cut of an old Airstream. Breakfast might be eggs with smoked trout and sprouts. There’s nothing country about that place. And the cocktails get super complex. They’ll spend five minutes chipping the ice with a pick, cracking eggs, straining things, with a lineup of different bitters like a chemistry set. I own a bar and I don’t know half of what they put in a drink.

Belly up.

Nash Vegas.

The traditional dish is “Hot Chicken” — half a fried chicken, served over white bread with pickles and cole slaw and smothered in a cayenne pepper paste. But the food trends

You’ve got to do Honky Tonk Row on Lower Broadway at least once. That’s where all the neon clubs are, like the Wheel and the Stage and Second Fiddle. The music starts

at 10am and goes ’til 3am. It’s crowded and kind of touristy, but there’s no cover, so you can walk from place to place. And that’s where the hot young talent goes to get noticed, so all the players are good. Real good. And the women are ridiculous. If you’re a single dude, that’s where you want to be on Saturday night.

Ruffle the outskirts. The more I go, the more I explore. I’ll drive out to Franklin or Brentwood — these cool little towns 20 minutes out with old barbershops and movie theaters and their own little clubs. Or I’ll just get on the motorcycle and cruise through the country. It’s so scenic. There are big plantation homes and idyllic green pastures —180 degrees different from this place. And that’s exactly why I go there. milepost 41


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gomake We told you no idea was too weird. Wasniewski and Holsinger’s push broom robot means business. Photo: Julie Dreelin

Pay-as-you-go visitors can come tinker with cutting-edge tools. There’s also an open storefront where members could sell their wares under consignment. And while it won’t be a factory for cranking out a product, they will provide access to equipment for working on prototypes — and plenty of information to start answering questions.

It’s a place to work on prototypes or to just start asking questions.

Can’t score the right part for an old piece of equipment? Maybe a 3-D printer can help. Don’t have the skill set for a specific task? Ask the guy at the next desk if he knows anyone.


OBX DIY hopes to kick down the doors between ideas, industries and innovations. Imagine a corner where necessity meets invention. A building that houses ideas — without holding them back. Where business minds gather, but nobody’s boss. And a schoolroom where learning opportunities are allowed to run wild. “Our aim is to bring together people of different backgrounds to share ideas,” says John Wasniewski, co-founder of OBX DIY. “In a place like this, members notice each other’s projects. They start to collaborate and everyone feeds off of everyone else.” It’s called a “makerspace” — and at times a “hackerspace” or “hacklab” — but the mission’s still the same: create a place for creative people to gather and offer hightech tools and computers for them to use. Spread the word as far as you can. Then see what happens next. Over the past decade, these public think tanks have popped up everywhere, from the Chattanooga, Tennessee library to the nationwide chain TechShop. And while it may seem like a

lofty idea for such a small community, the founders say otherwise. “Honestly, I have never seen such a small demographic with such highly resourceful and skilled people,” says fellow co-founder Eric Holsinger. “Add some collaboration and the results could be phenomenal.” They would know. The whole OBX DIY concept sprang from these two selfprofessed geeks talking shop. Wasniewski owns Shoshin Technologies, which handles the I.T. needs for dozens of local companies. Holsinger’s MakeTech, Inc. develops software. While working together to solve problems, they realized there was a demand for crossover between all sorts of local industries. They also recognized an inherent do-it-yourself attitude in the people who live here. “We are a traditionally self-reliant community,” says Wasniewski. “We have to figure out how to make things on our own. A

makerspace is an extension of that very idea.” This January, they began transforming a 2,500-square-foot office space in Kitty Hawk into an epicenter for researching and implementing just about anything. There will be work stations with electronics components and soldering irons. Small offices are available for start-ups to lease — or telecommuters can come in and share desks. They’ll even offer classes from digital photography to how to use E-bay — whatever someone wants to learn or teach. “I think our first class will teach how to build and operate microcontrollers,” says Wasniewiski. “They’re like tiny computers that can control certain functions; you can remote into your house and turn lights on when you’re out of town, or set it to turn off your sprinklers whenever it rains.” Members can sign-up full-time or parttime based on their needs and budgets.

“John and I thrive on sharing ideas, ” says Holsinger, who says his first big project will be to transform a recently purchased watercraft into a scaled-down version of the Bat Boat. “We hope to to bring a collaborative presence across a range of Outer Banks industries. I like to call it a community center with tools.” A better analogy might be a gym for freethinkers to flex their brains and find workout partners. (There are even plans for an access-control security system so full-time members can use the facility at any hour.) Or a hub for self-motivated innovators to crank up ideas and keep them rolling — no matter what that idea may be. “Our background’s in tech, but this space can be anything people want it to be,” says Wasniewski. “They can come work with computers. Or they can learn to build a guitar or brew beer. We want people to bring us concepts and grow based on the community’s needs. The sky’s the limit.” — Michelle Wagner

Feeling inspired? Come out to an open house on April 11. For details — or to suggest ideas for classes and equipment — go to www.obxdiy.com. milepost 43

goshow Mike Tillett’s horses are pure-bred platinum. Photo: Chris Bickford

And with that, he was back on the Super Chevy circuit — the primary car show for Chevrolets. He’d spend weekends driving to various racetracks and come home with another victory. Sometimes several. With each plaque he grew more inspired. Before long he was waist-deep in a “frame-off” restoration. The chassis might be at the Welding Shop in Wanchese getting a sheet-metal floorpan, or a Bethel garage getting wires re-run. Engine parts and piping traveled to chrome shops across the country. All told, the Monte Carlo spent eight years on a lift, as parts got removed, replaced, re-tooled and re-buffed. “This is without a doubt the most I’ve seen anybody do to a car,” says David Sawyer, who did all the body work. “We had it up on a rotisserie for six months. We wirebrushed every cranny to remove every bit of paint. It’s extreme, but it paid off. I’d say you won’t find a car like this anywhere.” Not even California — and that’s the car nut capital of the world. In fact, it was a Huntington Beach outfit called All Star Metal Works that ultimately gave Tillet his big break. Turns out the owner, Stephen Jones, also co-ran a non-profit called Drive the Dream Now, which pushes gearheads to stop stalling on their four-wheeled fantasies and put them in motion.

dream machine

This ’85 Monte Carlo might be the flashiest ride you’ve never seen. Forget gas. Or diesel. This car runs on pure “wow” factor — and chrome. Lots and lots of chrome. Pop the hood, the engine sparkles like a pile of diamonds. Peek underneath, the floor pan shines like platinum. From the air intake to the exhaust pipe, hubcaps to gas pedal. All of it meticulously polished, representing metric tons of skill, hours and expense. milepost


“I probably could have bought three cars for the same amount of money,” says lifelong Manteo motorhead Mike Tillett. “Hours? I couldn’t even count. From start to finish I’ve been messing with this car for more than ten years.”

ride in 1996 it was supposed to be his daily driver. Just a smooth ride with low miles and enough trunk space to carry his drum kit. Then one day it needed a paint job. The fresh coat of black came out even nicer than expected. And old habits die hard.

What’s funny is Mike never intended to show his ’85 Monte Carlo. He’d been down that road plenty times with Corvettes and Camaros, going all the way back into his late teens. In fact, when Mike bought his

“I decided to show it in the ‘Street’ division,” he remembers. “I put on some chrome valve covers, cleaned it up nice and drove it to a competition in Hampton Roads. Right away, I won the Editor’s Choice award.”

“I remember asking him what his plans were for the car,” says Jones. “He said he planned to take it to some shows in Virginia. I said, ‘Can’t you dream a little bit bigger?’ He said, ‘Well, I’ve always wanted to go to SEMA.’ And I said, ‘I think I can help you.’” As the primary gathering for the Specialty Equipment Market Association, SEMA’s Las Vegas convention is the Super Bowl of car shows. Thousands of representatives from the “after market” auto parts industry converge with the best displays of their prettiest work, covering every make and model from across the globe. Some mechanics spend their lives lobbying partsmakers and restorers for a spot on the floor. And now it was about to debut Tillet’s decade-long passion.

