Issue 7.2 milepost 1
Some golden moments you just can’t buy. Photo: Ian Tsonev
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They gosurf say the outthere best gohunt things in life rearview are free.
Maybe so. But enjoying them sure ain’t. Even that Beatles record went for a dollar. That’s on top of the studio’s hourly rate. Years of touring expenses and lots of bar tabs — all the way back to some Liverpool dad’s decision to buy li’l Georgie a threepound guitar. The only thing that didn’t cost a penny was the idea for the song — which was really Motown Records’ melody, by the way — and the sweat to make it happen. The Outer Banks is no different. Every solar ray that rains down, every wave that rolls in
a dream is just chasing a buck — and, occasionally, stealing ideas and making them better. Or just more popular. (Ask Berry Gordy which version of “Money” reigns supreme.) This is both the blessing and curse of an endless, free resource. Anyone can do it. For any reason. Such is the cost of doing business.
At our best, Outer Bankers don’t just make money — we add value.
But at our best, Outer Bankers don’t just make money — we add value. Beach glass jewelry turns a sandblasted chunk of litter into a future heirloom. A charter trip transforms hours of tangled lines and lost bait into the best day of your life. You can go catch crabs and steam ’em in a mix of outdoor adventure and edible experiment — or let a culinary alchemist transform a pile of handpicked lump into a plateful of platinum. Either way, you’re helping make a trained chef, skilled waterman, or choice chicken quarterer’s life a little richer. And they’re doing the same for you. and every fish that swims past, does so free of charge. It’s we humans who ultimately discover a pleasure, then find ways to tack on a price tag. In some cases, it’s pure inspiration. Say, the realization that catching fish is more than good eating — or good times — but also a way to feed the family while doing something you love. Or how a special talent in the kitchen — or, these days, at a desk or in a garage — can offer a rare chance to build a life on the coast. In others, chasing
There may come a time when profit motive is the beach’s number-one draw, and every mom-and-pop is just a marketing scheme. Until then, we’ll chug along and chip away, getting paid in a currency that the mere greedy can’t grasp. Because all those golden moments spawned by the surf, sea and sand — they pass through our hands first, even when we’re not making a sale. We can sample, savor and gorge as we please. And so long as we get our cut of the action, we’ll get by. Riding that edge between filthy rich and dirt poor, floating somewhere between free and priceless. — Matt Walker
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Thank you for reading Outer Banks Milepost. We hope you enjoy it. If not — before chucking this issue in the nearest dumpster — please consider one of the following equally satisfying ways of expressing your disgust: cut it into a loin cloth and cover your naughtiest bits; slap on a fifty-cent price tag and sell it at a profit (good luck with that one). 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. We promise to find some way to re-purpose them. milepost 3
“It’s the economy, stupid.” — James Carville “I was born naked.” — 2 Skinnee J’s
Issue 7.2 Summer 2018 Cover: Tube top. Photo: Julie Dreelin Reader You Brushes & Ink Carnell Boyle, John Butler, George Cheeseman, Marcia Cline, Carolina Coto, Michael J. Davis, Fay Davis Edwards, Mary Edwards, Laine Edwards, Marc Felton, Travis Fowler, Dawn Gray, Amelia Kasten, Chris Kemp, Dave Lekens, Alex Lex, Ben Miller, Ben Morris, Holly Nettles, Rick Nilson, Holly Overton, Stuart Parks II, Charlotte Quinn, Meg Rubino, Shirley Ruff, Kenneth Templeton, Stephen Templeton, George Tsonev, Bri Vuyovich, John Wilson, Mike Zafra Lensfolk Nate Appel, Matt Artz, Chris Bickford, Russell Blackwood, Don Bower, Aycock Brown, Mark Buckler, Jon Carter, Rich Coleman, Kim Cowen, Chris Creighton, Amy Dixon, Lori Douglas, Julie Dreelin, Tom Dugan/ESM, Roy Edlund, Bryan Elkus, Ben Gallop, Cory Godwin, Chris Hannant, Bryan Harvey, David Alan Harvey, Ginger Harvey, Jenni Koontz, Anthony Leone, Jeff Lewis, Jared Lloyd, Matt Lusk, Ray Matthews, Brooke Mayo, Mickey McCarthy, Roger Meekins, Richard L. Miller, Dick Meseroll/ESM, David Molnar, Ryan Moser, Rob Nelson, Crystal Polston, Daniel Pullen, Ryan Rhodes, Terry Rowell, Tom Sloate, Wes Snyder, DJ Struntz, Aimee Thibodeau, Eve Turek, Chris Updegrave, Cyrus Welch, Jay Wickens Penfolk Ashley Bahen, Sarah Downing, Paul Evans, Laura Gomez-Nichols, Jim Gould, Steve Hanf, Dave Holton, Sarah Hyde, Catherine Kozak, Katrina Leuzinger, Dan Lewis, Terri Mackleberry, Fran Marler, Matt Pruett, Mary Ellen Riddle, Sandy Semans, Julie Southard, Shannon Sutton, Kip Tabb, Joseph Terrell, Hannah West, Clumpy White, Bronwyn Williams, Natalie Wolfe, Michele Young-Stone Pointing/Clicking Jesse Davis Sales Force Laurin Walker Big Mouth In Chief Matt Walker Blame It All On Suite P Inc. PO Box 7100 • KDH, NC 27948 Office: 252-441-6203 • Sales: 949-275-5115 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. www.outerbanksmilepost.com milepost
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“Ferry Captain” By Kim Cowen www.kimcowenart.com
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“I like taking pictures of things people wouldn’t normally take pictures of. Things that are falling part — like the siding of an ugly house. Things that are dead — like pieces of driftwood I find on the beach. And I really like patterns and nature. I’ll shoot the geometric shapes that form underneath a pier or inside a gazebo or dig down into the sand, and get close-ups of all the layers. Just normal, everyday things. We go down to Ocracoke a lot in the summer. And I think I take this same picture — or some version of it — every time. And this day there was a double rainbow that went over the entire ferry, but I like this photo better. I just love how it looks like a face.” — Kim Cowen
03 StartingPoint Free flow.
31 S kin In The Game It’s the economy, naked.
70 FoodDrink Poke, mon.
06 UpFront Ferry tales, storm predictions, and future orders.
44 G raphicContent “But wait! There’s more!”
73 S oundCheck Red-hot summer rhythms.
47 B each Reads Blockbuster books born right here.
74 A rtisticLicense Kim Cowen’s mural compass.
56 S aline Dream Chris Bickford’s salty take on local surf culture.
76 R earView Shelly Island’s lasting impact.
22 G etActive Go tape your neighbors. 25 FirstPerson Down south reflections with Dixie Burrus Browning. 26 Q uestionAuthority Chamber of Commerce prez Karen Brown’s recipes for success.
67 GoPlay Canned laughs. 68 G oSail Missing Cats.
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79 O utThere Sensory overload. 80 EndNotes A bank vault of bold summer events.
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upfront soundcheck DO YOU BELIEVE getactive IN FERRIES? Pure fantasy? Or future reality? The Ocracoke Express launches a new discussion over maritime startingpoint mass transit. The Outer Banks isn’t big on mass transportation. No buses. No subways. The closest we come to a metro is the Hatteras-Ocracoke Ferry — and that’s on the extreme end of the island chain. But what maritime transit systems lack in convenience and accessibility, they make up for in chill time. Even in summer.
Get up early enough to beat the traffic, and the hour-long trip is actually enjoyable, even for us cynical locals. We can make fun of the pasty masses from the comfort of our vehicles. Or nap in peace. Or, if we feel like getting outdoors or watching tourists feed the seagulls — ok, ok, dive-bomb the kids — we can mill around the deck. True, we still have to drive once we disembark — but not for long. Starting this summer, people in Hatteras can hop aboard a new passenger ferry, disembark in Ocracoke village, and just keep strolling.
“To me, it’s a game-changer for Ocracoke and Hyde County,” says county manager Bill Rich. “There’s a romance to this island, and passenger ferries only add to it.”
It’s called the Ocracoke Express. By mid-summer, the new high-speed passenger ferry will connect Hatteras with Ocracoke faster and easier than ever before. The NCDOT first proposed the idea in response to shrinking visitation numbers. (When channel shoaling forced vehicular ferries to travel a longer route, wait times to board the ferry got as long as three hours, and 25 percent fewer people bothered to make the effort.) Now, the counties see new opportunities.
NC’s first passenger ferry — Rich is already looking years into the future. To a time when cars stay parked the second people arrive for vacation — in both Hatteras and Ocracoke.
“My dream — the best of everything — that I’m working towards,” Rich says, “is a driverless trip.”
Here’s one scenario Rich imagines: a shuttle service (Hyde or Dare transit) picks up visitors at their hotel room in Hatteras and brings them to the passenger ferry, where they have snacks and a beverage while enjoying the pretty ride across Pamlico Sound. Once they arrive at Silver Lake in Ocracoke village, they take a free tram to different stops around the village. After spending the day shopping, eating and sampling local microbrews, they get back on the tram to catch the evening ferry back to Hatteras, where another shuttle meets them and transports them back to the hotel.
Free tram rides around the village! Happy pedestrians who rent bicycles and golf carts! Walking tours!
While Ocracoke entrepreneurs are brainstorming how to meet the needs of car-less wanderers — and the state ponders the up- and down-sides and yet-to-be-seen sides of
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Go to Ocracoke or Hatteras for the day — or longer, if desired — and never have to start your car? Rich sees that as a no-brainer for tourists. “It makes it an adventure,” Rich says. Even though his idea is still just an idea, Rich doesn’t think it’s too soon to start thinking beyond Ocracoke. The Hyde County native wants to find ways to help the region as a whole — like a future ferry service loop to Swan Quarter for hunters, fishers and birders on the mainland. Or perhaps a comprehensive Outer Banks island tour. “It could be Nags Head all the way to Ocracoke and back,” he says. But first, we need to get through summer. And there are still unanswered questions. Most pressing of all: will people pay? While the current vehicle ferry service stays free, the passenger ferry will cost $15 for a round-trip ticket. Not bad when you consider that the walk-on fee for the Cape May-Lewes ferry costs $18 round-trip. (And as much as $94 for some vehicles.) And you’re not just paying to get there; you’re securing a reserved seat — no waiting! — on a fancy new catamaran that will zip along three-times faster, at 30 knots. On the way, you can grab a bite to eat at the concession stand. If legislators agree, there could also be beer and wine onboard. There are still other risks, though. If something goes wrong, will it sour people on future visits? If it’s a big hit, will the businesses and infrastructure be able to keep up? To its credit, the state Ferry Division is working overtime to support the project’s success, including an ambitious public information campaign. And the $9 million project provides for upgrades of the ferry terminals on the Hatteras and Ocracoke sides, including parking for 150 vehicles near the Hatteras ferry dock, passenger shelters on both sides, and trams for Ocracoke. Funds aren’t available yet for trams on the Hatteras side. (Plans now in place call for passenger ferry customers to be diverted before the ferry stacking lanes in Hatteras Village, so they can park their vehicles in the reserved lot.) But Dare County leaders still see a net positive. “I think of it as a cool new experience,” says Lee Nettles, executive director of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau. “If you have a better experience on the ferry route, that’s a good thing.”
Still, Nettles acknowledges that, until the vessel’s in the water, it’s probably a little early for Hatteras Islanders to fully get in the mix. But he expects the island’s business community to weigh in soon, and the Visitors Bureau will be there to help. “I think it’s important and the right time for the Hatteras Village community to come together,” Nettles says. “There’s a lot of things that can be done, but it only works if that’s what the community wants.” If they want it? Nettles says he sees an opportunity in visitors unleashed from their vehicles — tram tours of the village, with guides or storytellers; bicycle rentals for quick jaunts; off-road tours of Pole Road and Cape Point; shuttles to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum or to a marina for lunch. Maybe more retailers will be inspired to open. “It could encourage boutique shops and other types of businesses,” he says. “I mean, we definitely have a real entrepreneurial culture.”
Once the imagination kicks in, it’s not hard to see bigger things. In fact, the Cape May-Lewes ferry system doesn’t just connect New Jersey and Delaware shore towns — it shuttles passengers to shopping malls, beaches, the zoo, and state parks. Recently, a similar concept got new life with a study by the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at UNC-Chapel Hill that suggested passenger ferries as a tourism development strategy for the region.
“There’s a romance to this island, and passenger ferries only add to it.” — Bill Rich
So, while Dare and Hyde mull over ways to maximize their new high-speed connection, some neighboring counties in the northeast — the so-called Inner Banks — have revived the idea of connecting towns along the Albemarle Sound with their own passenger ferry service. Those hankering to get away from the beach could jump on a boat at the Kitty Hawk terminal and take a ride along the sound to Plymouth, Edenton, Hertford, Columbia, and Elizabeth City. But, brainstorming is one thing, Nettles says. What’s hard is the follow-through. “I believe it will spur ideas, whether it’s for eco-tourism or other things,” he says. “All that being said, the passenger ferry is not a silver bullet — it is what you make of it.” — Catherine Kozak
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This 800-pound sawfish landed at Cape Hatteras is most likely the same fish described in newspapers as the one netted by Joe Jennette in 1951. Photo: Herbert Hutchinson Brimley/ State Archives of North Carolina
ONE FISH, TWO FISH, PRIZED FISH, POACHED FISH The strange case of the vanishing sawfish.
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It was a typical morning in Nags Head in 1914. Men worked their nets in the great Atlantic, while summer people from the Unpainted Aristocracy — the original cottages built in the vicinity of Jockey’s Ridge — enjoyed the shore. Some strolled along the sand, others swam. Francis Winslow, a young attorney from Rocky Mount, North Carolina, whose family owned one of the classic homes, walked along the beach with his father, Frith. The pair came upon John Culpepper, a local fisherman, who their neighbor, James E. Wood, recollected, “kept the cottagers supplied with fish right out of the ocean for a 9 o’clock breakfast every morning.” But this morning, the people would go hungry. Culpepper’s net had been cut to pieces. The culprit? One Pristis pectinatus. Culpepper’s
unfortunate morning haul included a sawfish — a denizen of the sea distinguished by its serrated bill sword. Often three or four feet long, the sword is edged on both sides with a row of 24 to 30 sharp teeth, which give the fish its name — not to mention its ability to shred a seine. Sawfish are, on occasion, taken along the coast of North Carolina. For example, in 1949, Jimmy Swindell was shrimping in his trawler Mary Josephine when he netted an 800-pound sawfish at Beaufort Inlet. The fish attracted much attention when it was brought to the dock in Morehead City. During the summer of 1951, Captain Joe Jennette netted a 15-foot monster near the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse while fishing for bluefish. The beast was estimated to weigh over 1,000 pounds.
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But the sawfish is not the tastiest brekkie. So, John Culpepper struck a deal with the Winslows. He removed from his net the sawfish’s five-and-a-half-foot bill, and for $1.50 sold it to Frith, who took his prize back to the cottage where it was dried and then hung on display as a nautical curiosity. Around 1931, Francis Winslow, now a successful Rocky Mount, North Carolina lawyer approaching middle age, took the childhood souvenir from his father’s cottage and gave it a special place in his own new beach house — a one-and-a-half-story oceanfront cottage built by legendary carpenter, Stephen J. Twine. There the jagged, sawfish bill remained, adorning the wall for years to come. That is until the spring of 1969. Sometime between April 6 and May 10, the sawfish bill was abducted. “Every guest in my house has commented on its removal and expressed indignation,” Francis Winslow wrote in a letter to Nags Head Police Chief Donny Twyne. “I would
very much like to recover this prized memento of John Culpepper’s feat.” The barrister also sent a signed copy of the same letter to the Coastland Times newspaper, which, on August 1, ran an article under the headline “Sawfish Bill Relic of the Deep Still Missing.” The story included excerpts from the letter and details surrounding the salacious sawfish bill swiping. Two weeks later, the bill reappeared in an equally mysterious manner. According to another letter printed in the Coastland Times, it was discovered just a few doors to the north, in the garage of a cottage called the Battle House. “Kemp Battle was my granddaddy’s law partner,” recalls Cecelia Winslow, who was eight or nine years old when her grandfather Winslow’s keepsake went missing. Not just partners. Battle and Winslow had been close friends and colleagues
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for nearly 60 years. At the University of North Carolina, both shared a penchant for debate, and along with friends Frank Porter Graham (also of Nags Head summer stock) and Charles W. Tillet, Jr. were known as the Pin Point Discussion Club. In 1911 they began practicing law together after founding the law firm Battle and Winslow.
“Our close relationship was well known to everyone who knew us,” he wrote. “I do not know why it was returned to his house rather than mine, but I am sure the person knew it would be returned to me.”
a dark mark where the relic hung. The Winslows knew it was the original, because one of the teeth had broken and the imprint matched up exactly with the bill found in the Battle’s garage. Nearly 50 years later, they still can’t say who the thief was, but Cecilia’s pretty sure she knows the motive.
And so, according to Cecelia Winslow, the bill soon resumed its place on the cottage wall, which had faded over time and left
“I’m sure whoever did it, did it as a prank,” she confesses, “but I’m glad they returned it.” — Sarah Downing
One person who wasn’t surprised? Winslow himself.
Frith took his prize back to the cottage to display as a nautical curiosity.
Sources include: Rocky Mount Evening Telegram, “Giant Sawfish Caught,” July 20, 1951: 2B; Coastland Times ,“Sawfish Bill Relic of the Deep Still Missing,” August 1, 1969, page 2; Nags Head Cottage Row National Register of Historic Places nomination form; Interview with Cecelia Winslow, January 20, 2018; The Coastland Times, “Strange Return of Sawfish Bill Noted,” August 22, 1969: 4; The Gastonia Gazette, “Ocean has Strange Inhabitants,” July 9, 1949: 16.
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upfront soundcheck getactive startingpoint roadmap A cheering, jeering gokite look at recent events and their potential milepost impacts.
DUNE MESSIAH Lovers of giant sand hills have another reason to worship Jockey’s Ridge, as the East Coast’s largest dune system earned a new crown: North Carolina’s most visited state park for 2017. In fact, while park traffic increased statewide by 3.5 percent over the previous year, Nags Head’s peak attraction grew by 19 percent, for a total of 1,560,254 visitors. That’s a bunch of sandy pockets and a big pile of tourist dollars. DON’T DRINK THE BLUE ACID Talk about a bum trip. This winter was just one downer storm after another, including a super heavy nor’easter in March, when a Chinese cargo ship lost 76 containers off our coast — one of which held about 5,900 pounds of sulfuric acid. Good news?
The stuff quickly dilutes in seawater, so no worries about melting faces. Bad news? That fake dog poop you ordered is still floating somewhere off Bermuda. CONDO MINIMUM? In March, Kitty Hawk took baby steps toward more affordable homes by changing local zoning. Moving forward, the “Beach Commercial 1” district can hold up to ten units of multi-family housing per acre as a conditional use. And while it only currently applies to a few empty lots, as older buildings disappear down the road, future families may find starter apartments along the bypass — perhaps even between the highways — instead of struggling between a rock and a hard place. THANKS FOR THE TIP Congress isn’t known for giving excellent service. So, when the Department of Labor proposed letting employers pool bartenders and waiters’ tips to help pay
kitchen staff — and potentially keep a cut for themselves — local servers prepared to get a little stiffed this summer. Instead, March’s 1.3 trillion spending bill included language that clearly states, “An employer may not keep tips received by its employees.” Let’s hope DC keeps handing out good change. THIS AIN’T COOL We’re breaking our poor Mother Nature’s heart! Or at least we’re wrecking her circulatory system. In April, new studies showed that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) — a series of global cooling currents that includes the Gulf Stream — was at a record low “[weakening] over the past 150 years by approximately 15 to 20 percent.” It’s a trend that could intensify the effects of climate change, in terms of rising sea levels and disrupted weather patterns, including an increase in extreme weather events and — ironically enough — winter storms.
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gosurf We’d like to give a little bit back to the OBX
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SURVEY SAYS?! To pave or not to pave? That wasn’t the question, but it was basically the idea behind KDH’s survey to update their Land Use Plan. And once more, the results came back with a strong, pro-quality-of-life slant. In fact, on all the pressing issues — offshore drilling, onshore density, oceanfront building heights — the public leaned strongly toward the idea that less is more. (Unless you’re talking clean water and open spaces.) NEW WORLD ORDERS Complementary relationship — or Raleigh conspiracy? That’s what we want to know after the legislature abolished the Roanoke Island Commission and took control of their $2 million endowment, now making them answer to Roanoke Island Historical Association. And while both entities remain committed to a mutual success, some wonder if the capital’s working to make another historical site disappear.
SORRY, CHARLIE Somebody call Starkist! On March 17, a retired general from Delaware reeled in a 113-inch, 877-pound bluefin tuna aboard the Pirate’s Cove-based A-Salt Weapon. In April, we learned the fish took a new NC Division of Marine Fisheries state record, besting the 2011 title-holder by 72 pounds. And not only did it happen on St. Patrick’s Day — they caught it on the last day of “trophy” season for bluefins over 73 inches — making it possibly the luckiest catch ever. (Unless, of course, you’re the tuna.) BACK IN BRACKISH Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the sound.... In April, the science journal Nature reported that NC estuaries are becoming more of a bull shark nursery thanks to rising salinity and water temps. From 2003-2012, just six juvenile bull sharks were captured in the Pamlico. From 20112016, the number jumped to 53, and it “may increase further if water temperatures remain
warm and females born in the system reach maturity and return to give birth.” (And you thought the fecal counts were scary.) EMOTIONAL RESCUE On August 16, 1918, a German U-boat torpedoed the British tanker, Mirlo, off modern-day Rodanthe. This summer, in a salute to our collective past and Hatteras’ brave knights in sandy armor, Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station relives the joy and sorrow of the 100-year-old rescue, with artifacts, storytellers, art shows, and live performances — culminating with a weeklong centennial celebration, from August 13-18. (It’s also a chance to see the 1911 station’s winter renovations, including a coat of fresh cedar shingles.) Discover the full schedule at www. chicamacomico.org. For detailed reports on these stories and breaking local news on a daily basis — plus page after page of local discussion — visit www. outerbanksvoice.com, www.obsentinel.com and www.islandfreepress.org.
