be gone. Issue 0.2
My time roadmap machine is a cheese grater. milepost
Shiny and stainless. Full of holes but still flight ready. Custom built to reach both favorite memories and faraway places. My pilot? A hard-shelled, brown kernel called “Nutmeg.” Give the two a few close scrapes over a sea of frozen cubes, dark rum and fruit juice, and I instantly transport from this pine-spiked sand pit to a palm-fringed atoll — ocean spitting mist across a tropical sun — no matter how disagreeable the weather may be just outside my door. And that’s saying something this time of year.
If you can hold on to that thick, winter waistline and still smile, you know you’re committed.
If you can hold onto that thicker, December-to-March waistline and still smile, you know you’re committed for life. But, like all long-term relationships, everyone needs a break. And that’s what this issue’s travel theme is all about. Sure, it makes practical sense. (If summer’s “Make hay while the sun shines,” winter is “Flee while you still can.”) But it’s also a little monotony-buster to keep your mind busy between nor’easters. Maybe inspire you to have a little fun on the side — especially as we deal with the aftershocks of Irene — even if it means turning tourist for a change. So book a plane ticket if able. Maybe take a road trip. If not, buy a grater. Shave some spice on your ice or — for the more traditional — a warm cup of eggnog. Find some way to break free before the next high season locks you down. And in between, use the spare hours to explore the surrounding wonder waiting beyond those four walls. You’ll see your one true love still stands by your side. As beautiful as ever. — 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: Yule Log kindling. Makeshift Menorah/Kinara. Free wrapping paper for people you don’t really like. Or simply add it to that six-month stack of newspapers you’ve yet to recycle. (Trust us: you’ll feel better.) Then send any and all feedback — positive, negative or just plain confused — to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or light us up on Facebook with your opinions and ideas. We promise to find some way to re-purpose them.
Clothing • Maternity • Children • Baby • Home • Toys • Art • Gifts • Pets • Jewelry
Anyone can love an Outer Banks summer; it’s the sparkling face that first steals our hearts, launching so many annual, weeklong honeymoons. With time, we turn toward spring and fall; those gorgeous shoulders that slope away on either side, filled with slightly messy, no make-up moments of calm serenity and natural comfort. Winter? Pure harpy. All biting cold, howling winds and scowling skies. A burdensome, nagging stretch that drags on forever.
Clothing • Maternity • Children • Baby • Home • Toys • Art • Gifts • Pets • Jewelry
Distorting the time-space continuum takes guts, training and the right set of tools. Preparing for lift-off in Puerto Rico. Photo: Grizzard
A Mix of New, Gently Used & Locally Made Goods to Please the Planet
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LIVE Music every Saturday night! Issue 0.2 Gray skies at home, sailors be gone. t Photos: Matt Lusk, Connie Grizzard
“Not all who wander are lost.” — J.R.R. Tolkien “Winter is coming.” — George R.R. Martin Reader You Brushes & Ink Josh Everett, Dawn Gray, Ben Miller, Ben Morris, Daniel Pullen, Charlotte Quinn Lensfolk Matt Artz, Chris Bickford, Michelle Connor, Amy Dixon, Lori Douglas, Julie Dreelin, Tom Dugan/ ESM, Bryan Harvey, Matt Lusk, Mickey McCarthy, Dick Meseroll/ESM, Ben Miller, Rob Nelson, Crystal Polston, Daniel Pullen, Ryan Rhodes, Patrick Ruddy, DJ Struntz/Surfing, Laurin Walker, Chris Wilson
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Penfolk Jesse Fernandez, Molly Harrison, Fran Marler, Mickey McCarthy, Matt Pruett, Ryan Rhodes, Brendon Riley, Clumpy White Art Director Ben Miller, Bighouse Design Big Mouth in Chief Matt Walker Blame It All On Suite P. Inc PO Box 7100 • KDH, NC 27948 252-441-6203 firstname.lastname@example.org • email@example.com Outer Banks Milepost is published quarterly (sorterly) by Suite P Inc. All contents are the property of Suite P Inc. and do not reflect the opinion of advertisers or distributors. Nor do their contents reflect that of the creative types (who would never, ever sell out). Comments, letters and submissions are usually welcome. Please include SASE for return delivery of all snail mail, however, Milepost and Suite P Inc. still aren’t responsible for any unsolicited materials. And don’t expect much else to move much faster than IST (Island Standard Time.) Oh yeah: if you reprint a lick of this content you’re ripping us off. (Shame on you.) To discuss editorial ideas, find out about advertising or tell us we blew it – or just find out what the waves are doing – call 252-441-6203 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
3 6 milepost 14 20 graphiccontent 22 25 26 StartingPoint
Beam me up, ‘Cardi.
Live oaks, dead fish and strange spirits.
Far. Near. Here.
Three winter tales to stoke travel fires.
We order you to play Weekend Warrior.
Dare County’s leaders dissect Irene.
Jay Williams says, “Go duck yourself.”
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FoodDrink Local pride, pried open.
SoundCheck Ed Tupper’s Holiday Jingle Mix.
ArtisticLicense Josh Everett paints the wind.
GetActive Now more than ever, it’s the season of giving.
OutThere Hope floats.
EndNotes Beware the bold type.
Road scars with Artisan’s concrete team.
“Spring Passage for True Love” by Josh Monroe Everett www.everettnautical.com “My overall body of work the past few years has a nautical theme, but I don’t do sea oats and sunbathers; I like the grittier aspects. The craggy ports and harbors. This painting may look exotic but it was actually a work trip. The boat, True Love, was built in the 1940s and had a little cameo in the movie High Society with Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra. So it’s sort of historically significant. Three of us were delivering it from St. Thomas to Maryland for eight days straight. I was supposed to go all the way to Annapolis but jumped ship in Norfolk. I called a buddy and said ‘Come get me.’ And that’s how I ended up living here.” — Josh Everett milepost 5
upfront They may not look good decorating a mantelpiece or dressing a dinner plate — and they don’t put up much of a fight — but menhaden are essential forage for more desirable choices, including stripers, red drum, king mackerel, weakfish and flounder. Not only are their fatty acids essential for both migration and reproduction, a healthy menhaden population keeps those very predators from eating each other’s young. Put simply: more menhaden means a stronger supply of bigger, healthier fish. Fish the recreational side calls “fun”, the commercial side calls “profitable” and consumers call “tasty.” And who wouldn’t want that?