In November 2013, Tillet parked his prize creation in the outside lot, surrounded by everything from air-brushed, dayglo Mazdas to Land Rovers on lift kits to souped-up 50s station wagons. Not only did it stand out from the pack — by the end of the week it was named one of the top 10 cars of competition. “I was shocked when he called me,” Sawyer admits. “That’s so huge. And it’s really just the beginning. He’s going to go all over the place with this car.” He already has. Tillet spent all last year entering — and winning — various Super Chevy events. Walk inside his garage, you’ll see wall-to-wall awards from Best in Class to Best Engine to Best Worksmanship. And where before he might have won against only G-Body models with the original engines, he now competes in the “Conversion” class, taking on anything and everything from full-size Suburbans to tiny Volts. All of them tailored to their owners’ wildest whims. “I like this division because it’s more artistic,” he says. “It’s my creative vision. But from the beginning I wanted to stick to the original feel and make changes that aren’t jarring. It’s subtle and stylish — like a tuxedo.” A tuxedo with just the perfect touch of bling. Besides the chrome, the doors are remote controlled. He also added a Hurst “Lighting Rod” system — a modified gear shifter meant for street racing. Not that he ever flies off the line. In fact, he hardly ever drives it. All told, the motor has fewer than 300 miles on it, collected over short neighborhood cruises. But never, ever when it’s raining. “Water leaves spots on the chrome, so I just spray it with polish and keep it from getting dirty,” he explains. “In fact, it’s never been washed with a hose.” Of course, this all presents a problem when getting the car from his garage to the next competition. So once again, he turned to his friends in the community. With the help of a range of local sponsors — and a wrap job from GMG — he converted a trailer into a rolling billboard depicting everything from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse to the

Wright Brothers to the Elizabeth II. He even scored some grant money from the visitors bureau. Now when he rolls up to events, he doesn’t just polish the fenders, he promotes the whole Outer Banks.

“It really shrinks the distance,” Mike says. “People see I hauled a 26-foot trailer all the way to Atlanta and they think, ‘Maybe ten hours isn’t that far of a drive.’”

“From start to finish I’ve been messing with this car for more than ten years.” — Mike Tillett

Ironically, there’s still one place he’s never shown it — and that’s here at home. But that might change this March at the 8th Annual First Flight Cruisers Shamrock Car Show. As a founding member of the local car club, Mike can’t compete, but he can still park it for folks to drool over — provided the sky doesn’t start spitting. After that, it goes back on the road as he heads north for another batch of shows every weekend through 2015, from Pennsylvania to Detroit. He may even make it back out to Vegas. Wherever it goes, the Monte Carlo brings a bit more attention to the place it was born — and pride to the people who helped make it happen. All of them. ‘This car doesn’t belong to me anymore,” Mike insists. “I may haul it around and represent it, but it’s not mine. This is a community car. It’s an Outer Banks car.” — Matt Walker

Be sure to check out Mike’s Monte Carlo at the 8th Annual Shamrock Car Show, Mar. 15, at First Flight High School — or follow its adventures on the OBXSS Facebook page. And for info on how to join the First Flight Cruisers, go to www.firstflightcruisers.com.

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“Most sea glass hunters see shapes that are not normal,” LaMotte explains. “So it’s [a mix of] shape and the color.” Shells are always in supply. Good luck scoring a scotch bonnet, the state’s official shell. They’re exceedingly rare. But on any day there are plenty of clam, oyster (which are actually fossils) and scallop skeletons to be had. They’re mostly ignored, but can be quite impressive when displayed in sheer quantities. The Nellie Myrtle Pridgen collection at the Outer Banks Beachcomber’s Museum in Nags Head has every type of flotsam and jetsam. It’s only open a few days a year, but shows what a truly dedicated beachcomber can amass. There’s everything from military canteens to centuries-old pottery shards. But Nellie Myrtle, who died in 1992 at age 74, lived during what was probably the halcyon days of beachcombing on the Outer Banks. “Things have changed so much,” Kirby-Hathaway says about Nellie Myrtle. “I think she would be amazed by all the plastic. And there’s so many more people on the beach now.”

ALL THAT GLITTERS For beachcombers, rich treasures await after every storm. It’s early March on the Outer Banks. A nor’easter just whipped through, and the gray sky is heavy with clouds to match the ocean’s mercury glint. The air is chilly, salty and still. Wet sea grass litters the beach, freshly flung and untouched. Not one person is in sight.

“I’ve been out a day after a hurricane,” says Kirby-Hathaway, who’s lived here 29 years. “They seem to sweep the beach clear and, a couple of days later, stuff comes up. But to be honest, the best chance to go is whenever there’s time.”

“It’s all a function of the currents and the waves… the way the water acts on the shore,” says Terri Kirby-Hathaway, a marine education specialist for North Carolina Sea Grant and self-proclaimed habitual beachcomber. “It’s freaky stuff because the beach is never the same.”

In all of Kirby-Hathaway’s beachcombing exploits, she says her most prized treasure is a piece of lavender beach glass she spotted at the sound’s edge at Pea Island. For many, sea glass is a Holy Grail, especially blue or purple. (Orange is the least common and most often coveted.) It’s become a valuable commodity for jewelry, but most people just like to display it in their homes and brag to friends about their good fortune.

Such is the adventure — and addiction — of beachcombing: you never know what you’ll discover: a message in a bottle from Virginia Dare, a stinky whale carcass, or just a nice piece of driftwood for the yard. And while summer weather may be nicest for strolling the shore, the real serious action happens in winter. The beach feels like a private nature preserve, so there’s less competition. And pummeling nor’easters reveal greater rewards than the strongest named storms.

According to Richard LaMotte, author of Pure Sea Glass: Discovering Nature’s Vanishing Gems, anywhere from Coquina Beach north to Nags Head is great for collecting colorful shards because of all the motels and eateries (with their dinnerware and bottles) from the early days of tourism. Corolla, once overrun with hunt clubs, is also a good choice. If you look at low tide, your chances are better. And early or late hours keep the sun’s light at an angle to aid the search.

To a beachcomber, such somber conditions make the heart skip a beat. Here’s the payoff we have waited for: a solitary search for ocean detritus stirred from the darkest depths; the quest for a strange remnant of sea travel from eons before. Any hour might wield something surprisingly lovely — remember that morning the beach was thick with perfect whelks? — or extraordinarily odd, like a lost navigation buoy or stranded sailboat.

experts say the Outer Banks’ deep history provides excellent finds.

Still, well-traveled experts say the Outer Banks’ rich history — pirates, shipwrecks, Native American villages, colonial settlements, wars — and proximity to powerful currents provide excellent opportunity for various finds. Deacon Ritterbush — an international development specialist better known as Dr. Beachcomb — has spent nearly 60 years exploring the world’s coastlines. The author of A Beachcomber’s Odyssey: Treasures from a Collected Past, posts a slew of beachcombing tips on her website, drbeachcomb.com. And while she lives in Hawaii, she ranks the Outer Banks among the best spots for buried treasure. “You can find old bullets, coins, pottery shards, beautiful stones and fossils,” she says. And, she adds, the barrier islands here are one of the few places with fulgurite — misshapen sculptures of melded sand known as “lightning glass.” Ritterbush also admits to a particular soft spot for Ocracoke Island, where she has found very old and smooth-worn pieces of clamshells that look like beach coins, and shells with worm holes that create cool lace patterns. But she says that no matter the loot or location, the real treasure is just getting outside in the weather and appreciating what’s in front of us. “Beachcombing tends to re-awaken a child-like sense of awe in the beauty and mysterious workings of nature,” she writes. “The more we fall in love with the process and fun of beachcombing, the more the coastal environment brings us such pleasure.” — Catherine Kozak milepost 47



Spring brings a bounty of Outer Banks chow downs. Breaking bread always draws people together: families, communities, even disparate cultures. The Outer Banks is no exception. Locals and visitors alike come hungry not only for sun and surf, but also to satisfy their cravings for all things delicious. Today it seems there’s never a shortage of events to fill up the food lover’s spring calendar. But it wasn’t always that way. Once upon a time, there was only one — Taste of the Beach. And it wasn’t exactly a fine china affair.

