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Issue 8.3

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Southern Seafood with an Outer Banks Flair

Lunch & Dinner • Perfect for Events Outdoor Seating & Backyard Bar

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“One day, I’ll take you to Hatteras gokiteto catch some real waves...” roadmap


milepost graphiccontent At the time, Big Jim’s promise seemed totally surreal. Ridiculous. Impossible. How could a ride in the car deliver a dream trip? But, a couple years later, I finally understood. Except it wasn’t by car, it was by camper. And it wasn’t Big Jim — it was Skinny Dave.



Actually, it was Dave’s mom and dad — who I called Fran and Bob. (Though never to their faces.) Dave and I’d been neighbors and surf buddies since elementary school. Staying out past dark all summer long; dawn patrolling before school when daylight allowed. Somewhere ’round seventh grade, Dave’s parents begrudgingly agreed to stuff another troublemaker into the back of their Buick wagon for the haul south.



The drive was long. Currituck was still two lanes in the early-80s and Fran openly cursed whatever damn Yankee was clogging the road ten cars in front of us, while Bob steered silently ahead, too scared — too smart, actually — to try passing while towing a camper. But the extra hours left time to ponder the wonders to come, and to question the reality of Big Jim’s promise, as we passed nothing but horses and farmhouses on our way to a supposed surf mecca. (Years later, I’d snicker at my teenage self as I punctured sweet rows of pineapple

and sugar on the road from Honolulu to Oahu’s North Shore.) Don’t remember the bypass — or even crossing Bonner Bridge. Just the mighty dunes of Pea Island. The sleepy feel of scattered villages. The slow erosion of civilization. And, the tiny silhouette of a lighthouse that grew larger with every second, every mile, as we wove our way into the Seashore — at which point Bob kindly kicked us out to check the waves while he and Fran set up camp — and we stared, jaws dropped, at the double-overhead cylinders detonating on both sides of the first groin. Or so we’d tell our friends. Looking back, it was probably chest high. But still way more solid than any VB swell. For the next six hours, we caught waves. Got pounded. Avoided heavies. Gradually shifting peaks through the afternoon to bask in the shadow of the beacon and avoid the baking sun. Come nightfall, we emerged, fully fried. For dinner, Dave’s parents turned us on to pit-cooked Bubba’s BBQ. Later, we sat in the dunes, swatting skeeters while a ranger told ghost stories. Finally, we curled up in the corner of a muggy, musty Coleman pop-up — sweaty, salty and smiling. We fell asleep instantly and woke even faster, hitting

Even town felt deserted just 40 years ago. KDH surgical strike ‘circa ’79. Photo: Mez/ESM

the water at first light, only getting out when both camper and car were completely packed and ready to go.

Fran took the wheel for the return trip. Dave and I cringed over our sunburnt shoulders at the line of aluminum stacking up behind, Fran openly cursing — “What’s the damn rush?” — as she pegged the speedometer at 55. Not. One. Millimeter. More.

Don’t remember the bypass, just the sleepy feel of scattered villages.

Time speeds all things. These days — when the traffic’s mellow and the red lights are kind — I can be at the Lighthouse in just over an hour. I’ve even been known to bolt south twice in one day — come back to KDH, check the cam, then turn back around and do it again. I’ve caught it bigger. Wilder. Emptier. Better. But, I’ve never caught Hatteras any realer. — 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: four-color kindling for your next roaring campfire; wad it up in a ball, then clean the bug-coated windows of a vintage VW bus. Or simply add it to that sixmonth stack of newspapers you’ve yet to recycle. (Trust us, you’ll feel better.) Then, send any and all feedback — positive, negative or just plain confused — to: editor@outerbanksmilepost.com. We promise to find some way to re-purpose them.




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“What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?” – William Golding “Take the hands off the clock, we’re going to be here a while.” — Camper Van Beethoven Issue 8.3 Fall 2019 Cover: Hack Job Photos: Katie Slater

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, Stella 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, Mark Wiseman, Mike Zafra photo: John Livingston

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, Susan Dotterer 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, D. Victor 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, Katie Slater, Tom Sloate, Wes Snyder, Aimee Thibodeau, Eve Turek, Chris Updegrave, Dan Waters, Cyrus Welch, Jay Wickens Penfolk Ashley Bahen, Madeline Bailey, Sarah Downing, Laura Gomez-Nichols, Jim Gould, Steve Hanf, Sam Harriss, 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

Lunch & Dinner Drinks Magnificent Ocean Views

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 editor@outerbanksmilepost.com • sales@outerbanksmilepost.com

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

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03 StartingPoint Hooked-up in Hatteras. 06 UpFront Duck flaps, birds flop, and Billy fails again. 20 GetActive Got books?


22 FirstPerson Tyler goes to Hollywood.


24 QuestionAuthority There are no easy hard answers.


27 V an Crush Four plus-sized rides to get your motor runnin’.

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36 GraphicContent Outdoor gore guide. 38 Un-Civilized Leaving society behind on Cape Lookout. 51 GoFish Lifelong watermen learn new ropes. 52 GoRinger Twenty-five years of Barnes Street horseshoes. 55 FoodDrink Set a course for foodie adventure. 57 SoundCheck Wailing Willow. 58 ArtisticLicense Look out, Lucasfilm. 61 OutThere All thumbs.

“Cruel Nature” By Stella Nettles

62 E nd Notes A fiery blaze of fall events.

“This piece began as an art assignment on activism. We had to pick a community protest issue and I felt like the current fight against offshore drilling fit perfectly, since the people pushing for it don’t even live here, so they won’t feel the effects. Linocut is basically printmaking. You draw an image, then take charcoal and scribble over the art to create a dusty film and press that onto the linoleum. Then you carve out the image, roll black ink over top and press it to paper. After it dries, you color the detail work. I immediately thought about a big old dead fish to try and evoke some despair and show what’s at risk. Then, I tried a few color schemes. I did one with lots of reds — but that was a little too intense and aggressive. I like this one better. It draws your eye and makes you think. Because I don’t want to scare people away. I want to deliver a message — and hope people act on it.” — Stella Nettles milepost 5

upfront soundcheck CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE? What to do about beach access in Duck.


Want to start a cyberwar? On the Outer Banks, stirring an online conflict takes nothing more than tossing in the explosive issue of beach access, where enjoying the ocean is considered both an inalienable right — and a potential call to arms. (See: ORV conflict, Hatteras Island).


Such was the case in late May when Bob Hovey, a Duck business owner and righteous bodyboarder, used his smart phone to record a confrontation with property owners who angrily objected to him using what they claim was a private beach access. (Hovey insists it’s a public pedestrian easement, and that he has the plat maps from 1981 to prove it.)

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Hovey was arrested and charged with second-degree trespassing. He then posted the video, along with his position that the town, which has about seven miles of ocean shoreline, is required to provide access to the public trust beach. The showdown blew up into the Internet’s version of a mob scene, with the Town of Duck taking a digital beating.


“The quaint Outer Banks town of Duck issued a stark warning this week to anyone who dares walk to its public beaches: You could end up charged with trespassing,” said a May 30 article in the Charlotte Observer, reflecting the overall tone of the media blitz. Hovey’s arrest, it said, was the first of a “trespassing crackdown.”


Nobody else has been arrested since. But critics still skewer the town for being one of the only municipalities along North Carolina’s 300-plus-mile coast to deny public beach access. The only other one is neighboring Southern Shores — together, the two towns encompass about 12 miles of ocean beach with no way for the general public to get there. But no one is talking about Southern Shores, despite the fact that all of its 32 beach accesses are controlled by the Southern Shores Civic Association, and designated parking remains permit-only. The difference?



“We don’t keep anyone from using the crossovers,” explains association president Rod McCaughey. “We promote the idea that you can walk, you can ride your bike — whatever way you want to get to us.”


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In reality, beach access is rarely black-and-white. It’s often a grayer battlefield of property rights, public sentiment, and development timing, all under an umbrella of confusing laws. Some say Duck’s situation is a forty-year-old planning oversight that is now difficult to correct. It was only in the 1970s that the road opened on Duck’s northern border with Corolla, and development quickly started taking off in the 1980s. By the time the town incorporated in 2002, nearly all of the oceanfront was lined with subdivisions. From their inception, each subdivision has been controlled by private homeowners associations (HOAs), which dictate the use of a specific beach access within its jurisdiction. Town manager Chris Layton has defended the town, saying it does not own or maintain the

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beach accesses and lacks the authority to permit their use. Even if the HOA allowed public access, he says, there is no public parking available to the town.

the middle, of course, are the residents and business owners who want to see more access — but can’t make it materialize immediately.

Still, he says that public access to the ocean has not been an issue in the town, except for Hovey.

“I see the Town of Duck kind of getting a black eye on this, and mostly unfairly,” says Matt Price, a 38-year-old Duck business owner with deep family roots in the town. “We have some of the most integrated access to the soundside, and I truly believe if there was some oceanside available that wasn’t in the HOA, [the town] would build something.”

“The charge and arrest were the culmination of a long-standing dispute between Mr. Hovey and the property owners of the Sand Dollar Shores subdivision,” the town said in a statement issued after the incident. “To be clear, in accordance with the North Carolina public trust and state statutes, the beaches in Duck are public.” Still, critics wonder: how can a beach be truly public when all the accesses are privately owned? And what about all that taxpayerfunded sand being used to defend these private neighborhoods? According to the state’s Coastal Area Management Act, if a beach nourishment project is paid for by public funds, a requirement to provide beach access kicks in. But there is disagreement about whether the law applies only to projects undertaken with federal funds — typically linked to the Army Corps of Engineers. Duck’s recent beach nourishment project would not apply, Layton says, since it was paid for by tax dollars provided by the town and the county.

How can a beach be public when all the accesses are privately owned?

Greg “Rudi” Rudolph, with the Carteret County Shore Protection Office, is equally skeptical. While he concedes that “CAMA law is really vague about access,” he says that “experience tells me that if it’s not federal funding with the Corps, it’s not hard-wired with public access.” However, Amy Foo, an attorney representing Surfrider Foundation, disagrees. She notes that the state’s Department of Coastal Management must approve all projects. And that state law (N.C. Admin. Code tit. 15A.r.7M.0201-0202) requires governments that do sand nourishment projects funded or sponsored by the state to provide adequate parking, public beach access, and services for public use of the restored beach. “Thus, although Surfrider has not yet specifically researched whether this requirement is triggered when only town/county tax dollars are used,” Foo said in an email, “at a minimum the town’s contention that it is limited only to federally funded projects is unfounded.” But these aren’t just legal and philosophical arguments, as the town is already feeling negative impacts from a status quo that, for all its complexities, still looks bad. While the news stories have subsided, social media posts routinely spark calls for boycotts. Caught in

Price still says he feels it would be better for everyone to come to the table and be willing to “bend” to find a solution. Hovey agrees. He says he would be happy for the town to find a way to put “a few parking spaces here, a few parking spaces there.” Instead, what he hears from the town is, “You can only go to the beach at the end of your street.” But, while the 50-year-old KDH resident owns a house in Duck, he says the issue is bigger than him wanting to check the waves at different accesses — it’s the principle that the public should be able to get to the beach. There are plenty of service workers, or people with disabilities, or visitors in Duck who don’t own property, he says, and who would also like to park their car and take a dip in the ocean or catch a few waves. In a recent interview, Hovey said that his trespassing court date has been continued until Oct. 22. Meanwhile, he said he intends to file a lawsuit in the near future. At the advice of his attorney, he declined to elaborate. However, Hovey says he would welcome working with the town to find a solution rather than going to court. He might get his chance. Layton said in a July interview that the Town Council will continue to discuss proposals to address public access. But he cautions that solutions could be legally complex and/or costly. For instance, if the town chose to use eminent domain for public access, he says, that purpose would have to be added to the authorizing legislation. Another significant challenge would be finding a property owner willing to provide an easement, or to sell enough property for a crossover and parking, and then finding the funds to pay for it. Still, Layton said there are plans for ongoing discussion — including meetings — and the town invites input from all interested parties. “The hope,” he says, “is that we can break through all the baggage, and say, ‘Are there realistic opportunities, and what will it take so we can explore them?’” — Catherine Kozak Ed. Note: At press time, the Town of Duck announced a public workshop on Sept. 17 as part of updating their CAMA Land Use Plan. Beach access will be among the topics discussed.


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upfront soundcheck WHAT HAPPENED

An anonymous family enjoys an unknown — but not overlooked — stretch of beach. Photo: State Archives of NC


Two of the principals involved in the Burnside Beach Development Company were Elizabeth City’s Mr. F.W.M. Butler of the Albemarle Bank and W.S. Bowser, insurance agent and retired coastguardsman, who served at the Pea Island Station. Bowser was raised on Roanoke Island and had certainly heard stories about the Union ships that arrived in 1862 under the direction of General Ambrose Burnside.

Roanoke Island’s resort that wasn’t.


Have you heard of the Norfolk Journal and Guide? Founded and published in Norfolk in 1910, it became one of the leading African American newspapers in the south, with a readership of 80,000 that reached much farther than Hampton Roads, Virginia. On May 24, 1924, the Journal and Guide ran an article titled, “Summer Resort Planned on North Carolina Coast,” describing plans for a future development on the west side of Roanoke Island.


“Burnside Beach is situated on Roanoke Island, 45 miles from the city, facing the waters of Croatan Sound. It has fine natural boating, bathing and fishing approaches directly on the island waterway where the United States government has spent several hundred thousand dollars in improvements. It lies directly in one of the most frequented yacht paths from the Northern waters to Florida. Nearby is Nags Head, one of the leading summer resorts on the cost [sic] and still nearer are many lighthouses and Coast Guard Stations.”


Burnside Beach was to be a resort for African Americans, who, after the peacetime progress following World War I, were eager for leisure-time opportunities. Cottages would be erected along the Croatan Sound, where property owners and guests could take advantage of the recreational pursuits the location afforded.


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“The development company is composed of a group of prominent business and professional colored men of this city and section with headquarters here,” the article explains. “Their project is the natural outgrowth of the demand by colored people hereabouts for a suitable tract for seashore homes and pleasurable and invigorating recreation near the ocean during the summer months.”

Dr. David Cecelski has written extensively about coastal North Carolina history, including the experiences of African Americans. Although he knew about some of the more prominent black beaches, it was while working on a piece about Seabreeze, a segregated beach near Wilmington, that his research led him to discover several beaches that provided recreational activities for the black population of the Tar Heel State. One of the more well known spots was Chowan Beach, established in 1926 on the site of a former herring fishery along the Chowan River. J. Eli Reid purchased the property and began a waterfront recreation destination that drew a black clientele for weekend outings or summer vacations. The resort attracted guests from not only North Carolina and Virginia, but professionals from Washington, D.C. and New York, who brought their families to stay a week or more in the serene riverfront setting. Reid operated Chowan Beach, which featured an amusement park, a restaurant,

vacation cottages, boating, swimming, fishing, and picnic shelters. Additionally, a dance pavilion drew top-name entertainers who made stops while touring along the Chitlin Circuit, a collection of venues in the South and Midwest where black entertainers performed to appreciative crowds.

“Each little community would have a spot of sand along a saltwater creek.”

Three years after Reid made his purchase, John Henry Bias and partners Henry Hargraves and Charles Jenkins from Elizabeth City invested $2,100 on an 84-acre parcel of land near today’s Town of Duck. The following year, they divided the land, each man claiming an ocean-to-sound tract.

Henry Hargraves intended for his parcel, Hargraves Beach, to become a gathering spot for African Americans, especially those who worked in the hospitality industry on the Outer Banks, but due to segregation, were unable to patronize the establishments in which they worked. During the summer of 1931, a pavilion, 700-foot dock, and two bathhouses were built. Plans were to expand for the following season. Hargraves Beach endured hardships, including two suspicious fires, but hosted black individuals, families, and civic and social groups for nearly 25 years. More often, Cecelski explains, the segregated beaches were much smaller and “each little community would have a spot of sand along a saltwater creek” to use, “or a little sound creek up the estuary.” So what happened to Burnside Beach? Nobody knows. After the May 24, 1924 article, no other stories were published about the project. Perhaps funding never

materialized. Maybe there was pushback from the local community. It’s possible that Roanoke Island was still too isolated at that time to prove a suitable place to develop. Today, it’s a secluded neighborhood of upscale homes, complete with a HOA and a private soundside beach access, with nothing to indicate its original vision. In fact, before our recent phone call, David Cecelski had never heard of Burnside Beach, but he was not surprised to learn about it. He still gets calls about new discoveries of these forgotten segregated beaches. “My impression,” he says, “is that they were everywhere.” — Sarah Downing Sources include: Cecelski, David, Interview, May 2, 2019; “N.C. Seaside Resort Launches Expansion Program,” Norfolk Journal and Guide, Sept. 12, 1931; “Summer Resort Planned on North Carolina Coast,” Norfolk Journal and Guide, May 24, 1924; Stephenson, E. Frank, Chowan Beach: Remembering an African American Resort, Charleston, SC: History Press, 2006.