SMART-ASS COMMENT OF THE MONTH “It’s funny that it is referred to as the ‘bypass.’ I use the beach road to bypass the commercial congestion on 158.” — Tiny Cottage, “KDH residents support height limits, against offshore drilling,” April 5, 2018, OuterBanksVoice.com.
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We got questions — you got answers.
Heather Whaley, 26 Nurse Elizabeth City, NC “I was tubing in Panama City, Florida. My bottoms fell off in the river, pretty much as soon as I got in. I couldn’t find them anywhere and had to do the whole twohour float bottomless.”
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Cody Coster, 32 Marine Virginia Beach, VA “I was in the dunk tank for a charity oyster roast. While changing, I decided I needed a beer. So I walked to the packed outer bar — completely forgetting I had nothing on but my shoes. Then I got into an argument with the bartender about the definition of proper attire. And it was cold out. Not my proudest showing!”
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Amanda Inks, 28 gosurf Pharmaceutical Research Kill Devil Hills, NC “I was on Pea Island and had to go to the bathroom. My husband told me to just go over the dune and no one would see. When I finished peeing, I looked up and saw a new traffic camera on top of the power pole.”
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Donut, 32 Tattoo Artist Lake Gaston, VA “It was my birthday. Two of my female friends and I were drinking and playing truth or dare. They dared me to strip down and run around the block covered in lime Jello — so, I stripped down and ran around the block covered in lime Jello.”
What’s your most embarrassing naked moment? Joanna Jacques, 42 Cashier Kill Devil Hills, NC “I drank Absinthe ONCE. Apparently, I passed out in the back of a truck, fell and hit my head. I woke up in a hospital naked, handcuffed to the bed, surrounded by doctors and police officers. Let that be a warning about absinthe.”
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Hagan Howard, 30 Line Cook Colington, NC “I was surf fishing all night with a few friends. Afterward, I decided to jump in the ocean. I didn’t have any trunks, so I hopped in with just my boxers. As I got out, the shorebreak hit me and pulled off my shorts — right when a woman and two kids were walking by.” Star DeMille, 38 Popcorn Maker Pilot Mountain, NC “I was in Okinawa in ’98 on a training exercise. A couple of us found a pond we thought was secluded and jumped in to swim in our underwear and no tops. Not long after, my convoy comes driving down the road, with the general, battalion commander — literally everyone — and stops in front of the pond.”
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Loryn Burmain, 34 Pub Tender Colington, NC “We went skinny dipping one night at Dog Beach. While we were out swimming, the waves took our clothes. When we got back to the beach, we had to run through the Harbour bare-naked to get home.” Interviews and images by Tony Leone
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upfront soundcheck getactive startingpoint BELIEVE THE HYPE! Hurricane forecasts really are better than ever. (And not just ’cause The Weather Channel says so.)
Cyclonic psychics? Or tropical blunders? Sometimes it’s tough to gauge the accuracy of a hurricane forecast. So when The Weather Channel reported that today’s five-day predictions are as solid as a two-day track 25 years ago, we decided to ring the National Hurricane Center’s John Cangialosi to get the latest tropical update on technology.
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No offense, but we kind of expect The Weather Channel to hype hurricane stuff. Are today’s five-day forecasts really as good as a two-day prediction in 1993? Believe it or not, today’s track errors are about half the size they were 25 years ago. In 2017, our forecasts set records for the lowest errors. And that was a very challenging year.
When you say size, do you mean that the “Cone of Uncertainty” was twice as big? Not exactly. But, yeah, that’s a “ball park correct” statement.
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Then why are coastal residents always getting surprised by storms? Like Matthew; we were outside the cone and still got serious wind and flooding.
“In 2017, we set records for lowest errors.”
That’s a good point. And we struggle with that, because the cone is only connected to the center of the system, and the impact could be much bigger. We still want people to use that tool, but at some point you need to pay more attention to the more impact-related products — windspeed probability, storm surge probability — to see what the hurricane might do to your area overall, more than where the center is likely to go.
So why are forecasts getting so much better? In a word, technology. Think how much has changed since the 90s? For us, there are two primary contributors. The global computer models run at a higher resolution, so you get a more realistic position of weather systems. They have better physics, better assumptions, and that all gives us better predictions. The second part is the new satellites that have gone up to help us better observe systems as they develop. So, the improvements we’ve made in track predictions are tremendous. Where we have a long way to improve is projecting how strong a system’s going to get.
Is that where the new drones come into play? Yes. One is a collaborative project between NOAA and NASA called the Global Hawk. It’s essentially the same as the Hurricane Hunters, except they fly higher and faster and stay up longer. But we really want to know what’s going on near the ocean’s surface, where it’s too turbulent to fly safely, so NOAA developed a drone called the Coyote. The Hurricane
There’s two sides to every storm. Ecstasy and agony, courtesy of Leslie and Irene. Photos: Matt Lusk
Hunter drops it to the lower reaches. We don’t get it back, but the data it’s providing is incredible. We got a good look at Maria that way. What about myths? I saw something that said female-named storms are more deadly. And here, people worry about any “I” storms because we’ve been hit by Isabel and Irene. [Laughs] That deadly female myth actually came up today on a tour! That’s just because, for decades, all hurricane names were female, which skews the data. I’ve never heard the “I” one. I bet if you went through the statistics, there might be something there, simply because the “I” storms usually happen around the peak of the season, and those storms usually track farther west. But that has nothing to do with the letter, obviously. What about all the long-term seasonal predictions? Are they getting better? The evolution there is a little slower. And from a public outreach standpoint, we say don’t worry about those forecasts too much, because it doesn’t tell you a heck of a lot more than whether a season will be busier or less busy than average. The specifics of where they’re headed and who they ’ll affect — that science just isn’t there. And, of course, it only takes one storm to cause a catastrophe — as you hear all the time. I think every director who’s ever worked here echoes that one. Probably 100 times a season. — Stu Nahan
THE NAME GAME Which storms will keep you spinning — which will keep you stoked? We scanned this year’s list of names, then applied our own mix of history and hoo-doo to call the shots. Best for Memes: Isaac, Kirk, Tony. Nothing gets the Internet fired-up like slapping funny, famous faces on future tracks. Look for the Love Boat’s bartender, the Enterprise’s captain, and at least one coke-fueled Cuban crime boss to “say hello to your little friends” on Facebook. Best for Waves: Beryl, Florence, Leslie. The last time Leslie swung past, in 2012, she turned Pea lsland into a racing sand point. Famous firing “F” storms include both ’95’s Felix and ’04’s Frances; this year’s “Florence” also shares names with modern surfing’s largest freak-of-nature. And who doesn’t want to get Beryl’d? Best Watch Out: Gordon, Isaac, Sara. In ’94, a Gordon shut down NC 12 for four days — and he was just a little depressed. Outer Bankers keep both eyes peeled on every “I” storm, thanks to Irene and Isabel. But don’t trust Sara no matter how much she smiles. Not only does the NHC rotate names on a six-year basis — they also retire the names of major catastrophes. So Sara’s really just Sandy in disguise.
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Welcome to Carova. The last 11 miles of the Outer Banks, between Corolla and the Virginia state line. Where the paved road ends — but the congestion continues — as construction trucks, tour companies, and beach drivers commingle with sunbathers, families and fillies frolicking in the surf. Where only the bravest of vehicles dare to go offroad — and only those with four-wheel-drive ever come out. (At least without calling a tow-truck.)
What was once a mostly deserted landscape with a small village on the north end is now the last frontier for development. Mega-mansions fight for space with people and cars and the occasional wild horse. With every summer getting crazier, Currituck County Commissioners decided that they had to do something in 2018. So, from Memorial Day through Labor Day, a Beach Parking Permit will be required for any vehicle parked on the sand. Some will pay. Others won’t. And everyone will still probably complain. Regardless, the permit is here, so before you get stuck paying a ticket — just after getting unstuck from the sand — make sure you know how to proceed. Then proceed with caution.
WE DON’T NEED NO STINKING PERMITS! (ACTUALLY, now YOU DO.)
The only thing worse than getting stuck? Getting stuck with a ticket. Photo: Lenore Walters
Who needs a permit? The rules say “any vehicle parked on the beach.” The really important word is “parked.” For workers, tour operators, licensed commercial fishermen — or anyone driving just to sightsee — no permit is necessary. For anyone taking their family north of Corolla Village to post up for the day — or even a few hours — there better be a sticker affixed to your windshield.
How much does it cost and what are the terms? There are two types of permits: Seasonal and 10-Day. Seasonal permits are assigned to a specific vehicle and are good for the entire season — Memorial Day through Labor Day. County residents and property owners get free permits. Everyone else has to pay. Seasonal permits cost $150. Just staying a week or so? Buy a 10-day permit for $50.
Who gets a free permit again? County residents and property owners will get a Seasonal permit for each vehicle they own. Proof of ownership and
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current liability insurance are a must. Very important note: The permits are issued for the vehicles, not to the person. If you buy a new truck, you need a new permit. These permits are not transferrable. However, if you live north of the North Beach Access Ramp, or own property north of the North Beach Access Ramp, you’ll be issued two guest permits. The guest permits are for individual use and are not tied to any vehicle, allowing paid renters or family freeloaders to use during their stay.
What if I lose my permit? Sorry… full price for a replacement. If the lost permit is a guest permit, report it to either the owner of the property or the property management company.
Where are permit applications located? Online at www.ParkingOnTheBeach.com or at the Currituck County Visitors Centers, located in Moyock or Corolla.
Will a permit be needed every year? Yes. They’re seasonal, so the free permits that are issued to county residents and property owners will have to be renewed every year.
Where are permits issued? At either of the two Currituck County Visitors Centers: Moyock Visitors Center 106 Caratoke Highway Moyock, NC 27958
Currituck Visitors Center 500 Hunt Club Drive Corolla, NC 27927
Or apply online to receive a permit by mail.
Anyone posting up for the day — or even a few hours — better have a sticker.
What next? This is the first year for this program. County officials have stressed that they are trying to get everything right, but they know there may be a few bugs. Be patient. And be sure to slack those tires. — Kip Tabb
Ed note: For more info about permits and beach driving in Currituck, go to ParkingOnTheBeach.com or VisitCurrituck.com. Beach driving in summer is prohibited throughout Dare County, except for Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which allows ORV access with a permit — but only at certain ramps, depending on wildlife behavior and other issues. Please visit NPS.gov for pricing and downloadable permits. milepost 17
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Sips and Tips from Spring’s Beer Expos
Beer — it’s what’s for dinner. And lunch. And probably breakfast. At least in summertime. From sudsy brunches to liquid lunches, happy hours to last calls, the Outer Banks virtually runs on six- to 12- to 24-cylinder engines. But getting all that booze here is no vacation. It’s a labor-intensive process that takes trucks and vans and — most of all — beverage distributors. Every spring, these smiling sales folk fight for cooler space via local tradeshows. Picture any other industry’s sales expo, then strip away all the unnecessary stuff — the futuristic cars, high-end electronics, top-heavy chicks in bikinis — and replace it with more beer. (Plus a fair bit of swag and as many restaurant staff as can be squeezed into a hotel ballroom.) What happens next? Honestly, after a couple hundred two-ounce pours, it all gets a bit blurry. But here’s a few of the tastier trends that’ll be keeping folks tipsy this high season. — Laura Gomez-Nichols
Our Picks: Blake’s Grizzly Pear, TW Pitchers Snakebite, Austin Eastciders Original Dry Cider
THE SWEET STUFF Mango IPAs. Lime pilsners. Cherry WTFs. You’ve probably noticed a little more fruit in the beer aisle. Cider takes the idea to its very core. Part of it’s just the byproduct of another big diet trend. (Apple orchards score big-time in our glutenaverse age.) And while purists and snobs like to chuck them in the poseur pile, next to wine coolers and hard seltzers, a cider done correctly is as refined and complex as any of its cousins. (Plus, they’re so GD refreshing on a sticky, sweaty day.)
METAL HEADS Cans rock for many reasons. Environmentalists like the energy-conserving combo of easy recycling, less weight, and lower fuel consumption. For beach peeps, lighter coolers are easy to carry — and leave no broken glass. For the bar owner, they’re cheaper. And for the bartender (listen up, now), they’re easier to open, sling and store — because they stack like Legos — and they get colder faster. But it’s the flavor that wins, because canning maximizes freshness. So much so, even wines — yes, wines — are now crushing on aluminum.
Our Picks: Dogfish Head Namaste, Victory Sour Monkey, Rosé All Day
Corona? They’ve gone to the dark side — well, okay, the tan side.
LOWER OCTANE Summer’s the season for all-day shindigs. Luckily, brewers — in their ever-generous desire to keep us tipping them back without getting too tipsy — are tacking toward lighter seas without abandoning flavor. They’re called “session ales.” And with ABV’s hovering at five percent, any beer snob can chain chug from dawn to dusk — or dusk to dawn — and not break into a slur. It’s so much of a thing, Canadian superpower, Unibroue — the brains behind La Fin Du Monde — teamed up with head-bangers Megadeth on a 4.5 percent dry-hopped saison/farmhouse ale. (Don’t overthink it; just overdrink it.)
Our Picks: Oskar Blues Pinner, Founders All Day IPA, Ballast Point Mango Even Keel SUPER OCTANE On the other side of the universe, we have mind-benders so heavily fermented, they pull enough gravity to rival the most monstrous black hole. They’re called Double IPAs — a nod to the past, when long sea journeys sans refrigeration required even more preservational hops to last the voyage. Nowadays, these eight-percenters could survive a trip to Mars. But with all that extra ABV comes a supersized dose of IBU. So, if hops make your tongue feel like steel wool, scrub all future missions. Everyone else, get ready for liftoff — and keep a sober co-pilot nearby.
Our Picks: Foothills Seeing Double, Stone Delicious, Sierra Nevada Hop Bullet DISAPPEARING ACTS Every successful product is in part smart marketing. Hell, the craft beer industry was built on cultivating desires for hardto-find flavors. As micro brands become commonplace, breweries are turning to the “limited release” to foster fresh longing — and have a little fun — by exploring some odd flavors with genuinely good results. (New Belgium’s Hemporer redefines the phrase “skunk beer.”) So, if you see a trusty brand playing tricks, try it. Chances are you’ll enjoy the surprise.
Our Picks: Bell’s Oberon, Captain Lawrence Orbital Tilt, Boulevard Ginger Lemon Radler and so it gose The march toward sour mash may have more to do with the inner workings of the industry than it does with our palates. (Monopolies on hops and whatnot.) But while goses and sours may seem like a new fad, the truth is they’ve been ’round a loooong time. Before the advent of beer pasteurization and health inspectors and then sanitation standards, bacteria roamed freer, fatter and happier in beer barrels everywhere. But only recently has the process of intentionally sour beers produced stable, refreshingly face-puckering results.
Our Picks: Ommegang Rosetta, Dogfish Head Sea Quench Ale, Victory Kirsch, Lagunitas Aunt Sally FAMILIARLY UNFAMILIAR PBR and Corona. Few beers are so equally loved — and totally hated. Go ahead and joke about skinny jeans/cowboy hats, but these pale riders are crisp and cheap and perfect for summer. And they’re both making bold, even blasphemous, moves. For PBR, it’s a fatter-flavored American Pale Ale. Corona? They’ve gone to the dark side — well, okay, the tan side — with Familiar. Neither’s likely to change any attitudes (or latitudes), but for diehard fans, here’s your chance to drink something same-but-different for the first time in decades.
Our Picks: Neither. (Sorry. We think PBR was born perfect, and no Mexi beer beats Bohemia/Negra Modelo.) milepost 19
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EVERYBODY gosurf HAS A STORY outthere
The Coastal Voices project converts casual conversations into timeless history.
Gloria O’Neal, born in Avon in 1934, can tell you all the old forgotten place names in the village: Turkle Ridge, where Mrs. Keaton ran her dairy farm and sold hand-cranked ice cream; Dog Ridge, where Mr. Gibbs had his store; Pot Head, where her father was raised; and Cat Ridge, where her mother grew up.
Douglas “Chubby” Dorris knew how Hatteras Village’s Sticky Bottom got its name — ruts in the lowland path were usually filled with mud or standing water. And at 98 years old, Herscal Williams could still distinctly detail the days when there was no overland transportation to or from Avon. As a boy, it took a full day’s ride on the 65foot, two-masted freight boat Julian Bell to get to Elizabeth City, where his father put in an order for lumber and supplies to build their house. To get back to Avon required a trip on the Manteo-bound passenger boat Trenton, and another trip on the mailboat milepost
from Manteo to Avon. Since there was no harbor in Avon, when the freight boat delivered their goods days later, a smaller boat had to meet it 300 yards out in the sound, then ferry the goods to land. What happens when stories like this stop being told by friends and family? We lose not just personal histories but bits and pieces of times and places, values and ways of life. Luckily, an oral history project called Coastal Voices works to preserve each precious memory, thanks to three women with strong coastal North Carolina ties and an interest in oral history — Susan West, Barbara GarrityBlake, and Karen Amspacher. In 2013, as the director of the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum on Harkers Island, Amspacher provided the software to catalog and share recordings online. West, a journalist, and Garrity-Blake, a cultural anthropologist, funded the project with a Kickstarter
campaign. By early 2014, they were holding workshops on Hatteras, Ocracoke and Down East (Carteret County), to train volunteers to record oral histories. “We thought it was important to capture the stories of the people of the Outer Banks, where there is not a lot of written history,” West says. “A lot of documentation has been washed away in storms or lost to time.” So far they’ve interviewed roughly 100 people — 70 from Hatteras Inlet north, and another 30 from Down East, which includes Harkers Island, Davis, Marshallberg, and Atlantic. They post the audio recordings on their website, CarolinaCoastalVoices.com, for anyone to hear. But they always have room for more tales. And there are no limitations on who can be interviewed for Coastal Voices. The only rule? All conversations must be in audio format. “We shied away from video, because then it becomes a big production,” West says. “We find the more inconspicuous the equipment, the more people are inclined to open up and share details.” In addition to old-timers and lifelong natives, they are also interested in collecting the stories of young people or recent transplants, who, West says, “give insight into the community fiber and appeal of the community.” For example, one of West’s recordings is with Wheeler Ballance, then a 17-year-old fisherman just starting to pay attention to the mindboggling world of fishery regulations. But West says getting good stories takes more than just hitting “record.” Good qualities in interviewers include knowledge of the area and its history, which can influence asking the right questions. Doing a little research helps, too. And being willing to let the conversation unfold naturally, even if it means going off topic. “The remarkable thing is that you go into it thinking that one thing will be the focus,” she says. “Then these gems come out of nowhere and you say, ‘Wow! That’s the story right there.’”
Because interviews can be intimidating, Coastal Voices provides a list of requirements and helpful pointers so any volunteer can feel confident. They also hold occasional workshops on the interviewing process. William and JoAnn Small attended a workshop at Outer Banks History Center and are now volunteers. And even though they’d never done this type of interview before, they say it’s not difficult. Their main suggestion? Start with people you know. (“They don’t have to be old or famous, they just need to have a meaningful story to tell.”) And prepare to be moved. “We feel privileged that they are willing to share their treasured memories,” says JoAnn Small. “Mostly, the person is just telling stories. But we get removed from our current busy lives for a short while and are transported to a nostalgic time in the lives of these people.” — Terri Mackleberry
TALK. TYPE. SHOOT. SORT. Four ways volunteers can contribute to Coastal Voices. 1. Can you conduct an interview and operate a smartphone? Sit down with someone you find interesting. Record the conversation with your phone’s recording function and send it along. For a range of tips — and a list of potential subjects — contact Coastal Voices.
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2. Can you type? The team is behind on transcribing recorded conversations. 3. Do you take good photos? Shooters are needed to take simple, high-quality images and portraits. 4. Can you edit audio? Help pull interesting bits out of the long interviews for posting and categorizing on the website. Volunteers should contact Susan West at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to CarolinaCoastalVoices.com.
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Agofast DIFFERENT WORLD gogolf
Hatteras native Dixie Burrus Browning reflects on island life before any bridges.
“We didn’t leave for much of anything. And we never felt claustrophobic.”
It was all so beautiful. We would go fishing out by the lightship, and the colors were just overwhelming. The hull of the lightship was red, the superstructure was mustard yellow — right at the edge of the Gulf Stream, which was royal blue. The water over Diamond Shoals, a light green. Dolphins playing on the surface. And when World War II came, I remember waking up in the middle of the night and hearing three booms — boom, boom, boom — and looking out the window and seeing three separate glows on the horizon. After the hurricane in ’44, the beach was so littered with shipwreck debris, you could hardly see the sand. We never left for any storms. Our first house had lines on the wallpaper for each storm where the tide level hit the house. In the night, as the tide was rising up in the house, we’d feel the bed tip up as Mama slipped stacks of magazines under each foot in case the tide got too high. There were holes bored in the floor under the rugs to let the tide out — it also let snakes in. [Laughs] And after big storms, the public health nurse — Miss Betty Draper — would come down and shoot us all to protect us against typhoid fever. She brought one needle with her, and she used it on everybody. But I don’t remember any plagues. Of course, I’m almost 90, so my forgettory is outgrowing my memory.