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“I don’t think anyone remembers exactly how long ago it began,” says Ben The Eighties were all about excess: 1988’s T.O.B. goes all you can eat. Sproul, president Photo: Drew C. Wilson/The Virginian Pilot/Outer Banks History Center of the Outer Banks Restaurant benefits to their bottom line, fewer and Association. “It was definitely mid- to latefewer restaurants participated through the 80s. And it was really more of a late winter years. By the mid-90s, the idea turned stale. party than a culinary event.” “There was also a feeling that the restaurant It’s no wonder memories are foggy. Local industry was not keeping up with the rest lore tells of an inaugural T.O.B. where of the local economy,” Sproul laments. “The residents jammed inside the old Holiday old Taste of the Beach was going to die Inn, stuffing their faces — and steeping anyway.” their livers — for just five bucks. The Meanwhile, the area was experiencing entrance fee grew with time. And the somewhat of a culinary awakening. New location eventually changed to the Ramada restaurants started popping up with topInn. But for several years, cooped-up locals notch chefs and cutting edge ideas. To swarmed each March for some welcome combat the economic downturn of 2008, company, enjoying a nearly endless fill the Outer Banks Restaurant Association of food and liquid delights — and never spending more than $20. Still, with meager brought back the concept with a fresh



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approach: push the area’s creativity to outside markets and make it the main reason to visit in March. “Seeing what other areas were doing to promote their restaurant industry,” says Sproul, “I really wanted to see us do more to give an earlier boost to our local economy.”

Local lore tells of a T.O.B. where residents stuffed their faces for just five bucks.

So with a grant from the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau and an increasingly active membership, a more refined festival began in 2008 with dozens of events culminating in the Grand Tasting, where 20 chefs showcase their best dishes and vie for awards known as the TOBY’s.

Today, this four-day foodie fantasy consists of 65 events, a veritable smorgasbord of gustatory indulgences from beer and wine dinners to tapas crawls, BBQ and chowder cook-offs to ceviche and tequila tastings. As a result, thousands of visitors arrive each year — including a couple celebrity chefs and food writers — rubbing elbows with fellow foodies and resident gourmands. In fact, Coastal Living recently named T.O.B. one of the top ten food festivals in the country. “This has brought great recognition to the Outer Banks as a culinary destination,” says Audrey Webster of the Restaurant Association. “And ticket sales have proven its growing popularity — over a 700-percent increase since the first year.” Such results established a pattern of frontloading the season by appealing to people’s appetites. Now in its seventh year, April’s Duck and Wine Festival, hosted by the Currituck-Dare Community Foundation at the Duck Waterfront Shops, has become one of the hottest tickets in town. With a capacity of just 500 people, last year the event sold out in less than 24 hours.

“We’ve talked about trying to make it bigger,” says Lynn Alterman, committee chair of the festival, “but taking it out of Duck isn’t an option for us at this point.” They’d have to rename the event if they did. The festival features 16 Currituck and Dare County restaurants competing for best dish — all featuring duck in some way. (Maple Leaf Farms donates more than 70 cases every year.) Each chef table samples a wine selected to pair with their creations, leaving guests satiated and gratified to be part of such a tasty community-grounded event, as the foundation’s beneficiaries include the Corolla Wild Horse Fund and the Whalehead Preservation Trust to name a few. “The Foundation members sell about half the tickets, which keeps it local,” says Coastal Provisions’ Scott Foster, who originated the event in conjunction with the Foundation. “And we sell the rest through our website, which hits our out-of-town regulars.” A newcomer to the calendar is the OBX Brewfest. Scheduled for May 31, this year’s inaugural event will have more than 80 domestic craft brews on tap at a newly upgraded Outer Banks Event Site in Nags Head. It’s a perfect fit for our infamously thirsty market. But like its fellow food festivals, it’s not about consuming mass quantities so much as celebrating the many varieties and considering the differences that go into making a tasty brew. “I saw a void here for an event that really showcased craft beer on any large scale,” says the event’s creator, Kristi Geske. “We want it to be an all-encompassing and fun event focused on the educational aspect of hand-crafted beer making.” This uniquely all-adult event will also benefit the Dare Arts Council and the Beach Food Pantry. With each success story, another epicurean idea comes to the table to stretch the season, including restaurant weeks on both sides of summer. But there is no greater example than fall’s Outer Banks Seafood Festival, which after just three years is already the beach’s largest single food event — drawing upwards of 10,000

attendees to the Outer Banks Event Site in Nags Head. But with growing numbers come big questions: namely, whether the Outer Banks should do such major events? Can we compete with the likes of Virginia Beach, Hilton Head, or Myrtle Beach? And should we bother trying? ( Just consider the recent controversy regarding whether or not the event site should be fully developed for fulltilt convention business.) So is the nature of the Outer Banks: a small, tight-knit community struggling for its privacy and intimacy, while contending with the seductions and benefits of a tourismdriven economy — all while just plain trying to survive the offseason by boosting its numbers. For its part, the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau now supports many of these events with grants to bring in traffic — last year, a total of $200,000 went to 23 events to draw overnight visitation between October and June — creating a self-feeding mechanism of sorts. Festivals draw foodies who spend money that funds festivals. Each year they grow bigger. Some even bust at the seams. And we all enjoy a bounty of gastronomic happenings to feed our hunger for fun. —Dan Lewis


Dig into spring’s four favorite feasts March 19-22: Taste Of The Beach Four days of culinary events from tapas crawls to chef competitions. www.OBXtasteofthebeach.com April 25: Duck & Wine Festival Sixteen top restaurants pay tribute to fine wines and fowl flavors. www.duckandwine.com May 1-9: Spring Restaurant Week Three-course meals at bargain rates, plus the 2nd annual Fish Taco Taste-Off. www.outerbanksrestaurantweek.com. May 31: OBX Brewfest Toast the start of a new tradition, as America’s best craft brews belly-up to the Banks. www.OBXbeerfests.com.

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Patty Zukerowksi’s work shines with powerful light — and loving patience. There are many people who see life through a medium. Who think in shapes and breathe light and color. But turning an affinity into ability takes discipline.

switched over to stained glass, funneling her artistic ambition into pieces that dazzle.

graphiccontent “I have always been a builder,” says

Just ask Patty Zukerowski. She spent four years building a dollhouse before she


Zukerowski. “I like making things. So, with my background in design and illustration, stained glass is perfect for me.”

