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I don’t gokite in believe “know-itmilepost alls.” roadmap
OBX pre-GPS. Image: Library of Virginia
Maybe because the smartest people I’ve ever met are borderline clueless — or at least they behave like they are. Always willing to chase the supposedly silliest idea down a rabbit hole to its logical (or not so logical) end. Ever-ready to challenge the most commonly held belief, just to be sure it’s factually correct. And nine times out of ten, they come scurrying back a little bit smarter. Or just better informed.
“The sky is blue.” Ha! It’s actually closer to violet — humans just see it as blue because of the way our eyes work.
“The Earth is round.” Yes — but not perfectly so. It’s a bit fatter around the equator and far from completely smooth. (Scientists call it a “bumpy spheroid.”) Furthermore, our planet is always changing, thanks to a whole host of internal and external pressures — meteor strikes, seismic activity, gravity, and something called “polar wander” — that perpetually alter its shape ever so slightly.
Sort of like knowledge itself. Every hard reality we cling to is actually in a constant state of flux, as fresh revelations reverse formerly accepted ideas, and curious minds push us into new and exciting territories while dating old discoveries. Just look at the image above. It’s a corner of Peter Jefferson and Joshua Fry’s A Map of the most Inhabited Part of Virginia containing
the whole Province of Maryland, with Part of Pensilvania, New Jersey and North Carolina. Published in 1751, this map was considered the definition of 18th century cartographical excellence, helping to cement state lines and settle international treaties. But can you imagine using that thing today? You might go looking for Colington and end up in Curratuck. (Oops… we mean, Currituck.) Instead of running out Roanoke Inlet, you’d run smack into Miller’s. And you should see the full-size version. The Ohio River’s all out of whack. West Virginia doesn’t even exist. Hell, the whole left side is basically blank.
You might say it’s a visual metaphor for man’s ongoing evolution from ignorant to informed, from untamed wilderness to modern civilization — brilliantly illustrated in beautiful color. It’s also a clear warning of what can happen when we don’t stay perpetually curious about the world around us, especially a world where waterways close, boundaries shift,
waterways close, boundaries shift, technology improves.
technology improves, and new territories await. Or, when we blindly believe what’s in front of our faces. (That’s when people can really get lost.) Sure, some of the features might look a little foolish now. But to our forefathers, they were imaginative breakthroughs that helped build a nation. Besides, history’s greatest minds have always been willing to risk looking a tad ridiculous to secure real knowledge. Humanity’s biggest fools? They’re the ones who insist they already have it all figured out. Because you can’t learn anything, when you think you know everything. — Matt Walker
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: use it as campfire kindling while exploring western frontiers; make a pile of paper canoes and push them all down the Pasquotank. 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
Celeb rat 35 yea ing rs!
“Every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question.”— Carl Sagan “Only a fool would say that.”— Steely Dan Issue 8.1 Spring 2019 Cover: “Dreaming In Color” Art: Janet Stapelman
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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, Adriana Gomez-Nichols, Amelia Kasten, Chris Kemp, Nathan Lawrenson, Dave Lekens, Alex Lex, Ben Miller, Dawn Moraga, Ben Morris, Holly Nettles, Rick Nilson, Holly Overton, Stuart Parks II, Charlotte Quinn, Meg Rubino, Shirley Ruff, Janet Stapelman, Kenneth Templeton, Stephen Templeton, George Tsonev, Bri Vuyovich, Christina Weisner, 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, Jason Denson, 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, Bob Hovey, 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, Rachel Moser, Ryan Moser, Elizabeth Neal, Rob Nelson, Candace Owens, Crystal Polston, Daniel Pullen, Ryan Rhodes, Terry Rowell, Tom Sloate, Wes Snyder, Aimee Thibodeau, Eve Turek, Chris Updegrave, Dan Waters, Cyrus Welch, Jay Wickens Penfolk Ashley Bahen, Sarah Downing, 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, Corinne Saunders, Sandy Semans, Shannon Sutton, Kip Tabb, Hannah West, Clumpy White, Sharon Whitehurst, 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
roadmap gokite milepost graphiccontent gosurf outthere gohunt River Cube By Christina Weisner www.christinaweisner.com
HOT PIZZA COLD BEER KILLER VIEW
“I started out sculpting pretty serious, large-scale ceramic figures. But I felt like I was making the same piece over and over. One year, I came back to grad school and said, ‘I’m going to make the dumbest thing I can possibly think of.’ I think it was a cardboard box with wheels. But creating it allowed me this freedom of working differently. It started me toward letting go; toward exploring sculpture based on a material — instead of starting with an idea. My training still affects my process. I still try to approach every object in both an intuitive, holistic way and a rational, sequential way. I just work ahead of that whole question of, ‘Is this idea dumb or not?’ In fact, lots of times, people say, ‘This is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of.’ [Laughs] But that’s usually when I know I’m on to something.” — Christina Weisner
03 StartingPoint We don’t know nuthin’. 06 UpFront Housing blues, bootleg blues, and too many boos. 20 G etActive Is there a shredder in the house? 21 F irstPerson Life lessons from Ms. Wheelchair NC. 22 QuestionAuthority Drilling for answers with the NCCF.
27 A Guitar Is Born A triumphant tale of tools and teamwork over talent. 32 G raphicContent “Where’s Waldo” for wintertime. 34 F ool’s Paradise Three somewhat silly, totally satisfying success stories. 40 S tring Theory Unraveling Janet Stapelman’s artistic universe.
48 GoGreen IMBYism is activism. 50 F oodDrink Spore story. 53 ArtisticLicense Happy little rocks. 55 O utThere Dairyland dynamite. 56 EndNotes Bone-up on the bold type.
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Between market forces and regulatory restraints, there aregetactive no easy solutions to the local housing crisis. Spring is the season when everything returns to life — including the barrier island business community. It’s time to gear up and take stock. Once Easter week hits the calendar in April, the prolonged crisis of year-round Outer Bankers seeking affordable housing will quickly segue into the seasonal scramble to secure housing somewhere — anywhere — for our summer workforce.
Residents have become all too familiar with vacant houses in their neighborhoods suddenly spilling over with young people who have been hired to work at local businesses. Summer help are at times stuffed in spare bedrooms, slapdash ground-floor apartments, and sketchy spaces above businesses. Most of the time, we all look the other way, because with sky-high rentals, low inventory, and market forces in control, everyone knows there is no other way.
“There’s so many moving parts in this,” says Dan Lewis, president of the Outer Banks Restaurant Association, “that you can’t blame it on any one part.” But as human nature would have it, desperation spurs change — it seems that employee shortages last summer became alarming enough to get the entire community together to focus on actual solutions. It’s still too soon to put the sofa beds and folding cots back in storage, but there are flickers of hope on the horizon.
Two years after the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce formed a committee to address the unacceptable crunch that high housing costs had created for businesses looking to find and keep employees, local governments have responded by looking at sensible revisions of zoning laws, and numerous changes have already been adopted or are being considered.
In October, the Dare County Board of Commissioners, responding to Chamber requests, voted to adopt a series of zoning amendments that loosened some density restrictions and tweaked standards for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) that can be located on property associated with a primary residence. The package also included innovative “cluster home developments,” proposed in Avon and Rodanthe, that would involve a number of 1200-square-foot, yearround homes built on a large, single piece of property, with everything in common ownership except the house and its footprint. In addition to similar steps taken in the six towns, Planning Director Donna Creef agreed that it’s a promising start to tackling a challenging problem. But she says the issue is not limited to zoning regulations. “The thing that’s getting everybody crossed-up — what I
can’t do anything about — is the septic rules,” Creef says. “Those come from the state health department. It’s one part of the equation.” Folks in the real estate and hospitality industries are doing their part to solve the shortage, while piecing together coping strategies in the meantime. Lewis says the statewide restaurant association is seeking help from legislators to “reel in” Airbnb, the online marketplace for people to rent all or part of their home
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to vacationers. Nags Head also recently sent a survey to residents asking their opinions about the service.
Nor do most workers earn enough here to afford a $250,000 mortgage on a home.
Launched just ten years ago, Airbnb has become especially popular in resort areas and expensive cities, for visitors who appreciate lower cost and more personal accommodations, and for residents who can make extra income — sometimes even to pay their own mortgages.
“I think this has been an issue for decades,” says J.P. Peron, board president of the Outer Banks Association of Realtors. But now, he says, the affordable older beach boxes that had once been offered in the rental market are rented shortterm through Airbnb.
“Sure, that’s fine,” Lewis says. “But I think most people only look at it from one perspective: their own. In this case, it’s affecting the inventory of housing for the seasonal workforce that we really need.”
“The thinking,” he says, “is, ‘Why should I rent out to someone all year when I could make as much money for a few weeks?’”
Out of necessity, Lewis says, more restaurateurs have had to buy houses to provide living quarters for their staff. Others have had to decrease their hours because they cannot find enough workers. The large number of foreign students employed on the Outer Banks every year stay at pre-arranged housing with local families, so the annual concern with them is more about the visa program potentially being cut or reduced. It’s not just the lack of affordable housing that has made it hard to find summer help. The pool of students who used to be pounding on doors looking for work at the beach has decreased notably, thanks to more internships and summer sports and educational programs. And those students seeking summer jobs, who are qualified to cook, lifeguard, or work at surf shops or recreational water outlets, are also in demand at other coastal resorts, such as Virginia Beach and Wilmington, where there is a livelier night life, housing is more available, and a vehicle is not as necessary to get around. But the housing shortage on the Outer Banks also affects year-round workers who earn modest wages in government jobs, health care, or in the service industries, and cannot afford to pay the $1000-$1500-a-month — or more — to lease an apartment or small single-family house year-round.
Furthermore, the rise in real estate costs has led to new buyers razing more affordable homes to build larger, more modern models that they can turn into summer rentals.
“It needs to be a communitywide effort to really make this happen.” — Pat Broom, Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce
Peron says the realtor association believes it is “necessary and beneficial” for the viability of the community to address housing costs, but its role so far has been mostly monitoring the zoning changes and other efforts. “I honestly think that what’s realistic is going to vary from municipality to municipality,” he says. “What would work for KDH would not necessarily work for Duck.” At the same time, the association is keeping a very close eye on a proposed 30 percent increase in homeowners’ insurance — a whole other threat to housing affordability. But there is already a homegrown solution on the Outer Banks that exists under the radar — numerous “granny flats” and enclosed ground floors that are essentially unpermitted, multi-family dwellings. Considering the current circumstances, a zoning amendment could bring such units into compliance while permitting future renovations. Serving Local Seafood, Natural Proteins, Gourmet Burgers and Pizzas Gluten Free, Vegetarian & Vegan Dishes ECLECTIC WINES, COCKTAILS, MICRO BREWS & IMPORTS ON TAP
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“That’s where the rub comes in,” Peron says. “Certainly, if the people renting these spaces — if they’re not supposed to be there — would be out on the street looking for a place to live.” On the other hand, without some level of enforcement, there’s no guarantee those units wouldn’t end up as future Airbnbs, either. And municipalities wonder how feasible it is to monitor homeowners to ensure they’re only allowing long-term renters. Pat Broom, the Chamber’s current board chair, says the organization is continuing to pursue solutions to the housing crisis. In January, the Chamber issued a RFP (request for proposals) seeking an updated site plan for a potential housing project in Manteo, on two parcels of Dare County land on California Lane near Bowsertown Road. The nowdefunct Outer Banks Community Development Corporation (CDC) had previously designed a project at that location, but when the CDC dissolved a few years ago, it was shelved. “We want (a contractor) to look at that site and rework it and see what they can do today,” Broom says. Ultimately, the Chamber’s goal is to be able to have a development of one-, two- and three-bedroom rental units. The site plan would include stormwater management and a septic system that could potentially tie into Manteo’s wastewater treatment system. In light of county Planning Department director Creef’s point about septic restrictions, Broom says, the Chamber is also working with local and state homebuilders to revise and update septic regulations. The bottom line, Broom says, is there is no easy solution for the housing challenges on the Outer Banks, but the Chamber wants to be part of the solution. “We’re really happy to drive the train,” she says. “But it needs to be a community-wide effort to really make this happen.” — Catherine Kozak
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“Who got the hooch?” Captain A.G. McDuffie, ready to bust a move. Photo: Victor Meekins/OBHC
East Lake Dew and the raids that ensued.
The Tar Heel State had already been dry for 10 years, after a statewide referendum on Prohibition took effect on January 1, 1909. Furthermore, Federal legislation enacted in 1913 made it illegal to import spirits from other states. However, Eastern NC soon began improvising intoxicating ways to subvert the law. Due to the region’s watery makeup and isolation, northeastern North Carolina became fertile ground for the production of contraband liquor. According to Brian Edwards in his treatise, A Brief History of Prohibition in Northeastern North Carolina, “By the 1920s, life throughout [Dare County] had reached a new low. [Livestock] raising was a minor concern; passage of the Migratory Bird Act in 1918 effectively ended market hunting; the bounty of the sea diminished as improved navigation made shipwrecks a rarity; and fishing stocks were becoming depleted.”
But those very same water routes provided a means for raw materials to reach far-flung outposts where stills could produce “home brew” away from prying eyes. It was not unusual to see vessels laden with sugar and corn meal (the chief ingredients of moonshine) departing the docks
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Cheers to the 100th anniversary of the least popular law in American history — Prohibition! On January 16, 1919, Congress ratified the 18th amendment to the United States Constitution, outlawing the production, sale and transportation of manufactured spirits and leaving a lot of disappointed people thirsty for booze. Except maybe in Eastern North Carolina.
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in Elizabeth City for a trip to the swampy areas of Dare. And while most residents already know Buffalo City as a “moonshine capital,” much of the county’s mainland county was filled with standalone stills busy making “East Lake Dew.” South Mills in Camden County was also a hotbed of hatching hooch. Once the 18th Amendment passed, coastal NC became a target of federal law enforcement. In fact, years before treasury agents took on Chicago’s infamous gangster, Al Capone, revenuers rippled through our inland waterways, led by NC’s own version of Elliot Ness — Captain A.G. McDuffie, the chief agent for the Federal Prohibition Enforcement Division of eastern North Carolina. In May 1926, McDuffie and 11 other heavily armed federal officers staged the first raid on East Lake and the surrounding vicinity. Armed with guns, boats and a map, they went in search of 16 stills, mostly along the shores of Mill Tail Creek, a meandering waterway connecting Alligator River with the swampy morasses that make up Dare County’s mainland.
In the end, eight stills were raided, but it was hardly a smashing success. Enterprising East Lakers swiped three worms (spiral condensing coils) back from the Feds. So, when U.S. Coast Guard vessel A.B. 21 pulled up to the docks in Elizabeth City, she was carrying eight stills, but only five worms. Furthermore, none of the 31 warrants issued for moonshiners were served.
revenuers rippled through our inland waterways.
According to the Elizabeth City Independent, the prohibition enforcement division was full of “crooks” and “grafters” and many a “shiner” was alerted to an upcoming raid in plenty of time to clear out the equipment and the distilled goods prior to the arrival of the law. By 1927, after learning how freely information flowed between Elizabeth City and East Lake, McDuffie switched
things up. This time, the raid launched from New Bern on a 75-foot Coast Guard vessel captained by Glenn Willis. Several officers were on the ground in Manteo to help topple 12 stills on the mainland. In 1928, an early morning ambush finally caught East Lakers completely off-guard, capturing nine large stills. Many of them were still warm. In fact, the Independent reported “several of the moonshiners were seen retreating at a distance,” and the crew of the A.B. 21 called it “the most successful raid they had ever known in the East Lake vicinity.” But such victories were short-lived. According to a retrospective piece in a 1957 edition of the Coastland Times, “…Federal agents never quite succeeded in stamping out the illegal liquor industry at and near East Lake.” Even after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, mainlanders continued moonshining in order to avoid the federal tax on alcohol. Distilling operations kept law enforcement officers busy into the 1960s. Yet another potent story of our spirituous past. — Sarah Downing
Sources include: Edwards, Brian, A Brief History of Prohibition in Northeastern North Carolina. Tributaries Vol. 9, No 1, October 1999; “East Lake Stills are Still Making Liquor,” The Independent, May 14, 1926; “Fame Spread Afar for this Product of Dare County,” The Coastland Times, April 19, 1957; “To Starve out East Lake’s Moonshiners,” The Independent, May 21, 1926; United States, Lincoln C. Andrews, and David Hunt Blair, Prohibition Enforcement: Letter from the Secretary of the Treasury Transmitting in Response to Senate Resolution No. 325, the Report of Lincoln C. Andrews, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and David H. Blair, Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Relative to Undercover Work of the Prohibition Personnel Together with Copies of Letters of Instructions, Orders, and Communications Having Reference to the Subject, Washington: G.P.O., 1927; https://archive.org/details/prohibitionenfor00unitrich.