It was an interesting place to grow up. At least from what I heard once I left. But we didn’t leave for much of anything. And we never felt claustrophobic. Once the bridge opened, everything changed. The island had a heartbeat. Cars, coming and going, all the time, carrying — I don’t know — 20-, 30-, 50-times more people? So it’s a different world now. Not better or worse, just different. There are more families down here, but lots of the same names. The lighthouse is in a new place, but it’s still the lighthouse. And, from what I understand, the Gulf Stream is as blue as ever.
I graduated in a class of three. I was the valedictorian because they passed around a box of medals and told us, “Pick out what you want.” We had no school sports — just sandlot baseball. And we got one book for Physical Education. We passed it around and took it home — but I didn’t read it. Maybe that’s why I flunked Phys. Ed. when I went to college. [Laughs] But I never cared what side of the net the ball was on.
Bodysurfing was my sport. Ladies scoop up a lot of gravel in their bodices, so I had a homemade bodyboard with my name painted across the bow in fingernail polish. And I’d bury it in the top of a dune when I got through surfing. Some days, the beach was totally empty. Others, there might be a half dozen or more villagers in the water. I can still see the bald heads of the men — these pink solar panels — coming ashore. When my brother and I were 11 or 12 years old, we’d go duck hunting. We had a bolt-action rifle. I’d carry the bolt; he’d carry the gun. We’d walk along the sound shore. And when a duck or goose flew by we’d stop, assemble the gun — and by that time the bird was gone. [Laughs]
I was born in 1930. Not only did we not have a bridge to Hatteras Island, we didn’t have a highway. We all drove on sand. We also didn’t have driver’s licenses or license plates. There was no sheriff. No jail. If something got done wrong, you usually knew who did it. And it was usually one of your cousins, because before1950, the old families all intermingled — in some cases a little too close for comfort. But where you have small villages, you have that problem.
Here’s what a real Hatteras icon looks like. (And the lighthouse is pretty rad, too.) Photo: Daniel Pullen
Hatteras native Dixie Burrus Browning is a noted author, artist and charter member of the North Carolina Watercolor Society. To read her words firsthand, find our “Beach Reads” feature on page 47. milepost 25
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gokite milepost On today’s Outer Banks, even the most seasoned businesses need to spice things up. Chamber of Commerce President, Karen Brown, explains why. BREAKFAST BURRITOS
What’s wrong with bland? Nothing, if you’re a communion wafer — or a cardboard box. Bland is safe. Bland is consistent. Easy. But in our modern economy, just being safe and consistent can mean being ignored. And no business can afford that — especially when tastes are constantly changing, and so many more choices are clamoring for attention.
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“People always have to be looking at their brand to see what needs to change to fit what people’s priorities and desires are,” says Karen Brown, president and CEO of Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce. “Even we as a group have had to change the way we deliver our services and how we do our fundraising and programming.”
For retailers, that might mean serving champagne with shopping. For restaurants, it could be an interactive cooking night — or just going gluten-free. For the chamber, it’s not just upgrading their own events; it also includes creating a brand initiative for the products born right here on the Outer Banks. We sat down with Brown to get her take on today’s tougher issues, and what folks can do to cook up more business.
MILEPOST: First things first. What exactly does the chamber do? KAREN BROWN: In a nutshell, I like to say we provide the opportunity for business success. So, networking is important — building relationships with other businesses so you know who you need to call or refer people to for services. We offer training and development and connections to resources for when they’re looking to expand or add work force. We also provide legislative advocacy, to make sure the community stays business-friendly and to respond to those issues that affect our business community. And as a chamber, we cover Currituck, Dare and Ocracoke, but now we also do Economic Development for Dare County. And when Dare County did the economic strategic plan last year, they identified the need for a creative branding initiative. And it so happens we had already started one, OBXMADE. What exactly is OBXMADE? OBXMADE is really a way to celebrate things that are made here locally. I’ll use the Outer Banks Distilling guys as an example. They could apply for the trademark we have. And our advisory board would look over the application and say, “Yes you can use that.” And our hope is they would put our logo on their rum label. And that just broadens our reach into the world. It’s sort of like the old Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. [Laughs]
So you might get a surfboard with OBXMADE on it. Or a hot sauce. Yeah! It can be hot sauce, surfboards, jewelry, shirts. Anything that’s OBX-made. We’re not gonna open a storefront or anything. It’s just promoting and branding our area that much more than we already are. We started with products, specifically, but we’ll probably expand to include even, say, houses made by local builders. And we’ll have a website and other ways to promote OBXMADE, so people who come here can find local products at home. Because there are lots of things made here that nobody knows about. What are some of the more interesting things people are making?
Show us your list... No job too small!
We have people making sunblock products and lip balms. Skeeter Beater is making mosquito spray. In Currituck, you have Carolina Casual, Inc. manufacturing outdoor furniture from recycled plastic bottles. He’s selling in catalogs and Bed, Bath and Beyond now. There’s OBX Deck Dining, which makes an outdoor table/bartop with bar stools that fold into it, so it fits on your deck. In Manteo, there’s a guy who does engraving and trophies and glass etching. Island Xpertees is doing printing for Major League Baseball and the NFL. The boat building, the charter fishing, which then drives cabinet making and electricians and painters. And of course a lot of what we do is tourism, which drives all these other things. You have to have a strong base to support new things that come into the market.
“If a company closes up or lays folks off, it affects everything.” — KAREN BROWN
So how would you describe our economy? What are its strengths? What are its challenges? Its strengths are certainly our culture and our people. People feel very welcome here. The challenges continue to be workforce and housing, which go hand-in-hand. Housing has hit a crisis level now. The hospital lost a couple of professional staff because they couldn’t find places to rent. The college was all lined up to do a new program, and the instructors got here, couldn’t find housing, turned around and left. That’s a real problem. How do you solve it? We started a community housing initiative group to see what we can do. We’ve collected all the ordinances from the towns, and we’ve hired a housing consultant. But what we really need is more inventory in the market for more year-round rental properties. We do have a couple of developers who are certainly interested in trying to help, but the dollars have to work. And when you have land at such a high value, it’s hard to sell that idea. And that’s a tough one, too. It’s not so much the lack of housing as the cost of real estate and wages and everything else. I know! We bought a house three years ago, and I’m still in sticker shock. I don’t know how our service workers and entry-level people can afford it. And we’re seeing that now — how many “help wanted” signs are out there? It’s terrible. And I think it’s going to be worse this summer. It would be great to get some good jobs where a kid coming out of college could come here and make a decent salary. But we’re also always going to need dishwashers and service industry people. We just have to figure out a way to house them. I know there’s a push to pay more — what, $15 an hour in some parts of the country? — but then your room rate’s going to go up.... Or the price of your entrée. I feel like, in general, we’re a community that supports each other. But I also think people aren’t always aware of just how interconnected we are. Do you? I don’t think enough of them are aware. If a company closes up or lays folks off, it affects everything — it affects the grocery store, it affects the gas station. I saw an article that tracked a dollar as it goes out into the economy. You can also do that in the opposite direction:
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questionauthority what happens when that dollar’s taken out of the economy? If people are spending all their money on rent every month, they don’t have the disposable income to support other stuff that’s here. The retail, the restaurants, even the mechanics — they just don’t get that stuff done.
What are the other threats?
Work force is another. The average age of an HVAC worker is 56. They’re all going to start retiring, and we’re not backfilling. And the birth rate at the hospital went down; they figured out it was because there aren’t many new young people coming into the community. And that scares me a little.
That’s where I want to shop. Places that are different. And I think they fit the tourist market, too. But it’s also probably scary for any business owner who’s been here 50 years and may never have had to compete on that level. What do they do? They have to create experiences to get people in there. A wine night, a ladies night, a men’s night. Even the chamber
How about infrastructure stuff?
Infrastructure is always an issue, because we don’t have central sewer for the most part. A lot of big companies want that. So we look for smaller employers that might be able to locate here and deal with septic and even a well if they had to. But, our bridges are getting better, and our Internet access is really good for where we are.
It is. But every brand has to. And we have a very successful business community. But I’m surprised by how many don’t have a business plan. Or they haven’t dusted it off in a while to see where they need to widen their view a little. So moving forward, what’s the grand plan? To solve all our problems? I don’t know. If we could put a real dent in our housing problem, some of the other issues would ease a little bit. Our concern is, if we don’t fix housing and get some of those “help wanted” signs to come down, it will start impacting the tourist experience. If you’re at a restaurant and you’re not getting the best service, are you going to come back? Or if you can’t get in your rental house until five instead of three? Those things could impact our reputation and our economy. But we have some out-of-the-box ideas, and we’ll see where they go. Have you noticed businesses leaving? Yes, but I feel like for each one that does, two more open up. I don’t think we’ve stopped growing. I’m not sure where we’ll put everyone at some point. And I’ve seen fewer places close in the offseason over the past five years. They close to clean or remodel, but more businesses coming in are year-round, because they know they need to be here to make it work.
But the Internet also brings online competition. I know retailers are feeling that pinch.
Some of those businesses are also going online, and that’s how they survive all year. But that’s impacting everybody everywhere. I mean, Amazon — you can’t stop that freight train. It’s so easy. A couple clicks and it’s at your house the next day. How do you compete with that?
I feel like we’re at a crossroads. For years, people came here to live here — then figured out a way to make it work. What they did for work was almost secondary to being here. Now, they’re competing with businesses who are driven strictly to earn a profit. Lord knows the grocery chains didn’t come here to fish and surf.
Well, how do you compete with that? I see more businesses creating an experience. Instead of just selling something, they get engaged in activity — like the escape rooms. Or Grandstaff and Stein recreating a speakeasy. Even Publix is trying to create an experience. I walked in there the other night, and they handed me a paper. I needed to get each manager to sign a coupon, and if I brought it back, I would get an even bigger coupon. The Adventure Park is another experience. People get physically engaged in something instead of riding a ride or sitting in a movie theater. They want to be a part of it. But there are still people like me, too. I love the movies! I’m not getting on that Adventure Park thing! [Laughs]
has to adapt. This is a weird example, but we used to do a sit down “rubber chicken” dinner where we gave out a few awards. Chamber people call them that because every time you go to a banquet you get chicken. Last year, we said, “No more rubber chicken dinners. We need to change.” So we made it more of an experience. We did a heavy hors d’oeuvre cocktail reception out at Roanoke Island Festival Park, then went into the theatre and made it more of an awards show.
It does feel like we have more alternatives. More niche businesses and unique boutiques that never existed.
But it’s a challenge for any business to reinvent itself. Especially if you’ve never had to.
That’s a good way of putting it. That’s a really good point. Because it is a dream [to live here]. You come with a dream, and then it’s, “I’ve got to make a living, I’ve got to do something.” And they figure it out. And that’s great. But at some point, you might want to step back and say, “How did I end up being successful?” And, “How can I continue to be successful?”
Signs of the times. Photos: Mara Key
It may feel like a slacker community — but you can’t be a slacker business anymore. No. You have to work at it. Constantly. — Matt Walker
The preceding interview was edited for space, flow and clarity. For the full transcription go to www.outerbanksmilepost.com. milepost 29
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Strong? Sexy? Vibrant? Vulnerable? Ask an Outer Banker how they feel about today’s beach economy, you might get any number of different answers. And they’d all be right. Strong? No doubt there. In 2017, visitor expenditures hit $1.1 billion in Dare County alone — that’s 40% more than 2008. Twice what it was in 2000. The jobs figures are equally robust, having grown from roughly 10,000 at the start of the millenium to more than 13,000 today.
Sexy? We are now. Twenty years ago, big biz couldn’t be bothered with our sleepy piece of seasonal coast. Start racking up billion-dollar seasons, and the big box brands beat a path to your beach access, along with chain restaurants, mega marts, and dollar stores — all playing clash of the titans for a chunk of our change. All this while a growing number of inspired individuals are busy chasing dreams of entrepreneurial independence.
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Vibrant? You bet. We may still rely on the traditional assortment of dining, lodging, retail, and tourism options, but the choices are more varied than ever — a technicolor bouquet of boutique markets and niche experiences you used to only find in cities. We’ve got high-end wine markets — and holistic pet stores. Fancy home furnishings, high-dollar fashion, and a full range of personal fitness options. Let’s not forget the hospital’s injection of medical facilities and the Internet’s constant update of media outlets and digital dough-makers — not to mention a restaurant revolution that would’ve made any local drool just two decades back. Vulnerable? Well, we’re that, too. Because, for all that increased economic diversity and cashflow, we all rely on the same stream of 250,000 weekly visitors. Which means we’re all exposed to the same sea changes. From technological advances. (Amazon. Uber. AirBnB.) To environmental risks, both local (overdevelopment) and national (offshore drilling). To economic pressures like housing shortages and wage inequality. All issues that face every major population hub in the nation, but somehow feel even scarier when you compress them into a tiny community of just 35,000 year-round residents, all teetering on the same fragile foundation with so few alternatives.
“There are big challenges out there,” says Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Karen Brown. “Housing is huge. A dwindling workforce. Insurance on everything from healthcare to property tax, to flood to wind and hail. And they may not be your problem right now, but they’re going to be your problem.” That’s because, more than anything, we are connected. A single, economic organism, where today’s tip is tomorrow’s starter home — or not — and every decision, from renting an upstairs garage to rezoning whole neighborhoods ripples throughout our whole collective body. We asked six local workers to examine the full range of challenges they face, top to bottom, then bare their souls for a well-rounded perspective. photo: Julie Dreelin
What keeps Cheryl Blankenship on pins and needles? Everything from wages to weather.
pressure POINTS photo: Julie Dreelin
Cheryl Blankenship didn’t move here to work in a strip mall. She didn’t want to commute to Southern Shores every day, either. Her
dream? To hunker down on sleepy Hatteras Island, ride waves, and heal bodies. Today, the 40-something single mom is the Outer Banks’ only year-round licensed acupuncturist — a gig that never could’ve existed on its own when she first moved here in 1994. And yet she still faces a range of locally spawned headwinds. “I always say Hatteras has the economic climate of the North Pole,” laughs the owner of Island Acupuncture. “I’ve seen multiple people sell everything and move out here, and two years later they hightail it home and get their old jobs back. But it’s still easier than it was ten years ago.”
“I decided that I needed to step up my game as an employer.”
She’s not referring to the recession. Well before 2008, ORV restrictions — and the surrounding negative debate — crushed Hatteras visitation numbers. Bonner Bridge’s legal purgatory over long-term solutions kept investors wary of buying in. While recent reversals on both fronts have spawned an increase in local revenue, the weather remains a constant struggle. After years splitting time between locations on both sides of the bridge, in 2014, Hurricane Arthur kicked Blankenship out of Hatteras altogether. Or, rather, the insurance company did.
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“The whole ceiling collapsed and they cancelled my policy,” she says. “So I had to move everything north. I have a mortgage. I have business overhead. An education to prepare for, for my son. I have a high-income need. And there’s just more money on this side of the bridge.” There’s also a growing healthcare system. Twenty years ago, pretty much every Outer Banks native was born in a mainland hospital. Since 2002, however, the Outer Banks Hospital’s delivered hundreds of local babies. It’s also given birth to urgent cares, cancer centers, and other facilities — along with 500 full- and part-time jobs, ranging from lab techs to emergency nurses. That then supports a tier of other independent health care providers like chiropractors, physical therapists, and — yes — acupuncturists. “In 2014, I started working with Dr. Christina Bowen, who’s a primary care physician,” says Blankenship. “In most rural areas, you’re lucky to find a primary care doctor, much less an integrative practice. So the hospital has taken things to the next level, as if I was living in a city.”’ Except the pay’s not city pay. And that’s where Blankenship, and other small business owners — and even the hospital — find themselves stuck in a prickly situation, as would-be workers turn down jobs because they can’t afford the high cost of living in a resort destination. “I feel like wages are our biggest problem,” says Blankenship. “People come here from more economically stable places, they expect to get the same amount. I’ve had potential hires scoff at me. They say, ‘I’m from Chesapeake, I cannot work for this.’” And the ones who live here? They may not be qualified. Or trained. Or just on the same planet. “Last year, I had people coming in to apply in their damn pajamas!” Blankenship gasps. “What the hell am I supposed to do with that?!” So what’d she do? She came up with a good salary package, with benefits, sick days, IRA options, and two-weeks vacation. It’s a big change for a small business, but one Blankenship knew was necessary.
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“I finally decided that I needed to step up my game as an employer,” she says. “To make sure my worker won’t need a second job. But owning a business is like that: a constant metamorphosis.”
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Still, there’s one change Blankenship is not willing to make. Not in the middle of summer when traffic turns her commute to a crawl. Not when the bridge work jams her in the middle of the span. Not even when winter overwash keeps her from moving at all.
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“People always ask me why I live down south,” she says. “And my answer always is, I dig the isolation. It’s worth it for me to work in town — so long as I can live in heaven.” – Madison Bauer milepost 33
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Young wines get a bad rap for being a bit brash. But while Sanctuary Vineyards may be new — they planted their first vines in 2001 — the land itself goes back six generations. And growing up, owner John Wright had lots of time to watch as Currituck’s financial foundation shifted from farming vegetables to feeding a growing tourism trade — along with his own family business. “My grandparents opened the Cotton Gin in the 1950s,” says the winery’s 38-year-old founder and general manager. “They began by selling produce and textiles. In the late 70s, my parents made it more of a comprehensive shopping stop for people coming to the Outer Banks. You could find something to eat and decorate the house. It just kept growing from there.” For Wright, a Jarvisburg winery was the next evolution. A way to blend farming tradition with the market’s growing appetite for new ideas. The chance to enjoy a product that’s not just bought here — but born here. Poured here. And, if at all possible, consumed here. “They call it ‘value-added agriculture,’” says Wright. “When I was a kid, we grew potatoes and sold them to Frito Lay. There was maybe a one-in-a-million chance you’d eat your own product. That bothered me. Now, I know where every bottle goes.” If he’s lucky, Wright meets with customers directly. In 2011, Sanctuary built a slick tasting room right on 158. And, Wright continually travels to food festivals and events, serving alongside a host of Outer Banks breweries, almost all of which popped up here in the past 20 years or less. And while Eastern NC can claim a handful of older wineries, Sanctuary’s approach is anything but traditional.
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Instead of sticking strictly to native muscadine, Wright seeks out foreign grapes that still work in local soil. Today, you can find any of ten styles — from bright chards to bold reds — in more than 50 area shops and restaurants, thanks to an increasingly refined collective palate, and a larger cultural awareness about “buying local.” That includes the winery itself, which uses corks and bottles made in North Carolina. “It’s not like it’s a high-brow thing,” Wright says. “Spending your money locally makes good common sense. And we’re lucky to have great clients in the community that took a chance with us years ago. But we’ve really advanced since then; our wines show very well against any wine in the mid-Atlantic.” As a result, Wright’s gone from farming just one acre to 25. But not all of it’s in the family. So while the beach sees Currituck’s extra space and cheaper land as a possible solution to affordable housing issues, Wright recognizes a potential threat, as every new building means less arable land to grow upon.
“Spending your money locally makes good common sense.”
“I can see a point when you can’t afford to farm anymore,” he says. “I just hope my kids and their friends have something that resembles a farming community to grow up in. Because if you take the farming out, you take out a way of life, too.”
That includes the timeless joy of driving past veggie stands and fields on the way to the beach — instead of suffering through endless rows of suburbia from Chesapeake to Point Harbor. Still, Wright’s greatest concerns lie over the bridge. Things like larger, scarier storms. Erosion and sea level rise. Anything that might make the coast a harder place to inhabit. “We may not live in Dare County, but that beach is our whole economic engine,” he says. “That’s what gets people here.”
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Wright’s next evolution? To get those same people to come west on occasion. In 2014, they started offering the winery as a wedding venue. And he continually experiments with events that blend farming with coastal flavors. Whether it’s the popular pairings of grape stomps and hay rides with oyster roasts and crab pickings. Or something much bolder. “One year, I was halfway to filling a mud pit with live crabs and making people run through it before people stopped me — for good reason,” Wright laughs. “But then the grown-up prom went great. So there’s always a line where creativity and commerce don’t intersect, but you don’t really know what works until you try.” – Mark Roberts
John Wright mixes Currituckâ€™s farming roots with fresh ideas.
photo: brooke mayo
blending traditions milepost 35
photo: Julie Dreelin
For Crystal Polston, finding a place to live feels like a second job.
Crystal Polston’s new roommate has no idea she plays the drums. And she won’t find out until she sees this photo. It’s not that
Crystal is sneaky. But with a month left to find a new place to live — her fifth move in eight years — she figured she better keep a few secrets. “These days,” says the 36-year-old office worker, “you can’t afford to put anything on your rental application that might be a turn-off.” It’s not her fault. With no kids, no pets, a finance degree, and steady work — the same realty job she’s held since 2010 — she’s pretty much the perfect tenant. So why all the shuffling? Her first roomie sold the house. Another got married. A third place had mold issues. But really, it’s just the reality of being thirty-something and single in a town with virtually no affordable housing and a super-dynamic workforce.
“If you’re new to the area, you won’t find anything.”
“There aren’t many daytime professionals here my age,” she says. “People move. And you can’t afford to rent on your own, so you get stuck with someone who works nights or parties and they keep you up. And I’m too old for that.”
