n a h t r e g n a r st
n o i t c fi
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FOR COFFEE LOVERS. BY COFFEE LOVERS.
It’s a B.S. Detector. Proven to filter out the slightest differences between fact and fiction. Humble exaggerations to full-on fabrications. Little white lies to king-sized whoppers. And you’re gonna need it this issue, as we sniff through copious piles of day-old gossip, local myths and other suspect information bandied about by Outer Bankers on an hourly basis.
FOR OVER 13 YEARS
How do we know it works? Built the damn thing ourselves! Took Grandpa’s old radio out of the garage, added the latest lie-detector technology, plus some sweat from six bloodhounds’ noses and a single gold thread from Wonder Woman’s lariat of truth. (If you believe that, you’re gonna need this thing more than we thought.) But we did test it out. In the process, we found so much methane-fueled manure, we nearly blew the whole county to pieces.
Hell, the damn gauge started flapping the second we hopped in the car. First, we thought it was ’cause we cruised by a Board of Commissioners meeting during public comment. Then we thought it was the gas prices lining the bypass. Finally figured out it was the insurance bill stuffed in the glove box, so we pulled off at the nearest beach access and found a few trusty friends. But that only made things worse. Somewhere between one pal swearing he rode a wave from Nags Head Pier to the monument, and another claiming the Park
The Waterfront Shops Duck NC 252-261-5510 duckscottage.com Service was behind all the shark attacks, the thing started smoking so much we ran and chucked it in the nearest church’s trash can. And there it still lies. Jerking and sputtering every time someone whispers, “Never again, Lord. Never again.” Good thing we didn’t throw it behind a bar. One more cheesy pick-up line we’d all be goners! But then a little slick-talk has always greased the wheels in these parts. Whether it’s folklore that blends real history with sheer lunacy — Blackbeard’s headless body swimming a few final laps comes to mind — or tired rumors that just won’t die — where’s Target going this week? — you might say whatever substance this island’s built on, it sure ain’t sand. And just what is “it” anyway? And why does it fill us up to our eyeballs? Is it dishonesty? Not necessarily. Because
half the crap we say we truly believe. Laziness? Partially. It’s always easier to blindly repeat something than it is to question a statement or hold your tongue. But I’d argue the source of all this heaping hooey is a blend of our most noble character traits: a passionate need to feel informed about the community we love. Trusting our friends to know what’s up. And perhaps a little hometown pride. Or maybe the curse of being a Podunk coastal town is you need something to brag about on occasion. A goat-headed freak. A monster wave. Or just a cool-ass celebrity’s second-home. Whatever the cause, it’s here to stay. But that’s okay, too. Because sometimes the most exaggerated caricature is actually the more honest portrayal. And even the biggest B.S. story holds a faint whiff of truth. — Matt Walker
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: soak the pages in alcohol and wash out your ears; balled up bits of paper make excellent nose plugs. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or light us up on Facebook with your opinions and ideas. We promise to find some way to re-purpose them. milepost 3
“Though I am not naturally honest, I am sometimes so by chance.” — William Shakespeare “The truth is unknown.” — Angry Samoans
Issue 4.3 Fall 2015 Cover: Surreality bites. 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, Rick Nilson, Stuart Parks II, Daniel Pullen, Charlotte Quinn, Meg Rubino, Stephen Templeton, Two Tipis Under One Sun Lensfolk Nate Appel, 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, Eve Turek, Chris Updegrave, Cyrus Welch
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email@example.com • firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Shivapus, Part II” by Two Tipis Under One Sun
@brodysatva “Nature, beauty, unity — those are my themes. And symmetry. I’m highly symmetrical with everything I paint. It’s balanced in your eyes. It’s balanced in your mind. It flows. So, even though I draw all these random symbols — ropes, boats, flowers, moons — everything connects. Shivapus is a classic example. She just sort of showed up on the paper one day. And 500 years ago, an octopus holding a ship would be destructive — like the Krakken’s Pass on some mariner’s map. But to me she’s like a protective spirit. I remember the first time I painted her, I was surprised at how beautiful she was. I thought, ‘She puts off good energy.’ So, I guess that’s what I strive for: paintings that put off good energy — paintings that make people smile.”
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03 StartingPoint You smell something? 06 UpFront Scrounging food, spreading rumors and scaring friends. 21 FirstPerson Overhead waves with Reuben Margolin. 22 G etActive Become a young musician’s personal muse.
24 Q uestionAuthority Sandy Sanderson flirts with disaster. (Not.) 28 S tranger Than Fiction Tracing the roots of local legends, twisted rumors and outright lies. 36 G raphicContent Global distortion. 46 G oClimb Rope enough to thrill yourself.
49 GoSurf “Da plane, da plane!”
58 ArtisticLicense This fish keeps forever.
50 GoShoot Friendly fire.
60 RearView Summer of “Wha?!”
53 GoBike Ride a plus-size model.
62 OutThere Liar, liar…
54 F oodDrink Let the good times roll.
64 EndNotes The bold and bountiful.
56 SoundCheck Bluegrass meets sea oats. milepost 5
upfront soundcheck WASTE NOT, WANT NOT
Freegans fill their bellies — and fight the man — one salvaged meal at a time.
For some, one man’s trash may be another man’s treasure. For others, it’s a perfectly good meal. Ask Nathan Lowdermilk. The 22-year-old surfer and lifeguard spends his summers standing between the table and the trashcan — feeding himself for free while saving tasty food from rotting in a landfill.
“I realized one day while hanging out at the Kitty Hawk Pier how much food was being thrown out after certain events,” he recalls. “I asked if I could bring some home and they said sure.”
Lowdermilk began showing up after parties with a DIY doggie-bag. Before long, he moved on to grocery store delis, intercepting sandwich meat and sides that wouldn’t last until morning. Gross? Maybe for some people. But for Nathan, what’s really disgusting is wasting all that perfectly good food — especially meat.
plates — especially in the offseason when things get slow and times get tough. Well before he lived here, Hatteras Islander Mole Gwin remembers helping musicians in Norfolk scrounge up late-night dinners when he operated a sound and light production company back in the ’80s. “The bands would travel through and didn’t have enough money for gas and food,” says Gwin. “But there were certain times of night I knew that pizza shops would throw out pizzas and food dumpsters would be filled with day-old breads, pastries and sandwiches. Some guys’ whole life outlook changed. They weren’t hungry anymore. They had full bellies.“ Today, “dumpster diving” for the common good is a bonafide movement called “freeganism” — a mix of political and dietary beliefs that began to swell in the mid-’90s. Derived from the words “free” and “vegan,” practitioners typically reject capitalism and consumerism. They often have the money to buy their own food, but they recover discarded but edible items to raise awareness about the United States’ wasteful eating habits and hunger issues.
ranks sixth in the nation for food insecurity. And 11 percent of Dare County residents live in poverty.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, more than 49 million Americans are food insecure — yet U.S. households, retailers and food services throw out roughly 40 million tons of food each year. Furthermore, North Carolina
Fortunately, on the Outer Banks, many restaurants and services work together to help the hungry. In fact, the Beach Food Pantry receives an average of 12,000 pounds of overstocked or fresh donations every month from Food Lion, Walmart and
“I grew up with my mom being a vegetarian,” he says, “so I always had that sense of compassion. Thinking that an animal died for someone to eat then seeing it go wasted really bothers me.”
And he’s not alone. On the Outer Banks, finding a free meal is a long-term survival tactic. Any restaurant worker knows how to scrape a snack out of the frying pan with a piece of bread. Some waiters even poach whole untouched portions from leftover
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ruins more than just your vacation.
Fresh Market. Volunteers pick up food from the stores five times a week — but with certain limits.
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“All items must be unexpired, ingredientlabeled and USDA inspected,” says executive director, Kathy McCullough-Testa. “We can take most meats except for items like gizzards and livers, and any produce, breads or pastries.” Meat they can freeze. The rest must move quickly. Either to a local family or another group. “During the summer, when we have more,” she says, “we do transfer some of the produce and bakery items to other food pantries through the Food Bank of the Albemarle.” What about restaurants? Legally, food pantries can’t take leftovers from local eateries — but Ruthie’s Community Kitchen can. Every Tuesday, 60 or more hungry people show up at His Dream Center for a fresh meal prepared by area churches and volunteers. Organizer Gail Leonard says a handful of local restaurants also contribute regularly, such as Roadside Grill in Duck and KDH’s Port O’ Call. The Outback Steak House donates everything from soups and sandwiches to crab legs and lobster. Pizza Hut will bring over pizzas when it has made too many pies. Occasionally, the lucky get something sweet for dessert. “We were really excited when Surfin’ Spoon came to us after the Wedding Expo,” says Leonard. “It was a real treat.” Needless to say, they welcome similar donations from all local dining establishments. But if some day-old dinner rolls do end up in the dumpster, there’s
no reason they have to stay there. In fact, a 1988 U.S. Supreme Court ruling says it’s legal to dumpster dive — noting that discarded items are within the public domain. But before you go dig out a late-night meal after last call, remember: local ordinances can prohibit it. And law enforcement agencies can discourage the practice by citing an individual for trespassing on private property.
more than 49 million Americans are food insecure — yet the U.S. throws out roughly 40 million tons of food each year.
You also may want to research a little food safety. There are plenty of online sources — like Freegan.info — who are happy to offer guidelines on concerns like mold. (On hard food items such as cabbages, apples and zucchini, cut away about an inch around the mold and you are good to go; for soft food items such as breads and leafy vegetables, any sign of fungus means it should stay in the trash.) Never take a chance on cans that are bulging or oozing from the seam. And always avoid meat, eggs, dairy, sprouts, cut melon and unpasteurized juice.
“A few hours outside of refrigeration can potentially allow bacteria counts to reach dangerous levels,” the website warns. But freegan experts also caution dumpster divers to not let “sell by” and “use by” dates determine what’s edible. The website notes that these dates are not “safety dates” and that unopened packages of food can typically be eaten safely for days after. But they also stress, “When in doubt, throw it out.” Or, just “grow it out.” Back on Hatteras Island, Gwin performs a variety of jobs from running sound to construction to making jewelry, but the Norfolk experience has stayed with him. Besides keeping a fruit tree, grape vines and a good-sized garden, he also raises chickens. Gwin and a handful of his neighbors follow a similar way of life, trading essentials instead of shopping at the store. And they often come together for communal meals where not one penny is spent — and nothing gets wasted — as part of freeganism’s free-eating, freewheeling philosophy. “Freeganism doesn’t just have to come from a dumpster,” Gwin insists. “It can also be the duck you shot or fish you caught or the vegetable you grew. It’s just an effort to get away from the commercial production of food and its negative impact on the environment.” — Michelle Wagner
chew on this
Try to digest a few of these hardto-swallow hunger stats: • A whopping 40 percent of perfectly edible food produced in the United States ends up in trashcans, dumpsters and landfills every year. That’s $165 billion in the form of the basic food groups. • Reducing food losses by just 15 percent would equal enough food to sustain more than 25 million Americans every year at a time when one in six Americans lack a secure supply of food. • Thirty-three million tons of food makes its way to landfills every year worldwide, producing methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide. • An American family of four throws out an average of nearly $1,500 worth of food every year.
Ed note: All this talk of free food making you hungry? Freegan wanna-bes can find plenty of resources on the Internet, including dumpster diving etiquette and garbage bin food safety dos and don’ts. And if you want to help others, Ruthie’s Community Kitchen welcomes any group that wants to serve a meal. Or if you would just like to volunteer, be at His Dream Center by 5pm any Tuesday night. Learn more at www.ruthiescommunitykitchen.com.
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ICE IS NICE soundcheck
The history of chillin’ on the Outer Banks.
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In the 40s, this brick structure cranked out a lot of cubes. Photo: Outer Banks History Center
So, it’s Saturday morning. You and your besties are headed out for an Outer Banks day trip. Maybe a surfing or fishing trek to Hatteras. Perhaps a picnic at Jockey’s Ridge
or a concert at Festival Park. That means packing a cooler with ice. Today, you might empty your freezers or swing by 7-Eleven, but 200 years ago frozen water was no
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everyday convenience. It was a precious resource that traveled for hundreds of miles — arriving in half-ton blocks instead of 10-pound bags.
to fuel a whole range of industries, from commercial and recreational fishing to tourism — even if it took a few tries to finally take hold.
In their book, When Ice Came to the Outer Banks, Alvah H. Ward, Jr. and R. Wayne Gray describe how not even Thoreau’s Walden Pond was safe from a fledgling ice industry as “schooners flying down the coast from Maine and Massachusetts [were] loaded with 500-pound chunks of ice that had been cut from the ponds and lakes of New England.”
During the late 19th century, a short-lived ice plant operated in the vicinity of Skyco, at that time Roanoke Island’s busiest port. The next two facilities were located on Manteo’s working waterfront. According to Ward and Gray, “the second ice plant in Dare County was built on the east side of Dough’s creek,” and used steam power to produce “probably a capacity of ten to fifteen tons.” It burned after a quarter century of service, but its memory lingers in the name — “Ice Plant Island” — now home to the Elizabeth II and Roanoke Island Festival Park.
Upon arrival, Outer Banks fish houses stored the blocks in icehouses filled with saw dust as insulation. When it finally melted, fishermen did without. It stayed that way for nearly a century. Without commercial ice plants on Roanoke Island, fish could spoil quickly and the seafood industry could grow no larger than supplying nearby ports like Elizabeth City. But once entrepreneurs began producing ice locally, it became the necessary catalyst
Around 1923, the People’s Ice and Storage Company became the county’s third ice producer. It too melted away, one of the many buildings lost in the great fire of September 1939.
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Ultimately, Alvah Ward, Sr. would be the man to bring long-lasting, commercial ice production to Dare County. A Roanoke Island native, he returned home after a brief stint as a tanker engineer for the Standard Oil Company. He married Tracie Cahoon, a Wanchese gal, and traded in his years at sea and invested in his local community.
Delivering ice to vacation homes was a super-cool idea. Photo: Outer Banks History Center
In 1929, Ward was given the opportunity to build an ice plant near the Globe Fish Company at a spot called Wanchese Wharf on Roanoke Island’s lower west side. The location tapped into an artesian well of cool, clean water. It also allowed the fish company’s vessels to transport ice “throughout Pamlico, Roanoke and Croatan Sounds — from Hatteras to Mashoes Landing.” Meanwhile, trucks made daily deliveries to cottage owners and businesses that catered to the vacation trade. In Susan Rountree’s book Nags Headers, Carmen Gray shared stories about her uncle, Jethro Midgett, who delivered ice to summer people.
“It would come over in 300 pound cakes and he would take his ice pick and block it off in a hundred pounds... He’d put it in this army truck he had and take around the ice.”
Midgett created more than just a business. He also developed quite a following among the young ladies. Numerous oral history interviews housed at the Outer Banks History Center are peppered with memories of women who waited for a glimpse of the tan, muscular Midgett as he made his rounds.
When Alvah Jr. was able to return home from the military, Tillet taught him how to operate the facility.
In 1947, Alvah Ward, Sr. enlarged and modernized Dare County Ice and Storage and built a new brick building on the main drag through Manteo. (The building survives today as the Roanoke Island Outfitters and Dive Center.) But by the late 1940s, demand dwindled as commercial icemakers became available for numerous restaurants and hotels that defined the post-World War II tourism boom.
After an admirable run filled with challenges such as coastal tempests, aging equipment and an exploding diesel engine that caused “an irate delegation of housewives...wanting redress for their laundry sprayed with oil” — not to mention a cold storage accident that took part of a finger — Alvah Ward, Jr. sold Dare County Ice and Storage in 1973. The purchaser, Wood Beasley, later sold to Southern Ice, which built a larger facility in Kill Devil Hills. They later sold to Reddy Ice, which today slings crystal cubes to anything from commercial kitchens to convenience stores.
Alvah Ward, Sr. died in 1952. His wife, Tracie, took over the business while longtime employee Bow Tillet ran the plant.
So there you have it. The cold, hard truth. Now pack that cooler and get to the beach. — Sarah Downing
Sources include Memories of Manteo and Roanoke Island by Cora Mae Basnight and Suzanne Tate, as well as Susan Byrum’s Nags Headers. And for the complete local history of ice’s role in local development, read When Ice Came to the Outer Banks by Alvah Ward, Jr. and R. Wayne Gray.
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NET GAIN Working watermen hauled in some tasty news in May when the state reported the first increase in landings since 2010. According to the NC Division of Marine Fisheries, commercial fishermen sold 61.7 million pounds of fish and shellfish to North Carolina dealers in 2014 — a 23 percent increase over 2013 — and generated $93.8 million, mostly from bigger numbers of dogfish, flounder and blue crabs. (And more than a few seafood buffets.)
WE ARE THE 40 PROOF Sometimes being on top feels like hitting rock bottom. In June, a study of U.S. drinking habits by the University of Washington revealed what we already figured: Dare County leads the state when it comes to lushing out. (We were also two points higher than the national average.) According to the findings, 20 percent of Dare County residents admitted to binge drinking at least once a month — that’s five drinks in a two-hour period for men; four drinks for females. (Good thing they didn’t ask what we did the other 22 hours — or 29 days.)
KNOW SHOES, KNOW SHIRT, KNOW SERVICE It started with Fishheadz. Next came Captain Andy’s. Now it appears Avalon Pier will be the next oceanfront icon to offer dining after KDH approved a zoning amendment to tack on a restaurant. Now the only questions are: will they serve filet mignon or filet of mullet? Do we need to wear shirts just to drink on the bulkhead? And how will any patio entertainment compete with the show in the parking lot?
YOUNG MAN, HERE’S A PLACE YOU CAN GRIND Twelve years ago, there was only one place for Outer Banks skaters to shred: the Nags Head YMCA. But when KDH, Manteo and Kitty Hawk poured fresher parks that were fully public, the area’s O.G. shred facility fell out of favor and into disrepair. Well, smack your deck on the coping because this summer the town officially took ownership and began fixing up surfaces. So, by fall everyone can start thrashing ’em again — without joining any clubs.
A cheering, jeering look at recent events and their potential impacts milepost
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HERE’S THAT CONFOUNDED BRIDGE It took 20 years, a couple lawsuits and months of negotiation, but NC’s Department of Transportation and the SELC finally agreed on a way over Oregon Inlet. Under the settlement announced in
June, the new, “short” span will run parallel to Bonner Bridge. In return, the state will consider moving parts of NC 12 into the sound — including a 3-mile “jug handle” around S-Turns into Rodanthe and a fresh approach to New Inlet — but at least there’s a concrete deal. Now let’s turn it into a bridge. THE TOOTH HURTS Of course, sharks made the biggest headlines this summer, as NC racked up eight attacks by early July — three of them along the Outer Banks in the span of a week. As of Aug. 7, seas were quiet. But businesses and park service officials still spent most of their summer fending off anxious visitors and a hungry press corps. As Superintendent Hallac noted, “They all want to know the same thing: is it safe to swim?” Our reply is: “Is it ever?” WHAT WOULD ANDY DO? Manteo took a baby step toward preserving its “historick prestyge” factor in July when they revisited the prospect of becoming a National Historic District. It will take at least a year to decide, as the town wants to gauge out the costs, pros and cons before spending a potential $15k to hire consultants and categorize historic structures. But the idea is already showing support among local businesses who recognize when it comes to preserving and selling Mayberry’s brand, old news is good news.
ATLANTIC FLU-WAY? Got chickens? Better take a number — literally. In Aug. NC’s Dept. of Agriculture asked all poultry owners to register with the state in response to fears over avian flu. With the dreaded disease already found in 20 western states, scientists fear it will spread east via wild waterfowl, as dropped poop can infect open pens. Experts say while it’s a concern for chicken owners, it’s not likely a threat for humans. Our advice is for all hunters to bag their limits through winter — then cook it thoroughly. THE REAL THROWDOWN NORTH OF TOWN? We ain’t talking feel-good, fall surf competitions. We’re talking super-heated political battles, as Southern Shores’ recent treechopping fiasco’s fired up five challengers vying for a shot at three spots to create a crowded, eight-way battle. (That’s as many candidates as all the other towns put together.) And while the rest of the elections look pretty mundane — KDH’s mayoral race being one obvious exception — we can only hope some ongoing debate on Dogwood Trail gridlock can drive voting traffic for all municipalities on Nov. 3. 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, www.islandfreepress.org and www.obsentinel.com.
SMART-ASS COMMENT OF THE MONTH “I know I’m not alone in hoping they let us make a Dukes of Hazzard jump out of the old [bridge].” —Mr. Torrance, “Finally! Legal Deal Clears Way for New Bridge,” June 15, 2015, www.OuterBanksVoice.com
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“What’s a classic example of an Outer Banks rumor?” Adam Cooksey, 27 Bartender Corolla “Someone came in last week and told me 50 Cent bought a house in Carova. I’m sure he probably owns a house down here somewhere but I doubt it’s in the 4WD area.”
“People always say the Outer Banks has more DUI’s per capita than anywhere else in the country.”