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BYE, BYE, BUOY We predict rough seas ahead for weather geek surfers, as NOAA’s Diamond Shoals buoy — Station 41025 — broke free in Dec. Normally, it would be delivering water temps and wave heights in the Gulf Stream, but as of late Jan., it was sightseeing somewhere off New York City — a distance of nearly 700 miles away, with no word on when they’ll bring it home.
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RELEASE THE HOUNDS Paging Mr. Burns — or perhaps Cruella DeVil: Dare Co. will no longer roll over for irresponsible dog tethering. As of Jan., canines can be tied up for no more than three hours a day, must have adequate food, water and shelter, and enjoy at least ten feet of rope — without running the risk
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HOLD YOUR HORSES The Corolla wild mustang community was in need of a few extra hugs this winter. In early Jan., caretakers were watching for signs of “swamp cancer” — aka pythiosis — after six of Chincoteague’s horses contracted the fungus and had to be euthanized. That same month, one of the Outer Banks’ favorite stallions, Roamer — famous from his roles in ad campaigns and “Meet a Mustang” Days — died from “colic,” leaving a heartbreaking hole in our collective herd. BOARD-UP YOUR TELEVISIONS Start with a story in a fictional Outer Banks village. Add a script by an out-of-town writer. Now make the title “OBX.” And if you think this coming-of-age Netflix
drama about four teenagers cut off from civilization after a hurricane sounds catastrophic, picture it being filmed in South Carolina — all because of NC’s “bathroom bill.” At press time, producers were still trying to steer spring’s shooting toward Wilmington, but we predict disaster no matter where they make landfall. LEGAL FIX? In most places, drug charges lead to jail time, turning addicts to convicts. But what if judges put offenders in rehab instead of a cell? That’s the concept behind “Recovery Courts,” which suspend or reduce sentences in favor of supervised recovery. In Jan., Dare Co. began funding the first efforts to instill a program right here. And if the 3,000 existing courts are any indication, it’s a longer-term solution to stopping dependency, saving lives, and protecting communities.
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of being strangled or tangled. (They also can’t be injured or less than six months old.) Violators face a stiff bite in the pocketbook — and may be forced to forfeit Fido to Animal Control.
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WHEN IT RAINS IT FLOODS Bad news keeps pouring down when it comes to climate change. In Jan., a study in Nature showed that a warming planet is increasing precipitation during hurricanes — with up to 30 percent more rainfall from future storms. Meanwhile, Science revealed that our oceans are warming 40 percent faster, leading to more tropical activity, more intensity, and even more rainfall in general. And you don’t have to be a scientist or mathematician to understand both stats are 100 percent bad for the flood-prone Outer Banks. TAKE TWO OF THESE AND CALL US IN THE SUMMER Last summer, Currituck County aimed to cure beach-driving woes in Corolla by issuing free, non-transferrable permits for every homeowner’s vehicle. But when Carova residents received two bonus passes for visitors to borrow — while all mainlanders’ guests still had to buy permits — certain residents started expressing ill feelings.
So, in Jan., the board wrote a whole new prescription: now every household gets a pair of permits they can pass around as they please. But with beachfront homes still scoring an extra pair for renters, we’re sure the board will still experience some discomfort. SPECIAL DELIVERY Talk about roadside assistance. On Jan. 31, an expecting couple was racing to the hospital when the contractions accelerated. They found a comfortable spot off 168 in Moyock and called 911. The Currituck dispatcher gave them a friendly push over the phone, and a healthy baby was born at 4:32am. No need for lamaze — or Triple A. SHUTSHOW Don’t think all politics is local? Consider this winter’s record, 35-day government shutdown. Over the month, Cape Hatteras got vandalized, Wright Bros. Memorial foot traffic was a free-for-all, and lots of local folks didn’t get paid — from park rangers to
USFWS officers to Coast Guard personnel. The silver lining? Watching area relief groups, restaurants and businesses come together to support those workers. Let’s just hope our contingent of DC visitors feels just as generous this summer. [SMILEY FACE] Angry emoticons were all the rage when word broke that Kitty Hawk’s Winks store closed last winter with no news of who bought the 65-year-old beach road cornerstone. Rumors abounded it might be a hotel — or worse, a McMansion! But, come Jan., all frustrated frowns turned upside down when neighboring restaurant Art’s Place revealed they’d purchased the landmark, with plans to “provide the warm local service customers have expected for over a half a century.” (Insert happy face here.) 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 “The poor buoy has been living paycheck to paycheck and had to seek employment elsewhere.” — Elrico, “Runaway Diamond Shoals buoy travels 600 miles and counting,” OuterBanksVoice, Jan. 31, 2019
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Curtis Moore, 29 Customer Service Rep Hyde County “When you start seeing tulips and dandelions in the fields, then all the trees and plants start to get their lush, green foliage back.”
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Kurt Guns, 41 Pizza Man Kill Devil Hills “The second you start seeing kids from other countries riding around on bikes. You know places are hiring, and they are all on their way to work.”
Howard Adams, 53 World’s Oldest Shop Grom Rodanthe “I know it’s spring when I can walk my dogs on the beach without thinking of bringing a jacket with me.”
Ryan Seal, 21 Receptionist Kitty Hawk “There’s always that one 80-degree day that turns cold again at night — but you know it’s going to get warmer as the days go on.”
What is the official first sign of spring? Sue Norris, 63 Antique Dealer Kitty Hawk “When you hear all the motorcycles revving their engines on the bypass, that means Bike Week’s here and spring is right around the corner.”
Tara Deweese, 36 Helpful Hardware Person Carova “Living out on the beach, for me it’s the first day that the shorts come out, the flip-flops go on, and the toes get painted!”
Justin Stewart, 29 Bait’n Tackle Nags Head “When the water warms up and the fish start biting again. It starts with the blowtoads, then the bluefish, sea mullet, and croakers.”
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Nintendo tournaments power-up a winter night at Jack Brown’s. Photo: Rachel Moser
“I’ve done it every way you can trying to crack the formula,” says Wes Stepp, Executive Chef of Red Sky in Duck. “Sometimes I close; this year we’re staying open. It’s hard to know exactly what to do, and a lot of it is based on what happens in the summer. A seasonal business has a lot of challenges.”
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This year, those challenges included Hurricane Florence and Tropical Storm Michael, which led to fewer visitors and, in some cases, flood damage. Losing late-season dollars can mean staying open longer, and hoping to earn whatever you can during times when you might’ve otherwise taken a few weeks off. Back when Red Sky first opened 16 years ago, Stepp used to close one day a week in the winter and coordinate with the other restaurants in Duck.
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This past July, hungry tourists and locals spent nearly 45 million dollars dining out on the Outer Banks. That same January only saw six million. But after years of dealing with the sleepy winters, our local restaurant owners are used to surviving in feast-or-famine conditions. Some of them go the hibernation route and shut down for as long as it’s still too cold to go swimming. Others choose to keep that neon “Open” sign on, even when most visitors have gone home and many locals are out of work. (Not so fun fact: in January 2017, Dare was NC’s third most unemployed county, after Hyde and Tyrrell, respectively.) We talked to eateries from Corolla to Nags Head about why they stay open in the harshest of climates—and how they prevail year after year.
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“Blue Point closed on Mondays, Roadside Tuesdays, and I’d close on Wednesdays,” says Stepp. “So, we weren’t all fighting over the same piece of pie.”
fill up, they all agreed that keeping the doors open is worth it if it means keeping their employees—both for altruistic reasons and practical ones.
Extending the metaphor, Stepp suggests that they don’t do that anymore, because “now there’s more pie.” He’s not wrong. Restaurant figures have generally risen every year for the past decade. But that doesn’t mean things are always less dire.
“If we closed in the winter, half the staff would find other jobs,” says John Power, co-owner of The Blue Point in Duck. “We’d have to hire and train people every spring. That would be like opening a new restaurant every year.”
“Most restaurants operate cash-negative in the winter; it’s just a matter of how much negative you can tolerate,” explains Daniel Lewis, head of the Outer Banks Restaurant Association and co-owner of Coastal Provisions, Coastal Cantina, and Coastal Cravings. “We pull out all the stops to entice people.” That means trying lots of new ideas to draw in the limited number of potential customers. The restaurateurs we spoke to were fans of weeknight specials, beer and wine pairing dinners, special events like trivia nights, catering, and utilizing social media advertising to the max. They also make a point of keeping up the quality of their food, so that winter diners never feel like they’re getting less than the best. And even when the cash register doesn’t
Still, it’s not all doom and gloom and scraping by. A lot of restaurants look forward to wintertime, when the slower pace means more time to take risks — or take a breather.
The slower pace means more time to take risks.
“It’s a good time of year to experiment,” says Stepp. “I change my menu weekly, sometimes daily.” “I don’t really mind it,” says Rob Robinson, owner of the Bad Bean in Kitty Hawk. “It’s nice to have a break from the madness. If it was that busy year-round, I probably wouldn’t be in the restaurant business.”
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But the number one reason for staying open? There’s still hungry people to feed. In fact, the increase in the Outer Banks year-round population means there are more local customers than ever — particularly between Southern Shores and Nags Head. Up on the northern beaches, they see mostly vacation rental homeowners, who are there to take advantage of their empty homes. During the holidays, it flips to mostly vacationers, then back to residents. Some restaurants report that the off-season is more or less the only time they see locals at all; in summer they’re often too busy to dine out (or unwilling to wait for a table). “We call it a secret season,” says Mike Murray, manager at The Blue Moon in Nags Head. “We have locals and homeowners who consider that their Blue Moon time. We’re blessed. We really appreciate when they come to support us in the winter.” By the time this issue drops, everyone we spoke with will be gearing up for another busy season, right in the middle of that arc that peaks somewhere in July and bottoms out in January. We’re sure that, right now, they’re toasting to making it through another winter, and that come September, they’ll be glad to see things slow down again. — Katrina Mae Leuzinger
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“The idea is to make surfers the first responders before the first responders,” says KDH lifeguard, paramedic and lifelong surfer, Kristen Burritt. “In the summer, they’re already in the water and able to act. In the off-season, there might not even be a lifeguard on duty. But if the ocean’s active, chances are there’s a surfer nearby, especially when conditions are dangerous.”
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Flailing arms. Panicked cries. Or just a silent expression of pure fear. Almost every local surfer has a tale of pulling some poor soul from a rip current. (Or, sadly, a body from the shorebreak.) It happens enough to earn the moniker, “Unofficial lifeguards of the Outer Banks.” Enough to inspire professional rescuers to enlist the lineup for help.
It’s called SALT — Surfer’s Awareness in Lifesaving Techniques. Designed by Southern California’s Huntington Beach Surf Lifesaving Association, the program gathers experienced surfers for some class time on how to properly handle a rescue, from approaching a victim to reaching the beach to keeping them alive until the professionals arrive. Or, even better, recognizing who’s in trouble before they may realize it themselves. “Any busy beach day is like a ‘Where’s Waldo?’ situation,” says Kill Devil Hills
Ocean Rescue Organizer, Dave Elder. “Is a person calling for help — or just waving to friends? Are they splashing — or struggling? But, with a little awareness, you can learn to spot a dangerous situation.” That could mean reading a riptide that’s ready to form — or recognizing classic signs of a swimmer in trouble. And, once you spot a situation, there’s always a right way to react. What’s the best way to approach a victim? What should you say on a 911 call? A little knowledge can make every scary scenario a little easier, especially the situations you might never consider. Jennette’s Pier’s Director, Mike Remige, has surfed for thirty-plus years. Three times he’s rescued swimmers in distress. And even he came out of a winter SALT class with new skills. “The people I’ve pulled in were all conscious and able to communicate,” says Remige, “so learning how to rescue an unconscious person was a really good tip. And I think most surfers, because we’re in the water all the time, we feel like we’re the masters of that domain. But we can get in trouble out there, too.” Actually, surfers often end up in some of the worst situations. Gnarly fin cut? SALT’s First Aid lessons can teach you to make
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a tourniquet from a leash, rashguard or beach towel. Nasty knee sprain? Turn some sand fencing or a beach towel into a splint. Potential spinal cord injury from hitting the sandbar? For Neptune’s sake, don’t move your neck!
“IF the ocean’s active, chances are there’s a surfer nearby.”
Burritt even plans to offer a CPR certification. Whatever the scenario, these are skills that can be crucial to know, whether you’re traveling on foreign soil or posted up on a secret sandbar somewhere down south.
why Burritt plans to offer two more SALT Training classes this spring at the KDH Bathhouse — March 23 and June 1 at 10am — then and another in fall, just after Labor Day. That’s when the numbers indicate the greatest need.
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“We definitely see an uptick in fatalities once the lifeguard stands come off the beach,” she says. “Normally on big swells.” Which brings up the biggest problem: what if there’s surf on training day? No worries. The class is split into two sections. Take the free morning SALT Training, which is done in less than two hours, so you can still snag a session on either side. Or you can stick around longer and get CPR certified for $20, which is about half the usual price.
“There’s only two rescue trucks between Avon and Hatteras,” says Burritt. “They do a great job, but nobody can be everywhere in a matter of minutes.”
“As a paramedic, I’ve seen first-hand what fast action can do,” Burritt says. “If we can get victims quality care in those minutes before first responders arrive, it can be the difference between life and death.”
But a fellow surfer can. And an informed one can make every second count. That’s
Surely, that’s worth missing a wave or two. —Jimmy Slade
Want to learn more about SALT or sign-up for spring classes? Email Kristen Burritt at email@example.com. And to get more outreach programs offered by area Ocean Rescue Services, check out www.obxlifesaving.com. milepost 19
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gofast ONWARD, UPWARD “I was born and raised in Mann’s Harbor. I grew up playing softball, riding horses, going hunting, hitting the beach — a real outdoors girl. To be able to put my toes in the sand, then go home and escape to the woods — it was the life. At the time, I probably didn’t think so. But I do now.
In 2014, my boyfriend and I were driving on 64 when we hit a piece of farm equipment. It was the summer after my junior year of high school. I’m paralyzed from the waist down, but I call it “living with a spinal cord injury,” because it’s much deeper than just the physical impact. Yes, I’d love to go on a run, but it’s the little things that really make it hard, like having to ask someone to carry me down to the water or lift me onto a stool at the coffee bar. Those are the things I have trouble with.
When I became Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina in 2018, it gave me a platform to address those issues. I go to hospitals and talk to kids and adults who’ve been injured. I speak in schools and churches to raise awareness about life for all people in wheelchairs. Locally, I’m working to encourage more beach access and adaptive sports in Dare County.
McKayla Creef’s reign as Ms. Wheelchair NC may be ending — but her work’s just beginning.
We’re fortunate to have accesses that are wheelchairfriendly. But lots of times, the walkover ramps lead to another set of stairs. And the rubber mats just dump you onto the sand far up the beach. So, I’d love to see a larger, wheelchair-specific area that gets closer to the water. And team sports give you drive. They give you purpose. They give you peers. They keep you fit and healthy. All of which are especially important for people in wheelchairs. So I want to work toward building an adaptive sports team here and among all the surrounding counties.
“I’m lucky. I can still go hunting.”
The Ms. Wheelchair America pageant was the most humbling experience of my life. I met such strong, resilient women. Women who’d been in a wheelchair for 20 years — for 50 years. Women who can’t eat food on their own. I didn’t come home with the crown, but I came home so grateful for my upper body and my hands. I’m lucky. I can still go hunting. This year, I shot my first seven-point buck. Killed it with my crossbow. Cleaned it and cooked it myself for Friendsgiving. And I can still ride a horse with an adaptive saddle. It’s crazy, because when I’m on the back of a horse, I’m like everyone else.