soundcheck getactive startingpoint Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus.) Illustration by Frank Stick/Outer Banks History Center, Manteo, NC.
roadmap WORK AND PLAY BEYOND How commercial and recreational fishermen can keep more fish in local waters
Palestine and Israel. Tarheels and Blue Devils. Short bridge versus long bridge. Some folks just seem born to disagree. Take the timeless conflict between commercial and recreational fishermen. When footage surfaced of hundreds of stripers floating belly-up last January, the recreational community tore into online forums and phone lines at the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries. But at the public comment hearing that followed last June, a collection of equally frustrated trawler captains, gill netters and beach seiners complained that recreational fishermen discard more stripers annually than their combined commercial limit of 480,480 pounds.
the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is currently considering new regulations on a different species that could mean more fish for everyone — and give these traditionally combative communities a reason to fight on the same side. “There’s never been any limit on Atlantic menhaden, which is unbelievable in this day and age,” says Bill Goldsborough, Director of the Fisheries Program at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “Last winter a panel of independent scientists were alarmed to see the latest stock was down to 8% from its peak in the 80s. Now, the ASMFC has to figure out how to incorporate new standards and reference points to keep the species from becoming any more overfished.”
Clearly, nobody’s solving that rift anytime soon. However,
Well, start with the one company whose business model depends on keeping menhaden from ever reaching those markets. Based in Virginia, Omega Protein is the last remaining “reduction fishery” on the whole Atlantic Seaboard. They’re also the world’s largest producer of fish oil. Using airplane spotters, a team of boats and giant purse seines to circle huge schools, they pull 20 metric tons of menhaden at a time. The company then turns them into everything from dietary supplements to fertilizer to pet food to lipstick. “On average, 80% of all menhaden caught along the East Coast each is taken by Omega Protein,” says Goldsborough. “Most of it inside or just outside the Chesapeake Bay.” The other 20% ends up as bait, caught by smaller operations along the coast; cut up for crab and lobster traps, as well as tackle shops and charter boats. So while menhaden are “strictly commercial” in terms of who brings them in, many end up on the hooks of recreational anglers hoping to land — what else? — the bluefish, stripers and other fish that also depend on a healthy stock. So does Omega’s product ever turn back into seafood?
“It’s funny you ask,” says A lot will Goldsborough, “because one depend on of Omega’s biggest markets is fish meal to fish farms, what they selling many of them overseas.” hear from In other words: smaller bait the fishing fisheries feed the recreational community, anglers and their coastal economies; Omega feeds and whether livestock, cosmetics companies and the competition. two traditional By the time you read this, the ASMFC will have finished their foes can annual November conference agree for a and decided on new “threshold” and “target” numbers. The next change. step will be taking additional
Local brewery taps experimental technique that’s bold, brave and kinda fruity.
public comment on how achieve those figures. Right now they’re leaning toward traditional “across the board” cuts, such as reducing annual limits or the length of the season. But they have the power to try something different and limit new restrictions to Omega alone. A lot will depend on what they hear from the fishing community itself, and whether two traditional foes can agree for a change. “I’d like to think bait guys will see their common ground with recreational guys,” says Goldsborough. “Because if the stock goes up, then catches can go up, too. Besides, the stock’s already at its lowest point on record. How long can we stay on this road?” — C. White
For news on the ASFMC’s November decision regarding menhaden and on future public comment periods, go to www.asmfc.org or the www.ncfisheries.net.
Photos: L. Dub
In the world of craft brews, small companies experiment constantly. But brewmaster Scott Meyer’s latest endeavor is something truly unique: using locally grown grapes and old world winemaking methods to produce barrel-aged sour beers.
“It’s completely cutting edge,” says the Outer Banks Brewing Station’s long-time innovator. “Lots of people make barrel-aged sour beers, but not with grapes.” The new beverage is produced in collaboration with Sanctuary Vineyards in Jarvisburg, NC. Winemaker John Wright provided the fruit and barrels, but he credits Meyer as the creative force. “We’ll try anything once,” says Wright. “And Scott can get away with things because he has a lot more years making beer than I do wine.” Two summers ago, Meyer processed Muscadine and Traminette grapes into juice then boiled it down into thick reductions using traditional Spanish sherry-making techniques. Those reductions were aged in barrels for a full year then used as blending components, along with
fresh grape juice, in crafting three different beers for this holiday season. The first is a Weisse or wheat beer made with the Traminette reduction in the Berliner Weisse style of northern Germany. It’s tart, acidic and traditionally served with a syrup to sweeten it. There’s also an Old Ale made with the Muscadine reduction. The final offering is a Belgian-style sour ale using both Muscadine and Traminette reductions. Still, for all the fruit-infusion, Meyer says they’re more beer than wine. “The grape reduction gives them character, flavor and interest,” says Meyer. “But these are sipping beers for the specialty market; probably most appreciated by beer geeks.” The Brewing Station will make only small quantities, roughly about 20 cases each, and they’re not predicted to be big moneymakers. But co-founder Eric Reese says that’s not the point. He feels it’s the responsibility of smaller, nimbler operations to take risks the big manufacturers won’t. “That’s precisely why we’re doing it: because it’s not being done,” Reese insists. “This is just one iteration of a life of experimentation.” — Molly Harrison
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DODGING THE BOMB soundcheck
And you thought day-glo paint was an Outer Banks disaster. At the close of World War II, only two super powers remained: the United States and the Soviet Union. Without the Nazis as a common enemy, Uncle Sam and the Soviet Bear turned to nuclear weapons to show military muscle, sparking the Cold War that would last more than 40 years. One that nearly turned our quaint little tourist trap into a radioactive death trap.
Starting in 1946, the U.S. conducted atomic testing on the Marshall Islands, a series of small Pacific atolls. But by 1948 the government began looking for a new test site inside our country that still felt like the end of the Earth. Using the code name “Nutmeg,” a top-secret study by the Atomic Energy Commission concluded the Outer Banks had plenty to offer: a small population that could be easily relocated ( just like the Pacific Islanders who were forced to leave); favorable meteorological conditions (lots of westerly winds to carry fallout offshore); and lastly, the nearby Gulf Stream looked like a convenient dumpsite for nuclear waste.