Evan Asbury, 18
Katelyn Barnhill, 25
Moyock “They’re gonna build a Wendy’s in Southern Shores?”
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Lorraine McCrae, 62 Wine Specialist Kill Devil Hills
“When I first moved here, I heard if we had a direct hit from a Category 4 hurricane it would completely wipe the island off the map. Recently, I also heard that Target is taking over the Home Depot.”
“I heard once that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a plan to blow the bridges on the island in case of an emergency situation.”
“I was doing a lesson on the North Beaches and someone told me Taylor Swift was staying here and she was one of this summer’s shark attack victims.”
Jim Ivory, 47 Craft Beer Dispensary Engineer Heather Cartwright, 28 Retail Salesperson Kill Devil Hills “There’s been a rumor for quite a while now that Chic-Fil-A is coming down here. I don’t know if it’s true, but I love Chic-Fil-A, so I really hope it happens!”
Kill Devil Hills “In ’89, there was a story that a lot of kids were messing around with satanic stuff in Nags Head Woods and a half-man/half-goat was the leader of the cult. I even heard Charles Manson was quoted as saying, ‘If I ever get out of prison I’m moving to Kill Devil Hills.’” Interviews and images by Tony Leone milepost 13
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gokite milepost An Outer Banks Ocracoke graphiccontent Reader By Carl Goerch Selected and edited by David Stick
“Of course anything by David Stick is worth reading — especially The Outer Banks of North Carolina and Graveyard of the Atlantic — but for someone who’s new to the area, I’d strongly recommend this collection of essays and historical accounts that Stick selected and edited. It’s an excellent overview of local life from the earliest days right up to fairly recent times — like when the Bonner Bridge was severed by a dredge back in the 90s. And while Stick didn’t write the stories himself, he used to joke that people told him it was his best work.”
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“So much of the Outer Banks has changed, but if someone wanted to understand and appreciate what these barrier islands were like in the past — before all the traffic and modern bustle — I would highly recommend Ocracoke by Carl Goerch. The book was first published in 1956, and consequently, it describes this one-of-akind American community at a time when its charms were undiluted by outside influences. Goerch’s book captures Ocracoke during its carefree days, its age of innocence. The island back then was not the ideal vacation for everyone. But for folks who liked doing nothing at all, it was heaven.”
Lighthouse Families By Cheryl SheltonRoberts and Bruce Roberts “There are a lot of books on lighthouses, but this one I really admire. It’s not strictly about Outer Banks lighthouses — it features beacons and stories of the keepers’ families from all of America’s coasts — but Cape Hatteras, Currituck and Bodie Island are prominently featured. Cheryl and Bruce Roberts made a heroic effort to locate and interview people who had the unique opportunity to care for what they have so aptly called, “America’s castles.” This book is a colorful collection of memories and even treasured recipes of the lighthouse families.”
Fifty shades of gray matter.
Wanna be an Outer Banks know-it-all? Well, you just won the lotto. Local knowledge takes more than just being lucky — it takes being informed. But where do the curious go for a comprehensive take on Outer Banks culture? That’s what we asked Kevin Duffus. As a disciple of noted documentarian David Stick and renowned author of four rich tomes — War Zone: WWII off the North Carolina Coast, The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate, Shipwrecks of the Outer Banks and The Lost Light: A Civil War Mystery — the consummate researcher has read just about everything even remotely related to our humble coastline. Maybe that’s why it was so hard for him to choose just five books for a basic foundation of historical facts and day-to-day life. “You mean besides the ones I wrote?” jokes the 2015 North Carolina Historian of the Year. “Seriously, I had a hard time narrowing my library down to 15.” In the end, Duffus managed to pick six selections that most accurately reflect Outer Banks reality. Read ‘em all and you still won’t know everything — but at least you’ll be scratching the surface.
The Civil War on the Outer Banks By Fred Mallison “There are other books describing the events that took place on the Outer Banks during the Civil War — including two good ones by Drew Pullen who lives on Hatteras Island — but for the purist historian, Fred Mallison’s may be the best. His research is extremely comprehensive. Mallison the writer often steps aside when the words of those who were present during the many engagements tell the story the best. The sand, wind and tides of the barrier islands have always shaped history in unique ways, and so was the Civil War waged in ways that are sometimes peculiar, funny and tragic.”
The Roanoke Voyages, 1584-1590, Vol. 1 & 2
Outer Banks Mysteries and Seaside Stories
By David Beers Quinn
By Charles Harry Whedbee
“Outer Banks history really began with the documentation of Walter Raleigh’s failed attempt at a permanent settlement in North Carolina. These two books on the Lost Colony are primarily a collection of the actual log books and diaries from the exploration of the coast and sound, interpreted by a very distinguished English historian. They’re not for everybody — you’re not going to sit in a beach chair and read letters from 1585 — but you can’t get closer to the truth than reading primary source documents.”
“The Outer Banks is unique in that it has been the place of so many remarkable historical events — the first attempted settlement, the first powered flight, World War II sea battles, heroic rescues — but it has also generated fantastic folklore. I’d recommend any of the books written by Charles Whedbee, who collected and wrote down these legends, ghost stories and mysteries. Unfortunately, people have read these books and thought they were true, so I’d stress that these are all fictional — but they’re also some of the most fun to read.”
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After 48 Sparkling Years We Have Decided to retire.
WHY? BecAuSe I Am 90 YeArS Young!
and I Have Come Up with 90 Reasons to Retire. Here Are Just a Few of Them...
• Polish my shoes • Make old-style fudge • Visit my dentist socially • Roast marshmallows at a bonfire • Watch some of the 350 videos that I’ve collected & never watched • Visit new friends • How about new friends visiting me? • Watch my friends’ kids grow up • Start a new dance craze • Make my famous recipe of Italian Meatballs Swedish Style • Pet my cats more often • Wash and wax my scooter • Enjoy being a sex symbol • Sign autographs • Wake up and decide to go back to sleep • Get back to Hawaii one more time • Discover where the “ON” button is on my computer • Make a documentary • Write “crank” letters to nasty people • Read the Outer Banks Sentinel and the Coastland Times • Visit other shops • Act in the Lost Colony again • Learn to make hummus • Throw a rowdy party!
Hwy. 64 H Manteo H Roanoke Island H 252.473.2838 H Open Daily at 9:30 am On the way to the NC Aquarium, Festival Park & The Lost Colony!
McHorney’s Odditorium is a freakin’ scream year-round.
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A bone-chilling breakdown of haunted houses, deathly milepost rituals and ghastly attractions.
OBX B A N K OCTOBER 24 10 AM - 1 PM
Vanishing colonists. Deadly shipwrecks. Murdering pirates. If any place has potential to be wildly haunted by the walking dead, it’s the Outer Banks — especially around Halloween when ghouls and beasties rise up to work a host of ghastly attractions. We’ve gathered all the options, from family friendly to fully frightening. But don’t worry: the hired ghosts are all playing dress-up. ( Just be sure to keep an eye out for any real spirits that may have slipped in.) — Katrina Leuzinger
Ghosts of the Lost Colony
DECEMBER 2 THRU JANUARY 23 Wednesdays to Saturdays in December (Fridays and Saturdays in January)
6 PM - 9 PM
OPEN DAILY Complete calendar online at:
Can’t wait to get started on the hair-raising high-jinks? Join the Lost Colony’s team of “Astral Plane Investigators” as they search for spirits haunting Fort Raleigh National Park. Starting in Sept., this nighttime ghost tour takes you through the woods and down to the beach, then backstage at the Waterside Theater in a hunt for paranormal hot spots. Learn about the history of the Roanoke Island settlement and longrunning drama from the “ghosts” lurking in the area. It’s fun and educational — a favorite for school field trips — but grownups, don’t fret: frequent jokes will still keep you in stitches.
Scream Rating: (More howls of laughter than screams of fear.) Open: Thurs. to Sat., Sept. 3-19 More at: www.thelostcolony.org
Draped in Black, a Lantern Tour of Island Farm From the graveside celebrations of Dia de los Muertos to the candlelit vigils of All Saints Day, Halloween has always been a time to revere, celebrate and fear the dead. Every fall, Manteo’s Island Farm explores the curious rituals and customs of mourning in the Victorian era. Enter the house of a grieving widow, where friends and neighbors have gathered to share their traditions and history with visitors to the farm. Bolder souls can even take a tour of the graveyard by lantern light. Scream Rating: (The biggest scare is your own mortality.) Open: Nov. 6-7; 7-9pm More at: www.theislandfarm.com
PsychoPath Come Oct., the Lost Colony shuts down the drama and cranks up the crazy. Four centuries ago, the colonists on Roanoke Island vanished without a trace. PsychoPath follows in their footsteps — and wanders the same forest — as terrifying creatures creep through the shadows. Now in its third year, “Head Psycho” and Lost Colony CEO Bill Coleman promises “a lot more scares” and a much longer experience. In addition to wandering the woods, a 6,000 square foot sound stage awaits, packed to capacity with chilling thrills. All together, the terrifying trail can take an extra 15 to 20 minutes — depending on if you’re calmly strolling along or running for your life. So what exactly is it that they’ve added? Says Coleman: “The culmination of all our psychotic thoughts...” (Insert maniacal laughter here.) (You’ll be sleeping Scream Rating: with the lights on.) Open: Fri. & Sat. in Oct.; dusk ’til 11pm More at: www.thelostcolony.org Outer Banks Halloween Parade of Costumes at Kelly’s Halloween costumes began as a way to blend in with the ghosts and spirits walking the earth. Today, it’s a way to slip out of your skin and become something different. On Oct. 25 the 2nd Annual Halloween Parade of Costumes gathers fun-loving freaks of all ages to march around Kelly’s, then party inside. “We wanted to bring back the fun and excitement of Halloween that we felt as kids,” says founder Matt Artz. “And provide a safe atmosphere to celebrate the positive traditions of our favorite season.” Spooky surprises include live music, trickor-treating, a haunted hearse — and over $2,500 in prizes for best costume by age group. Get to work now: last year’s event drew more than 100 dressed-up competitors. (Bring the little goblins Scream Rating: and ghouls — but expect to see some scary-real costumes.) Open: Sun., Oct. 25; 2pm More at: www.obxentertainment.com
Exotic Erotic Ball at The Outer Banks Brewing Station At a certain age, nightly mischief becomes less about goodie bags and more about good times. And there’s no better place to find tricks and treats than the Brewing Station’s Exotic Erotic Ball. When co-owner Eric Reece moved here from San Francisco in the late ’90s, he decided to bring San Francisco’s penchant for sexy outfits along with him. Today, he says, it’s “the longest running, biggest Halloween party on the beach.” It’s also probably the naughtiest, full of pumping music, intoxicating drink specials and plenty of locals pushing the limits of common decency — and costume stitching — with cash prizes awarded for “Most Exotic” and “Most Erotic.” Scream Rating: (More boozy cleavage than bloody cleavers.) Open: Oct. 31; 9pm More at: www.obbrewing.com McHorney’s Odditorium McHorney’s owns the dubious distinction of being the only attraction that’s actually haunted. Built in 1790, this recently renovated historic farmhouse was even investigated by Tidewater Paranormal. “We were trying to figure out the identity of a spirit in a room upstairs,” recalls researcher Phil Payette, “and a disembodied voice with an accent replied very clearly ‘grandmother.’” That may have been Sarah Louisa McHorney, who was buried in the family plot out back in 1916. Curiously, her coffin doesn’t rest in front of her headstone, but is turned sideways and settled in front of two other graves. More macabre discoveries are on display inside the house — including bone saws and a civil war bayonet. Other items were donated to the Odditorium, such as eerie artwork, a fetal sheep in a snow globe, old dolls
and taxidermy animals. McHorney’s is still finalizing the details of their Halloween event; plan on a party and personal tours — where a spectral guide might appear at anytime. (Unsettling exhibits Scream Rating: and ethereal tour guides.) Open: TBD. More at: www.mchorneys.com Wanchese Woods Haunted Trail In a season of fearsome options, The Wanchese Haunted Trail is arguably the most frightening. Grown men are known to shriek like schoolgirls on this winding path through darkened marshes filled with horrifying creatures, like the Wanchese Wampus — illuminated by little more than humanity’s worst nightmares. “There’s nothing more terrifying then an area so thickly wooded you can barely see in front of you,” says local Bob Kissel. “You’re sure to be spooked every step you take.” If that wasn’t terrifying enough, Halloween night they kill the lights entirely, sending their victims through almost blind. And with more actors on site and new areas to explore, this year’s trail promises to be even more terrifying. “We tried to get a little bit of everyone’s worst fears,” says owner Bud Elkins. “We’ve made it a lot more intense.” Too much? This year, they’ve also added a “PG version” called Boo Acres, which tones down the scare tactics for the kids — while still letting adults cry for their mamas. Scream Rating: drawers.)
(Bring a change of
Open: Every Fri. and Sat. in Oct.; dusk ’til Midnight
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For Reuben Margolin, every wave is overhead. Photo: Pamela Palma
I grew up in Berkley, California tinkering and making stuff. One day I got inspired by a little caterpillar. I liked how its body didn’t lengthen, but a wave of energy passed right through it, and that caused forward movement. It seemed like a fantastic way to move — and also a challenge that would require some math and some carpentry and some design. So I spent a couple of years making a large, mechanical caterpillar out of wood and some Ford Escort windshield wiper motors. Later, it occurred to me that it would be a lot easier if I wasn’t constrained to the ground. And that led quickly to my first overhead sculpture.
Since 2003, I’ve made something like 20 different wave sculptures. The largest is Nebula, which is in the lobby of the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas. It’s almost 100 feet long. And the undulating part is made up of 14,000 bicycle reflectors. It took about two years to build. The smallest was a little hand-cranked one that was a couple feet and weighed 20 pounds. Nebula weighs 14,000 pounds. So they’re all pretty different.
It is it physics or art? To me it’s not a particularly important distinction. I’m trying to make something beautiful — so I guess it’s art in that sense. It definitely requires some engineering and math and knowledge of physics — so it’s physics. And then it’s also just this physical love of making stuff. It’s great cutting a piece of wood by hand. It’s great to have a milling machine and cut a nice notch in a piece of aluminum.
ART IN MOTION
roadmap Making waves with kinetic sculptor — and 2015 DASH gokite
I got inspired by a little caterpillar. It seemed like a fantastic way to move.
I draw on things that I might have seen in nature — raindrops, or the way a tree is moving or the contours of a flame or waves on the beach. But if you’re making a natural movement mechanically, then you’re very quickly into the world of material. And that might be wood or steel or plastic. And almost all have some amount of pulleys and strings and motors. Each ring in the Cambrian Wave pictured here has its own motor, and because these motors all go different speeds, the sculpture is pretty much non-repeating. When I first turned it on, I was reminded of the wiggly creatures that flourished during the Cambrian Period. They had so many arms and legs that even their fossils seem to have movement.
We see waves everywhere. From the change in seasons to tides to light and dark, everything cycles. So the reality is the Earth is much more dynamic than just being round or flat — wavy is probably a more accurate term. I’ve made a life of studying waves. So when I got invited by the Coastal Studies Institute to come speak at this October’s DASH Symposium, I thought, “They like waves. I like waves. That makes sense.”
Symposium keynote speaker — Reuben Margolin.
Ultimately, it’s just the movement and the beauty of movement that I’m interested in, and that keeps me going. And there are two different words in the English language: “rut” and “groove.” You can say you’re “in a rut,” which is a bad thing. Or you can be “in a groove,” which is a good thing. But you’re still in some sort of track. For me, the more I study waves — and the more I see them — it’s a groove, so I have no interest in doing something different. But we’ll see — everything cycles. To hear Reuben Margolin describe his sculptures and process firsthand, be at the COA Auditorium on Oct. 2 at 4pm, as he headlines DASH 2015: Boats and Boards, Ripples and Waves. Established in 2013 by the Coastal Studies Institute, DASH is a bi-annual, academic symposium exploring the intersection of art and science. This year’s event takes place Oct. 1-3, alongside the 4th Annual Surfalorus Film Festival, co-hosted by Dare County Arts Council. Learn more at www.surfalorus.com and www.darearts.org. milepost 21
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Four ways to help crank up the local music scene.
graphiccontent The Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts
Outer Banks Patrons of the Arts
In 1983, a group of residents got tired of driving to Norfolk for a taste of culture and began looking for ways to import talent here. Today, the Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts funds seven offseason performances at First Flight High School, from fast-paced musical theatre ensembles to perfectly tuned symphonies. But the players don’t just entertain local audiences, they provide youth workshops at area schools, filling the hallways with music while stopping gaps in the budget.
Looking for something a little more intimate? Perhaps a private concert in the coziness of your living room? Then maybe it’s time you joined Outer Banks Patrons of the Arts.
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“Given cuts in public schools across the state,” says Forum President Eddie Cooke, “we’re certainly lucky to have led successful fundraising in collaboration with Currituck and Dare County.” So how can you help? Start by dropping $28 ($15 for students) to attend one of the Saturday night performances — such as Sept. 19’s Pirates of Penzance. Even better, purchase a season pass for $120. Or, if you’re a business owner, sign up for a sponsorship. No dough? Volunteer to help with tickets and seating. More at www.outerbanksforum.org.
Each year about 60 local music fans pool funds to bring in international names. For a $150 membership, they enjoy two salonstyle performances in a member’s home. Meanwhile, local students get their own show — and the lasting benefits of hearing them play firsthand. But getting worldtouring titans to our podunk town takes more than just a few thousand bucks. And that’s where you can help the Patrons seal the deal with some homegrown hospitality. “We lure them in by offering free airport pick-up,” says co-founder Debbie-Lyn Calvino. “And we get beach homes donated, homemade meals, a car to use — we make the most with what we have.” This year’s the perfect opportunity to help the cause as they celebrate their 10th anniversary with the return of Soyeon Kate Le in October and Soo Bae in March. To find out how you can chauffer an artist, serve food, or become a full-fledged patron, go to www.obpatrons.org.
Members of the Mustang Outreach Program put some jam in their spring. Photo: Roy Edlund
Every rock star was once a curious kid. The biggest band geeks started out borderline tone deaf. But with time and practice — and exposure to expert players — any musical rookie can become a maestro. But what if no professional talents are available to perform? And where do you go when there’s no money for lessons or instruments? Amped on their commitment to Outer Banks’ music culture, four organizations work tirelessly to help would-be professionals with tools and training — in hopes of taking the local sound scene to new levels. With your help, they can keep it growing like one giant, joyous crescendo. — Jim Gould
The Motu Music Foundation
Mustang Outreach Program
Learning your craft takes time and patience. It also takes cash, from paying for lessons to buying instruments. That’s where the Motu Music Foundation comes in.
Are you ready to rock? Created in 2012, the Mustang Outreach Program aims to supplement musical course offerings in public schools by focusing on live performance. With the help of Motu Music Foundation — and funding from local concerts like October’s Mustang Music Festival — they support a space in Kitty Hawk where kids hone their skills under the spotlight.
“A big part of our mission is to break down financial barriers that keep the youth from realizing their musical genius,” says Motu’s Co-Founder, Shelli Gates. “With the help of local sponsors we provide affordable lessons to kids who meet public school free and reduced lunch requirements.” Tapping guitar talents like Ruth Wyand and Joe Mapp, pianist Cathy Kreplin, and drummer Joey Lafountaine, Motu offers instruction in instrument, voice, songwriting, live audio, sound engineering, theory, live performance and music history. They also offer affordable rates to financially strapped adults. Wanna play along? Donate your dusty drum set or six-string. Share any leftover mike stands or chairs. Or drop a few bucks to sponsor students, teachers and repairs. Or, if you know a few things about musical notes, volunteer to drop some knowledge on a future phenom. More at www.motumusic.org.
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“We don’t just teach them how to play,” says enthusiastic co-founder, Mike Dianna, “we help develop their stage presence.” Come October, players even get to take the main stage, opening for major Mustang acts like Rusted Root and Keller Williams. And you can help encourage their progress by donating gear, offering up a space for practice or gigs, or contributing crucial cash to the charitable organization. Or, just go cheer them on in-person. As Dianna notes, “There’s so much room for music culture to grow on the Outer Banks. And it’s so easy to support — just take the time to attend any musical performance near you.” More at www.mustangoutreach.org.
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As Dare County’s Emergency Management Director, Sandy Sanderson was prepared for every tropical system. Now he wants you to do the same.
Sandy Sanderson only held two Outer Banks jobs in 40 years. But what he did with those two positions still impacts every level of public safety. As a Nags Head police officer hired in the late 70s, the Moyock native and Navy vet helped train the first EMTs, institute helicopter medical flights and create the whole ocean rescue program — including being the first coastal community in America to employ jet skis and ATVs. And he took the same approach as Dare County’s Director of Emergency Management: using technology and teamwork to solve problems before they could happen. But with one big difference.