I guess people take mobility for granted. I know I did. I have a truck with a hydraulic ramp that comes out; I slide in, and I drive and operate the gas with my hands — kind of like driving a boat. I can roll out of the house and go anywhere — the store, the beach, the sound, the woods. I can cruise around listening to music with the windows down. When it went into the shop for two days, I went crazy not being able to get around. But I have faith. I truly believe God will make me walk again, whether it’s through my exercises or technology or some new surgery. Just as I believe He made me do all those beauty pageants growing up so I could be helpful today. This March, I pass the crown on to the next Ms. Wheelchair NC. I’ll go back to college. My goal is to become a medical assistant. It’s crazy to think how a split second can change your world. I have no idea what my life would be like if that accident hadn’t happened. And I still have times where I’m super upset — every day, something makes me think, “This sucks.” But, overall, I’m much more joyful and grateful for everything I still can do. I took legs for granted. I took sports for granted. I took life for granted. Not anymore. And that’s what changed inside me.”
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Pageantry with a propose. Photo: Julie Dreelin
Want to help Ms. Creef promote wheelchair access and adaptive sports in Dare County? Find her on Facebook under “McKayla Creef Ms. Wheelchair NC 2018.”
questionauthority Be ready to carry one of these signs real soon. Rally to Raleigh 2018. Photo: Julia Wall/News & Observer
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HERE WE GO AGAIN. (AGAIN.) gosurf
The next few months could determine whether offshore drilling comes to the Outer Banks. The NC Coastal Federation’s Michael Flynn discusses just how we got here — and what we can do about it.
Last February, four busloads of angry Outer Bankers rallied to Raleigh for a public forum. Their purpose? To join hundreds of other citizens protesting the Trump Administration’s new draft plan to explore for petroleum off North Carolina — along with nearly all of America’s Outer Continental Shelf. One year later, those voices have only grown louder as every governor from Florida to New Hampshire has officially asked to be removed from the process, reflecting a wall of unified, bipartisan opposition that runs from coastal businesses to county boards to the halls of Congress. And yet, this spring, it looks like we’re going to have to rally again — right here in KDH.
So what’s that mean? It means by the time you read this, the Outer Banks could be closer to seeing rigs on the horizon than ever before — and residents will have to be ready to push back harder than ever.
In February, while residents were still waiting for the Department of Interior to issue its proposed plan, we learned the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) had booked the Ramada Inn conference room on May 14, and was researching rooms in Wilmington, as well.
But it’s not done yet. We still have 90 days for public comment before the DOI issues its final proposal — and still more ways to fight after that. We asked Mr. Flynn for some straight answers on how we got here, what might happen, and what we can do down the road. — Matt Walker
“Obviously, we still have to get the official plan to know exactly what they’re proposing,” says Michael Flynn, Coastal Advocate for the NC Coastal Federation. “But if we rallied in Raleigh, I’m sure we’ll rally here. So I would encourage everyone to go ahead and set aside May 14. And be prepared for more ways to voice opposition.”
MILEPOST: I think most Outer Bankers feel like we just beat this issue a few years ago. How did we end up back in the crosshairs? MICHAEL FLYNN: Basically, there are five-year plans that are developed by the federal government to issue lease sales for offshore oil and gas exploration. The Obama Administration proposed opening the MidAtlantic and the South Atlantic for the 2017-2022 plan. There was a lot of public outcry voicing opposition — for the same reasons as today — and the Environmental Impact Statement identified that the MidAtlantic and South Atlantic plan was too environmentally sensitive to include this industry. So they were removed from the plan in March of 2016. Fast-forward to 2017, the Trump Administration issued Executive Order number 13795, which directed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to initiate a process to develop a new Outer Continental Shelf Program for 2019-2024. That Draft Proposed Plan was released in January of 2018. It’s a very aggressive plan that pretty much includes 98 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf. Why? I can’t speak for them. But personally, I think the strategy was to open it all up, and then pull back to the places that they really want to look at — like the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic. But once they started the process last January, it kicked off a 60-day public comment period. That’s when the Coastal Federation — along with other members of the Don’t Drill NC coalition — held a “Rally to Raleigh” protest on the same day as the open house as a bullhorn to generate attention. But the public comments provide the real weight, because they have to be considered as part of the Environmental Policy Act. Do we know how many comments were made? And the amount of support versus opposition? We know there were around 2 million comments — you can read 27,000 of them online — but I don’t know how they tilt. [Ed. Note: a scroll through the first 300 comments posted to www.regulations.gov found three in favor of drilling.]
Theoretically, they spent the past year reviewing those comments. What else are they doing? They’re tasked with preparing a preliminary environmental impact statement. But they could also narrow their focus based on the input they’ve received. Then, once they announce the proposed plan, it will initiate a 90-day comment with more public information sessions. So we still have one more chance for public input.
So we’re basically where we were in March 2016. We’re just waiting to see if we’re included. What’s the consensus? Anything could happen. But with the info we’re being provided — in light of them looking to hold open houses here and in Wilmington — I would expect North Carolina is being included.
“There’s a lot of material that gets shed during drilling.”
How far off could they drill? Federal waters go from three nautical miles to 200 miles. But, historically, as far back as the 80s, they’ve looked at a site roughly 40 miles off Cape Hatteras as an area for reserves. The Deepwater Horizon was 41 miles. Yes. And we’re deeper than that, so they’re using similar rigs. And that rig was only ten years old when it blew. But what goes unnoticed — or less noticed — is the chronic impact drilling has over time. There’s residual oil that impacts beaches. There’s a lot of material that gets shed during drilling that contains heavy metals — arsenic, mercury, lead, cadmium — that has the potential to be toxic to marine life surrounding the rigs. And then the predecessor to even getting the first rig installed and constructed offshore is seismic testing. That has potentially harmful impacts on not just mega fauna like marine mammals — such as the North Atlantic Right Whale, which is endangered off our coast — but down to the smallest supporting member of the food chain:
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questionauthority review the draft plan. And they can look at the previous Environmental Impact Statement for the 2017-2022 plan and prepare a comment letter to submit following the release of the proposed plan. And certainly we’ll be ready to rally and demonstrate and make our voices heard. But contacting state and federal legislators can happen now. And start spreading awareness. Talk to your neighbors: “Have you heard about this?” “Could this impact your business?” “Here’s why it’s bad.” But I don’t think there’s anybody here who isn’t vulnerable. Just look at what erosion does to this area. Or a hurricane. Imagine what an oil spill would do.
zooplankton. There was a study done in Australia that showed each of these seismic blasts — and they’re done repeatedly over ten-second intervals — has potential to be lethal to about 50 percent of the zooplankton population. Smaller fish feed on zooplankton; larger fish feed on those fish, including the commercial fish we harvest. So it has cascading effects on the seafood industry.
“I don’t think getactive there’s anybody here who startingpoint isn’t vulnerable.” So “we” won’t even What about the argument that “we need to know what’s out there” to make informed decisions? Those surveys are conducted by private companies who sell the data to the oil and gas exploration companies. It’s not made public. Not even to the federal government.
Then what? Once that 90-day comment period closes, BOEM will again review all those comments and prepare the final program and preliminary Environmental Impact Statement. And Congress and the president will have 60 days to review that and decide whether to approve the plan — or not. That’s when we’ll need to lean on our congressional reps even harder.
know what they find. No, for that to happen, the government would have to go do the work and then share the data with the private industry.
What about the other arguments — more jobs, energy independence, it’s safe. How are those holding up? If anything, they’re getting weaker. In fact, the administration reversed the safety standards instituted after BP, saying that regulations to include blowout preventers and more regular inspections are too financially burdensome to the industry. As of this year, we became the world’s leading energy exporter. In fact, the DOI now uses the term “energy dominance” instead. And most of the jobs that are generated will go to experienced workers who’ll be imported from the Gulf. And I think the oil industry is talking about bringing — at most — 30,000 jobs for the whole state. We have 12,000 jobs in Dare County alone. And a $1.1 billion-dollar-a-year tourism industry. So that’s been our argument all along: this is the revenue stream we want to protect.
We know all the Atlantic state governors have asked to be removed from the process, except one. What else is happening to push back? So, last year, New Jersey, Maryland and Florida introduced bans on drilling activity or the construction of infrastructure that support that industry in their states. There’s a flurry of congressional bills beginning this year, like the Defend Our Coast Act, which is co-sponsored by Congressmen Walter Jones and David Price from our state. And that’s in addition to two lawsuits that are challenging the decision by the Division of Marine Fisheries to issue the incidental
Or expect to see some of these signs later. Alabama, post-Deepwater Horizon; June 2010. Photo: P. Ruddy
harassment authorizations that allowed BOEM the opportunity to issue permits for seismic testing. And more than 200 communities passed resolutions opposing drilling along the Gulf and East Coasts. In fact, all of North Carolina’s coastal counties are opposed right now except Carteret and Brunswick — and Brunswick has reversed their position from being in favor to just taking no stance. So, it’s not just like a few towns, or a couple governors, or one party. This is a pretty unified line of “no’s.” It sounds like more opposition than last time. I know. It sounds like it’s been amplified. So it confounds me that they keep pressing forward. But one of the most eye-opening parts of this past year is how intentionally deceptive the process can be. It’s not so much asking, “Is this the right thing to do?” It’s, “Can we get away with it?” And I guess we have to see the proposed plan to really see if all these states and communities who voiced their opposition aren’t included. Or if the federal administration just keeps plowing ahead bullishly and saying, “We don’t care.” So let’s assume we’re included. What can the average person do? You can’t officially comment until they release the plan. But, as far as protocol and procedures, right now people can
So, worst-case scenario is they announce North Carolina’s included in the proposed plan — we gotta rally, we gotta submit comments, we gotta pressure our legislators. What if it’s the opposite? What if we wake up and we’re not included? I think it will depend on what “not included” means. Are they still looking at South Carolina or Virginia? Because then the drilling still impacts us — look at Florida after BP. So we need to pay attention and be prepared to help protect our neighbors. And what if — least likely of all — they reverse course and nobody’s included? We wait five more years. They’ll reset the clock for 2024. And we see what the next administration wants to do. But that’s why these congressional bills are really important. Some are five-year moratoriums. Some are complete bans. So tracking these state and federal legislations is key. Because they could protect us for a longer period of time. It feels like these next few months could very well determine the future of the Outer Banks. Would you agree? It seems like it. But the opposition is about as prepared as we could ever be. And the Outer Banks community has been stellar. The towns. The counties. The mayors and other officials who spoke at the rally. And everyone else who headed to Raleigh, jumping on the bus in the middle of the week — sacrificing a day of work just to make their voices heard. People here know they have something precious to offer. And they’re fighting to protect it.
Keep tabs on all offshore drilling issues — including impending meeting dates and locations, information on how to comment, and protest opportunities — by monitoring www.DontDrillNC.org. For more on the NC Coastal Federation, go to www.nccoast.org. milepost 25
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A GuiTAR IS BORN A musical tale of tools and teamwork told in eight songs. (And one axe.)
the last thing I need is a new guitar.
My guest room already acts as a sepulcher of deadstringed hollow-bodies, including four wooden wallhangers covered in dust, plus two more buried in coffins under the bed. The only two active players are an ancient acoustic I picked up on eBay and a wayoutta-my-league electric I bought a quarter-century back. Both come out roughly once a week, for maybe an hour or two. Usually on Friday night after the clock — or my beer count — strikes nine. (Whichever comes first.) Let’s also point out that me and power tools ain’t never been friends. That’s why my closest of friends all own power tools. (Otherwise, who’d put up the plywood during hurricane season?) And lastly, let the record show I’ve got zero passion for passion projects, especially ones that seem custommade to disappoint. Homebrewing? Why waste limited funds and fridge space bottling sub-par pilsners when superior craft ales wait on every street corner? Build my own surfboards? Puh-lease. I can barely ride ones made by the pros. But, apparently I care less about making sour notes than I do crappy foam. Because when the opportunity arose this winter to carve my own axe, I decided to crank-up the router — and credit card — and let the chips fly where they may. It was no easy task. There were moments of panic. Fear. Actual bloodshed. But in the end, out popped a pretty little baby that screams, wails and coos. In the process, I developed a greater understanding of an instrument I played my whole life but still barely knew — not to mention a new respect for the astounding potential of a cramped garage woodshop, and the reward that comes from birthing a worthwhile product from thin air.
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Casual Ambiance Cutting Edge Coastal Cuisine Our musical tale begins with Rich Coleman and Jason Denson. These close friends/wedding photographers are the Lennon/McCartney of their own guitar-making operation. (If Lennon and McCartney looked like lumberjacks.) The official name is RIVGuitars, but it’s more of a hobby than a business. Actually, it’s closer to therapy. For Rich, it keeps him out of couples counseling. (“I love my wife,” he laughs, “but she’s only going to let me buy so many guitars.”) And Jason? His reasons are dead serious.
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“I get seasonal depression,” he says. “Bad. I spend my summers meeting brides and families, then winter comes and I’m a man with nothing to do. Woodworking keeps my mind busy. The more complex, the better. So when Rich said, ‘Let’s make a guitar,’ I was like, ‘Yes!’” Despite their shared passion for mental health, they’re total opposites. Jason’s an amateur guitarist, but a woodworking genius, able to MacGyver any unforeseen snafus to produce 100 percent original designs — like a series of sinister axes with blazing hot pick-ups and paint jobs — or a one-of-a-kind Viola-inspired hollow body he calls “Wolfgang.” As for Rich, his tool time involves mostly bookshelves, but his guitar chops go back to elementary school. He likes to pop out updated versions of proven models like Fender Telecasters and Gibson Les Pauls, then add subtle style points or performance improvements — like turning a license plate into a pickguard or refining the neck to reach extra frets. He likes to give his “girls” names like “Stella” and “Lorraine.” And loves to use the word “sexy.” In barely three years, this bantering odd couple’s come together to create more than a dozen surprisingly fine beauties — including a handful for pals made to their own unique specs. They’ve even sold a few of the more recent examples. Not to make money — just to keep making guitars. “We’ve had a lot of friends who want us to build them one,” says Rich. “But that’s no fun. So we say, ‘Come build one — it’s so much cooler.’” So that’s what I did.
photo - Tom Sloate
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A 2. CUTS LIKE IT FEELS KNIFE. (BUT SO RIGHT.)
Day one, Jason’s already got his Papa Bear hat on. (Literally. It’s a checkered flat brim ala Andy Capp.) He hands me goggles and a respirator to keep my eyes and lungs safe — and a waiver to sign to protect his own ass.
“You have ten fingers now,” he grins, handing me a pen. “Let’s make sure you have ten when you leave.” Yikes. I’m not just worried about losing digits — I’m scared I’ll screw up what Rich calls “a super sexy piece of ash.” But fear is a great motivator — and focuser. And over the next few hours, I come to recognize woodworking’s therapeutic value. Every painstakingly slow step slows time, stripping away excess material on a methodical journey toward a completed goal. By day’s end, I’m still in one piece — and so is the guitar — despite using a belt sander, drill press, and two types of routers. I walk out the door with a list of guitar parts to order — smelling of wood shavings and newfound confidence.
Instead, I plow forth. Armed with my trusty list — and a questionable credit card limit — I spend a couple hours and $350 selecting a vintage maple neck and some sweet Seymour Duncan pick-ups. (A traditional, twangy bridge design built for Nashville head-cutters — and a super versatile neck humbucker to make it mine.) After that, I put my faith in Amazon Prime’s return policy and add two of everything to my cart — including three different colored pickguards and two “ashtray bridges” — for another $150. I quickly click “Place Order” and close my laptop before another $499 Fender ad pops up on my Facebook feed.
4. NOW I WANNA sNIFF SOME GLUE
Forget the tools. RIV’s woodshop runs on super glue and blue gaffer tape — and templates. Lots and lots of templates. Body templates. Neck templates. Pick-up templates. Pickguard templates. Made from multi-density fiberboard (MDF), these cutouts are the crash test dummies for every decision before you do it for real. And for one very good reason.
Right now, all I know is I’m making a Telecaster. Partially because I’ve always coveted the iconic design — but mostly because they’re the easiest to copy. But that’s like saying I want a VW Bug or a Ford F-150. I still have to choose all the elements from an infinite combination of colors, materials and price points. Electronics can be bright, single-coil pick-ups or hard-rocking humbuckers. Necks can be maple, rosewood or ebony. There’s three-way selectors or five-way switches, locking tuners, and a near non-stop selection of knobs. You can buy brand new, factory approved pieces for hundreds of dollars — or find a $50 beater on Craigslist and scavenge usable parts like an organ donor.