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POWER PLAY The DOI may have temporarily “hit pause” on their efforts to bring petroleum exploration to NC, but the state is still working hard to eject federal plans for seismic testing and offshore drilling. In May, mayors from ten coastal towns — and all political persuasions — met with DEQ officials to highlight bipartisan backlash. Now they’re looking west to inland counties in hopes of cranking up the volume of opposition fighting to protect our multi-billion-dollar tourism and fishing industries. don’t tell us what you really think Remember in Feb. when Thom Tillis issued an official letter to the DOI and BOEM, citing concerns about petroleum exploration and asking them to join him for “listening sessions” with coastal

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stakeholders? Neither does he, apparently. Because six months later, the senator still hasn’t scheduled a single public engagement on the issue. However, he did slip into KDH this June for a secret meeting with local leaders — in which offshore drilling was the one topic he refused to hear about. TALK DINGBATTER TO ME In June, the Big 7 Travel website revealed the world’s 50 sexiest accents, with the Outer Banks brogue — or what they call “the Hoi Toider”— coming in at number 35 for sounding “a bit Australian, a bit Irish and also a bit British.” No wonder pirates got so much booty. SHOT HEARD ’ROUND THE WORLD “And in this corner, weighing in at 16.7 pounds…” is one heavyweight fish! In June, Kitty Hawk’s Quentin Turko nearly broke the Internet by posting a shot of what looked like the largest sheepshead

ever speared. On July 2, the International Underwater Spearfishing Association announced the young waterman was the official champion of the planet, beating the previous world record by nearly two pounds. Guess someone’s dive belt’s gonna need a bigger buckle. CLASS ACT Step aside, Bernie. Dare County’s already giving folks free college as the new budget allocates $250,000 to pay for local graduates to attend COA full-time — potentially saving students and parents thousands of dollars. But the goal isn’t just to reduce student debt; it’s to expand enrollment and classes and majors in hopes of increasing education opportunities for everyone, and to invest in a more yearround economy. CROSS (THE POND) TRAINERS? It’s been more than a year since a cargo ship lost 70 containers while passing offshore

— including one full of Nikes. Since then, sneakers and flip flops have been littering beaches across the Atlantic, from Bermuda to the Bahamas, Cornwall to Ireland — where one Irish beachcomber collected 100 shoes — leaving UK residents more than a little bit cross. NATURAL FEATURES Pea Island’s sandy mounds and sloping curves may have to fight for attention if a certain user group has their way. In June, the American Association for Nude Recreation ranked the Outer Banks’ beaches as one of the top 16 places they’d love to see go ‘au naturel,’ noting that Florida made $4.3 billion off clothing-free tourism in 2016. Would we love to see those dollars? Sure! (We just don’t want to see their members.) PARTY POOPERS Southern Shores’ stick-up-the-butt reputation reached new depths this summer when the town considered regulations to stop “rowdy

partying into late in the morning.” Early drafts required getting official permission and an ABC permit to host more than 25 people — later drafts bumped that number to 75. Luckily, the town defeated the measure. But, with two-fifths of the board voting in favor, good luck finding enough fun-loving neighbors to fill a living room.

questions at press time, as the Park Service reported a rash of deflated radials over 10 days in July, between Coquina and Salvo. Five of those seven vehicles were Wranglers. With more tire damage reported to police north of the Seashore, local authorities are pumped up to catch the culprit. Call or text the NPS ISB Tip Line at 888-653-0009.

IMPORTANT PAPERS Add ink cartridges to your list of “must grab” evacuation items. In July, Dare Emergency Management announced they were done issuing re-entry stickers. Instead, locals can go online and score a downloadable permit to print and stick in their windshields in case of emergency. Better yet, beat the rush — and save room in the car — by submitting your request now at DareNC.com/reentry.

MILLION-DOLLAR MEMORY Need more proof we treat our visitors like gold? In July, a West Virginia couple had the trip of a lifetime when they purchased a winning Powerball ticket at a KDH Circle K. Of the million-dollar prize, the tax man leaves them more than $700k, which they plan to invest in a future retirement right here on the Outer Banks.

FLAT SPELL Are they protecting a sandbar — or a fishing hole? And why do they hate Jeeps? These were the law enforcement’s most dire


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For detailed reports on these stories and breaking news on a daily basis — plus page after page of local discussion — visit www. outerbanksvoice.com, www.islandfreepress. org, and www.obxtoday.com.

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We got questions — you got answers.


Aaron Roberts, 26 Kite Boarding Instructor Salvo “Camping in a tent. For one, I don’t own a trailer. And while I can see its use if you’re staying for a long time in one area, it just seems like it defeats the purpose of camping to bring all that stuff with you.”

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Barbara Bullock, 49 Campground Manager Waves “I have a 40-foot camper trailer that I absolutely love. We just did a camping trip in the Catskills and I decided that was the last time I was sleeping on the ground.”

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Jam Mortensen, 53 Tackle Master Avon “My mom has a Class-A motorhome and growing up we had RVs, but I like running out to Boone or Asheville and pitching a tent. Plus food just tastes better when cooked on an open fire.”

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Ryan White, 43 Tackleshop Owner Rodanthe “The tent is what camping is — but you have to have the right weather. I definitely wouldn’t pick the middle of the summer with the heat to camp. I’d just wait for fall and enjoy everything about it.”

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Dani Canning, 21 USFWS Intern Buffalo City “Short term, a tent is perfect, and I have all the gear so I can break for a quick trip. Long term, I’d choose glamping. Once I graduate school that’s actually what I want to do: get a trailer and travel and work.”

Ryan Seavey, 45 GM Tread Quarters Kill Devil Hills “Glamping. I spent years in auto racing so I’m used to always having the camper trailer with me. And with my many racing-related injuries, I can’t sleep on the ground in a tent anymore.”

Natalee Twiford, 21 Nursing Student Manns Harbor “I’m into glamping in a cabin. I’ve just never had a good experience in a tent. I like the outdoors but I want to have running water and a proper bathroom available.”

Wildo The Great, 47 Freelance Fry Cook Rodanthe “Neither. I’ve spent a few seasons in the Northern California woodlands. I really prefer the comfort and safety of a solid roof over my head.” Interviews and images by Tony Leone



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Upgrade your point of view.

Take a walk in Historic Corolla Park on the Currituck Outer Banks, North Carolina.

With events like Whalehead Wednesdays wine & beer tastings, through Sept. 11, Creepy In Corolla on Halloween and Whalehead’s Candlelight Christmas Tours starting Nov. 29, ‘tis the season to rediscover all that historic Corolla has to offer.

Call 877.287.7488 for a free visitor’s guide






Eat your way through fall with these five food festivals.

Tables of crabs. Baskets of shrimp. Piles of pork. Sh’loads of chard. If you’re still not satisfied come November, it’s your own damn fault. Here’s just a handful of the food-driven events fueling the fall calendar.




Sat.’s chowder cook-off and chef’s challenges deliver delicious seafood, while dockside demos — and annual Blessing of the Fleet — celebrate Hatteras Village’s watermen heritage. Sides: Live tunes and storytelling for landlubbers; seafaring contests for old salts; arts and crafts for li’l guppies. Tips: Don’t miss Fri.’s Taste of NC preparty at Robinson’s Store. Free to attend; plates for purchase. HatterasOnMyMind.com

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Jarvisburg’s Sanctuary Vineyards pours on the party with AYCE steamed crabs and sides, plus endless wine samples in a souvenir glass. Sides: Toss crab traps and roll barrels as part of the Crabdaddy Olympics; groove to live bands like (Almost) Everything. Tips: Lose the shoes and crush it in the Great Currituck Grape Stomp. $40. SanctuaryVineyards.com


Eat and drink like a queen as TLC serves up worldly wines, craft beer, and the finest local cuisine — all against the backdrop of Roanoke Island’s historic Soundside stage. Sides: Dance to live music; mingle with cast members in dramatic attire. Tips: $85 VIP tix let you beat the rush to the royal feast. 21+: $60. ($30 designated driver). TLCwinefest.com


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Two days of piping hot music in Corolla at Mike Dianna’s Grill Room, anchored by an AYCE BBQ (Sat.) and authentic NC oyster roast (Sun.). Bands include national headliners The Motet and Turkuaz, regional faves Big Daddy Love and Dr. Bacon, and local heavies Manday Huge. Sides: After parties at Sundogs rock ’til 2am. Tips: Screw Uber; stay in Corolla and exploit the $20 event shuttle all weekend. Two-day pass: $60 in advance/$70 day of. Single day and VIP tix, too. (Free 12 & under.) MustangMusicFestival.com

A dozen favorite restaurants serve up locally sourced dishes at the Soundside Event Site, from bitesized tastes to bulging baskets. Sides: Five bands, 60 artist booths, and bushels of ways to learn about NC seafood. Tips: Be sure to buy “seabucks” for food and bev. $5. (Free 12 & under.) OuterBanksSeafoodFestival.org


Photos, clockwise from top left: Daniel Pullen; Brooke Mayo; Carl Lewis; Turkuaz; Matt Artz

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WHAT’S ALL THE getactive FLAP ABOUT? soundcheck

Three winged migrations to watch for this fall.

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Arriving in spring from the Chesapeake Bay — or even as far as New England — cownose rays spend the summer mostly in local estuaries, having their babies (pups), eating fish, clams, and oysters, and mating. Come October and November, they swim out of our estuaries to winter in warmer waters, with some going to Florida and others traveling as far as Brazil. They’ll return the following year to birth new pups.

Some small shorebirds travel 2,000 miles.

When they travel, they move in large groups called fevers, some of which can have thousands of members. Even so, Dia Hitt, education curator at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, says, “Worldwide, cownose rays are considered a near-threatened species.” Rays frequent both the ocean and sounds during their stay. And while they have the potential to sting, they pose little threat to swimmers.


“Cownose rays are very gentle,” Hitt says. “Most of the time they avoid humans. Usually if someone gets stung, it’s because someone stepped on them or it was trying to protect itself.” People can take simple steps — literally — to avoid getting stung. (“Shuffle your feet in the sand; they’ll get out of the way.”) And if you see a mob of them cruising past — seize the opportunity to catch a fever.

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“It’s really cool to swim with them, and know they’re not going to bother you,” says Hitt. VACATION RENTALS



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Almost every bird species here is migratory. Some small shorebirds (sandpipers and sanderlings) hail from the Arctic Circle, traveling 2,000 miles to get here. But not every feathered critter is a cute little friend. Case in point: the double-crested cormorant.

The Eastern North American monarch butterfly population migrates farther than any of its peers worldwide. Some pass by the Outer Banks in fall on their way to wintering grounds in Mexico. Even so, being located along the northern edge of the Atlantic Flyway, we don’t see huge numbers.

“They’ve done a lot to decimate the stocks of gray trout,” says Wanchese native and seafood purveyor, Willie R. Etheridge. “It’s my belief they’ve done more to reduce the population than anything. They’re pretty ferocious feeders.” According to Scott Anderson, a bird conservation biologist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, cormorant numbers plummeted in the 70’s, mostly due to DDT. Eliminating that pesticide, stocking reservoirs with fish, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act helped them reach historic levels nationwide.

“Migration isn’t a concentrated event here,” says Becky Harrison, supervisory wildlife biologist for the Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges. “It’s not the numbers you’d see in other places that are smack in the middle of the migration.” Still, you can’t miss them. These iconic butterflies are easily identifiable with their bold orange and black coloration — though some are paler or darker. While we may picture them landing in local gardens, Harrison says she sees more in Pea Island and along the beaches down south, as they use the wind currents and follow the coastline. But even then, the timing varies.

“That has led to increased wintering in North Carolina,” Anderson says. “It’s not uncommon to see flocks of tens of thousands of birds in the sounds.” Cormorants consume about a pound of fish a day. That’s not just an issue for watermen, as every fish a bird eats has to come out the other end, leading to guano covered spoil islands and poorer water quality.

Photo: Mark Buckler

Fortunately, the WRC is starting a study to quantify the wintering population of cormorants, largely funded by the NC Watermen’s Foundation, to seek new solutions. But while we may never know exact numbers, it’s one species you can’t miss on any drive south.

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“It really depends on the weather that year,” she says. “We tend to see them early-tomid-October. You could see them in September and bookended around storm events.” In every case, their journey is impressive — fall pilgrims survive for nine months and complete the whole trip south, while spring migrants take four generations (living about a month each) to get home. Assuming they leave at all. Apparently, a few brave specimens have decided to go local. “I do think we have a handful of residents that stick around all year,” says Harrison. “They eke out a living on pollinator plants.” — Corinne Saunders

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getactive There are more than 30 million adults in the United States who cannot read, write, or do math above a third grade level. An estimated 3,700 of them live here in Dare and Currituck Counties. And that spells bad news for our whole community.

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Adults who drop out of high school or graduate without basic literacy skills earn less, are more likely to depend on public assistance, and have a greater chance of being incarcerated. The cycle continues with their own kids — who often get less help with their homework and score lower on their vocabulary assessments.

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Dare Literacy Council improves local lives one lesson at a time.


That’s why Carl and Mary Berntsen started the “Dare Volunteer Tutors” in 1986. These days, it’s called the Dare Literacy Council, a non-profit organization and member of ProLiteracy — the nation’s largest adult literacy and basic education organization. “Some people wouldn’t believe there are people out there who can’t read or do math,”

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Every Tuesday for the past year, they’ve been tutoring a man in his mid-sixties who never learned to read. Now he can read Level 3 books (about third grade level) on his own. “He’s stuck to it,” says Blackburn. “He just wanted to be able to read a book. Now he’s so proud.”

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Working with an all-volunteer group of tutors, the DLC provides free private tutoring and group lessons for English as a second language (ESL), prepares adults to take the GED High School equivalency exam, and encourages basic literacy for those that aren’t ready for the GED. Sometimes students ask them for help with the United States Citizenship Test, or with college prep, or with improving their financial literacy.

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says Dare Literacy Council Chairperson Lynn Blackburn. “But we get telephone calls where they say, ‘I need help.’”

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One-on-one tutoring can make all the difference for adults who may be too embarrassed for a classroom environment, or lack the skill with computers to use an online program. “We worked with a gentleman who was 36 years old and he could read very well, but he couldn’t pass the math test,” says Blackburn. “He dropped out of Manteo High School at 16.” In addition to tutoring him on multiplication, division and word problems, they encouraged him to get formally tested for a yet-undiagnosed learning disability. Diagnosis in hand, they were able to write up the modifications he would need to take his GED exam. “He finally passed it,” Blackburn says. “It took almost three years.” Other success stories include a man who was losing his sight, and they assisted him with

getting his GED before he went blind. None of that would be possible without the tireless work of their volunteers.

Oneon-one tutoring can make all the difference.

DLC trains new tutors every January in GED prep and ESL. Most ESL students are Spanish-speaking, but they’ve also had a few from Lithuania, Ukraine and Croatia, and you don’t need to speak a second language to teach English as a second language.

“We train tutors once a year so that we have enough people who really know how to handle it,” says Blackburn. Dig the Dare Literacy’s Council’s mission — but can’t commit to becoming a tutor? Come help participate with their biannual

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book sale this October 12-13. Volunteers are needed to set up and break down. Or gather up any books, movies, CDs, or games that you no longer need and drop them at one of nine locations from Manteo to Duck. Then go refill those empty spaces on your shelves with some new books (you can really never have too many). Paperbacks are as little as $1 and children’s books go for just 25 cents. All the proceeds go towards purchasing more classroom materials and helping to cover the fees for the GED exam. Every little bit helps their mission to improve lives through literacy. — Katrina Mae Leuzinger

The Dare Literacy Council’s Fall Book Sale takes place at the KDH Rec Center Sat., Oct. 12, 9am–3pm, and Sun. Oct. 13,12–3pm. For a list of drop-off points or to volunteer — or to learn how to join the cause yearround or ask for help — go to www. dareliteracy.org or call 252-216-7773.


Be sure to cast ballots on both Sept. 10 and Nov. 5. Just 21.95 percent of Dare Co. voters participated in 2017’s municipal elections. On Nov. 5, all six towns better turn out big numbers, as 31 candidates vie for 19 spots — including a three-way battle for mayor in KDH. And every Outer Banks voter needs to show up for Sept. 10’s special election to see who replaces Walter B. Jones in D.C. Not sure who to choose? Head to www. VOTE411.ORG for candidate profiles, courtesy of the League of Women Voters. Find out about voter forums at www.lwvdarenc.org. And for info on registration and polls, head to www. darenc.com. Because the real “voter fraud” is the citizen who complains without ever casting a ballot.

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Straight shooters, Tyler Nilson and Zack Gottsagen. Photo: Armory Films

have to. I was making $10,000 for two hours questionauthority of work. It was a wild time. A really unique


Growing up on the Outer Banks was magic. It was poetry. It wasn’t a culture of marketing agents and businessmen. It was pirates and fishermen. Everyone was really colorful and had good stories to tell. I think that’s why I became a storyteller myself.


I originally wanted to make surf movies. If you look at a map of America, there’s nowhere farther from Hollywood than the Outer Banks. So making a real film was something where I didn’t know I could dream that big. But in October of 2005, I started driving west with $2250 in my pocket. I thought that was enough for a year. I arrived in LA with $1200 dollars and realized I’d estimated very poorly.


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My first real break was as a hand model. My friend Michael Schwartz — who’s my co-director and writing partner now — was working on the very first iPhone commercial. After that hit, everyone was doing hand commercials. I went from being a kid from Colington who slept in his Ford Ranger for a year to being on set with Brad Pitt, opening a Cadillac door so he wouldn’t

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time. But all I knew was I wanted to do something else.