“Once I turned in my blue siren, if you had to call me, we were talking about some major problems,” laughs the 69-year-old Kill Devil Hills resident. “Usually hurricanes.” A lot of them. Beginning in 1993, Sanderson led the evacuation and recovery for every landfalling system from Emily to Arthur — and all the near-misses in between. Along the way, he helped Dare County earn a national reputation for hurricane preparedness. In August 2014, Sanderson retired, handing the reins to former Coast Guard captain and current director, Drew Pearson. But with the Atlantic experiencing one of the quietest tropical seasons in recent memory, it seemed like the perfect time to ask Sanderson how Dare County handles disasters. So the next time a storm has us in its cross hairs, we know what to expect — and how to react.
“That’s what Emergency Management is all about,” says Sanderson. “Making sure that you’re getting information into the public’s hands so they can make good decisions. After that, it’s up to them.” — Matt Walker milepost
Well, the decision-making responsibility still belongs with the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for the county and the mayors within the municipalities. But they’re looking to Emergency Management as a guide. And I have a “ready book” of everything that can possibly happen to you or me during a storm event, from five days out until long-term recovery. It’s probably 30 pages. And it covers everything the emergency manager should be prepared for. What was the first hurricane you had to deal with?
So y’all run the show when it hits the fan.
With 19 named storms, seasons like 2010 kept Sanderson glued to the radar. (Even without a single landfalling system.) Photo composite by NHC/NOAA.
MILEPOST: What does the Director of Emergency Management do? And how did the job change over your tenure? SANDY SANDERSON: Well, technology is a big part of the evolution through my 20 years. In 1993, computers were just becoming a part of emergency management for public safety. Now we’ve transitioned into having cameras all over the county so you can see the road traffic in real time. But management’s function stayed primarily the same. You’re charged with evaluating and protecting the county for all hazards — hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding. So, there’s a lot of plan writing. A lot of interaction with the state and FEMA to ensure that all the plans are current. Making sure the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is staffed and has the necessary equipment and is able to sustain itself during a disaster. Then, when we are declared a state of emergency, we provide information to all the other municipalities and our supporting agencies.
Emily in 1993. Emily was a Category 3 that veered just offshore. So we probably got 110-mph winds in Hatteras up to about Oregon Inlet. It was a fairly severe impact. And back then we were just beginning to use Hurrevac — the hurricane tracking program that FEMA produced. At the time, 72 hours was as far out as it would project track and intensity. But it gave us a pretty good idea. So we had a full-blown evacuation for the county and we were able to ensure that everybody had plenty of time to secure their properties and get out. Describe the tension when it’s time to evacuate. I’m sure there’s pressure to say, “Do we really need to leave?” There really isn’t. Because we’ve developed what I call “the rules of engagement.” We have certain points that we follow for determining if we’re going to have an evacuation and how it evolves. One, we evacuate for all hurricanes — 74 mph and up. If at 48 hours it looks like the track of the storm is going to impact anywhere in Dare County, that will trigger an evacuation. And every evacuation is mandatory. We also try to make sure that we start our evacuations at early daylight to ensure everyone has time to get out. And once you’ve made those determinations, it becomes relatively easy to make the decision. What happens inside the operations center? Are you all locked down? Usually, at five days out I’d bring in support room staff. I’m briefing the county manager, health department, public information officer, public works, sheriff, EMS, DOT,
park service — there’s about 30 different agencies that play an important role in not only the evacuation but the aftermath. At 72 hours, if it looks like the storm is going to impact us, I bring in the control group, which are the mayors, the sheriff, the chairman of the board. They’ve been getting information already, but now we’re sitting at a table eyeball-to-eyeball, and I’m briefing them on situational awareness. Giving them timelines, giving them options. They don’t stay; they go back to their respective municipalities and make their plans. Then we’re back around the table the next day. And if nothing’s changed, evacuation starts at 6am. There’s usually only two or three meetings with the control group before a decision is made. Because using the tracking system we have and the parameters that we’ve established, it’s pretty cut and dried. We come in, we look at the information, we look at the track, and if it meets the criteria, it’s “Let’s go.” Is it pretty uniform for coastal communities to pull the trigger to evacuate at 48 hours? No it isn’t. Tampa or even the Tidewater area has to consider extending that timeline — probably even by two days because of their population density. Hampton Roads plays into our decision-making because their road system affects our evacuation. Probably 70 percent of the people who come here come down Highway 158 through Currituck. And they’d like to go out the same way. So we have conversations with Tidewater every day there’s a storm threat so we can expand our timeline if we have to. And if they say, “Okay, we’re going to shut down our evacuation corridor to 158 traffic because the volume is to heavy,” then we implement a plan to send everyone out through Elizabeth City on 17 and hit 95. When you hear that, it sounds like Virginia’s saying, “Screw you people. We’re getting ours out first.” But otherwise, you’d have people sitting in traffic. The goal for Emergency Management is to have everybody out by the time gale force winds — 40-mph winds — affect you. We also have a plan to reverse the traffic from Kitty Hawk at a certain point. If for some reason we got stuck in a Hampton Roads evacuation and we could see that
traffic’s not moving on 158, we send you out on 64 toward 95. But it still comes back to individuals making their own decisions. Fortunately for us, our huge population base — which is our visitors — will leave. We have no problems with visitors. We put up the flags for evacuation and they’re gone. It then becomes our 30,000 or so people who live here year round. And from Oregon Inlet north, it seems like nobody evacuates. Why is that?
“The best minds in the world often get fooled [by the] track of the storm.”
We have made multiple attempts to determine what factors keep people here. And it runs the gamut from “we don’t have any way to take care of our pets,” to — Sandy “we don’t have Sanderson money,” to “we don’t have a place to go.” But the biggest one is, “I won’t be able to get back.” Which, when you think about it: How crazy is that? Because what we’re telling you is, “Leaving is your best opportunity to save your life.” And you’re telling us, “I can’t leave because I might not get back.” [laughs] Is that a coastal thing? Or is it an Outer Banks thing? No, it’s a universal thing. You go down to the Florida Keys, they say the same thing: “We’ve been through three hurricanes and never had any problems.” And that’s unfortunate, because every storm has its own characteristics. A good example is Arthur last year. Arthur came ashore south of us as a Category 2. But it was moving so fast it didn’t cause that much damage, comparatively. But the next Category 2 could be a slow-moving, 8-mph hurricane, and that’s going to cause some major damage. Because you’re gonna go through probably two or three high tides. If that does happen you may see some dramatic loss of life. You have to realize you live on a barrier island. You’re living on a sand pile.
On your next visit to the Outer Banks, relive the first one.
amily vacations have changed drastically in 425 years. Now, it’s adventure, history and fun for the whole family. Board the Elizabeth II, explore the Settlement Site, American Indian Town, Adventure Museum, films, performances, Museum Store and more.
Located in Manteo, 5 miles from Nags Head
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questionauthority Mother Nature doesn’t even recognize the Outer Banks as a landmass.
And it’s a source of frustration for people…
And the best minds in the world often get fooled about where the track of the storm is going to go. Before Hurricane Floyd, I was in the National Hurricane Center in Miami as part of what they call a hurricane liaison team. They felt like it was going to be a Gulf storm. So they activated the guys on the East Coast to come down and talk to the people in the Gulf. I’d been down there two days when the director said, “Fellas, I think you need to go home.” [laughs]. So I packed my bags very quickly. I got home just in time to open the Emergency Operations Center in Manteo and activate our control group and decision makers and make the decision to evacuate. I don’t think I slept for three days. It was just bam-bam-bam. But that’s how fickle a hurricane can be.
Well, the fact is for a lot of the businesses it’s business as usual. They feel like they can go get in line and do their nine-to-five job using the emergency ferry. And they get upset when they don’t get priority to go fix a commode in a rental house. So yeah, it creates some problems. And sometimes we’ve been a little reluctant to let the residents back in a timely fashion, with regard to their mindset. They feel like: “The wind’s died down, I want to be able to go back home.” Well, if the wind’s died down, but I can’t get you back home because the road’s closed or you don’t have power, then I don’t need to put you there. Because then I have to support you. And I can’t support you.
What’s the worst storm you’ve seen?
Your health, your way. Here at home. Life on the Outer Banks is pretty special. So special, in fact, that most of us don’t want to leave. And, why should we? With The Outer Banks Hospital, we have access to excellent specialty services — orthopedic surgery, cancer treatment, women’s care and more. Backed by the combined strength of Vidant Health and Chesapeake Regional Medical Center, the right care is right here.
Well, I’ve been rather fortunate in the fact that over 22 years, no one ever died from an actual hurricane landfall. Though we have had people die from doing stupid things after the storm. But Isabel was probably the worst as far as the damage and potential for loss of life. And then the recovery process pushed us to the limits to be able to support Hatteras Village after the inlet cut through. If we hadn’t put the emergency ferry system in place, it would’ve been astronomically more difficult.
What’s the biggest headache — before, during or after?
For us, for me, it was after the storm. Because we’re doing damage assessment. We’re positioning ourselves to recover. You’ve got all the FEMA and state people coming in and doing assessments. You’ve got a population you’ve got to support. You’ve got logistics, logistics, logistics. The other part of our situation is when we lose NC 12 and we go into our emergency ferry operation, then we become the manager of that system. And we have to prioritize who gets on the ferry, from the fuel hauler to the medical emergency to the doctor’s appointment to the wedding that’s happening. All those things become important to somebody. But there’s only 600 cars we can take on that ferry every day. No matter how you cut it.
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Oh yeah. Social media just eats you alive. They say, “Why won’t they let people back in? The water’s on, the power’s on, the road’s open.” But it doesn’t bother me one bit. The thing I learned a long time ago is: once you evacuate, you don’t run back in. You walk back in. Very slowly. What’s your take on the Weather
The Outer Banks Hospital is a joint venture between Vidant Health and Chesapeake Regional Medical Center
But after Irene, I remember people saying we opened too soon. It’s like a catch-22. And this place has so many Monday morning quarterbacks. Is that just part of the job?
They’re fun to watch. Do they overblow it? Heck, yeah. But the Weather Channel does give you a fairly good synopsis of the situation as it develops. And if I needed to evacuate Hatteras Island, I’d ask Jim Cantore to go down there and get on the air. That’s the beauty of Jim Cantore. He reaches millions of people. People may not like him here, but he’s effective. What do you think about longterm forecasts like Colorado State University’s? I don’t really give them a whole lot of credence. I mean, one storm in a season and we’re done. It’s nice to know there’s only a chance for eight storms. Because if the total is 20, then the percentage goes up for having to work. [laughs] But until you can tell me where a storm is gonna landfall, their predictions do absolutely nothing for
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Technically, Super Storm Sandy missed the Outer Banks in 2012. (Don’t tell that to Hatteras Island.) Photo Daniel Pullen
people in my position. But there is some good information on the Internet now. And the best thing an early warning system can say is, “There is a system in the Atlantic, it looks like it is tracking toward the East Coast, and you need to start paying attention.” What technology do you see moving forward? Is it drones? Cameras? I think drones will be a good after-impact tool. But the technology that will do us the most good is what the Hurricane Center is working on in terms of intensity. Because of the influx of the population on the coastal areas, we have a huge problem in defining who we need to evacuate. Diminishing that cone of area will help large coastal populations tremendously. And the ability to provide the public with real-time imagery on how deep the water’s going to be is huge. Because the guy who’s thinking, “I’ve been here 30 years, and I’ve never had water come up more than two feet” — well, now we can show him a picture. And it’s six feet deep. And it’s gonna happen in 24 hours. Normally, I feel like the Outer Banks is behind other places. But with hurricanes
it feels like we’re cutting edge — I guess because it’s what we have practice with. Yes. And we are looked at as a leader in being able to manage disasters — hurricanes primarily. I mean, I could do a hurricane from the back of my car. Give me a cell phone and a radio and I can run any hurricane that you can throw at me. But that’s the beauty of having that experience. What did that baseball pitcher say? “It ain’t bragging if you done it.” [laughs] Obviously, that’s going to be Drew Pearson’s job now. It is. But hurricanes are nothing new to Drew. He’s a retired coast guard captain and C-130 pilot who spent a number of years in Elizabeth City, so he knows the area. He went to Miami as the operations officer. And as the sector commander for Group San Juan, all the eastern Caribbean was his responsibility, so he’s seen a lot. He dealt with Hurricane Sandy. We’re blessed to have someone with his experience.
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So does he have the “ready book” now? Yes. [laughs] Drew’s got the ready book. And we’ve gone through it page by page.
The preceding interview was edited for space, flow and clarity. For the full conversation — including how EMTs first came to town and the finer details of ferries — go to www.outerbanksmilepost.com.
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fiction This man-eating, party animal won’t go away!
he sightings have been around for decades. A creature that’s half-man, half-goat, with a human torso and horns coming out of his head. He’s known to have cloven hooves that leave animal tracks instead of footprints. And yet, nobody’s confirmed his existence. Maybe that’s because he hides whenever someone approaches. Or maybe it’s because wise people run screaming if they think he’s around. Patrick Ertel would know. As the last person to have resided in Goatman’s home — the infamous “yellow house” in Nags Head Woods — he did both. And he lived to talk about it. Even laugh about it.
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“Because of the local mystique,” he recalls, “people were always coming to check out Goatman. It was one very longggg summer.”
It’s no wonder Outer Bankers’ imaginations run a bit wild. With 428 years of collective history — and a whole bunch of boring off-seasons — a little creative storytelling helps pass the time. (Even if it does stretch the truth.) In an attempt to bust a few myths and confirm oddball facts, we thought we’d track down the stories behind our favorite rumors and legends. Because true, false or somewhere in-between, they all make real life a lot more interesting. Today, Ertel is a 38-year-old resource analyst for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. But 15 years ago, he was an intern for The Nature Conservancy, owner of the 1,111-acre Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve. Ertel spent that summer alone in the tiny, yellow wooden cabin on the edge of Old Nags Head Woods Road. Late at night, bold high schoolers would come by the cabin and roam around, searching nervously for the inscrutable villain. The extreme darkness — “as dark as dark could be,” Ertel recalls — exaggerated every noise and movement in the woods, making the notorious Goatman even more menacing. Meanwhile, Ertel cowered in bed, equally fearful of what was going on outside. He would often wake up to see evidence of their nighttime exploits in the extinguished campfires and beer cans strewn about. One night, Ertel, who had a bushy beard, answered a knock at the door. There stood a wide-eyed adolescent. (“He asked me flatout if I was Goatman.”) Others were less brave. They’d rap a few times, dash back to their cars and drive off — not realizing the road was a dead-end. “I would wait for them to drive back by,” Ertel says, chuckling at the memory. “Most of the time they were relieved to see I was human.” It is not clear when the legend took hold, but Nags Head Woods has long been a magnet for young people who want to do what young folks like to do in scary places at night: drinking, smoking and canoodling. Certainly, the story’s circulated for at least 30 years — mostly among people who went to school on the Outer Banks’ northern beaches. To some, Goatman’s the evil halfgoat, half-man creature with satanic habits, and to others he’s just a very mean old man
who wants to kill cats and the occasional, clueless freshman. Whatever he looks like, whoever he hurts, he always lives in the same place. “I think all the locals and the kids know [The Yellow House] as Goatman’s house,” says Aaron McCall, northeast regional steward for The Nature Conservancy. “It does spark stories.” The Yellow House was built about 50 years ago by a Manteo man to use as a retreat. Today, it is owned jointly by the town of Nags Head and the Conservancy. About six years ago, the Conservancy wanted to tear it down, but the town objected — a sign of its sentimental value. McCall says the place needs new plumbing and electrical wiring, but the costly restoration is not being considered. For the time being, the vacant building has been secured with bars on the window and door and is minimally maintained. He says he repaints the house about once a year — or sooner if it gets vandalized with graffiti.
his propensity to slaughter people engaging in lascivious acts. Others are quite tame. The earliest account mentions nothing more than an eccentric old man with a penchant for goats. Couch says he tracked the origin of this myth to an odd character named Ches McCartney, who wandered around America from 1930 until 1968 in a rickety wagon pulled by his own portable petting zoo. Over time, the stories morphed from a semi-nutball with a nomadic lifestyle into a blood-thirsty monster with multiple addresses.
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“There are Goatmans all over the county, but until my book, no one ever pieced them together,” says Couch, who was thrilled to add North Carolina to the list of sites. “So every town seems to think Goatman is their Goatman.”
McCartney passed away in 1998, but that doesn’t mean Goatman died with him. Couch notes there are dozens of other eyewitness reports of a horn-headed monster According to McCall, “One time it said ‘The in numerous states, especially Maryland, Texas and Wisconsin. And just like our Nags Goatman lives here.’” Head Woods Goatman, the encounters often But that’s not the only place Goatman calls happen in places where kids like to party. home. Paranormal researcher, J. Nathan Since half-man, half-goat creatures are Couch has tracked stories of the creature from his home in Wisconsin throughout the a biological impossibility (as far as we know!), and no fossil remains have been country. And while he says the specifics found to prove otherwise, Couch says of each tale change from state to state — the only other explanation for sightings including sightings by credible people of strange goat-like creatures with glowing red is “something paranormal.” Or perhaps it’s something even more troubling: your eyes — they all share a similar theme. typical bored and mischievous teen out after “It seems to be if they’re not after children, midnight. it would be teenagers, couples or pets,” As one anonymous commenter posted on explains the 33-year-old author, whose a local chat site last year: “Our Goatman book, Goatman: Flesh or Folklore?, came legend is pretty vague. Mostly, [it’s] just out in October 2014. something to scare younger kids or to freak someone out when they’re f----d up.” The juiciest folk story actually calls Goatman the “Lover’s Lane Monster,” after — Catherine Kozak milepost 29
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ighter pilots are famous for being brave under fire. Ice-cold in a battle. Even a bit crazy on land. But they’re not necessarily known for being totally honest — at least when it comes to dazzling contemporaries with past accounts of daring-do.
We can’t blame you, then, for snickering at claims that that our humble, Dare County Regional Airport produced one of World War II’s winningest batch of Navy aviators. Especially, a hell-raising squadron of aces who sported red scarves, pirate insignias and called themselves “the Jolly Rogers.” But, in this case, VF-17’s tales are fully documented — or at least the numbers are. According to Tom Blackburn’s book The Jolly Rogers, “In all, during VF-17’s two combat tours under my command, we were credited with 154.5 Japanese airplanes destroyed, 27 probably destroyed, and 25 damaged. Until then, no U.S. Navy or Marine fighter pilot squadron in World War II had done as well.” As to the origin story of these heroes? That’s where the truth performs a few acrobatic twists. Like most Atlantic carrier squadrons, VF-17’s home base was actually Norfolk Air Station at Oceana. And the name? It came more from their planes than an affinity for the Carolina coast, as the squadron leader looked to brand their new style of craft — the Vought F4U Corsair — with a fitting, fearsome mascot. “My thought was since we were to be a Corsair squadron, we’d have a piratical theme,” Blackburn writes. “In short order, someone worked up a sinister black flag emblazoned with a stark white skull and
crossbones [which] appeared on our engine cowlings.”
Of course, with a name like that, you’re bound to breed trouble. And after a few close calls buzzing towers and surprising other pilots with fake attacks, they were sent to Naval Auxiliary Air Station at Manteo to finish training while they waited the completion of their carrier, Bunker Hill. And they took full advantage of their newfound freedom.
“Our gunnery range was available as soon as we reached altitude,” Blackburn writes, ”for the station was immediately adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean. The many uninhabited islets that dotted the Currituck Sound had no wildlife and were thus ideal targets for our ground-strafing practice… and we had it virtually to our ourselves…” Blackburn would credit “unlimited air-toair dogfights and other grab-ass” to their high kill rate in the South Pacific. But for all their professed love, the Jolly Rogers were no more local to Manteo than the 20 other squadrons that made their way down here, where landing over water on short runways was great practice for later carrier operations. “It was a pretty routine rotation,” says John Ratzenberger, Volunteer Curator,
Photo: Ira Kepford
mythbusters! MYTH: Dare County generates more tax money for the state than it receives back in funding.
t on it.
“But Dare County is a donor county!” It’s a war cry guaranteed to come up in debate over funding Highway 12, building bridges or redistributing taxes — or just about any political chest-thumping that involves getting money from the state. But what does it mean? Well, that depends on how you add it — and who you ask. “We have collected more than $80 million in sales tax revenues for the state over the last 10 years,” says County Manager Bobby Outten. “And there is no way to know how much state income tax has been paid based on the money made here, but it has to be a lot.” That’s more than many less fortunate counties — especially per capita. So if it’s simply a matter of whether Dare County residents are pulling their weight, there’s really no doubt. But that’s not the myth in question. According to local legend, our wee coastal community gives more total revenue to the capital than we receive in funding. And that’s where the math starts to get fuzzy. Because the state sends us a ton of dough.