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Actually, the real problem is she’s not old enough. Twentyfive years ago, a basic beach box might go for $60,000. Easy to afford for any young, hardworking teacher, drywall hanger, or high-end waiter — and cheap enough for two dishwashers to cover rent. Right now, the average “entry level” listing runs closer to $225,000. Add the rising costs, stagnant wages — and a little thing called Airbnb — and the situation only gets worse. “The cost of living has gone up, but the pay really hasn’t,” Polston says. “So people do Airbnb to make their mortgage, then that hurts the people who can’t find a place. It’s a Catch-22.” And it’s catching on. In 2014, you might have found 300 listings on Airbnb. Now, it’s more like 1000, as rentals strive to make a year’s rent in half the time. That doesn’t just limit the supply of local housing; it also drives up the prices. During her latest search, Polston came across people asking $850 for places that used to be $400. And most weren’t even advertised. “It’s all word of mouth,” she laments. “If you’re new to the area, you won’t find anything.” Last winter, bridge contractors were living in hotel rooms, long-term. Recently, the College of the Albemarle cancelled a program when staff couldn’t secure places to live. But it’s the small, local businesses that are really feeling the crunch. The restaurants that can’t find waiters. The rental companies that can’t keep cleaners. The service companies that can’t lure an office manager or IT guy. If these workers aren’t here, the whole beach stops running. Polston says that’s not just a problem for the Outer Banks’ economic future — but its culture as a whole. “I worry it’s going to become more of a retirement area,” she says. “People who live here, born and raised, are getting pushed out. And college kids aren’t going to come back if they have to live at home. Especially when they can make a lot more elsewhere.” So, who does she say is making it work? Entrepreneurs. Same as ever. That’s why Polston started her own wedding video and photo business, Crystal Blue Productions. Right now, she only films and edits on nights and weekends, but one day she hopes to make it full-time. Maybe buy a small house — even if it means renting part of it out. If not? “I’d probably move back to Virginia,” she says. “My friends I graduated with all have houses. They all make a lot more. They have benefits. Every time I go home, it’s a big reality check.” Fact is, Crystal was almost ready to eject this spring — then she found her new place with a few weeks to spare. Not on Craigslist. Or OBX Locals. But through a friend of a friend, who didn’t need the revenue, but understood the need. Now, she just needs to figure out what to do with the drum kit. “Hopefully, my roommate says I can play,” she grins sheepishly. “If not, a buddy lets me set up and jam. People come together for you in this town. And that’s the reason I stay. Because you don’t get that everywhere.” – Madison Bauer
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Few are as equipped to discuss local business as Russ Lay. As co-owner of the website Outer Banks Voice, he deals with the area’s issues
and its advertisers. As an educator, he teaches college students economics. But it was his first job here that lends real perspective. As a banker, he saw the mid-90s real estate boom first-hand — as well as the bust. “I remember the first lot loan we did for a million dollars,” says the 61-year-old Nags Header. “The bank freaked out at first. That didn’t last long. The next ten years were non-stop. Money begat more money — and more debt. More banks and businesses moved in. It lasted just long enough to fool us all into thinking, ‘This is the new normal.’ And then it all crashed.” So did a bunch of bank jobs — including Russ’. But he’d also stayed busy doing a local blog. In 2010, he teamed up with former Coast editor Rob Morris to start Outer Banks Voice — the first standalone website to cover northeastern NC. The timing was perfect, as a number of hot-button topics like beach nourishment, bridge issues, and big hurricanes kept audiences clicking. Inbetween, they pounded the pavement to keep building traffic. “If there was a fire in the middle of night, we’d just go out and follow the sirens,” Lay laughs. “Eventually, we got police scanners and the phone numbers for fire chiefs. We started doing live videos — not very well-edited — but people loved it.”
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“Even visitors want the local angle.”
In 2012, they teamed up with Max Radio and brought in full-time reporter Sam Walker. Today, the Voice boasts six million page views a year and a fat account base. And they’re far from the only game in town. Two biweekly newspapers also compete online. Down south, two niche sites cover local issues. Plus, a half-dozen local pubs come out every quarter. All of them are free. And all of them battle for the same ad dollars. And yet, all of them are surviving. “We’re kind of an aberration,” says Lay. “We really serve two markets: the people who live here and the millions who visit. And in Hampton Roads, we’d be crushed by the major media, but even visitors want the local angle. And it’s the same for the businesses. People who come here don’t go to Starbuck’s — they go to Front Porch or Morning View because they want that beach experience. That’s why chains like Applebee’s have a hard time surviving.” It doesn’t make it easy. Or foolproof. In some ways we’re headed toward the same mistakes as before — home prices are rising again, more businesses are flooding in. And the solutions are even trickier, because there’s much less wiggle room. “Our economy is still way out of wack,” Lay says. “We’re pretty much overbuilt. And it’s not just housing; it’s commercial rents that are going up so people can’t afford to open a storefront. I think if we had it to do over again, we might not have zoned out hotels so much, because that’s what led to all the grocery stores, which makes it harder for restaurants, which takes more money out of the economy that could support other types of small businesses.” Lay also recognizes the not-so-local problem impacting communities everywhere, like a shrinking middle class and growing opioid addiction. So what would he do to make change? Not spend more at the cash register — but push more on the levers of power. “A lot of our elected officials today parachuted in at an older age,” he says. “That’s not always healthy. If you look back, many of the business leaders that built the Outer Banks also sat on local boards.” They knew the pressing issues because they felt them. And they appreciated the long-term consequences because they faced them. But Lay’s growing more hopeful. Just this last round of elections saw several younger commissioners take municipal seats. As a result, they’ll grow with the times — even if the times are changing.
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“It’s harder now, I think,” Lay admits. “That old formula of carving out a career bartending and buying a beach box doesn’t work anymore. But the people stepping up now know the problems. And they’re factoring in things my generation didn’t — like sea level rise. So the future here is still pretty bright. And when the next generation takes over, it’ll be fun to watch.” – Mark Roberts
Still expanding — or ready to burst? Russ Lay lends his long-term economic perspective.
photo: daniel pullen
Jess Moody’s just 29. She just a bought a house. And she has her own business. A yoga studio that she owns and operates with her best friend, no less. On paper — or at a distance — it’d be easy to say, she’s got it made. The reality? “I think my generation is into self-employment because they want the independence,” says the co-founder of Village Yoga in Duck. “But business ownership is not freedom. I’m constantly working. I’m basically a COO, CFO, and business manager — all these things — who sometimes gets to teach yoga. But that’s not just the Outer Banks. That’s entrepreneurism as a whole.” Back at UNCW, she had only one job: finish her degree in Environmental Science, head off to grad school, then start a career in the corporate world or academia. (With a travel year inbetween, of course.) But, while she was in college, she became close friends with local girl, Katie Kinnis. After helping out at friends’ yoga retreats in exotic beach resorts — and working summers on the Outer Banks — the two realized there was an untapped market right here. In 2013, they opened a small studio to see what would happen. And? “We thought maybe five or six people would show up,” says Moody. “We ended up having classes with 30 people, mats overlapping. Then we thought, ‘Okay, we’ll get a break in the offseason.’ We stayed open all winter and haven’t really closed since. Two years ago we had to double our space. But we learned a lot — fast.”
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They had to just to keep up. Between 2013 and 2015, the “wellness tourism” industry grew 14 percent — from $494.1 to $563.2 billion — worldwide. (That’s twice as fast as global tourism overall.) Locally, that translates into nearly a dozen studios from Corolla to Hatteras — a handful opening in the past five years alone — not to mention summer pop-ups from beach accesses to town parks, as well as in a couple of retail stores. So how do they stay unique? By staying diverse. Not only does the studio train teachers and host retreats to firm up the bottom line, they run Duck’s free morning yoga all summer long, and push charity days to promote the Village Yoga brand. And yet Moody knows they’re ultimately pushing the same product as everyone else. “We’re all selling the Outer Banks,” she says. “Whether it’s teaching yoga or making jewelry or selling t-shirts. But that means all our eggs are in the same basket. That’s why I’m so opposed to offshore drilling. If the Outer Banks is no more, then everyone loses.” Her other fear? Oversaturation. She worries too many businesses just open on a whim, which can dilute the overall quality. She also wonders how many collective hours a community can work before they lose their own quality of life.
“I feel like the whole Outer Banks lives in survival mode.”
Even so, she still plans to pick up some bar shifts this summer. She’s even considering finding a short-term roommate. Just so she can stash a little something extra in case she wants to go off on a trip — or needs to help support the business when the inevitable market crash or recession brings rough seas to the front door. “I feel like the whole Outer Banks lives in survival mode,” Moody says. “It’s always, ‘What can I do in the summer to make it through winter?’ It makes it hard to think about the long term and the big picture.” The difference? After five successful years, she’s finally learning to slow the pace. That means making time to meditate during the day and look down the road. Carving out hours to get to the beach and enjoy why she’s here. And constantly reminding herself just who’s the boss. “The first year, I waited tables six or seven nights, slept four or five hours and made no money off the studio,” Moody says. “The second, I waited two or three nights, slept more and made a little money. Each year it gets easier. But it’s all about sacrifice — and balance. You can have a lot of integrity in your work and still be a beach bum. You don’t have to choose one or the other.” – Madison Bauer milepost
Sometimes Jess Moody runs the show â€” sometimes the show runs her.
whoâ€™s the photo: Julie Dreelin
Small. Self-contained. Nimble. Solo. The kayak metaphor is almost
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too easy for describing tour guide Tyler Jackson’s take on economic survival. Ten years ago, it would take two extra jobs — including waiting tables and working retail — plus a couple weeks unemployment to stay afloat though winter. Today, some extra padding on the shoulder seasons keeps Jackson paddling year-round — or at least keeps him employed.
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“We used to be dead from Halloween until Easter,” says the 31-year-old head guide and sole fulltime employee for Kitty Hawk Kayak and Surf School. “Now, even in December and January we’ll have tours if it’s a nice weekend. But I like the time off. It lets me do other stuff.”
Except Jackson’s side-hustles are still personal passions. Instead of slinging plates, he spins platters under the name DJ Ninja. He also makes short videos for his employer and friends like Mom’s Sweet Shop or Zack Mexico. Commercial work that lets him stay creative and use his degree.
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“I went to film school,” Jackson explains. “I was a huge Star Wars fan. I wanted to be the special effects guy that makes tiny TIEfighters and models, but that craft is more or less dead because of computers. And I don’t like sitting on computers. I’d rather be outdoors.” So, instead of exploring sci-fi universes, Jackson finds himself leading families on sound-side adventures, or launching kids into their very first waves. His timing couldn’t have been better. The outdoor recreation business has been full speed ahead in recent years.
“Never take a job that a robot can do.”
In 2016, the government began tracking the industry as a unique part of the United States’ gross domestic product, putting its total size at $373 billion — two percent of overall GDP — and growing at a rate of 3.8 percent annually. Strip out all the speedboats, shotguns and bicycles, and you still get a cool $10 billion from things like hiking and kayaking. All that’s translated into bigger numbers — and more options — on both sides of the sound. At least a half-dozen businesses offer everything from paddle tours to bear watches. Many more offer rentals, from kayaks to SUPs to beach cruisers to umbrellas.
And yet, Jackson’s not 100 percent secure. Not because of increased local competition. Or housing woes. (He’s one of the lucky ones whose bosses bought rentals to secure their work force.) Instead, Jackson wonders about larger global trends — like what happens when selfdriving cars and robots wipe out whole segments of future visitors’ jobs, causing them to give up coming to the Outer Banks? Or what if computers try to steal his dreams again? “Growing up, people said never take a job that a robot can do,” Jackson says. “And I thought about that with kayaking. But it’s not long before someone takes a camera, straps it to a drone, and flies it down the creek, and you have a virtual reality tour of the maritime forest. People wouldn’t need to book me at all. At the same time, it exposes more people to the sport. So, it’s not all bad or good either. It’s a gray area.” It’s also a potential opportunity. With a camera, kayak, and an inherent tech savviness — he routinely DJs on Twitch.com for digital donations, the Internet’s version of busking a corner — Jackson looks like the perfect person to start a virtual tour service, where millions of kayaking fans could paddle the whole sound without ever touching the water. Except he’s not. “I don’t want my own business,” he laughs. “I like to go to work, do my thing, and go home.”
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In many ways, Jackson remains the quintessential Outer Banks stereotype. The free-spirited bachelor doing what he loves — and worrying about life later. But what about the future? After all, life here’s not getting any cheaper. Wouldn’t he like to start a family? Own a home? Or just know he won’t get priced out? “I just try to take it one day at a time,” he says. “That’s not to say I’m not concerned about longterm security. But overall, I think it’s not that easy to live anywhere these days. And if you’re struggling to make ends meet, you might as well be at the beach.” – Mark Roberts
photo: chris bickford
Tyler Jacksonâ€™s plan for the future? Just keep paddling. milepost 43
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Beach Reads Locally set, locally written â€” or just Outer Banks inspired â€” these four books prove the best stories begin at home. Art by Bri Vuyovich
RETURN TO YELLOW STRICKEN SANDS Backstage at the Lost Colony reveals the real magic behind the best summer acting job. For lovers of the Arts, it’s a local cultural treasure. For history buffs, it’s a tribute to our little island’s global impact. For a lucky few, it’s a summer job — and something even more personal: a reminder of countless hours performing and working to create a shared lasting memory. So, when The Lost Colony turned 80 last year, it seemed only fitting to document the show’s lasting influence by letting a former cast member tell both sides of the story — from the very beginning. “In 1983, I signed a $110-a-week contract to be an actor technician for The Lost Colony,” writes author, Dwayne Walls, Jr. “I was broke and hungry, as indignant as a freshly shorn sheep and just as powerless. The beard I was required to grow for my part as a colonist came in so poorly that people thought I had dirt on my face, and it never stopped itching. I was the lowest of the low.” At first, perhaps. But Walls returned four more times over the next 15 years, participating in more than 350 productions, and rising up the ranks to become Master Carpenter. And in Backstage at the Lost Colony, he provides just as much detail when he reconstructs the 2017 season, outlining the drama’s storied evolution while inserting insights from his own personal experience. (There’s also plenty of historical backstory, fellow players’ reflections, and vibrant photos to fully flesh out the bio.) And though many of his memories can be selfdeprecating, and often humorous, he reserves the utmost respect for the work itself. And he never steals the spotlight or forgets who’s the real star. “I ended up living five sweet summers on Roanoke Island, each one as revelatory as a first kiss, and just as unforgettable,” he notes. “I thought the best way to tell the story of being backstage at The Lost Colony would be to go to Roanoke Island and tell the story of the 2017 cast and crew. This is their Lost Colony. I was lucky enough to see it.” milepost
On a chilly gray evening in the middle of May, after an absence of almost twenty years, I am backstage at Waterside Theatre on Roanoke Island, home of The Lost Colony. From the wing near the carpentry shop, looking onstage, I see actors rehearsing in the sand covering the stage. I vividly remember the sand. Not the hot, white, sun-bleached sand that burned my toes and squeaked under my feet on Sundays—our days off—at Coquina Beach, but the show sand, the sand that followed me everywhere and lived in my hair and in my sheets and in every corner of my room; the sand I had with every meal; the dry sand I poured out of my shoes every chance I had to sit down; the wet sand that hit my face in clumps during scene shifts; the damp, sweat-soaked sand that at first I didn’t dare and later didn’t bother to brush off my skin because that only made it worse. Sand, sand everywhere, and it all had to be sifted, sifted by hand. As an actor technician, sifting the sand was just part of my job. We found scary things in those big sieves during sand sifts, things we called “dancer traps.” We uncovered nails, staples, and tacks from the scenery; sharp chunks of wood from the decking; safety pins, buttons, and snaps from costumes; even coins and jewelry. We found small animals that had been trampled to death during the show. Mice received a brief Christian burial while we sang the Final March hymn. Reptiles unceremoniously went into the sound. One night in 1987, I was backstage when the dancers carried Mark Fields, the dancer playing Uppowoc, offstage early after the Indian Dance. He collapsed in the wing with a bloody six-inch shard of decking sticking from the bottom of his foot. Although in agony, he had managed to finesse the choreography and finish the dance. The memory came shrieking back to me eleven years later when Chris Graham, our Uppowoc of 1998, suffered the same injury in the same way during a preshow rehearsal. As master carpenter, I called an emergency sand sift. I had everyone on their hands and knees scratching around like cats in a litter box, feeling and looking for anything that could hurt a foot. The Lost Colony gave me lifelong respect for anyone performing in bare feet. Everyone onstage tonight is wearing shoes, since they are still early in rehearsals. The sun is sinking lower by the minute, and a steady wind blows out of the northwest, making the sixty-degree air feel colder than it is. A thin strip of clear sky to the west means a beautiful sunset tonight for this, my first
Looking at the
sunset backstage in almost two decades.
masts lying flat on the
In the dusky light, I shake hands with Johnny Underwood, The Lost Colony’s technical director, who runs this year’s crew of two dozen actor technicians. His ATs are rehearsing onstage with the rest of the company, so he has time to talk. I have known Johnny, a Roanoke Island native, for more than thirty years, since he was sixteen. We were both thinner and had more hair back then, and when Johnny carried his surfboard backstage after a day on the beach, the girls sighed as he walked by in his swim trunks. Johnny introduces me to Brandon Cheney, the properties master, a five-year veteran of the show. Together, speaking the shared language of carpenters everywhere, we talk about the show’s boat, the only boat I know on the Outer Banks that never goes in the water.
dock, Johnny tells me
how one of them snapped
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in half during a storm
Looking at the masts lying flat on the dock, Johnny tells me how one of them snapped in half during a storm two years ago, how the boat will be twenty-two feet long this year, how the old rusted railroad iron used as a counterweight finally can be retired, and how an AT now is cast specifically to climb the ratlines and wave to the crowd as the boat rolls down the ramp at the end of Act I. “He also doubles as the dead body at the top of Act II,” he says. As the three of us howl with laughter, the sun emerges from the clouds and floods their faces with amber light. I turn around to look at my sunset, expecting a dull red disk. Instead, I stare straight into a blast furnace. “I’m blinded,” I say, and we laugh even harder. I try to see their faces, but I cannot see anything because in the center
two years ago. of my field of vision is a white void. I see them only peripherally, and as I try to focus, amorphous shapes float around their faces like the ghosts of those who walked these sands more than four hundred years ago. After rehearsal, Johnny and I sit in the living room of his A-frame to catch up on old times and old friends. We talk about the new season, and I tell him about seeing ghosts flying around his head. “You be trippin’, Dwayne-O.” He grins and sips his whiskey. “Ain’t no such thing as ghosts at The Lost Colony.” And we both burst out laughing. Among popular theater superstitions is the belief that theaters are haunted by their long-gone actors. And what is now Fort Raleigh National Historic Site was home to 117 men, women, and children who disappeared 430 years ago with England’s first attempt to settle the New World; their spiritual presence is almost palpable. I do not consider myself a superstitious man, yet walking the trails alone, late at night, these woods feel spooky, as if my progress were attended by an audience of souls. — Dwayne Walls, Jr.
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Joseph Terrell’s The Last Blue Noon in May adds yet another mystery to the Outer Banks.
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Joseph Terrell’s no murderer — unless you count killing pages. His five-decade journalism career included covering the Pentagon for the Wall Street Journal — as well as owning a regional North Carolina weekly. And that was just his nine-to-five. On the side, he used his KDH beach home to craft novels and short stories. Then, one day, destiny brought those two lives together. “I’d written crime stories for True Detective,” explains the charming octogenarian. “They asked me to do a piece on an old murder involving a Lost Colony cast member, who’d been strangled and thrown in the sound. I thought, ‘What if a crime writer came here seeking peace and quiet, and there was a murder just like the first one?’ And so I wrote Tide of Darkness.” That was 2007. Five books later, the Harrison Weaver series thrills readers by blending recent events with familiar settings to create totally new mysteries. (For 2017’s The Last Blue Noon in May, Terrell draws upon the tragic 2015 mauling of a Tyrell County animal lover known as “the Bear Lady.”) He’ll also name-drop well-known landmarks and local fixtures — not to drive the plot, but as little winks to fans of the area. “The main characters and events are always fictitious,” says Terrell, who moved here permanently in 2004. “But I will mention places like Cap’n Franks or people like Eddie Greene for fun. And I get emails from as far as Alaska, from people who say they feel like they’re back on the Outer Banks when they read the stories.”