“Glue, tape and templates are cheap,” says Rich. “Guitars aren’t.”
“That’s why we have all these unfished guitars,” Rich explains, as he points to a stack of bodies in the corner. “People get to this point and sort of freeze up.”
He fills the scar with a mix of glue and sanding dust — and voila! — my Tele looks like the world’s prettiest termite farm. It’s also tangibly lighter. (And so is my mood.)
3. LIST- OMANIA
There must be fifty pieces of MDF filling shelves, each one representing a problem solved. This guitar’s problem? It’s super heavy. The solution? To “chamber” the body. It’s nothing unique — in fact, lots of so-called “solid-bodies” are holier than swiss cheese — but it’s a first for RIV, so we set out to make a whole new template. First, we measure, sketch and cut the MDF. Then we tape and glue it to the body to cut the chambers. And we get damn close to finishing the job — until I get cocky and pull the router too quick, leaving behind a quarter-sized divot. (And a few f-bombs.) “Congrats!” Jason smiles. “You’ve gone from rookie to intermediate! That’s where all the mistakes happen. But don’t sweat it; everything’s fixable.”
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After thirty years, I know all the guitar parts and terms. I know the difference between “bridge” and “nut,” “tone” and “intonation.” But I guess I’ve never known how they all work. Because the parts don’t really matter — it’s the invisible space between them. The nut and the bridge have to be separated by the perfect distance or the notes will turn sour as you move up the neck. And it all has to be perfectly lined up top-to-bottom, or the playability falls to pieces.
5. INVISIBLE TOUCH
“Everything comes off the center line,” says Jason, as he presses the neck into place and grabs a set of digital calipers. “Right down to the micrometer.”
By our last session, it finally looks like a guitar — yet it still takes eight hours to finish. Drilling six straight holes for string ferules requires 90 minutes of obsessive futzing. Carving a humbucker space into the pickguard takes three full hours, two new templates, and enough glue to keep Joey Ramone floating through the afterlife.
7. CAREFUL WITH THAT AXE, EUGENE
Jason and Rich play around between builds. Photo: Ryan Moser
Surprisingly, the electronics are done in a comparative flash. Surrounded with schematics, Jason solders wires and switches with the nimble dexterity of a brain surgeon — or maybe a bomb tech. (“Close,” he grins. “I used to wire car stereos.”) Stringing and setting her intonation takes a tad longer as he tweaks the tiniest of distances. But lest you think I had no hand in delivering my baby, let the record show I lined the control cavity with copper shielding — and I got the bloody scars to prove it.
So, before we can drill anything once, we have to measure everything twice. Make that ten times. As we tally distances from neck to bridge — pick-ups to neck — nudging, tweaking and taping the hardware before penciling where to drill — it all adds up to a newfound respect for every guitar I’ve ever held. Suddenly, a handmade electric seems like a steal at just $2000. And those $200 cheapos are nothing to snicker at. “Truth is we’ll never do it as cheap as China,” says Rich. “Or probably as perfect. My first guitar has all sorts of little flaws. But she plays good. And she sounds great. And when I plug in, I remember all those little extra steps that I put into it.”
6. UNDER PRESSURE
“You can’t rush this part,” says Jason. “The last five percent of the process always takes the longest — but it’s 90 percent of what most people notice.”
“Congratulations,” Jason beams, as I use a Band-Aided thumb to strum the first G chord. “It’s not really a guitar until you bleed.”
Remember that part about “everything’s fixable?” Total BS. At least when it comes time to drill the neck.
“This is where I start praying,” winces Jason, as he brings the bit down, then holds it a hair off the surface like the world’s smallest guillotine. Miss the mark, the most perfect looking instrument will never sound right. And that’s the real weight of every pressure project, be it playing Jenga or jumping the Grand Canyon — the farther along you get, the more you have to lose. Jason had to refinish his most recent guitar top-to-bottom when he sanded too far at the final stage. And that’s not an anomaly — it’s the norm. “I’ve walked out of here visibly upset before,” Rich admits as Jason finally begins boring into my baby. “Pretty much every time, actually.” (Thanks for the pep talk.) When Jason sticks the neck thrice more and starts measuring the results, I begin to mumble a few “Our Fathers” myself. Until he finally drops the ruler and screams, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” And all I can say is “Hallelujah.”
8. SEXY AND I KNOW IT
Rich was right. This thing is sexy. She looks good. She sounds sweet. And she plays nice. In fact, two weeks later, I still can’t keep my hands off her — which seems to be the real appeal to this whole electric guitar making scheme: it recharges you.
Last November, Rich started playing out again with an acoustic duo called Lasso the Moon. Jason? He’s taking lessons for the first time since high school. And the woodshop’s never been noisier — or more innovative — as they work on everything from stomp boxes to bass designs to ever more elegant electrics. They even plan to go back and chamber both their Teles. (Thank you very much.) But as far as cranking up a full-on business and powering out gear? No way. It’s never about selling equipment. It’s about killing a little time — while birthing new ideas. “I’ve always had a creative itch,” says Rich. “That’s why I started playing music and shooting photos. But this level of creativity is so amazing. To go from a block of wood to something you can play — that’s crazy. And every time you play, you know there’s not another one like her anywhere on the planet.” milepost 31
SEE YOU IN MARCH!
Find 30 things wrong with this off-season scenario.
Answers: 1. The restaurant’s open. 2. It’s too early for softshells. 3. No typos on the marquis. 4. Parking lot’s cars are all brand new. 5. Three chicks at the bar. 6. And they’re all cute. 7. Nobody’s on their phone. 8. Couple ordered two entrees, and a bottle of wine — instead of an app and two beers. 9. Tip jar is full. 10. TV is playing Cartoon Network instead of Weather Channel (or Fox News). 11. Only one guy with a beard. 12. Nobody’s hitting on the waitress. 13. Nobody’s smoking outside. 14. No cars are weaving. 15. Scooter guy is sober. 16. No stop sign on Beach Road corner. 17. Road stop only has one cop. 18. Fisherman on beach is drinking water. 19. Person in beach shower is wearing trunks. 20. The showers are working. 21. It’s winter and all the trashcans are upright. 22. Kids riding school bus are wearing winter clothes instead of shorts. 23. Kids riding school bus are carrying books. 24. Kids are actually riding a school bus. 25. No active roadwork. 26. Beach shop says “Everything Full Price!” 27. Only one house still has Christmas lights. 28. Dog is on a leash. 29. “No Vacancy” sign on hotel. 30. Somebody’s actually reading a Milepost.
Sometimes the silliest sounding ideas get the most satisfying results.
would you call this place? A “beach destination”? A “second home”? Maybe “fantasy island”? We’d call it a “fool’s paradise.” And we’d say it with pride.
For most people, just moving here sounds like a stupid risk. One that requires forgoing all of modern society’s more dependable features — like year-round jobs and real-world careers — for less tangible rewards, such as sun, sea, and self-reliance. But it’s that very mix of independent spirit, seat-of-the pants bravery and pure curiosity that makes the Outer Banks such a stronghold for genius inventors and legendary iconoclasts. (Along with a few village idiots.)
What follows are three examples of local folks who had an idea they decided to chase for no real reason other than to see if it would fly. Crazy? Sure. Foolish? Maybe. But, what’s more foolish: pursuing an oddball idea for pure fun and laughs — or stifling a dream just because it’s a little offbeat? milepost
Swinging party. Photo: Daniel Pullen
OBX Climbing Club builds first and asks questions later.
The sign at the base says, “Mount Vesuvius.” But it’s no mountain.
It’s not even a peak — it’s more like 14-feet of sheer plywood. And it works more like a Rubik’s Cube than anything. Technicolor tape stripes mark different gripping points that say, “Grab here or there. Twist this way or that.” Make the right choice, you solve the problem and reach the top. Miss, and you fall flat on your face — literally. “Hey, you gotta have some risk, right?” laughs 30-year-old Matty Hitchcock as he summits the DIY “boulder wall” that consumes half his KDH garage. “Besides, we put mattresses on the floor — at least most of it.” Matty and his brothers, Jason and Ben, built the structure two years ago in less than a day, using leftover lumber from construction gigs, and a bag of donated plastic “holds.” Today, there are dozens of points to grab or stand — from tiny “crimps” to deceptive “slopers” — most made from teak scraps that Matty salvaged from his job at Bayliss Boatworks. Give the boys two minutes, they can complete any of the 12 established routes, going from floor to ceiling — and corner to corner — like Spiderman without the webbing. The real irony? “None of us are climbers,” laughs Matty. “We just watched this documentary called Valley Uprising one day. Then a bunch of other YouTube videos, like Alex Honnold free soloing El Capitan. It’s like one click leads to another and you get hooked. Then you build this!”
hold, then get stuck with nowhere to go. But that’s what makes it different from all the other adrenaline sports. Surfing, snowboarding, white-water rafting — gravity does all the work. Climbing is slower. You have to focus. To concentrate.” That’s a thrill you can’t replicate on the Outer Banks. And that’s why guys like Max Jenkins keep coming back. A Western NC native, he’s been climbing since he was a teenager. Usually, he drives the seven hours home to fool around at 500-feet — or jets up to VB’s indoor climbing gyms. Now, he can pop into the Outer Banks Climbing Club for an hour after work.
Jenkins shows up armed with a harness, his own chalk bag, and extra-tight boulder shoes. After lacing his feet and dusting his hands, he hops on the wall to get loose — he hooks his heel on a semi-circular “jug” and just hangs there for more than a minute. “I like this route,” he says, leg fully stretched, like a yogi on the wall. “It’s a beautiful problem.”
“ Pretty much everybody who walks in
knows more than I do.”
But the Internet and enthusiasm can only take you so far. So, this winter, they started the Outer Banks Climbing Club. Three nights a week, they open their doors to any would-be adventurer. Some nights, it’s eager surfer dads and their kids looking to burn off a long day indoors. Others, it’s seasoned experts like Alex and Hayley Carey, co-owners of the Corolla Adventure Park, maintaining their skills. All have something to offer, whether it’s sage advice from years of experience — or a fresh perspective on a particularly tough route. “I have the wall, but I basically have no idea what I’m doing,” says Matty. “Pretty much everybody who walks in here knows more than I do. It’s like, ‘Guys! Help me out!’” It’s that contagious, collective energy that fuels each meeting, giving the garage the goodtime camaraderie of an off-campus college party house. On a mid-winter Wednesday, Spotify’s Vulfpeck channel keeps rotating funk tunes. Mugz the puppy is going nuts, running around, gnawing on strangers’ Nikes. The fridge pops out PBRs like a Pez dispenser. Except instead of vegging on a couch and laughing at Zoolander, everyone’s gathered around the wall, cheering their buds to “Send it!”
It may be fun, but it’s not easy. Even the beginner “yellow route” can take a day or more for rookies to master. From there, every path is a brawn-testing brain-teaser that leads you in one direction, then leaves you hanging as you struggle to decide where to grab next. “That happens all the time in climbing,” says Hayley, after getting suddenly stymied half-way up. “You grab what looks like the right
One he quickly solves. After a few more free ascents, he decides to move on to some more advanced sport climbing. He steps into a harness studded with carabiners, double-checks his knots, then starts counting out 150 feet of rope. At every step, he follows strict protocol — even calling out safety terms to imaginary partners. You don’t want to practice bad habits at 14 feet only to have them come back to haunt you at 500.
Upon reaching the top, Jenkins hooks in and rappels halfway down, then wraps his leg with the line and swings there for a minute or two. Enough time to ask him a few pointed questions: So how legit is this thing? How does it compare to other boulder walls? To real life? “It’s fantastic!” he beams, spinning around for effect. “Especially when you consider the fact that these guys never climbed before. It’s really quite impressive.” And they’re not finished yet. Matty’s already begun covering the ceiling so they can go beyond vert. They’ve also scored a logo for the club. And they’d love to find a storage unit to go even bigger. Meanwhile, the brothers have also begun tackling the outdoors. In fact, over the course of this story, they scaled a 65-foot cliff while on holiday in Pennsylvania. What’s next? Asheville? Or even Yosemite?! “F--k, yes!” Matty says without wasting a second. “I haven’t booked any tickets yet; I have way more to learn before I even try. But I’ve already started doing my homework.” — Hal Tucker
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’Squatch out! Photo: Julie Dreelin
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BEL EVE T OR The Roanoke Island Bigfoot Museum is small on size — but big on passion.
It has everything you’d expect from any museum. Interesting objects all logically arranged. Illuminating descriptions with interactive options. Plus plenty of lighting and protective glass. Except, in terms of acreage, it’s a tad understated. In fact, it’s tiny — maybe five square feet, tops. But, then again, that’s the whole point. “I was gonna call it the ‘World’s Smallest Bigfoot Museum,’” says creator/curator Jamie Daniels. “But then I thought, ‘Who wants to see the world’s smallest anything?’ So I changed the name to ‘Roanoke Island Bigfoot Museum.’” Still, it’s got the same great concept: see how many fuzzy photos and firsthand reports you can dig up on modern America’s hairiest mystery — then squeeze them into a shadowbox on the wall for the whole world to see. Or, at least the few thousand customers. And yet, it’s no gimmick. Would Daniels like to see more business? Sure. Do dollars drive the idea? Not in the least.
climes. DNA studies and laminated pamphlets by real investigators. Plus plenty of pop culture references to elicit laughs. All of it tied together by strands of red thread to illustrate the connections. And that’s just the physical layer. Whip out your cell phone and go to RIBM.info, you can join the hunt firsthand. “That’s the real museum,” Daniels explains. “The board is more of a jump-off point. Instead of trying to put up bunches of information, you can go to your phone and look up ‘Photograph 12’ and get the story behind a sighting in 2005. And instead of re-writing everything, we’ll point you right toward the original research.”
“ Some people don’t like the unexplained.
I think it’s fascinating.”
“It’s nice to work on something without worrying what the end result is,” says the 45-year-old owner of Manteo’s Garden Deli & Pizza. “No, ‘What will it cost?’ Or, ‘How long will it take?’ But just because you enjoy it.” Fun and free time are rare commodities for Daniels. Besides slinging pizzas and subs the past 25 years, he spent a full decade sweating major decisions as Manteo’s mayor. That doesn’t leave many minutes for personal hobbies. Even this whole Sasquatch curiosity began as a way to maximize family time. “My son was really into Bigfoot around seventh grade,” Daniels explains. “So, I took him to the Uwharrie National Forest for a Bigfoot hunt. It’s kind of like a wild horse tour except you set up a tent at a camp, and at night you go out searching with a flashlight. It’s so dark that every single noise, you sense it. It’s like, ‘What was that?! I hear the Vader breath!’ [Laughs] It’s just your imagination, but it’s a good time. We came home super excited.” The younger Daniels ultimately grew out of it. But for Jamie, the fascination only got stronger. He began reading stories, Googling films, checking message boards. Last year, he stopped being mayor — right about the time he got a custom shadowbox.