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Dare County Regional Airport Museum. “A lot of small squadrons were sent here for a final work up before they deployed. So while the misbehaving makes for a good story, the reality is everybody came through some little station like this all over the East Coast.” Still, none had the same success rate as “the Jolly Rogers.” And few had the same reputation for flaunting military decorum. In fact, ‘Blackburn’s Irregulars’ love of sporting beards, smuggling beers and chasing tail was enough to grant local status even without a pirate flag. But there’s an even stronger connection: a man named Lt. Sheldon Ray Beacham — aka the “Kitty Hawk Kid.” Not only was he the squadron’s only Outer Banks native, he was also the
first to draw blood. According to Blackburn, “Ray Beacham spotted a pair of Zeros making gentle S turns below his port bow… Ray followed in his heavier, faster-diving Corsair and fired a solid burst from 200 yards dead astern. The Zeke blew up at about 5,000 feet. We later determined this to be the squadron’s first kill.” And that’s a proud fact no one can dispute. — Matt Walker
The truth behind VF-17, the fightingest pilots to call Manteo home
Start with roads: Maintaining NC 12 cost more than $100 million between 2001 and 2012 — call that $9 mil a year. And the soon-tohopefully-be-replaced Bonner Bridge? Total price is estimated to be at least $250 million. Spread out over a 50-year lifetime, that’s still $5 million annually — and it doesn’t include the future spans at Rodanthe and New Inlet. Then there’s education: in 2014-15, the school system received $29.3 million in state funding. And, according to Dare County’s 2013-14 audit, another $11 million in state grants went to support the county — with more grants awarded to the towns in varying amounts. Of course, it’s not all that simple. Some state money actually comes from Uncle Sam — including the Federal Highway Fund — and other revenues have been appropriated in previous years. And there are other cash sources that flow back to the capital. (A total of 79,302 Coastal Recreational Fishing Licenses were sold in Dare County in 2013, generating $1.2 mil — and only 6,493 were sold to locals.) In fact, there’s so much moolah washing around on an annual basis, it would take an entire team of accountants and tax lawyers to figure out exact totals on who spends and who benefits. (And you thought splitting a tab with your in-laws was painful.) But here’s what we do know: just our rudimentary calculations indicate that, on an annual basis, at least $50 million comes from the capital or gets channeled through Raleigh for Dare County and its municipalities. And to date — despite years of vocal claims and local hunches — nobody’s crunched numbers to prove we send a penny more back. (But that doesn’t mean folks will stop repeating it.) — Sandy Semans milepost 31
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“We used to drive over from Coinjock to play with my aunt and uncle’s animals,” remembers local radio personality, Lisa Brickhouse Davis. “One day they called and said, ‘Get over here! These new kittens are the most unique thing you’ll ever see.’”
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According to Lisa, half were just like normal kittens. Short ears, long tails. But the other half were peculiar. The noses were pinker. The fur snow white. Eyes brighter blue. But the back-ends were what really stood out.
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“Instead of tails, they had little puffs,” Davis continues. “They leaned back on their haunches as opposed to sitting straight up. And when you called them, they would hop like rabbits. So we all called them ‘catarabbits.’” It made sense — at least back then. After all, the aunt and uncle kept a yard full of domesticated rabbits — which are notoriously productive. They also had a bunch of fertile, unfixed cats. To an innocent 10-year-old, the idea of two different species making babies sounded no stranger than talk of a stork or “the birds and the bees.” But this is no isolated tale of one girl’s imagination gone wild. And it’s no Wanchese wives’ tale either. The legend of catarabbits — or as they’re often called, “cabbits” — reaches far, wide and surprisingly deep.
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eah, sure, unicorn. Bye-bye basilisk. Get outta here, griffin. We’ve discovered a mythical creature that possesses even greater magical powers. A critter so cute. So cuddly. So friggin’ adorable, it will melt your face. (Or at least lick it.) And unlike those four-legged posers, this story’s 100 percent real — born in the depths of Wanchese 35 years ago. And like most curious mysteries, it all begins with a frantic phone call.
According to Sarah Hartwell’s Cabbits — What Are They?, the first documented depiction of a hare-feline hybrid goes back to 1712. In The Natural History of Northamptonshire, John Morton writes of an inn where “they had a Creature in the Fore-part of it a Cat, in the Hinder-part a Rabbet, that came of a She Cat, which had coupled with a Buck-Rabbet at a neighbouring House.” And in 1845, in An
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Historical and Statistical Account of the Isle of Man, Joseph Train reports of other cabbit cases, writing, “My observations leave little doubt on my mind of its being a mule, or crosses between the female cat and the buck rabbit.” Over the years, the legend reproduced and spread across the world, from South Africa to Spain, where they’re called gatonejos — gato is cat; conejo is rabbit — to the U.S., with sightings from New Jersey’s Great Swamp to the Potomac River to late night television. In fact, right about the time Lisa was meeting her future pet, “Snowball,” a man named Val Chapman was taking his “cabbit” on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. (It was later determined to be a cat with a birth defect that caused it to move in a hopping fashion.) But the most famous cabbit is a Japanese cartoon and comic book character named Ryo-Ohki. Floppy-eared and cotton-tailed, Ryo-Ohki’s special power is — of course — shapeshifting. It is also known for a love of carrots. Both would make sense to Davis as Snowball would change personalities — and diets — at will. “My dad would be cleaning fish and Snowball and my other cat would come around,” she recalls. “But my mom swears she saw it eat lettuce, too. [laughs]” But, alas, for all the firsthand accounts, the catarabbit myth suffers one fatal flaw: science. Just as an eagle and a lion can’t make a griffin, a bunny and a Burmese can’t make kittens. As Hartwell notes, “All but four of the cat species have 19 pairs of chromosomes while the rabbit has 22 pairs (38 chromosomes in cats, 44 in rabbits)... [furthermore] the cat’s gestation period is double that of the rabbit.” And it’s not just the DNA that don’t add up. The two animals’ genitalia won’t
match either. No, to solve this mystery we must return to its birthplace — the aforementioned Isle of Man. This island between Ireland and Great Britain is also ground zero for a specific, mutant breed of tail-less cat called a “Manx.” And more than just having a truncated tail, it’s also known for having a gimpy gait. As Grace Cox-Ife says in Questions Answered About Cats, “not only must a Manx have no tail...but a rabbity hop rather than a walk — which is caused by the height of the hindquarters.” From here, genetics take hold, as the trait for tail-lessness is dominant in felines. Once it is introduced to the gene pool, it shows up frequently among offspring — with the potential to perpetuate the catarabbit myth with each surprising litter. Even if it’s only one time. “Those were the only catarabbits my uncle and aunt had,” says Davis. “But we all know the story. But then one cousin always talks about the ‘Ten-Toed Cats of Wanchese’ [laughs], so maybe they’re pulling my leg.” Actually, those critters are real. Multi-toed cats are called “polydactyls” and were considered good luck by mariners — who treasured their vermin-killing skills — and distributed them in ports all along the East Coast. (The world record is 27 toes.)
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But as to the catarabbit? Despite newspaper hoaxes, even modern-day Craigslist ads, a tail-less cat can only be two things: a relative of a Manx or a romantic fantasy. And yet, as Harding writes, “Regardless of the genetic impossibility, it seems that people want to believe in cabbits...just like they want to believe in the Easter Bunny.” But that’s another story. — Selina Kyle
othing tests the limits of human gullibility like a good, trick image. From gorilla-suited hitchhikers perpetuating Bigfoot on shaky Super 8 film — to blurry snapshots of a long-necked toy sub becoming the Loch Ness monster — a little bit of seeing can lead to millions believing. But Nessie only became “real” after a thousand years of Scottish lore. And Bigfoot roamed the Pacific Northwest for centuries before some grainy footage made believers out of Middle America. Proof that it’s never the image that sells the myth — it’s myths that sell the image. Same goes for the Outer Banks’ legendary fake photograph. “Jack Sandburg, the founder of the gallery, actually told me there’d always been some controversy around this image,” says Eve Turek, photographer and owner of the Yellowhouse Gallery. “He always felt that it couldn’t possibly be real. But lots of other folks told me, ‘Oh no. I’m from here. I was here for the Ash Wednesday storm and the waves were tremendous.’”
ann Photo: Linda Westerm
ER P P WHO N
The truth behind the Outer Banks’ most famous photo! know the photographer,’” recalls Turek, “At that moment, I just got cold chills. All I could think about was decades of deception — and the last couple years that I’d participated in it — if this person’s story were true.” But, like any good skeptic, Turek wasn’t about to be fooled again based on some stranger’s statement. Instead, she got the name of the photographer and made contact herself. She found a woman named Linda Westermann, who agreed to come down from Virginia to share her original image and how it was born.
And those who weren’t around had all heard about the mid-March nor’easter that left the island in shambles. So, when Turek bought the gallery and its inventory in 2005, she sold them as labeled. Until one day, when a customer approached the counter and called her out.
Turns out Linda wasn’t even here when the Atlantic’s most infamous nor’easter ripped open the shoreline. In fact, the Virginia girl spent only one summer here in 1972, just another college student waiting tables between semesters. She was also a photography major working on her portfolio.
“She said, ‘This isn’t Ash Wednesday; I
“One of her assignments was to create a
believable trick photograph,” says Turek. “So, on a gray day with a flat sky and no clouds, she photographed the cottage line in Kitty Hawk from a little bit of elevation. Then, on another gray day she photographed big waves — nor’easter type waves, not tsunami waves — squatting down at the water’s edge with a longer lens to compress depth of field and magnify the size.” Armed with a darkroom she set about making the final mirage by layering the wave over the foreground shot. Then she made a handful of prints. Some went to friends. At least one hung in a local restaurant. Then she went home to school and never came back. Meanwhile, the image assumed a life of its own. People who saw the stormy combo of huge surf and cowering beach boxes assumed it was the Ash Wednesday storm. Eventually, some sneaky Pete duped some prints — and the public — by adding a little white font on the foreground and sold it
to surf shops, fishing shacks and seafood shanties stamped, “Ash Wednesday Storm, March 7, 1962.” Thus assumption became rumor, rumor gelled into myth, myth turned to fact. At least until Turek discovered the truth. And she’s been working hard to reverse the rumor mill ever since — one sale at time. “I asked her to sign and date the copies,” says Turek, who now splits the proceeds of with Westermann. “And I told her I would tell her story again and again with each sale, which is what I do.” Not that it’s helped entirely. To this day, people will argue that she’s wrong. It’s possible that thousands of people, native and visitors, still see this hoax as living history. The irony? The only person she meant to deceive was the professor who’d given her the assigment. So did it work? “It did,” says Turek. “She got an A.” — Matt Walker
mythbusters! TJ’s sells more beer than any place on the Outer Banks. TJ’s Gas & Grill is like the supply depot for all of Colington Harbour. Since 1989, this fill-up station at the end of Colington Road has sold just about every essential you can think of, from fried chicken to fly swatters, and barely a vehicle or a bicycle can pass without turning in to get something.
“All the locals shop here,” says Judy Beasley, who owns the iconic business with her husband, Billy. “They’re in and out at least four or five times a day.” Add the summer clientele and Beasley says they go through vast quantities of all the essentials. Gas, food, smokes — and plenty of six-packs. According to Anthony Cook, area manager for City Beverage — which handles wholesales for Anheuser Busch, among other breweries —TJ’s sells a whopping 7,000 cases of their beer annually. That averages 472 cans of beer each day. And City Beverage is just one of several local distributors.
But as to the urban legend that TJ’s burns through more ice-cold suds than any Outer Banks retailer? It’s likely rooted more in the store’s colossal foot traffic — and Colington’s legendary consumption rates — than real numbers. Cook says the one-stop shop’s figures can’t touch the high volume at big grocery stores. At least on the Outer Banks. And while he’s not allowed to share his client’s actual figures, he will say this: “TJ’s does sell more than some of the Food Lions in Elizabeth City. As fast as we’re putting it in, they’re taking it out.” — Catherine Kozak
MYTH: Dare County gives out more DWI’s than anywhere in the state?
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Visit the Dare County Justice Center when District Court is in session and you’ll see a lot of disgruntled drivers. A good many bristling over drunken brushes with the law. “It’s a scam!” they cry. “This is how they make money! That’s why they give more DWI tickets than anywhere else!” Moneymaker? Sure. Scam? Maybe. But as to being the champion DUI-distributor of the whole free world? Not even close. According to North Carolina Administrative Offices of the Court statistics for 2013-14, law enforcement statewide wrote 57,261 tickets for Driving While Impaired and related offenses. Of those, the leader is Wake County, with a total of 5,591 tickets. Dare County? A paltry 527. In fact, 66 of the state’s 100 counties are credited with more DWIs, putting the Outer Banks in the bottom third of documented offenders. So just who are all these slurring swervers? According to demographic data, the largest season for citations state-wide is summer. The most active days are weekends. And the most common age is “barely legal.” (One-third of offenders — 18,923 — are men and women ages 18-26.) In fact, statistically speaking, the hottest ticket to the drunk tank is being a 20-year-old man or a 22-year-old woman out late on a weekend in August — so it’s easy to see how we earned our “come on vacation, stay on probation” reputation. So what sage advice does local law enforcement have? Simple. “Make sure you have a designated driver,” says Kill Devil Hills Assistant Police Chief Dana Harris. “Or take a taxi.” Otherwise, you’ll be calling a lawyer. — Sandy Semans
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here are fish tails — and then there are “fish tales.” But none compare to the whopper-sized “crab tales” of Lake Mattamuskeet. The 40,000acre shallow freshwater lake is a favorite spot for locals who patiently dangle chicken necks from long pieces of string to lure the always-hungry crustaceans. Ask someone who has gotten up-close and personal with the clawed monsters, and you’re liable to hear of fearsome beasts pushing a foot wide. So big, one Jimmy could feed a family of five — with plenty left over for breakfast. So are the stories true? Or are they just the product of people’s overactive imaginations? (Or underactive appetites.) Well, they may not quite be big enough to terrorize small towns, but the crabs found in the state’s largest freshwater lake certainly grow to epic proportions — big enough to be called “super-sized” by any normal standard.
According to state regulations, any blue crab you keep must be at least five inches wide. Ask any seasoned crab house worker what’s considered “large,” and they’ll say 5.75 inches from point-to-point. Ha! Those specs are puny by Mattamuskeet standards, where reports of nine inchers are not only common but confirmed by scientists. Some crabbing enthusiasts claim they’ve caught specimens up to 11 inches wide — more than twice the size of any mere “keeper.” Perhaps that’s why the US Fish and Wildlife Service, manager of the Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge, has imposed a daily catch limit of 12 crabs per day per person. (No crab pots or other traps allowed — just high-tech string and bait!) But a dozen of these jumbos are still enough to have a nice mess o’ crabs for a family dinner. So why are lake crabs larger than their cousins caught in the sound? Those are questions that crabbers and scientists have been mulling over for decades. Some have knowingly — wink, wink — loudly pronounced that it is because of the fertilizer in runoff from the surrounding farms. Others are quite certain that something was released in the soil many centuries ago when fire first burned out the area that is now the lake. Or, maybe aliens
brought them here from another planet! Or, it might just be the lake itself. Duke University’s Dan Rittschof studies the Mattamuskeet crabs with his students at the Nicholas School of the Environment’s Duke Lab in Beaufort. He believes one of the reasons for their bigger size may be the temperature of the water. “My theory is that because they are in cool fresh water, when they shed their old skins, they pump more water into their new ones and are taking longer to harden,” says the professor of marine science and conservation. Crabs — like other crustaceans, such as lobsters and shrimp — grow by molting periodically. Their shells pop open and they emerge from it and remain in a soft state for a short period of time. The crabs pump water into the soft shell to stretch it so that they have some growing room until it’s time to molt again. Some “jimmies” — the males of the species — are thought to repeat this process up to 20 times over the course of their lives. Each time they molt in cooler water, the more buff they’ll get. “Their front claws get really big — think Popeye size — because they are stretching
ERIC SCHUB PHOTO: 2M
These giant crustaceans
might eat YOU! the skin more with more water before it becomes hard,” says Rittschof. But that is still just a theory. So, this fall, Rittschof and his students are going to do a “transplant” study — catch crabs both at the lake and others near Beaufort and switch their locations. If the Beaufort natives start growing more at Mattamuskeet while the lake specimens slow up their growth spurts, then the environment will get a thumbs-up as being at least one possible reason for the size difference. But that’s not Rittschof’s sole focus. His team also studies reproduction and migratory habits. And they’re finding that Mattamuskeet isn’t these legendary critters’ only stomping grounds. In a recent study, they tracked the Lake Mattamuskeet crabs’ migration patterns by fixing poker chips on the backs of a large number of them and then waited for crabbers and fishermen to turn the chips in and let them know where they were caught. According to their findings, in the fall the
lake crabs migrate out through the canals and into the Pamlico Sound — toward our inlets in their search for higher salinity. They then return to the lake in the spring. Furthermore, after mating, female crabs can wait months before producing “sponge,” or fertilized eggs. They can mate multiple times with multiple males — hussies that they are — before migrating to higher salinity areas where the sponge is eventually released. “A really big crab will probably sponge as many as three times in her lifetime,” says Rittschof. And that means there are only more monsters to come. In fact, some might already be showing up in our own waters. Will they stay here, growing fat on chicken parts and swimmer’s toes? Or will they go back to become “leviathans of the lake”? Nobody knows for sure. Better not take any chances: crack into them — before they crack into you. — Sandy Semans
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an you keep a secret? Not like who drank your roomie’s last beer or what really went down at that one bachelorette party. We’re talking a real secret. Like the type of highly classified information that could keep war at bay and protect America’s security interests for years to come.
Well, Buxton sure can. In fact, for a quarter-century the Cape Hatteras Naval Station kept tabs on Soviet submarines from the heart of this semi-sleepy village, and nobody said boo — even though most residents realized they were monitoring more than just sea-surface temperature. “The Navy’s official reason was that we provided oceanographic information on a real time basis,” says Larry Hammond, who served as the station’s leading chief petty officer from 1975 to 1980. “But I think people had a pretty good idea the base was providing strategic information to higher commands. They just didn’t know exactly what we did — or how we did it.” Now we do. The program was called SOSUS — short for “Sound Surveillance
System.” Born from a confluence of improvements in audio technology during World War II — and escalating tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union after the fact — scientists from AT&T and Bell Labs helped America create a system of underwater recording devices to capture and analyze sounds and track foreign vessels, particularly Soviet submarines, which were louder than others. According to Navy records released in 1991, “Long cables were laid out on the ocean floor, some as long as 100 miles, to the edge of the continental shelf with 40 hydrophones attached to the end of each cable. Naval personnel were trained to detect the sounds of Soviet subs and distinguish those sounds from other ocean sounds such as crashing waves, other ships and whales.” Under the right conditions, SOSUS could help Uncle Sam follow a sub across the ocean. In fact, according to Edward C. Whitman, the former Senior Editor of Undersea Warfare, “As the Cold War deepened, and both the size and capability of the Soviet submarine fleet continued to grow, SOSUS became ‘the secret weapon’ that enabled U.S. forces to keep close track of virtually all potentially hostile submarines operating in the deepwater regions off both coasts.”
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mythbusters! MYTH: The Outer Banks is a top three wedding destination in the U.S.
s sweeothrery art!
Don’t go all bridezilla on us, now. Everyone knows the Outer Banks is an East Coast favorite for getting hitched. Who can resist a backdrop of majestic dolphins and adorable shorebirds? And think of the money saved by scrapping a chapel to swap vows in the sand. As the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau’s Lee Nettles notes, “We have a hundred miles of beaches and all sorts of other locations — inside and out.”
to guard the lighthouse something even bigger? But they needed more than one base to cover it all. So they implemented a semi-circle of sites, from Nova Scotia to Bermuda to Buxton to Barbados. (They also added Pacific stations in California and Hawaii.) Then they sat back and listened. Or, actually, they looked. Whitman continues: “The directional and frequency bands, called LOFAR grams, were printed out on long paper tapes for personnel to decipher... records were scrutinized continually by specially-trained personnel looking for the distinctive submarine ‘signatures.’”
Navy built them as a ruse to hide behind as they buried the array of large undersea cables — and that’s why they were left to rot later on. Too bad the timeline doesn’t hold up. The Coast Guard installed the first sheet-pile groins in the 30s. And the Navy replaced them with the current set of three in 1969 — 14 years after the base was created. As to the idea that they may have been working to keep the cables from being exposed? “Makes for a nice story,” snorts Hammond. “But it’s a little far-fetched.”
“You didn’t go out on the town and start talking work with your friends,” says Hammond. “To this day, I don’t discuss it too often.”
So what happened to SOSUS? Once more, the fate of the program came down to a mix of timing and technology. Thanks to treasonous information provided by the now infamous Walker-Whitworth spy ring, the Soviets began making quieter subs. By the late 80s, the Cold War was over. In between, computers made data easier to collect and process, reducing the number of bases required to three. Meanwhile, satellites, cell phones and the Internet gave governments untapped power to spy on the world.
In that absence of information, rumors took hold. Some suggest that the decaying metal groins that jut from the point were never intended to guard the base. They say the
“They’ve got things now that nobody knows about,” laughs Hammond. “They’re probably listening to us right now.” — Matt Walker
Naval Facility Cape Hatteras was commissioned on January 11, 1956. It was decommissioned on June 30, 1982. Inbetween an average of 150 service members were inside working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And yet, no one let it slip. Not even in 1962, when they became the first station to make contact on a Soviet sub.