I tried acting. I got a few extra parts and commercials, but nobody would represent me. In 2012, I decided I wanted to go home and make a short film. I asked all these friends to help shoot it and told them it was going to be really good. Then I went back to California and watched it all — and it was bad. Really bad. I realized I didn’t know how to write a story. So I went to the library and studied every day for a year. How do stories work? How do heroes work? What are archetypes? Then I went back home and reshot it. And this time it

There’s nowhere farther from Hollywood than the Outer Banks.

worked. The Moped Diaries got close to three million views online. We sold it to Virgin America to play on flights. I had this moment: “I like this more.” Because, with acting, it was all about feeding the ego. Storytelling was something I had worked at. Mike and I really wrote Peanut Butter Falcon for Zack Gottsagen. Zack’s a good friend — and a great actor. He also has Down Syndrome. We knew he would have a hard time starring in a full-length film, so we wrote the script and shot a five-minute proof-of-concept. But we couldn’t get anyone to look at it. On December 29 of 2016, Josh Brolin posted on Instagram that his New Year’s goal was to help people. So we messaged him, “We need help making this movie.” And he wrote right back, “That’s not what I meant, but I’ll help you.” So we immediately started calling Hollywood’s biggest agencies and saying, “We’re making a movie with Josh Brolin.” Which, looking back, was a stretch because we still haven’t met Josh. In fact, we’re still not sure it was his real account. [Laughs] But people started calling us back.


The Peanut Butter Falcon is a tale of achieving the impossible. So is the story of getting it made.

“We wanted to make an Outer Banks fairytale.” So says Colington native turned Hollywood film director, Tyler Nilson. And by any measure, he and fellow writer/director, Michael Schwartz, succeeded. The Peanut Butter Falcon follows two young refugees — one’s a rugged young waterman running from his past, the other an out-of-place 22-year-old escaping a retirement home with dreams of becoming a professional wrestler (Down Syndrome be damned). Thrust together by fate, they chart a course for a fresher life along a circuitous stretch of fictional Eastern Carolina marshland, packed with familiar namedrops (Manteo, Dare County and Highway 158, all get shout-outs) and visual cues (a van that boasts Britthaven, transoms toasting Captain Jerry). It’s a tale steeped in local grit and fabled myth. But its origin story might be even more magical: emerging film-maker wants to make an indie movie to help a pal live his dreams — and salute his roots — winds up winning over Hollywood stars and SXSW audiences to score a national release. We asked Nilson to describe his amazing journey from “Colingwood” to Hollywood. By this time, my hand modeling career was over. I was living in a tent up in the woods above LA. We talked ourselves into a meeting with Armory Films. I’m basically asking these guys for $3 million dollars. The head guy’s from Philly, and he says, “Where you from?” I said, “The Outer Banks.” He goes, “You know Billy Hume?” Now, I knew Billy from growing up — he was this local surf star — but I don’t think he knew me. But I said, “Yes! Yes I do!” And he said, “Billy’s a great guy. I see him surfing in Jersey. Let’s make this movie.” Eight weeks later, I was in Georgia. I’d gone from a guy with a dream, a hundred pages of paper, and a promise to a friend to put him in a movie, to a guy who was on set directing Shia Le Beouf, Dakota Johnson, Thomas Haden Church, and Bruce Dern in a multimillion dollar feature film. Thanks to some stick-to-it-iveness and a desire to make short films — and Billy Hume. I think you’d be hard pressed to make a more Outer Banks film. We filmed it in Georgia, but Melissa Walker — who’s from Manteo but lives out here now — did the

wardrobe. She completely recreated the whole look. There’s Wanchese slippers and Gravedigger t-shirts. Shia’s got a shirt from the Atlantis that says “Come on vacation, leave on probation.” I guess it’s kind of like a period piece, except I’m still not sure what year it’s supposed to be. [Laughs] I don’t know if there will ever be a moment of “this is big.” We were so grateful to win the audience award at SXSW. But the film still could do really bad in theaters. I hope not. But no matter what, it’s a story I’m really proud to tell. I think it’s important to instill that belief in people that you can change things. That you can be a power for good or bad. That you can accomplish something that somebody else says is impossible. Because I believe humans constantly change our reality with our thoughts and stories. And the stories we tell become the world we live in. Go see The Peanut Butter Falcon at Manteo’s Pioneer Theatre, and other theaters nationwide, starting Aug. 23.











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Getting a second coastal scientist’s opinion on Dare County’s plan to replace the Cape Hatteras jetties.


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We’re not saying they asked the wrong questions. We’re just saying they asked the wrong people. On June 3, Coastal Science and Engineering presented a bold plan to handle Buxton’s erosion woes. With the equivalent of two years of sand being lost within a year of completing the recent project in March 2018 — nearly 304,000 cubic yards disappearing due to Hurricane Florence — the company suggested trying to restore the Cape Hatteras groins to better protect homes, businesses and NC 12.


“We can’t control the weather,” said senior coastal engineer, Dr. Haiqing Liu Kaczkowski. “But this is the one thing we can do.”


It’s still tricky. While state law banned building hardened structures on the coast back in 1985, the Navy finished Buxton’s groins in 1970. Restoring them might be “grandfathered” under NC’s Coastal Areas Management Act, provided they agree the structures remain 50 percent functional. But even if the county can find a way to do the work, should they?


By definition, groins trap sand in one place — and steal it from others. (Upon completion, Buxton’s current trio of steel structures began eroding the beach south of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.) However, CS&E’s team asserts that groin designs have improved. With continued nourishment, they say, more refined profiles collect enough sand to protect the threatened area while letting the surplus flow south. They even presented a “successful example” — a terminal groin installed in 2013 at the southwest end of Folly Beach, SC.


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The commissioners responded with solid follow-ups. “How will the new design meld with a restoration project?” “Can they reduce the rate of loss on the southern end?” And the engineers’ answers were certainly forthright. They noted any groins will still require immediate, and ongoing, nourishment. They also said if monitoring showed erosion exceeding the historical rate, “you might have to pull the groin out.”

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But the fact is, every coastal protection presentation is part science — and part sales pitch. So why is the county asking the contracting company these questions when we’re home to Wanchese’s Coastal Studies Institute and Duck’s Army Corps of Engineers’ Field Research Facility? Both are full of coastal science experts — neither of them stand to see a penny from doing the work. (Much less a multi-million-dollar contract.)


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We reached out to PhDs in both places for professional opinions. The Army Corps declined. (They feared the public might confuse one scientist’s opinion for an official government stance.) But Dr. Reide Corbett, who is CSI’s Dean of Integrated Coastal Programs and Executive Director, agreed to watch the online video of the presentation and provide his take.



“I’m not a coastal engineer,” he cautioned. “But I’ve focused a lot on coastal processes in my 20-plus-year career. And by January, CSI will have two on staff — I’m sure either would be happy to provide input.” Until then, here’s Dr. Corbett’s two cents. Think of it as free coastal health advice from a certified specialist.

MILEPOST: So, what was your take on the presentation? Did it feel balanced? Accurate? DR. REIDE CORBETT: Well, the county’s being proactive to help protect property, people and the road — so that’s good. But Buxton is always going to be a challenge. One thing to point out is that the Outer Banks has key “hot spots” with increased erosional rates. S-Turns is one. South Nags Head is one. Buxton is one. There are all sorts of reasons why we have these hot spots — some of it’s underlying geology, some of it’s geomorphology of the offshore bathymetry, which focuses wave energy — but the fact is we have them. And just nourishing those hot spots doesn’t solve the problem. It adds sand — it buys time — it doesn’t solve the problem. Which is why they want to rebuild the groins — to trap sand in place longer. Except these engineers say new designs trap just enough sand to create just enough beach — but let the rest flow south so those beaches there won’t erode. Is that right?

system. The groin they show is next to an inlet — inlets are pretty dynamic. And that photo they use from August 2018, five years after completion, looks great. But August is when you get accretion anyway, because there’s less energy in the system. That’s not when you want to plan for; you want to plan for winter when you have waves. I’d want to know: what did it look like in January of that year? I don’t want to suggest they are cherry picking, but just grabbing a snapshot does not tell you the dynamics of the system.

Every groin traps sand. That is what they’re constructed to do. And if you trap sand in one place, you starve it from someplace else. What they’re saying is, “We’re gonna rebuild these groins using different engineering. Then, we’re going to add enough sand right away, so there will be sand moving past the groin and not starving anything down drift.” Yeah, I think there’s logic there, but I do think there needs to be more information. Does the county understand the amount of sand that’s going to need to be pumped — and therefore, the amount of money that’s going to be needed — to fill that pocket they’ve created by constructing the groin? That wasn’t really discussed.

“We’re putting a lot of money into short-term solutions without having hard discussions.”

This ’81 aerial photo shows just how fast a few jetties can help — and hurt — the surrounding shoreline. Photo: Hugh Morton/OBHC

They use Folly Beach as an example of what works. Are they comparing apples with apples? No! Heavens no! Yeah, we’re both beaches along the Atlantic Seaboard. I agree with that. But there’s a reason Cape Hatteras is a surf mecca: the amount of energy we have is different, the number of storms and nor’easters we have is different. Then, let’s look at offshore bathymetry, offshore slopes. Also, Folly Beach already has a groin field that starts way up in town — they simply added another. Have the groins solved their problems? No. The city still nourishes. And they nourish fairly often — in fact, Folly Beach just finished a project in January 2019. At one point, the county asked if the engineers could guarantee the same accretion. What’s your take? Again, that’s totally dependent on the dynamics of the

you get permission to rebuild. But we’re putting a lot of money into these short-term solutions without having these hard discussions about what the long-term plan is. I think it would be good for Dare County to take a leadership role, working with the different townships to start thinking a bit more holistically. There also needs to be some additional thoughtful conversation beyond the protective approach — nourishment or groins — toward thinking about how to accommodate these changes, as well.

Is it safe to say the answer all comes down to saving money? Will the county spend less total money putting in groins and dumping less sand? Yeah. Dealing with sand is just a simple budget — what comes in, and what goes out. And adding a groin changes the budget. But you’re not creating sand by putting in these groins; you’re still going to have erosion, and you’re still going to need to nourish the beach. And that was mentioned, but I’m not sure everybody heard that. There was another statement that seemed to go unnoticed: if erosion rates down coast start exceeding the historical rate, we might have to pull the groin out. That was never addressed again. And then you have to ask, who has to pull it out? Is it the firm? Is it the Park Service? Is it the county? I guess you can argue all those questions don’t need to come up unless

A perfect example is that jug-handle at S-Turns. That doesn’t make everybody happy, but the fact is nourishment there is not economical, it’s not going to hold the road, it’s not going to work in the long-term. So, they’re thinking out beyond the two-, five-, or sevenyear plan. And that needs to happen not just across Dare County, but across every US coastline, and across the world. Well, I’m sure there has to be pressure to move fast when there’s a time limit to get FEMA money — and you’re trying to respond before another storm hits. That’s right. There are properties there that are at the brink of being in the surf zone. They just finished a nourishment a little over a year ago and they already need more sand. That’s scary for that community. I’m not saying we shouldn’t think about that in the short-term. I’m saying we shouldn’t be doing that in a vacuum. So what questions should they be asking? Not just of the engineering firm, but other scientists?

Well, for the Buxton area, they need to ask, “If we rebuilt the groins, what’s that cost? How much nourishment are we talking about so we don’t lead to increased erosions down drift? What’s that cost? And how often are we going to have to nourish this after we put in these groins?” And you can do those calculations based on one groin, two groins, or three groins. But all that leads to the question of, is this a solution? And the answer to that is no. You still have an erosion rate. This is still an erosional hot spot. You’re still going to have to nourish. And to think ten or 20 years out is a hard discussion — but it has to happen. And the conversation needs to involve the community, it needs to involve scientists, it needs to involve engineers. Because, right now, we’re in a very reactive situation. If we can’t put plans in place today, we will always be reactive. And people are going to be really ticked off if we’re always reactive. And that isn’t going to help anyone. — Matt Walker milepost 25

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van crush

The Outer Banks has always had a thing for vans. Take a spin down the bypass between eight and six, you’ll see

whole schools of plus-sized rides — mostly white, mostly contractors — a lasting symbol of our community’s blue-collar lifestyle. But over the past five years, something’s changed. Instead of just plumbers and nail bangers heading to work, it’s random people charting new territories — or just making daily life a little bit better. Artists powering out imaginative pieces from mobile studios. Teachers delivering extra education. Families on another epic adventure. And yes — fierce framers — hammering out happy moments between huge jobs. Some of these vans are chock full of creature comforts. Others stay stripped to the bare essentials. But each one’s a prime example of fierce independence — and creative freedom. milepost 27



252.987.2097 Reservations Required Online Booking Available

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the fine art of reuse MP 10.5 Beach Road (252) 715-2426 milepost


1180 Duck Road Soundside Shops on the boardwalk

2018 Ford Transit Connect


Length: 174.2 in. Height: 72 in. Max. Capacity: 123.2 cu. ft. Payload: 1510 lbs.


“I just wanted a vehicle for what I do every day.” Easy right? Except, for Chris Kemp, every day is different. In the morning, he might be drawing cartoon dinosaurs for a downtown brewery. Come afternoon, it’s tongue-in-cheek T-shirts for a local boutique. This minute, it’s a super cool koozie design — next month he’s making building-sized murals. That means his vehicle must be large enough to hold ladders and gallons of paint. And cozy enough to squeeze someplace quiet enough for an artist to empty his mind and focus on the finest details of a surf bum’s physique. “Yeah, I’ve drawn a Dune Billy episode or two in here,” laughs the 36-year-old South Carolina resident and Milepost’s resident cartoonist since 2012. Back then, Chris was still waiting tables at the Black Pelican while sketching designs and painting walls for a range of local bizzes that gravitated toward his campy combo of crazy sea creatures, surfer themes, and fun colors. There were tees for Mom’s Sweet Shop and Birthday Suits. Eyepopping octopi along the interior of Wave Pizza. Mohawked rockets riding Hooked Surfboards. As demand grew, Chris hit the road for Charleston to chase bigger fish — and ended up as the “Director of Doodles” for Revelry Brewing, where he makes every label pop with a range of funky characters. Add an ever-growing list of freelance clients — from monthly cover art for The Folly Current, to CBD start-ups, to the global watersports company Waboba — he’s looking at a lot of ideas to juggle. “I might work ten to 12 hours a day,” he says. “But I’m working on three different jobs. And sometimes I need to shake things up.” That’s when he slips behind the wheel of his compact cargo van, cruises to nearby Folly Beach, and gets to work. He’ll find the perfect quiet parking spot, throw open the doors, and let inspiration take control.

favorite upgrade “Power source with a solar panel. It keeps the computer running, the phone charged, and the fridge cold.”


“It keeps changing, but right now it’s Sylvanster Stallone.”

hooks and hanging options. Then he slowly tacked-on options that fit his lifestyle based on a few camping trips, and a bunch of day-to-day living. Footholds to reach the roof racks. Reardoor shelves to keep a cold beer handy. “It’s like when you move into any studio or workspace,” he explains. “You see what you need and make changes. I was gonna put in a cabinet, but I wanted to still be able to haul stuff, so a fold-down desk made more sense. The last thing I put in were the interior hanging racks, because my boards were just rolling around the back.” When brewery distractions start bubbling into his headspace, he’ll break out and head east. He might start by reclining on the foldout bed and sketching a few ideas — or sit up at his desk and dig through emails. There’s even a solar-powered battery to run his fan and fridge, and to charge his phone, iPad and laptop. And when he needs to recharge himself? “I hop out and get a couple of waves,” says Chris. “Except I live ten minutes away. So instead of driving home, I just make sure I bring everything.” And he means everything. Three surfboards, a couple hand planes, and swim fins cover waves from flat to firing. Plus there’s hangers for winter wetsuits. A portable shower to rinse summer salt. Bins for every temperature of surf wax. All of it is neatly organized and expertly preserved. And when he needs to get faraway, he can pack up his life and chase waves to Jacksonville — or come visit his Outer Banks homies and clients. The second his head starts to nod, he’ll hit a rest stop for a snooze in the back.

“It’s an oceanfront office, basically,” he says.

No matter where he’s headed, Chris’ oceanfront office comes with him. And whether it’s putting the barcode on the latest beer can or dreaming up the next crazy character, he can cruise to the busiest pier or quietest access and have everything he needs to get the job done.

One that Chris designed top-to-bottom — or at least wall-to-wall — filling the barebones metal like he’d color a sketch, gradually adding details as imagination took hold. He started by insulating the interior with spray foam. Next, he cut wooden paneling to allow for plenty of

“Pier crowds are great people watching for coming up with illustrations,” he explains. “Or, I can go find a secluded spot if I need my space. But what it really comes down to is I’d rather be at the beach than anywhere else.” — Harry Dunne milepost 29

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2003 Dodge Ram 3500


Length: 298.5 in. Height: 82.1 in Max. Capacity: 238.9 cu. ft. Payload: 3921 lbs.

“The best thing about my van? It gives me the freedom to go, go, go.”

Sherry Smalley’s Dodge delivers fun times — and good deeds.