In the end, the U.S. opted to bail on the beachfront and go underground in Nye County, Nevada. Not because it was a better fit, but because the government already owned the property. And with a single pen stroke, Washington budget hawks spared the Outer Banks from becoming a land of nuclear winters — while exposing thousands of more Americans over 50 years of aftermath. Here’s just a sample of the aftermath we avoided by failing the test:
• Nevada’s first nuclear test ran on Jan 27, 1950; eventually 600 bombs were detonated above and underground. • Offsite damage to buildings and windows was recorded up to 100 miles from the blast; tourists would watch from Las Vegas rooftops at a similar distance.
• The fallout wiped out film at Kodak HQ in Rochester, NY, several thousands miles away.
• The government assured locals everything was safe, but at least 4390 grazing sheep in Utah died of radiation sickness.
Rentals • Lessons Boards • Wetsuits Surfwear • Sunglasses Sunblock • Sandals T-Shirts MP 13.5 Beach Rd. Nags Head 252-441-7349 milepost
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 11,000 people died from diseases directly related to nuclear test fallout. — Mickey McCarthy
Info culled from the following sources: “Atomic Testing Burns its Mark” by Mary Manning, Las Vegas Sun; Atomic Test Effects in the Nevada Test Site Region; “Outer Banks Nutmeg”, News and Record, Greensboro, NC; and Altered Environment: The Outer Banks of North Carolina by Jeffrey Pompe.
CLEARCUT SOLUTION soundcheck
You may not be able to save every live oak. But you can try. It’s not the piles of plywood that have folks screaming bloody murder. The miles of two-by-fours or mountains of paint-stirrers. Or any of the other lumber products that will pour forth in coming years to signal the death of countless trees. It’s the public execution of all those live oaks this past fall, right before our eyes. Nearly 13 acres leveled, corner to corner, just to make room for another big box of corporate concrete. Plus a parking lot where, as one woman noted, “You just know they’re going to go plant a bunch of tiny little things between spaces.”
We may not have been able to stop Lowe’s from coming to Kill Devil Hills, but we can prevent future projects from being so destructive and save a few irreplaceable pieces of maritime forest for future generations. All we need is a tape measure. And the will to protect them.
roadmap “I’m such a tree hugger,” says Kill Devil Hills resident Rose Hudgins. “And we have so few oak groves left. So a couple years ago I decided to look online and see what I could do. I found a pretty easy way to protect my little slice of paradise.”
What Hudgins discovered was the Live Oak Society of Louisiana. Since 1934, they’ve registered nearly 7000 historic live oaks across the southeast, some more than 1000 years old. Hudgins picked two favorites from her yard, took the appropriate numbers from the trunk and branches, and sent in her application free of charge. And while it may not automatically prevent a builder from cutting them down some day, it can make the process more difficult.
worked with them to build around them. But you have to get involved before the plans are completed.”
of people will go cut down an oak. But you don’t see them cutting down an ‘Abraham Lincoln.’ It helps give them recognition.”
And before you can get involved, you have to register an oak. Starting with your home. Sure, it’s personal property now — but what about after you’re gone? A registered tree reminds family and future owners to keep it safe. (Some people even write “no cut” clauses into wills and real estate contracts.) And while you can’t register a neighbor’s tree, you can sponsor those on public land in case the county considers selling or developing in years to come.
Might we suggest “Virginia Dare,” “Richard Etheridge,” or “Wilbur Wright”? A piece of Outer Banks history no local politician would ever suggest pulling out? (Perhaps appeal to their sense of business with “Awful Arthur” or “Dirty Dick”?) Or pick something personal from your own family tree. (The Hudginses registered one as “Rosebud.”) Just remember: once you name it, it’s yours to keep. And keep safe.
“It depends on the state and the county, but most of the time I find they respect a registered oak,” says Coleen Perilloux Landry, the society’s chairman. “Here in New Orleans we had a beautiful property of live oaks that Walgreen’s bought. The county and parish
So check your yard. The playground. That paper street. If you see a majestic tangle of limbs, go measure its “waistline” (the thick part of the trunk at a height of 4 ½ feet). If the circumference is eight feet or more, see the link below and submit photos for approval — then be ready for the most important step of all. “Every tree must named,” says Landry. “Lots
“We have a 600-year-old tree here named ‘Old Dickory,’” says Landry. “The state wanted to put in a highway, but I went straight to the Governor and saved it. It was a one-person crusade for one tree, but it was worth it.” — Matt Walker
Soulfood Night - Wednesdays 5pm Taco Night - Thursdays 5pm Sunday Brunch 11am - 3pm Serving Lunch and Dinner Wednesday - Saturday Seashore Shops, Kill Devil Hills, NC
For more on the Live Oak Society, go to www.louisianagardenclubs.org/los or email Chairman Landry at CPL70600@aol.com
(252) 441-7994 milepost 9
upfront soundcheck A quick commercial break with 99.1 Program Director Matt Cooper BOSSDJ You know him as the morning show man with the golden voice. We know him as half the brains behind Outer Banks Sounds — a first-of-its-kind effort to fit a full week of area bar gigs into one convenient package. Read on to learn how you can take home your favorite local musician — or play right beside one — without buying drinks or loading heavy equipment.
MILEPOST: Now, for the benefit of our younger readers, what’s a CD again? MATT COOPER: It’s called Outer Banks Sounds, and it’s a joint effort between 99.1 The Sound and the Dare County Arts Council…
No, no, no. What is a CD again? Ohhhh… [laughs] Sorry. It’s a silver, shiny round thing that plays music; you see them in older cars and some home stereos. How much will yours cost? We haven’t officially decided but it will be affordable. And downloadable. The whole point is to expand knowledge of the Outer Banks music scene and give visitors something they can take home. It also supports the DCAC’s
milepost OUTER BANKS, NC
Community Music School, which helps kids who can’t afford music lessons on their own.
OFF THE CHARTS?
So it’s basically another case of Big Radio screwing musicians out of their fair share. No, the bands get something, too. They get a chance to play Kelly’s every third Thursday through April; plus time on the Acoustic Lunch and what we in showbiz call “a small honorarium.”
20% Beach/Surf Music 18% Drinking Songs 18% Gospel/Contemporary Worship 12% Country/Classic Rock 9% Reggae 6% Hot Sand (aka Hip-Hop) 5% Salsa 4% Break-up Songs 3% Power Ballads 3% “I think we lost power” Ballads 2% Whale songs (or whatever fish listen to)
An educated guesstimate of what to expect...