But, while love is patient and kind, facts are strict and unforgiving. And sadly, there are no hard numbers to validate our squishy feelings. In fact, the closest we get in the online rankings is TheKnot.com, whose nuptial pundits say we’re the 7th best wedding destination in the U.S. (Their favorite pick is Hawaii.) And when it comes to finances, prepare to be heartbroken again. According to the Wedding Report’s collection of industry spending and stats, at least three other markets come far ahead, from California (247,340 weddings and a market value of $8.3 billion) to Florida (137,127 and $3.3 billion) to Las Vegas (87,159 and $2.4 billion.) North Carolina? 65,951 ceremonies and $1.5 billion — roughly the same as Georgia. Now, now — don’t cry. After all, those other places have warm climates to rack up sexy totals year-round. Dare County has maybe eight months. And yet, we still issued 1,209 licenses in 2013. Furthermore, the county says couples can use paperwork issued anywhere in the state, estimating that there are “several times that number” of ceremonies. Hawaii’s total? Just 2,509. So, while we may not be “a top three destination,” we’re still able to beat the best. — Sandy Semans
myth: Colington Road has more traffic than any state road.
whoa, pum the brakesp !
Crawling along. Day after day. Stuck behind a long line of vehicles on a curvy stretch of cramped asphalt, wedged between large bodies of water. It’s no wonder that Colington Road carries a long-standing reputation on the Outer Banks as North Carolina’s most heavily traveled road. But while the four miles of madness may get crazy, it’s far from being the state’s most congested drive. According to the last available numbers from the NC Department of Transportation, the Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT) in 2011 near the intersection of U.S. 158 and Colington Road was 10,000 vehicles per day. On the other hand, traffic counts that year for Smithfield Road — a comparable road in Wake County — ranged between 11,000-17,000 vehicles per day. And while the population of Wake County is well above Dare, as the DOT notes: “It does show that a similar type road elsewhere in the State handles more traffic volume.” Furthermore, in terms of local traffic, the bypass is clearly much busier. And the numbers show as much, with an AADT of 27,000 vehicles per day. But 158 is what the DOT calls “a multi-lane primary route.” Colington Road is a more humble “secondary route.” And in that division, we’re proud to report that 10,000 cars makes Colington Road the undisputed “cluster-drive” for all of Dare County. (For comparison, the traffic counts for Kitty Hawk Road, another 2-lane secondary road, was just 4,300 vehicles per day.) Still, something about Colington Road feels even more claustrophobic. Between the flooding, school buses and lost tourists, traffic can back up, slow down or stop altogether at a moment’s notice. Throw in the number of cars coming out of the First Flight schools — and the fact that there’s only one way in and out — and it only exaggerates the frustration factor. And with each new, infuriated driver, Colington Road’s reputation extends that much further. As our DOT source in Raleigh noted, “We hear this [rumor] a lot.” — Catherine Kozak milepost 41
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NAGS HEAD GOT ITS NAME FROM LAND-BASED PIRATES? photo: John Livingston
Who doesn’t like to repeat the legend of how Nags Head earned its name? You know: that land-based pirates hung a lit lantern from the neck of a pony and paraded it up and down Jockey’s Ridge. The bobbing light would resemble ships at harbor to lure unsuspecting mariners to shore. After their vessels got too close, they would ground on the sandy shoals and become the prey for coastal marauders. It’s an Outer Banks classic that connects with our rugged roots. Too bad it’s totally false — at least here.
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“That’s sort of an ubiquitous urban legend you can find up and down America, and other coastlines,” says Outer Banks expert and 2015 North Carolina Historian of the Year, Kevin Duffus. “It originated in Cornwall England where it was pretty well documented. The problem with Nags Head is it’s totally impractical. First of all, any ship captain would have charts to show that there was no harbor in the vicinity. And then, an oil lantern would have never been seen by ships miles off shore. So you can rule it out on common sense alone.” Or you can just use a map, where any elevated piece of land easily viewed from a body of water is called a “headland” — or head. (Think Bald Head Island, NC — or even Hilton Head, SC.) These points of reference were markers to mariners and used as navigation points. In fact, as far back as 1794 a map shows a dune in the area of Jockey’s Ridge clearly labeled “The Nag’s Head,” well before any village ever existed. So why Nags Head — and not Sand Head or Dune Head?
“It’s unlikely that anyone at sea named it,” says Duffus. “There’s no way to know for sure, but it makes sense that people who lived in the area named it the Nag’s Headland because horses could be seen on the sand dunes at the time.” Of course, Nags Head is hardly alone in our local affection for misinformed nomenclature. The truth is there are no known records of Alexander Hamilton ever calling our treacherous shoals the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” (In fact, there were lots of coastal “graveyards” in deadly seas on both sides of the equator — including Sable Island off of Nova Scotia.) And Alligator River? While it may be home to a few of its namesake lizards, it’s not the occasional thick-skinned sunbather that titled the body of the water, but the shape of the body itself. As reported in Touring the Backroads of North Carolina’s Upper Coast, “It is doubtful that the water ever supported a quantity of alligators that would have led locals or geographers to name the river after them. A more logical reason is … the river is shaped much like the reptile.” — Sarah Downing
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he more isolated the community, the more oddball the critters. Up toward Carova, sightings range from wild horses to wild pigs to — at one time — a not-so-wild single donkey named “Raymond,” who was rumored to be shot roughly a decade back.
But the most nefarious creature to call the unpaved banks home is no mythical beast. Nor is it some Franken-blend of oddball species. It’s a hybrid of two close relatives, the American Bison — aka buffalo — and regular cattle. Reports of “beefalo” have trampled local grapevines and online message boards for years — second only in reputation to the mighty mustang itself — always attributed to a single, rakish rancher and former Currituck County commissioner named Ernie Bowden. The problem? Ernie says they never existed.
“I never had any beefalo,” insists the 90-year-old local legend. “Beefalo are an animal that’s 5/8 beef and 3/8 buffalo. And they’re non-productive. I had pure buffalo. In fact, I had nine of them at one point.” So where does this pile of beefalo stuff come from? Well it begins with the Outer Banks’ long history of raising livestock. With few predators and natural boundaries, early settlers discovered the sparsely populated barrier islands were perfect for raising not just cows, but goats,
Carova’s mysterious cross-breed’s gone missing — but did they ever exist? pigs, sheep and horses. According to a story by Lorraine Eaton in David Stick’s An Outer Banks Reader, “as early as 1676, [deeds] specified that when land was sold a portion of livestock went with it. Other historians have called the cattle drives of the late 1700s from North Carolina a forerunner of the ‘Wild West.”’ From the 1800s through 1930, raising animals was good practice for Carova residents who used them for food and bartering — and good business for ranchers, including Bowden’s great grandfather, grandfather, father and uncles. But a growing tourism trade was even better. So Bowden slowly began buying surrounding herds. By 1980, he was the last of the ranchers, collecting 300 head of cattle spread across 2000 acres. He was also among the more progressive, importing — and cross-breeding — many of the first exotic breeds to Northeastern NC, including Charolais from France and Simmental bulls from Switzerland. Sometime in the 80’s, a friend gave Bowden four head of buffalo. He’d eaten it before and enjoyed the leaner, sweeter meat. So he set about trying to breed them, as well — but with little success. “They didn’t adapt well to the Outer Banks at all,” he recalls. “I think the weather was too warm, because the buffalo would stand in a canal for half the day and wouldn’t graze until nightfall. So they didn’t get what we in the livestock trade call ‘good flesh.’ I had one slaughtered up in Virginia. I had the carcass aged and the various cuts done — rib eyes, t-bones, porterhouses, roasts. And, to be very frank, that thing was so tough I couldn’t have stuck the fork in the gravy.” Ironically, that’s where cross-breeding a few “beefalo” may have helped, as the hybrid first came about when mid-western farmers mixed cattle and American bison to create a more resilient species. The buffalo’s shaggy hair and sturdy make-up
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created a beast that handled harsh winters; the traditional cattle genes provided the ability to sweat off extreme heat. (Mother Nature’s way to “keep the hot side hot, and the cool side cool.”) But Bowden never did get his two breeds to do “the deed.” In fact, he never tried. And neither did anyone else. Just ask Travis Morris, who’s written nine books on Outer Banks history: “I don’t know where that story came from but there’s never been any beefalo here — not in my lifetime,” says the 82-yearold, who’s credited with helping develop Corolla. “So, forget it. It just ain’t so!” But beefalo or buffalo — cattle or crossbreed — the fate of the Currituck beaches’ ranching days were already sealed, mostly by the pressures that nearly decimated their plains-roaming relatives back in the 1800s: an increase in human population and a property-hungry federal government.
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“When the Department of Interior bought up the land that was on the marshes, that was the better grazing land,” say Bowden, “And as Carova got more developed, there was conflict. Folks didn’t like my cows. But then some of those folks I didn’t like, so I guess it all balanced out. [laughs]” When Bowden shut down in the late-90s, ranching went the way of the dodo. Today, the only livestock are the wild mustangs that run free. (Much to Ernie’s chagrin, by the way.) And the only animals being herded are the humans getting pushed up and down the sand on guided tours to find them. And yet, the tales march on. “I still hear things,” laughs Ernie. “And I’ve heard ‘am all. Once a fellow saw my buffalo in the road. He went home and told his wife and she wanted to know what he’d been drinking. I don’t know how these things get around, I guess it’s something to laugh about.” — Dean Schoonover
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Forget about falling. Don’t sweat finishing. Just keep climbing. Charlie Chaplin looks lonely. Just a pair of sad, skinny wires, tightly drawn between platforms. Two stories below, a 12-year-old bounces across wobbling, oversized wooden chairs. Across the way, a fit thirty-something grunts hand-overhand along a series of rings. Everywhere, all kinds of daredevils wrestle with footstirrups, dangle from knotted ropes — and occasionally tumble — sending shockwaves of shrieking laughter and rippling vibrations along the wiry spiderweb. Still, poor Charlie sits untouched. Not a taker in sight. And yet, he’s the toughest challenge. Demanding you waddle 30 feet across two steel cables using nothing but pure balance and sheer nerve. Which is why of all the obstacles in First Flight Adventure Park, Charlie comes last. And stays empty. “That’s definitely the hardest one,” says 34-year-old co-owner Abby Carey. “Not many people finish it. Not many at all.” Truth be told, it’s amazing some people try. Gazing up at the suspended tangle of rigging and ropes — with names like
“Twisted Trees,” “Commando Crawl” or the more direct, “Tough One” — the whole place seems built to scare folks away. But it’s actually designed to suck you in, one step at a time, stacking up challenges that are part fear-of-heights, part physical fitness — and a fair bit of problem-solving. “To me, it just makes you think,” says Abby’s 35-year-old husband and partner, Brad Carey. “Some obstacles are fixed, some aren’t. Some have ropes, some don’t. And what’s easy for you may be hard for someone else.” Whatever the draw, it’s working. In just two summers, First Flight Adventure Park may just be the most popular thrill ride on the beach. But its success is as much good luck as quality design. In fact, the whole thing might have never been built if these two Maryland natives hadn’t worked together at East Carolina University as outdoor adventure guides, emerging with a working knowledge of running backpacking and kayaking trips — and in Brad’s case, a serious rock-climbing addiction. In fact, he
was all prepared to go work for Outward Bound upon graduation when fate stepped in again. “Right before leaving, I met my future boss at an industry tradeshow,” Brad recalls. “He was designing ropes courses. I was a rock climber with a degree in construction management. He was like, ‘You could probably do this better than me.’ [laughs]” Thus began a 13-year career zigzagging across the country, running crews and fitting summer camps, colleges and military outfits with pilings and rope — and eventually wiring timberland with ziplines. Meanwhile, Abby led biking tours throughout the Southeast. When the couple moved to Nags Head five years ago, they thought about setting up a permanent business, but nothing felt right. Ropes courses are more team-building exercises than vacation entertainment. Ziplines tend to leave folks hanging in windy areas. “Aerial parks” weren’t even on the map — at least in the sue-happy U.S.
Then four years ago, Asheville Treetops asked Brad’s company to build one — right about the time a company called Saferoller developed a new, fool-proof “belay” system that locked participants in along multiple obstacles. “When we built the first park, I knew it could fly here,” says Brad. “Then they came out with the belay system. That’s when we pulled the trigger. Because I knew we could build one even better.” So they did. It took a year to secure funding and find the right spot — and a 10-person crew working eight weeks straight — but on Memorial Day weekend of 2014, the Outer Banks became home to the second aerial park in the state. And one of the most unique set-ups in the whole country. Inspired by a tropical system — and designed by Brad’s former colleague and current manager, Brett Harrison — the “eye” is the center tower, broken into three levels with two “arms” of telephone poles spiraling outward, each with seven challenges. All told it’s 42 obstacles and a half-dozen ziplines, broken into six stages — Tropical Storm up to Category 5 — letting adventurers gradually work their way from easy to difficult. But the most ingenious element isn’t made of wood or wire. It’s the vertical height and the open space, exposing you to the ground below and the people around you. Guides can yell well-timed instructions. Kids can cheer on their parents. Siblings can sling motivational insults. And nobody’s safe from every tip, hoot or taunt. “Most parks are in the trees, so you don’t realize how high you are,” says Abby. “And here everyone’s watching, so you get people cheering you on. But it’s best to listen to yourself. Some people are so bound and determined to finish. Some do the same level over and over. It’s all challenge by choice.” But everyone has to start on level one. For a second, just the sight of your shadow rippling across the marsh is enough to make you sweat that first step. But Tropical Storm and Category One are actually quite easy — mostly stationary and wide surfaces,
with guide ropes and hand-grabs for extra security. That’s the goal. If you don’t feel comfortable here, you better stay put. (And the guides won’t need to rescue you later.)
But the most ingenious element is the open space.
Cats Two and Three are where you have to gird your loins a bit. Planks start to see-saw. Ropes go from knotted to unknotted. Weird items enter the mix to confuse your mind. (“Do I scoot head-first through this tunnel? Which side of this fish wall is easiest? And what’s a kayak doing here?”) Before you realize it, an hour’s passed by and you’re stepping along Cat Four’s slippery lifesavers and headed toward Cat Five’s flimsy foot-stirrups and sawed-off rain barrels. It’s so taxing, so tiring, that by the time you finally get to Charlie Chaplin — if you get to Charlie Chaplin — you don’t care if you walk the whole way across. You just hope your arms are strong enough to pull you onto the platform so they won’t have to save you on the very last obstacle. “People always wear themselves out holding the ropes, because they’re so scared of falling,” says Abby. “If you relax your grip, it’s way easier. ” Actually, looking back, the best thing to do is just let go completely. Chuck yourself from the very first platform. Because once you feel how easy it is to drop half-a-foot into the snug safety of the harness, all the pressure goes away. That’s when the Zen kicks in. You finally stop worrying about your shivering silhouette below — and focus on solving the problem that’s directly ahead. After that, it doesn’t matter if you fall or finish. All that matters is you keep moving forward. “I love watching people get scared at the first break in the planks,” says Brad. “Then they make it. And an hour later, you see them two levels up still going strong. That’s the best.” — Matt Walker
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outer bars, Jenkins ditches his “real board” for a brightly colored, custom one-footer that fits to his palm.
Hand planes keep Brandon Jenkins riding high, no matter the conditions. Photo: Matt Lusk
“The extra surface area creates lift and adds more speed and control,” says the experienced carpenter, who’s begun custom-crafting his designs under the label HiFive Hand Planes. “It even helps me teach my daughter to surf. I can glide right behind her on the same wave, giving her tips.”
The technology is actually nothing new. Mass-produced models date back to the ’70s, with a range of peaks and valleys ever since. In fact, Scooter Halladay of Bones Surfboards was building them back in the ’80s. “They faded out for a bit,” says Halladay, who still makes foam-and-wood designs for his personal use. “Now they are making their way back.” Way back. Over the past several years, a surge of homegrown manufacturers has exploded. Besides HiFive, companies like Missile Party Hand Planes stock stores from here to VB. Former Duck resident, Victor Cullen, now lives in Maui where he makes his own personal shape, “the swoop” — a design he based on a toilet-seat lid. One brand even made Oprah’s “O-List” in 2012. But despite the spike in popularity, enthusiasts say it’s about filling a niche more than turning a buck.
The ocean’s simplest pleasure just got a performance boost. Bodysurfing is surely the purest way to ride a wave. No board, no straps, no leash, no wax. Just you, your fins and the raw power of the ocean. It’s also the least obvious. Between all the slashing boards and flying kites, nobody notices disembodied heads skirting the surface. No wonder some might believe it’s a dying sport. (In 2011, pro surfer Keith Malloy produced a book titled The Plight of the Torpedo People, poking fun at this fact.) But there’s still a worldwide culture of prone-bodied purists spread out from Hawaii to Australia to right here on the East Coast. “My father taught me how to bodysurf when I was nine years old,” states 59-year-old ODU English professor and competitor John Kelly. “And I’ve been doing it ever since.” To this day, Kelly has never owned a surfboard. He prefers the simplicity of bodysurfing. But he’s not flinging himself toward the beach like an out-of-control tourist. By contorting his body and applying pressure to outstretched arms and feet inside fins, Kelly and his kind can conquer world-class waves and even compete for international titles. (Kelly’s entered Oceanside, CA’s World Bodysurfing Championships on several occasions, making friends with big names like Mark Cunningham.) In some cases, they dominate whole lineups, such as Newport Beach, CA’s “The Wedge” — a dynamic, two-story peak that spits bodies onto dry sand.
“You have to be fit and understand the waves,” says Kelly, who makes runs to the Outer Banks whenever it pumps. “But after you build up your confidence and feed off all of the adrenaline, it’s fun. Pure fun.”
For bodysurfers, that’s about all it is. While surfers and kiteboarders might get hung up on outperforming each other, bodysurfers often joke that it’s impossible to progress much beyond shooting down the face. But there are evolutionary spurts. In fact there’s one happening right now.
“It turns a two-second closeout into a fivesecond barrel.” — Bruce Hilpert
“Back in the day, it was just flippers,” says Kelly. “But, I started hand-planing in the last couple of years.” So what is hand-planing? Brandon Jenkins of Kill Devil Hills simply calls it “another realm of surfing.” A self-professed “water extremist,” Jenkins says he must get in the ocean at least once a day. So whenever the sea’s dishing up a dumpy shorebreak or chunky chop on the
“We’re all making these things for the same shared reason,” says Missile Party’s co-founder, Shaun Devine. “Just for the love of being in the ocean.” And with each joyful session, they encourage more folks to take a test drive — including some of our oldest salts. Bruce Hilpert has been riding Outer Banks waves since the ’60s. He currently splits his year between here and Arizona, but every summer, you’ll find him splitting peaks at First Street. Only now he’s embracing the hand-plane for its increased performance — “it turns a two-second closeout into a fivesecond barrel”— and for pushing his favorite passion. “I used to be an oddity down here,” says Hilpert. “I see a lot more people out bodysurfing now.” And there are still more to come. Scanning the beach this summer, chunks of brightly colored wood —no bigger than a Frisbee — joined the usual piles of fiberglass and foam. And heading into fall, when the waves pick up, there will be more out in the water. So are these bodysurfing silverbacks worried about turning their once private pastime into a crowded zoo? Hardly. “Bodysurfers are friendly by nature,” says Kelly, who’s turning his granddaughters into the next generation of torpedo people. “If you put 50 surfers in the water, you’re probably going to have a fight. Put 50 bodysurfers in the water, you have a party.” — Julie Southard milepost 49
HURTS SO GOOD Get ready to savor the sweet sting of paintball. Wanna hunt a sasquatch? Not just waste hours tracking prints and sniffing twigs with the paranormal geek squad — but actually pop some caps in the furry forestdweller? Well, just cruise over to the Currituck woods and put $50 on the table at Outer Banks Paintball. Within minutes we guarantee you’ll sense something “squatchy.” The second his stinky shadow streaks between trees, squeeze that trigger and soak him with live fire. Round after round after round. “I started wearing the Bigfoot costume as something for the kids,” says 31-year-old co-founder Chris Armitage. “I’d let them shoot at me as I ran back and forth in the target range. But kids are sort of relentless. [laughs] They’d keep shooting no matter how hard you yell, “Stop!” So we put up cut-outs in the woods. And now he’s sort of our mascot.” milepost
Feel the paint. Photo Chris Bickford
Bigfoot not your favorite? Then how ’bout some zombies? This Halloween, take the family for a trailer ride through the course. When the brain-eaters come stumbling out of the woods you light ’em up with dayglo goo. But for a real good time, forget shooting monsters and just bring some friends. Because humans shoot back. And that’s when the adrenaline really kicks in. Skulking between trees and wooden structures, each breath grows more anxious as you creep along. Straining to see the slightest movement. Waiting for the faintest noise. A snapped branch. A sneeze. A full-on war cry followed by an ear-splitting Pop! Pop! Pop! As a crossfire of flying green spheres splatters overhead, you dive forward to take out your best pal with a well-aimed barrage — or you could get plugged in the heart by your girlfriend. Blending good-old-fashioned relationship
rivalries with all the intensity of a real live war-game. “Your adrenaline definitely starts pumping,” says co-founder and KDH resident, Ross Pinto. “I won’t say it’s like actual war, but your battle instincts kick in. It’s survive — or die.” More like survive or sting. Get hit in the right spot — say the rib cage — they’ll make you cry out for mercy. But for lifelong paintball fans, that’s part of the appeal, as each rosy welt is a badge of honor of a game well fought. As a kid growing up in Southampton, VA in the late 90s, Pinto and his pals patrolled nearby forests, peppering each other in a mix of hide-and-seek and regular hunting. It was all part of a paintball craze that saw courses spring up across the country,
creating a multi-million dollar industry. Then came the recession — and less expensive, more accessible options like laser tag, air soft and “Call of Duty.” Just a few years ago, paintball seemed to be losing the battle. But plastic pellets and disco lights don’t feel so deadly. Video games rarely require you to dive behind the couch. And yesterday’s teens become today’s adults. “We see a lot of dads with their kids,” says Chris. “We also get a lot of bachelor parties. And the reason is they all played ten to 15 years ago when paintball was huge. When they think about fun things to do, they think paintball. So that age gap is coming back around.” In 2013, nationwide numbers crept back over 3.5 million participants for the first
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time in years. With thousands of families driving through Currituck woodlands every summer weekend — and the closest courses at least an hour away — Pinto and Armitage decided the time was ripe to tap into that upswing. In 2014, they found 15 acres of Jarvisburg pine-trees on the side of the 158, and got to work carving out their dream. “The trees were so thick you couldn’t move,” says Ross. “But he had his chainsaw. I had mine. We spent all summer sweating and cutting paths.” They’d saw and play. Play and saw. Finding weak spots. Adding barriers. And spending as little money as possible.