Which is exactly what Sherry Smalley does, does, does. Since purchasing her “Joyride” four years ago, the veteran teacher’s totaled up 30-plus happy adventures. She’s done day trips to Ocracoke. Spring breaks in Savannah. Christmastime in Key West. Scores and scores of soccer matches. Give her a window, she might dash anywhere from Cape Charles to Asheville to Nashville, stopping for the night in — well, anywhere she wants, really. Even if it’s just the parking lot of a Walmart. “If traffic’s great, I keep cruising,” she explains. “If it’s terrible, I’ll pull over. So it allows for a lot of flexibility. I don’t have to have a schedule. Or a reservation. I can just roll with it.”

k-it mobile favorite upgrade “Probably the refrigerator, because I can eat healthy on the road. I don’t have to stop for yucky fast food.”


“Joyride. My brother passed away at 49. So every morning I fill my heart with joy, and say, “Don’t waste this day!”

Just don’t mistake all that flexibility for patience. Sherry pounced on this opportunity the second she spotted a grungy white tour bus buried in a pile of pine needles. That was April of 2015. Come August, she and her brotherin-law had ripped out the seats and installed cabinets, a sink, toilet and bed. She even got it painted in a cool, aqua blue, then stuffed every corner with color-coordinated pillows and cute style points for maximum comfort. By September, the 2003 Dodge Ram was a roving hotel room. It’s roomy enough to sleep both her and her husband, Steve. Well stocked enough to light up the camper stove and some tiki torches on a waterfront campground. Sneaky enough to hit the big city on a teacher’s budget. “Because it doesn’t look like a camper, you can park in some really, really good places,” says Sherry. “I went with a friend to Savannah, and we parked right on the river downtown. Most prime spot ever.” And yet, some of the best memories are made right here in Dare County, as she delivers books to kids in need. “I teach kindergarten,” she explains. “That’s where the spark for reading begins, so on the last day of school, I always tell kids to read over the summer. Right about the time I got the van, one of my students said, ‘But, I don’t have any books.’ I thought, Here’s another way I could put Joyride to use.”

She calls the program Bookin’ With Joy. During the year, she collects reading material from yard sales, estate sales, and friends. A few times each summer, she picks a place, parks, puts up tables and chairs, and doles out piles of precious educational cargo — more than 1,000 books at last count. “I try to find neighborhoods where I know there’s a need,” she says. “And I tell them to take as many as they want. One boy rode up with a three-wheeler bike and filled the whole basket. Because even if they have books at home, new material will keep that spark alive.” Every year, she expands her age range and reach, from pre-school age to young adult. In fact, come fall she heads up to The Festy in Charlottesville. The family-friendly music festival lets her park inside the venue, where she sets up a chill-zone-cum-library for schoolaged fans. Young readers get a chance to find new books. Parents have another way to keep kids entertained. Sherry scores killer seats for acts like Sam Bush and Drive By Truckers. “At night, I can throw open the back doors and watch the stage from the bed,” she beams. “And later, I’ll walk around and see kids curled up in chairs, surrounded by adults, reading the book that they got from us — which is so cool.” Cool enough that she’d like to push the concept farther west. Take the whole summer — maybe even a year — and make a vacation out of handing out volumes. A festival here. A needy school district there. With nothing to guide her but a generous nature and a desire to keep moving. “I’ve thought about contacting the Ellen Show and saying, ‘Please sponsor me!’” she giggles. “But that’s still a few years off.” Until then, Sherry will inspire young readers at home — and encourage all would-be travelers to forget the map and just hit the road. “You can do it a little bit at a time!” says Sherry. “Buy a van, take the seats out, throw a mattress and cooler in the back, and just go! Because everybody — everybody — should have a Joyride.” — Fred N. Daphnee milepost 31


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2016 Mercedes Sprinter


Length: 290 in. Height: 107 in. Max. Capacity: 532.6 cu. ft. Payload: 3,605 lbs.


The Ingram Family’s Mercedes goes beyond the comfort zone.

“Sometimes life’s not perfect. Sometimes you have to rough it. And that’s okay.” Don’t expect Mercedes-Benz to adopt that slogan across roadside billboards anytime soon. But for Ivy Ingram and family, owning a Sprinter was never about luxury. There are no high-tech upgrades in the back. No solar panels up top. No grills. Few frills. And not a screen to be found. “That’s not why we bought this van,” Ivy says. “The whole idea is to get outside and do things. You don’t always have to be plushy and comfortable.”

“It’s not really an ‘upgrade,’ but we mounted some vintage Chouinard carabiners to our door for hooks.”


“Everyone likes something different — ‘Surfari Van,’ ‘Party Bus,’ ‘Relaxi Taxi.’ But we have ‘Advantur’ on the license plate.”

With less than 70 square feet of livable area, there’s not room for much else. Even the kitchen is a pop-up design that stands-up outdoors. The rest of the vehicle holds cooking gear and cleaning supplies. Plus tents to spread so the family can take advantage of the real luxury item — America’s wide open spaces— as they share some quality moments with the family. And that means the whole family.

In fact, the Ingrams’ favorite adventures always occur far beyond the comfort zone. Might be camping trips to the mountains of Virginia or Vermont. Or, it could be renting cars in foreign countries, getting lost between Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland, discovering new places and languages around each crooked turn. This fall, they’ll combine both passions by forging into North America’s rugged interior and exploring 17 national parks and monuments, including Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, Glacier, and Grand Teton National Parks — even Banff, considered Canada’s most breathtaking piece of Rocky Mountain bliss.

“My parents are driving out with us,” says Ivy. “And then Matt’s dad and stepmom are flying in, getting a RV, and following us. So it’s basically the Griswolds. It’s totally the Griswolds.”

“This was always my dream for the van,” says Ivy. “I drive it more for my pre-school and adventure camps, but when the whole idea of buying it entered my mind, this trip was the ultimate goal.”

“Most parks start booking six to 12 months out,” she says. “And the popular campgrounds fill up within 24 hours. So you have to get online and register the first day, because a lot of places there aren’t many other options. At Banff, it was either a $40 camp site — or a $600 hotel room.”

All told, they’ll spend a full five-and-a-half weeks on the road. So, while they may not have wanted massage chairs and moonroofs, they still had to figure out how to survive — or at least how to sleep a family of four. The adults were easy — Ivy’s husband, Matt, and his dad designed a wooden bench/bed combo to fit the back. But what about their two girls?

favorite upgrade

really did. It’s meant to be driven and slept in — that’s it.”

“That’s why we came up with the loft design,” says Ivy. “There’s a six-foot steel plate on either side that has completely movable hooks and anchor and tether points. Then we found some ripstop fabric, and had 1500-pound test webbing sewn around it to make little hammocks. We had window coverings made, too, so by the time we get it set up it’s like sleeping in this little cocoon. But that’s all we

Of course, no campy American vacation is complete without some pratfalls. So far, they’ve gotten stuck once. And one mountainside U-turn was beyond hair-raising. But in reality, this house-on-wheels handles better than most cars. The biggest stress test so far? Just making sure they had a place to put it at every stop.

Luckily, they got spots the whole way. Once they arrive, they’ll only have three or four days in each location. That leaves just enough time to hike the Lewis and Clark Trail or paddleboard String Lake. Maybe see Old Faithful blow her top, or watch the Milky Way sparkle across Yellowstone’s night sky. All with barely a second left to update their Facebook feeds or post a selfie to Instagram — or not. “There’s a bunch of spots where we won’t have Internet or any kind of online connection,” says Ivy. “But we’re looking forward to unplugging. And we all love to hike and be outdoors. So, this really is our family’s type of adventure.” — Doug McKenzie milepost 33


2005 Ford E350 Super Duty milepost



Length: 211.9 in. Height: 84.1 in. Max. Capacity: 256.6 cu. ft. Payload: 4160 lbs.

rready Shawn O’Neill’s 4WD Ford stays powered up to work hard — and play harder.

“I could frame your house right here on the beach — but I’d rather plug in the blender and fix you a drink.” Give Shawn O’Neill a chance, he’ll do both in the same day. He’ll head to the jobsite early and get the crew going. If the waves are good, he’ll slip out for a surf with the boys ’round lunch, then haul ass back to keep hammering away. Hell, he might even slip out for one last evening session. Or he might hang lights and work well into dark — if the job’s big enough — like giving the Oregon Inlet Lifesaving Station a much needed makeover, or powering out Jennette’s Pier’s timeless classic pier house. Or just breaking size records in Corolla, by building Pine Island Lodge — a titanic 28-room event home. That’s just a fraction of the high-profile builds Shawn’s crews have banged out the past four decades. And no matter the scale or location, they all share one common bond. “Every single job’s had a van on site,” says the lifelong carpenter. “They’re great for carrying tools and they drive better on the beach than anything else. When we built the Wild Horse home up in Carova, we had a two-wheel drive Dodge. You could slack down to eight-pounds air, and it still did better than any four-wheeldrive truck we ever had.” Still, when it came time to score a new ride four years ago, he knew he wanted off-road capabilities — and year-round living potential. He found the perfect combo of skills up in VB. “The guy was a rock climber who spent a year driving between Canada and San Diego,” he says. “He lived a whole winter in Canada in the back of that thing.”

favorite upgrade

“It’s a Quigley, so you can’t beat the four-wheel drive. But my favorite is probably the insulated camping interior. It’s basically soundproof.”


“The Sleeper because it’s so fast. It looks stock, but it flies off the line.”

Shawn wasted no time stacking the Hummer roof racks with lumber. Still, he prefers to fill it with surfboards and beach chairs. And come Friday, that’s exactly what happens. He’ll load up his lovely wife Rene, his loyal Rottweiler Ziggy — sometimes his college-age son, or daughter and two grandkids — and they head straight to Coquina or Frisco. They’ll follow the ruts to an empty space, transforming the van from workhorse to chill zone in less time than you can say “slack the tires.” “This is what you call redneck engineering,” says Shawn, as he and his son, Zac, stretch out the van’s awning. “We made it from plumbing pipe, a tarp, and two painter poles.”

Need to plug in? The same power inverter that keeps his tools charged and the beer cold also blends daquiris. Meanwhile, the Baby Weber that mounts on the door connects to a full-sized propane tank to char-grill some dogs. And when they really wanna slow things down in the shade? “I’ve got a smoker that I’ll bring and hook-up,” he says. “We’ll put on ribs and let ’em go for hours, just chilling in our beach chairs. We’ll do the same thing all day Saturday and Sunday.” First thing Monday, the van’s back on the job. Only now, Shawn’s got to make room for more gear, as he takes aim at a whole new career as a certified drone pilot. He started out flying as a way to capture his builds from every angle. Next, he hopes to take his act on the road, by documenting disaster sites as a claims adjuster. “I want to do some volunteer work for search and rescue for FEMA,” he explains. “I’ll go to wherever there’s a hurricane or tornado and help those efforts. And then, on the flip side, I can be there early to handle claims work.” With the bed, fridge and sink, Shawn can stay mobile for days — even weeks — and help make a difference while making a buck. But first he’s gotta make a few more changes, like modifying the counter into a work station for repairs, adding a wi-fi antenna so he can always email images, and converting the roof rack into a specialized landing pad. “We’ll see how it pans out, but it’s supposed to be an $8 billion dollar industry by 2022,” he explains. “And of 1.8 million drones registered with the FAA, there are still only 90,000 registered pilots who can work commercial.” Come autumn, there will be one more. That means Shawn could be chasing storms as soon as this season. In-between, he’ll be home hammering out houses — and nailing peak windows of playtime out in the water. “Last fall, we got some of the best swells,” he says. “And we surfed them all. We’d get a couple hours in, rinse off, get right back to work. Hey, you gotta keep happy if you’re gonna work hard.” — Bosco Baracus milepost 35

Weather Radio

Tarp Keeps foul weather at bay...helps if someone brings a tent though.

Regular forecasts guarantee sunny spirits. So...who’s got the batteries?


Primitive camping trips can take their toll. Here are a few essentials to survive your next group trip off the map.

Hatchet Chops wood — among other things: Play “Kumbaya” one more time, pal, and see what happens!

Utensil tool








WWJDD. (What would Jeffrey Dahmer do?)

Lighter fluid Starts fires...destroys evidence...cooks meat?


Tastes like c

Can opener

Toilet Paper

Survive six weeks on just tuna and soup — now, where’d those cans go?

Half a roll? For six weeks? Really!?

Travel guitar Kill time between downpours learning a new instrument!


chicken, huh? We’ll see about that.

Fishing line Knuckles make nice necklaces.

Camping shovel Six feet’s just a starter.

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milepost 37

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UN -

we all have heard the stories of generations past. Of desolate beaches before there were Walmarts and mega Wings. When life seemed more outlaw. More raw. When sunscreen was overkill, leash laws a joke, and the threat of being called into work from a beach towel wasn’t even a thing. When folks flocked to sandy, stretched-out islands to leave the noise of real life and civilization behind. You brought what you needed and you bailed when the beer ran dry. Time has changed this place. Laws have changed this place. People have changed this place. You can’t drive a block with a coldie in-hand. You can’t keep a drum that’s a half-inch too short, or sneak a tire one smidge beyond the well-defined boundaries of the ORV maps. And yet we all still yearn to know what it was like to truly rough it out here among the dunes...

words by sam harriss photos by katie slater

- CIVILIZED Off the grid and out of bounds along Cape Lookout.

milepost 39

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we frie a

ends have a tradition. Every fall we plan a camping trip within reach. Which is how we find our truck convoy on a boat to Cape Lookout. Getting there takes three ferry rides — the last a three-mile trek across Core Sound, on a boat that only holds two vehicles. With nine humans, four dogs, and four ORVs — we barely have room to stash all the supplies. We’ve loaded up one truck with a half cord of wood; one with coolers of food, beer and bait; one with all the tents and sleeping bags; and another with the essentials for a good time —surfboards, golf clubs, kayaks, waders, surf rods, and a LED disco light. Boarding our final ferry, back tires dipping into the water, we turn our gaze south and chug toward the distant sliver of sand — just a speck in the ocean, buffeted by surf and winds and a romantic history...

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before we even set up our tents, it’s clear we’ve discovered a gem. Breaching the dune line, head-high surf peels in both directions along the empty beach. Maybe we hit it just right. Maybe the weather and waves are always pristine this time of year. But, no matter, the magic of the place is everywhere. Exploring abandoned villages and ramshackle houses. Marching around the remains of WWII barracks. Paddling across Barden Inlet to chase the wild horses of Shackleford...

Primal Primer: Three off-the-map camping adventures within (somewhat) easy reach.

Cape Lookout National Seashore Crystal Coast, NC



“Sea, sand, sun, brilliant sunsets and dark skies…all camping is primitive…bring all the food and fresh water.” — National Park Service


“With 50 miles of beach and trails that are 4WD-only, it’s considered the best ORV camping on the East Coast,” says Johnny Dilworth, who organized our feature trip. “But even though it feels really remote, it’s still car camping, so you can bring coolers and all the extras. I prepped foil packets with mahi and rice — plus there’s great fishing and oystering — so we had excellent meals on the campfire every night.”

why go?:

“Surfing, fishing — and just exploring. Go check out the abandoned lifesaving stations or kayak over to Shackleford to see the horses. And driving around on the Cape at night is totally surreal — like being on the salt flats of Bolivia.”


“There’s no camping or ORV fee — but the ferry ride from Davis is $120 per vehicle, and the ferry only holds two vehicles.”


To reserve your ferry space and register your ORV. And firewood. “We filled half a truck bed because there’s not much hardwood available on-site.”


“The toughest part is the planning, because space is limited. You don’t want people bringing multiples of the same thing.”


Primitive camping available year-round. Rules and reservations at www.nps.gov/calo/index.htm. milepost 43

Just Over the Bridge in Harbinger

Traditional Southern Fare HA


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every morning, we wake to peachy, sunlit skies. A salted breeze whispers to us to pull on our waders and put our lines in the water. Stoking coals still hot from the night before, we brew coffee — then crack that first beer without eyeing the time, waiting to see what the day brings. Picking off waves. Watching the dogs romp the beach in a pack, their tongues hanging through toothy smiles. Cruising out to the leeward bight to harvest oysters and grill them for lunch. Driving on the beaches at dusk to fish the point or watch the sunset dip oddly down over the Atlantic. Taking in the brilliant night sky — the masterpiece Mother Nature lays out for all nocturnal creatures...

False Cape State Park

Back Bay, Virginia


20 miles from Corolla/ 2-3 hours (on a nice day) Fat bike

“False Cape offers a unique, primitive setting…accessible only by foot, bicycle, beach transport, tram or boat.” — Virginia State Parks


“False Cape is crazy remote — especially for being just south of VB,” says veteran ‘bikepacker,’” Jesse Davis. “You can camp right behind the dunes in these little nooks and trees. And biking up from Corolla, you won’t see another soul for miles. It’s like how our coast used to be before they built up everything.”

why go?:

“It’s like the sea and land are doing battle in the middle of an island. To the west are tall pines and dirt, and to the east is all sand and ocean, so you bike or hike 15 miles of trails, popping between dunes and maritime forest. Biking in means you can only carry so much — tent, sleeping bag, food, water, and camp stove — but if you get sick of boiling Ramen, cruise four miles up the beach to Sandbridge for a hot meal and a cold beer.”


$25 camping fee for nonresidents.

To pick a weekend with nice weather — and a bike with fat tires. “Even inside the park, I pass people pushing mountain bikes. And bring spare tubes and anything else you might need to repair, because nobody’s gonna pick you up if something breaks.”