At first, I assumed Chief Deputy Odell Wright was deep in thought as he sat alone in the windowless interrogation room at the sheriff’s office. With his back to me, he pored over a thick sheaf of papers from a case file. The file did not look like a new one. It was too dog-eared and some of the pages appeared yellowed with age, including a few faded newspaper articles pushed to one side. But something about his overall posture told me there was more to it than simple contemplation. His shoulders, usually so broad and erect, were slumped and rounded. He rubbed the palm of one hand across his close-cropped black hair, which had only the beginnings along his temples of silvery gray. Then he propped his chin up with the same palm. He seemed to lack the stamina or the will to hold his head up. I stood in the open doorway, ready to speak to him. But I decided not to. I stayed perfectly still. Maybe it was my imagination but I sensed he gave the tiniest shake of his head in dismay as he turned page after page of the report in front of him. Quietly, I stepped fully back into the hallway. A few feet from the door to the sheriff’s office, I saw Mabel. She had stopped and watched me move away from the interrogation room. A tired smile softened her face. Mabel has been with the sheriff’s department maybe a hundred years. Well, certainly not that long, although to hear her tell it, it’s been about that. She eyed me and remained still. I approached her and stood close. Tilting my head back toward the interrogation room, I said, “He okay?” Mabel gave the slightest little nod. “It’s May fourth,” she said softly. I knew there was a quizzical cast to my face, an eyebrow raised. Taking my cue from her, I lowered my voice. “Yes?” She turned one palm toward her small office, which was next to the sheriff’s. When I followed her in, she moved behind her desk and eased herself into the large, leatherette upholstered, high-back chair. A small green lamp on her desk glowed softly, illuminating a few prints on the wall. One was by local artist James Melvin of a peaceful front porch scene with two rocking chairs overlooking the beach and the ocean. Behind her was a large framed map of Dare County and much of the Outer Banks. Her little office looked homier than anything else in the sheriff’s office there in downtown Manteo’s courthouse. I’m not sure why, but I almost whispered when I queried, “May fourth?” She had the softest, kindest expression around her eyes. “Yes. Every May fourth he goes over that file from beginning to end, page by page.” I leaned forward so I could catch all of her words. Mabel said, “May fourth is the anniversary of
the day his little sister disappeared. She was nine years old. This is the twenty-first — no, the twenty-second — anniversary of her disappearance. Her abduction, it had to be. And never any trace. Not the slightest.” I sank back in my chair, shaking my head. I was stunned. This was the first I knew about that, and I had been acquainted with Odell Wright for almost five years now. Maybe we were not close, but with an effective and smooth enough working relationship from time to time, and I certainly held him in high regard as a lawman and human being. He was always gracious and blessed with a wry sense of humor, and that was how I knew him. Yet, I didn’t have any idea about this tragedy that obviously plagued him. Her voice soft, Mabel said, “Odell has never gotten over it. Neither did his parents. His mother’s dead now. I think the tragedy just broke her heart and her spirit to live. His daddy’s still alive but I don’t think he’s in good health.” Looking over Mabel’s gray head to something a thousand yards into the distance, I said, “We never really know what ghosts other people wrestle with, do we?” Mabel said, “Odell was only about eighteen or nineteen when this happened. But he got real involved with Sheriff Claxton and the others trying to find her, find out what happened. He was here at the courthouse every day, and with the search parties that were organized. He practically lived here, it seemed like.” She took a deep breath, glanced down at her hands, and then back up into my face. “It was because of this, I know, that made Odell decide he wanted to be a lawman.”
“Never, ever any leads? No suspects? . . . her body never found?” She shook her head. “Never any trace of her.”
Then, obviously remembering something about the little girl, she permitted herself the slightest trace of a smile. “Luanne was such a cute young thing, too.” Mabel’s eyes focused on a slip of paper near her phone. “Oh, I’ve got to get this message to the sheriff.” Quietly, I retraced my passage back toward the interrogation room. I paused there a moment. Odell Wright sat in the same position but stared off into the distance as if he weren’t closeted in that tiny room. It was as if he could see back into the past, to relive those years of long ago; as if, by some means, he could conjure up those last hours when his sister disappeared, and bring her back again. — Joseph Terrell
“He’s never given up on it? Her disappearance?” “No. Not at all.” She compressed her lips for an instant. “Of course, he doesn’t say anything about it much anymore but every May on this date he gets that file and reads every word in it. Takes him two hours or more. No one bothers him.” “So sad,” I said. “Never, ever any leads? Not the slightest? No suspects? Nothing?” Then I added softly, hating to ask it: “Her body . . . her body never found?” She shook her head. “Never any trace of her. As for suspects, a couple of people were questioned. People that the sheriff knew had . . . well, had something of a reputation . . . but they all had alibis and nothing panned out.” Two little wrinkles creased her brow. “It was such a pretty day, too. I remember that because the very next day a front came in and it turned real chilly and rainy. But still a search party — lots of volunteers, in raincoats and ponchos — searched and searched. All along the water, the woods over on what’s now Festival Park, all around. White people and black. Lots of folks. It was about the first time something like this had ever happened.” milepost 51
The fog was a problem.
LOVE ON THE SHOALS Like local history? Lifesaving action? And a li’l romance? Prepare to fall in love with The Warfield Bride.
Who is Bronwyn Williams? She’s part sleuth. Part romance novelist. Part rapier wit. She’s also two women combined — Mary Burrus Williams and Dixie Burrus Browning — a pair of Hatteras Island sisters with a shared love for the past and distinct, complementary talents for writing historical fiction. “My younger sister, Mary Williams, would do all the research,” explains Browning, who’s also a celebrated local artist. “We’d collaborate together to come up with a story line. Then I’d write the words. Bronwyn Williams was how we got both our names on the cover.” It’s far from Browning’s first byline. As a top author for Harlequin Romance, she boasts more than 100 novels — and has been published in more than 27 countries. But by the late 80s, writing endless steamy sex scenes — what she calls “all the he’in’ and the she’in’” — began to feel like the same ol’, same ol’. That’s when she and Williams began work on locally set fiction with more robust plotlines, releasing 15 books between 1988 and 2003. Last year, they began republishing their favorites locally as “the Hatteras Chronicles.” This summer’s The Warfield Bride drops a young widow named Hannah Ballinger into the middle of a turn-of-the-century lifesaving crew — perfectly timed with the 100-year anniversary of the Mirlo wreck. But instead of Chicamacomico Station, the action occurs at the oddly named, yet strikingly familiar, Paragon Shoals. “It’s not meant to be any specific place,” Browning insists. “I’d say it’s up yonder, somewhere between Little Kinnakeet and Chicamacomico. I made up a lot of local geography over the years — the only land down here I’ve never paid taxes on. [Laughs] I guess I never played by any rules.” That includes storylines. Instead of just ripping bodices, these plots use tempestuous weather and daring rescues to keep pages turning. How real do they feel? As real as if you’d witnessed them yourself a century ago — or at least heard about them firsthand. “Mary and I have two lighthouse keepers in our family,” says Browning. “A granddaddy and a great-granddaddy. We had relatives who were all Coast Guard — and before that, the U.S. Lifesaving Service. We grew up on those stories. Back then, that’s what you heard — that was the news.” milepost
The vessel, a small schooner-rigged screwsteamer, had run aground a mile and a half south of Paragon Shoals. Malachi had spotted her just before dark and set off a flare, summoning aid from both Paragon and Little Kinnakeet, and letting the steamer know she’d been sighted. He’d stayed on position, knowing that help would soon be on the way and he would be needed to direct the men to where the ship had last been sighted. The combination of increasing darkness, fog, and drizzle had swiftly cut visibility to no more than a few yards, and that only intermittent. Fifteen minutes later, he fired off another flare. And then one more after another quarter hour had passed. Still no sign of the wagons, but he never doubted that help was on the way. The ship had answered his first flare with a blast from her steam whistle, but that had been nearly three-quarters of an hour ago. For all he knew, she could be broken apart by now. “God help the poor devils,” Malachi muttered, straining in vain to see through the darkness. He had thrown off his coat and was untying his boots, ready to attempt to swim out and try to locate the wreck in the darkness and bring a line back to shore, when he spotted the lanterns bobbing down the beach. Almost before the wheels had stopped rolling, Penn had the Lyle gun set up. He barely had enough crew to man his boat, much less launch it. “Here comes Hooper’s crew now! Adam, James, get the sand anchor set up!” “Light offshore!” James yelled, and sure enough, flickering through the thick darkness, there was a feeble glow. “Throw me that quoin!” He jacked the gun into position, knowing that every minute saved could mean a life spared. The men worked with quiet efficiency. The crew from Little Kinnakeet Station arrived, and while James and Adam set up the sand anchor, Penn and Mal helped launch Kinnakeet’s lifeboat in the angry surf. “Sand anchor all secure!” Adam shouted. The crew from Paragon readied the rescue gear for the breeches buoy as Penn took aim and fired at the flickering target. The ship’s lantern could be doused at any moment, and once they lost sight of it, they might fire off lines for a year without striking a target. Line whistled off the faking box, and Penn prayed without even being aware of it. The
lantern from Kinnakeet’s lifeboat bobbed in the heaving waters. They’d made it out past the breakers, but they still had a ways to go.
The score, when the ship finally began to break up in the pounding seas just before daylight, was eleven rescued,
And then the boat’s lantern was doused. “Boat over!” someone yelled, just as Mal shouted, “Limp line!” The Lyle gun’s shot line had fallen short. “Wind’s gusting! Wait for a lull!” “Fetch me another box!” Penn shouted, and another faking box was hastily set into place, the spindles removed and the gun readied to fire again. Offshore, the ship’s lantern flickered off, but was quickly relighted. Someone cried out that the lifeboat was righted again. Penn fired once more, and this time the projectile found its mark. Someone aboard the stricken steamer located the weight and made the line fast to the rigging. Whether or not they’d heard the firing of the gun over the roar of the seas, they had seen the torches and known to keep alert for the line. After that, all three crews worked steadily, two from the shore and one aboard the ship. Just as the lifeboat headed back with the first load of survivors, Penn’s shot line was secured. Once the tail block and whip were in operation, a hawser was bent on and hauled out to the wreck. Five men were brought ashore by breeches buoy. The lifeboat went out again, but capsized twice in the rough seas before it could get near enough to effect a rescue. The score, when the ship finally began to break up in the pounding seas just before daylight, was eleven rescued, four lost. The four had been lost when they’d run aground, crushed beneath a falling stack. Silently, the two crews headed back to their respective stations. Kinnakeet took the survivors, as it had brought an additional wagon.
four lost. Malachi, by now numb with exhaustion, whistled up his mount and with the help of Josiah, who had joined them sometime during the night, climbed aboard and immediately flopped forward, his face buried in the shaggy mane. The two youngest members of the crew rode on ahead, leaving James to bring the cart and Adam the boat carriage. Penn was the last to leave the scene, but finally there was no more to be done. Wearily, he slung a long leg over the gelding’s back, allowing the reins to fall slack. Pegasus knew the drill by heart. To the north would be fresh water, a dry stall, and a rack of sweet, dried grass. Gradually the silhouette of the station house, with its nearly completed and only slightly crooked cupola, emerged against the brightening eastern sky. Another day was dawning. Eleven lives had been saved. Penn offered up a tired prayer for the four lives lost and a word of thanks for the safety of his crew and Captain Hooper’s. And then his thoughts turned to Hannah. He was headed back in after a night spent doing what he’d done so many times over the course of his career. Nothing out of the ordinary. It was only what he got paid to do.
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But somehow, this time it felt different. For the first time in a long time, he felt as if he were going home. — Bronwyn Williams
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MAJOR BUZZ Michele Young-Stone’s third novel, Lost in the Beehive, is swarming the nation. Supernatural lighting strikes. Phantom wings. Cosmic insects. Michele Young-Stone’s fiction always features some magical element. Yet the stories stay grounded in real, human struggles — and true-to-life characters. In fact, for her newest work, Lost in the Beehive, a key figure was inspired by an Outer Banks visit. “When I was 16, my best friend and I came here on vacation,” recalls the Richmond native-turned-Colington resident. “We met this group of guys from Minnesota, and every night we’d catch up on the beach for a big bonfire. Eventually, one of them confided to us that he was gay, but he had never told his friends because he thought they’d be afraid of him and wouldn’t be his friend anymore. And it was very heartbreaking to think that, if you let people know who you are, they won’t accept you. That just seemed terrifying.” In Beehive, that boy becomes Sheffield Schoeffler. Only this time he’s fiercely confident. It’s the teen protagonist, Gloria Ricci, who’s afraid. Sheff helps Gloria face aversion therapy in a late-60s institution — and later, a rocky marriage — with the help of some tiny friends and, of course, some magic. “The bees appear at all of these turning points in her life,” says Young-Stone. “Not just bad things but good things. They’re like her spirit animal.” They’re doing wonders for the author, as well. Simon & Schuster only released Beehive in April, yet it’s already earning rave reviews — including a “must read” mention in the May issue of Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine — and loyal readers, who are smitten with the book’s surreal couple and honest feel. “Usually, I say the book is about rejecting societal norms and trying to be true to the person you were born to be,” she says. “That’s big picture. Smaller picture, it’s about a girl who’s sent to an institution because she fell in love with another girl. And she meets this boy who loves other boys, and they have this special bond. And she later tries to live as a straight woman. Because trying to live as something she’s not actually seems like it will be easier than being true to who she really is. But it’s not.” milepost
One afternoon, I went to the shed for a trowel. The honey bees trailed, flying through the doorway, swarming the ceiling. I grabbed the gardening gloves and looked up. More came. And more. There were thousands of them. “Is Sheff with you?” I asked, expecting an answer, as odd as that sounds. I watched and waited. They gathered in a T-shaped mass that framed the rafters, and I got down on my knees. Then, down on my back, the gardening gloves still in hand. I waited for them to say something. Rather, they came together, a gold-and-amber disco ball, bees zipping out from the spinning center, then descending, not falling, but aiming, a thousand bullets, on my skin. They were going to kill me, maybe finish what they started when I was seven, but then I felt their tiny fuzzy legs on my skin. My limbs vibrating with theirs. I slipped off my sneakers as the bees crowded onto my face and neck. I was not afraid. We hummed together. Their legs sticky on my eyelids. Ascending. Defying gravity. They felt like salvation. The sound had walls, tissue thin, and deep inside the cell, I saw Sheff shooting his arm into the air, a rocket, the bees flying out. We had our whole lives ahead of us. He straddled my red suitcase at the New York Public library. I shot my arm into the air. Then, saw that it was golden with bees. I heard a man’s voice, Jacob calling my name. The bees rose like sunlit dust. Jacob’s dark boots were by my face. “What the hell are you doing on the floor?” I squeezed the gardening gloves and sat up. “Are you all right? Did you fall?” When I didn’t answer, he said, “I’m seriously worried about you.” Maybe I wasn’t all right. That was a possibility. I looked at my arms, at where the bees had been. I looked to the ceiling. They weren’t there. I sat up. “I’m sorry.” “What are you doing in here?” “I was getting a trowel.” I showed him the gloves as though that helped explain why I’d been lying on the floor of the shed. As Jacob pulled me to my feet, I
looked once more for the bees. There was no sign of them. Had I imagined them? I felt caught between two worlds, one where I was special, some magical beekeeper, and another where I did what I was told. I kept the house neat, made dinner, spread my thighs as wide as they would go. I was a trapeze artist walking a tightrope. On one side just beneath me bubbled the oblivion of living like this forever, this angry man never letting me forget that I was always wrong. I wasn’t sure exactly when it started, when it became clear, that I was no longer in control of my life, that everything, including my own happiness, depended on Jacob’s happiness. One day, it just was. I think that the seeds were planted early on. Maybe I should’ve known that something was seriously amiss when he said that no professor could teach him anything. Maybe I should’ve known when he was rude to that doctor. Maybe I was so caught up with the idea of marriage and normalcy, that I lost the ability to distinguish between cruelty and kindness. All I knew for certain was that two years into our marriage, I was sorry every day for everything. I could do nothing right. I said the wrong thing, looked at him the wrong way. Because I was always wrong, he shoved me. It was my fault. I shouldn’t infuriate him so. Then, he put his hand to my throat because I wouldn’t shut up. I said the wrong thing again. He said, “If you really love me, you’ll stop pushing my buttons.”
not on the outside, and I was too embarrassed to tell anyone. Either way, just two years in, I had mastered walking on eggshells. I listened for agitation in the voice, for sarcasm. I said whatever I thought Jacob wanted to hear. I agreed with everything he said, backtracked and apologized if I upset him. I accepted responsibility for his anger, found a good hiding spot, the shed and sometimes the pantry. I thought about leaving him, but my life, the eggshells, took on a surprising normalcy, and the more time that passed, the easier it was to keep doing what I was doing, to pretend to be someone I wasn’t, to tolerate behavior that Jacob argued, “is perfectly normal. A man loses his temper. Just because your father’s a pansy doesn’t mean every man is.” But then, holding my balancing stick, my feet wobbly on the tightrope, was the other side: the soft sweet side where Betty and the bees gathered. In that spot, there was cool water and sunlight, and I could be myself. Only I didn’t think I deserved that— happiness. — Michele Young-Stone
The sound had
walls, tissue thin, and
I tried, and I failed. When I fought back, he laughed. Later, he cried. “Why do you make me act this way? All I want to do is love you.” And some part of me believed him. Maybe I’d heard him tell me too many times that I was to blame, or maybe it was easier to believe him than fight back. And there were no bruises,
deep inside the cell, I saw
Sheff shooting his arm into the air, a rocket, the bees flying out. We had our
whole lives ahead of us.
the cure for the common beach
Photo Credit: Ocracoke Foundation
Chris Bickford turns the full spectrum of Outer Banks surf culture into a seamlessly surreal blackand-white experience.
Legends of the Sandbar is not a surf photography book — at least not in the strictest sense. Expect less high-action ripping and more rippling clouds, plenty of moody peripherals, and not one brilliant, front-lit, four-color photo for more than 250 pages. But then Chris Bickford never claimed to be a surf photographer. “This book is actually an anomaly,” says the 50-year-old lensman whose professional credits include the New York Times and National Geographic — and photo habits cover everything from cityscapes to complex studio portraits. “Most of my other work is in color. A lot of it is more urban. But what got me into shooting musicians in Nashville and New Orleans, or documenting Carnival in Rio, is capturing the strongest expression of a place’s culture. And for here — for me — that’s surfing. Plus, splashing in the water is something everyone can relate to.” That’s how Bickford got hooked. One afternoon he was fumbling around in the shorebreak and the next thing he knew he was ordering a water housing. He spent the next six months blasting away at local lineups. Not just the waves, but the surrounding drama. Pre-dawn checks and pierside reflections. All the precious shared moments that happen between rides. He bound them all up into a mini book titled After The Storm. It got such positive local reviews, he sent it around to the world’s leading surf publications, where the reactions were just as strong. “I was emailing all these mags and photography legends,” he laughs. “Of all people, Aaron Chang wrote back. He said, ‘Nice start. You could have a real good body of work here if you keep shooting.’ And I guess that’s what I did.” Nearly ten years later, Legends of the Sandbar stands as the single-most cohesive representation of Outer Banks surf culture to date. But while penetrating the local scene is notoriously easy, documenting that same welcoming vibe takes real work. Chasing local talent and shifting sandbars from Kitty Hawk to Hatteras. Timing paid gigs between the most active seasons. Posting up in places to capture timeless portraits. Then he ties it all together with a string of vibrant essays that run from historical to geographical, spiritual to deeply personal. In many ways, the project mirrors every surfer’s life: sacrificing long hours and lost opportunities to capture a few thrilling, irreplaceable seconds. Yet, the final product appeals to more than just wave-riders. In fact, it touches just about everyone who feels a connection to our coastal home. “I tried to choose vignettes that were universal,” he explains. “Experiences everyone has in one way or another. The same with the photos. The Outer Banks community has this certain kind of texture. You can almost taste it. And I guess that’s what I was trying to put into this book — that taste, that texture, of what it really feels like to live here. To be salty all the time.” What follows is the book’s most summery saline selections — with some extra perspective from the artist himself.
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Thatâ€™s how I think of this photo. I was just watching the surf at Avalon Pier and these two kids happened to be mucking around, jumping off the bulkhead. It was a really quick shot, but I kept it because it felt like a different take on the free feeling of summertime at the beach â€” and of just being a kid. Bronzed as hell, hair totally bleached out, and a little bit sandy. And grownups never stay even a little bit sandy. milepost 59
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I shot straight from the hip. Some photos I wanted to create something special. One afternoon, I’d just left Avalon. Heading down Palmetto Street into the sun, I saw two or three girls in bikinis, on bikes. I thought, “I want that shot.” I’d recently done a different project with Rachelle DeGabrielle, so I called her up and we hopped on some beach cruisers and explored Kitty Hawk for the right spot. Then I staged it with the light coming from the west so everything was backlit with that full “California Girl” feel.
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Just the phrase is imbued with so much power. This was one of those summers when there were lots of marsh fires. The wind kept blowing southwest, so it was hazy and hot, with the acid, almost metallic, smell of ash in the air. One morning, we woke up and decided to get away from it all. Full-on friends trip, just totally spur of the moment. We threw boards on top of the Cherokee, drove down, hopped the ferry to Ocracoke, surfed, walked out to south point and ended up camping out that night. And all because someone said, “Let’s just go south.” milepost 63
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Kitty Hawk Pier became sort of a scene. There were lots of waves, lots of kids on the beach — and in the water. This is Stefan Turko in front. I love his expression. The commitment. He’s like, “I’m going.” And when the ocean’s this glassy, the sun bounces off and acts like a flash. The reflection lights up his face and gives his skin almost a metallic sheen. You see ripples on the surface of the water and the wood underneath the pier. And to be honest, I’ve always had a preference for clouds because they add more texture. In fact, when I first started the project, there wasn’t a single sunny photo. After a while, I learned how to make the sunny days fit. And now they’re some of my favorite moments. milepost 65
goplay Smash hit. Photo: Ryan Moser
WHAM-O SLAMMO! It’s a classic “Friends” episode. Rachel wrecks Thanksgiving dinner after accidentally mixing two recipes, combining a bizarre set of ingredients into a trifle. Joey, the prolific eater in the bunch, is the only one who doesn’t mind. “What’s not to like?” he asks as he digs in. “Custard: good. Jam: good. Meat: good!” That’s kind of how Mattie Dalia sees the new game he’s created. Beach: good. Beer: good. Frisbee: good! “A great day for me is to come out to the beach, drink beer, and just throw the disc around,” says 50-year-old Dalia. “It’s the perfect marriage.” That’s exactly what the Kill Devil Hills father of two — and longtime Ultimate Frisbee player — planned when he showed up at Blackman Street for Fourth of July a few years back. Dalia spotted a couple of younger guys tossing a disc back and forth — except they were also standing beside a pair of 2x6 boards with beers perched on top of them. They appeared to be trying to knock off the cans. When he asked to play, the guys willingly agreed. They called the game “Beersbee.” “It was a blast,” Dalia recalls. “But it just seemed kind of rudimentary.” So, Dalia went home and started researching improvements. He soon discovered a wide array of variations — Polish Horseshoes, Spanish Horseshoes, Spanish Darts, Bottle Bash. Some used aluminum bottles; others had stands or spikes. All follow the same general principles. (A shiny object sits atop some sort of pole. Players go back and forth, attempting to knock it off with well-aimed throws of their disc.) But they still seemed to be lacking that special something. “I wanted to figure out something different,” Dalia says.