An earsplitting Pop! Pop! Pop! sparks a crossfire of flying green spheres.
In fact, with the exception of the guns, helmets and ammo, just about everything on the property is used or repurposed. The “air shack” is an old outhouse. The tires and steel tanks were all found on-site. And then there’s the pallets. Lots and lots of pallets. Piled up and scattered in a sprawling, labyrinth of towers, blockades and tree stands. All of it glazed with deeply faded paint, creating a camouflage patina where every shadow could be a cold-blooded killer, and nowhere is safe to hide. “That’s why we use pallets,” says Ross. “Most fields will use plywood, which is impenetrable. But the game’s not that fun when you’re unloading and not hitting anyone. You want movement. Besides, the guys who camp out are the ones who get shot.”
And if you do get shot? Just take a breather. For $30 you can rent a gun and play all day — as long as you keep buying paint. (For safety reasons, they only allow premium pellets that burst easy.) Chris and Ross have plenty of scenarios to make the game interesting — from “capture the flag” to open air duels to a new “speedball” course
of inflatable barriers — and they’re always on-site to keep things fair. “We’ll mix teams up or change the game if things look lopsided,” says Chris. “We don’t let anyone dominate. We want people of all levels to have a good time.” Ideally, a lot of people. While the biggest battles they’ve hosted are twenty-ontwenty, larger courses can easily triple that. Many even sponsor their own amateur and professional teams to travel and take on other competitors. Chris and Ross eventually plan to assemble their own official OBPB squad. One day, they’d love to host their own tournament. “Why not?” says Chris, who notes some of the big events draw thousands of players. “We’re already a destination spot. Instead of going to Tempe, Arizona, teams can come here to the beach.” It’s already happening. The first folks to play the course were an amateur team out of Savannah, Georgia called Infectious. And, according to team member John White, they’re already planning on returning next spring. “Paintball players are really loyal,” says White, who’s managed his Savannah course, Hopper’s, for 20 years. “We’ll do 300 people between Friday and Sunday. So as long as the tourists and locals show up, I think they’re gonna do really well.” For Ross and Chris, building that fan base means busting out even more fresh ideas for fall. Not just Halloween stunts and ’squatch hunts, but seasonal tournaments. Come September, look for a bracket full of Outer Banks restaurants, as they nurture longstanding rivalries between service industry lifers. Pitting server against chef — dish dog versus maître d’ — any one of whom may be shocked to find that under that apron beats the heart of a killer. “Watching someone play for the first time is always interesting,” says Ross. “Because the shy guy who never says anything might be the natural born leader. And the only way he’s gonna find out is when the paint’s flying.” — Sherwin Browning
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gobike Jay Perrin and pal celebrate crushing another long, sandy ride. Photo: Chris Hannant
THIS SH*T IS HARD TO DO. Even on the softest tires, no pedal is easy. One minute the terrain is firm and fast, the next it’s soft and slow. “Recently wet” sand near the lower middle of the beach seemed the best target. THE LESS PRESSURE, THE BETTER. The most you want is 10 psi, but you can always go lower — and every little pound makes a big difference. This means you’ll need to carry a “high volume” pump and a pressure gauge that reads eight pounds and less. The pump will let you “air back up” for pavement. THE BEACH IS ACTUALLY COOL. If you don’t like splashing in the ocean or spending hours smashed between tourists, the beach is sort of annoying. A fatbike lets you escape the crowd and find mile upon mile of cool discoveries. Surfers and fishermen. Dolphins and wrecks. Even an empty beach is its own reward. As Perrin says, “It’s like a highway with no cars.”
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Meet the cycling fad with real local value.
Fatbikes are stupid. Seriously: have you seen these things? Big dumb tires on a skinny bike frame, bulging out like a bulimic model’s bee-stung lips. Such comically giant treads can’t serve any real purpose, right? Unless you live in snowy Alaska. Or the Mojave desert. Or maybe some place with super-long stretches of deep sand and difficult terrain... hey, wait — that sounds like here. “They’re actually a perfect bike for the area,” says Jay Perrin, founder of OBXcycling.com, an online resource for regional enthusiasts. “Now we can ride where we couldn’t before, like the beach or really sandy trails in the woods. So even though they started as snow bikes, I think we’ll see a lot more of them.” For the uninitiated, a “fatbike” is a more-or-less standardissue mountain bike with much fatter tires — four inches or bigger — run at very low pressures so they float on sand, snow, swamp mush, or whatever surface would sink a standard two-inch tire. (Anyone who’s driven an ORV on the beach — or gotten someone unstuck — understands this principle.) Now, to be honest, I’m not much of an ocean-lover. And sand is the last place I’d normally choose to pedal. But I do consider myself something of an “adventure cyclist” —
exploring and camping by bike all around the country. So when I started seeing pictures online of fatbikes loaded with tents and sleeping bags, the technology started piquing my interest — especially when I stumbled upon a guy who blogged about biking the whole Outer Banks using only the beach. Not only did he claim it was “totally rideable,” he said he “didn’t see another fatbike or even fatbike tracks.” With that, conquering this silly machine became a matter of hometown pride.
Escape the crowd and find mile upon mile of cool discoveries.
Several hundred dollars later, I was the proud owner of a plus-sized bicycle. After ticking off a checklist of easier challenges — Nags Head to Oregon Inlet; Oregon Inlet to Waves — I corralled a few chubby-chasing cyclists for an overnight adventure to False Cape State Park. Located just over the Virginia border, this public land features maritime forest, old town sites, trails and campgrounds — it’s also only accessible by foot, boat or bike. So, one Friday afternoon, we saddled up for a weekend expedition and came back converts, brimming with newfound enthusiasm — and information:
IT’S BETTER IN WINTER. Just sitting on hot sand can be scorching. Try biking over it for miles and it’s a highway through hell. Conversely, that extra heat makes winter rides ideal as you sweat off layers of clothes — plus, nobody wants to cruise down the beach dodging boogie boards and umbrellas. IT’S NOT JUST FUN, IT’S FUNCTIONAL. After flying through False Cape we had such a blast, we kept blazing to Sandbridge, soaking up the experience. (Along with a few beers.) All told, it took six hours to travel 40 miles round trip. Perrin knows a couple that frequently bikes from Carova to Manteo. Considering the limited access along stretches of Coquina, Pea Island and on to Cape Point, one can only imagine the potential fishing/surfing surgical strikes. But is it even legal? IT’S TOTALLY LEGAL. To be honest, we had no idea when we first started pedaling. But according to the public lands powers that be, fatbikes aren’t just allowed, they’re fully appreciated — within limits. “There are no rules prohibiting bicycles in either the pedestrian or ORV areas,” says Cyndy Holda, Public Affairs Specialist with the National Park Service Outer Banks Group. “As long as there are no closures, there’s nothing to stop you.” ( Just one more reason to stay away in summertime.) And Pea Island Visitor’s Services Manager Bonnie Strawser says you can pass any closures by biking close to the water. “There’s no place you couldn’t go from north to south,” she cautions, “but it’s not going to be easy — it’s a tough place just to walk.” Wonder if she’s tried it on a big, dumb bike? — Jesse Davis milepost 53
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ONE FOR THE ROAD Camp Cocktail mixes style, fun, nostalgia getactive — and a whole lotta drinks. “I’m a little insane about travel trailers.”
find the right one in Asheville, NC. And this
32, Sam Harriss already has two of the portable living spaces wedged in the driveway of her KDH home. One is a 1959 Airstream she bought off EBay a decade ago, renovated herself, then hauled across the U.S. five times. That one’s for play. The other is a 1971 Shasta she purchased last year. That one’s for work — at least for Sam. For her clients, it’s a party on wheels. Stocked with enough tasty booze and fresh ideas to keep the good times rolling at weddings, birthdays, even business functions. It also keeps her paying the bills, without staying put for too long.
“It looked terrible,” she recalls. “Just a total bucket. The only thing original in that entire trailer is the aluminum skin — and the axle frame.”
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“I can’t stay still for more than 16 months,” she explains. “It was always hard to find a job that catered to my nomadic lifestyle. So when I stumbled across this idea, it just fit.”
“They’re really talented woodworkers,” graphiccontent Harriss says. “And they had the creative
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Harriss would spend another five months unleashing the potential of the traveling trash pile. Using her background in painting and design, she came up with a layout. Then she found the right team to execute it: Kim and Paul Fueling, owners of Mabel Studios, in Boone, NC. All told, it took six trips to Boone as they broke everything down to the frame and built it back up. She was so pleased she named the final product “Miss Mabel” in their honor.
She calls it “Camp Cocktail.” And while Harriss first saw the concept in Australia — where old and new campers often double as watering holes — she believes it might be the first of its kind in the U.S. (It’s certainly the most stylish.) But getting there wasn’t easy. It took half-a-year just to
personalities to get the idea and push it further than I could have even dreamed of.” The final concoction is a cool blend of old-school nostalgia and modern detail. For the outside, she borrowed a classic, Ford Bronco paint scheme of off-white, punctuated by tiny slivers of neon-lime. Inside, magnetic curtains made from
South Beach Grille “I try to sway people to do really fresh cocktails,” she says. “Not just like sugar water and orange juice. Because that’s what I enjoy — something different.” For Harriss that means hand-making the bitters, home brewing the ginger beer and inventing the perfect cocktail for every event. At the January OBX Wedding Expo, she made mocktails of coconut lavender water and raspberry rosemary sparkling lemonade. For May’s OBX Beer festival, it was IPA Frosties with orange sherbet and Imperial stout vanilla flouts. A bourbon party featured Orange Julius Mint Juleps. Easter egg hunts offered fresh squeezed mimosas and margaritas. And for a recent wedding, deconstructed rum and cokes using handmade Cheer Wine rock candy and Kill Devil Rum. Potent portable. Miss Mabel lights up a local wedding. Photo: Scott Perryman
Japanese fabric latch and connect to paneling pulled from an old pharmacy. Inbetween, hand-built frames and specially welded elbows let the wooden window frames lift up instead of slide, revealing teal metal lamps that glow like candles in a jacko-lantern’s smile.
Then there’s the bar itself: a slab of firstgeneration heart pine repurposed from an old pickle factory in Eastern NC. The surrounding trim comes from an old black walnut tree that Harriss’ family cut down and dried on her parent’s farm in Camden, NC. A weathered piece of driftwood that she collected herself creates the spine for the tap handles. With stainless steel sinks, ice-bin and full-service tap, it’s the perfect mix of fashion and function — and Harriss puts the same attention to detail toward making drinks.
iT’s a cool blend of old-school nostalgia and modern detail.
Finally, she garnishes each party with personal touches, from custom sounds — a record player spins platters for small events — to one-of-a-kind uniforms. Harriss wears a denim jumpsuit equipped with chambray pearl snaps and embroidered with hunting dogs and lime slices, while her bartenders sport “Cool Hand Luke” outfits, featuring roadrunners or plants. And they all wear elkhide holsters for lighters and church keys. Add it all up, the atmosphere is almost more intoxicating than the drinks she serves.
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“It should be more than just a cute camper selling Bud Light,” she explains. “[I’m] trying to make the whole piece presentable.” And portable. After all, a trailer’s not a trailer unless it moves. This September, Harriss heads to a wedding show in Sonoma, CA, as she hopes to make the whole business nomadic during the shoulder season. In fact, she’s begun looking for another trailer to use out west. Something larger with a sitting booth and copper bar. With more space to handle customers — and enough room to express all of her creative ideas.
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As she says, “I want my craft to speak for itself — it’s not just bartending.” — Sarah Hyde milepost 55
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How bluegrass wound its way from mountain trails to Highway 12. Ralph Stanley never called it “bluegrass.” Instead, the legendary “Man of Constant Sorrow” refers to his style of playing as “old-time mountain music.” And rightly so. Sawing fiddles evoke images of mineshafts and log cabins. Plucking banjos sound more at home by swift rivers than at sea. But over the last twenty years, that country feel has become a powerful force throughout the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Bluegrass fills outdoor milepost
gritty NC culture that may be born in the hazy blue hills but still finds a cozy home on the coast.
“We would do shows at the Jolly Roger restaurant in Ocracoke,” says Larry Keel, who first played the village in the mid-90s. “Everyone on the island would come out — and I mean everyone. Most of the people didn’t really know what bluegrass was, but they loved the feeling of it.” They should. After all, the roots of bluegrass culture run deep in the Tarheel State — deep as a coal vein in the Appalachian mountains — born from the fiddles of turn-of-the-century Irish immigrants. These were about the only people tough and tenacious enough to settle into the rocky nexus of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. They learned to solve their own problems, whether it was farming, building, winter survival, or even musical entertainment. Likewise, the people who settled on the Outer Banks were self-reliant and brave, with a history of handling hard weather, harsh terrain and severe isolation. Both communities generated a spirit of
understated rebellion. And during the Depression both found economic salvation in logging and liquor. (In mainland Dare County, Buffalo City was known for milling lumber and bootlegging booze.) When Prohibition ended, moonshine faded, but the music still flowed. In the mid-1940s, Bill Monroe — who was developing a distinctive driving and syncopated rhythm style, along with his high tenor voice — met Earl Scruggs, a Shelby, NC boy with a unique brand of banjo playing. When Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys began travelling the country, the exciting new music quickly spread through fiddlers’ conventions, music festivals and square dances, into popular television shows and movies, and even onto the stage of Carnegie Hall. As Bill Monroe would later famously say, “Bluegrass has brought more people together and made more friends than any music in the world.” Today, dozens of nationally known bands, like The Infamous Stringdusters, Greensky Bluegrass, Steep Canyon Rangers and the Avett Brothers expertly make banjos, fiddles and other acoustic instruments borderline mainstream. But to trace the current resurgence of bluegrass on the
Down-south hoe-down: Banjo Island’s Wed. night concerts keep Frisco pickin’ and grinnin’ through October. Photos: Daniel Pullen
“I’ll meet you on Highway 12 Underneath the moonlight Take all your troubles away Make everything alright.”
— “Highway 12” by Jon Davis and Kim France, Performed by Boss Hawg
Outer Banks, you can arguably start in the mid-90s when a band called McGraw Gap started visiting Ocracoke with the help of an Eastern Tennessee transplant named Mark Criminger. Mark had found his way onto the island after hearing about it from a fellow forest ranger while working in Idaho. When Mark arrived, he immediately started looking around for people who were willing to build up a music scene. “The family that owned Silver Lake Lodge had a music background from booking acts in New Jersey,” Mark remembers. “So they were all about live music. McGraw
Gap had just won the Telluride bluegrass competition. So we started a little back door scene for acoustic and bluegrass music, and it just blossomed.” McGraw Gap comprised of champion bluegrass guitar player Larry Keel, along with his wife Jenny on bass, Will Lee on banjo, and Danny Knicely on mandolin. (Larry, Jenny and Will are still performing together today as The Larry Keel Experience.) “After a couple of times, we started renting a house and there’d be a bunch of us musicians,” says Keel. “We would play a show and then have a picking party back at the house. We made friends with everybody as we were playing parties and gigs. And we kept going back.” McGraw Gap and the other bluegrass bands were a perfect entertainment solution for smaller restaurants. The music could be played on instruments loud enough to fill a room without disturbing the neighbors in the tiny village. It was dripping with the southern culture that locals recognized and visitors loved. And there was one oftenoverlooked draw: bluegrass pickers loved to fish! In fact, one of Keel’s most popular songs, “Ocracoke,” was written on and about the island. “It was very inspirational going there,” says Keel. “I started learning about the myths and the legends — about Edward Teach (Blackbeard) and about how close WWII came to the island. I went to the British soldier cemetery and it was very powerful to me. After reading the graves and memorials, I knew I wanted to write the song.” Twenty years later, banjos, fiddles and “doghouse” (stand-up) basses punctuate the air up and down the Outer Banks, while vocalists belt out the “high-lonesome” melodies. On Ocracoke, Molasses Creek’s weekly “Oprafolk Theatre” captures audiences with low-fi string arrangements. Meanwhile, Nags Head’s Jug Tucker picks, grins and packs pubs and coffee shops up through Corolla. In between, Salvo’s Blurky’s Quirky Friends fill piers and pour-houses with a style that’s as much like a
garage jam as a barnyard hoe-down. And in Frisco, Wes Lassiter’s Banjo Island offers bluegrass every Wednesday at his Red Drum Pottery Theater. Lassiter works hard to bring in some of the top regional acts, and you’ll find a full house of people bumping up and down to the cut-time beat of bluegrass standards and newgrass (bluegrass with jazz elements) originals.
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“Sometimes the music is so hot the air conditioner can’t even keep up,” says Wes. “I live for those nights.” In fact, the sound’s popular enough to inspire a whole new three-day event in Hatteras Village called Hatterasity, which returns this October. But, by far, the area’s greatest showing remains the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival. Organizer Cory Hemilright grew up on the Outer Banks, with a family that actively participated in the bluegrass scene. With wide-open lawn seating and striking views of the water, Hemilright recognized Roanoke Island Festival Park as the right kind of setting to carry the artform’s stripped-down, natural sound. And he was right: in three years, the attendance leapt from 3,000 to 12,000. “I think what attracts people is it’s a very unique location,” says Hemilright. “People want to go somewhere that has beaches, bluegrass, fishing . . . the whole package. That’s why we’re doing so well. We are even getting fans from overseas.” They’re also getting even bigger names. Last year, Ricky Skaggs was the main attraction. This September, it’s the newgrass mandolin virtuoso Sam Bush, along with Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, and a special reunion show for the family band Cherryholmes. But the real draw is not so much the shining spotlight or national names, but the down home feel of genuine North Carolina spirit. A grand mixture of artistic sensitivity and rural ruggedness carried down from generations. It’s a sense of pure authenticity and North Carolina culture — whether it’s in the farthest mountaintop or breeziest island village. — Brian Paul Swenk
Ed note: In addition to playing banjo for North Carolina’s Big Daddy Love, Brian Paul Swenk writes regularly for Bluegrass Today and The Mountain Times. You can find his thoughts on music, life and politics at www.lonesomebanjochronicles.com.
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artisticlicense Yes, it really was “this big.” Photo: Ryan Moser
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SCALES AND TALES
soundcheck getactive Fishers of the sea harbor many talents. They are hardy souls willing to endure any and all elements. Weather forecasters obsessed with wind, water and tides. Whatever it takes to get a bite. They’re also storytellers anxious to relive their greatest moments. In fact, they may boast the most gifted imaginations on the whole Outer Banks, as each successive tale of “human versus beast” grows increasingly dramatic — along with the size of the catch.
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“How many times have you listened to someone’s story about catching a fish?” asks lifelong angler and Kill Devil Hills artist, Pete Erickson. “And then the next time you hear them tell it, their hands seem to be a bit further apart? [laughs] I wanted a way to capture each catch’s true size and scale — no questions asked. That’s when I remembered Gyotaku from being a youngster in art class.”