A lifelong artist, Zukerowski says she spent almost all of her free time in high school drawing. In college, she toyed with being a political science major — briefly — but went on to earn a degree in art from American University in Washington D.C. From there, she became a freelance graphic designer and illustrator and worked as the Art Director for Army Magazine for more than 20 years. But for all that drive, her first step into glassing was accidental and came in the form of a literal step. After being dissatisfied with the design and materials of a storebought mosaic kit, Patty delved into her own research. She decorated a stone with concrete and glass and fell in love with the results — and the process. “I was in awe,” she says. “I had no idea of the number of types, textures, and colors of glass in existence.” Patty was so smitten that, in 2000, she signed up for an eight-week course in the copper foil method of stained glass. It was even more illuminating. And fulfilling. In 2006, she moved to Avon with her family and made the former hobby her full-time profession. Instead of mocking up magazines, she pieces together colored panes, which she sees as more intricate than simple page layouts. “I like to think of my suncatchers and panels as illustrations,” she says. “Glass has so many exciting characteristics — color, pattern, texture — all of which change many times in one day depending on its exposure to light.” Patty notes that both her Virginia instructor and the revolutionary stained glass artist, Louis Comfort Tiffany, worked as painters first. Today, they remain her primary influences. And of course there is nature, the ultimate muse, especially the Outer Banks’ dynamic outdoor canvas. “Needless to say, the environment here on the island has been an infinite source of inspiration,” she says. “Star-filled nights, the endless horizon… they’re all just amazing. And you cannot find more breathtaking sunrises or sunsets.” Much of Patty’s work focuses on capturing those visions. Her windows are full of

“I like to think of my suncatchers and panels as illustrations.”

seascapes and florals. She creates contrast by placing smooth glass alongside textured pieces, playing translucent cuts off of others that are opaque. Each design is impossibly intricate with seldom a straight line in sight. One work, “Dogwoods,” assembles a lively trio of North Carolina’s state flower and took home an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Frank Stick Memorial Art Show. But her personal favorite is “Zadie’s Glories,” a vertical panel of cascading morning glories, which she finished right before the birth of her granddaughter, for whom the piece is named. You can view these efforts and others on Facebook by searching “Coastal Reflections Stained Glass Art.” You can also find Zukerowski’s work in local spaces like the Blue Pelican Gallery in Hatteras, the Pea Island Art Gallery in Salvo, the Dare County Arts Council in downtown Manteo, the KDH Co-Op in Kill Devil Hills and Sea Dragon Gallery in Duck. No matter the subject, she sees each finished product as a mix of passion and vocation — labor and love — largely because of the challenges and hard work each one presents.

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“Glassing can be backbreaking,” the artist admits. “You need to be patient, meticulous and perseverant.” Like love, glass can cut. It can burn. And, if you’re not careful, it can break quite easily. But it’s that same fragility that makes the work so mesmerizing, mixing light and texture with such skill you can’t help but reach out and touch them to make sure they’re real. And, according to the artist, that’s the greatest praise she can ever receive. “I have always thought of [that] as one of the highest compliments someone can give a piece,” she says. “I hope everyone feels like touching them.” — Hannah Bunn

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the price drop had nothing to do with my demand. It had to do with the supply. Every smart phone now has a condenser mike. And if a factory’s already making billions of low-quality microphones, it becomes easy for them to make good ones for a much lower cost.”

Blow your little mind. Photo: Chris Bickford

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Ten years later, Naiant’s updated versions run between $65 and $100. That’s still half the price of a similar Shure model. More important, they’re one-tenth the size, work across any platform and are all made-to-order — with mounting options from mike stands and lapel clips to magnets that stick on guitars without leaving a scratch. That combo of customization and economy taps into every corner of an otherwise limited audience.

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The more Jon O’Brien’s technology shrinks, the more his market grows. If you want to know the future of recording technology, don’t talk to a rock star. Or a sound engineer. Or even a studio. Talk to a taper.


“Big studios don’t change technologies often because they’ve already invested so much in equipment,” says Jon O’Brien, the brains behind Naiant Studio. “But tapers get it: they care about sound quality and they need to be portable. That’s why I got into that market.”



What’s a taper? You know: it’s those guys who used to record Grateful Dead concerts — and now follow “jam bands” like Phish — setting up 15-foot mike stands and obsessing over every lick of a 17-minute guitar solo. Thirty years ago, those dudes lugged cassette decks and heavy gear through crowded venues. Today, their digital rig could fit inside a fanny pack. The mikes look like black double-A batteries on waifish towers, powered by amplifiers the size of an 80s pager. And there’s a good chance one or the other was made in Nags Head. “This is a Tinybox,” says O’Brien, a 43-year-old former accountant, as he pulls a silvery amp from a small cardboard box. “I’ve sold about 400 — but there’s only a couple thousand tapers, total, so they’re pretty much saturated. I’m shipping my last one this week.”

The mikes look like black double-A batteries. amps are the size of 80s pagers.

No biggie. His main gig’s always been the microphones. Not bulky “dynamic” mikes like frontmen swing around on stage — but “condenser” mikes, which transmit sound via mylar membranes and digital circuitry instead of speaker-cones, magnets and electric coils. Walk in back of Nags Head’s Naiant Musical Imports, you’ll see a huge magnifying glass surrounded by miniscule green circuit boards. It almost looks like a fly-fishing set-up, except instead of wrapping hooks with feathers he’s squeezing earring-sized 6mm “capsules” into tiny, metal tubes, to focus on a comparatively short range of sound. “Condenser mikes work better at higher frequencies,” Jon explains. “You don’t want that on stage or for recording an electric guitar or kick drum. But condensers are great in the studio for things like cymbals — or for recording or amplifying any number of acoustic instruments.” Such specialization came at a price. Fifteen years ago condenser mikes cost between $300 and $1000 a piece. But in 2005, O’Brien modified a do-it-yourself kit to make a smaller, more user-friendly version. He put it online for $25 — and ended up selling more than 2000. “I like to say my market’s the broke musician,” he laughs. “But

It might be a traveling violinist who wants to perform. An acoustic guitarist ready to record. Or a church choir that wants to do both. Basically anyone who requires portable sound at a reasonable price. “My biggest client is a sound engineer for Twin City Public Television,” says O’Brien. “He’ll put 20 little mikes around the orchestra to pick up the different instruments. Another guy records the crowd at football games and can’t risk crushing a $1000 microphone.” All told, Jon sells more than 500 a year. He says he’s not really sure where they all go. And it doesn’t really matter. Because he believes all sound’s headed the same direction. “When I was a kid playing in bands, recording by yourself was simply out of reach,” he explains. “Now anyone can record on a tablet. The distinction between portable audio and the recording studio is rapidly disappearing.” O’Brien’s goal is to erase it entirely. This spring he will begin work on two new products. The first is a combination ampand-mike that will work across both digital and analog formats, giving Tinybox fans even less to carry. The second idea is so futuristic it’s never been done: a professional system that’s fully digital — and 100-percent wireless. “Right now wireless is a mess,” he says. “But it doesn’t have to be. And as soon as people can carry something in their pocket that connects via Bluetooth and produces quality sound, things will start to change very rapidly. It’s all about people’s desire to have as much convenience in their lives as possible.” And while big studios lumber like dinosaurs — and deadheads drop like flies — lazy humans are a market that’s not going anywhere. — Leo Gibson milepost 53

t s e d r a H r u Yo task tHis


rearview The New Inlet Crew takes a rare break between drills. Photo: Outer Banks History Center

DeciDing Which color! A SIGNIFICANTMILESTONE Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station Celebrates 100 years of the U.S. Coast Guard — sort of.

If the Coast Guard’s history was a 60s family sitcom, it would be The Brady Bunch. On one side stands the United States Revenue Cutter Service — a customs fleet formed in 1790 to enforce tariffs on smugglers and raise funds for our young, cashstrapped nation. On the other, the United States Lifesaving Service, created in 1871 to protect shipwrecked mariners along America’s coasts. In 1915, they came together to form a single family, sharing all the domestic maritime duties forevermore. Which is cause for a 100-year celebration the likes of which we’ve never seen? Right? Right?

FOr All YOur OutdOOr, lAwn & GArden SupplIeS

“Actually, the Coast Guard considers 1790 its official birth year,” says James Charlet, Historic Site Manager for Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station Historic Site and Museum. “But we’re still celebrating because we still believe it is a significant milestone.” No more significant than here on the Outer Banks, where the Chicamacomico site is not only the first U.S. Lifesaving Station in all of North Carolina, but the largest, most complete example on America’s oceanfront. Pretty amazing when you consider it dates to 1874, BTL (Before Treated Lumber). But the museum doesn’t just preserve the building. Programs and artifacts pay tribute to the men who weathered isolation and dangerous storms, plucking passengers from sure doom with surprising success. According to Charlet: “Between 1871 and 1915, the men of the U.S. Lifesaving Service responded to more than 178,000 lives in peril, of which they saved 177,000. And when you think about the circumstances, it’s a miracle they ever saved one.”