Like throwing discs and crushing cans? Give Dinger a spin. Going for a beachier feel, Dalia crafted his first game out of an old fishing rod with a pickle jar lid affixed to its tip, to hold the can. But since used fishing rods were hard to find, Dalia started looking for other, sturdier materials. He settled on steel poles as opposed to plastic. He covered them in stickers and replaced the lids with disc golf markers.
“It’s more durable,” Dalia says “And it’s got an appealing look to it.”
Then he modified the rules. It bothered him that in so many beach games — like horseshoes and cornhole — the players who aren’t throwing are just standing idle. So, with Dinger, there’s always action for every player on either side.
Players lunge for falling cans and flying discs after a few thirsty rounds.
“With this, you’ve got defense and offense,” Dalia says. “If their can hits the ground, we get a point. They don’t catch a catchable throw, we also get a point. If they catch the Frisbee, I don’t get that point. If they catch the can that I knock off, I don’t get that point, either.”
And if you hit the can directly — and the other team doesn’t catch it — you score three points. That’s called a “dinger.” Hence the name. But wait, there’s more! In Dinger, you’re supposed to play with a beer in hand to add another degree of difficulty. And the action only gets more entertaining as players lunge for falling cans and flying discs after a few thirsty rounds. “That makes it hilariously funny,” Dalia says with a wicked grin.
Over the past year, Dalia has been making Dinger sets himself, with some assistance from his sons. When he goes camping or to the beach, he’s got extras in his truck. Every time he sets up, he sells a few to marveling bystanders. Dinger costs $35 for just the poles, or $45 with the regulation 175-gram Ultimate disc included. Leading up to Christmas, Dalia sold about 50 sets simply by word of mouth through his personal Facebook page. It’s natural, then, to wonder what the next step is for Dinger, especially considering how a simple game like cornhole spread like wildfire over the last decade. “I could put this in a store, but how do you explain it?” Dalia wonders. “You could put a little video monitor with it — ‘this is how you play Dinger.’ But when I think about cornhole, it must have had that growth period of people just playing it. I’m starting to think it through.” There’s plenty to ponder. How to deal with shipping? Does manufacturing in China make the most sense? Maybe the best choice would be chasing Ultimate and disc golf tournaments across the country, or showing off Dinger at big football tailgates — except Dalia already has a nine-to-five doing online marketing. “This is a hobby — and I’ve got too many hobbies,” Dalia admits, noting he and a buddy just bought the legendary OBX Party Bus. But 25 years into his love affair with Frisbee, it doesn’t seem like such a stretch to think that, for Dalia, Dinger could be the next big thing. Especially when every beach day is an opportunity to expand his customer base. “People inherently wander over, wonder what it is, and we invite them to play,” Dalia says. “They say, ‘Do you have more of these?’ And we say, ‘Yeah, here it is.’ People love this. It’s a hit.” — Steve Hanf milepost 67
Cool cats, circa 1990. Photo: Drew Wilson/ The Virginian Pilot
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Hankering for the Hobie way of life.
Summertime circa 1980. The trunks were short. The shades were mirrored. And Hobie Cats were everywhere. Under a bright sun — with an offshore wind — tanned, toned bodies launched their boats from the beach, all day long. Pushing out through the surf, as many as 15, 20 or maybe 30 might go skimming across the water, their double hulls barely touching the surface. At night, with sails reefed, the canvas often became the perfect shelter for impromptu parties that lasted into early morning.
what would soon become one of the most popular boats of its kind — the Hobie Cat. Ranging from ten feet to 33, the Hobie Cat became a favorite race boat and purveyor of sun-loving vibes. By the 80s, beachgoers from Hawaii to Florida were almost guaranteed to see a Cat tacking back and forth just beyond the waves, or stacked up for the night along the dunes. Not so much anymore. Nowadays, you’re lucky to see a twin-hull riding a trailer in someone’s side yard.
“It was the Hobie way of life,” says Jon Britt, Hobie dealer and former owner of Duck’s Nor’Banks Sailing and Watersports. “In the 70s and 80s, that was the culture. Just go sail and have fun.”
“They’re beach cats,” says former Hobie Cat racer Bill Elwang, who still brings old, battered ones back to life. “They’re designed for launching in and out of the surf. But there’s no open beach left. There’s too many people and houses lining the beach.”
In 1967, legendary surfboard builder Hobie Alter decided he wanted to make sailing more beach-friendly, so he invented
But they’re not gone entirely. The spirit lives on in the form of a few holdouts. Take
a stroll south of Avalon Pier in the middle of summer, and there’s a good chance Milo Miloshevsky will be sitting somewhere, with his Prindle 16, ready and willing to take anyone sailing. “I can tell just by the way they walk up,” says Milo. “‘Hey, is this your boat? How much is it for a ride?’ And I’m like, ‘You don’t have to give me money. But if you want to go, we’re going right now.’” Milo’s first boat was a Hobie back in the early 90s. He came to the Outer Banks thinking he would surf. Figured out there’s times when the waves go flat and sea turns cold — really cold. He still wanted to be out there flying along — just not shivering between sets. He needed something that wouldn’t break the bank but would still get him on the water. “I’m broke. I’m a young kid. I’m 26, 27 years
old. I’m bartending. I’m saving to buy a house,” he says. “There were still maybe a dozen boats on the beach. It looked like the cheapest way to have some fun.” So he dropped $600 on a 14-foot Hobie Cat and headed to the sound. He had no idea what he was doing. “It was great going downwind,” he remembers. “But as soon as I turned that boat around, I flipped it — and I flipped it three times. Finally, I parked it at a campground in Colington, put my thumb out, and got a ride home.” It was a temporary setback. Milo spent the next two summers getting better. Finally, he felt ready for the Atlantic, where open ocean swells make for a smoother ride — and occasionally greater challenges. He and a friend started fishing with hand lines behind the boat. Once more, things were going well — until the situation changed. “We went over a school of red drum or king mackerel,” he recalls. “They bit every line and snapped every one of them. Then we flipped the boat. The mast filled with water.” Luckily, Dave Elder came out and saved us and towed us in with the jet ski.” Dave Elder isn’t just Ocean Rescue Supervisor for Kill Devil Hills, he’s a fellow catamaran fan who’s sailed his share of glassy days — and performed his share of ocean rescues. “It’s a very steep learning curve,” Elder says. “It’s a much more dynamic environment.” Dave suggested getting a longer boat. Milo bought his 16-foot Prindle — a racing design. And he was soon zipping along, faster than ever. Ironically, it’s kind of a metaphor for the beach catamaran’s coming economic headwinds and gradual decline. As the boats became more popular, designs got faster and more complex. And soon they started out-pacing their original fans. “Too many people in the sailing industry were focused on, ‘I want to make the fastest boat,’” says Jon Britt, who navigated his top-of-the line, 16-footer from the Keys to Georgia in the Tybee 500 three times. “And
there’s a market for that, but there’s a bigger market for just getting people on the water.” That’s largely where the sport’s going today, as companies are catering to novices once again. Only now, they stick mostly to the sound. Partially because it’s easier to access, but mostly due to liability issues. (“Insurance is not going to let you rent on the ocean,” says Britt.) Yet, even as they compete against personal watercraft — the jet skis, wave runners, SUPs, and kiteboards — Britt says he sees more customers seeking simpler thrills and nostalgic vibes.
Going sailing was as easy as hitting the beach and hitching a ride.
“It’s still there,” Britt says. “A lot of the people who rent catamarans are the baby boomers who sailed during that time. Or maybe young families with kids who want to get a boat.” That’s what the Hobie lifestyle is all about: having fun, feeling good, sharing the freedom of water and wind with a couple of friends — or even complete strangers. It all harkens back to the time when going sailing was as easy as hitting the beach and hitching a ride. That’s why Milo still hauls his boat to his favorite beach access every summer. He props his feet up under an umbrella — sometimes he’ll sip a beer — and then waits to see who’s got an itch to sail. And once they hop aboard, the payoff’s all his. “The greatest thank you I ever received was from a young man who came to my bar for a beer,” says Milo. “He asked if I remembered him. I said, ‘Well, you look familiar, but I can’t remember your name’ — the old bartender standby. He whipped out his phone and showed me a picture of me and him on my sailboat ten years prior. He said, ‘My mom took this picture. When I was 12 years old, you took me sailing. It was the best memory of my vacation.’” — Kip Tabb milepost 69
fooddrink Hawaiian cold cuts hit the Hula Deck at the Rundown Café. Photo: Eileen Stile
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RAW FLAVOR startingpoint
Sweet, savory and served up cold — poke may be the perfect summer seafood. The mix is so simple. Bright green veggies. Deep, red, raw tuna. Some sesame oil and soy for smoothness — seeds for crunch. Yet, combined, these items create a complex algorithm of flavors and textures that are quick to leave your plate and long to linger on your palate. No wonder it’s so ridiculously popular.
“You can find poke everywhere in Hawaii,” says longtime local chef Bryan Whitehurst with a smile. “Actually,” he laughs, “liquor stores are known to have the best and they always sell out!”
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The name poke (pronounced POH-keh) literally means, “to cut crosswise into pieces.” The dish itself has been a tradition since before Captain Cook touched Polynesian soil. Fishermen would take scraps of freshly caught reef fish, mix it together with crushed kukui nuts, sea salt, and limu, a brown algae known to relieve arthritis. (Ahi — or tuna — was for royalty only, as both sat atop their respective food chains.)
Over the past three decades, this classic Hawaiian pupu — or snack — has become a cult foodie fav. Not just in Hawaii, but across the mainland U.S., even in midwest cities like Chicago. Today, you can find it everywhere, from high-end restaurants to standalone poke joints, some of them expanding into oddball toppings — Coconut flakes? Strawberry sauce? — and not always getting the best reception. (Last year, the Washington Post ran a story titled, “Hawaiian poke has never been trendier. But the mainland is ruining it.”)
But the Outer Banks isn’t the mainland. And it sure isn’t the city. Here, seafood isn’t trendy — it’s tradition. Here, the only greater sin than smothering the taste of fresh fish is wasting a bite. And poke’s the perfect way for any restaurant to squeeze every inch of raw flavor out of a tuna loin. milepost
“The point,” says Art Maliyam of Single Fin Bistro, “is to ensure that there is no waste, and to use the entire fish.” While ahi’s the most popular, any fresh fish will do. Salmon and Toro [fatty tuna] are also five-star stand-ins, because their buttery texture rounds out the dish, with eye-fluttering results. It’s really up to the chef to refine his or her own style. “Start with whatever flavors you like,” Maliyam says. “We begin with a bit of soy sauce, homemade rice vinegar, citrus, and kimchi sauce — then allow a small piece of bonito (also known as skipjack, and a part of the flavorful mackerel and tuna family) to soak in this mixture for a week.” Then the fun can begin. “We take the sauce,” says Maliyam, “and mix it with tuna, cucumber, pineapple, and then serve over seaweed salad.” The most important ingredient may be good timing. Unlike ceviche, there’s usually no lime added to cook the fish, so freshness is key.
“Make sure you don’t let the fish soak too long,” Maliyam says, “and that it gets used up within a day or so, as the color and flavor can change quickly.”
Buttery texture rounds out the dish, with eyefluttering results.
Back in Hawaii, while the method’s the same, the options are endless. There, you can find it in gas stations and grocery stores, served up in not only bowls, but in rolls and bento boxes. And it’s way more than tuna. Lobster, octopus, krab (yes the imitation stuff), and even jackfruit are among the many alternatives.
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“It’s crazy how many options there are,” adds Whitehurst, who spends much of his winters private-chefing on Oahu. “Imagine the fish section of Harris Teeter, but with all different types of poke.” “ Likewise, many local Outer Banks restaurants prefer to do their own style. At The Spot, diners can find both original and spicy versions, and finish each off with a bit of fresh avocado, pineapple or seaweed salad. Rundown Cafe opts for an addition of ginger slaw and crispy wonton. And special boards sometimes boast further variations like a California roll style or something with fresh crab. Whitehurst plans to offer a version at his new seafood market and kitchen, Greentail’s. But he believes poke’s true power lies in the process itself. “It’s almost hard to talk about poke until you make it and eat it,” he says. He begins by methodically dicing ginger, then slicing green and white onion. He then tosses the chopped mixture with sesame oil, soy and oyster sauce, along with perfectly cubed tuna. He spoons the briny, savory mixture over cooked rice before adding a tantalizing mix of dried kimchi, seaweed, spinach, and horseradish, which is known as Furikake. Finally, he drops a sprinkle of extra sesame seed. The crunch from the veggies, the velvetiness from the tuna, and a fresh pop of lime zest light up the taste buds, without any element overshadowing the other. “There is no way in my mind you could go wrong with this dish,” Whitehurst says, adding a finishing touch of Outer Banks Sea Salt to his own personal bowl. “It’s like the Hawaiian version of nachos — but healthier.” — Fran Marler
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soundcheck Yes, there will be a disco ball. Yes, there will be dancing and DJs — bright lights and loud outfits. There may even be a few flared collars. But don’t think of it as “Thursday Night Fever.” And whatever you do, do not call it “Tiki Disco.”
list for this year’s jam?
“We” is Smith and longtime local drummer and vinyl enthusiast, Josh Martier — aka “Marty Martin Denny.” Tiki Disco? That’s a bit harder to describe. Traditionally, this city concept takes Tiki music’s aloha-meetslounge music vibe — i.e. Exotica Records — and adds more of a dance groove. For this summer, Smith and Martier are upgrading the concept to fresher beats and modern styles, while flexing a few key local elements.
graphiccontentWanna get down gosurf
— maybe get weird? Check out Kill Devil Disco.
First, they’re teaming up with everyone’s favorite homegrown craft distiller, Kill Devil Rum. Second, they’re posting up at KDH’s hottest surf-themed late-night spot, The Bonzer Shack. And they’re doing it on a weekly basis — every Thursday from June 28 to Labor Day — tapping into the beach’s strong penchant for blowing off steam.
Oddballs make solid beats. Martier and Smith prepare to mix it up. Photo: Ryan Moser
“There’s definitely a lack of dance parties right now,” says Bonzer manager, Matt Joyner. “So we’re trying to do something different. But at the same time, the idea is really organic, because the artists, the rum guys — even the staff — we’ve all been good friends forever. And the Outer Banks has always been a tightknit community that loves a good time.”
That’s really how the whole thing started. When Smith moved here in 2011, he immediately started spinning music. Martier was drumming for Hound Dogs Family Band, a spontaneous six-piece whose eclectic styles and major showmanship produced the season’s hottest nights. Smith began DJing openers and set breaks. After shows, he and Martier would play records, sharing new styles — and different beats — until the break of dawn. So what’s on the set
EARLY BIRD SPECIALS Love live music? Hate staying up late? Try an evening concert series:
The Tap Shack in Duck lines up 99+ mostly free shows in an intimate backyard setting, May 24-Sept. 2, from Grateful Dead channelers Last Fair Deal ( July 1) to Americana Grammy nominees, Yarn ( July 18). 6:30-9:30pm. Plus, Keller Williams plays Aug. 19 for just $25. Find Bearded Face Productions on Facebook for more. (PS: Duck Ampitheatre has free Thurs. night concerts, June 21-Aug. 23. More at www.townofduck.com.)
“I would call it deep dubby house and nu-disco,” - DJ ALKEY says Smith. “But we’re not locked into any one genre. We’ll play old school dance hall, 90s hip-hop. We come from an old school party vibe. We want to take you on a little journey.”
“We called it that one time a couple years ago and some guys in New York sent a ‘cease and desist,’” laughs Allen Smith — aka DJ ALKEY. “So this summer, it’s ‘Kill Devil Disco.’ But it’s still the same idea: taking Tiki drinks and sick tunes and funky Hawaiian surf style, and turning it into a dance party. Just seems to go with that whole summertime aesthetic.”
“We want to take you on a little journey.”
That includes some super trippy visuals. Besides the mandatory black lights, and fluorescence and neon palm trees, the boys brought in their own special effects wizard — Justin Old. Armed with a degree in digital graphics and a green screen, Old spent the spring filming weird footage in familiar places — breaking waves, crawling skyscapes, POV skateboard bombs down nearby hills — and digging up classic clips, from campy 50s movies to galactic spirals. As the boys change beats, the psychedelic big screen follows along. Meanwhile, the bartenders mix up a rotating menu of “tiki drinks” — specialized libations that go way beyond Painkillers.
“We’ve done a ton of research with the Kill Devil Rum guys and created some super cool homemade syrups,” says Joyner. “We can’t say exactly what we’ll do each week, but they will be fruity, they will be boozy, and they will be balanced.” But for all these compadres’ conjoined efforts to create the right vibe, they all agree the real draw is the laidback atmosphere that Kill Devil Disco creates. A blend of upbeat music and cool personalities. And the hot, spontaneous sizzle of a good house party at the height of the season. “It’s kind of selfish in a way,” laughs Martier. “Because for us, it’s another chance to mess around and play records all night. Dance, have some fun, and show people new music. We just figured we’re gonna do this anyway — we might as well invite a bunch of people.” — Leo Gibson
The Pickin on the Porch Series brings bi-monthly banjos and mandolins to Manteo’s Bluegrass Island Trading Co., including The Wayfarers ( June 8), Nu-Blue ( July 20), and Carolina Blue (Aug. 24). 7pm. And the downtown waterfront flows with fresh sounds every First Friday, from student jazz ( June 1) to Just Playing Dixeland ( July 6) to blues guitar maestro, Mojo Collins (Aug. 3). More at www.darearts.org.
The Sky Blue Summer Concert Series keeps Real Watersports hopping with local talent — like Rory Kelleher, SoulOne, and Phil Watson — not to mention a special concert by national star, Donavon Frankenreiter, Aug. 5. And on June 8, hip-hop legends the Roots rock the soundside stage — and help support the Hatteras Island Youth Education fund — for a crazy-low cover. More at www.realwatersports.com. milepost 73
artisticlicense Just another banner day at the beach. Photo: Ryan Moser
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THE ORIGINAL Since the 60’s
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How does Kim Cowen stay happy? She just follows her art.
Painter. Photographer. Sculptor. Sign-maker. Traveler. Teacher.... Kim Cowen — thirtysomething, sun-kissed blonde mom of two — must have a tough time answering that tired old dinner party icebreaker, “So what do you do?” What she has no trouble answering, however, is a question that far too few ask instead: “And what makes you happy?” “Of course, my kids are pretty high on the list, and I love teaching,” Cowen says. “Other than that? I’d be pretty happy just sitting on a beach somewhere, stringing shells together.”
Her Kill Devil Hills home is a multicolored collage of idiosyncratic creations and various inspirations. Bookshelves feature titles on both oceanography and Salvador Dali. Walls boast hand-painted surfboards and vintage guitars. Art includes reclaimed wood furniture she builds with her husband and her daughter’s maps of the world. Works-inprogress range from travel photos printed on metal and waiting to be framed with beach fencing — “I like the rustic feel” — to oversized wedding invitations that look like vintage cartography.
But in her actual life, Cowen has a lot going on — a grab bag of pursuits that all came about naturally as she followed her heart
She holds up a hand-drawn illustration of the Rhode Island coast with a couple’s names, and RSVP details in flowing script.
Rentals • Lessons Boards • Wetsuits Surfwear • Sunglasses Sunblock • Sandals T-Shirts Old Nags Head Cottage Row MP 13.5 Beach Rd. Nags Head 252-441-7349 milepost
from one creative enterprise to the next.
“I had five cousins get married this year, and I started drawing these maps for them,” she says. “This one was actually featured in a Newport wedding magazine.” Now she’s doing similar designs for total strangers. Which is pretty much how every new venture starts — a conversation with a family member or friend sparks an idea, which then becomes a creative outburst. That’s how she got into painting large murals, banners and signs — sometimes 20 or 30 feet wide — in bulk for festivals, including her favorite music festival, Floydfest. In 2002, FloydFest was a backwoods secret in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Today, this July favorite is a thriving, fourday affair, with multiple stages, and more
Outer Banks Dining Casual
“I’ve been to every single one,” says the selfprofessed music junkie. “All sixteen of them.” But Cowen was never just an attendee. She worked the grounds selling coffee, so she got to know the production people. And, of course, she talked to them about art and how they could improve the look of the festival. The next thing she knew, they had loaded her up with work. They asked her to make stage signs, directional signs, signs for the woods, signs for the general store, signs for the bathrooms, signs for the beer gardens... and on and on. Then she needed to finish them fast. “I only had a couple of months to get it all done. And they were massive, on plywood. I had to make frames and everything, and I had to get the style right,” Cowen says. “But they gave me complete creative freedom, and I knew the festival really well, so I had fun designing and creating. Then I hired a bunch of helpers. We all got paid in VIP tickets.” Since then, she’s done signage for Corolla’s Mustang Music Festival and Mustang Spring Jam — plus beer-fests from Pirate’s Cove to Northern Virginia. She’s also designed logos and artwork for individual bands and businesses. But sign-making is no easy venture. It can take over Cowen’s life for weeks at a time — or at least her backyard — which is often covered in boards, paints and tarps until the very last minute. There are other challenges, too — like occasionally pleasing the corporate powers that be. One craft brewery was worried she’d screw up the branding, so she went out and bought a projector, then recreated the logo in perfect, 20-foot detail. “I just wish I had bought the thing sooner for the other festivals!” she laughs. “But it was still tough. I was out there at night, painting, trying to get the logo just right — and the projector drew a lot of mosquitoes.”
sign-making is no easy venture. It can take over Cowen’s life for weeks at a time.