For Pete Erickson, printed matter never lies. bringing rice paper, brushes and Sumi ink on voyages as a way to record and prove their most memorable exploits. At first, they simply took raw rubbings, but during the mid-1800s, the work became more intricate, with artists adding extra details like eye color. Around 1850, a Japanese lord and avid fisherman began commissioning Gyotaku’s most skilled practitioners to record his top catches. Then he hung them in his palace, giving birth to a separate art form. As cameras became popular, Gyotaku faded. But in an age where anyone can post snapshots of a snapper, an inky, matted memory becomes the more powerful tribute. From Hawaii to New England, coastal communities are seeing a resurgence in the Japanese genre as fishermen seek a special way to honor their catch. For Pete, the art is a perfect outlet for pairing two passions.
In Japanese, “Gyo” translates to fish and “Taku” impression. More than two centuries ago, Japanese fishermen began
“It’s therapeutic, it’s relaxing and the focus is on the individual fish and its detail,” he
says. “And you still get to eat your catch once you are done. Simply hose the fish off, scale, clean and cook.” Much of the beauty lies in its simplicity. Ink meets fish meets paper. It’s a process that requires just five steps. But that means each stage is just as important as the one before, as the artist must apply a steady hand and extreme patience, spending anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours — depending on the size of the fish: Step 1: Wash and dry off the fish. This is crucial; slime and excess liquid can ruin the rice paper before the art can begin. Step 2: Mount the fish by laying it flat and splaying out the fins — nails, tacks and even some glue will keep it in place. Step 3: Ink the fish. Mixing traditional Sumi ink with a bit of water helps spread it more evenly. Brush lightly to avoid oversaturating the paper — and avoid the fish’s eyes. “Those will be created at the end,” says Pete. “All of the textural detail will
come from the body.” Step 4: Lay the textured side of the rice paper on top of the fish and gently rub the surface. Step 5: Gently peel away and check the results. Ideally, it should look like a semiblurry, black-and-white impression of the original. And if not? “If you aren’t happy with the first print, the nice thing is that you can go back and try as many times as you like,” Pete says calmly. “The trick is to be delicate and patient. Then you can go back in the end with a detail brush to fill in any scales, mouth, fins — anything you may have missed.” Erickson often brings out strips or patterns with charcoal pencils and more Sumi ink. He’ll occasionally watercolor the eyes for some extra pop. Then he mattes the prints and places them in handmade, reclaimed wood frames. Finally, he hangs them in stores from Duck to Nags Head and waits for the buyers to bite. He hasn’t had to wait long. Pete’s second print ever — a 27-inch trout — became a prize find for the latest Couture by the Shore Fashion Show and Silent Auction. And his reproduction of a 26-inch drum won the North Carolina Coastal Federation’s Coastal Heritage Award at the 2015 Mollie Fearing Art Festival. (The group also plans to use the image on t-shirts and posters for September’s Fourth Annual Fish Fry and Shrimp Boil.) But Pete’s most appreciative audience isn’t the local art community — it’s his fellow anglers. After posting his work online, friends and family began blitzing to have Pete do impressions. Everything from sheepshead, striper, cobia and flounder have found their way onto his table. He’s also done some fresh water beauties, like racoon perch, hickory shad, black crappie, striped mullet and bluegills. Blue crabs and oysters have also been subjects. At this point, it seems his phone stays synced with his rod-and-reel; one starts ringing while the other is spinning.
“There are those moments where things can run a bit chaotic,” he laughs. “I’ve been at the beach with my family and have gotten calls to come pick up a Cobia from a friend to make a print, and then later that night been called again to come pick up another friend’s Sheepshead. Sometimes I feel like a live organ courier running around with my cooler.”
“It’s therapeutic, it’s relaxing — and you still get to eat your catch.”
Something’S in the Wind...
2000 S. Croatan Hwy. Kill Devil Hills 441-5338
And that doesn’t include the time he spends capturing his own work — Pete Erickson — or all the other aspects of his newly forged business, as he sells prints and t-shirts under the name Shoaling Waters. Luckily, he can always take a rubbing and save it for later. But at heart, his favorite part of each piece is catching the fish, then reliving the tales that come with it — whether it’s his son’s very first catch, or one of his own fondest memories.
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“Last February, the sound had frozen,” Pete recalls. “I knew the drum would be heading for warmer beach water, so I headed down to Hatteras. After trying multiple spots with no luck, I headed back to Frisco Pier. My first cast landed me a 30-inch drum; the first fish seen in hours. Three casts later, a 26-inch drum. Then, on my way back I still had time to stop and harvest some fresh oysters.” When he got home, Pete made three prints — two of the fish; plus one of the larger oysters — commemorating a glorious memory and one hell of a lifestyle. “When I look at those prints I remember that beautiful day,” he says. “Not only did it help fuel my art but it reminds me of how special a place we live in — a place where we can live off the land, feed our families and share these special stories.” — Fran Marler
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ONE CRAZY SUMMER You couldn’t have scripted a weirder season. From seesawing water temps to saw-tooth critters, any day on the Outer Banks might have been worthy of Weekly World News. Some made global headlines. Others beat world records. And some just made you wonder, “Who the hell brings that to the beach?” WHEELIE OF FORTUNE
Main image: On the morning of June 16, Raleigh cyclist and cult hero, Rodney “No Hands King” Hines, popped his front forks off the ground at Whalebone Junction and wheelied all the way down to Hatteras Island— including the whole Bonner Bridge — and only kissed pavement once. (Damn you, New Inlet construction!) Still, Hines kept going, completing a world record 31 miles in tribute to America’s troops. But he’s not finished yet: “I’m training everyday and learning from my mistakes to return and finish the full 59 miles this September.” Photo: Robert Willett/The News & Observer JOKE’S ON US
Bottom left: The bars were PVC, but this story is pure irony. When Scott and Sandi Bergman donned plastic cages for a KDH swim, they weren’t worried about shark attacks — they were sick of the media hype. “It was supposed to be a spoof video about an overzealous reporter,” says Scott. Then bystanders’ clips went super-viral, busting the internet with million-view YouTube clips and international headlines like, “Couple Tries DIY Shark Cages on Outer Banks Beach.” (Yowch.) The Bergmans felt so bad, they sent the town an apology. And they still plan to finish the film to straighten the record. But Bergman knows this is one media frenzy that got away: “I like to say we jumped the shark in 48 hours.” Photo courtesy of Scott Bergman PRARIE DOG COMPANION
Bottom middle: Chipmunks? Hedgehogs? Muskrats? Folks weren’t sure what they were seeing when two furry critters showed up in Nags Head. Turns out they were prairie dogs on vacation from Texas. And much like real pooches, they rolled in the shorebreak. Dug in the sand. Shook excess water onto random strangers. And obeyed all laws. As the owners deadpanned: “Why do you think they’re wearing leashes?” Photo: C. White
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Bottom right: Sharks, shmarks. When Ryan Jorgenson saw a seven-foot white marlin struggling and bleeding 30 yards off the beach, he did what any commercial fisherman would do: summoned his inner Hulk Hogan and wrestled it in. “He still had a lot of fight,” says the Colington resident. “So I grabbed his tail and reached through his gills, like noodling a catfish in reverse.” With no gaff or prop marks — just a single, gory wound — Jorgenson still doesn’t know what happened to it. (Maybe another marlin?) But he knows what happened next. “I butchered him up and cooked him on the grill,” says the Colington resident. “But first I made my wife take a picture — otherwise nobody would ever believe me.” Photo courtesy of Ryan Jorgenson
LIES WE LOVE rearview
10.11.15 featuring MACEO PARKER THE BRIA SKONBERG QUINTET THE MONITORS MINT JULEP JAZZ BAND
Enjoy a week of jazz-related events throughout Duck culminating in a free day of live jazz in the Town Park on Sunday, October 11. Visit duckjazz.com for more details.
FIRST FLIGHT HIGH SCHOOL HONORS JAZZ BAND
No, officer, I haven’t been drinking. We’re only on a 15-minute wait. The blender is broken. I only smoke when I drink. That’s my lighter. I’ll be home early, don’t wait up. Must be a stomach bug. I thought you were going left. I thought you were going right. I thought you weren’t gonna make it. It was this big. Hurricanes don’t scare me. They never tow here. I prefer winter. I’m holding it for a friend. It was the baby. It was the dog. Just one more. This isn’t like me at all. — C. White
WHOLE NOTE SPONSORS
HALF NOTE SPONSORS
QUARTER NOTE SPONSORS Carolina Designs Realty Duck Community & Business Alliance Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks Red Sky Café • Sanderling Resort Scarborough Faire Shopping Village Shoshin Technologies • Super Wings the Blue Point • VHB WHRO Public Media
Hot couture. Photo: Chris Bickford
What you’ll find has stood the test of time.
Discover Historic Corolla Park on the shores of the Currituck Outer Banks, NC.
With Whalehead in Historic Corolla, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and the OBX Center for Wildlife Education all within reach, you won’t want to miss any of the unique attractions the Northern Outer Banks has to offer.
Call 877-287-7488 for a free visitor’s guide
endnotes If you can’t stand the heat, get off the beach. Especially Aug. 26-30, when the WRV Outer Banks Pro gathers scorching surfers from across the globe for daily showdowns at Jennette’s Pier and nightly bro-downs at area clubs. Get the full firing details at www. wrvobxpro.com. • On Aug. 28, the mosh pit boils over at Outer Banks Brewing Station when long-time local punkers Fujiwara bust out their new CD Kung Fu Twist and open up for the legendary Agent Orange. (Learn more at www.fujiwarapunkrock.com.) And come back Sat., Aug. 29, to boogie down with Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band. Find the full fall calendar at www.obbrewing.com. • For a spiritual lift, post up at the Good Life Eatery on Aug. 31 and Sept. 7 for the final two installments of Kim Kalman’s Christian Music Concert Series, benefitting Interfaith Community Outreach and Beach Food Pantry. Feel the love at www.kimkalman.com. • Deep seas meet deep thoughts when the speaker series, Our Underwater Heritage, continues this fall. On Sept. 3, the National Park Service’s John Bright presents “Mirlo Revisited: New Insights in the Design, Armament, Sinking, and Rescue of a British Tanker.” On Oct. 5, NOAA’s Joseph Hoyt reveals “Archaeological Findings from the 2013 Survey of the Soviet Tanker Ashkhabad.” And Nov. 4 it’s “A Mobile Mystery: The History and Archaeology of the Corolla Wreck” by Dan Brown. Enjoy two presentations — 11am at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum or 6pm at the Coastal Studies Institute — or watch it live at csi. northcarolina.edu/ustream. And the educational opportunities keep flowing at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum with Salty Dawgs Lectures every Tues. at 2pm. Learn more at www.ncmaritimemuseums.com. • Island Art Shows will put its finer touches on fall with three dates: Sept. 4, Sept. 5 and Oct. 16. Come to the Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Community Center at 10am to find works by 20 artists to benefit local causes. Details at www.spinfinitedesigns.com. • On Sept. 4, First Friday lights up Downtown Manteo with later shopping hours and live music by Aquarium — plus the Dare County Art Council’s 6pm opening party for Sept. fiber artist Linda Ihle. And the Manteo Farmer’s Market mixes local crafts and the freshest veggies every Sat. 8am-12pm all the way through Oct.10. More at www.townofmanteo.com. • Is that a zucchini in your hip-huggers? Or are you just happy to hear that Zoso - The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience will rock n’ roll Roanoke Island Festival Park on Sept. 5. All four members are selected to play, scream and pout like Plant, Page, Jones and Bonham. $20 tix. (Kids 10 and under free). Parking, rules and more at www.roanokeisland.com. • Spend some clams to support N.E.S.T on Sept. 5, when the Sea Turtle Bazaar brings local artisans, face painting and flea marketing to Nags Head Church from 9am-1pm. More at www.nestonline.org. • Spend your Labor Day working the dance floor at Kelly’s when the Outer Banks Shag Club holds one of many Mon. meetings, Sept. 7, 6-9pm. Full schedule at www.obxshagclub.com. • Twentyfive artists fund two local charities, Sept. 8-9, when the OBX Arts & Craft Festival comes to the Hilton Garden Inn. From 10am-5pm find painting, pottery, and handmade items while helping N.E.S.T. and the Dare Literacy Council. Find ’em on Facebook. • Come Sept.10-12, 90+ teams stand in the swash zone — and kick off the fall fishing season — for the Hatteras Village International Surf Fishing Tournament. Hook into details at www. hatterasonmymind.com. • Lift your body and drop your pressure when the 2nd Annual Offroading with Luke & Eddie Outer Banks Jeep Mutiny invades local beaches for a mix of treasure hunt and tailgate party, Sept. 10-13. Get all the necessary dirt at www. offroadingwithlukeandeddie.com. • Want a more mellow outdoor adventure? Join the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge for Saturday Tram Tours, 9am -12pm. (Sept. 12, Oct. 10, Nov. 14.) Then, come back for two Red Wolf Howlings (Oct. 3 & Nov. 7). Plus every Fri. there’s a free Preschool Young Naturalist Program from 10-11am and a Pea Island Bird Walk from 8-9:30am. Call 252-475-4180 for details. • Witness human nature at its best — and some sick surfing — when the Throwdown North of Town Surf Classic returns to Chicahauk Beach Access, Sep. 12, packing the beach for an all-day event full of stoked faces and stacked heats to raise funds for one local family. Find ‘em on Facebook. • Muscle power reigns supreme when the Outer Banks Triathlon returns Sept. 12-13 with
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ATTACH A KEG TO A FLYING MACHINE AND LAUNCH IT OFF A 20-FOOT FLIGHT DECK?
OBX BREWTÄG OCTOBER 3, 2015 DETAILS & REGISTRATION AT
OBXBREWTAG.COM PRESENTED BY:
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OUTER BANKS EVENT SITE • NAGS HEAD • MP 16 milepost
Celebrating Our Seafood Heritage!
Trip over to Kelly’s for the Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s psychedelic blues jams on Sept. 13. Photo: MMG
three distance options for all your swim-bike-run needs. Routes and registration at www. outerbankstriathlon.com. • Meanwhile, “soar-dive-turn” fans can enjoy Kitty Hawk Kites’ Outer Banks Stunt Kite Festival, Sept. 12-13, where world-class kite pilots go loopy over the Outer Banks Event Site. The full scoop at www.kittyhawk.com. • And Kelly’s continues its marathon of national music acts on Sept. 13 with An Evening with the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. From 8-11pm, the former Black Crowes frontman brings trademark charisma to a whole new catalog of psychedelic rock. Tix and deets at www. chrisrobinsonbrotherhood.com. • On Sept. 14, Rundown Café rings in the season of local love with the return of Fried Chicken Night every Mon. through fall — plus! — pita-eaters rejoice with Vegetarian Tapas each Thurs. at 5pm. Tasty details at www.rundowncafe.com. • Celebrate two decades of epicurean delights by Ocean Blvd. with their annual Endless Summer Party on Sept. 14 and the 20th Anniversary Food & Music Bash on Sept. 21. Get a month’s worth of happy birthday haps at www.obbistro.com. • On Sept. 17-20, set a course for Day at the Docks, Hatteras Village’s three-day celebration of community solidarity and waterman traditions. Besides perennial favorites like the concrete marlin contest and Blessing of the Fleet, this year features panel discussions on seafood sustainability and hurricane preparedness — plus, the annual Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation’s Chowder Cook Off helps local patients while a Seafood Throwdown pits local chefs against a secret ingredient. Full schedule at www.dayatthedocks.com. • Or be serenaded by frolicking swashbucklers when the Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts kicks off their season with Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance on Sat., Sept. 19. On Oct. 17, Mipso mixes strings, four-part harmony and Appalachian influences. And Nov. 7 brings the bottom-end bravado of Low and Lower — America’s top-selling cello bass duo. All shows are 7:30pm at First Flight High School. $28 for adults; $15 for students. Get details and season passes at www.outerbanksforum.org. • Stop clapping and put those hands to work when the North Carolina Beach Buggy Association’s Operation Beach Respect cleans up Hatteras and Ocracoke access ramps Sept. 19 — and come back for an encore on Nov. 14. Deets at www.ncbba.org. • Take to the water for Sept. 19’s 4th Annual Kitty Hawk Surf Co. Kayak Fishing Tournament. This catch-and-release tourney features four categories — flounder, speckled trout, red drum, and slam — and costs just $40 for a shot at big prizes, all to benefit NC Coastal Land Trust. Learn more at www.khsurf.com. • Or just drink like a fish when Trio kicks off Oktoberfest, Sept. 19-20, with traditional German food, music and bier. Learn more at www.obxtrio.com. • You call that a sausagefest? You ain’t seen nothing, because Sept. 18-20’s OBX Pridefest is so big and bold, we can’t begin to fit it all. Start with a Fri. night special performance of Pirates of Penzance. On
Oct. 17, 2015 • 10:30am - 6pm $3 Admission* Includes: Live Entertainment Arts & Crafts• Cooking Demos Educational Programs Highlighting Our Local Seafood Industry *Children Under Age 12 FREE when accompanied with adult
($1) to Redeem with Festival Restaurant Vendors or for Festival Merchandise
The Soundside Event Site • MP 16 • 6800 S. Croatan Hwy. • Nags Head, NC
OuterBanksSeafoodFestival.org This project is funded in part by the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau.
endnotes Sat., party all day at First Colony Inn, then howl all night at Pamlico Jack’s with knockout musical humorist — and America’s Got Talent contestant — Delighted Tobehere. Come Sun. chill out behind the Brewing Station with a special Backyard Bands & Brews before finishing up that night with Jamie Monroe’s Pridefest Wrap Party at Kelly’s. This year supports the Dare County HIV Task Force. Just remember: all daytime events are familyfriendly — evening events are NOT! Get full sched, individual pricing and your $100 Pride Pass at www.obxpridefest.com. • Holy SCOTUS! We almost forgot Sun., Sept. 20’s Outer Banks Weddings with Pride Expo at the Hilton Garden Inn at 1pm. This first gay wedding expo in Eastern NC features 30 vendors. Say yes at www. weddingswithpridenc.com. • Same-sex singles. Mixed doubles. It’s all good when you’re part of the Outer Banks Tennis Association. Come out to KDH Rec Park on Sept. 18-20 for the OBTA Adult NTRP Tournament. Feeling warmed up? Good. Because Oct. 8-11 sees charity go center court as the 13th Annual Charity Classic raises dough for Dare Hospice. Details served at www.outerbanks.usta.com. • Then drop the racket and grab your kite rig as the 2015 Cape Hatteras Wave Classic brings open kiteboard competition to the open ocean, Sept. 19-25. Sign up at www.realwatersports. com. • Spice up your Sun. when the OBX Latin Festival celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month at the Nags Head Soccer Complex on Sept. 20. From 11am-6pm enjoy authentic food, traditional dances and live music — plus adult and youth soccer. Proceeds help Mano al Hermano empower Latino families through education and positive integration programs. Saber más a www.manoalhermano.com. • On Sept. 20-26, blazing boardriders from groms to grannies do battle at Jennette’s Pier for the 48th Annual ESA Easterns — the top amateur surfing competition on the East Coast. More at www.surfesa. org • And Sept. 21-26 will really blow you away, as the Hatteras Wind Jam draws the world’s best sailboarders to Buxton and Avon for the only US East Coast stop on the 2015
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Pride & Joy at the Beach!
American Windsurfing Tour. More at www.americanwindsurfingtour.com. • Plant yourself at the Elizabethan Gardens, Sept. 21-23 for Botanical Watercolor: Fall Studio Workshop, as Resident Botanical Artist Linda Miller inspires students to interpret the nature’s beauty with two- and three-day classes, 9am-3:30pm. Pricing and registration at www.elizabethangardens.org. • On Sept. 23, the Bryan Cultural Series and Duck’s Cottage Downtown Books invite you to Downtown Manteo’s DCAC Gallery for An Evening with Lisa Wingate, when the author will discuss her latest locally set masterpiece, The Sea Keeper’s Daughters at 6pm. Tickets and more at www.bryanculturalseries.org. • Then do-si-do over to Roanoke Island Festival Park, Sept 23-27, as the 4th Annual OBX Bluegrass Festival returns with big-time acts like Rhonda Vincent, Sam Bush, Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis. Plus, on Sept. 22, the Bluegrass Island Band Competition lets local players light up the Indoor Theatre for a chance to perform two songs on the main stage — and a reserved spot on the bill in 2016. Full details on both jams at www. bluegrassisland.com. • Sept. 25, it’s the North Carolina Coastal Federation’s chance to cook, with the Fourth Annual Fish Fry and Shrimp Boil. From 4:307pm, enjoy local fried flounder, steamed shrimp and yummy sides courtesy of Café Lachine, all while enjoying live music and learning about clean, healthy waters. $15 in advance; $20 at the door; $10 for kids under 12. Full list of family activities at www. nccoast.org. • Help stomp out drug abuse on Sept. 26 when the 6th Annual Walk Against Addiction comes to First Flight High School from 9am-12pm. Speakers, route and details at www.walkagainstaddiction.org. • Kill that jones for Old Bay and bold vino at Sanctuary Vineyards’ Crabdaddy Seafood and Wine Festival on Sept. 26. From 12-6pm, feast on steamed crabs, endless wine and beer samples, live music, grape stomping and hayrides. $30 per person; $50 per couple. Price includes two food vouchers for local tapas and a souvenir glass. Can’t make it? Slip out for a free Acoustic Sunset, Sept. 3,10 & 17 at 5:30 pm. More
event rentals for your perfect occasion.
www.OBXpridefest.com • Nags Head, NC Purchase a weekend Pride Pass for all access!