“If the weather’s nice — and you’ve done any kind of biking and camping — it’s probably on the easier end. And when the tide’s low and the wind’s at your back, it’s a pretty damn epic bike ride in. Like, ‘This is sick. I’m riding down the edge of America.’”


Campfires are prohibited at all times. More rules and regs at www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/false-cape milepost 45












G et to know the L ocals...


• Historic Downtown Manteo Waterfront • milepost


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we spend four days in this ebb and flow. And we all agree we could stay for weeks. Subsisting on our surroundings. Feeding campfires to survive. Praying silently and in unison that this place can be safeguarded from the savage dash to pave our shifting sand island and drop oil rigs on our uncorrupted horizon. Believing people will defend the importance of conserving our precious landscapes and remind themselves why we all are here...

Merchants Millpond State Park

Gates County, NC


90 miles/2 hours (Plus a 30 min. paddle.) Canoe/Kayak

“Southern swamp and hardwood forest mingle for a unique paddling experience [to] remote canoein campgrounds.” — NC State Parks


“It’s the headwaters of the Dismal Swamp, but you almost feel like you’re on the Bayou,” says Karen LoopmanDavis, who once spent seven months solo on the Appalachian Trail. “It’s all cypress forest, and these floating trail markers lead you to campsites that are so secluded you can’t see your neighbors.”

why go?:

“Just to get away. We usually do two nights. We canoe in the first afternoon and start a campfire. Then spend the next day cooking food, running around the woods, fishing, paddling, and exploring little islands. With all the trees and debris, there’s bass and crappie. You see beavers and geese, frogs and snakes. There’s alligators, too, but we haven’t seen any of them — yet.”


$12 per night for up to six people. (Group sites are $80 for up to 40 people). Canoes are $20 per day.


Waders or Wanchese slippers — and extra clothes. And be sure to arrive in time. “They want you to be able to paddle in and set up camp before dark, so if you show up too close to sunset, they won’t let you go.”


“Once you’re out there, you’re on your own. But canoe camping is actually better than backpacking, because you can bring plenty of food and ice. Water safety is most important: make sure everyone knows how to swim and can handle a canoe without dumping it.”


For hours, rules and registration, go to www. ncparks.gov/merchants-millpond-state-park milepost 47

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ck north, use is in w. Thoughts of home and history return. I remember being not much more than a tadpole, riding the tailgate of my mom’s pick-up while she drove the beaches in search of firewood to warm our little flat-top. I’ve been out to the point when the drum bite is hot and witnessed the old timers in rustedout Suburban 4x4s, heaving lines into the surf with a nimbleness only years can shape. The people drawn here understand the feeling, and the folks that seek out every inch of its raw grace truly live and breathe it. You don’t have to be a Midgett or a Tillet to call yourself a local. You might not know the best sloughs for oystering and that trout season turns on with the first yellow butterfly. You probably don’t go to the post office in foul weather gear, or have a few Johnson motors in pieces in your yard. But none of that matters, because we all find ourselves here for the same reason: we can’t stay away. Not from this ever-inspiring spit of land in the Atlantic. Formed by raw elements, constantly changing from Earth’s forces, always making new miles of coastline to explore.

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A NEW WAY TO NETWORK Sea Grant Fish Camp helps young watermen navigate a range of tricky issues.

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It’s been happening for a while. Rising costs. Complex regulations and closures of critical fishing areas. Loss of habitat and foreign competition. All are problems modern watermen face. Yet, the lure of the sea and sound still offers a special way of life for a committed few.


“Watching the sun rise and pulling fresh fish out of the water, there’s nothing like it,” says Hatteras Island’s Kelsey Aiken. “But I think young people have seen the struggle and how hard it is.”


Born and raised on the island, Kelsey graduated from ECU with degrees in Business and Economics, then came home to help run the family fish house, Jeffrey’s Seafood. He and his brother, Tyler, still flounder fish as well, some of the few watermen in their twenties who are still working the nets, underscoring a critical time for the industry.


“I think a lot of older fishermen haven’t encouraged their children to go into fishing,” says Buxton resident Susan West. “Even though it allowed them to buy their house and send their kids to the university.”


West has been documenting the decline of commercial fishing for decades. With ECU researcher Barbara GarrityBlake, she co-authored the The Fishhouse Opera, in 1970. And in nearly fifty years, the challenges have only increased, leading to fewer young people picking up the trade. As a result, every year, the average age gets a little older.


Hatteras’ Jake Griffin works the system. Photo: Daniel Pullen

“There is a graying of the fleet,” says Sara Mirabilio, Fisheries Specialist with NC Sea Grant. “Across the nation, the commercial fishing fleet is aging as younger people seek jobs outside of the industry.” In 2016, North Carolinians aged 19 to 34 made up just 13 percent of our commercial fishing fleet. Such stark demographics threaten the future of the industry, not only in terms of harvesting fish, but in the transfer of knowledge from one generation to the next — especially in today’s environment, where surviving takes more than navigating local waters, it requires an understanding of science, politics and community… and perhaps most importantly, how to communicate that knowledge. That’s where Sea Grant Fish Camp comes in. This newly founded program aims to ensure the watermen community’s survival with a central premise: “That social networks have value.” In 2018, a total of 25 fishermen under 40 traveled from across the state to attend three Fish Camps in Columbia, Pine Knolls and Oak Island to learn from their elders on a range of skills — from meeting with legislators to communicating with the public — while letting the next generation introduce their vision of the future. “The program really brought a lot of the younger people together to bring up topics and say where we wanted to see fisheries go,” says third-generation waterman Jake Griffin.

Griffin began fishing flounder nets in a little 13-foot skiff at ten years old. As a teenager, he checked crab pots on his way home from Manteo High School. Now in his twenties, he’s worked as a mate with his father, Captain Charlie “Griff” Griffin, on the Reels of Fortune — including working for a couple of seasons on the show Wicked Tuna. But he still had never done a live TV interview — until Fish Camp brought in media training with UNC TV.

“A lot of times when you’re talking, [TV viewers] don’t know the terms you’re using,” Griffin explains. “When you get in front of the camera, you have to break it down. And don’t freeze up. Just talk to people.”

In 2016, ages 19 to 34 made up just 13 percent of NC’s commercial fleet.

Even when you’re talking to your own people, proper messaging is key. Griffin and Aiken say the camp helped them to focus on communicating hot-button issues like sustainability.

“You can’t just take it all for yourself,” Griffin observes. “What is most important is to keep that stock sustainable for future generations. You’ve got to be able to come to common ground.” And share common assets. Which includes discussing groundbreaking technologies, from marketing to social media to tracking fish — and in ways that were unheard of ten years ago. “Everybody is wanting to go to a local source,” Griffin says. “Some seafood vendors put a small tag on the fish where people can scan it with their smart phone and find out when that fish was caught, how it was caught, who caught it. For the consumer, that’s big. But it also allows fishermen to take pride in how they handle it.” That pride is really what ties all watermen together — from 50-year veterans to those who just dropped their first nets. Come January, Sea Grant hopes to draw them all for another Fish Camp, only this time they’re going to pick a single, centralized location on the Crystal Coast to cross pollinate ideas between regions. They also plan to tack on a day to maximize time together. But the premise remains the same: provide the younger fishermen the tools they’ll need to thrive in an increasingly complex environment to help ensure that future generations of watermen can continue to thrive. “When I think of some of the young fishermen now, I think of who they got their start from,” says Aiken. “And the older guys, they don’t want to see it fade out. They’ve put their whole lives into it.”— Kip Tabb

Ed. Note: Working waterman? Not yet 40? Interested in attending the 2020 NC Sea Grant Fish Camp? Contact Sara Mirabilio at 252-475-5488 or semirabi@ncsu.edu


milepost 51


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The Barnes Street Open is a horseshoe tournament with deep roots — and real heart.

Pitching ringers and drinking beer. Winning points and owning trophies. Basking in a glorious fall beach day. No wonder folks keep flocking to the Barnes Street Open to play horseshoes after 25 years. But while scorekeeper and co-founder Michael O’Brien can tally countless classic tales over a quarter-century, his favorite memories all took place days later, when he doled out the dough from this fun-loving fundraiser — often catching the beneficiaries totally by surprise. “Walking into people’s houses and plopping $1,400 down on the table: ‘There you go, man, see you later!’” O’Brien laughs. “That’s the fun part, man.” It all started when he and Robert “P-Nut” Johnson started playing horseshoes roughly three decades ago. When a friend was hit by a car in 1994, they slapped together a quick competition, thinking it might cover some minor medical bills — and ended up raising more than a grand in cash. Since then, they’ve donated to diverse non-profits from the SPCA to Interfaith Community Outreach — to locals with very specific injuries and needs, such as recovering from a lightning strike and needing a new prosthetic leg. No matter the cause, the tournament follows

the same simple structure. First thing in the morning, O’Brien and his wife, Nancy, “commandeer” space for three sets of pits. O’Brien works the scoreboard and Nancy handles the money — twenty bucks per game entry for a two-person team. Anyone can play — and keep on playing — since another $20 puts you right back into the action no matter how many times you lose. “It’s capitalism at its best,” O’Brien quips. “A lot of people show up just to hang out for the day. The most wins by four o’clock wins.” Whoever emerges victorious scores the day’s biggest prize: the G. Ray Herbin Memorial Trophy. Like the famed Stanley Cup, the winners’ names go on it forever and the players keep it until the next tournament. It’s been claimed by folks from as far away as Maryland, and as close as Kill Devil Hills — most notably the members of Horseshoes in the Hood. “They have basically saved this thing,” O’Brien says. “Because they’re all about horseshoes.” Founded in 2007, this diehard crew of ringers gathers at different KDH houses on Tuesdays and Saturdays to toss iron and talk trash. In 2012, they showed up at the Barnes

B and his fellow throwers prove their mettle. Gathered in the yard of “Captain Ron,” the air rings with classic rock, resounding clanks and plenty of cheers and jeers. Beer flows. Smoke swirls. Shoes fly. And nicknames abound, like Brillo, Baltimore, Nails. (Because her long fingernails create a distinctive sound as the horseshoe leaves her hand.) But for all the sneaky barbs and raucous laughter, they take their games seriously, especially on Tuesday nights when the top talent gathers, including lots of Barnes Street Open winners and even a former Maryland state champion. “You’ll see them throw ringers, double ringers, double ringers on top of double ringers,” Captain Ron says. “There get to be some hellacious games.”

2018’s ringers. Photo: Michael O’Brien

Street Open displaying matching T-shirts and unrivaled intensity. “It was us against them,” recalls Dale Hamlett, who won three straight years.

Soon, all that serious competition turned into sincere appreciation. And as members of the Barnes Street crowd got busy with families or moved away, Horseshoes in the Hood became the tournament’s heartbeat. In fact, this collective of hardpitching scalawags keeps the local horseshoe scene thriving with top-notch play.

Beers flow. Smoke swirls. Shoes fly.

“We’re the best backyard horseshoes league on the East Coast,” says Seth Fasick, the unofficial leader of the group. “We can give anybody a run for their money.” On a recent sticky summer evening, Hamlett



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Come September 14, they’ll play anyone — and everyone — when the Barnes Street Open posts up for its 25th year. As the day unfolds, participants win prizes from sponsors like Tortuga’s Lie, Bonzer Shack, Hurricane Mo’s, and Kempsville Building Supply. O’Brien also praises the Town of Nags Head for being receptive to a ragtag tournament where anything can happen. Like the year a local cable guy spliced a cord to the beach so they could hook up a TV and watch football. Or the time O’Brien failed to account for high tide and people spent the tournament chucking shoes in the shorebreak. And then there was the one where lightning chased everyone from the beach. But for all the classic events, there’s one name that won’t ever appear on the trophy — his own. Even though he’s played horseshoes for decades — and competed in the Barnes Street Open one time long ago — he gets a bigger kick tallying points, collecting stories, and making sure every dollar counts. “I just want to keep score and raise money,” he laughs. “And then I get to drink a beer after — and that’s my whole day, you know?” — Steve Hanf

Ed. Note: To get in on this year’s Barnes Street Open, just show up Sept. 14, from 12-4pm. And for year-round ringers, find Horseshoes in the Hood on Facebook.

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fooddrink Pierside pit stop at Striper’s. Photo: Spaulding Smails

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Set a course for delicious dockside cuisine.


every other day from May to October,” says Chris Queensbury with a sunny smile. “There are a lot of restaurant options for daytime docking — and the serenity you feel out on the water is unreal.”



“You can find my wife and me on our boat


Oh, and before setting sail on the high seas, make sure you hit up Cravings for some of their famous hushpuppies and to-die-for crab dip.



In either case, you’re looking at around 30 minutes travel time to the public dock at The Waterfront Shops — just behind Mexi fave Coastal Cantina — and even more options await within walking distance. Step south to Aqua Restaurant for fresh poke or east toward Red Sky for shrimp and grits. Snag a slice of pie at The Wave Pizza Café to the north — or follow the sound of live tunes drifting along in the night breeze to Tap Shack, where you can enjoy a cold pint.

“There isn’t a better place for a sunset and a bite to eat.”


Boating and noshing — it’s a thing. And we don’t mean suffering through soggy, bottom-of-the-cooler sandwiches or stale Toast-Chee crackers. We’re talking lobster rolls and rockfish Reubens. Shrimp ceviche and tuna tacos — or just a good, old-fashioned burger and fries as you tie up to culinary bliss along any number of soundside docks. And whether it’s swilling a fine wine while waxing poetic about the sunset, or getting sweaty and crushing PBRs and pounds of steamed shrimp, there’s a port for every palate.

“Just head towards the Wright Memorial Bridge and use the Duck water tower as your landmark.”

Especially on weekends. While most folks are stuck in traffic, “Queenie” and his wife Lori can run full speed ahead to Duck. (In fact, the 25-year veteran of The Blue Point was the first customer to access this fine dining cornerstone via boat three years ago.) All you need is a public ramp to put in — say, Dock Street off of Bay Drive, or Bob Perry Road back in Kitty Hawk. After that?

Northern beaches not on your radar? Our more southerly friends have a scene all their own. The very first stop? Former fish house and Colington’s best dive, the Blue Crab Tavern, where classic stories and ice cold beer quench your thirst for local culture. But be advised — the access canal is very shallow, especially on an East wind. Continue cruising south through Colington Creek, past the emerald scenery of Nags Head Woods and the ochre crests of Jockey’s Ridge, you’ll come to the landlocked pirate ship marking Pamlico Jack’s — try the lobster mac and cheese — followed by a sky blue building with the shutters thrown open. That’s Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant. “There really isn’t a better place for a sunset and a bite to eat,” Queenie says. And by bite to eat he means barbeque poutine loaded with white cheddar curds or heaping plates of tuna nachos. “Plus the docking is great.” And there may be more options to come, thanks to a new zoning change. “For properties with access to the sound, [this change] covers the causeway and then

north to Forbes Street,” says Michael Zehner, Nags Head’s Director of Planning and Development. “[With] approval for a Conditional Use Permit for a docking facility.” Still got some gas in your tank? Motor just across the drink to Downtown Manteo, you’ll find all sorts of choices — from classic quiche Lorraine at Avenue Grill, to Ortega’z Grill’s spicy street tacos, to a classic pimento cheese sandwich at Poor Richard’s. “We go to Downtown Manteo via boat a lot,” says Queenie. “You’ve got six-to-ten options — plus Lost Colony Brewery.” And there’s still more on the outskirts. Stop in at Mimi’s Tiki Bar at Pirate’s Cove Marina for hand-cut chips and smoked wings — or head upstairs to Blue Water for an oyster shooter and hand-mixed cocktails. For the early birds, start at Striper’s with a Bloody Mary overflowing with crab legs and bacon, followed by a killer weekend brunch on the outside deck. Actually, put in at the public boat ramp just across from Pirate’s Cove, and you’ve got all these options in a matter of minutes — plus Wanchese awaits just around the corner in the Pamlico Sound. “It’s a nice trip,” Queenie says. “You can cut through John’s ditch, which is great for smaller boats, and then head over and park at Outer Banks Marina.” That’s where Sooey’s food truck offers southern BBQ and O’Neal’s Sea Harvest is a bounty of fried delights. (We’re lookin’ at you fried okra and tilefish.) For a killer sandwich, head to Great Gut Deli, which can be found at the southern end of Wanchese at the Thicket Lump Marina. As with any eating adventure, it’s important to know your limits — for drinking and speeding. Be wary of the weather, shallow water, and constantly aware of your surroundings. Most importantly, just savor your time on the water. At the end of the day, you return home with salty hair, happy friends, and full bellies — and a fresh take on coastal flavor. “Conditions here can be very tricky,” says Queenie. “But we love boating here because you get a completely different perspective of the Outer Banks.” — Fran Marler milepost 55



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Just duet. Photo: Chris Bickford

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For Willow Rea, songwriting is all love at first sound.

“We don’t have a band name,” says Red.

the bare minimum makes for maximum impact.

“My influence mostly comes from jazz artists like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Dorothy Ashby,” says the Manteo native. “Moon Child is more of a recent favorite. So I love playing with Red because we get to add that extra layer of sound and energy. But we have similar music tastes, so it’s all very natural.”