Located In Historic Lifesaving Station #6
Where does Cowen get the energy and creative drive necessary to paint 130 signs so quickly? Perhaps it’s genetic. Turns out, her greatgrandfather was a sign painter in Rhode Island. Another great-grandfather was an oil painter. And her great-aunt Eunice was an art history teacher who took Cowen’s mother traveling around the world. Or perhaps it comes from a lifetime of leaping at whatever sparks her interest, and doing her best to “make a living” without losing her passion. “I taught art when I lived in Norfolk,” she says. “I discovered that I love teaching. Now I wouldn’t give that up.”
photo: John Livingston
than 100 musicians playing everything from rock to bluegrass, reggae to folk to zydeco — plus artists and storytellers and as many as 13,000 fans.
As a Montessori teacher, it’s clear Cowen approaches crafting children’s minds with the same level of loving attention that she gives her art, as she raves about her class of six- to nine-year olds’ recent success in fundraising. “We set out to purchase ten water filters for Waves for Water, and it just grew and grew. Now, we have over 45 filters and 30-to-40 boxes of supplies to send to Puerto Rico for hurricane relief.” Or perhaps it all just aligns with Cowen’s simple philosophy of “do the things that bring you joy.” “If I could go back, I guess I’d tell myself to keep going with things that make you happy and get out of things that don’t make you happy — whatever doesn’t soothe your soul. Oh…and I’d probably tell myself that graphic design would be a smart major.” — Dave Holton
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FANTASY ISLAND Shelly’s gone, but she’s not forgotten.
Like sands through the hourglass? More like sands through the looking glass. After all, if there was a funhouse mirror for Summer 2017, it was Shelly Island. Part reflecting pool, part parking lot, part archaeological dig site, from the moment she appeared in late April, this bathymetric feature reflected — in some cases distorted — our best and worst attributes. There was the good. (The spirit of adventure! The family camaraderie!) The bad. (Nothing shows humanity’s destructive potential like an undetonated bomb.) And the greedy. (Who tries to claim land rights to a winnowing sand bar?) And let’s not forget the narcissistic news crews, Instagram selfies, and other acts of self-absorption. Still, for all the hype, you’d be hard-pressed to hate on her. Especially when you look at all the media spectacle did for business down south. According to the National Park Service, Cape Hatteras National Seashore saw more visitors last summer than in the past 12 years — though that may not be all Shelly’s doing. “You have to remember that Cape Point was open every single day this summer for the first time in roughly a decade,” cautions NPS Outer Banks Group Superintendent, David Hallac. “So it was already busier. And once the Associated Press picked up the story, things went crazy. There were Shelly Island T-shirts, Shelly Island Facebook pages. I’ve heard some visitors are taking to call it ‘Shelly Point’ now. And we see our coast change all the time, but the rest of the world doesn’t. So there was this extra bout of excitement from the people who saw it with fresh eyes.”
for all the hype, you’d be hard-pressed to hate on her.
Local eyes? They say similar bars appear off the cape every decade or so — just not always as large or as close. So, when the sand started building in February, they simply watched the cormorants and pelicans post up at low tide. By May, anglers recognized the nearly mile-long playground as a potential fishing opportunity and began paddling over. Hatteras families soon followed, filling their bags with beach treasures. Somewhere in late June, a photographer flew a drone and posted a photo. The news cameras flocked. Not long after that, hundreds of people were making daily trips — and in some cases facing deadly rips — to wallow in a full range of watery fun.
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“I went down in late July,” says Hallac. “The wind was light; the water was Caribbean blue. There were families on the northeast area, surfing these gentle rollers, somewhat protected. Then between Shelly Island proper and Cape Point, there were kiteboarders. In the shallow area, kids were playing with buckets. Beachcombers everywhere. It was all going on at once. That was the closest I’ve come to driving back to the office, grabbing trunks, and taking a vacation day.” He missed his chance. Come September, the island was already reconnecting. By Thanksgiving, it was more-or-less back to the point everyone knows — that’s Cape Point, thank you very much. As of February 2018, what was Shelly Island was officially a memory. But, there’s always another weird sandbar on the horizon. Until then, the next summer fantasy awaits somewhere down south. All you need is a little imagination and a willingness to look around. “There is a reasonable chance Cape Point might close again this year to give birds time to nest,” says Hallac. “But even then, we’re still looking at a solid 20 miles of drivable beaches and another 25-plus walkable beaches between the Tri-Villages and Hatteras. All of it will be open to kiting, surfing, and fishing. It’s amazing what you’ll find by exploring new places.”
Top: Save paradise — and put up a parking lot. A perfect storm of improved access and natural processes meant more bodies on the beach and in local businesses. Photo: Outer Banks Visitors Bureau Bottom Left-Right: Local photographer Daniel Pullen had a solid take on the summer shell show — its bounty and hazards — from beginning to end. “In May, the shells were crazy big, like prehistoric big. We found vertebrae and whale bones. In July, a WWII-era training bomb washed up, which shut down the beach for a couple of hours. I think the scariest thing was just the current — it seemed like they were rescuing swimmers daily. And, no matter how popular and picked-over things got, the island just kept replenishing itself. Even now, you drive around here and everyone’s front yard is full of whelks.” Photos: Daniel Pullen; Dare EMS; Daniel Pullen milepost 77
THE SIX SENSES OF SUMMER gohunt
Oh, the sights The sun that shines The skin that burns red, bronzes tan — and turns heads The bright light sizzling Rippling along every shiny surface Before slipping, slowly into
The sound of non-stop noise And never-silent nights Traffic screaming, sirens blaring And the bang-bang-bang of broken screen doors Swarming with skeeters, cicadas, screeching creatures That buzz past Barely brushing soft shoulders Like southwest breezes Or the sea’s saline kisses Caressing every semi-naked square inch Before sinking back into blazing sand And a warm, soft towel that Smells like sunscreen And coconut surf wax Cigs and smoke Lighter fluid and matches The first whiff of charring coal Cooking up Endless tasty treats Cooler beer and frozen sweets Tart temptations of every taste Sample ’em all Swallow them whole And yet, you’re still hungry for Something more Something extra Smitten by the sense that something’s still missing Surrounded by memories The lingering specters of each summer past And a sneaky perception there’s more summer to come. — C. White Art by Marc Felton milepost 79
endnotes Gird your loincloths! Come May 25, the 81st season of The Lost Colony returns to Roanoke Island, promising plenty of painted skin, and pure symphonic drama, every Mon.Sat., through Aug. 22. Live here? Come out to Dare Nights, June 1, 8 & 15, where two nonperishable food items and one local I.D. get you in for free. Tix — plus info on backstage tours, pre-show dinners and VIP experiences — at www.thelostcolony.org. • Think 1587 sounds old? The NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island goes full pre-historic when life-sized animated Dinosaurs! line the nature trail, May 26-Sept. 4. More at www.ncaquariums.com. • The National Park Service starts supersizing their summer interpretive programming at all three parks on May 26. Find a calendar of events for Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, and Wright Brothers National Memorial at www. nps.gov. • On May 27, meet the Queen of Beach Reads — and score signed copies of The High Tide Club — when Waverider’s Coffee & Deli hosts a happy hour with Mary Kay Andrews, 3:30-6pm. Details at www.duckscottage.com. • Or start summer a day early at Historic Corolla Parks’ Memorial Day Beach Blast, May 27. From 12-5pm, bring your family and beach chairs for outdoor activities and live music by the Blackwater Rhythm & Blues Band. No coolers, please. (They’re cool enough as it is.) More at www.visitcurrituck. com. • On May 28, kick off the season at Avon’s 7th Annual Shore Break 5K & Tide Pool Fun Run, where every footstep supports the Hatteras Island Youth Education Fund. Get up to speed at www.hatterasyouth.com. • Stick around, ’cause Dare County Arts Council’s 6th Annual Rock The Cape Festival is May 28, with a free Island Art Show at the Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Community Center, from 10am-4pm. That evening, A Taste of Hatteras turns The Inn on Pamlico Sound island-inspired cuisine into a performance art — and adds delicious live music. 5-10pm. Tix just $20. More at www.darearts.org. • Ten, hut! On May 28, report for duty to Duck Town Green when the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Band sounds off for a Memorial Day Summer Kick-Off. 6-7:30pm. Complete deets at www.townofduck.com. • Hanger around Downtown Manteo every Tues., May 29-Sept. 25, as the Magnolia Craft Fair features a stunning display of hand-crafted items and creative ideas. 10am-4pm. More at www.townofmanteo.com. • On May 29, Outer Banks Brewing Station’s White Trash Bash challenges Lucky 12, Buffalo City Jug Shop, and Kill Devil Rum to a backyard bar fight of toilet seat horseshoes, arm wrestling, beer can bowling, costumes, and seed spitting. Get all the gory details at www.obbrewing.com. • The full moon hits your eye, live tunes hit your ear, and great brew hits your gullet every month thanks to Lisa’s Pizzeria Full Moon and Beer Party’s mix of tap takeovers and killer music, May 29, June 28, July 27, & Aug. 23. Full menu at www.lisaspizzeria.net. • Yo, doughboy! Head north to Whalehead and work off that pudge every Wed., May 30-Sept. 12, with Outer Banks Running Company’s Lighthouse 5k. 8am. Registration and pricing at www. theobxrunningcompany.com. • Calling all tossers! The Currituck Cornhole Tournament takes over Historic Corolla Park every Wed., Mar. 30-Sept. 12, 4-7pm. (Except July 4.) Signups start at 3pm. $20 per team. Prizes include weekly winners — plus an end-of-summer drawing for a free beach vacay. Call 252-453-9040 for more. • Support Dare County’s most inspiring athletes by traveling to Raleigh’s 2018 Special Olympics North Carolina Summer Games, June 1-3. Events include track & field, bowling, cycling, and more. They can always use a few extra cheerleaders. To help, email organizers at dare@ sonc.net. • Ocracoke’s Ocrafolk Festival packs a ton of entertainment into one tiny island, June 1-3, including a dozen live bands — Molasses Creek, Upstate Rubdown, Cane Mill Road, Shana Tucker — plus killer storytellers and performers, like Donald Davis, Greenhouse Cloggers, and the Paperhand Puppets. Full-sized calendar at www.ocracokealive.org. • Downtown Manteo’s First Friday celebrations teem with community spirit, live tunes, and later shopping all summer long. On June 1, Downtown Books brings in mystery writer Susan Boyer to sign books, 6-8pm. Dare County Arts Council hosts the Student Art Show Opening Reception at 6pm. And student music fills the air as First Flight High School and Manteo High School Jazz Bands play out front — Ascension Music Academy players perform
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Upcoming Events Ky-Mani Marley rocks reggae roots at Real Watersports, June 4. Photo: Lance Koudele
Mirlo Rescue 100th Anniversary Concert in partnership with the Chicamicomico Historical Association August 2018
4th Annual Surf and Sounds Chamber Music Series
upstairs — and Static Attitude lights up Old Tom Street while First Flight Middle School Jazz Band jams Magnolia Pavilion. Full score at www.darearts.org. • Come morning, the small town solace returns when Manteo Farmer’s Market fills the waterfront with tasty vegetables, local crafts, and friendly chatter, every Sat., starting June 2. More at www. townofmanteo.com. • And Hatteras overflows with high-flying acrobatics — and live music thrills — when Real Watersports’ 2018 Wind Voyager Triple-S Open/Invitational returns, June 1-8. By day, the world’s best kiteboarders perform hair-raising stunts in a fight for $50k in prize money. By night, witness live music by jaw-dropping acts, like reggae scion Ky-Mani Marley ( June 4), 2 Chains ( June 6), and Philly hip-hop wizards The Roots. ( June 8). A portion of proceeds benefit Hatteras Island Youth Education Fund. Get the full details at www.realwatersports.com. • Thrills meet spills in Avon, June 2-3, when Ocean Air Sports’ OBX Paddle Palooza pushes SUP-enthusiasts of every kind for races of every skill level. Stick around for the big Sun. afternoon BBQ. More at www.oceanairsports.com. • Who’s the funnest 43-year-old in town? Has to be Manteo’s annual Dare Day Festival. On June 2, join a tent party of local shopping and crazy activities, like the Hogway Speedway Racing Pigs, Anything that Floats but a Boat Race, Raingutter Regatta, plus live music by the Original Rhondels and the North Tower Band. 9am-6pm. Full sched at www. dareday.org. • Liven up the old flowerbed, June 2, with Elizabethan Gardens’ Summer Perennials workshop. Then come back for June 16’s Deadheading Workshop, June 23’s Summer Pruning, and July 7’s Summer Bed Maintenance. 10am-12pm. Call 252-4733234 for pricing and registration. Or go to www.elizabethangardens.org. • You won’t see any pansies at First Flight High, June 2, as Junior V. Senior: 2 Wrestling Tournament draws top regional grapplers for 12 tough matches — and state champion Jeremiah Derby takes on his own father, Golden Gloves champ, David Derby — all to raise money for youth wrestling clubs. $10. Get the score on Facebook. • Weekend gridlock meets good eating when June 3’s Soundside Live Food Truck Showdown lines up a dozen mobile eating machines captained by 12 local kitchens — plus local craft beers and wine, and live music by Mustang Outreach Program, The Ramble, and Woodwork. 1-5pm. Free admission. Full lineup at www.SoundsideEvents.com. • Still hungry? Dare County students and seniors (60+) in need of food assistance can contact the Beach Food Pantry for info regarding their Summer Food for Kids and Senior Box Programs at 252-261-2756. • On June 5, spare a pint — and save a life — as Jennette’s Pier hosts an American Red Cross Blood Drive, 124pm. More at www.jennettespier.net. • Keep the heart and legs pumping, June 6, when National Running Day turns Southern Shores’ Marketplace Plaza into a healthy footrace. 7:30am. Step over to www.obxrunningcompany.com for full breakdown. • Tone up your taste buds — or just punish your liver — when Historic Corolla Park hosts Sanctuary Vineyards, Vineyards on the Scuppernong, and the Weeping Radish Brewery for
Jack Fowler, Music Director Locations and Times: All Saints Episcopal Church, Southern Shores, NC Tuesday, August 21, 2018 at7:00 p.m. Town of Duck Amphitheater, Duck, NC Wednesday, August 22, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. Cape Hatteras Secondary School, Buxton, NC Thursday, August 23, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. Dare County Arts Council, Manteo, NC Friday, August 24, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. The Bryan Cultural Series is Proud to Support
Presented by Elizabeth R. and Company September 14, 2018 First Flight High School Free Admission!
Learn More at BryanCulturalSeries.org Our endowment managed by the
endnotes ( June 24); Nu Blu ( July 20) and Gravy Boys (Aug. 10). Shows start at 7pm. More at www. Whalehead Wednesdays, June 6-Sept. 12. (Except July 4.) $15 buys a souvenir wine glass and samples; free for non-drinking adults and children. Delicious deets at www.visitcurrituck. bluegrassisland.com. • Trio in Kitty Hawk serves top-shelf tunes, Tues.-Sat, 7:45-10:45pm — including Violet Bell ( June 9); Billy Joe Trio ( June 23); Redleg Husky ( July 25); and com. • Or seek Sanctuary in Jarvisburg, when the Cotton Gin hosts Acoustic Sunsets, Circus Mutt ( July 28) — plus Sun. afternoon pop-up jams, 12-3pm. Sample the sched at every Wed., 5:30-8:30pm. Find food inside the Thyme & Tide Cafe. More at www. www.obxtrio.com. • Outer Banks Brewing Station serves late music all summer, including sanctuaryvineyards.com. • Bust your hump to Stumpy Point — and reward yourself with rich reggae (The Wailers, June 13), tasty tributes some fine-ass beer — by joining a Lost Colony (Cash Unchained, June 23, and Runaway Gin, Brewery Tour, every Wed. Call 252-473-6666 for June 30), and the spiciest local acts (Zack Mexico, hours. • Then stagger back to the beach for July 28). Plus, Tues. night is Open Mic, Wed. is intoxicating tunes on a daily basis. Start out at Ladies Night with DJ Bruce and Fri. is DJ Dance Rundown Café’s Hula Deck, where the music Night. Complete calendar at www.obbrewing.com. flows, Wed. thru the weekend, including Ezra • And Avon’s Koru Beach Klub keeps rocking with Edlund, Hello Robot, BC, Birddog, and Joe tribute bands and beach music every Thurs., Mapp — plus Sensi Trails every Sun., 6-9pm. including: On The Border ( June 14 & Aug. 2); Red (Weather permitting.) Complete schedule at www. Not Chili Peppers ( June 21); Talking Dreads rundowncafe.com. • Bonzer Shack’s backyard ( June 28); Sail On ( July 12); Band of Oz ( July 19); shindigs start June 17, 6-9pm, starring The Wilders Stoke is all you need when International Surfing Day drops Mighty Joshua ( July 26); Rumours (Aug. 2); (Mon.); Dr. Tom (Tues.); Steve Howser (Wed.); in on Nags Head, June 16. Photo: Mez/ESM and The Embers (Aug. 9). Prices range from $13Squid Kids (Thurs.); Mike Mangum (Fri.); and $15; full season pass just $105. Live deets at www. Blurky’s Quirky Friends (Fri.). More at www. koruvillage.com. • Is fishing your jam? On June 9, orchestrate a household trip to Jennette’s bonzershack.com. • And The Tap Shack in Duck serves free outdoor bands nearly every Pier’s 8th Annual Family Fishing Tournament. 7am-1pm. More at www.jennettespier.net. damn night, from Jonny Waters ( June 1) to Brackish Water ( July 22), with plenty more to • Or paddle the kids silly at June 9’s Paddlemore 2018, which squeezes a 40-mile flat water come. Find updates on Facebook. • Come Sat., make your own noise at the Jolly Roger paddle, a technical course, and a half-mile youth race into just one day. 9am-2pm, at North Open Mike, 6:30-9:30pm, when Rollo & Mitch invite players and singers to take the stage. Marina in Southern Shores. Proceeds benefit the NC Coastal Federation. Learn more at And stick around for crazy karaoke, right up until closing. Check the latest at www. www.distressedmullet.com. • June 10’s Pea Island Refuge Crabbing and Fishing jollyrogerobx.com.• Meanwhile, in Manteo, the Pickin’ on the Porch Summer Concert Rodeo gives young folks a taste of life on the water, 9am-noon, behind the visitors series busts out pickers and grinners every couple weeks, including: Darrell Webb Band
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G R A N D TA S T I N G
S A T U R D A Y, S E P T. 2 9 graphiccontent 2-5 PM
gosurf T h e
On the grounds of Lost Colony, Roanoke Island
outthere w i n e .b e e r . f o o d . f u n gohunt TLCwinefest.com | 252.473.2127
VIP rearview milepost
T I C K E T S AVA I L A B L E
center. This is the only time you can legally pull critters out of North Pond, but a range of other refuge programs await every day, June 12-Aug. 31, including Bird Walks, Turtle Talks, Alligator River Tram/Van/Canoe Tours, and Red Wolf Howlings. Check www.fws. gov, then call 252-216-9464 for details. • Duck families stay fit and flexible with Yoga on the Green every Tues. ( June 12-Sept.4) and Dynamic Flow on the Green every Wed. ( June 13-Sept. 5 — except July 4). 7:30am. Full calendar at www.townofduck.com. • Kitty Hawk Kite’s Sunset Festivals keep evenings fun at Jockey’s Ridge Crossing, June 12-Sept. 1, with One Mermaid (Mon., 7-9pm); DJ Christian Benedi (Tues, 7-9pm); Family Kite Flying Lessons (Wed, 6:30-8:30pm); John Baldwin Steelpan & Guitar (Thurs. 7-9pm); and Shark Sundays at 6pm. Meanwhile, the Waves Village KHK events roll out: Monday Movie Nights on the Lawn; Tues. is Family Game Night; Wed. is Cornhole Tournaments; and Thurs. lines up Light-up Paddleboards. Deets at www.kittyhawk.com. • On June 14, scurry over to Jennette’s Pier for the 7th Annual Outer Banks Sunrise 5k and Little Crab Crawl. More at www. obxrunningcompany.com. • Wanna watch live ladies lock claws? Head to Ocracoke, June 14, when the WOVV Women’s Arm Wrestling Tournament flexes with crazy costumes and wrestler personas — all to beef up the island’s only community-supported radio station, 90.1FM. Tune into www.visitocracokenc.com for more. • For a slightly more sophisticated experience, try The Lost Colony’s Royal Tea, every Thurs., June 14-16. At 6:15pm, take refreshments with the Queen’s Master of Ceremony and Sir Walter Raleigh, then take pix with Queen Elizabeth I. ($12; limited seating.) Or discover mythical creatures — and theatrical comedy — with a dramatic interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem, The Hunting of the Snark. Every Wed. & Thurs., June 20-Aug. 16. 2pm. (Except July 4.) More at www.thelostcolony.org. • Wild things enjoy a full week of giddy screams, deep laughs, fried fun, and the occasional queasy stomach — while supporting the Children & Youth Partnership for Dare County — when
the 3rd Annual Soundside FunFair brings the sickest carnival rides to Nags Head, June 1420. 5-11pm. Go to www.darekids.org for details. • Return to simpler times and colorful amusements when the 36th Annual Francis Rogallo Kite Festival & Rev Competition comes to Jockey’s Ridge, June 15-17. Make kites, take free lessons, or just sit back, relax and watch 30-to-100-foot pieces of fabric flutter overhead. More at www.kittyhawk.com. • On June 16, celebrate International Surfing Day early when Outer Banks Surfrider hits Nags Head’s Bonnett Street access for a beach cleanup, then cooks up some Boar’s Head dogs over a few beers. (Hopefully between catching a few waves.) 6pm. Peak your interest on Facebook. • Feed your competitive streak — and get a face-full of sand — Sun., June 17, when the annual Storm the Beach stacks inflatable obstacles on either side of Jennette’s Pier. Register teams and individuals at www.obxse.org. • Feast your eyes on endless creativity — and enjoy an endless supply of craft beer — when the Outer Banks Brewing Station fills the back yard with Brew & Arts, every Mon., June 18-Aug. 27, 4-8pm. Learn more at www.obbrewing.com. • Or ogle sexy bodies of work in a shady environment when the 17th Annual Under the Oaks Art Festival returns to Whalehead in Corolla, June 19-20, 10am-5pm. Admission is free. Complete deets at www.visitcurrituck.com. • Young imaginations run wild at the Duck Town Amphitheater every Tues. at 10am, June 19-Aug. 7, when the Children’s Interactive Theater rotates between two shows: Live Animals with the NC Aquarium and Mystery of the Lost Colony. And OBXTreme Magic Show makes frowns disappear every Wed. morning, June 20-Aug.15. (Except July 4.) Get times and pricing at www.townofduck.com. • And free Concerts on the Green dazzle ears of all ages at Duck Amphitheatre, every Thurs., June 21-Aug. 23, including: Damn Jankes ( June 21); Roebuck ( June 28); Matt Phillips & the Back Pocket ( July 5); Intangible Cats ( July 12); MikeMickXer ( July 26); Barefoot Wade ( July 26); USAF Full Spectrum (Aug. 2); Chisman Creek Band (Aug. 9); Rebekah Todd & the Odyssey (Aug.