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For Outer Bankers, it’s a miracle of creation. Those isolated outposts between Currituck and Hatteras served as the starting point for many modern villages. Meaning, if they weren’t there back then, we might not be here today. In honor of the 100th Anniversary, we asked the Outer Banks History Center for some vintage photos so Charlet could help us reflect on their merits. Chicamacomico Life Station opens Apr. 1. For more info on Aug.’s 100th Anniversary Celebration go to www. chicamacomico.net. And for a deeper look into Coast Guard lore from past to present, visit the Outer Banks History Center’s 2015 exhibit, “A Heritage of Heroes: the Coast Guard in North Carolina.” More at www. obhistorycenter.ncdcr.gov.

Clockwise from lower left: Little Kinnakeet Crew, circa 1880. Photo: National Park Service Surfboats varied in size depending on location. The one at the museum is 26 feet and weighs 4000 pounds fully equipped. But they were surprisingly fast and maneuverable. In 1915 the USLS added motors, but they were so puny and slow, the men routinely sabotaged the engines so they could send them off for repairs and use oars instead.

Images courtesy of the Outer Banks History Center

Lifesaving Drill, Durant’s Station, circa 1920. Photo: National Park Service

Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Station Crew, circa 1890. Photo: NPS

Captain Patrick H. Etheridge, circa 1895. Photo: H.H. Brimley Collection.

Penny’s Hill Station, circa 1975. Photo: J. Foster Scott

There were two ways for crews to respond: one was by boat — the least safe option in 30-foot seas and 100 mph winds. The other was to fire a line to the wreck and pull people off one at a time. With stations being roughly six miles apart, men might have to haul a 1000-pound cart as much as three miles to a wreck site. Today, Chicamacomico is the only place that recreates a full, beach apparatus drill on a regular basis: firing a 20-pound projectile from a real powder gun during the summer.

When Pea Island Station’s keeper was fired in 1880, someone in D.C. had heard of Richard Etheridge’s incredible record and said, “Make him keeper.” It was a bold move. While black men served, none held rank. And emotions remained raw following the Civil War. When the white crew quit, Richard recruited enough black service members to keep his station. In 1996, they received a posthumous Gold Lifesaving Medal for a daring rescue 100 years prior.

Pat Etheridge was the stereotypical old salt. He was keeper of Creed’s Hill Station and later Cape Hatteras Station. While it can’t be proven, it’s likely he and Richard Etheridge were half-brothers. But more notably, Pat’s the person behind the quote: “Boys, the book says we got to go out, it doesn’t say a damn thing about coming back.” And if you read the manual at the time, it actually says, “An attempt to launch is insufficient.” Which means, “You got to go out!”

By the mid-50s, power boats, cargo planes and helicopters — even the paving of Route 12 on Hatteras Island — made it less necessary to post crews every six miles. Many Outer Banks stations were decommissioned. A handful still exist in different forms. There’s a rental in Kitty Hawk. Black Pelican and the Sanderling are restaurants. Twiddy in Corolla is the old KDH station. But most were abandoned and left to ruin. After several moves, Penny’s Hill Station burned in the 80s. milepost 55

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No Looking back

gohunt rearview He left before dawn. Before anyone could wake and stop him. Before the door could finish slamming, he was in the truck and in reverse. No suitcase. No direction. His plans were as foggy as the still-frosty windshield. But his motives were impossible to miss. He had to go. Alone. Passing the places where he’d grown up and played, thoughts raced through his mind. Appearing and disappearing like a blur of pine trees. Driving up the beach road, the Atlantic inhaled and exhaled with the light northeast wind. A new-day sun cracked over the horizon, flashing patches of warm reddish orange sunlight through stilted gaps.

The sea oats were well beyond bloom now, nearly shredded bare by storm after storm after storm. Stems spare. Bending inland like beaten power poles. Speeding past cottages, his mind drifted through thoughts of youthful indiscretions and life choices gone awry. Make a left. Stop. Wait. Go? Basking in the light for a split second, his mind flicked back to those long lost summer beach days. His rearview mirror a reflection of worn stickers, cracked and spent. Each one was a memory he had to leave in the dust. Otherwise his future would fade away forever. — Michael Carroll

Illustration: Ben Miller milepost 57

endnotes Why sweat summer in March? Because once school’s out, your kids will be driving you crazy. Unless you act fast. Registration for Outdoor Adventure Camps at Jennette’s Pier opens Mar. 2 at 9am, offering kayaking, surfing, hikes, science lessons — even trips to First Flight Adventure Park. For full deets — and the word on Apr. 6-10’s Spring Break Camp — go to www.jennettespier.net. • Relax, kick back and enjoy two shows this spring, courtesy of Theatre of Dare. First, the Broadway hit musical Godspell dramatizes Jesus Christ’s final days using many well-known theatrical devices and a back-up rock band (Mar. 6-7 & 13-14 at 7:30pm; Mar. 8 & 15 at 2pm). Then Manly Men: An Evening Chock Full of Lies and Testosterone brings a modern bromance comedy to the stage. (Apr. 24-25 & May 1-2 at 7:30pm; Apr. 26 & May 3 at 2 pm.) All performances are at the College of the Albemarle. For info and tix go to www. theatreofdareobx.com. • Celebrate a century of saving lives and seizing bales when the Outer Banks History Center unveils their 2015 exhibit: A Heritage of Heroes: the Coast Guard in North Carolina. Relive the organization’s early years and meet North Carolinians who made a difference at the opening reception, Mar. 6, 5:30-7:30pm. Or come back Mar. 7-Dec. 31, 9am-5pm. More at www.obhistorycenter.ncdcr.gov. • While you’re at it, slip next door to Roanoke Island Festival Park’s Mar. 6 opening of the Outer Banks Community Quilt Show, from 6-8pm. This cozy collection of Eastern NC quilts from past to present will stay on display through Mar. 21 — including a Mar. 17 “show and tell” where the fabric artists discuss techniques, 10am-2pm. More at www.roanokeisland.com. • On Mar. 7, bust out the masks and beads as the Mardi Gras Gala rocks the Pavilion at Pirates’ Cove to help local pipsqueaks. $50 entry covers food, beer, wine and entertainment from 7-11pm, with proceeds supporting Children At Play. Tix and info at www.childrenatplayobx.com. • Think a Bourbon Street hangover’s torture? Mar. 7’s Graveyard 100 gives runners 30 hours to make it 101.5 miles from Corolla to Hatteras via historic Hwy 12. Get all the grueling details at www.graveyard100.com, then go cheer on a few psychos. And if you missed the registration cut-off, come back for May 2’s OBX Ultramarathon, a “50k minimalist run” that staggers 31 miles from Corolla to Kill Devil Hills. Info at www. obxultramarathon.com. • There are easier ways to stay in shape — such as Mar. 7’s Downtown Manteo Health Crawl with the Outer Banks Hospital Health Coach. Spend the morning learning about health and fitness options on Roanoke Island, while taking part in raffles, demos and health screenings. More at www.townofmanteo.com. • Or nourish your creative spirit inside the Dare County Arts Council gallery. Chrissy Teachout’s photographs celebrate International Women’s Day every day from Mar. 7-31. (With a Mar. 6 opening reception, 6-8pm.) Or sign up for Mar. 10’s workshop “Jewelry Making: Rings and Pendants” for ages 16 and up. Get pricing and more spring classes at www. darearts.org, or call 252- 473-5558. • Drop the paintbrush, hippie, and get a real job! On Mar. 14, the Annual OBX Success Career & Job Fair comes to KDH’s Ramada Plaza. From 10am–2pm, applicants get a free chance to schmooze area employers for full-time, parttime and seasonal positions. There will also be resume writing, job bank software and other preparation workshops prior to the event. And be at Pirate’s Cove Pavilion on Mar. 31 when the 2015 Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce Business Expo helps folks “fish for business,” as 60+ vendors display products and demos. $2 door charge includes a raffle ticket for prizes and follow-up reception. For more information and vendor opportunities go to www.outerbankschamber.com. • Already got yourself a sugar mama or daddy? Better lock that sweet sucker down. Head up to the Sanderling in Duck for Mar. 14’s Outer Banks Wedding Showcase, where you can check out everything from food to cakes to DJs to the occasional bridesmaid. Info and $15 tix at www.sanderling-resort.com. • Mentally test-drive your mid-life crisis when First Flight Cruisers hosts a fleet of cool cars, from modern speed machines to vintage road hogs. Fly off the line with a welcome dinner at Mako Mike’s on Mar. 12, then power through BK Shucker’s Poker Run on Mar. 13. Come Mar. 14, everyone puts it in park at First Flight High for the 8th Annual Shamrock Car Show before taking a Mar. 15 victory lap through Kelly’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. For a