“I’d always wanted to do a curio museum, and Bigfoot made sense,” he recalls. “I think the first thing I ordered was a foot cast. Then I began downloading different reports. Some are definitely hoaxes, but there are others that seem to corroborate each other. It’s, like, you start tying different stories together. And it just sort of snowballed from there. Now I’ve got people bringing me stuff.” The final version is like an amalgam of different elements from every perspective. There are famous photos and newspaper clippings. Frame grabs from the infamous Patterson-Gimlin film that sparked the 70s craze. Lesser known sightings from foreign
It’s like a digital version of an old roadside restaurant placemat — a bunch of fun factoids to read and kill time, maybe even debate, between bites. And it’s posted in the perfect location: right outside the bathrooms — and just west of the soda fountain. Perfect for anyone waiting and guaranteed to elicit a gander, a giggle or a scoff. Or some combo of all three. “I had a guy come in and say he’d seen Bigfoot run across the road in Australia,” Daniels says. “And he was dead serious. And I’ve had another guy say, ‘Prove to me he exists.’ But I have no desire to prove anything. I’m more of a fan of perpetuating the myth itself. This is what this guy found, here’s another report — now you make your own decision.” The one thing Daniels does believe in 100 percent? The concept. In an age of rising real estate costs and shrinking cultural awareness, he sees small museums as a way for any person to share a passion. Perhaps even preserve history and a regional identity. “To open and dedicate an entire, separate structure to something and draw people inside to visit? That’s pretty overwhelming — and not necessarily cost effective,” he explains. “Why not put little museums where people already are and then share the information? It doesn’t have to be Bigfoot — it could be the Lost Colony.” Or it could be UFOs and ghosts. That’s what Daniels has in store for his next set of shadowboxes. He’s even thinking of starting a YouTube channel to discuss what he calls the “big three” of unsolved mysteries — extraterrestrials, paranormal activity, and cryptozoology. Anything that might stimulate folks’ inherent fascination with far-out ideas — and maybe keep them guessing for long after they leave. “Some people don’t like the unexplained; they find it unnerving,” Daniels muses. “I think it’s fascinating. I guess I just like reminding people that God made a big universe, and if you think you’ve got it all figured out, you’re kidding yourself.” — N. Serchov
Feeling ’Squatchy? Check out the Roanoke Island Bigfoot Museum website at www.ribm.info.
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The less Christina Weisner knows about her next sculpture, the happier she is.
Christine Weisner is pumped. Giddy. Positively glowing. Standing inside a Currituck storage unit, the 36-year-old NC Artist Fellowship recipient is preparing to ship a lifetime’s worth of sculptures to Raleigh’s Gregg Museum of Art & Design for a solo exhibit titled, Explorations. There’s a giant beam counterbalancing a cube of seawater with what appears to be a neon-green spaceship. A collection of clear plexiglass hemispheres that look like huge hamster wheels cut in half, then wired to metal mallets. But it’s Weisner’s latest effort that has her all worked-up.
It’s called a “River Cube.” Five feet of aluminum framing draped with strips of blue film. It resembles vertical blinds, or a fashion model’s photo booth — or perhaps Andy Warhol’s outdoor shower — mounted upon a pair of pontoons. But it’s not the structure that matters, it’s what happens next, as Weisner prepares to truck the sculpture 275 miles west, then sail it down the Neuse River and out Ocracoke Inlet into the Atlantic. Maybe. “That’s the plan,” grins the KDH resident/College of the Albemarle professor. “We don’t know what’s going to happen, because nobody’s made a River Cube before. But all my projects are like that. I start with absolutely no idea of what I’m doing, and then I go from there. That’s what I enjoy — this unfolding process of learning about things.” That spaceship? Well, it’s really a V-Fin — an underwater foil that once carried equipment to map bathymetry and measure plankton levels. Those hemispheres? Seafloor seismometers. She found them ten years ago while in grad school at the University of Texas, where she’d pillage dated gear from the research department. She’d start by choosing them solely on appearance — “I like simple shapes” — then go on a mission to find out how they were used, meeting people who designed or worked with similar gear. Finally, she’d create a piece of art that represented its former life and all that went into it. “With the ocean bottom seismometers, I ended up talking with this Japanese scientist who was one of the first people to put a seismometer on the moon,” Weisner recalls. “So I learn about this huge body of research, and about the world through my sculptures, which is exciting.” The River Cube began as one of those poached items: an oversized cardboard film cannister. What caught her eye was the minimalist, cylindrical shape. What captured her imagination were the contents: 100 feet of large-format aerial photos, following an entire river basin from a birds-eye view. But the photos had no serial numbers to track or phone numbers to call. There was only a label that said “1978” and “law.” For the first time, Weisner was stumped about the origins of her find. Finally, she decided to stop worrying and just focus on the photos’ intent. “Normally, you’d be putting negatives on a lightbox,” she explains. “And, in a way, the cube functions as a giant outdoor lightbox. Then I started thinking about movement. Film moves. Water moves. I thought, ‘What if you actually took these images on the water?’ And, for me, it wouldn’t have been conceptually interesting enough to parade it up and down a river. It’s really about asking, ‘What is a river system from start to finish? How does that work? Who’s involved? What are people’s relationships?’”
This May, she’ll find out. She’ll hop into a kayak and spend four weeks towing her sculpture down the Neuse, documenting the entire journey. But instead of photographing this ribbon of blue at a distance, she’ll immerse herself in the journey in order to develop a complete picture of the watershed as a whole. Of course, there will be GoPro and drone footage of the voyage itself. And active scientific research to gauge water quality and track tagged sea life. More importantly, Weisner wants to study the way humans and the Neuse influence each other. There will be scheduled stopovers to learn about different communities, including Q&A sessions with citizens and stakeholders. She also hopes to bring along a range of experts to help the cause, or to just keep the conversations flowing. And plenty of room for experts to pitch ideas — or join in on the paddle. “We’re reaching out to scientists, historians, philosophers, residents,” Weisner explains. “It’s open to any level of participation, from sharing research on the river to paddling and observing. We hope the river and the people who utilize the river generate what the piece ends up being about. Not just, ‘Here’s some art! Everyone appreciate it!’” Weisner’s already tapped one top-notch crewmate — noted social scientist Dr. Matt Keene. When not taking his turn towing the vessel, Keene will help guide the research, interpreting how the Neuse’s many metaphorical tributaries — people, industry, ecology, history — all flow together.
“All my projects, I start with
absolutely no idea of what I’m doing.” “So many relationships surround the river,” says the former EPA scientist-turned-think-tank head. “Relationships between people and the river, between natural history and geologic history, between agriculture, industry and recreation and the current political system. There’s a ton of opportunity to tell those stories. So the trip down the river isn’t the end of the project, it’s really the beginning.” Once they haul the River Cube out of the ocean in Ocracoke, the sculpture will join Weisner’s other work at the Gregg until July 28. From there, the goal is to find another museum where all the maps, data and results can live — along with a sun-bleached and tattered houseof-film. It may even tackle another body of water, to generate a new journey of social self-discovery. Assuming it survives this one. “There could be a catastrophe!” Weisner laughs. “There’s a couple of Cat 1 and 2 rapids where the whole thing might come apart. If so, we’ll piece it back together as best we can and keep going. But I love that whole idea of not knowing what will happen. Because when you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’re more open to the possibility of learning things. There’s a certain openness — a beauty — to ignorance.”— M.T. Yermine
Keep tabs on the River Cube’s progress — or submit ideas for the journey — by going to www.RiverCubeProject.com.
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b string theory Brilliant, bold, borderline brainmelting — Janet Stapelman’s fabric art defies comprehension. By Terri Mackleberry
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n November 2018, the Dare County Arts Council debuted a solo show titled, “All Along the Watchtower.” The thematic exhibition featured 24 extravagantly colorful and masterful abstracts titled sequentially by the first 24 lines of Bob Dylan’s iconic song. Even more imaginative was the medium. It was definitely fiber — but neither needlepoint nor weaving. A palpable curiosity rippled through the Outer Banks art community. People were both powerfully excited and utterly confused: Who is this breakthrough artist?
Hunkered in a simple she-shed studio behind her home in Nags Head Acres, 67-year-old Janet Stapelman sits at a draftman’s table, bathed in the halo of a swivel lamp. On the canvas board in front of her, she has penciled an intricate abstract design and is filling in the shapes with vivid pieces of thread. She squeezes a thin line of glue along a leaf-shaped swirl and lays a single section of magenta on top. With a modified crochet needle, she nudges the thread in her preferred line, waits seven seconds for the adhesive to dry, then snips the end. She repeats the process, filling the shape strand by colorful strand.
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In two more weeks, maybe three, she’ll wrap this piece up. It will sing with kaleidoscope-like tumbles and twists of color, not a speck of the board showing through. And she’ll immediately start another. “It’s just gluing string,” she says, though she knows people want to attach a loftier name to her unique approach. “Everybody wants to call it ‘fiber art.’ And I think that’s a good name for it, but to me it’s gluing string.” For the last six years, this has been Stapelman’s life: cutting, gluing, laying string, lining it up, tying knots, doing it again and again and again, listening to audio books while she works, surfacing every few hours to take an aquatics class at the Y, volunteer at the arts council gallery, play bingo with friends, and have dinner with her husband, Neil.
“It’s just gluing string.” It’s a striking balance between the obvious tedium of her medium and the unrestrained inventiveness and somewhat psychedelic quality of her style. The finished pieces, resplendently colorful and almost animated by their texture, are like looking directly into the portals of a wildly vivid imagination. To get to this place of creative unrestraint, Stapelman says she first had to undo a lifetime’s worth of artistic training. When she was young, Stapelman had wanted to be an actress, but one semester in the acting program at Catholic University quickly squelched that. She bounced around in college. “It was DC in 1969/70, with all the marches,” she says. “It wasn’t a conducive time to study.”
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She ended up at SUNY Oswego as an art major, and impulsively signed up for the summer theater program. She acted in one production and did tech work on the set of another. And that’s where she found her career in scenic design. When she got into the theater union and landed a job on Broadway, she was set with benefits and regular hours. For the next 31 years, minus a break to raise her sons, creating Broadway theater sets was her main artistic outlet. “It was a really good job,” she says. “You were doing the same thing every day, but every project was different. It was never boring.”
W I D E ST SE L E C T I O N
“I was in a knot.”
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In August 2010, Stapelman suddenly and reluctantly left her lucrative career. In excruciating pain from rheumatoid arthritis, she could no longer hold a chip brush, much less crawl around on her hands and knees or climb ladders with paint buckets. Having to leave it all was a blow. It meant she and her husband would have to sell their big, old Victorian house in Brooklyn and change life as they knew it. “It was an awful time,” she remembers. But moving to the Outer Banks, where they had vacationed since 1978, was on the horizon. In limbo after leaving her job, Stapelman retreated to the garret studio she had in the Brooklyn Victorian.
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“That first year was really a hard year,” she says. “I consider it my year of unpacking my garbage and baggage. Most artists that I know have some kind of baggage that they are carrying. There were a lot of rules that I had picked up along the way. Rules about color, rules about drawing. Rules about aesthetics. Rules, rules, rules. I really felt like I was in a knot about all that.” The inspiration of gluing string came to her in that garret. She had some canvas boards, but painting them traditionally didn’t sound appealing. Looking around her studio one day, she noticed a lot of thread scraps and cuttings from her needlepoint hobby. “I thought, ‘I’ll just glue some of these snippets onto this board,’” she says. “Soon, I was really, really enjoying working with my snippets. I decided to honor the idea with fresh materials. And that was the beginning.” Stapelman worked at it for more than a year, just seeing what it was about. She knew she loved the new artform, but was not really sure what would become of it — or if it even had value. “I didn’t know if it was good or bad or valid. I just spent a lot of time working out those ideas. And getting to the point where I could say, ‘It doesn’t matter. I’m having a good time and if when I die my kids have to pull these out from under the bed and get rid of them, then that’s what will happen.” But when she showed people her work, their reaction was overwhelmingly positive.
Big Mama in a Blue Muumuu 2014
“I decided that when we moved to the Outer Banks and got settled, this was what I was going to do,” she says. “And that’s what I’m trying to do. Not let anything stand in the way of the gift I’ve been given.” In 2012, the Stapelmans landed in Nags Head. And she’s been cutting and pasting ever since. Luckily, the new method doesn’t hurt her hands; in fact, since the rheumatoid arthritis causes her fingers to curl inward, it’s actually conducive to gluing on such a small scale. Still, it’s meticulous, repetitive work. She pencils every hour spent in her studio into a ledger. In the past six years, she’s logged more than 11,000 hours and completed 70 miniatures and 60 full-size pieces of glued string art. Just one of Stapelman’s pieces can take up to six weeks to complete. The longest she worked on one piece was 450 hours.
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Helping keep the fire stoked is a quote from Stephen King’s The Shawshank Redemption, which is posted above her studio table: “Think about what a man can do, if he has enough time and the will to do it, a drop at a time.”
“There’s a story in that song.” It’s also her personality. In her theater days, she always gravitated toward the projects that required a Zen-like focus. That ability to zone out on something for hours on end now makes it possible to glue thousands of pieces of string onto a board — or, as she did for one piece, tie 60,000 tiny thread knots and glue them onto a canvas board to create a pointillistic flag. “It’s what I like to do,” Stapelman says. “I have to really make myself get up and get out of the studio. I’m really just happy working here and listening to my stories.”
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She also enjoys good music. Two years ago, this child of the 60s began illustrating all the lyrics to a favorite Dylan tune, “All Along the Watchtower,” which turned 50 in 2018. When Dare County Arts Council Gallery Director Chris Sawin approached her about doing a show, they opted to hang only those pieces. But the results still reflect her years as an artist — and life itself. Maybe that’s because of her approach — instead of focusing on the plot, she listened to the song repeatedly, then interpreted each line’s mood “to create a visual image of a feeling.” As a result, every piece is an abstract expression of pure emotion. There are no “jokers,” “thieves,” or “plowmen.” The protagonists here are all swirls, spirals and colors — and of course fibers, strings and deft finger dexterity, all coming together in endlessly complex creations, as if watching the universe come alive in eye-popping 3D. Or, as she says, “There is a very big story in that song.” Indeed. Half the exhibit sold on opening night. At press time, Stapelman had sold all but six of the 24 pieces. Her favorite just might be “Who Feel That Life Is But a Joke,” which she says perfectly represents the problem of creating an image of an indescribable instinct. Which of course is what art is about. And for Stapelman, there’s one feeling that beats them all: finally being free of her artistic baggage. “It’s a long, long way to come from where I was,” she says. “Art education in America — theatre art in New York City — it’s all very specialized, very competitive. It was tough just to say, ‘OK I’m not that person anymore. Now I’m going to do what I want to do and nobody’s going to tell me it’s good or bad.’ It’s like the Bob Dylan song ‘She Belongs To Me’: ‘She’s got everything she needs. She’s an artist. She don’t look back.’ Boy, howdy, is that right!” See more of the artist’s work at www.JanetStapelman.com
I Canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Get No Relief 2017 milepost 47
gogreen Super-green — without the fertilizer. Photo: Cory Godwin
How one Kitty Hawk couple upgraded their home to help clean the planet. It all started with a trickle. That constant, annoying “drip, drip, drip” emanating from their air conditioner units all summer. So wasteful, Tom and Vickie Byers thought. Next thing they knew, they were calculating the amount of stormwater run-off that flowed from their roof. Before long, the couple was questioning how every little behavior could impact, or possibly improve, the world around them. Suddenly, a flood of environmentally friendly ideas came to them, seeping into their lives and turning their Kitty Hawk Landing home into a model of conservation for Dare County and beyond.
With those changes came a torrent of challenges.
“Here we are, sitting on 600 feet of waterfront,” Tom explains. “We’re irrigating. We had a yard that used to be fertilized. And we said, ‘Let’s change. Let’s try something different that doesn’t leave as much of a footprint.’”
Enter the fine fellows from the Outer Banks Distillery, who get cane syrup for their Kill Devil Rum in massive vats. Tom and Vickie bought one for just $75, hooked it up — and discovered a new problem.
Take those HVAC units, for instance: a couple of rain barrels collected 30 to 35 gallons a day from the condensation lines, letting Vickie — a master gardener — water all her plants by hand that first year. But, if Vickie took a break for more than two days, the rain barrels began overflowing. “We realized, ‘Okay, this is working,’” Tom recalls. “‘Now we just need a larger container.’”
“Those hold 275 gallons,” Tom says. “That worked, but we said, ‘Wow, we can’t fill it up.’ So we started hooking into the roof to collect the rainwater. One vat became two became three became four, and that was all good.” Except, Tom continues with a laugh, his wife was busy running around the yard with a sprinkler can for a couple of hours every day. (“I was glad to do it!” Vickie chimes in.) So, next they installed underground piping that tied the cisterns into the sprinkler pump and pressurized the system. But even that wasn’t enough. Why couldn’t they wash their cars and beach chairs and surfboards with the cistern water? That solution led to more waterlines and a red spigot. Remarkably, the reclaimed water system now boasts 3000 gallons of capacity, complete with its own pump room, which can switch between city water, well water, and the cisterns, as needed. “This isn’t a put-it-to-bed type process. It’s an ongoing thing, all the time,” Tom says.