Serving lunch and dinner daily open for breakfaSt on weekendS
endnotes 16) and the Heather Gillis Band (Aug. 23). 6:30-8pm. Full calendar at www.townofduck. com. • On June 20, the 48th Annual Fritz Boyden Memorial Youth Fishing Tournament plays pescadarian pusherman — along with Avalon Pier, Nags Head Pier, Jennette’s Pier, and the Outer Banks Fishing Pier — by letting kids under 16 fish for free while competing for prizes. For more on this healthy addiction, go to www.ncbba.org. • Take in a leisurely sunset while running 3 miles — then finish off a big plate of BBQ — when the 7th Annual Sunset 5k & Carolina Pig Pickin’ posts up at Jennette’s Pier, June 21. Get two scoops of info at www.theobxrunningcompany.com. • Fans of cooler colors — and Future Islands — get a rare treat when bass player William Cashion joins Elena Johnston and our own Travis Fowler for a DCAC collaborative exhibit, Pinta Manta, on June 22. Opening reception starts at 6pm; show rocks on to July 23. More at www.darearts.org. • On June 23, paddle your face off — or just cruise past Manteo — when Kitty Hawk Kites’s OBX SUP Race offers three races around Roanoke Island Festival Park and into the Shallowbag Bay. Full deets at www.kittyhawk.com. • KDH Co-Operative Gallery explores a world of indoor, artistic fun with Creative Kids Studio Camps for 5-to-10-year-olds ( June 25-29, July 16-20, & Aug. 6-10) and a Drawing Studio for Teens & Tweens, ages 11-14 ( July 2327). Discover more at www.obxlocalart.com. • Where’s the love? On June 27, he’s at Mike Dianna’s Grill Room in Corolla, as Bearded Face Productions embraces shaggy reggae artist Mike Love. 10pm. Tix and deets at www.grillroomobx.com. • Hang with the original hirsute purveyor of peace and harmony — and enjoy a little bit of Christian hip-hop — when His Generation presents six-time Grammy-winner TobyMac, at Festival Park on June 27. Tix, VIP experiences, and more at www.hisgen.org. • God bless the child who heads to Whalehead on June 28 — and every Thurs. through Aug. 23 — as Kid’s Day mixes a youth-focused Joan’s Way Tour with free activities like the Tom Benn & Blackbeard marionette show. 10am-4pm. Go to www.visitcurrituck.com for tour pricing and times. • Meanwhile in Waves, Good Winds Restaurant lines up a firing set of local tunes and stokefilled flicks for the Hatteras Surf Film and Music Festival, June 28-29, including Bruce Brown’s classic ’59 documentary, Surf Crazy, and a peek inside the brave world of women’s big wave riders, It Ain’t Pretty. Get the scoop at www.kittyhawk.com. • Run for your lives! Or at least your health, when the Nags Head 5k/1 Mile Beach Race Series dashes around Jennette’s Pier almost every Thurs., June 28-Aug. 16. Revised dates and registration at www. obxrunningcompany.com. • Find out why Blackbeard loved the OBX — and see real aarrrgh-tifacts — when Hatteras’ Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum hosts the Golden Age of NC Piracy, June 29. 11am. Plunder more info at www.graveyardoftheatlantic.com. • Invade Manteo’s Downtown Books, July 3, 11am-1pm, when Suzanne Tate signs copies of her 38th kids’ book, Merri-Lee Monarch: A Tale of A Big Trip. And be sure to chase redstriped sweaters across Roanoke Island businesses all July to find big prizes as part of the Where’s Waldo! scavenger hunt. Details at www.duckscottage.com. • What the 4th is up with Independence Day? All depends on where you’re planted. The Ocracoke Island Independence Day Celebration warms up with a square dance and fireworks on July 3. And July 4’s an all-day grand finale of the Sand Sculpture Contest and 65th Annual Classic Old-Time Parade, capped with a family-friendly Glow Light Dance Party. Get the full story at www.visitocracokenc.com. • The Town of Manteo’s July 4 Celebration starts with a 208th Army Band Concert at 8pm, before launching the rockets right around dusk. Gates open at 6pm; BYOBCOB (bring your own beach chair or blanket). Complete info at www. roanokeisland.com. • Up in Duck, the 14th Annual 4th of July Parade and Celebration kicks off July 4 with a 9am, 1-mile u-turn down Scarborough Lane/Christopher Drive before marching over to Duck Town Park for music and watermelon. More at www.townofduck.com. • Kill Devil Hills’ 7th Annual Freedom 5k does a star-spangled sprint, starting at 7:30am. (Register at www. obxrunningcompany.com). While the Town of KDH Fireworks Show lights up Avalon Pier just after dark. (Rain date: July 5.) Updates at www.kdhnc.com. • Nags Head’s Killer Dunes
OFF ADMISSION Good for the entire party. Not valid with other offers. Present ad for offer.
the elizabethan gardens
1411 National Park Dr. | Manteo, NC | Eliz abet hanG ar dens .or g
OPEN DAILY 252-473-3234
ND SOU UCK
DUCK POST OFFICE
Duck’s walkable village has everything you could want or need, from a sound side boardwalk to stores, galleries, and WAT E R TOWER
eateries. Enjoy free live events at the Town Park and stroll along the newly completed pedestrian path on the east side of Duck Road. Find it all in Duck.
2-Miler supports Friends of Ben Morris and Dawn Moraga (pictured here) team up to Jockey’s Ridge by sweating up a bring twice the color to Manteo’s DCAC, July 6-31. sandstorm at 8:30am. (More at www.jockeysridgestatepark.com.) Come dusk, head back to the top and watch The Town of Nags Head Fireworks Spectacular sizzle over Nags Head Pier at 9:25pm. Or just post up at a nearby beach access well in advance. (Rain date: July 5.) Full deets at www. nagsheadnc.org. • And the Avon Pier 4th of July Fireworks Show flares up at 9:15pm, accompanied by a patriotic Radio Hatteras broadcast from 9pm-12am. Stream live at www.radiohatteras.org. (Rain date: July 5.) (P.S. Wanna keep rocking in the free world? Boogie on over to Avon’s Koru Beach Klub for a Southern Accents tribute to Tom Petty. Just $15 at the door. More at www.koruvillage. com.) • Ben Franklin. Sam Adams. Billy Carter. On July 5, follow in the footsteps of our beer-loving forefathers by participating in the Outer Banks Brewing Station’s Independence Beer Mile. Prizes for star-spangled costumes. 11am-1pm. Register at www.obxrunningcompany.com. • Bored with red, white and blue? Diversify your décor down south when July 5’s Island Art Show delivers 20+ local artists to the Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Community Center — plus live music and killer fundraisers for great local causes. (So come back again Aug. 17 & 30.) 10am4pm. More at www.randiosullivan.com. • On July 6, 6pm, be at DCAC in Manteo for the First Friday opening reception for “In Living Color,” a collaborative exhibit by local favorites Red Dawn Moraga and Ben Morris. Then head to Downtown Books, where Joseph Terrell will sign copies of his newest, locally set crime novel. And cruise around to hear live tunes by The Jazzmen, Eric Williams Quartet, and Just Playing Dixieland. Details at www.darearts.org. • Duck Town Hall solves the mystery to keeping kids entertained by hosting a Story Time on the Steps every Fri., 10am, July 6-Sept. 7. (Be sure to sneak inside for a mixed media exhibit by Fred Vallade before July 26.) Get the full word at www.townofduck.com. • Hot foot it to Avon, every Mon., July 9-Aug. 13, when Sun Realty hosts the Hatteras 5k race series. 8am. Dash to www.obxrunningcompany.com for deets. • Cheer on our best local swimmers — and real-life lifesavers — when local ocean rescue teams post up at Jennette’s Pier — and take on the whole coast — in swimming, running and other events at the South Atlantic Lifeguard Championships. 7am-4pm. More at www.salausla.org. • Watch colored fabric swim across the sky, July 14-15, when the 40th Annual Wright Kite Festival returns to Wright Bros. Memorial, 10am-4pm. Standard park admission applies, but the lessons and kite-making are all freestyle. Blow over to www. kittyhawk.com for the latest. • On July 21-22, it’s back to Jennette’s Pier, for the ultimate shorebreak stunt show: the OBX Skim Jam. The largest East Coast skimboarding competition draws the sharpest edges in the country for big airs, huge bragging rights and a few hundred bucks. More www.skimusa.org. • Save some energy for the night of July 21, as Trio hosts the Surfing for Autism Charity Fundraiser/Silent Auction. Every glass and dollar raised helps to support the summer’s most electrifying community event. 6pm. Help the cause at www.surfingforautism.org. • On July 25, “glow south” to Waves Village Watersports Resorts for the 4th Annual Light up the Night. From 8:30-10pm, enjoy free NOCQUA paddleboard demos plus a big screen movie under the stars. More at www.kittyhawk.com. • Is your non-profit’s cash flow running dry? Better beat the July 27 deadline for Outer Banks
Summer Events For start/end dates and more info visit townofduck.com Tuesdays 7:30 am 10:00 am Wednesdays 7:30 am 9:30, 11:00 am Thursdays 10:00 am 6:30 pm Fridays 10:00 am
Yoga on the Green Children’s Interactive Theater Amphitheater Dynamic Flow Fitness on the Green Family Magic Show Amphitheater
DUCK TOWN PARK
Hula Hoop and Play on the Green Concert on the Green Story Time Paul F. Keller Meeting Hall steps
For more information on businesses, a shopping guide, and special events and promotions held by Duck Village Merchants, visit doducknc.com.
BOARDWALK SHOPPING AREA
townofduck.com 252.255.1286 milepost 85
endnotes Can’t make it? The museum will have items on-hand all summer, and you can catch a Community Foundation’s Community Enrichment Grants Program. For full criteria and Breeches Buoy Reenactment Drill every Thurs. at 2pm. Find a full calendar at www. how to apply go to www.obcf.org. • Got tons of money? Or just two empty palms? Either chicamacomico.org. • What’s that blowing up off Jennette’s Pier, Aug. 14-15? That’s the one can help July 28’s Outer Banks Surfrider’s 25th Annual 1-Mile Paddle Race at the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge, where regional retailers do battle for bragging rights. And KDH Bathhouse. Deep pockets can fund sponsorships. Long arms can compete in multiple expect a ripple effect of youthful ripping, Aug. 16-17, when the Rip Curl Grom Search sees divisions. And it all goes to support local scholarships and ongoing chapter fights against offshore drilling and plastic pollution. Sign-ups at 9am. Learn more on their Facebook page. talented tykes tear it up for a shot at international attention. Registration and updates at www.ripcurl.com. • Pegboys and landlubbers, be warned! Kitty Hawk Kites’ Pirate • Or sail over to Roanoke Island Maritime Museum for July 28’s 16th Annual One Festival storms Jockey’s Ridge Crossing, Aug. 15-16. From 10am-4pm, li’l buccaneers learn Design Regatta, where Optimist 420, Sunfish, Topaz UNO & ARGO sailboats race the wind. Registration begins at 10am; first race at 12pm. $20 per boat. For info and entry forms about local lore — and sign up for Scalawag School in hopes of joining Blackbeard’s Crew. More at www.kittyhawk.com. • Sail over to Manteo’s 37th Annual New World call 252-475-1750. • Come Aug. 1, spit seeds — and help save lives — when Kitty Hawk Festival of the Arts, Aug. 15-16, for 100+ artists in every medium, from knife-work to Kites’ 11th Annual OBX Watermelon Festival juices up Jockey’s Ridge. Waterslides, painting, knitting to photos. On Wed., be at Dare County Arts Council for a 6pm food and plenty of fruit help Outer Banks Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Coalition’s reception where judges carve out a couple winners. Complete deets at www.darearts.org. • crusade against squished visitors. 10am-4pm. More at www.kittyhawk.com. • On Aug. 2, On Aug. 17-18, hop a ferry to the ignore all traffic laws as you race Annual Ocracoke Fig Festival, to north to Duck Town Hall for find fresh figs, fig preserves, local “Beauty of the Banks: Images of cookbooks, BBQ, and other sweet Nature from All Four Seasons” traditions, like the Fig Cake Bake— an exhibit of stunning Off and a traditional Ocracoke landscape, weather and wildlife Square Dance. Full fig’n schedule images by local photographer at www.visitocracokenc.com. • Mark Buckler. Even better, come How can any infant be 431 years back Aug. 8, 5-7pm, and meet the old? Find out Aug. 18, when The award-winning shooter inLost Colony and National Park person. Or see it solo anytime Service team-up to celebrate before Oct. 25. Sneak peek at Virginia Dare Day with all sorts of www.bucklerphoto.com. • Aug. 3’s kiddie activities. 10am-1pm. First Friday in Manteo brings a Between games, crawl over to double-shot of dazzling DCAC Elizabethan Gardens for a sweet exhibits: Jennifer Rose Hyde’s deal that includes ice cream and “The Vibrancy of Life” is a tactile cake in the rose garden, and $2 off mix of colorful textiles, and the admission. 9am-2pm. And that Chicamacomico Shake Show night, The Lost Colony continues honors the 100th anniversary of its long tradition of delivering live 1918’s Mirlo rescue, with 100 babies on stage — figuratively hand-painted, cedar shingles. speaking, of course. More at www. (Come back Aug. 13 for a special thelostcolony.org. • Prefer the reception at 6pm.) Then walk Giddyup! Award-winning nature photog Mark Buckler’s “Beauty of the Banks: Images of Nature from All Four Seasons” company of grown men, small outdoors for tunes by blues guitar corrals a full selection of wildlife, landscapes and dynamic weather images into Duck Town Hall, starting Aug. 2. venues, and killer music? Head to maestro, Mojo Collins, and wildThe Tap Shack in Duck on Aug. 18 for an electrifying show by one-man acoustic-band life inspired pop by Nature Out Loud. More at www.darearts.org. • There’s only one place Keller Williams. 6:30pm. Get $20 advance tix on www.etix.com. $25 at door • On Aug. 19, to be Aug. 5. And that’s Real Watersports as Donavon Frankeneiter returns to play say happy 147th birthday to Orville Wright — and celebrate National Aviation Day — another “freeeeeeee” show. Tune into www.realwatersports.com for updates. • Come Aug. 10-11, be at Jennette’s Pier to witness the ocean’s healing power when Surfing for Autism when Wright Bros. Memorial kills the entrance fee and livens the landscape with vintage airplanes and helicopters, flyovers and skydives. Find the latest at www.firstflight.org. (P.S. invites 70+ families with kids on the spectrum to post up for the weekend and enjoy surfing, Come back Aug. 21 and get in free again as part of National Parks Week.) • Fiddle about fishing and feeling good. Complete weekend deets at www.surfingforautism.org. • On Aug. for four straight days when the Bryan Cultural Series delivers the 4th Annual Surf and 11, the 5th Annual Town of Manteo Youth Fishing Tournament blitzes through town Sounds Chamber Music Series at All Saints Episcopal Church (Aug. 21, 7pm); Town of with free angling for ages 4-17. Register at the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum at 8am. Duck Amphitheater (Aug. 22, 6:30pm); Cape Hatteras Secondary School (Aug. 23, Lines cast at 8:15am. Awards drop at 11:45am with a cookout to follow. Bring your rod and 7pm); and the Dare County Arts Council (Aug. 24, 7pm). More at www.bryanculturalseries. reel; they got the rest. More at www.townofmanteo.com. • And the big boats go bonkers at Pirate’s Cove, when the 29th Alice Kelly Memorial Ladies Only Billfish Tournament runs org. • Ready to get serious? But wanna feel relaxed? Head to Aug. 26’s OBX Wedding Fest at Duck Woods Country Club. From 10am-3pm, chill with the area’s top florists, officiants, Aug. 11-12. Followed by the 35th Pirates Cove Billfish Tournament, Aug. 13-17. It’s a venues, photographers, caterers, and more. $10 at the door. Get all the do’s and don’t’s at fleet-full of good times — while raising funds for great causes. Reel the news in at www. pcbgt.com. • On Aug. 16, 1918, a German U-Boat sunk an oil tanker off Rodanthe, leading to www.obxwa.com. • And finally, “Hot! Hot! Hot!” meets “Heats! Heats! Heats!” when the a major explosion — and one daring rescue. From Aug. 13-18, Chicamacomico Life-Saving WRV Outer Banks Pro returns to Jennette’s Pier, Aug. 29-Sept. 2, 7am-4pm. By day, top World Surf League competitors clash for points and prize money. By night, Pacifico packs Station hosts the Centennial Celebration of the Mirlo Rescue, with artifacts, guided tours, and — on Aug. 16 — a full day of speakers, flyovers, beach apparatus drills, and more. local bars with raging parties. Find deets and live feeds at www.wrvobxpro.com.
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Summer is A stAte of Mind At Mama’s! Lunch &Dinner s p ec iA ls
nc Beers & ipA’s
d r in ks & A p ps
World Famous fish tAcos Milepost 9.5 • Hwy. 158 in KDH • 252.441.7889 • MamaKwans.com
Lunch: 11:30 am • Dinner: 4:00 pm • Tiki Bar: 11:30 am – Until • Call for Closing Times!
. . . e m i t r e m m Sweet Su at T
Lunch & Dinner Daily
Outdoor Dining • Live Music 6-9 PM Great Bar & Craft Beer Selection Corn Hole • Outdoor Games • Burgers Seafood • Wings • Surf Snacks • And More!
MP9 on the Beach Rd. • KDH • BonzerShack.com • 252.480.1010
EvEnts @ thE OutEr Banks BrEwing statiOn
SUMMER 2018 SERving LUnch & DinnER DaiLy
LIVE MUSIC in ThE
5:30-8:30 PM EvERy nighT
Open Mic Night
EVERY TUESDAY 10PM-1AM Hosted by Sensi Trails’ Kyle Rising. Sign up at the pub starting at 9 pm
EvEry WED NIghT
Ladies Night WITh Dj BrUcE DANcE /hIp hOp LADIES NO cOvEr!
Thirsty Thursday’s LIvE! LOcAL BANDS TAkE ThE STAgE @ 10:00 pM
B RU n c h
SUnDay ‘TiL 3 PM in ThE Backya LivE MUSic 12 RD -3 PM Bl oody Mary & M imosa Specials All Da y!
EvEry Fri night:
Reggae Legends! PHISH TRIbUTE bAND Charleston, SC
TRAVERS BROTHERSHIP 7-Piece alternative Rock ‘N’ Roll Funk + Soul ensemble. asheville, Nc
Zack Mexico Featuring Birds of Avalon
Psychedelic POP Indie Rock / Kill Devil Hills, NC
Outer Banks Brewing Station Phat Blues music from Baltimore, md
come experience Our difference.
Located at Milepost 8.5 on the America' s first wind powered brew pub Bypass in Kill devil Hills
aLL show Times 10:30 PM ‘til 2 aM (Unless otherwise indicated) All shows 21 & Up w/ ID at the Door
The Outer Banks Brewing Station is dedicated to bringing the best local, regional and national music, of all shapes, colors, sizes and genres into a comfortable, energized, acoustically extraordinary space.