Further details, accommodations, and admission information can be found at: www.obxpridefest.com
Friday, September 18th
1 pm: Beach Time at Jennette’s Pier 7:30 pm: Pirates of Penzance - NYC Touring Show 10 pm: Sterling Maxwell’s Kings & Queens of Burlesque - Pamlico Jacks Midnight: DJ Sek Z Dance Party - Pamlico Jacks
10 pm: Delighted Tobehere (Roxy C Morrecox) from America’s Got Talent - Pamlico Jacks 11 pm: Pride & Joy Drag Show -Pamlico Jacks Midnight: DJ Amy Alderman’s Dance Party - Pamlico Jacks
Sunday September 20th
11am: Drag Brunch - Hilton Pier House 1pm: Weddings With Pride Outer Banks Expo - same sex Noon - 6pm: 5th Annual Outer Banks Gay Pride Festival - marriage vendors - Hilton Ballroom vendors & food - First Colony Inn. Bands include Humble 3pm: Backyard Bands & Brews - Outer Banks Brewing Tripe, Chris Mcauley, Dharc Wine, Someone’s Sister, the Station 10pm: Jamie Monroe’s Pridefest Wrap Party & Dance Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte and MORE! Club - Kelly’s Restaurant & Tavern 6 pm: Sunset Booze Cruise
Saturday, September 19th
gohunt Some of these events are FREE. Please check our website and fan page. obxpridefest.com or facebook.com/obxpride
(866) 490-3535 metrorentalobx.com 2015 Milepost Ad_5.0625x4.875.indd 1
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titles and times at www.darearts.org and www.surfalorus.com. • But wait! There’s more! details at www.sanctuaryvineyards.com. • On Sept. 26, crank out some miles for a worthy ’Cause on Oct. 3, the Outer Banks Surfrider Foundation wants all attendees to join in on cause when the 6th Annual All Out Pink Road Race raises cash for the Outer Banks the 29th Annual Big Sweep. Last year, 131 participants collected an estimated 695 pounds Cancer Support Group. Post-race party includes admission to the Elizabethan Gardens, of trash. From 9am-12pm, pick up trash bags and data cards light snacks, refreshments, and spirits for 21+ adults. Register at one of seven locations. Go clean a beach or soundside at www.runcations.com. • Or help the Dare County Arts access, then bring your data card to TrashFest at the Outer Council cure boredom at KDH Rec Park, when the 26th Banks Brewing Station for free food, beer and live music, Annual Artrageous Art Extravaganza gathers activities, 12:30-4pm. Locations and details at outerbanks.surfrider. music, dancing and more on Sept. 26. More at www. org. • Give lifeguards a leg up, Oct. 2-3, when the darearts.org. • And, on Oct. 1-3, DCAC and Coastal Chicamacomico Banks Fire Department’s Annual Chili Studies Institute join forces for three days of science, arts, Cook-off raises funds for their Water Rescue Team. More surf flicks and straight-up stoke as the 2015 DASH at www.cbfd.org. • It’s the fish who’ll need rescuing when the Symposium: Boats and Boards, Waves and Ripples runs Manteo Rotary Club Inshore Slam runs Oct. 2-3. alongside the 4th Annual Surfalorus Film Festival — a Participants compete in four categories: striper, flounder, cinematic celebration of all things aquatic. From Thurs.-Sat., puppy drum and speckled trout. But the real winners are catch film screenings from ocean documentaries to pure high school students, as proceeds fund local scholarships, action, plus multiple presentations, including: sculptor raising $260,000 to date. Full deets at www.rockfishrodeo. Reuben Margolin’s DASH Keynote Address at COA com. • Don’t drop your rod, ’cause Sat., Oct. 3 brings the (Oct. 2, 4pm); a surf photography exhibit by Mickey Fifth Annual Red Drum Tournament to Jennette’s Pier McCarthy and surf rock by Out of Limits at DCAC (www.jennettespier.net.). And on Oct. 7-9, an assortment of Gallery (Oct. 2, 6pm); and a surf swap hosted by First The Surfalorus Film Festival and DASH Symposium split the weekend six-person teams battle for big hauls and bragging rights in Flight High School Model UN at Magnolia Pavilion (Oct. of Oct. 1-3 to explore the arts and science of ocean culture — the 65th Annual Nags Head Surf Fishing Club 2, 6pm). Learn your watercraft with CSI’s self-guided Tour including a photo exhibit by Mickey “2M” McCarthy at DCAC. Invitational Tournament. More at www. of Roanoke Island Boat Builders (Oct. 3, 10am-2pm) nagsheadsurffishingclub.org. • Sit back and let the thrills come to you as Theatre of Dare followed by an Artist Talk with Surfboard Shapers and Collectors at DCAC (Oct. 3, celebrates its 25th season with an opening performance of Wait Until Dark, Oct. 2-4 & 5pm). And, finally, former Duck Pier researcher Jeff Hanson presents OBX Waves – Science and Forecasting at DCAC (Oct. 3, 6pm). Get a complete schedule, including movie 9-11, followed by the American classic, Our Town, Nov. 13-15 & 20-22. Even better,
The Lost Colony Presents
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All new FOR 2015 Every Friday and Saturday night in October.
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The Pirates are Coming!
endnotes become part of the action as the auditions for Our Town run Oct. 5-7 at 7pm. All performances and auditions are at COA. Fri. and Sat. performances start at 7:30pm; Sun. matinees are at 2pm. Tix just $10 per show — or order $30 season tix by Labor Day and save your seat for spring’s The Music Man and Picasso at Lapin Agile. More at www. theatreofdareobx.com. • Fight for your right stuff to party on Oct. 3, when OBX Brewtag challenges local teams to build man-powered flying machines large enough to fly kegs from Outer Banks Event Site into Roanoke Sound. Details and registration at www.obxbrewtag. com. (This time we mean it.) • Like your beer to stay in its stein? Be at Pangea Tavern in Avon on Oct. 10 as Octobeerfest provides German food, live music — and pink beer? Ya! Because it’s also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, meaning every Koru Village event gets a rosy tint to raise funds for research — from Karma Yoga (Oct. 12) to Fish Like A Girl’s all-female tournament at Avon Pier (Oct. 17). And it all culminates with Oct. 24’s Pink Party at Pangea Tavern, where they’ll announce the total amount. More at www. koruvillage.com. • And cancer keeps getting its butt kicked one running shoe at a time when the 12th Annual Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation Fun Run jogs a pink streak through Avon on Oct. 10. Money raised helps local patients cover medical costs. Sign up at www.hicf.org. • Orange is the new blackboard when the Nags Head Elementary School Great Pumpkin Fair sells gourds, raffles prizes and runs games to raise money for the PTO on Oct. 3. And Kitty Hawk Elementary’s Fall Carnival follows suit on Oct. 10. Find ’em both on Facebook. • And every Sat. in Oct. is open season on the Island Farm Pumpkin Patch. Take an ox-drawn wagon ride to find your future jack-o-lantern. Other activities include making candles, cornhusk dolls and a scarecrow photo booth. Entry is $8 for ages 6 and up; pumpkins are $4. More at www.theislandfarm.com. • Nailbangers pound pavement on Oct. 8-11, as the 23rd Annual Parade of Homes lines up custom-built houses from Corolla to Hatteras, with contractors battling in every facet, from exterior siding to interior décor. More at www.obhomebuilders.org. • Down south, Oct. 8-11 is a parade of ‘H’yahs!” as Hatterasity hosts a four-day bluegrass block party at Hatteras Village Civic Center, featuring the Crop Circle Agents, Molasses Creek, Mama Corn and others. Tix run $10 to $25 depending on the day — or spend a straight $50 for all four. Full deets at www.hatterasitybluegrass.com. • And Corolla kicks up a stampede of national talent when the Mustang Musical Festival returns to Whalehead, Oct. 9-10. Building on last year’s blockbuster, 2015 stars touring thoroughbreds like Keller Williams, Rusted Root, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and The Nth Power — plus homegrown favorites Birddog, Sean Olds and Violent Mae — and ten more epic additions. $50 per day. Weekend passes are $80. Kids 12 and under free. Bolt over to www.mustangmusicfestival. com for VIP options and package deals. And, if you’re feeling frisky from Fri. night, you can always burn off some extra energy by running the Mustang Music Festival 5K & Wild Pony Fun Run on Oct. 10. More at www.runcations.com. • That can only mean the 9th Annual Duck Jazz Festival is gonna jam through Duck Town Park on Sun., Oct. 11. This year’s free festivities feature former James Brown bandmate Maceo Parker, The Bria Skonberg Quintet, The Monitors, Mint Julep Jazz Band and FFHS Honors Jazz Band. Pack up your chairs, coolers and pets — but leave the beach umbrellas and tents at home. Food available for purchase, chairs for rent. But space is limited, so get there early. Gates open at 10am. Check out wwwduckjazz.com for more info and events around town. • Give your ears a break and tune in your taste buds! On Oct. 10, the First Flight Rotary Club’s Oink N’ Oyster Roast brings BBQ and bivalves to Longboards Island Grill to raise money for a range of non-profit organizations. More at www.oinkandoyster.org. • And the Bryan Cultural Series just keeps rolling on Oct. 15, as they bus up to Norfolk for the Chrysler Museum Glass Collection, 8am-5pm. And on Nov. 8, it’s time to pause and listen as US Poet Laureate Charles Wright reads at Hilton Garden Inn at 4pm. Tix and deets at www. bryanculturalseries.org. • On Oct. 17, the 2nd Annual Ride For Life brings cyclists to Tri Outer Banks Sports in KDH for a full range of courses, winding ocean to sound and
The New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players production of
This event is funded in part by
Friday September 18 at 7:30pm Tickets $20 in advance online at BryanCulturalSeries.org and these locations:
Support for this event provided by the
Duck's Cottage Coffee & Books in Duck Downtown Books in Manteo Grays Department Store in Kitty Hawk Sea Green Gallery in Nags Head
Also coming soon from the Don & Catharine Bryan Cultural Series An Evening with Author Lisa Wingate In cooperation with our friends at Ducks Cottage Downtown Books Manteo and the Dare County Arts Council Wednesday September 23 at 7pm Dare County Arts Council Building Downtown Manteo
Visit BryanCulturalSeries.org for tickets and more information about these and future events milepost
Chrysler Museum Glass Collection Expedition Bus trip to view a glass blowing demonstration and special tour of the museum's world famous glass collection Thursday October 15 8am to 5pm Charles Wright US Poet Laureate (6/2014 - 6/2015) Lecture and Reading Sunday November 8 at 4pm Hilton Garden Inn, Kitty Hawk
lighthouse to lighthouse. Register by Sept. 14 to save $10. Proceeds benefit Autism Speaks and Outer Banks Woman’s Club Angel Tree Bikes. More at www.obxtrisports.com. • Better hit the brakes and score a fish basket. On Oct. 17, the Outer Banks Seafood Festival returns to Nags Head’s Outer Banks Event Site with a cornucopia of pescatarian delights prepared by area chefs. Plus, there’s cold beer, live music, cooking demos and educational booths — all to celebrate our fishing heritage. Find tix, info and ways to volunteer at www.outerbanksseafoodfestival.org. • And Oct. 19-21, the NC Lions VIP Fishing Tournament brings more than 500 blind and visually impaired people of all ages to the Outer Banks — the largest gathering of blind and visually impaired people in North Carolina. To support this very important program, find ’em on Facebook. • On Oct. 19, the Kelly Hospitality Group 22nd Annual Charity Golf Tournament swings into action at Nags Head Golf Links, gathering local teams to raise funds for the Outer Banks Community Foundation — contributing more than $344,000 to date. Chip in by signing up — $175/Player; $650/Team; $200 Hole Sponsorship — then party down at the 19th Hole Awards & Hospitality Party at Kelly’s Restaurant from 6-8pm. Or donate items for the silent auction and raffle. Learn more at www.kellysrestaurant.com. • Did someone say “shotgun start”? Just kidding. The 19th Annual Wings over Water Wildlife Festival is for viewing animals — not chewing them. From Oct. 20-25 enjoy 100+ birding, paddling, photography and natural history tours and programs — plus keynote speaker Al Batt. Can’t make it? A first-ever encore festival weekend is set for Dec. 4-6. Get all the flap at www. wingsoverwater.org. • Bail the touch screen and get back to nature when Camp Waterlily heads to Coinjock’s Hampton Lodge Camping Resort, Oct. 23-25, for a fun-filled weekend of field games, campfires, live music and outdoor activities where families earn merit badges for rock climbing, kayaking, fishing, archery, and stargazing, to arts and crafts and environmental workshops. Proceeds benefit the Outer Banks Volunteer Network. Pricing and reservations at www.campwaterlily.com. • On Oct. 24, make Elizabethan Gardens your Harvest HayDay. Stuff scarecrows, paint faces, get lost in a bale maze, or enjoy a hay ride — plus music, stories, games, hot cider, and bonfires to warm your heart. Members/Friends: Free. Non-Members: Adults $9; Youth (617) $6. Five and under free with a paying adult. For details visit www. elizabethangardens. org. • Step aside, Iggy Izalea. Come Oct. 24, the Dare County Arts Council gets super fancy with the Ruby Renaissance 40th Anniversary Gala at Pirate’s Cove. From 7-11pm, expect fine décor, top-notch food and music and plenty of red to ring in the next four decades of high culture. More See Batman knock out more crooks at www.darearts.org. when the Trick or Street Jam hits • Dress up to go big Kitty Hawk Skate Park, Oct. 25. when the Trick or Photo: Tony Leone Street Skate Jam
Crabs, Crabs, Wine, Beer & Crabs!
Ticket includes: Souvenir wine glass, two food vouchers for local tapas Live Music, Hayrides, Grape Stomping and the Crabdaddy Olympics! Sept. 26th 12-6pm • Tickets $30 Per Person, $50 Per Couple
Two Great Events, One Grape Location!
••••• Buy Your Tickets Online sanctuaryvineyards.com or Call 252-491-2387
Sanctuary Vineyards, 7005 Caratoke Hwy, Jarvisburg,NC
Ticket includes: Souvenir wine glass, live music with Cody Austin Band
All You Can Eat Oysters, Crabs & BBQ they(whilelast) Saturday, Nov. 28th 12- 5pm • Crabs Courtesy of “I Got Your Crabs”
endnotes rolls, grinds and ollies through Kitty Hawk Skate Park, Oct. 25. This annual Halloween decorative. More at www.ncmaritimemuseums.com. • Or challenge yourself to a few beers contest promises prizes for top three finishers in three separate divisions — as well as best — and some fine fishing — when the PBR Classic hooks up drum and bluefish at Avon costume. Plus food, fun and a product toss courtesy of Mom’s Sweet Shop. 12pm start. Call Fishing Pier, Nov. 6-8. Call 252-995-5480 to sign up. • Celebrate a decade of distance 441-MOMS for more. • Did someone say Halloween? Yup. We wrote about 1000 words running, Nov. 6-8, when the 10th Annual Outer Banks Marathon returns. Start with Nov. already on page 16-17, but we did miss a couple fun events. On Oct. 30, Creepy in Corolla 6’s warm-up of Outer Banks 8K, 5K, Fun Run & Diaper Dash. Come Sun., it’s the full winds its way from Whalehead through the historic village and Currituck Beach marathon, half-marathon and Southern 6. Plus, this year’s new Beast of the Bridge award Lighthouse. (Find ’em on Facebook.) And Avon’s Pangea Tavern hosts a Midnight for fastest time over the span. Don’t wanna run? (Don’t blame ya.) Just be at the finish line in Monster Mash, Oct. 31. More at www.koruvillage.com. • And for real blood-thirsty fun, the Manteo for the Southern Fried Block Party. Details and registration at www. Third Annual Pirates Jamboree plunders Ocracoke, Oct. 30-Nov. 1. This buccaneering outerbanksmarathon.com. • Nov. 6 is a fine time to just relax on the waterfront as it’s another good time pays tribute to Edward Teach with educational talks, authentic impressionists, First Friday, meaning a new opening exhibit from the Dare County Arts Council. Come chanteys — and a full reout 6-8pm to see enactment of collaborative works by Blackbeard’s last battle — letterpress/printmaking giving plenty of reasons to artist Lisa Beth Robinson, wear that Jack Sparrow and sculptor and glass costume all weekend. artist Kristin Thielkin More at www. — plus hear reggae/dub/ piratejamboree.com. • Do rock music by The Reef. dead shrimp return as Like what you see? Take a ghosts? Better hope not. glass kiln casting workshop ’Cause you’re gonna kill at ECU, Nov. 14-15. Full platefuls of ’em when the deets at www.darearts.org. Annual Outer Banks • Then Nov. 7-15, the Shrimp Cook-off comes whole community joins to Ocean Blvd. On Nov. forces to salute the U.S. 21, a dozen area chefs try military with Outer Banks to out-do each other to Veterans Week, Nov. raise dough for the Outer 7-15. On Nov. 7, the Banks Center for Americana Beer Fest Dolphin Research. $20. presents live music and More at www.obxdolphins. craft beers that are either org. • For all-you-canveteran-owned and/or enjoy, fantastical art, pick contribute back to up a copy of Creatures of veterans. (More at www. Imagination: A Journal brewsforthebrave.org.) of Discovery by Carol Nov. 12 sees the Outer Willet. This portable zoo Banks History Center of one-of-a-kind animals is unveil a special exhibit made with nothing but presentation from their pure creativity and papier year-long Heritage of mâché. Out Nov. 1. • Heroes: The Coast Don’t be a double-diptych. Check out “Bottom Wrecked” — a collaborative exhibit of kilned glass and printed poetry Now’s not the time to Guard in North Carolina by Lisa Beth Robinson and Kristin Thielking — at Manteo’s Dare County Arts Council Gallery, Nov. 6-30. daydream. Nov. 3 is at the DCAC Upper Voting Day for all the Gallery. On Nov. 13, towns, including mayoral races in KDH and Southern Shores. (Looking at you, Lorax.) If Tailgate Down countrifies Kelly’s to raise scratch for the Dare County Veterans Advisory you’re registered, vote early Oct. 22–31. Got questions? Call the Election Office at 252Council. And the whole week culminates Nov. 14-15, with the Dare County Arts Council’s 475-5630 or 475-5631. • Sorry. No amount of lobbying will score you a spot in the 57th Outer Banks Veterans Writing Project, a free two-day writing workshop at CSI led by Annual Cape Hatteras Anglers Club Invitational Surf Fishing Tournament, Nov. 4-6. Ron Capps, a combat veteran and writer. Past participants are encouraged to register. Learn But you can still play a role. Find out how to volunteer at www.capehatterasanglersclub.org. more at www.obxvwp.org. • Speaking of OBHC, stay tuned to 99.1 the Sound every Wed. (And then start kissing butt like any good politician.) • Find your Christmas spirit early — and at 10:40am, for “Two from the Archives,” where DJ John Harper plays vintage tracks, while the perfect present — when the Manns Harbor Holiday Craft and Gift Show fills the fire archivist Stuart Parks relates a half-dozen newsy “blasts from the past.” • And the Annual station with vendors, gifts, décor, and jewelry, Nov. 6-7. Even better, make a donation to the Wags and Whiskers Gala returns to Pamlico Jack’s on Nov. 20, gathering a full litter of Dare County Angel Tree. Find all the festive details on Facebook. • Or give the gift of free critter enthusiasts to enjoy the finest kibbles and freshest drink. It’s the most fun any human time to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. Find out how at Nov. 6’s Volunteer can have without licking themselves. And it all benefits Coastal Humane Society, Feline Luncheon, 10:30am–1 pm. And come back Nov. 13 for the Shipwreck Scavengers Hope, Friends of Felines, Friends of Pooh Canine/Feline Cancer Fund, and the Outer Challenge, where kids age 6-12 use discarded items to create something useful or Banks SPCA. Limited seating. Find details on Facebook.
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Open Year Round • Serving Lunch & Dinner
9.5 It's ALL Good! Milepost 9.5 • Highway 158 in KDH • 252.441.7889 • MamaKwans.com
to the Shack!
Great Reasons to
That ooey-gooey grit cake! Servers say... ‘Cause we’re hot! Bartenders say... RUM.
kitchen crew says...
More Rum! (Buckets of RUM!)
Because We’re Squeaky Clean! Bussers say... Duh! - The GREAT food!
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Bonzer Bar says... for the fun! Servers say... Show us the LOVE! Y’all Say... Can’t wait to Shack Up!
MP9 on the Beach Rd. • Kill Devil Hills • BonzerShack.com • 252.480.1010
come out and play.
live music, wild times and backyard fun since 2001.