Recently, they went solar to power the pump. All that water gets put to good use on a sprawling patch of land off Tarkle Creek and the Albemarle Sound. All of it developed via trial-and-error. Sure, there were catalogs from garden supply houses and Internet research, but mostly the ideas came from like-minded friends in other parts of the country — even some in the Caribbean — before being implemented with endless tinkering. And now, the Byerses’ system is part of a presentation done by Dare County Soil and Water when other locals have questions. “We both have a lot of curiosity,” Tom says with a laugh. “And type-A personalities.” Somehow, they’ve added even more ways to make sure their personal habits have a positive impact. In addition to the house they bought 25 years ago, Tom and Vickie have since purchased two nearby lots. That’s where Vickie’s master gardener credentials enter the picture, as she aims to remove any invasive plants and turn the land into “natural area.” Yet even that exciting moment included a little extra drama once people heard their plans and envisioned some overgrown forest out of The Jungle Book. Suddenly, they were as concerned with finding the perfect ways to cultivate their yard as they were about cultivating public support. “It’s really difficult to go up against a rigid homeowners association that has covenants and is not flexible,” Tom explains. “You get into a lot of interpretations. If you are from New Jersey and used to living on a golf course, that’s a lot different from having a naturalized lot. It took a lot of convincing and a lot of support from organizations seconding what we were trying to do to get them to yield a bit. The culmination was when the association sent out a mass email to everybody in the Landing, congratulating us on our good environmental work in the community, so they kind of did a 180.” Meanwhile, a range of state and national organizations honored their efforts. Walking up, signs mark the area as a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat, North Carolina Wildlife Federation Butterfly Highway, and a Certified Bird Habitat. And,
last year, Tom and Vickie were honored by the North Carolina Coastal Federation with a Pelican Award for their conservation work. “Now everybody on my street is really happy,” Vickie says. “There’s no house down here they have to worry about; our neighbors know they can come and fish, the kids can come over here and play — it’s lovely.”
A reclaimed water system comes complete with its own pump room.
They’re not finished yet. Vickie’s goal is to get rid of as many invasive species as possible, and as she walks through her new natural area, she lovingly points out natives like wax myrtle, sweet bay, goldenrod, sumac, and countless little pines starting to grow.
A continued tour through the yard includes a glance at a compost pile; a stop at bushes that attracted droves of butterflies back to the area last year; and a visit to a purple martin house, which attracted countless birds once upon a time and likely will again — now that some enterprising rat snakes have been evicted, thanks to a snake baffle Tom found online and made at home. “We sound like a bunch of tree-hugging wackos,” Tom concludes with a laugh.
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“Well, we’re not!” Vickie replies. And then comes the moral of the story for the rest of us. You don’t need 3000 gallons of rainwater stored at your house. Start with 30. You don’t have to be a master gardener. Just plant wisely and conserve energy. “We can all make our area cleaner, better, and more environmentally safe,” Vickie explains. “If we all put up a rain barrel, don’t use fertilizer, plant a couple of extra trees — there are so many steps you can take on your own to improve the environment.” — Steve Hanf
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e S a s h t o n! 4 1 r u o r o f n e p Now O
Shroom bloom. Photo: Buttons Shitake
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FUNGUS AMONG US startingpoint Locally grown mushrooms are popping up everywhere.
From a distance, it looks like the ruins of an old fort — or ancient archeological site. Tucked in the shade of a gentle hill, sixty logs stacked up symmetrically, surrounded by dozens of decaying trunks, like some sort of Neolithic tree shrine.
“We like to call it mushroom-henge,” laughs Margaret Lawler, leading the way through her Southern Shores yard.
Lawler and her husband, Edward, have put 28 years into creating the ultimate backyard ecosystem. Bees flit about their hives. The garden boasts blooms both edible and eyecatching. Eight years ago, they decided to add one often overlooked crop — fungi. Shiitake mushrooms, to be exact.
the spores to new trees, where they work their way into wood and grow naturally. But farming them requires speeding up the process. “Large, commercial operations use sawdust and inject the mycelium directly,” Margaret explains. “For our purposes, we get about 15 sweet gum logs, four- to six-feet in length, which we drill holes into, inoculate, then plug with wax from our bee hives to ensure the mycelium stays put.” The elevated structure keeps them away from bugs and animals — and allows for more shrooms. Because mushrooms feed off the trees, no fertilizer is necessary, but the logs will begin to compost around the twoto-three-year mark. Then it’s time to drill and inject another batch. So far, they’ve had great success with the set-up.
“We actually were just reading about mushrooms,” says Margaret, “and one day we decided to order the mycelium and grow some ourselves.”
Mycelium are the vegetative bit that contains microscopic spores. In the wild, wind carries milepost
“Every year, we get at least 100 pounds,” says Margaret. “We picked some of our favorite restaurants and started up a barter system.”
If you’ve eaten at Kill Devil Grill, Trio or Colington Cafe, you’ve likely benefited from Lawler’s symbiotic shiitake relationship, as chefs clamor for a mix of rustic appeal and the ability to change with new dishes. “It’s the texture,” explains Joe Paneras of Urban Kitchen. “They’re earthy, woodsy and can kind of take the place of meat on the plate. And it’s amazing how they can take on a variety of flavors.” Panera might pair local oyster mushrooms with delicata squash or sunny-side-up eggs with a bacon vinaigrette. Morels work well with wild ramps, asparagus, peas, fresh herbs, and a squeeze of lemon. But, like the best local foods, it’s the time of year that dictates the delicacy. “There are shrooms for every season,” says Joe. “We love to use chanterelles in the fall, morels in the spring — and hen of the woods are also amazing.” Mushrooms aren’t just edible — they’re drinkable, too, which is a great way to capture their health benefits. Besides being a good source of protein, fiber and b-vitamins, they are also adaptogens, which are herbal components that help the body function properly. “My wife and I love to make turkey tail tea,” says Eric Soderholm, who runs Secotan Market in Wanchese. Eric and his wife, Ladd, studied biology and environmental science and now grow hundreds of pounds of mushrooms every year. After filling shiitake orders for Blue Water Grill, Outer Banks Brewing Station, Ocean Boulevard, and others, they opened the Secotan Market as a way to sell directly to the public. Most of their shrooms are shiitakes, but they get “volunteers” as well, like oyster mushrooms. And turkey tails are a special prize. “In a blind study,” Eric notes, “cancer patients who were given a turkey tail tincture had a higher survival rate.” Of course, Eastern cultures have embraced the medicinal power of mushrooms for millennia. The West? Not as much. Outside of health food stores — and Phish concerts
— most Americans see fungi as strictly food. But that’s changing, as more studies show mushrooms can help stave off dementia or even fight obesity. New trials are testing psilocybin’s — so-called “magic mushrooms” — psychedelic traits to treat depression and PTSD. Still, our attitudes are well behind Asia and even Europe, where foraging for mushrooms is a common outdoor activity.
Studies show mushrooms can stave off dementia or fight obesity.
“It almost seems like Americans have a fungi-phobia,” says Eric. “But folks do seem to be taking more of an interest in it. There’s nothing like heading out and finding them in person.” Still, it comes with serious risks, both legal — foraging within The Nature Conservancy is a prosecutable offense — and, occasionally, lethal. “It’s important to know what you are looking for,” Eric insists. “There are some deadly lookalikes for edibles out there.” The easiest place to go looking? Online. Shiitake kits go for as little as $30 — log included. Inoculate in early spring, and in eight to 12 months you should see tightly furled caps beginning to pop up. When the cap becomes wide and flat, and you can feel the gills underneath, they are ready to harvest. Take a knife and cut at the base. Repeat as necessary. As with every harvestable fruit, weather’s key. Extreme heat and cold will keep the yield down. So does wind. (The Soderholms protect their logs with plastic sheets.) But with enough rain and cool weather, the results can be nothing short of fantastic. “After Matthew, we had 80 pounds in a day,” Eric recalls. “When you peel back the plastic and see the mist of the spores dancing through the air, it truly makes for a magical moment.” — Fran Marler milepost 51
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artisticlicense Nena Roy does a rocksolid portrait of Bob Ross. Photo: Jeff Flint
“It’s important,” says Roy. “Because that’s what keeps the group active.”
During summer, sometimes OBX “Rocks” will man a booth at the Manteo Farmers’ Market, stocking up on kids’ creative works. And in winter, when she isn’t working on personal art projects, Roy says she paints as many as six rocks per day to bolster supply — as well as her spirits.
“I start painting, time passes by, and I haven’t thought about anything I’m upset about,” she explains. “And then it feels good to give.”
Painting stones to promote positivity.
Grandma sits in an easy chair holding a newspaper. Her neck wears a brace, her left leg sports a cast, and the headline reads: “Grandma got run over by a reindeer.” Behind her, a mounted reindeer head hangs on the wall beside Grandma’s thought bubble, which reads, “Run over me will you??”
This cartoon by Michael Cocchia is one of many quirky images you might find hidden across the Outer Banks, thanks to OBX “Rocks,” a Facebook group that encourages people to share positive vibes by painting on stones.
milepost “What we’re trying to accomplish is
kindness,” says Cocchia. “With the world the way it is today, we need more kindness in it.” OBX “Rocks” is part of a larger effort called the Kindness Rock Project. Founded in Massachusetts by Megan Murphy, the group encourages people to paint stones and stash them in public places for someone else to discover and then hide someplace new — thereby perpetuating goodwill. April
Hawkins started the local chapter in 2016. And there are groups all over the world that share their finds on Facebook, adding new members with each colorful post. “Our group hit the 10,000 [member] mark a couple months ago,” says Nena Roy, one of the local group administrators. “Some of our rocks have traveled to Iceland, to Germany, to Bermuda.” Today, you might find a small boulder from Buxton near a Kitty Hawk beach access — or pick up a pink-flower from Pittsburgh in front of a KDH coffee shop. Every discovery is contagious, causing a chain reaction of creativity. Some people inspired by the Kindness Rock Project, like Cocchia, never knew they were artists. The New York retiree stumbled upon one of Roy’s rocks and decided to make one himself. Now he’s hosting artist parties, where any number of scenes might come to life to ultimately end up scattered about.
rekindled her lifelong passion for drawing. Now she regularly decorates rocks with turtles, fish and mermaids, and she is one of a dedicated crew of members who paints almost daily.
There are Avalon pier sunsets and brilliant beachscapes. Familiar monuments and
flying saucers. Roy’s been known to depict Elton John, Prince and other rock stars (pun intended), while Cocchia tends toward characters like Mickey Mouse, Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and Stewie Griffin from Family Guy. “I’m not as talented as the other people,” he admits. “So I can’t do a lot of scenes and blending paints the way they should be. People seem to like it, so that’s what I stick with.”
“Some of our rocks have traveled to Iceland, to Germany, to Bermuda.”
People like Clorinda Lake. She spotted Cocchia camouflaging cartoons behind a Kitty Hawk store. And while she didn’t quite get the concept at first — “I thought he was a little crazy” — the discovery
That’s why the group encourages people who find rocks to be sure to hide them elsewhere — or replace them with an original work to generate more positive feelings. In some cases, a random perk can ease major life changes. Mary Lee Davieds found one of Cocchia’s Stewies on the same day she retired after 40 years of teaching. “It was definitely a cute thrill,” she says. “I was, like, ‘score!’” But mostly, it’s just a daily exercise in spreading happiness, no matter the occasion — or the medium. For co-administrator Scheryl Layne, the preferred canvas is seashells. (“Down in Hatteras Island, we don’t have access to a lot of rocks.”) But the Virginia transplant’s reasons for painting and sharing remain set in stone. “I found my first rock down at the marina where my husband has his boat. I had worked all that day and I was frazzled,” she recalls. “It made me smile because I knew what it was about, even though I couldn’t make out the picture. It was color — no rhyme or reason, just paint on a rock.” — Corinne Saunders Ed Note: Wanna paint rocks? Or meet the artists? Look for the OBX “Rocks” page on Facebook. milepost 53
Foothills Beer Dinner
Big Red Blind Wine Dinner
Thursday March 28 • 7:00-9:00 pm • Tickets $57.00
Saturday March 30 • 7:30-9:30 pm • Tickets $89.00
Come enjoy our annual Foothills Brewery Beer Dinner. Eight courses prepared by Chef Scott Foster and personally paired with eight NC beers from Foothills Brewery, presented by Joe Stewart from Foothill’s Brewery. Beer and food lovers will be tantalized with the pairings and course offerings. A fun casual experience for all! Ticket price does NOT include gratuity. Please bring some pocket cash for tipping your server.
Enjoy TEN big red wines (each with a retail price of over $100/bottle). Start with a blind tasting of each, then score and learn about these big red delicious wines. Next, savor a dinner of roast prime rib, pork loin, potatoes au gratin and seasonal vegetables. WOW, will these wines change with food! Special savings on the purchase of these the wines during this event only.
H C A E B E H T F O E ST TA X B O 19 20 JOIN US FOR THE Outer Banks Seafood Pot to go
Breakfast Lunch and Dinner
Local Shrimp, Oysters, Clams and Crab with Smoked Sausage, Potatoes and Corn on the Cob, Butter and Cocktail Sauce. $21.99 per person. Yankee Seafood Pot: Lobster Tail, Clams, Mussels and Scallops with Smoked Sausage, Potatoes, Corn on the Cob, Butter and Cocktail Sauce. $25.99 per person. Custom Seafood Pots are also available, call for pricing and availability. Pick up at Cravings Location in Duck. “We build the pot, you cook it!”
Serving Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Seven Days a Week. Patio Dining Available (weather permitting) - Pet Friendly.
“Available year round.”
1209 Duck Rd - Duck, NC • 252-480-0032 • Cravingsobx.com milepost
gosurf outthere gohunt THE LAND O’ LAKES WAR rearview
a Gom Adrian Art by
I used to think my dad was the smartest man in the world.
Since my sister rode the school bus, I was the sole witness to the Land O’ Lakes War. The trouble began when Daddy buttered his toast. Mom brought the food to the table as it was finished. On one of her trips to the table, Mom would notice that Daddy had committed the ultimate sin: he left bread crumbs in the butter. When Mom saw this she would explode with rage.
When I was young, I used to think my dad was the smartest man in the world. No matter where we went people asked his advice regarding banking matters and his opinions on world events. Why didn’t Daddy change the way he buttered his toast?
Mom: Roscoe, look what you have done.
1. Cut a larger piece of butter and don’t double dip.
Daddy: What did I do wrong?
2. Use one knife to cut the butter and another to spread it. (Both of my parents grew up on farms with just the basic necessities of life. They may not have heard of a butter knife, but a second table knife would do the same job.)
Mom: You left crumbs in the butter. Now it is dirty. Daddy: That butter is not dirty. That is nothing but bread crumbs. We eat bread every day. Mom: No, that butter is dirty and it has to be thrown out. Daddy: There is absolutely nothing wrong with a few crumbs in the butter. Back and forth this argument continued until breakfast was over. At some point Daddy would try to scrape off the bread crumbs and leave for work but this didn’t satisfy Mom. It would have to be sacrificed because of Mom’s obsessive-compulsive cleanliness. As soon as Daddy closed the door she grabbed the butter dish and dumped the “contaminated” butter into the trash. Amnesia must have overcome my dad while he slept. The following morning the butter battle scene was repeated word for word. And the day after that, and the following day and. . . you get the picture.
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A few ideas came to me:
3. Eat dry toast. Cut the butter, cut calories, and cut the argument. Any one of these ideas would have ended the butter war. Daddy was smart in many areas but seemed to be clueless in this topic. Was that small morsel of butter really worth ruining breakfast and starting the day off on a bad note? Once I started school, I got on the bus before Daddy left for work. Only God knows when the Land O’ Lakes War ended and how many sticks of butter were sacrificed during the years.