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How’s the response so far? It’s been solid. We’ve gotten about 30 entries, everything from rock to reggae to acoustic to country. No full-on death metal, though. At least not yet. So you’re saying Mojo Collins still has a shot. Definitely. We’ve only picked three artists so far: Frank Russano, an acoustic guitarist living in Carova; a band called Communion, which is made up of local guys like Rick Drum and Matt McGuire; and Andy Rice from the Wilders.
How many tracks total? And how long do folks have to submit entries? We’re taking 16 acts; 15 to be picked by a committee. Bands have ‘til the end of the year to email an mp3 to email@example.com. Then we’ll have a wildcard competition for the final track sometime next spring where listeners can vote online. But you have to be part of the Outer Banks. And the song has to be original and licensed.
What if someone doesn’t make the cut? Do they get another chance next year?
We’d like to make it an annual thing. But if not, we’re also doing a cover art contest. So hopefully they can draw, too. — Matt Walker
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COLD, HARD TYPE soundcheck
Winter can shower you with cold and boredom. Take shelter in a good, solid book.
Speedometers. Timepieces. The occasional tide chart. There’s your average Outer Banker’s summer reading list, making a book of substance one of winter’s great joys. The following titles run from historical fiction to straightup fantasies. Some are nearly 100 years old; others just came out. All share some link to our local setting or a timely event — guaranteed to help you escape these mind-numbing months. Or at least hold your attention for more than a few minutes.
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier Civil War sesquicentennial got you feeling nostalgic? Let Frazier’s epic tale of one wounded Confederate soldier’s 250-mile trek home to the Carolina mountains — and two women’s shared struggle against starvation, snowstorms and backstabbing strangers — cure all but the strongest cases of ‘musket love.’ A National Book Award Winner.
Ghost Wave by Chris Dixon You already know the Graveyard of the Atlantic; now meet her Pacific cousin, Cortes Bank. In January 2001, a crew of surfers traveled 100 miles off Southern California through heaving seas to summit this ship-stopping seamount and conquer some of the biggest waves ever ridden. Lauded by Sebastian Junger as “terrifying,” Dixon’s account will amaze the most ardent landlubber — and make the most diehard winter surfer pee their wetsuit. Pillars Of The Earth by Ken Follett An out-of-work builder scores a big, long-term contract — only to run afoul of permitting issues in a neighboring town. Meanwhile, stepsiblings squabble. Unmarried couples face charges of fornication. And at least one man finds himself playing the unwilling monk. Need we say more? Just that it’s set in a fictional, 12th century English town with a complex cast of two dozen characters and a focus on Gothic architecture and political intrigue. The Road by Cormac McCarthy NC 12 never looked this bad. In a post-apocalyptic world of utter desolation, father and son fear they won’t survive another winter. Loading their lives into a shopping cart — and a single shot into a revolver — they walk off seeking warmth, food and “good people.” (“Bad people” would be the roving bands of bloodthirsty cannibals.) McCarthy won the 2007 Pulitzer for this powerful mix of moral fable and environmental horror story.
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252 • 441 • 4116 Year Round Dining seated nightly 4:30 until 10 pm • kellysrestaurant.com MP 10.5 • 158 bypass • 2316 S. Croatan Hwy • Nags Head, NC 27959
upfront The Shining by Stephen King Postpone that playwriting workshop. Hold off on growing that hedge maze. And whatever you do, lock up the friggin’ axe! Nearly four decades later, Stephen King’s first hardback bestseller remains history’s greatest cautionary example of how not to spend the off-season in a summer resort town. (Hint: start by surrounding yourself with good neighbors; then add a well-stocked bar and at least one working TV.)
A Song Of Ice And Fire by George R.R. Martin Visit a land where winter lasts twice as long as summer, seven fiefdoms feud constantly and a disillusioned populace longs for a true leader — all while fending off northern invaders and the walking dead. Sound familiar? Well, this world’s pure fantasy. Widely popularized by the HBO’s first installment, “Game of Thrones,” Martin’s series sprawls across five 1000-page installments to date, with two more still unreleased. So there’s literally no way you can finish by spring.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston “Ten feet higher… the muttering wall advanced on a cosmic scale…” Rich with both detail and Southern dialect, Hurston’s tale of one Florida woman’s trials and triumphs across three marriages will never ring more familiar. But her powerful description of the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane is only one reason to revisit this masterpiece right now as 2012 marks both the 75th anniversary of its original release, and the 125th anniversary of Eatonville — the story’s primary setting and one of America’s first all-black communities.
Ulysses by James Joyce Let a true legend treat you to the longest June day in history. Yes, it’s Dublin instead of Duck, but Ulysses is all about the challenge. With a lexicon of 30,030 different words, countless obscure allusions and a toolbox of literary devices, this stream-ofconsciousness list-topper leaps between both character and point of view. Reading it is one thing. Getting it? That’s something else — making it a perennial must-finish for any book nerd seeking ultimate bragging rights. A Winter’s Tale by Mike Helprin Vicious urban gangs and noble marshland tribes. Flying ponies and magical fogs. A visionary engineer. A dashing thief. And one painfully beautiful girl on the brink of death. Mark Helprin whirls them all in a Manhattan snowglobe where steam engines puff inspiration and salvation comes in the form of a bridge. A brilliant tale so fastpaced and refreshing, you won’t even notice the religious allegory. Title 26 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (aka The 2011 Tax Code) by the Internal Revenue Service When your existence seems at its absolute bleakest and there is no hope, pick up this 20-volume, 13,458-page testament to bureaucracy and boilerplate, and think: “Somebody had to write this damn thing.” Then remember: some other poor sap had to proofread it. And you’ll know: as bad as life seems, it can always, always be worse. — Harold N. Modd
Playing endless summer on Earth’s opposite side
So. Many. Humans. Humans holding trinkets. Humans honking car horns. Humans pulling at the hem of your skirt. Humans selling goods and hawking cabs. So many, it’s as if the entire July contents of Dare County emptied onto the tarmac, lifting you up and carrying you off like so many army ants. Then comes the traffic. The mopeds. The crazy taxis. Swarming on streets with no lamps or dashes. It’s crowded, pulsing, maddening chaos; the polar opposite of February back home. So why go? Partly to find what I lost last summer while working nonstop — all the sun, surf and beach time. And partly because I know what I’m missing the moment I arrive. The vast, sandblown desert of wind and weather they call “an Outer Banks winter.” I did that before. Once. Two months in, I looked at my husband and said “Never ever again.” Eight years later, we’ve committed our offseason to avoiding anything that involves cold or commitments. We’ve done Mexico. Tahiti. New Zealand. But one destination keeps calling us back: Bali.