“Gifted songwriter/chanteuse seeks steady drummer for regular play, possible relationship.” Okay, so Willow Rea and Red Temple didn’t actually meet in a personal ad — but you still couldn’t script a more romantic musical love story. Started out trading waves in the waters of Puerto Rico. Smitten within minutes. Soon Willow asked Red to sit in on a jam. A year later, they’re still making beautiful music together — even if they can’t decide what to call it.

striking. Where the bare minimum makes for maximum impact, with a maturity that belies Willow’s 21 years.

“We’ll probably just run with ‘Willow Rea.’” “I’m against it,” laughs Willow. “But, I guess it makes sense.” Nobody with ears could argue. If Red’s solid beats are the reliable backdrop, then Willow’s guitar and voice are the bold strokes that jump off the canvas. A siren’s slash of sultry coos and fingerpicked riffs, able to reduce even the most iconic pop songs to their purest notes and different angles. Like a charcoal sketch — sparse yet

Perhaps it’s their similar backgrounds. For Red, his parents’ extensive classic rock record collection got him drumming through high school, followed by stints backing reggae and ska bands in LBI, New Jersey. For Rea, years of classroom education and piano lessons segued into writing songs, singing jazz, and jamming guitar — with the bonus of being raised by two Outer Banks musical icons: live-gigging legend Bill Rea and his wife, Becki, a beloved Dare County music teacher and pianist extraordinaire. “I’d actually blame it on my whole family, because my sisters are incredibly musically talented, too,” says Willow. “But Mom and Dad definitely inspired us all. And it’s funny, but when I was younger, I was super against letting my dad teach me guitar, because I knew he was good at everything, and I wanted to be good at something for me.” Even today, Willow’s style and setlist remain delightfully stubborn, full of artists she’s loved all her life and will never let go of — no matter how different — and a willingness to add her own special stamp. The result is an ever-spinning roulette wheel of surprises. Dolly Parton’s Jolene becomes more groovy, less needy. Whitney Houston decides she’d rather slow-dance with somebody. MGMT’s “Electric Feel” gets an acoustic surge. Meanwhile, Red mixes in his own colors, often a brushy blend of samba and bossa nova beats. “I feel like we end up going for a more Caribbean sound naturally, without really meaning to do it,” laughs Willow. “But the

best thing about music is you can make it your own.” “I love all the songs we do,” adds Red. “But I have the most fun with Willow’s originals, because of all the change-ups.” “We Got it Right” is a classic example, as Willow stacks cascading chords and rhythms. Her left hand happily stretches complex patterns up and down the fret board; her right hand thumb-strums riffs and nimbly picks out melodies and fills, slapping woody rimshots for extra percussion. Add a layer of heartfelt hooks and introspective lyrics full of slick imagery, vulnerable emotions, and cool confidence — “push the mortar and pestle, I’m rosemary and thistle” — you get a lyrical love letter that, for all its impressive elements, feels completely casual. As if it leapt from Willow’s head wholly developed. “I’ve tried to write songs without feeling inspired and it just doesn’t work,” she says. “But when it comes, it comes. A lot of songs, I wrote in my Bronco driving back and forth to school. I had no radio, so I’d sing for hours and see what came out. Except now I have a new car, so I haven’t been writing as much — I guess I need to rip out the stereo.” She better do it soon. Come fall, the couple heads back to UNCW so Rea can finish her degree in studio art. That means return visits for her once-a-month gigs at Basnight’s Lone Cedar. Maybe a pop-up show under the name Queen Street, where they add Willow’s sister, Katelyn Rea Stetson, on harmonies. In-between, they might pursue gigs in Wilmington. Maybe some studio time. Both offer an opportunity to further expand Willow and Red’s relationship, which begs the question: is this strictly a duo — or the start of something more? “After playing solo for so long, I love any chance to play with other people,” says Willow. “And I really enjoy the creative process of different minds coming together to create something nice. I really wish I had a full band, with a horn section, and three really soulful back-up singers. That would be so cool — as long as Red’s the drummer.” — Leo Gibson milepost 57


THE ORIGINAL Since the 60’s


Join Raymond Wallace and Stuart Parks II, as they attack their most ambitious film to date.

endnotes Rentals • Lessons Boards • Wetsuits Surfwear • Sunglasses Sunblock • Sandals T-Shirts Old Nags Head Cottage Row MP 13.5 Beach Rd. Nags Head 252-441-7349

questionauthority upfront soundcheck Parks and Wallace give a crash course in sci-fi effects. Photo: Chris Bickford. Digital Work: Rayolight

getactive Kevin Smith. Richard Linklater. Robert Rodriguez. Christopher Nolan. Just a few of the many now-famous creators who launched their careers far from Tinseltown. Smith shot Clerks in a Garden State convenience store, funding his film on maxed-out credit cards. (Note to aspiring young artists: producing movies on plastic is not a particularly good life strategy.) Nolan, known for blockbuster hits The Dark Knight and Interstellar, made his debut crime thriller, Following, on weekends, relying on friends and family for free locations.

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Who will be next? Across the globe, countless would-be directors hope to reach the same heights. Few will bust through the atmosphere, but damn it, they’ll try.


The Waterfront Shops • Duck


Two such filmmakers, Raymond Wallace, 36, of Manteo, and Stuart Parks II, 41, of Kill Devil Hills, are determined to make the Outer Banks their launch pad, and early returns are promising. Their 2017 short film, Lost in Buffalo City, won “Best Horror” at 2019’s ConCarolinas Film Festival. And

two more — 2018’s Boy! and Night of the Fluffet — recently won “Best in Show” at Carolina Fear Fest and “Audience Favorite” at Underground Indie Film Festival. Four years ago, Wallace and Parks hit it off at a pool party, connecting over a shared love for Outer Banks history. “After that, [Raymond] asked me to do a part in Lost in Buffalo City,” says Parks. “And then he hit me up for script ideas, and I had a few...” “Great ideas,” interjects Wallace. “Why thank you,” responds Parks. Wallace and Parks somehow stumbled on a seemingly perfect partnership, one built on both complimentary attitudes and complementary skills. Parks, who studied English at ECU, acts as a kind of creative director, and Wallace, whose day job is channel manager for Dare County’s CURRENTtv, serves as the team’s production director, handling technical details. As Parks puts it: “[Raymond] takes my ideas and makes them real.”

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Stuart Parks II always dreamed of writing tales — for movies or otherwise. He has collaborated on scripts, as well as performed for local theatre productions like Ghosts of the Lost Colony and OBX Mystery Theatre. Still, until he met Wallace, any dream of writing for the screen was fading fast. “Four years ago,” he admits, “I was sitting on my ass, playing video games.” But the seeds were there, waiting for the right soil, and once the partnership gave purchase, the seeds grew wild. Animals and children started going missing, and — sorry, I got lost in a horror-movie metaphor there. Where was I? Oh yes, seeds. And soil. Wallace and Parks are technically transplants to Outer Banks territory — Wallace came from Lynchburg, VA, and Parks from Deep Run, NC — yet, while both think of the beach as home, they draw inspiration from the full range of nearby locations. “It’s not just the sandbar,” says Parks. “Eastern NC has swamps, fields — if you want

something surreal and otherworldly, leave the towns. There are places where you see nothing but fields forever.” For Boy! — the story of a haunted, tortured man cursed to run errands for an ancient evil spirit — the team took full advantage of the wild area around East Lake. They chose February to film, hoping to avoid bugs, but had to return for more shots in April. “It was yellow fly season,” says Parks. “Driving through the swamp was like driving through hail. A neighbor testing out shotguns told us there were several bears in the area, which is off-putting when you’re out filming at midnight in the middle of the woods.” For the interior shots, they made a makeshift studio out of Parks’ garage, filming different scenes between dank corners and a DIY green screen for digital backdrops. But bugs and beasts aside, the duo remains dedicated to showing what the area has to offer.

They film scenes between dank corners and a DIY green screen.

“I want to showcase the Outer Banks,” says Wallace. “Growing up, Steven Spielberg was my hero. Now, I’m not sure I’d take a million bucks to do a project in LA. There’s something here that you can’t get out there, something I didn’t have until I came here — a real community.”

That’s where Parks’ connections come into play. As an actor and board member with Theatre of Dare, he’s starred in numerous community theater productions over the past decade — from One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest to Spamalot to Rocky Horror Picture Show. And when not on stage, he’s often helped with set design or dialogue. He knows how to get things done with limited resources — when your primary asset is other people’s time and effort. “You address problems as a group, solve problems as a group, and everyone

contributes something, whether it’s an idea for a scene or a line or an action.” That mindset has helped the team compete in the 48-Hour Film Project, a global challenge to make a film over a single weekend. And Night of the Fluffet — the story of one family’s fight for survival after their daughter brings home a wild, Muppetlike creature — has been making the festival rounds from Long Beach to London. “We’re working on a sequel,” says Parks, who dreamed up the story way back in high school. “And Fluffet will make a cameo as an alien species in The Battle for Space.”

The Battle for Space is their biggest challenge yet. It’s the story of a crew of intergalactic outlaws as they fight to overthrow an evil empire and bring peace to the known universe. Ambitious? Sure. But Wallace and Parks have a plan, of course. They’ve already started making scale models of spacecraft and landscapes — the same techniques that made the original Star Wars films work. For costumes, they’ve turned to Jason Hill, who is the commanding officer of 501st Legion’s Carolina Garrison, OBX StormTroopers, a dedicated fan group that constructs screen-ready Star Wars regalia.

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But to fully succeed, they’ll need your help securing resources. “We’re not just looking for money,” says Wallace. “We need extras, locations, warehouse space for building sets, more costumes. Of course, we’re going to need a lot more spaceships by the end.” Parks adds a few more requests: “If you’ve got some funky old computer thing with all the tubes coming out of it, or some junk lying around that looks space-aged, we’d love to borrow it. “Also, if anyone has a good space prison, we need that, too.” — Dave Holton Want to be part of bringing The Battle of Space to life? Check out Rayolight Productions on Facebook and www. rayolightproductions.com to rent, buy, and watch their films. And stay tuned for the upcoming crowdfunding campaign.


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The colonel dropped me off somewhere south of Eureka. I was glad to be done with the colonel, who stopped every twenty minutes to take a leak and insisted that I wait, outside his locked car, with my guitar and backpack, while he went to the bathroom. He wasn’t gone five minutes before a rusty Winnebago pulled over. A blonde guy with dreadlocks down to his waist jumped out: “Where ya heading?”

The driver was big, brawny, bald and fresh out of prison.

“Seattle,” I told him. In truth, I had no fixed plans. “Can you help with gas?” “Yeah, sure.” I jumped in and shook hands. The driver was big, brawny, bald and — as I soon learned — fresh out of prison. I sat in the back and listened to tales of petty crime and life on the inside as the RV rolled up Highway 101, north through sun-drenched inland hills and then west into a blanket of mist. As we passed into Eureka, Baldy pointed to a McDonald’s sign and said, “Dinner!” He pulled around the back of the building and stopped next to the dumpster. “Hungry?” he laughed. They both jumped out, whooping like gulls. I hesitated for half a breath and then followed them into the stinking bin. “You’d be amazed how much perfectly good food these guys throw out,” Dreadlocks told me as we rooted around. He grabbed a giant bag full of Chicken McNuggets. “Check this thing. It’s still frozen solid. It could keep for a year.” We filled our arms with carrion find, then drove a mile or so to a 7-11. Baldy kept the cashier busy ringing up coffee while me and Dreads commandeered the microwave. I felt nervous, but these guys rolled with a coolness that felt like an invisible shield. Back in the ’Bago, we dumped the steaming food out over a tablecloth of stolen napkins, smothered it with ketchup packets, and dug in. It tasted like freedom. An hour or so later, we stopped for gas at a run-down mom-andpop that stood alone at a mountaintop crossroads. There was a single pump, rusty and exposed. “How much?” Dreads asked me, as he grabbed the handle. “How’s twenty bucks?” “Works for me.”

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Dreads pushed the nozzle in the tank while Baldy lit a smoke and stared out into the mist covering the valley. As I headed inside, I pulled out my wallet, only to discover there was nothing in the billfold but receipts and a scribbled phone number. I turned around and went back to the rig. “Shit, y’all, I thought I had...” Baldy blew out a cloud and cocked his head just enough to see my face. Dreads had already pumped about 15 dollars. He looked at me, then over at Baldy. Neither seemed to care whether it was an outright lie or an honest mistake. There was no sin, no fault, no betrayal. Only a question of how to handle the situation. “We got that grill,” said Dreads. “It’s worth at least fifty bucks.” As we drove away, I looked back to see a brand new Weber next to the pump and a lady running and waving her arms. Her screams, muffled by the motor, and the sight of her, raging with impotence, both faded into the fog. Dreads was laughing and gesticulating like a hip-hop artist. Baldy just smiled and kept driving. — Chris Bickford milepost 61

endnotes Wanna savor one last sexy glimpse of summer? Head to Roanoke Island Festival Park, where A Day at the Beach — 100 Years of Swimwear displays bathing attire and adverts back to the late 1800s. Ends Sept. 30. More at www.roanokeisland.com. • Get a final earful of free summer tunes from the Tap Shack Concert Series with Little Bird (Aug. 28), William Matheny (Aug. 29), Troy Beslow and the Company Band (Aug. 30), Roaming River Hippies (Aug. 31), and Mojo Collins & Triple Vision (Sept. 1). Juicy deets and fall dates at www.beardedfp.com. • Meanwhile, Duck extends their free summer events an extra week with Dynamic Flow on the Green (Aug. 28 & Sep. 4, 7:30am), a Nature Out Loud! children’s concert (Aug. 28, 10am); Concert on the Green: MikeMickXer (Aug. 29, 6:30pm); Yoga On The Green (Sept. 3, 7:30am), and two Story Times at Paul F. Keller Meeting Hall (Aug. 30 & Sept. 6, 10am). Plus: you got ’til Oct. 23 to bask in Batik Exhibit by Robin York inside Duck Town Hall, Mon.-Fri., 9am-4pm. Full sched at www.townofduck. com. • Nags Head stretches out Dowdy Park’s weekly Yoga Tuesdays ’til Sept. 24. (7:30am; bring a towel, mat and water.) And the Farmer’s Market serves up quality produce, organic goods, and fine local art, Sept. 12, Sept. 26, & Oct.10. 9am-1pm. Fresh deets at www. nagsheadnc.gov. • Find weekly leeks — along with other tasty fresh produce and hand crafted items — at Manteo Farmer’s Market, every Sat. through Oct. 5., 8am-12pm. More at www.townofmanteo.com. • Labor Day Weekend fills the water with live action when the WRV Outer Banks Pro Presented by Pacifico & Sanuk draws an international field of top men and women to Jennette’s Pier for three firing days of killer surfing and nightly ragers at local clubs, Aug. 28-Sept. 1. Find updates and live streams at www.wrvobxpro.com. • You’re gonna diiiieeeeeee…if you miss Nighttrain — The Ultimate Guns N’ Roses Tribute at Kitty Hawk’s Papparazzi — on Aug. 31. 21+. Score tix and a paradise city of details at www. paparazziobx.com. • Lose the fishnets and lace up your footwear for Sept. 2’s Labor Day 5k at KDH Town Hall. 8am start. Jog over to www.theobxrunningcompany.com for more. • More into rum runners? Race inside Hurricane Mo’s, Sept. 3, Oct. 1, & Nov. 5, where the OBX Pirates Parrot Head Club shares a love of Buffet and beverages as they find ways to support local charities the first Tues. of each month. 6-8pm. Get the latest at www. obxparrotheadclub.com. • Drop the booze and grab a bag, Sept. 4 & 11, as the season’s two final Currituck Cornhole Tournaments take place at Whalehead in Corolla — and draw the season’s final prize for a free vacation. $20 per team. Limit of 16 teams. 4:15-7pm. Preregister by calling 252-453-9040. • Less cornhole, more porthole. The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum salutes NC’s maritime roots every Tues. with a free 2pm Salty Dawgs Lecture. Subjects include Cooking Shrimp Hatteras Style (Sept. 3), Every Object Tells a

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Cool off between heats when Pacifico presents the WRV OBX Pro at Jennette’s Pier, Aug. 28-Sept. 1. Photo: Patrick Ruddy