The Waterfront Shops • Duck
I don’t know who eventually won the war, but I suspect it was Mother, since she always won any battle. Poor little innocent stick of butter. It had no idea how much discontent it caused. — Sharon Whitehurst milepost 55
Clay will be performing Meriwether Lewis, Sir Walter Raleigh and a special Shakespeare show.
endnotes Dumpster diver alert! Dare County’s Large Item Pick-Up lumbers thru Colington Harbor (Mar. 5), Colington Road (Mar. 19), Buxton, Frisco & Hatteras (Apr. 8), Avon (Apr. 9), Rodanthe, Waves & Salvo (Apr. 10) and Martin’s Point (Apr. 16). For info on acceptable items and how to bundle them, go to www.darenc.com or call Dare County Public Works at 252475-5895. (PS: Stay tuned to your town’s websites for bulk pick-up dates.) • Thread your way to Roanoke Island Festival Park, Mar. 8-22, for the annual Outer Banks Community Quilt Show’s stunning selection of stitchwork. And Queen Anne’s Revenge Traveling Exhibit offers a sneak peek of Blackbeard’s nautical bits thru Apr. 30. Times and days at www.roanokeisland.com. • A fusillade of wiffleballs fires upon KDH’s Dare County Parks & Rec Center, Mar. 8, for a Pickleball Tournament Benefiting Dare Hospice. Proceeds support an Ongoing Grief Group, which meets at KDH’s Baum Senior Center the second and fourth Mon. of every month. For more info, call 252-475-5057 or 252-426-8785. • You think that’s a battle? Try getting your kids into summer camp. Luckily, registration for Jennette’s Pier’s Adventure Camps already started, including a range of outdoor activities, from safety to surfing, plus a whole new concept — REEL Shredders Camp — which mixes hopping waves with hooking fish. Get details at www.jennettespier.net. • Or, nurture your science nerd’s natural curiosity with a series of STEAM-themed Coastal Studies Institute Summer Camps that cover interests like shipwrecks and SCUBA, estuaries and inlets, stingrays and sharks. Register now at www.coastalstudiesinstitute. org. • Word nerds can meet the first African American Poet Laureate of NC, Jaki Shelton Green, busts rhymes — and social myths — at Kitty Hawk’s UUCOB, Mar. 8. Poet-Laureate of NC, Mar. 9, when the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Outer Banks’ Cultural Crossroads Series hosts Jaki Shelton Green for a presentation on how communities survive through art, music, stories, and crafts. 7pm. More at www.uucob.org. • Encourage aquatic athletes with freestyle rhymes when Special Olympics’ Dare County Invitational Swim Meet comes to the YMCA, Mar. 10. Get updates on Facebook. • Then cheer on a community hero when Outer Banks Brewing Station hosts Toast of the Town, Mar. 12, Apr. 9 & May 12. This monthly event celebrates residents who make a real difference and features live music by the Dare2Care OBX Shredders. 5:30-9pm. Learn more on Facebook. • On Mar. 13, OBX Green Drinks gathers at Waverider’s to pour over environmental issues and enjoy a few pints with a 7pm presentation by Outer Banks Adventures’ Jamie Moore. Get details — and speakers for Apr. 10 & May 8 — at www.obxgreendrinks.blogspot.com. • Watermen’s Bar & Grill’s St. Patrick’s Day Party keeps the green theme flowing on Mar. 15, as the Real Watersports crew converts cold beer and cool people into one smoking rager. More at www. realwatersports.com. • On, Mar. 16, Currituck Beach Lighthouse puts out the welcome mat for 2019 by offering free climbs from 9am-5pm. Plus, meet Amadeo, a Corolla wild horse, between10am-1pm. Follow them on Facebook for seasonal updates. • And eat a golden brown yardbird every Mon. at Rundown Café’s Fried Chicken Night, Mar. 1-May
Monday, March 25 • 7:30 p.m. Hilton Garden Inn, Kitty Hawk
SIR WALTER RALEIGH
Tuesday, March 26 • 7:30 p.m. Sound Stage at the Lost Colony, Manteo
SHAKESPEARE, THE MAGIC OF WORDS
Wednesday, March 27 • 7:30 p.m First Flight High school, Kill Devil Hills All tickets $15 For more information visit
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20. Extra crispy details at www.rundowncafe.com. • Aloha-yeah! Kill Devil Disco returns to Bonzer Shack, Mar. 16, with a pu-pu platter of tasty tracks by DJ Al Key — plus plenty of trippy visuals, crazy cocktails, and freaky-tiki behavior. Repeat performances Apr. 20 & May 18. 10pm. Get da scoops at www.bonzershack.com. • Duck’s Village Table & Tavern is serving up sweet tunes every Sat. — including Phil Watson (Mar. 16 & 30 and Apr. 13 & 27), Scott Sechman (Mar. 23), Ruth Wyand (Apr. 6) and Birddog (Apr. 20). (More at www. villagetableandtavern.com.) And sister hot spot, Trio, hops Fri., Sat. & Tues. nights, with live acts like Two Amigos (Mar. 1 & 16), Birddog (Mar. 2 & 22), and The Wilders (Mar. 29). Plus Sun. brunch is your chance to have breakfast with morning songbirds Michelle Fernandez (Mar. 3), Natalie Wolfe (Mar. 10), and Laura Martier (Mar. 17). 12-3pm. Get the full menu at www.triowinebeercheese.com. • Start the weekend by wine-ing down at Sanctuary Vineyards, where Acoustic Sunsets feature Fri. troubadours like Jerry Lupton (Mar. 8), Trevor Daniel (Mar. 22), Rachel Dickerson (Apr. 19), and Paul Urban (Apr. 26). 5-8pm. More at www.sanctuaryvineyards.com. • Wanna give your legs a workout — while giving others a leg up? Enter Mar. 16’s Running of the Leprechauns — and stick around for an Irish-themed after-party — to support the Dare Education Foundation and the Outer Bank Relief Foundation. Sign up at www.obxse.org. • Exercise your liver and funny bone when another St. Patty’s Beer-Mile chugs into the Outer Banks Brewing Station, Mar. 16. Then loop back to put reps on those biceps — and a hurting on bivalves — when the Backyard Oyster Roast doles out $10 dozens, Mar. 24 & Apr. 28. Size up the details at www.obbrewing.com. • On Mar. 17, the 30th Annual Kelly’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade promises smiles for miles — and hangovers for days — as marching bands, slap-sticking Shriners, and random weirdoes strut their stuff down the Beach Road. Line-up between Bladen St. and Driftwood St. before 1pm. More at www.outerbanks.org. • The 4th Annual Ocracoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade starts early with a 12pm Pre-Parade Party at 1718 Ocracoke Brewing, before floating to the Ocracoke Bar & Grille for an official march sometime ’round 1pm. Get slightly less fuzzy details at www.visitocracokenc.com. • Everyone’s favorite floating nanny, Mary Poppins, descends upon First Flight High School for three supercalifragilisticexpialidocious spring shows: Mar. 21 & 22 (7pm), and Mar. 23 (2pm). $8 ($6 for students, children and senior citizens). Follow the FFHS Facebook page for updates. • And don’t slack now, Dare County seniors! A million bucks in scholarship money awaits! Ask your guidance counselor for details and apply before Mar. 28. Then come back for your check — and some cheers — at one of three Senior Scholarship Nights: Manteo High School, May 13; FFHS, May 14; and the Cape Hatteras Civic Center, May 29. (PS: Outer Banks Community Foundation administers 50 scholarship funds for seniors and adult continuing education students at College of the Albemarle. Deadline to apply is Mar. 31. Visit www.obcf.org/scholarships for details.) • On Mar. 20, celebrate the changing seasons by charging the Jockey’s Ridge Spring Nature Hike at 10am, then come back for three more morning Soundside Nature Hikes, Apr. 11 & 25, and May 9. Or huddle indoors for a series of 2pm presentations and learn All About the Ridge, Mar. 21, Apr. 16 & 21, and May 2. Gritty details at www.ncparks.gov. • On Mar. 22, Manteo’s Dare County Arts Council kicks things up a notch when Amy Gaw curates The Art of the Recipe, featuring local work inspired by recipes found at the Outer Banks History Center. And you have until Mar. 26 to catch James Melvin’s month-long Peace exhibit, which features oils, acrylics pastels, and drawings by the legendary local illustrator. More at www.darearts.org. • On Mar. 23, Coastal Provisions’ 11th Annual Chowder Cook-Off officially kicks off eatin’ season with a briny, bubbly showdown between local chefs. $20 buys (near) endless samples plus two drink tickets. 12-3:30pm. Tix and tidbits at www.coastalprovisionsmarket.com. • Hankering for historical interpretations? Creator of The Thomas Jefferson Hour, Clay Jenkinson, delivers three fresh characters this spring. On Mar. 25, Meriwether Lewis comes to Kitty Hawk’s Hilton Garden Inn. On Mar. 26, Sir Walter Raleigh appears at Manteo’s Lost Colony Sound Stage. And Shakespeare shows up at First Flight High School, Mar. 27. 7:30pm.
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endnotes Grab $15 tix and details at www.bryanculturalseries.org. (PS: On Mar. 29, CJ plays TJ for sizzling Mar. 30 show — and backed it up with a spicy performance by Bret Bollinger of Coastal Provisions’ Thomas Jefferson Hour Wine Dinner as part of Taste of the Beach.) Pepper on Apr. 6. Tasty tidbits at www.obbrewing.com. • Be at Glenn Eure’s Ghost Fleet • That’s just one of many first-rate performances for the 2019 Gallery, Apr. 1, for the opening reception of the 24th Annual OBX Taste of the Beach, Mar. 28-31. On Mar. 28 a Duck Art of the Self Portrait, where top local talents produce Elizabethan Gardens is aflutter with April Tapas Crawl bounces between Blue Point, Roadside, humorous visual and literary selfies through May 9. More at butterfly events. Photo: Dan Waters. Aqua, and Red Sky Café, while Kitty Hawk’s Sandtrap Tavern www.glenneureart.com. • Meanwhile, Roanoke Island Festival gives BBQ fans a lesson in Thrills on Grills. Mar. 29’s Blue Park gets seriously juvenile when the Dare County High Water’s Shucked 5 Ways is a veritable orgy for bivalve lovers. School Art Show showcases the best young local talent, Apr. Mar. 30 features intoxicating educational options, like a Lost 1-May 1. Details at www.roanokeisland.com. • And only a fool Colony Beer School 101 and Cravings’ Big Red Blind Wine would miss May 9’s 7th Annual OBX Tourism Summit on Dinner. Mar. 31’s Sunday Jazz Brunch at the Brew Pub marketing trends and topics facing the Outer Banks vacation overflows with endless effervescence. And every single day is a market — plus a keynote speech by communications expert, chance to visit Sanctuary Vineyards for Toast of the Coast: a Janine Driver. Early bird registration ends Apr. 1 at www. Selection of NC’s Finest Wines and Cheeses. • And headsouterbanks.org. • Apr. 2’s another chance to visit Margaritaville up! Mar. 30’s BBQ & Wing Showdown and Mar. 31’s Grand at Hurricane Mo’s as the OBX Pirates Parrothead Club Tasting both moved to Nags Head’s Soundside Live Event parties for a purpose, the first Tues. of each month at 6pm. Site to make extra room — plus, on Mar. 29, they host a new Learn more at www.obxparrotheadclub.com. • April is all about Taste of the Beach Locals Night. From 5-7pm, this free family butterflies at Elizabethan Gardens, including art classes by event features live music followed by a movie — surrounded by Robin York every Tues. (Butterflies on Canvas) and Thurs. cool peoples and tasty vendors. Get full details on these and (Batik Butteflies). Each Wed. features a Butterfly Release at dozens more events at www.obxtasteofthebeach.com. • Need 10am sharp. And on Apr. 13, come out for a grand Butterfly to burn off a few billion calories between bites? The Ball, where kids ages 4-12 enjoy arts and crafts, butterfly Blackbeard’s Revenge 100 Mile, 100 Mile Relay & 100K releases, bouncy houses, educational seminars, and more. 11amsweats from Corolla to Hatteras on Mar. 30. Google for deets. • Sounds like the Brew Pub 3pm. Find times, pricing and more events at www.elizabethangardens.org. • On Apr. 5, wants the TOBy for “tastiest pun.” They booked Appalachian funk act Dr. Bacon for a forget shaving — and shearing — as Bearded Face Productions brings Baltimore’s Mama’s
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Find gosurfit all in Duck.
Save the date! The 2019 Duck Jazz Festival is coming October 12-13. Visit duckjazz.com for info and updates.
Duck’s walkable village has everything you could want or need, from a sound side boardwalk to stores, galleries, and eateries. Enjoy free live events at the Town Park and stroll along the newly completed pedestrian paths. Find it all in Duck.
Visit doducknc.com for a shopping guide and info on special events held by Duck Village Merchants.