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complete manual, check the digital glove box at www.firstflightcruisers.com. • We’re proud to report this year’s 26th Annual Kelly’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade will posthumously honor Grand Marshal Doug Remaley. The former Nags Head Commissioner and Dare Co. Fire Marshal was also an original member of the parade’s organizational committee. Marchers start promptly at 1pm on Mar. 15 and go from Bladen St. to Driftwood St. This year’s theme salutes Irish roots, so participants and spectators are encouraged to “Don the kilt, raise the pint and wave the green and white.” (We got that middle part covered for sure.) More at www.kellysrestaurant.com. • Then things really start cooking with Taste of the Beach, a sizzling selection of 65+ food events, cooking classes and superchefs from Mar. 1922. Dig in early at Mar. 18’s kick-off party at the Outer Banks Brewing Station, where $5 covers food and live music from 5-9pm. On Mar. 19, Duck’s Blue Point Bluegrass BBQ with O’Connor Brewing Co. mixes pig and pints. Mar. 20 sees the Joe Lamb Jr. Outer Banks BBQ & Wings Showdown at the Sea Ranch in KDH, 12-3pm. Then, on Mar. 21, the annual Chowder Cook-Off simmers all day as local restaurants clam-it-up in front of Coastal Provisions in Southern Shores — before Mr. Knight’s Wild Night packs the Whalehead Club lawn with live music, oysters and tasty shrimp. And it all climaxes Sun., Mar. 22 with two helpings of Sysco Foods Taste of the Beach Grand Tasting at Pamlico Jack’s, where local restaurants battle for annual bragging rights — aka the TOBY Awards. Full details and tix at www.obxtasteofthebeach.com. • Like your taste buds wowed on a weekly basis? You’re in luck, because Rundown Cafe’s Fried Chicken Night returns Mar. 2. More info at www. rundowncafe.com. Make sure you tell them it’s finger-licking good. (Better yet, post it on Yelp.) • On Mar. 19, watch some hoops and help the Dare County Education Foundation when Slam Dunks for Our Schools comes to First Flight High School, pitting the Harlem Ambassadors against our own OBX Scallywags — a team of community ringers and high school hot shots. Call 252-255-5545 for tix. (Adults: $10; Dare Co. teachers/students: $5; Military/Seniors: $7.) Add $3 at the door, but all the proceeds go to local programs — more than $1.6 million over the last 12 years. More at www.dareeducationfoundation.org. • From Mar. 22-Apr. 30, Lost Colony’s Waterside Theater scares up the past with Haunted History — a re-enactment of strange mysteries and ghost tales from our first doomed explorers. More at www.thelostcolony.org. • Go from frightening to enlightening on Mar. 28, as the Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts presents Windsync, one of the nation’s foremost wind quintets. And return Apr. 23 for the Virginia Symphony’s more full-sized affair. All shows start at 7:30pm at First Flight High School. $28; $15 for students. More at www.outerbanksforum.org. • Next, the kids get creative as the Dare County High Schools

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in d a e h e l a At Wh ic Corolla Histor If you want the 2015 People’s Choice “TOBY” award, you’ll have to pry it from Stripers’ washed, gloved hands. Mar. 22 at Pamlico Jack’s. Photo: Ginger Snaps.


For more information & tickets

www.VisitWhalehead.com milepost 59


Annual Art Show returns to Roanoke Island Festival Park, spend a few Spring Break hours using glue and glitter as the Mar. 30–Apr. 30, with a Mar. 29 reception, 2-4pm. All three KDH Co-Operative Gallery’s Creative Kids Workshop local schools show their best work, including paintings, runs from 2-4pm. $25. More at www.kdhcooperative.com. • ceramics, wood, mixed media and more. Get the finer points at Deepest thanks to the Outer Banks Community www.roanokeisland.com. • And on Mar. 31, fiddle students of Foundation for coughing up grant money for a year-long all and ages and styles perform solos and ensembles at speaker series titled, “Our Underwater Heritage: Maritime Jennette’s Pier as part of Leslie Erickson’s Club Violin Archaeology Projects in Coastal North Carolina.” Studio Recital. Starts at 6pm. More at www.clubviolin.com. Furthermore, each month features two presentations: 11am at • What’s the Daffodilly, yo? It’s Elizabethan Gardens’ new Hatteras’ Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum and 6pm at tribute to spring. From Apr. 1-June 1, more than 40,000 the Coastal Studies Institute in Wanchese. On Mar. 4, it’s daffodils will liven the grounds, along with family attractions “Defending The East Coast: How Converted Vessels from parades to tea parties — even a doggy costume contest. Helped to Win the Battle of the Atlantic.” On Apr. 2, it’s But that’s just the first whiff of floral fun. On Apr. 4, Bells and “Where Were the Whalers? The History and Whistles helps host Easter Eggstravaganza’s basketful of Archaeology of Whaling in North Carolina.” And May 6 scavenger hunts, egg rolls and more kid-geared fun. Then, Apr. brings “More Than Meets the Eye: Artifacts from Queen 28-30, learn basic drawing skills, observation and watercolor Anne’s Revenge.” Find more details and live streams at csi. techniques with the Spring Botanical Watercolor northcarolina.edu. • Stay submerged at the Graveyard of the Workshop. And come May, it’s National Herb Month! (Chill Atlantic for more daily treasures, like the Cape Hatteras out, Cheech; it’s savory not sativa.) But you can still hit the Student Art Exhibit (Mar. 3-27) and “With Love, Aleta,” a plant shop for sweet bargains. For times, pricing and deets on tribute to Ocracoke mail boats from Apr. 1-Feb. 26, 2016. On happy we didn’t run the bikini contest. Outer Banks Bike all events, call 252-473-3234 or visit www.elizabethangardens. Just be Week Apr. 10-11, it’s NOAA’s Underwater Heritage Symposium goes hog wild, Apr. 18-26. Photo: Matt Artz org. • Don’t be a fool. On Apr. 1 head down to Rodanthe as the 2015: A Salute to Pioneers of Diving with presentations by historic Chicamacomico Life Station opens up for the season, toasting 100 years of the legends Gary Gentile, Bobby Purifoy, Bill Palmer, Joe Poe, Dave Sommers, Ann U.S. Coast Guard — and 150 years of rescuing shipwrecks. More at www.chicamacomico. Sommers, Larry Cox, Marc Corbett, Pam Landrum, Matt Landrum and JT Barker. Plus net. • It’s baaccckkk. That’s right, Apr. 3 marks the official return of Downtown Manteo’s there’s a slew of Salty Dawgs Lectures every Tues. at 2pm, like the History of Outer First Friday festivities, including later shopping and live music. It’s also the only certified Banks Gulf Stream Sport-fishing with Ernie Foster (Apr. 7); Diving the Graveyard of local release party for Michele Young-Stone’s new novel, Above Us Only Sky. Order your the Atlantic with Pam Landrum (Apr. 14); Cooking Crabs Outer Banks Style with copy now at www.duckscottage.com, then go get it signed at Duck’s Cottage Downtown Sharon Peele Kennedy (Apr. 21); and Effects of English Settlement on the Hatteras Books from 5:30-8pm. • Do kick-flips in floppy ears when Mom’s Sweet Shop hosts the 3rd Island Environment with Dave Kelmer, (Apr. 28). More at www.graveyardoftheatlantic. Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Skate Jam on Apr. 4 at Kitty Hawk Skate Park. Three age com. • Over on Roanoke Island, the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge puts you outdoors divisions, no entry fee and lots o’ rad prizes. Call 252-441-MOMS for more. • On Apr. 9, with a pair of Tram Tours (Apr. 11 & May 9; 9am-12pm) and two Red Wolf Howlings