“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.” — Anatole France
Maybe because it’s so much like home. Beneath the bustling, jungle exterior is an island that survives almost solely on tourism. Filled with people who are both family oriented and naturally friendly, be they born natives, lifelong transplants or — like us — repeat offenders.
Three winter travel tales — from across the planet to just over the mountain.
Summer is the season of “Don’t.” Don’t drive on the bypass after 10am on a weekend. Don’t come back through Currituck anytime after noon. Better yet, don’t leave the beach at all. Stick to your house. And your job. And the beach road. And hold that pattern ‘til the cold weather and Christmas lights say it’s safe to come out. No wonder so many of us fly the coop before the turkey’s cooled off. The following tales are a mere sample of ways you can stretch your horizons, from three-month stays in exotic lands to fishing excursions south of the border to snow-filled road trips a mere eight hours away. Proof that for all its claustrophobic reputation, winter is the Outer Banks’ real season of opportunity. But only if you choose to do something. milepost
We know before we book our flights we’ll see all the same travelers from years past. Friends we never visit in France or England we expect to find waiting without a single phone call. Outer Banks locals we don’t see for months while surfing Lillian Street we’ll paddle past repeatedly at Uluwatu. All of us doing the same things that seem so funny when we’re not playing tourist: piling up in a single house; pooling funds for a place with a pool. The difference is instead of buying six cartloads of groceries, we all eat out every night. And day. Dropping less on a meal than we’d tip in the States. Spending half our time in a warm Indian Ocean; the other half getting $5 beach massages. Even then it takes at least two weeks to start unwinding. To officially stop checking emails and shutting down the laptop. To grow comfortable with the thought of just sitting around. While the young bucks spend their time scouting the coast and/or prowling the nightclubs, we’ll stay put. Stick to the same surf spots. Enjoy the same restaurants. Sipping cold Bintangs and riding worn hammocks. At least for the first two months. Then the urge to travel kicks in again, and it’s time to move. To find different waves. To photograph new things. To explore. Sometimes it’s a whole new adventure to another island; others, a walk to a nearby temple for a moment of serenity or the wild rush of a pack of monkeys. The more you move around, the more people you meet, some of whom give up their whole life to travel eternally. The crazy boatman who won’t stop booking trips. The exporter who can’t find a reason to ship himself home. Folks who decided the wrong side of the planet was the right way to live.
I admit we’ve considered it. It’s feasible. With more people comes more possibilities. More jobs. More exotic and enticing influences. But the more you move, the more you realize how important it is to have a firm place filled with reliable friends and family. And, if you don’t, the Indonesian people are always there to remind you. Every day someone says: “How can you be so far from home?” And each time they ask, you realize they never plan on leaving their island. Just the price of the plane ticket is an inconceivable sum. And that makes your experience even more precious.
All Photos: Julie Dreelin
By the time we fly home, we’re pleasantly, physically and officially burnt. Milling through big-city hubs, all we can think of is finding a clean shower. Maybe just a wetnap. Some means of wiping the grime built up from constant humidity and natural lighting. All the commuters snicker in crisp suits and neckties; the women sneer from behind perfect make up. You look rumpled and fried; but they act like they’ve never seen the sun at all. And that’s the best part of the whole trip. Because you can smile back, knowing that you’ve got it figured out. And they don’t. — Julie Dreelin
Winter sailfishing just south of the border
Every January sailfish and sardines, predator and prey, migrate to a stretch of continental shelf in the plankton-rich waters between Cuba and the Yucatan. Following close behind are a handful of Outer Banks sportfishing charter captains who steer their boats to Isla Mujeres, Mexico, a home base as close as possible to the sailfish/sardine match-up. “It’s the best Atlantic sailfishing in the world,” says Captain Jeff Ross, who has taken his boat, Obsession, to the island just off Cancun for 10 years. “We catch about a thousand sailfish each year. When it’s good it’s ridiculous. Unbelievable.” Though the trip is long and expensive, these guys don’t miss a winter where the fishing is hot, the weather is tropical and the small-island lifestyle is relaxed. “There are more opportunities to catch a billfish there than anywhere else,” agrees Captain Fin Gaddy of the Qualifier. “But it’s also easy to get to, has great food and the people are superfriendly. Once you get there you travel by foot. It’s everything rolled into one. The perfect destination.”
“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” — Tim Cahill
The Isla sailfishing season peaks from mid-January through early to mid-March, when captains say they catch and release an average of 25 to 30 sailfish a day. They also tell tales of epic runs when they’ve snagged more than 50 fish… before lunch. “We’ve set a self-imposed limit of 40 a day so we don’t get carried away,” says Captain Dennis Endee of the A-Salt Weapon. “We could stay out there all night but the clients reach a point.” Sailfish are small, maybe 30 to 80 pounds, about six to seven feet long, but they’re quite acrobatic and put up a good fight. “They’re a very visual fish, from attacking the bait to jumping,” says Endee.
Photo: Amos Nachoum milepost
Photo: Viera Photographics
Even on slower days, Isla is a beautiful change of pace, and the numbers are definitely better than any day of bill fishing out of Oregon or Hatteras Inlets, making Isla one of the best places in the world to learn how to hook your own, an important skill in IGFA tournament fishing. In fact, Gaddy calls Isla the “Parris Island of billfishing,” in reference to the boot-camp-like atmosphere of hooking fish after fish after fish. “Anglers get to improve their billfishing techniques down there,” he explains. “And then we bring those skills to the tournaments up here. Through practice you become very efficient.” Richard Wright, Ross’s mate, frequently goes on overboard missions to shoot a little underwater video and study behavior. (Blue Planet and National Geographic have filmed at Isla, as well.) The first time, Wright says, was a slick, calm day. They were on a school of fish, but the fish weren’t biting. Wright got out the free-diving gear and investigated, finding that while there were 10 to 12 fish on the surface, there was a tier of 20 to 30 underneath. “The big surprise was that beneath those 20 to 30 fish were hundreds more,” he says. “[Observing helped us] drastically figure out other ways to catch fish.” Several private boats winter at Isla, too. The charter guys from the Outer Banks — Ross on Obsession, Endee on A-Salt Weapon, Gaddy on Qualifier, Allan Foreman on Country Girl, Jesse Granitzki on Bi-Op-Sea, Will Ross on Haphazard, and there are others — book their weeks in Mexico with their usual clients before they get down there. Most of the clientele return year after year, often with their families in tow. While the island lies only eight miles across the water from Cancun, a 20-minute ferry ride, everyone agrees Isla Mujeres is quiet and family friendly and doesn’t attract the Cuervo-swilling college crowd. The travelers are eclectic, the food is diverse, and
Photo: Viera Photographics
the environment feels safe. And there’s a lot to do besides fishing — nice beaches, snorkeling, a turtle farm, outdoor dining and shopping in a contained village. Even a nightly carnival scene on the main street. “That’s why it works for our clients,” says Ross. “The men can go fishing. The women are happy. Everybody gets to do what they want to do. And it’s not too expensive. You can go high-end or cheap.” Gaddy says he loves the adrenaline rush of the fishing, but family vacations on the island with his wife and twin preschoolers are just as cool. “As long as you don’t have a country club mentality,” he says, “and you don’t mind a cat rubbing against your leg while you eat, you’ll do all right.” — Molly Harrison
Finding cold comfort inside Carolina
Traveling in winter is like hunting for emeralds in a pile of gravel. Everything around you is so gray and hard, you long for something lush, green and exotic. But bailing for weeks is not always an option. And offseason incomes freeze quickly. When all the warm, sunny choices are a time zone or ocean away — and you can’t stand to face another month stuck indoors — there’s only one option: run someplace even colder.