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BENEFITTING THE ROGALLO FOUNDATION Story (Sept. 10), Theories of the Lost Colony (Sept. 17), and Shore Wrecks of the Outer Banks (Sept. 24). Plus, every Wed. offers Maritime Crafts for Kids, from 10:30am-12pm. For details go to www. graveyardoftheatlantic.com. • Support local causes — and score big prizes — when Cape Hatteras Anglers Club’s Bingo Night continues every Wed. night through Sept before turning twice-a-month for the offseason. (Oct. 9 &23; Nov. 13 & 27.) Proceeds fund annual scholarships and a range of local organizations. Doors open at 6pm. Game at 7pm. Updates on Facebook. • Donate your musical talent to the masses every Sat. with the Jolly Roger Open Jam, where Rollo & Mitch set the stage so pickers and singers can raise the roof. 6:30-9:30pm. Or come in and caterwaul ‘til the wee hours, seven days a week, with Nightly Karaoke. Tune into www.jollyrogerobx.com for more. • Come Sept. 4-5, watch a spectrum of 25+ artists help solid causes when the OBX Arts & Craft Festival fills Hilton Garden Inn with painting, pottery, jewelry, photography, fiber, and more — and a portion of proceeds benefits NEST and Friends of Youth. 10am-5pm. Find details on Facebook. • Show off your fishing skills — and hang with good folks — Sept. 5-7, when the 36th Annual Hatteras Village Invitation Surf Fishing Tournament draws 60+ teams of anglers for three days of awesome angling. More on Facebook. • Got aging parents with memory loss issues? Bring them to Kitty Hawk United Methodist Church any Fri., 10am-3pm, as GEM Meaningful Days provides seniors with exercise classes, live music, a healthy lunch, and an age-appropriate craft — and caregivers get a well-deserved break. Get the full scoop at www.gemdayservices.org. • Calling all ’Cokeheads! Stimulate your senses when Dare County Arts Council lines up Down Creek Gallery’s Roy Revels, Kitty Mitchell, Barbara Adams, Debbie Wells, and Mary Bassel in Downtown Manteo for an Ocracoke Artist Group Show, Sept. 6-Oct. 1 — with an opening night reception from 6-8pm. (More at www.darearts.org.) And the party carries on with First Friday’s later shopping, yakking friends, and live music by Seagrass. Full sched at www.townofmanteo. com. • For more eyepopping work, cruise west to Grandy’s Read ’Em & Weep Used Books, where Suzanne Scott Constantine’s mixed media hangs canvas and paper layered with paint and texture through Oct. 10. See examples at www.suzannescottconstantine.com. • And Sharon B. Whitehurst’s “Experiencing God” exhibit makes you see The Almighty at Glenn Eure’s Ghost Fleet Gallery, Aug. 30- Sept. 27 — with a revelatory reception, Sept. 8, from 2-4pm. More at www.glenneureart.com. • Be at Jockey’s Ridge, Sept. 7-8, as Kitty Hawk Kites’ Outer Banks Kite Festival flies massive soft sculptures, while spectators participate in stunt and power kite lessons given by masters. Free to the public. Colorful deets at www.kittyhawk.com. • Park your butt — and stuff your face — when another Outer Banks Food Truck Showdown peels into Nags Head’s Soundside Event Site, Sept. 8, with mobile eateries, live music, local brews, and fun times. 11:30am-4:30pm. More at www. outerbanks.org. • That night, dig in to some mouthwatering Memphis rock-n-roll when Saliva plays Papparazzi’s End of Summer Blowout, Sept. 8. Head to www.paparazziobx.com for pricing and times. • Get within spitting distance of local wildlife and native plants when Duck’s Nature on the Boardwalk series strolls the soundside with an NC Aquarium educator, Sept. 10 (6:30-8pm), Sept. 25 (9-10:30am), Oct. 1 (6-7:30pm), and Oct. 16 (910:30am). Free registration at www.townofduck.com. • Drool over drumsticks? Rundown Cafés Fried Chicken Night delivers finger-lickin’ goodness every single Mon. from Sept. 9 ’til right before Thanksgiving. Full menu at www.rundowncafe.com. • Protect your local way of life by voting in Sept. 10’s Special Election to replace Walter B. Jones. Go to www. vote411.org to research the four candidates, then vote for the one who’ll do right by our coast. (PS: Find polling stations and other important info at www.darenc.com.) • Get a threeday course in high-quality Americana when Bearded Face Productions herds Mama’s Black Sheep into town for three straight dates: Sanctuary Vineyards (Sept. 12, 5:30pm); The Tap Shack (Sept. 13, 6:30pm); and The Blue Point (Sept. 14, 6:30pm.) Get details and more baaaaaaad-ass acts at www.beardedfp.com. • Flock to Hatteras Village, Sept. 13-14, for Day at the Docks’ delicious celebration of local culture, including Fri.’s Hurricane Awareness Event at the Community Building (1pm) and the 8th annual Taste of NC at






O BX BR E W TAG . C O M milepost 63

endnotes Lee Robinson’s Store (5pm). Then Sat. is an all-day affair of foot races, cook-offs, seafood demos, and fishing displays, culminating with the Blessing of the Fleet. 10am-4pm. Plus, the NC Coastal Federation celebrates National Estuaries Day with tours of a nearby living shoreline project. More at www.hatterasonmymind. com. • Gear up your goatboat to catch-and-release, Kitebording betties make it rain at Sept. when Kitty Hawk Kites’ Outer Banks Kayak 14-29’s Cape Hatteras Wave Classic. Photo: Ryan Osmond Fishing Tournament tackles a range of species for big prizes, Sept. 14-15. Get all the rules and boundaries on this photo-driven event at Sept. 13’s mandatory captain’s meeting — or go to www. kittyhawk.com. • Lose the boundaries — and share the love — when the 9th Annual OBX Pride Weekend welcomes all LGBTQ folks and their supporters and friends, Sept. 13-15. Start with Fri.’s Sunset Booze Cruise on the Crystal Dawn (5pm) before carrying on to Pamlico Jack’s Pride & Joy Drag Show at 10pm. On Sat., Downtown Manteo’s main event is a free day of vendors, food and live tunes, 1-6pm, followed by a 10pm show by Wicked Jezabel at Outer Banks Brewing Station. Then nurse that hangover on Sept. 15, with a Sunday Morning Drag Brunch at Avenue Waterfront Grille. Find tix and a full rainbow of details at www. obxpridefest.com. (PS: all daytime events are family friendly — all nighttime events are NOT.) • Pucker up, buttercup. Sept. 14’s Adult Lemonade Stand at Jack Brown’s serves up sweet-and-sour goodness to benefit the Beach Food Pantry. Get the tasty deets at www.

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beachfoodpantry.org. • Blow yourself down south for the Cape Hatteras Wave Classic presented by Patagonia, Sept. 14-20, where kiteboarders of both genders battle on the open ocean for equal prize money. More at www.realwatersports.com. • That last blurb turn your face red? No? Then try swimming, biking and running for hours when the Outer Banks Triathlon dashes through town Sept. 14-15, with a range of distances and space for both relay teams and individuals — plus an Aqua Bike division. Sign up at www.obxse.com. • Jennette’s Pier is a biathlon of paddle-outs and drop-ins, Sept. 15-21, when the ESA Eastern Surfing Championships draws the coast’s most dangerous talents — boys to girls, groms to geezers — for a week of wave riding battles for ultimate bragging rights. Find a full sched at www. surfesa.org. • If the surfer having the most fun wins, then we’re all world champs when the 2019 Surfalorus Film Festival lines up three stoking nights of free movies at Dowdy Park (Thurs., Sept. 19); Dare County Arts Council (Fri., Sept. 20); and the Outer Banks Brewing Station (Sat., Sept. 21). Doors open at 6:30pm each evening. Plus, DCAC stacks up classic designs curated by board hoarder Steve Wise. And, on Sept. 21, RC Theatres will host a ticketed performance of And Two If By Sea — the new full-length documentary on former WCT pros, twin brothers, and lifelong Hatteras fans, CJ & Damien Hobgood. Get more titles and details at www.surfalorus.com. • Drop the sticks — and grab some flowers


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— at Elizabethan Gardens’ End of Summer Plant Sale (Sept. 16), followed by the Big Fall Plant Sale (Sept. 30-Oct. 7). Find updates and a range of fall gardening workshops at www. elizabethangardens.org. • Local biz leaders rock floral patterns, Sept. 19, for the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce’s Great Taste With a Polynesian Twist Member Social at Jennette’s Pier. From 5:30-8:30pm, local restaurants prepare killer pu-pus, judges award prizes for hula skirts and Hawaiian shirts, and everyone makes bad jokes about getting lei’d. Tix and deets at www.outerbankschamber.com. • On Sept. 20, at Currituck Beach Lighthouse, NC’s Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, observe Deaf Awareness Week with free American Sign Language interpreted climbs, tours — and possibly a wild pony petting session. More at www.visitcurrituck.com. • Learn how to stop strokes without lifting a finger, Sept. 19, when KDH’S Baum Center shows the documentary A Teachable Moment. (2:30-4:30pm.) And give the gift of life while receiving a $20 Walmart gift card at two Outer Banks Hospital Blood Drives — Sept. 25 & Nov. 20. 8am-1pm. Register online at www. thebloodconnection.org. Call 252-449-4529 with questions. • Twelve steps is just the start when Sept. 21’s 10th Annual Walk Against Addiction brings biz leaders and vendors to First Flight Schools for raffles, cookouts and even a 5k run. Proceeds foster education and assist those who need treatment. Find a schedule and speakers at www. walkagainstaddiction.org. • Meanwhile, speed fiends pace around Nags Head’s Soundside Event Site when Sept. 21’s first annual Sumospeed Beach Bash cooks up a concoction of shiny rides, killer music, raffles, vendors, and food trucks. 12-6pm. Updates at www. outerbanks.org. • But first! Hop in your 4WD and head south, Sept. 21, when the NC Beach Buggy Association cleans up litter from Hatteras and Ocracoke access ramps for another Operation Beach Respect/Adopt-A-Highway event. 8am-12pm. Details at www.ncbba. org. • Claw your way back to Currituck for Sanctuary Vineyards’ CrabDaddy, Sept. 21,

where you get AYCE crabs, plus wine samples, beer trucks, live tunes, hayrides — and the Crabdaddy Olympics. 12-6pm. Crack open www.sanctuaryvineyards.com for more tasty tidbits. • Then scurry over to The Blue Point for three courses of musical flavor by Crimson Fox Trio on Sept. 21, topped with a jazzy tapenade from Chez Says on Sept. 28. Both shows at 6:30pm. More at www.thebluepoint.com. • Enjoy two days of Deutsch fare — and flair — when Trio’s 8th Annual Oktoberfest serves up a scheisse-load of fashionable German food, beer and lederhosen, Sept. 21-22. Allemande over to www.obxtrio.com for updates. • OBX Jeep Jam lines up a full weekend of locked hubs and dropped tops, Sept. 27-29, including a Fri. night meet-and-greet at Pirate’s Cove Marina; a Sat. Jeep Show-n-Shine at the Soundside Event Site, with food, music and fine rides; and a Sun. Beach Convoy up and over Corolla. Proceeds fuel GOFAR’s programs to help kids stay fit. Full deets at www.obxjeepjam.com. • Or head south to the Hatteras Island Surf Fishing Challenge, Sept. 27-29, where roving anglers get 36 hours to chase keepers and prizes from Rodanthe to Hatteras Village. More at www.fishermanspost.com. • On Sept. 27-28, schools of would-be Hemingways head to COA in Manteo, where the Marturia Young Writer’s Conference teaches eighth- to twelfth-graders the full range of publishing skills via key note speakers, workshops and Q&A panels. Pricing and sched at www.marturiapub.com. • Surfers of all ages scrawl across waves when the 11th Annual Throwdown Surf Classic fills Southern Shores’ Chickahauk Access on Sept. 28. This favorite event runs divisions from “push me in” to “former pro,” all for good fun — and to raise cash for locals in need. Get the latest on Facebook. • Anglers of every stripe jam into Jennette’s Pier, Sept. 28, for the Jim Mulford Red Drum Tournament, where red drum’s the targeted species but all legal game fish get judged. Awards for winners, plus door prizes and more. 7am-1pm. More at www. jennettespier.net. • Sept. 28’s 3rd Annual Lost Colony Wine & Culinary Festival gives foodies the royal treatment by mixing international wines, locally prepared fare, and 6957 CARATOKE HWY. JARVISBURG NC

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endnotes gorgeous scenery. Buy tix at www.tlcwinefest.com. Proceeds keep the symphonic drama in coin. • Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts starts 2019 on a high note when Let’s Hang On! channels Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Sept. 28, at First Flight High School. 7:30pm. $32; $20 for students. Walk like a man over to www.outerbanksforum.org for tix and deets. • Swing into Duck Woods Country Club, Sept. 30, for the 2019 Kitty Hawk Rotary Club Pro-Am Golf Tournament, where teams of three average shmoes and one pro sink holes and raise funds for local non-profits, educational scholarships, and international service projects. Send a PM to the Kitty Hawk Rotary Facebook page to sign up or sponsor. • Score a slice of local life, Oct. 3-4, when author Garrett Dennis signs copies of his Hatteras-set fiction series at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. 11am-1pm. More at www. graveyardoftheatlantic.com. • Slasher flicks rule the day — and the night — when the Halloween International Film Festival fills KDH’s RC Theatre, Oct. 3-5. Between movies, hobnob with fellow fans for Q&A sessions and photo ops. All the gory details at www. halloweendailynews.com. • Oct. weekends are twice as spooky this fall. Not only will Wanchese Woods return to scare you senseless, but KDH’s Secret Island will transform into Sinister Island — an indoor haunted house full of horrific finds. Get full info on days, times and Halloween shows on their respective Facebook pages. • First Friday rocks Downtown Manteo with live tunes and later shopping, Oct. 4. Watch The Crowd musically mutate into Gorillas & the Miss by adding Katelyn Rea Stetson on vocals. Then step inside Dare County Arts Council at 6pm to see a collection of heads by powerful portrait artist Michael Bennett. Hangs thru Oct. 29. Visit www.darearts.org for more. • Join the Manteo Rotary Club, Oct. 4-5, for the 21st Annual Inshore Slam Fishing Tournament, where anglers compete for the largest fish in four categories to support local scholarships and charities like Mano al Hermano and

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Roanoke Island Food Pantry. Schedule and news at www.rockfishrodeo.org. • From Oct.412, fill up on rich foods — without breaking the bank — when Outer Banks Fall Restaurant Week lines up local eateries to offer three-course lunch or dinner menus at a fixed price of $20 or $35. Tax and tip not included. Full details at www.outerbanksrestaurantweek.com. • Load up on sweets, play games, and take home a pumpkin when the Nags Head Elementary Great Pumpkin Fair fills the grounds with Halloween fun to raise dough for the NHES PTO on Oct. 5. 10am-3pm. Learn more on Facebook. • Then roll into Island Farm’s Pumpkin Patch Saturdays, Oct. 5-26, for weekly hayrides, cornhusk dolls, candle making, a scarecrow photo booth, and plenty of orange gourds. 10am-4pm. Get pricing and details at www.theislandfarm.com. • Pink’s all the rage at Avon Pier, when the 5th Annual Fish Like A Girl Charity Fishing Tournament strikes Oct. 5 to raise money for the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation. 9am12pm. Register at www.koruvillage.com. • Surf like a kid when Real Watersports hosts the O’Neill East Coast Grom Tour Championships, Oct. 5-6. More at www.realwatersports.com. • Then eat and drink like a bandit when Bad Bean Taqueria hosts Tacotober, Oct. 6. From 12-3pm, mix excellent Mexi with regional craft beer curated by Buffalo City Jug Shop, all rolled together with music by Soul One. See the Facebook page for full deets. • The Bryan Cultural Series’ Works on Paper exhibit spices up the insides of Glenn Eure’s Ghost Fleet Gallery, Oct. 7-26, with watercolors, charcoals and collages by artists like Linda Browning, George Cheeseman, Liz Corsa, Meg Rubino, and Fred Vallade. Opening reception is Oct. 10, 5-7pm. Find a full list of artists at www.bryanculturalseries.org. • Angling’s an artform, Oct. 9-11, when the Nags Head Surf Fishing Club Tournament draws teams to cast lines across the sea’s watery canvas. Sketched out? Volunteer to help the cause by going to www.nagsheadsurffishingclub.org. • Oct. 10’s your last chance to hook up with friends at the Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Community Center’s Island Art Show for live

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tunes, tasty food, and top-notch creativity — all while raising dough and awareness for local causes like OBX SPCA and Hatteras Island Meals. 10am-4pm. Find the Facebook page for updates. • Mix home invasion with imagination, Oct. 10-13, when the 27th Outer Banks Parade of Homes busts into high-quality houses so you can steal design ideas for countertops and bathroom fixtures. $10 tix. Poach details at www.obhomebuilders.org. • On Oct. 11, art shops from Waves to Hatteras Village are working together to construct a cool new event. The Autumn Moon Gallery Tour celebrates art on Hatteras Island with trunk shows, demonstrations and visiting artists. Participants include: Michael Halminski Photography, Pea Island Art Gallery, Sandcastles Art Gallery, Kinnakeet Clay Pottery, Swell Art Gallery, Empty Nest Studio & Gallery, Sandy Bay Gallery, Red Drum Pottery, Family Jewels, Blue Pelican Gallery Gifts & Yarn, and Seaworthy Gallery. 10am-5pm. Learn more on Facebook. • On Oct. 12, head over to Kitty Hawk’s Outer Banks Hospital North Campus for Harvest for Health. From 10am-1pm, enjoy games, crafts, pumpkins, food trucks, and free information — plus flu vaccines for adults 18+. (Rain Date: Oct. 13.) And adults 18+ can score Free Flu Vaccinations all month long from KDH’s Baum Center (Oct. 2; 1-4:30pm), Buxton’s Fessenden Center (Oct. 15; 9:30-1:30pm), and Kitty Hawk Town Hall (Oct. 17; 2:30-5:30pm). Details at www.theobh.com. • Post up next to Longboard’s, Oct. 12, as the 2019 Oink & Oyster Roast serves up a healthy batch of bushels and BBQ from 12-2pm to help First Flight Rotary do good shuckin’ deeds for local charities. ($30 in advance; $35 at the door; ages 6-13, $7.00.) Rain Date: Oct. 13. More at

www.oinkandoyster.org. • Bivalve-curious? Explore a variety of oysters, cooked and raw — paired with fine craft beer — at Coastal Provisions’s Oystoberfest, Oct. 12, 12-2:30 pm. (Tix and details at www.coastalprovisionsmarket.com.) And to learn how the NC Coastal Federation promotes healthy waters via native shellfish, go to www.nccoast.org. • Devour fresh books, donate leftover literature — and help feed folks knowledge — by supporting Dare Literacy Council’s Fall Book Sale at the Kill Devil Hills Rec Center, Oct. 12 (9am–3pm) and Oct. 13 (12–3pm). For a list of drop-off points and volunteer opportunities — or to help the cause year-round — go to www.dareliteracy.org. • And Mano Al Hermano can always use a hand helping Latino elementary school students with homework and school projects, modeling good work habits, and building literacy skills. To become a tutor, email flpmahobx@gmail.com or go to www. manoalhermano.org. • Need a miracle? Head to the Tap Shack in Duck, Oct. 12, where Shakedown Saturday serves up a double-dose of free Grateful Dead cover Leroy Jones is among the bands. 4-9:30pm. More at www.beardedfp.com. • And the top brass at Oct. 12-13’s Duck Jazz Festival does the ears right, Oct. 12-13, with a Duck Jazz Festival Sat. warm-up show by Andrew Sanchez & His Hip Six (46pm), followed by a full Sun. of live shows at Duck Town Park by Sidecar Social Club, Carolina Davis, Benny Green Trio, Leroy Jones Quintet, Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble, and the First Flight High School Honors Jazz Band. (11am-6:30 pm.) Get the full score on town-wide events at www.townofduck.com. • Prefer more classical forms — but with a modern twist? Be at First Flight High School, Oct. 12, as the Outer Banks Forum For Lively Arts presents Pop! Go the Classics, featuring