Elizabethan Gardens the elizabethan gardens

Spring Events Mar 7

Gardens Spring Clean Up

Mar 14

Wine/Cheese/Plant Workshop

April 1

Daffodilly Fest (month-long)

Apr 4

Easter Eggstravaganza

Apr 11

Salad Garden Workshop

Apr 28

Botanical Watercolor Workshop (Apr 28-30)

May 9

Home & Garden Tour

Events are subject to change. For current events/info visit online or call 252-473-3234.

The Outer Banks only Authentic Oyster Bar! Est. 1984

Live Music in our Oceanview Lounge Fridays 6-9pm



s e i r o m e M



April 2015 Elizabethan Gardens



252-473-3234 | MANTEO,NC elizabethangardens.org


Open Daily

Lunch & Dinner

Fridays•Starting at 5pm




252.441.5955 • awfularthursobx.com 2106 N. Virginia Dare Trail • Kill Devil Hills • MP 6 • Beach Road Across From Avalon Pier

(Apr. 4 & May 23; 7-8:30pm). And Fri. offers a Preschool Young Naturalist Program from 10-11am. Call Cindy Heffley for details at 252-475-4180. • Scream “hallelujah” Apr. 11-12, when the Waves of Change Festival floods Festival Park’s Outdoor Pavilion with two days of praise, worship, music and speakers. More at www.roanokeisland.com. • On Apr. 17, peek into the past — and a few windows — with the Kill Devil Hills Historic Landmarks Open House Tour. Grab a map from KDH Town Hall at 1pm. Check out old-school abodes from 2-5pm. Call 252-449-5318 for details. • Or you can dash past every damn house on Bay Drive when the 6th Flying Pirate Half Marathon runs from Kitty Hawk to Nags Head Woods on Apr. 19. And warm up on Apr. 18, as the First Flight 5K does laps around the Wright Bros. Memorial. Pricing and details at www.flyingpiratehalfmarathon. com. • And just for some added thrills, 13th Annual Bike Week rolls through town Apr. 18-26, promising eight days of shiny hogs, loud pipes and the occasional tattoo contest, bikini competition and/or beer belly tournament. Get all the haps in leather chaps at www. outerbankshd.com. • On Apr. 18, kill the motor and love your mother at Jennette’s Pier’s Earth Fair OBX IV, as conservation groups offer valuable ecological lessons in a fun atmosphere. (More at www.jennettespier.net.) Rather see humans rip King Neptune to shreds? Then come back for the Eastern Surfing Association’s Mid-Atlantic Regionals, Apr. 30-May 3. Heat sheets at www.surfesa.org. • On Apr. 19, the Don and Catharine Bryan Cultural Series will class up the joint with a 4pm show by the NC Symphony Wind Quintet at Southern Shores’ All Saints Episcopal Church. And May 24, be at First Flight High School at 3pm to hear Pulitzer-winning author David McCullough read from his brand new book, The Wright Brothers. Score tix at www. bryanculturalseries.org. • Then hop back on the hog for Apr. 22’s OBX CARES Ride for Rescue Bike Run. This animal rescue fundraiser leaves the Brew Station at 10am and returns in time


Complete Automotive Repair & Maintenance!


EXPIRES MAY 15, 2015

Learn more at Meineke.com • • • • •

A/C Batteries Belts Brakes Cooling System Service • CV Joints • Exhaust • Oil Change

• Shocks & Struts • NC STATE INSPECTION • Tires • Transmission Fluid Service • Wheel Alignment • Wheel Balance

Under new management! KILL DEVIL HILLS

1800 S. Croatan Highway Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948 (252) 715-1800

Store Hours Monday - Friday 7:30am to 6:00pm Saturday 8:00am to 3:00pm

(At 9.5 Mile Post, next to T-Tops)



Here’s a Weight Loss Secret You Can Share...




EXPIRES MAY 15, 2015



· · · ·

Oil and Filter 18-Point Inspection Air Pressure Check Tire Rotation

*Oil change includes up to 5 quarts of 5W30 conventional motor oil and standard oil filter. Additional disposal and shop supply fees may apply. Special oils and filters are available at an additional cost. Not valid with any other offers. Must present coupon at time of estimate. Offer valid on most cars and light trucks. Valid at participating locations only. Limited time offer. See center manager for complete details.




EXPIRES MAY 15, 2015



· · · ·

Drain and Refill Radiator* 18-Point Inspection Batter Check Battery Test

*Radiator refill includes up to one gallon of coolant. Must present coupon at time of estimate. Offer valid on most cars and light trucks. Valid at participating locations only. Limited time offer. See center manager for complete details.




Valid at participating locations only. See manager for complete details. NO EXPIRATION.

Special Financing Terms Available* Subject to credit approval. See participating center for details.

There Are No Secrets ! Stop Eating Junk and Get Off Your Ass!

Two wheel alignment check. Costs will apply for parts & services needed to repair the system. Valid at participating locations only. See manager for complete details.

Offers valid on most cars and light trucks at participating Meineke locations. Discounts apply to regular retail pricing. One offer per service per vehicle. Offers cannot be combined with other specials or warranty service. Coupons have no cash value and must be presented at the time of estimate. See the center manager for any additional details. ©2014 MCCCI


to enjoy the 2nd Annual OBX CARES Day, a backyard party promoting community organizations like the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, NEST, Surfrider, Children At Play, OBX SPCA and The Friends Project. A health conscious menu, Zen Pops and craft brews tease the palate. Live music pleases ears. And the Metro Rental Dunk Booth provides laughs. 12-7pm. Search OBX CARES on Facebook for updates. • For some real competition — and serious community spirit — be at First Flight High on Apr. 25 for the 4th Annual Special Olympics Spring Games. More than 50 athletes, ages 8-70, tear up the track and field. Volunteers and cheering fans are always welcome. For info contact Kathleen Morgan at ke.kathleen.morgan@gmail.com. • Up at the Waterfront Shops on Apr. 25, local chefs take a “quack” at winning the 7th Annual Duck and Wine Festival to help feed dough to the Currituck-Dare Community Foundation. They raised $15k last year alone. More at www.duckandwine.com. • Couldn’t get in? Feast your eyes on Duck Town Hall’s Dare County Student Art Exhibit before it finishes up on Apr. 30. More at www.townoduck.com. • Wanna see what art teachers do when they’re not in school? Check the DCAC’s Dare County Schools Art Teacher’s Show, May 1-30 — with an opening night reception on May 1 from 6-8pm. And the 18th Annual Mollie Fearing Memorial Art Show opens Sun., May 3, with a reception from 2-4pm, announcing awards for Best in Show, Excellence, Honorable Mention — and voters cast ballots for a People’s Choice. More at darearts.org. • Think food is art? Then Spring Restaurant Week’s your next big muse as participating chefs present special three-course menus at a fixed price, May 1-9. Plus, May 2 presents the 2nd Annual Fish Taco Taste-Off’s pescado masterpieces. Deets at www.outerbanksrestaurantweek.com. • Better start burning some calories, chowhound. On May 2, the 4th Annual Run in the Sand circles the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse with a fun run, 5k and 50-yard — all to help fund Mothers Against Drunk Driving and North Carolina Law Enforcement Assistance Program. (Search