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It’s funny how standing on a snow-covered Asheville hillside can somehow feel so warm and comforting. Inviting you to lie down in a blanket of white. That is until you notice the barbed wire that lines the bottom. The mystery mounds lying in wait for a careless passerby. Yet, off you go. With half a dozen cohorts cheering you on, casting all inhibitions to the wind. Barreling forward with reckless speed, flying over powder and cow pasture on tiny plastic discs. Trading all grown-up thoughts of self preservation for a child’s infectious giggle and pants full of snow as you plow to the bottom. Chattering with excitement and the first signs of frostbite, you can’t help but laugh as you take stock of what happened. The surrounding slope resembles a yard sale: a tossed hat here, a ripped scarf there, and more than a few displaced gloves. But that’s only a warm-up for the next adventure. A challenge so steep, the mere thought of trying requires steely resolve and a ski lift.
“One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.” — Henry Miller
Start and stop, white knuckles gripping a lone safety bar, the frozen rollercoaster chugs up the mountain. With each inch, snowy peaks stack bigger against a bruised sky. Drifting above evergreens donning white top hats that grow longer with the setting sun. Pointing your nose to the precipice, and then down, faster and faster. Drawing out line after line along a blank canvas that erases itself with each new flake. The landscape is entirely different, yet the sensation resounds with something so familiar as you tackle a natural giant blanketed with frozen water. Perfect crystals stinging and biting like the ocean on an offshore day. Each descent brings a fresh perspective to the world around you, whether it be somersaulting your way down the mountain or dreaming up new ways to leave your mark. Chances are you’ll take a few of those marks home. But, you go back up and try again. And again. Day after day. Opening your eyes one morning, your muscles refuse to move. Burning and aching with fresh memories after hour upon hour of tumbling rides and celebratory feasts. Glutting your taste buds with smoked trout, plump seafood brats, toasted baguettes and the rich flavors of local duck heart. Swilling coffee stouts and nutty ales, as you follow the sultry tunes of a new band through the frosty air. Digging the ice out of your door–handles, you hit the road just in time to dodge the next storm. Approaching oncoming hills with a wary eye for black ice and the warm feeling of fulfillment — and a deeper connection to this place we call home. All in the spirit of travel. — Fran Marler
Photo: Patrick Cavan Brown
Photo: Patrick Cavan Brown
Photo: Patrick Cavan Brown
Photo: Marler milepost 19
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OPERATION YO, SANTA! aka Christmas in Cape May, NJ WHY: America’s “oldest seaside resort” — Lincoln played mini-golf here — decks the halls of posh Victorian B&Bs with Christmas carols and lamplighter tours. WHEN: Official parade on Dec. 3. BE SURE TO... Get there in time for the 17th Annual Great Cookie Exchange on Dec. 5.
aka Times Square New Year’s Party, NYC WHY: One minute in this frozen clusterf#$%, and you’ll never complain about summer beach crowds again. WHEN: Um… really? BE SURE TO... Take the train (no parking)… hide your booze (no drinking) and hold your pee (no bathrooms). So, where’s this party at again?
OPERATION STRANGE BEDFELLOWS aka 2012 New Hampshire Primary WHY: Whether you’ve said, “I’ll see a cold day in Hell before I vote Republican” or “I’ll see a cold day in Hell before I vote for Obama” this annual kick off to a nasty political season is your chance. WHEN: Jan. 21. BE SURE TO... Bring a date! (Nothing says “I love you” like handing out campaign buttons in a blizzard.)
OPERATION SNOWBALL aka White, White World Week, Sugarloaf, Maine WHY: Five days of cut-rate lifttickets and crazy ski events (Silly Slalom, Dummy Jump), followed by even wilder nightly costume parties. WHEN: Jan. 22-26. BE SURE TO... insulate all body parts against frostbite (and whatever else you might catch).
Winter isn’t the best time for Outer Bankers to tour the East Coast, but it’s probably the only time. Your mission? Invade, enjoy and annoy as many surrounding states as possible before they can strike back next summer.
OPERATION TOOTHLESS aka 34th Annual West Virginia ToughMan Contest WHY: This amateur free-for-all’s been known to stick whole families in the ring, launching the careers of both women’s boxing sensation Christy Martin and the infamous Butterbean. WHEN: Twice monthly, Nov. through March. BE SURE TO... not make any jokes about anyone’s mother, sister or mother/sister.