Beach Clean-Ups resume this spring with weekly sweeps featuring prizes from local Black Sheep to Sandtrap Tavern for a free 6pm show. Sneak a listen at www. businesses. For sched. and details, follow OBX5MinuteBeachCleanUp on Instagram and mamasblacksheep.com. • And Dare County Arts Council uses Apr. 5’s First Friday to Facebook. • Remember: The Gem Center’s Harmony Cafe at Kitty Hawk United reveal a one-of-a-kind collaboration of photo, music and furniture talents called The Life of Methodist Church is a place where seniors get memory care in a safe, supportive and Trees Among Us, 6-8pm. (Closes Apr. 30.) And come back Apr. 12 as Gordon and Cathy engaging environment: Apr. 6, May 11 & June 1. 11am. Keep updated on Facebook. • Kreplin perform as Duo Romantico to open Journeys, a photo exploration that hangs Prefer a good Mind Eraser? On Apr. 7, local mixologists mix up future blackout fodder in a through Apr. 26. More at www.darearts.org. • And while you’re downtown, pop on your battle for bragging rights at the Outer Banks Brewing Station’s Bartender Games. More pocket protection and pop into Festival Park for Theatre of Dare’s final farce of the at www.obbrewing.com. • From Apr. 12-14, buccaneering fitness buffs bound down Bay season, The Nerd, which runs Apr. 5-7 & 12-14. Fri. & Sat., 7:30pm; Sun., 2pm. Tix are $12 for adults and $6 for students. Full deets at www.theatreofdareobx.com. • Drive for the First Flight 5K and Flying Pirate Half Marathon. Start Sat. with a The cultural exploits continue, Apr. 6, as the Outer Banks Forum for the 13.1-mile race from Kitty Hawk to Nags Head, then do laps around Wright 2019 Lively Arts presents Cordis, a contemporary chamber music quartet that Memorial for Sun.’s shorter 5k. Pace yourself; you can’t miss the post-race plays everything from ancient typewriters to eerie Australian howling tubes. Pirate Jamboree. Sign up at www.obxse.org. • Need a good reason to dash 7:30pm at First Flight High. $28. $15 for students. Full calendar and tix at south Apr. 13? Clean up any Hatteras Island or Ocracoke access ramp for the www.outerbanksforum.org. • Fans of rusty pipes and sunken treasure NCBBA Operation Beach Respect and Adopt A Highway Event. 7:30amrejoice! The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum’s Underwater Heritage 12pm. Learn more at www.ncbba.org. • Even better, get out of Dodge — and Symposium returns Apr. 6, when professional divers and underwater score some fresh duds — when Apr. 13’s Spring Ocracoke Island Wide Yard archaeologists share shipwreck experiences and cutting-edge research from Sale lets you pillage villagers’ closets. Updates at www.visitocracokenc.com. • Build 10am-5pm. Come back Apr. 9 as Daniel Pullen’s photography dives deep into fishing your library with leftover literature — or donate an old doorstop — when the Dare traditions with a 5-7pm opening reception for Endangered Community: The County Literacy Council’s Spring Book Sale returns to KDH Rec Park, Apr.13-14. (Sat., Independent Waterman Project. And Apr. 10, learn how to help the museum at an 11am 9-3pm; Sun., 12-3pm.) Every Dickens, Dumas and dollar supports local efforts to teach preVolunteer Meet & Greet. Deets and a complete calendar — including the 2pm Salty school and adult readers. For drop-off points and volunteer opps., call 252-216-7773 or Dawg Lecture Series every Tues. — at www.graveyardoftheatlantic.com. • On Apr. 6, fend visit www.dareliteracy.org. • Nod your head to musical knowledge, Apr. 13, when the off land-based flotsam and jetsam when KDH’s Annual Trash Attack! converges on Elizabeth City State University Jazz Ensemble returns to Unitarian Universalist Aviation Park to clean roadsides and ditches from 9am-1pm. (Rain date: Apr. 7, 1:30pm.) Congregation of the Outer Banks for an evening of improvisational jams and jazz history. More at www.kdhnc.com. • Community action is quick and easy when OBX 5-Minute More at www.uucob.org. • You call that a wind instrument? Wait till you see 300
endnotes sailboarders descend upon Avon, Apr. 13-20, for Ocean Air Sport’s OBX-WIND — North 20, including a homemade bake sale, egg roll, and bonnet/hat contest. (PS: Come back Apr. America’s largest windsurfing event — where Long Distance and Slalom races cover a full 28 for the Spring & Sip for Floral Arranging class with Carl Curnutte.) Get times and range of skills, plus nightly festivities, including raffles and a Fri. night awards party at the pricing at www.elizabethangardens.org. • Red, gold and plenty of green — those are all the Mad Crabber. Registration and schedule at www.oceanairsports.com. • Actors “boo” the colors you need for two Apr. 20 reggaefests. First, the Brewing Station’s 420 Party packs audience when Ghosts of the Lost Colony returns Apr. up the Buddha Council — times and tix at www. 15-27. Every Mon.- Sat. explore the grounds with a team obbrewing.com — plus SensiTrails returns to Secret Hundreds of sailboarders blow into Avon for OBX-Wind, Apr. 13-20. of paranormal experts seeking nightly spirits leftover Island for an extra irie experience. More at www. from the infamous missing settlement and 80 years of secretislandobx.com. • Give your lungs a healthier dramatic performances. $20. Free for kids under 5. Get workout when the 6th Annual Hoppin’ 5k/10k & Fun times and deets at www.thelostcolony.org. • Rather help Run blazes through Manteo, Apr. 20. Bounce to www. bring the past to life? Join the Outer Banks History theobxrunningcompany.com to register. • Or just burn Center’s annual meeting on Apr. 18. (Call 252-473-2655 rubber when the 17th Annual Outer Banks Bike Week for deets.) And snag a peek at this spring’s watermenrumbles ’cross town, Apr. 20-28, including The Outer themed exhibit, “A Look at North Carolina Fisheries” Banks Bike Rally at Vertigo Tattoo, where Dare from right now till Apr. 26. • Creativity springs eternal, County Motorsports Charity Group hosts a Poker Apr. 19, when Island Art Shows draw 20-plus local Run and Bikini Contest, Apr. 25-27. Find a full sched. talents to Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Community Center, and updates on their Facebook page. • Calling all displaying everything from paintings to photos to rootheads! Apr. 21’s 2nd Annual Ocracoke Island woodwork to jewelry to benefit causes like the OBX Waterfowl Festival is a gaggle of decoys, raffles, food, SPCA and Hatteras Island Meals. 10am-4pm. Repeat and fun. (8am-6pm.) Or if you’d rather fly south to run show May 27. Get updates on Facebook. • Seek colored amok, the 8th Annual Scallywag 5K/10K/Family Fun eggs amongst sand hills — and spot chromatic kites between clouds — when Kitty Hawk Run & 4th Annual Blackbeard’s Half Marathon loop back Apr. 27-28. More at www. Kites’ Flying into Spring & Easter EGGstravaganza returns to Jockey’s Ridge, Apr. 19runocracoke.com. • KDH’s Spring Bulk Trash Collection begins Apr. 22. Kick your king20. More at www.kittyhawk.com. • Or find brilliant orbs among beautiful blooms when sized crap to the curb between Apr. 7-21. Get the rules on what’s acceptable rubbish at Elizabethan Gardens Easter EGGstravaganza fills the grounds with fun and festivities, Apr. www.kdhnc.com. • Silver athletes scrap for gold, Apr. 22-May 4, when the Outer Banks
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Senior Games serves up 20-plus events, including tennis, cycling, swimming, bocce, and basketball. Call 252-475-5638 with any questions. • Enjoy a free casual stroll with an NC Aquarium expert when Town of Duck’s Nature on the Boardwalk series returns, Apr. 23 at 9am, with follow-up walks, Apr. 30 (6:30pm), May 8 (9am), & May 14 (6:30pm). Space is limited so call 252-255-1234 to register. • Wallow in piles of pre-owned gear — or score killer deals on new rigs — when the Real Watersports Swap Meet returns to Waves, Apr. 26-27. Plus taste the freshest suds at Apr. 26’s Carolina Brewery Tapping Party. More at www.realwatersports.com. • Show Mother Nature you care when Earth Fair OBX VII comes to Dowdy Park, Apr. 27. From 1-4 pm, the Town of Nags Head, NC Coastal Federation, and Coastal Environmental Educator’s Network host a range of local orgs that help keep the Outer Banks clean and green — plus family-friendly activities, live music, tree plantings, and more. Go to www. nccf.org for the latest. • Then go pound a pint for the planet when the 6th Annual OBX CARES Earth Day Celebration posts up at the Brew Pub, Apr. 27. From 3-7pm, the backyard abounds with local environmental and animal organizations, fun, games, and tree-hugging shenanigans. More at www. obbrewing.com. • Explore architectural works of art when the 2019 Southern Shores Historic Flat Top Cottage Tour opens up ten classic examples, Apr. 27, 1-5pm. Show up at 156 Wax Myrtle Trail to buy tix. (One for $10; two for $15; three for $20; and four for $25.) Proceeds benefit the Flat Top Preservation Fund of the Outer Banks Community Foundation. For details email email@example.com. • Fill up on tasty Mexican food — and spice up a needy kid’s summer — when the 3rd Annual OBX Taco Cook-Off returns to Ortega’z Southwestern Grill & Wine Bar on Apr. 28. From 12-3pm, every tortilla filled funds a child’s weeklong adventure camp at Jennette’s Pier. Find deets on Facebook. • Gotta case of the run-bike-runs? Better dash to Corolla for another OBXDUO,
which mixes cycling and trotting on Apr. 28. More at www.theobxrunningcompany.com. • On May 3, get the angle on Angel Fritz as Dare County Arts Council unveils her solo exhibit at 6pm as part of First Friday. (Hangs through May 28.) And, on May 5, make time for the 22nd Mollie Fearing Memorial Arts Show’s opening reception at 2pm. This annual favorite fills the gallery with eclectic local works thru May 31. Details at www.darearts.org. • Vintage rides, souped-up wheels, and other examples of automotive art dazzle the town for the first-ever OBX Hot Rod & Custom Festival. May 3-4. Get a full breakdown at www. obxrodandcustomfestival.com. • On May 4, come out to Secret Island for an Auto Show After-Party with Johnny Waters. And gather up the girls and come back May 11 as the Las Vegas Male Revue shows off their hot rods. More hard facts at www.secretislandobx.com. • Little shredders exhaust the competition — and burn the Jennette’s Pier lineup — when the ESA Mid-Atlantic Regional Surfing Championship returns, May 3-5. Cheer on the home team as they face groms and geezers from Delaware to SC. More at www. surfesa.org. • Watch Brett Barley charge the North Shore — while Surfline’s geeks drop knowledge bombs — when Real Watersports hosts the O’Neill Wave of the Winter Party, May 4. More at www.realwatersports.com. • Not the nerds you’re looking for? Hop a land-speeder and head north to celebrate May the Fourth when Town of Duck’s Movie on the Green presents Star Wars: A New Hope. Go to www. townofduck.com for details, you will. • Duck’s Tap Shack is a musical force to be reckoned with in May, as they offer free 6:30pm shows by El Dub (May 3), Of Tomorrow (May 4), The Plate Scrapers (May 10), Vintage Pistol (May 24), Bad Weather Birds (May 25), and Folkjet (May 27). Find updates and an impending Summer Concert Series calendar on Facebook. • Ay de mi! It’s May 5! Head to Outer Banks Brewing Station for a kid-friendly Cinco de Mayo Party, or just crash your closest cantina for some drinks and divertido. • On
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1630 N. Croatan Hwy • Kill Devil Hills • MP ”Lucky 7” • 158 Bypass milepost 61
endnotes facing a range of challenges — like autism, down syndrome, and cerebral palsy — enjoy May 5, trade the tired sombrero and margarita for a fresh mint julep and frilly fascinator, as ocean sports like surfing, kayaking and more. Sign up, learn more or volunteer at www. Elizabethan Gardens’ Kentucky Derby Party promises an evening of exciting auctions, bestdayfoundation.org. • And Nags Head’s Soundside Live overflows with stoke when the live music, colorful hats, and southern charms — plus a broadcast of the big race — all to Dare2Care OBX ShredFest returns, May 18. From 1:30-8:30pm, two stages rock with live benefit the grounds and the Dare Education Foundation. 3-8pm. Tix and deets at www. music — while the half-pipe rolls with skaters, BMXers and derby girls — and the proceeds elizabethangardens.org. • Come May 6, First Flight High School blooms with bassoons as help benefit veterans and special needs communities. More at www.dare2careobx.com. the Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts presents The Virginia Symphony at 7:30pm. • Meanwhile, in Corolla, the Mustang Spring Jam 8 doubles up on the ditties by doing two $28 ($15 for students). Buy tix at www.outerbanksforum.org. • May 9 & 10 promise to be days of bands at Mike Dianna’s Grill Room, May 18-19, including Ghost Light, Mojo more somber affairs when Buxton and Ocracoke’s British War Graves Ceremonies Collins and The Mustang Outreach Program Student Bands. Sched and tix at www. remember the 37 British sailors who died when a torpedo sunk the HMS Bedfordshire in mustangmusicfestival.com. • On May 25, Sanctuary Vineyards starts a long, strange and 1942. 11am-1pm. Find service details at www.graveyardoftheatlantic.com. • Know any MILFs? (Mothers you’d like to footrace?) Bring ’em to the 36th Annual Nags Head Woods tasty trip with Truckin’ — a new summer tradition of hosting local food trucks and live tunes every Sat. at a new outdoor pavilion. Food served 11am-4pm; music from 12pm. More at 5K on May 11, where categories include Fastest Mom on the Beach trophy — and all net www.sanctuaryvineyards.com. • Meanwhile, May 25’s OBX PaddlePalooza is like a Dead proceeds support local charities. More at www.nagsheadwoods5krun.org. • Got kids you show for SUP-heads as Hatteras Island’s wanna craft with? Take ’em to Dowdy Ocean Air Sports hosts an all-day party Park, May 11, for Dare County Arts for every stripe of fan, from expert racers Council’s 30th Annual Artrageous, and to just plain rookies. Get updates at www. a full day of face painting, friendly vendors, oceanairsports.com. • And the summer live music, and creative expression. 10fishing season starts to blitz down south, 3pm. Details at www.darearts.org. • More May 25, as the Russell Privet NCBBA of a connoisseur — or a critic — than a Membership and Guest Tournament creator? On May 11, head to the posts up on Hatteras and Ocracoke Waterfront Shops’ Duck and Beyond beaches, while the Frank & Fran’s 2nd Art Show, where local talents like Mike Annual Kayak Fishing Tournament Rowe and Dawn Moraga show their finest paddles for pescados, May 25-27. Learn efforts in hopes of cash prizes, and local more at www.ncbba.org. • Historic phenom Travis Fowler judges his friends. Corolla Park pre-games the summer 11am-4pm. (Rain date: May 12.) Find more festivities by hosting Memorial Day Beach on Facebook. • Fundraising, fashion and a Blast, May 26. From 12-4pm enjoy music French-themed fête combine to raise funds by Soul Intent, plus bounce houses, for the Outer Banks Relief Foundation games and a cornhole tournament. No when Couture by the Shore: Tres Chic outside alcohol, no dogs, and no coolers. Charité comes to Duck Woods Country Full rules at www.visitcurrituck.com. • Duck Club, May 11. From 11am-3pm, fine Celebrate nearly fifty years of flying prowess when Kitty Hawk Kites’ 47th Annual Hang Gliding Spectacular starts the season with military precision, boutiques such as Birthday Suits, lands at Jockey’s Ridge, May 16-20. May 27, as the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Whalebone, Baree 2 Warehouse, Gray’s, Zen & Zip, and Untucked preview spring styles — while attendees eat, drink and go “ooh la Band headlines a Memorial Day Summer Kick-Off Concert on Town Green at 6pm sharp. Report to www.townofduck.com for better intel. • Down south, your marching orders la!” For tix call 252-261-2004 or visit www.outerbanksrelieffoundation.com. • That evening, are to proceed directly to Avon’s Koru Beach Klub for May 27’s 8th Annual Shore Break an ensemble of pianists strut their stuff when the Bryan Cultural Series brings the Four 5K & Tide Pool Fun Run where proceeds help the Hatteras Island Youth Education Seasons Chamber Music Series back to All Saints Episcopal Church, May 11. 7:30pm. Fund. Dash to www.hatterasyouth.com for deets. • The 2nd Annual White Trash Beer $15. Details and tix at www.bryanculturalseries.org. • More in key with the sea? The 25th Bash brings the best bad decisions to the Brew Pub, May 28, including a highfalutin’ OBX Annual Hatteras Village Offshore Open kicks off the North Carolina Governor’s Cup Celebrities’ Dunking Booth, Toilet Seat Horseshoes, Mug-Shot Photo Backdrop and Saltwater Fishing Tournament, May 14-18. More at www.hvoo.org. • Dang! The 2019 Tramp Stamp Station — plus costume contests (un)covering everything from Best Beer Bluegrass Island Festival may have switched seasons, but the sounds are still sweet as ever. Belly to Worst Sunburn. More at www.obbrewing.com. • Better trade that mullet for a Come out to Bluegrass Island Trading Co. on May 15 for a free 5pm shindig with Iron Horse and others, followed by three full days at Festival Park, May 16-18, where headliners mohawk. May 3 is Opening Night of the 82nd Season of the Lost Colony. Wanna shave a few bucks off your ticket? Check out May 30’s preview night for $20. Full sched at www. include Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Seldom Scene, and Town Mountain. Full sched. thelostcolony.org. • Feel the breeze in your hair — and rage like a tempest — when the Real and pricing at www.bluegrassisland.com. • Rock and reggae your May away with two Brew Pub powerhouses, as the Chris Robinson Brotherhood jams on May 16 while The Wailers Watersports Wind Voyager Triple-S Invitational returns, May 31-June 7. By day, witness firing performances by the world’s best kiteboarders. By night, rock on with world-renowned praise jah, May 24. High-step to www.obbrewing.com for tix. • On May 16-20, soaring stunt musicians. Plus June 6 features a Sunset Swim Charity Fashion Show benefitting HIYEF. pilots descend upon Jockey’s Ridge for Kitty Hawk Kites’ 47th Annual Hang Gliding Revealing deets at www.realwatersports.com. • On June 1, share quality time with your Spectacular. Watch hang gliders perform daring feats daily at this oldest continually held hang gliding competition in the world. Learn more at www.kittyhawk.com. • Ground yourself fellow Outer Bankers — and spend dough with quality vendors — when the 44th Annual Dare Day brings extra camaraderie to Downtown Manteo. More at www.townofmanteo. in gardening knowledge when May 18’s 17th Annual Coastal Gardening Festival gathers vendors, educators and Dare Co. Extension Master Gardener Volunteers to KDH’s Baum com. • Then crash into Nags Head’s Soundside Live, June 2, as the Outer Banks Food Truck Showdown mixes up mobile kitchens and live music for all you eating machines. Find Center, all under the banner of Let’s Grow Native. 9am-2:30pm. For details call 252-473a full list of participants on Facebook. 4290. • On May 18-20, the Best Day Foundation returns to Jennette’s Pier to help kids
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Any Reason - Any Season Tiki Bar
D r iN kS & a p pS
Nc BeerS & ipa’S
Mile kwan’s authentic paD Thai
every ThurSDay! (Thru april)
158 in KDH • 252.441.7889 • MamaKwans.com
Serving Lunch & Dinner • Tiki Bar • Check Our Facebook Page For Hours & Events!
Sea ya soon
at the Serving
Lunch & Dinner!
Open Year rOund everY daY But tueSdaYS!
Mon: 20% off Lunch + Dinner (Food Items Only) Wed: Wings $2.50/6 and $5/12 4 Styles! Friday’s: All DrAft Beer $4
c i s u M e v i L
We Check Our
Burgers • Seafood • Wings Surf Snacks • And More
Fun Backyard with Outdoor Seating, Corn Hole & Games! Visit Our Website or Facebook for Daily Specials!
MP9 on the Beach Rd. • KDH • BonzerShack.com • 252.480.1010
Kill Devil Hills, NortH CaroliNa