$50 per month no ContraCt Weekly passes available Cardio • Free Weights strength equipment personal training daily Classes sauna • massage smoothie Bar

outer banks sports Club www.obxsportsclub.com Milepost 10 - Nags Head 252-441-8361

• Join now and get a free month along with a personal training startup session •

milepost 61

Facebook for updates.) • Or check out May 2’s 2nd Annual Outer Banks Duathlon — a teams to Jennette’s Pier, May 16-17. Learn how to enter at www.jennettespier.net. • Music combo of quaint run south of Jennette’s Pier and 20-mile bike ride through Pea Island. lovers get footloose May 17 when the Mustang Spring Jam trots back to Mike Dianna’s More at www.runcations.com. • Or enjoy a long walk — and help fight cancer — when Relay Grill Room in Corolla. From 1-10pm, enjoy the likes of Athens, GA’s New Madrid, NC’s for Life returns to Roanoke Island Festival Park on May 2 for 24 hours of marching to Josh Daniel/Mark Schimick Project and Fireside Collective — plus performances by local raise research funds. Anyone can form a team, raise money or volunteer time, while cancer students of the Mustang Outreach Program — all to raise funds for aspiring musicians and survivors and caregivers can share support and information. More at www.relayforlife.org. • the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. Score tix at www.mustangmusicfestival.com. • Roots? Rock? Take a rest, pull up a stool and hear a tale — or several — when the Hatteras Storytelling Reggae? Enjoy all three when Signal Fire steps high into Kelly’s, May 22-23. Sample their Festival returns May 1-3. Listen to national, regional and local orators, plus music, food and spark at www.signalfireband.com. • Jarvisburg’s Sanctuary Vineyards pours on two events more. Find a full table of contents on Facebook. • On May 8, it’s Kidfest! From 9:30amMay 23, as they host the 2nd Annual Run A Muck in Currituck 5k obstacle mud run, 12:30pm, at Festival Park, kids 5-and-under enjoy face painting, photo booths and fire followed by a seafood and wine party that’s wide-open to the public. Get the deliciously trucks, courtesy of the Children & Youth Partnership for Dare County. (Rain date: May dirty details and tix at www.sanctuaryvineyards.com. • Memorial Day Weekend couldn’t 15.) More info at www. begin without some darekids.org. • Kids fly beach music. Start on cheap when Youth May 24 at Corolla’s Aviation Day comes to Whalehead Club with Dare County Regional the return of Buck’s Airport, May 9, Beach Blast, 12-5pm. Tix promising discounted are $25. You can bring airplane rides, 10ampicnics and coolers — 4pm. Details at www. but no glass or alcohol. darenc.com/airport. Beer will be sold on site. • Kick off Mother’s Day Check out www. weekend with May 9’s visitwhalehead.com for granddaddy of trail tix, updates and a TBA runs — The 32nd lineup. • On May 25, it’s Annual Nags Head Manteo’s turn as the Woods 5k — brought to Shallowbag Shag comes you by North Banks back to Festival Park Rotary, Outer Banks with Jim Quick and Kiwanis and Nags Head Woods Conservancy. Coastline; The Embers; Sign up at www. The Tams and Band of nagsheadwoods5krun. Oz from 1-9pm. Shuttle org. • And models show a parking begins at little leg — and a lot of Manteo High School at community support 10am. Doors open at — when 5th Annual 11:30. Bring chairs or Couture By The Shore blanket — but no outside comes to Kelly’s on May food or beverages​. No 9. This year’s theme is pets, either. Smiles are “Age of Aquarius,” mandatory. Tix at www. meaning 11 local The summer doesn’t start ’til the shoes come off. Look for two beach music festivals this Memorial Day weekend: Buck’s Beach Blast in Corolla obxshag.com. • Kick your boutiques — Amity, May 24 and the Shallowbag Shag in Manteo, May 25, starring the Tams among others. Photo: Matt Artz shoes off and run down Birthday Suits, to Avon’s 4th Annual Charlotte’s, Foxy Flamingo, French Door, Gray’s, Lady Victorian, Life’s A Beach, Sun Shorebreak 5k and Tide Pool Fun Run, May 25. Starts and ends at Koru Beach Klub but Shack, Untucked, Whalebone — will all present their grooviest fashions from 11am-3pm. the funds all flow to the Hatteras Island Youth Foundation. Sign up by May 22 at www. $40 includes luncheon, silent auction, giveaways and the fashion show. Buy yours at www. hatterasyouth.com. • May 25 also means the start of Kim Kalman’s Christian Music outerbanksrelieffoundation.com. And remember: don’t eat the brown acid-wash. • NC Summer Concert Series. Come out to Kitty Hawk’s Good Life Eatery each Mon. at 7pm Coastal Federation knows you gotta appreciate something to want to save it. So, they’re for good music and loving vibes to benefit the Beach Food Pantry and Interfaith pushing protection with two worthwhile events: on May 12, 6:30pm, it’s Wine, Dine and Community Outreach. Learn more at www.kimkalman.com. • May 30 marks the return of Learn at Basnight’s Lone Cedar; and May 30 the Miss Hatteras Fishing and Research the 3rd Annual Rock the Cape to Koru Beach Klub. Sponsored by Dare County Arts Trip hooks up with NC Sea Grant. Learn more and register at www.nccoast.org. • It’s a Council this all-day festival features live music and art demos, show-and-sell booths, kid’s bird…it’s a plane…it’s Kitty Hawk Kites’ 43rd Annual Hang Gliding Spectacular! From activities and great food to support local creativity and kick off the season. For tix and bands May 15-18, be at Jockey’s Ridge for one of the world’s most heroic soaring displays. And go to www.darearts.org. • Hear something? That’s your liver growling over the First Annual May 24, the BIC SUP One-Design Series launches its first race of the season. Skill levels OBX Brewfest. Get your tix early at www.obxbeerfests.com. Then be at Nags Head’s Outer from beginner to expert sign up at the Manteo location at 10am. Details at www.kittyhawk. Banks Event Site on May 31 for craft-beer tastings from more than 80 labels, guest speaker com. • Drop the paddle and grab a plant when the 13th Annual Coastal Gardening panels, local chef pairings, home-brew demos and live entertainment. An adult game zone Festival comes to KDH’s Baum Center, May 16. From 9:30am-2:30pm, 50+ vendors offer offers life-sized Jenga, keg bowling and human foosball. The kid zone has… who cares? price-friendly vegetation, garden art and handcrafted goods. Proceeds benefit the Dare Drop the brats at a sitter and start getting loose. Just remember to pick a sober driver or call Extension Master Gardeners. Call 252-473-4290 for more. • Or kick some athletic butt — and a whole lot of sand — when the SAND Soccer Tournament draws locals and visiting a cab. Or a punished liver will be the least of your worries. milepost


Open Year Round • Serving Lunch & Dinner

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

Spring into

The Shack!

Yes! no! Wow! Way! no Way! Way! Cool! Really!

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Kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal, 1 adult meal purchase = 1 free kid meal

We Are Open Year Round Still Won’t Let Mattie Grow a Stache! Bunky Breakfast Every Sunday at 11:30 AM $2 Sliders EvERY Wednesday Night

Wrappin’, Soupin’ & Sandwichin EvERY DAY FOR LuNch Live Music (6-9 PM) & $3 Drafts EvERY Friday “Kids happy hour” KIDS EAT FREE Every Sunday From 1-4 PM with Live Music Warm Weather calls for YARD TIME! cornhole, Ping Pong and Outdoor Dining! (Weather Permitting)

MP9 on the Beach Rd. • Kill Devil Hills • BonzerShack.com • 252.480.1010 milepost 63

From the Finest dining to the tastiest pub Fare.



providing culinary diversity and quality service since 2001.