OPERATION TRAILER HITCH aka Biloxi RV Show, Mississippi. WHY: Camping fans will “pop one” for this largest Gulf Coast collection of rolling particle board. WHEN: Feb. 10 – 12. BE SURE TO... keep an eye on the tornado forecast.
aka Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Louisiana. WHY: If there’s a town that rivals our local tradition of loving seafood, loathing storm damage and punishing livers, it’s New Orleans. WHEN: Feb.21. But most visitors strike early to enjoy the long weekend (while simultaneously erasing it from their memories.) BE SURE TO... Men: remember to bring beads. Women: remember “flash photography” and Facebook don’t mix.
aka Civil War Reenactment, Fayette, Alabama. WHY: Six words: “Free. Behind Wal-Mart on HWY 171.” WHEN: Feb 24-26. BE SURE TO... enjoy more “we can’t make this stuff up” weekly events like the Landmark Dulcimer Club Jam (“No experience necessary; must have mountain dulcimer.”) and Cold Weather Survival Class; or on Jan. 16, attend a) A Celebration Honoring Robert E. Lee or b) the Dr. Martin Luther King Unity Breakfast. (Please choose one.)
aka Elvis Presley Birthday Celebration, Memphis, TN WHY: Graceland’s party “fit for the King” features dances, nighttime tours and AYCE peanut butter, bacon and Percocet sandwiches. WHEN: Jan. 5-8. BE SURE TO... yell “Surprise” when Elvis actually shows up this year.
aka Presidents Day Festival, Washington, DC WHY: What better way to honor America’s leaders than spending four days in the capital without working? WHEN: Feb. 21-24. BE SURE TO... barge in unannounced at any number of taxpayer-owned “vacation properties” such as the Lincoln Memorial, the FBI building or 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. (Wait. Scratch those last two.)
aka Philadelphia International Flower Show WHY: Seven days, countless flowers, and not one sand spur at the world’s largest indoor garden exhibit. WHEN: March 4-11. BE SURE TO... tour the Yuengling Brewery. (Then ask for a PBR at the end.)
aka Jam Cruise 10, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. WHY: Nearly 50 artists and 2500 hippies float down to Jamaica aboard the S.S. Patchouli. WHEN: Jan 9-14. Too trippy? Jump ship to Donny & Marie’s Cruisin' With Friends, Feb. 28 – March 3. (No, we’re not kidding.) BE SURE TO... shake out every article of clothing before coming back through customs.
OPERATION YEE-HAW aka 22nd Annual Georgia National Rodeo. WHY: Because nothing makes you appreciate Corolla’s wild horses like a three-day tribute to tying up helpless farm animals. WHEN: Feb 23- 25. BE SURE TO... wear your favorite PETA shirt (and a good pair of running shoes).
aka National Shag Dance Championships, Myrtle Beach SC. WHY: The country’s longest continually running dance competition has been going on for 29 years (with a median competitor age of 92 years). WHEN: March 8. BE SURE TO... attend “Shaggin’ With the Stars” on Jan. 27-28. (It’s not what you think. Sorry.)
OPERATION BOUNCEBACK aka 2011 USA Table Tennis Championships, Virginia Beach. WHY: We’ve finally found a reason for Outer Bankers to visit VB besides relatives, Target and Trader Joes. (On second thought, maybe we haven’t.)WHEN: Dec. 12-15. BE SURE TO... show your VB roots with a fresh set of personalized plates (e.g. NRTHEND, CROATAN, 1STSTRT, PAHILLS, BYCLNY…)
aka the Miami Boat show. WHY: The hottest, fastest and most expensive molded plastic in the country, turbocharged and polished to perfection. (And that’s just the chicks!) WHEN: Feb. 16-20 BE SURE TO... drive 35 on Florida’s “Big Road” (aka I-95) and see how they like it. (Then wonder why nobody noticed.)
(And leave before the 3rd Annual Great Snooki Exchange on New Year’s Eve.)
OPERATION VELVET JUMPSUIT
milepost 21 milepost 21
AFTER upfront THE STORM Dare County’s leaders discuss re-entry and local reaction following Hurricane Irene
In the five days after Irene, local radio stations aired more than 1000 phone calls. Many were residents expressing frustration that Dare County welcomed visitors less than 24 hours after lifting the evacuation. On October 12, a panel of Dare County officials — Commission Chairman Warren Judge, Control Group Chairman Mike Johnson, County Manager Bobby Outten and Public Information Officer Dorothy Toolan — agreed to discuss the re-rentry process and the local reaction. What we discovered is that no group makes every decision; and yelling at the radio rarely influences policy.
MILEPOST: Describe how the control group works in terms of re-entry decisions. Bobby Outten: The control group is made up of a representative from the county, each town, the park service and the sheriff. Prior to a hurricane we get an update from emergency management on what decisions need to be made. Typically it’s an evacuation decision because you can’t get to any town without coming through the bridges at Mann’s Harbor and First Flight. When you have a reentry decision the control group decides when to remove those checkpoints. But the reentry into any particular town is a town decision. For example, when Duck did not allow reentry immediately it was a Duck decision, not a control group decision. Similarly, Nags Head decides what happens in Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills in Kill Devil Hills — Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores, Manteo and so on. Nor does the control group influence decisions about Hatteras Island; that’s a Dare County decision. So those people who think the control group has some legal authority or votes like a board, that’s not correct. The point is to make sure that everybody’s talking. MIKE JOHNSON: The problem is when Duck says “We wanna open” and Kitty Hawk says, “We don’t.” That’s when the heavy duty negotiations come in. BO: And Kitty Hawk did that during
Isabel. People from Nags Head had to go around Elizabeth City to get to Home Depot. But the town has that authority. The control group can’t change that.
How much input comes from outside the group when making the decision? MJ: Probably too much. [laughs] BO: Well understand that to evacuate you have to have a state of emergency. When the storm is over, you look at public safety issues that justify continuing a state of emergency: is there food, water, shelter, power, medical services. So the re-entry question isn’t: “Can the visitor get his trip insurance? or “Are cottages ready to house people?” Put that alongside what we have here: if the bridge went out in June, you wouldn’t close Hatteras Island all summer, because you don’t have a state of emergency that justifies keeping people of the county.