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celebrated pianist Mac Frampton and the Three Penny Symphony. 7:30pm. $32 at the door. $20 for students. More at www.outerbanksforum.org. • What the flock’s happening Oct. 15-20? The Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival, where 85 different programs and events, spanning art, birding, paddling, photography, and natural history, raise funds for six NC wildlife refuges. Find a complete schedule at www.wingsoverwater.org. • Help save local humans, Oct. 18, by heading to Hilton Garden Inn for the Community Care Clinic of Dare Annual Fundraiser. From 6-9pm, jazz by Chez Says, heavy appetizers, and live and silent auctions all support the clinic’s free medical services, medication assistance, and health and wellness education for Dare County adults riding the poverty line. To learn more and see if you qualify for help, go to www.dareclinic.org. • Indulge in a dramatic, five-course display of Halloween classics like “The Raven” and “The Tell Tale Heart” when Theater of Dare presents Nightfall with Edgar Allen Poe at the Lost Colony Soundstage. Oct. 18-19 & 25-26 at 7:30pm; Oct. 20 & 27 at 2pm. Tix are $12 ($6 for students.) Get details, as well as audition dates for this year’s Christmas show, at www.theatreofdareobx.com. • Massacre local menu items — and preserve local traditions — when Oct. 19’s 8th Annual Outer Banks Seafood Festival blitzes at Nags Head’s Soundside Event Site. From 10:30am-6pm, purchase plates of killer cuisine from top area restaurants while enjoying cooking demos, waterman displays, and arts and crafts — plus live tunes by Celeste Kellog, Out ’n the Cold, Big John Hunter Blues Band with Betsy Robinson, and Mojo Collins & Triple Vision. 12 & up: $5. Info and tix at www.outerbanksseafoodfestival.org. • Stuff yourself with oysters, pig and 13 different bands when the 2nd Annual Mustang Rock & Roast returns to Mike Dianna’s Grill Room in Corolla, Oct. 19-20. On Sat., a pork BBQ cookoff anchors a hot lineup of Wild Adriatic, Big Daddy Love, Galaxy Dynamite, The Judy Chops, Urban Soil, and the Mustang Outreach Program student bands — topped with fiery funk headliner, The Motet. On Sun., enjoy an authentic NC oyster roast plus tunes by Polyrhythmics, Bennett Wales & the Relief, Lord Nelson, South Hill Banks, Dr. Bacon, and Manday Huge — finished off with Turkuaz’s psychedelic energy. Two-day tix: $60 in advance; $70 day of show. Single day tix: $35 in advance; $40 day of show. Proceeds help the Corolla Wild Horse Fund and the Mustang Outreach Program. Score deets and tix at www.mustangmusicfestival.com. • Wanna score some good pottery? Head to Island Farm, Oct. 20, for the 6th Annual Cody Dough Show, a firing collection of fine ceramics and crafts. 1-4pm. Burn over to Facebook for updates. • The feel-good angling event of the year fills local piers and head boats, Oct. 21-23, when NC Lions Club VIP Fishing Tournament brings 350+ visually impaired persons to the Outer Banks for three days of educational, recreational, and personal growth opportunities. To learn how to cast a line or just help the cause, go to www.ncvipfishing.org. • On Oct. 24-27, scalawags storm Ocracoke for Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree, where costumed reenactors roam a historically accurate Colonial Encampment and recreate the infamous buccaneer’s last battle on Silver Lake. Dress up for a weekend of sword fights, minstrels, black powder demos, and cannon fire. Get pricing and other hairy details at www. visitocracokenc.com. • Does your local charity need liquidity? Apply for an Outer Banks Community Foundation Community Enrichment Grant by Oct. 25. Learn more and apply online at www.obcf.org. • On Oct. 26, Elizabethan Gardens trades green for gold when the Harvest Hayday fills the grounds with hayrides, a bale maze, face painting, bake sales, scarecrow stuffing, and more fall activities. (10am-1pm; for pricing and details, call 252473-3234.) Be sure to head indoors and save some scratch in the Halloween Gift Shop Clearance Sale and Big Fall Plant Sale (Oct. 2129). More at www.elizabethangardens.org. • Stuff the kids with candy to help feed PTO coffers, Oct. 26, when the First Flight Elementary School Trick or Treat transforms the halls into the scariest scenario since the invention of homework. Find the Facebook page for crib notes. • Local shipwrights strut their stuff, Oct. 26, when the 7th Annual Roanoke Island Maritime Museum Wooden Boat Show ties up in Manteo. From 9am-5pm, ogle the curviest gunwales and tightest transoms. Come nightfall, attend the celebration to see which beauty queen wins the People’s Choice Award and the H.A. Creef Award for best

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Flying kegs fight gravity at the OBX Brewtag, Oct. 26. Photo: KHK

overall boat. More at www.townofmanteo.com. • On Oct. 26, give your favorite access a makeover with Outer Banks Surfrider’s annual Beach Sweep. From 9am-12pm, grab a bag, gloves and data card from one of several pick-up points between Kitty Hawk and Jennette’s Pier, pick a piece of sand, and document all your dirty finds. From 12-4pm, bring your card to the Outer Bank Brewing Station for the TrashFest afterparty with food, pints and tunes by Mosquito Net. Find the Facebook event page for details. • Meanwhile, Oct. 26’s OBX Brewtag tosses giant aluminum beer cans all over Nags Head’s Soundside Event Site. From 12-6pm, teams of would-be aviation engineers see who can launch and fly an empty keg the farthest, as spectators enjoy a craft beer garden and live bands. $50 to enter. Proceeds benefit plans to build a museum for The Rogallo Foundation to honor the flexible wing godfather. Sign up your team at www.obxbrewtag.com. • Less flinging — more swinging! That’s the Dare County Arts Council’s fundraising battle cry, Oct. 26, when they host Swing! at Pirate’s Cove Pavilion. From 7pm-12am celebrate the Big Band age, with décor and menus that harken back to the dancehall days of the 1940s — and live music by 504 Supreme and The Truetone Honeys. $125 tix keep local arts boogying. Details and sponsorship opps at www.darearts.org. • Or gather the fam for some early 90s Halloween nostalgia when Duck’s Movies on the Green presents Hocus Pocus, starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and that one lady from Veep, Oct. 26. Check the www.townofduck. com for updates. • Come Sun., Oct. 27, don your costume and march to KDH Town Hall, where the 6th Annual Outer Banks Halloween Parade draws spooky fans and local bizzes in a show of paranormal pride. More at www.obxentertainment.com. • Join the Outer Banks Hospital and the Dare County Health Department for a collective check-up when they deliver a Community Health Needs Assessment Presentation at Mako Mike’s, Oct. 29. 5:30-7pm. Seating’s limited so call 252-449-7300 to register. • Boats go “boo!”, Oct. 31, when the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum Haunted House overhauls the interior for a spooky-yet-safe and free Halloween experience to enjoy between trick-or-treats. 5-8pm. Details at www.townofmanteo.com. • Or steer north to Corolla where the Whalehead Club, Currituck Beach Lighthouse, and Historic Corolla Park team up for Creepy In Corolla’s Trunk or Treat. From 6-8pm, residents, and bizzes decorate vehicles for trick-ortreaters while the historic sights look extra spooky. Watch www.visitcurrituck.com for updates. • And for the adults, there’s always Outer Banks Brewing Station’s Exotic Erotic Ball, where adults push the limits of creativity, decency and various forms of fabric in a battle for prizes — and a damn fun time. Full deets at www.obbrewing.com. • Downtown Manteo gets back to normal, Nov. 1, when First Friday fills the streets with the usual community spirit, later shopping, live music by The Wilders, and three Dare County Arts Council opening receptions from 6-8pm. Gloria Coker depicts vivid acrylic paintings of people enjoying their passions. (Hangs through Nov. 6.) Fay Davis Edwards puts up a portfolio of mixed media, photography and paintings as part of 2019 People’s Choice Exhibit. (Hangs


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endnotes thru Nov. 26.) And Susannah Sakal and Barbara Hanft join up to show Boobies, Frigates the Sons of the American Legion’s Operation Comfort Warrior. Find out how to enter & Iguanas, a collection of botanical illustrations and mixed media paintings depicting or sponsor by visiting www.koruvillage.com. • Spice up your Veteran’s Day Weekend with Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands and Andes Mountains. (Hangs through Dec. 5.) More at a trip south to the Festival Latino de Ocracoke, Nov. 9-11. Enjoy traditional Latin food, www.darearts.org. • OBX Veteran’s Week salutes our servicemen and women, Nov. 1-11, salsa and mariachi bands, and all sorts of colorful festivities — including the Sat. night with a range of events — including Dare County Arts Council’s 7th Annual Outer Banks concert and dance, and Sun. basketball tournament. Proceeds benefit Ocracoke School and Veterans Writing Workshop, Nov. 9-10. Marching orders at www.darearts.org. • Do you community programs. More at www.ocracokealive.com. • Enjoy vintage goth looks — and ever wonder what the Outer Banks looked and sounded like in the 1930s and 40s? Find out, learn local history — when Island Farm brings back Evening Lantern Tours: Draped in Nov. 2, as Outer Banks Conservationists brings musicians/filmmakers Gerret and Jeff Black, Victorian Death Rituals, Nov. 9-10. From 7-9:30pm, costumed interpreters offer a Warner to the Wanchese Community Building to share vintage songs and photographs, nighttime tour into the home of a grieving widow, and a trip by lantern to former residents’ including recordings of Tink Tillett, Steve Meekins, Martha Etheridge, and Martha Ann final resting places in the family graveyard. Admission is $10; children ages five and under are Midgette. 2-4 pm. Admission is free, with a suggested $10 donation. For more information, free. The stark truth awaits at www.theislandfarm.com. • Crack a smile — and a bunch of visit www.obcinc.org or call 252-473-5440. • Rodeos. oysters — as Nov. 10’s Hopvemberfest at Tortuga’s BBQ. Cornhole! It’s all part of Nov. 2’s Currituck Lie pairs bivalves and brews from 1-5pm to support Heritage Festival at the Currituck Rural Center. NC Coastal Federation. Or meet them for Nov 16’s From 1-4pm, sample local pulled pork recipes as part Town of Manteo Litter Pickup, where refreshments of the Kansas City BBQ Competition. From 7-9pm, will be available for volunteers before and after. 9amwatch cowboys and cowgirls rope and ride in the 4th 11 am. Check www.nccoast.org for more details. • It’s a Annual Rodeo. In-between, enjoy a herd of funzone war for Christmas, Nov. 11, when Roanoke Island Festival Park presents the Ozark Jubilee’s Branson activities like mechanical bull riding and 4-H contests. Country Christmas & Veterans Show. New music, Find pricing and specifics at www.visitcurrituck.com. • fresh jokes — but the same world-class talent. Shows at Wrangling fish gets its due, Nov. 2, when Cape 11am & 3pm. Buy tix at www.roanokeisland.com. • Hatteras National Seashore and partners present Line up to learn more about helping the Graveyard of the 1st Annual Cape Hatteras Surf Fishing the Atlantic Museum with a Volunteer Luncheon Heritage Celebration, a salute to our coast’s angling on Nov. 14 at 11am. Call 252-986-0723 to reserve roots, with historical presentations, casting your spot. • On Nov. 15 a few cans of tuna feeds demonstrations, the evolution of beach buggies, rod hungry families year round, thanks to the Beach Food building, and more. Stay hooked to their Facebook Pantry’s 6th Annual Holiday Chefs’ Challenge. page. (PS: the last day to climb either lighthouse is From 6:30-10pm, top food talents fill Pirate’s Cove Oct. 14. Last day of camping season is Dec. 2.) • What Pavilion to turn non-perishable items into haute do you give the area’s longest running school cuisine in a battle for bragging rights — they’ll also be fundraiser? A footrace, of course! Come out to Kitty serving up a fancy favorite for finicky attendees. Tix go Hawk Elementary Fall Carnival, Nov. 2, for an on sale Sept. 15 at www.beachfoodpantry.org. • inaugural Flying Falcon Road Race, where every step Celebrate 50 years of good vibrations, Nov. 23, when raises dough for the PTO. Race is at 8am; festival at Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts presents 10am. Sign up to run at www.theobxrunningcompany. Sail On: The Beach Boys Tribute at First Flight com. • On Nov. 2, dash north to Duck Town Hall’s High School. 7:30pm. $32 at the door. $20 for Rotating Art Show with watercolor artist Robert students. Find tix and deets at www.outerbanksforum. Wiltshire. From 3-5pm meet the mind behind the org. • Thanksgiving means three things: feasting, visuals. Can’t make it? Stop in 9am-4pm, Mon.-Fri., family and footraces. Just be sure you sign up for through January 29, 2020. More at www.townofduck. Take a colorful vacation to Ecuador, Nov. 6- Dec. 5, with Dare County Arts Council’s Duck’s 24th Annual ADVICE 5K Turkey Trot by 6am com. • Flipper gets a hand, Nov. 3, when the 10th “Boobies, Frigates & Iguanas” — a dual show by Barbara Hanft and Susannah Sakal. on Sept. 3 or you might get left behind. (Go to www. Annual Outer Banks Shrimp Cookoff fills Ocean Boulevard with the best local chefs who’ll perform culinary stunts to support another whole advice5kturkeytrot.com.) Or jump in on Hatteras Island’s 8th Annual Surfin’ Turkey 5k & decade of study by the Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research. 12-3pm. Score $25 tix Puppy Drum 1/2 Mile Fun Run before Nov. 8 to avoid a price hike. (More at www. hatterasyouth.com.) • What’s better than “meat sweats”? Beer sweats! Warm-up for the usual at www.obshrimp.com or at Ocean Boulevard and Outer Banks Veterinary Hospital. • jogging traditions with Nov. 27’s Tipsy Turkey Beer Mile at the Outer Banks Brewing Election Day is as local as it gets. On Nov. 5, Duck, Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores, Kill Devil Station, where the backyard mixes brews and holiday costumes for a helluva time. Sign up at Hills, Nags Head and Manteo will select mayors and commissioners. Head to www.vote411. www.theobxrunningcompany.com. • On Nov. 29-30, stock up on 1850s survival tactics when org for candidate profiles, and follow the Dare County League Of Women Voters Island Farm hosts Garden to Hearth: Heritage Cooking and Food Preservation. From Facebook page for Voter Forums and Candidate Receptions prior to the start of One10am-4pm, learn about old-school cooking, food preservation, and candle making, plus Stop Early Voting. More at www.lwvdarenc.org. • Always wanted to run something? Now’s enjoy the occasional ox-drawn wagon ride. Bring a non-perishable food item for the your chance, as the Outer Banks Marathon & Southern Fried Half Marathon dashes Roanoke Island Food Pantry and receive $1 off the standard admission. Get pricing and through town with an 8k, 5k and Fun Run, Nov. 9-10. Plus, enjoy the new Star-Spangled Saturday, where Surf Pediatrics sponsors a full day of family-friendly races and activities at deets at www.theislandfarm.com. • Wanna make sure your garden makes it through winter? Sign up for one of Elizabethan Gardens’ Nov. workshops. And come Nov. 29, the grounds First Flight High School. Dash over to www.obxse.com to sign up. • The 6th Annual PBR glow with holiday spirit as the WinterLights’ Grand Illuminations kicks off 22 days of Classic Charity Fishing Tournament paints Avon Pier red, white and blue, Nov. 8-10. evergreen festivities. Full details at www.elizabethangardens.org. Prizes go to the largest red drum and bluefish — but the real winner of this benefit event is

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