Still, I think locals felt they deserved at least 24 hours to cleanup. Service people complained visitors got to houses faster than they could. But then some business owners also said they wished they could open sooner. BO: Well you just answered your own question. And that’s still a town decision once the control group lifts the roadblocks. But put it in the context of what we’re talking about: is it a ‘state of emergency’ that you didn’t have time to clean your house or yard? Those things The litmus test for me was hearing the aren’t in the statute. notice to boil water while tourists were WJ: A week ago, there was a terrible [car] coming back on. Would we have known accident and no [cottage] cleaning crews the water wasn’t safe if we’d waited? or personnel could get in from north or WARREN JUDGE: The water was safe. west of Barco. I’d venture to say it was BO: We allowed people back on and hard for some rental facilities and hotels to then we had a water-line break. We meet 4 o’clock check-in. Which is the same have breaks every month. Anytime situation. It’s just that this was all wrapped water pressure drops to a certain level around a very emotional time. And its subject to bacteria; so even if it tests certainly our residents took a beating. But safe you have to issue a warning. And if I lived in a particular town and I couldn’t
we happened to have that hours after a reentry decision. WJ: The timing just highlighted it; it was a fickle, fate situation.
move because of that traffic, I’d call my police chief and ask for help. That’s not something Mike Johnson was in charge of. Sounds like people’s frustration should have been distributed across a wider range of targets. BO: But there’s no way you can make everybody happy. If you open quickly the retail side is happy and the rental side is mad; and if you wait, the rental side is happy and the retail side is mad. So we make sure life safety issues are resolved, make the decision to re-enter, and know one side or the other isn’t gonna like it. MJ: But we think that we’re doing it from an educated standpoint that it helps the majority. Commissioner Johnson, you made a comment in one meeting about “billionaires worried about their pocketbooks.” What did you mean? Some speculated the county opened quickly so people wouldn’t skip their vacations or cash their insurance. WJ: I don’t believe anyone who makes those calls sits around and talks about insurance. MJ: In the end — the very end — we were trying to incorporate the timing
and in particular the wording: “you get to Hatteras Island if you have a ferry reservation.” Hoping that they’d get their insurance if they didn’t have ferry reservations. But as far as a statement like that, you’re looking at a guy who’d been at it for weeks. With emails and phone calls by the barrel saying: “You idiot.” And not one piece of fact or any idea of how we make that decision. And there comes a time where you go [makes motion like snapping his pencil.] Parents were also frustrated because they thought if schools had stayed closed one more day, we wouldn’t have to make up any — which turned out to be false. How much of your job is rumor control? BO: Every evening we checked in with the communities’ fire chiefs to address needs. Part of the checklist was rumor control. And the whole idea of having the joint information center Dorothy handles is to keep everyone putting out the same information. But you have to hear it before you can deal with it. DOROTHY TOOLAN: I had a call from a woman saying the grocery stores aren’t ready [in Hatteras] and I was down there myself. There was food in every store. The Food Lion in Avon was probably better stocked than up here. WJ: Information is very powerful. And people are mad; they’re hurtin’. And I know Mike feels the same way: we wish the people had called us. Some of the things you hear on the radio, it was like “Where do people hear that stuff?” Call us. Don’t sit there and brood over a rumor you hear. BO: But what we’re talking about are four or five negative things out of lots of others that are positive. What we did in 35 days with a ferry system and an island cut off is remarkable. If you’re over there suffering, you don’t think it’s so remarkable but . . . WJ: Neighbors helping neighbors. Firemen working 20 hours a day in other peoples homes, only to go back to a wet musty house because they didn’t have
time to do theirs. There’s hundreds of those stories compared to the five people who call up and cuss you out. Every radio caller was told to take their issues the next meeting. Is it safe to say nobody made any public comments regarding beach reentry? DT: I don’t think we’ve had any public comments at any meetings. BO: We got tons of emails from visitors who were upset they couldn’t get on Hatteras Island. I say “tons,” probably a couple hundred. We got a few emails from local people. But not what we got from the visitors. WJ: And we got more locals that said ‘thank you’ than criticized. So what’s next in terms of the recovery process? And what are the time frames? WJ:. Recovery is subjective. But it’s gonna take a while. We have hundreds and hundreds of families who need many, many things to put their households back together. But I’ll tell you: next storm, if you have a whole new set of faces in this room, you still got the same problems: when do you evacuate and when do you reopen? It’s bigger than Mike, Dorothy, Bobby, and Warren. It’s bigger than all the mayors. MJ: It’s way bigger. And we think operational-wise that this was a good hurricane. You can’t say that because someone might take it wrong. And it wasn’t a great hurricane at my house either. It’ll be a long, long winter. But Bobby, Dorothy and myself traveled the 9th Ward a year after Katrina. Total devastation. One house in 300 had someone living in it. Even today it’s like that. But those people in Rodanthe or Bay Drive or Mann’s Harbor, they’ll be back. They’ll find a way to make it happen. That is good.
Ed note: The preceding interview was edited for space, flow and clarity; read the entire discussion — covering Irene topics from mosquito to control to medical response — at www. outerbanksmilepost.com
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gohunt goskate HE SHOOTS, HE SCORES One duck hunter details his mighty love for winter sport
The Outer Banks is prime waterfowl territory. Especially Currituck Sound. All of Duck and Corolla’s original visitors were hunters, mainly northern businessmen. Back in the 1800s they had to take a train to Norfolk, followed by a wagon and ferry ride, so they had to be wealthy. As in J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie wealthy. You can see that in the hunting clubs they left behind. A printing magnate named Joseph Knapp owned a mansion on Mackey’s Island. When waterfowl habitat began drying up during the Dust Bowl era of the early ‘30s, Knapp created the “More Game Birds in America Foundation.” Today we know it as Ducks Unlimited. People think it’s about putting more birds in the air to shoot, but their mission has always been the same: to enhance and restore wetlands.
No one who hunts feels guilty. Provided you eat what you harvest. In Canada, where the limits are bigger, Indian reservations accept ducks as donations. Here we have Hunters Helping the Hungry. But lots of times we’ll just freeze them or give them to friends, like tuna. But it’s illegal to sell to restaurants. If you see duck on a menu, it’s domesticated. Wild duck is leaner and probably a bit tougher, but I still think they taste better.
I like puddle ducks. Mallards, black ducks, teals, pintails — the shallow water birds tend to eat more vegetation as opposed to fish and mollusks. But some people pursue diving ducks exclusively — canvasbacks are especially desirable — so that’s just personal opinion.
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Stop counting; the guy behind the camera shoots more than photos. Drew (left), Mike (right) and Andrew Meredith, Sr. (photographer) document two days of family fun on the Currituck Sound.
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Harvesting ducks is hard work. But that’s part of the fun. There’s building the blind, learning the camouflage, having a good set of decoys. And training a dog is essential; otherwise a lot of injured ducks would die without being harvested. It’s also more social. Deer hunters sit in a stand by themselves and stay quiet for hours; we get to share a blind with other people. Sometimes we even talk to each other. Unfortunately, Irene destroyed a lot of duck blinds. There are four classes: marsh, point, floating and open-water. Picture a mix of pilings and salt-treated lumber. Some are as big as 20’ x 25’ and fit ten people. Mine’s 4’ x 10’ and holds four. My dog sits in front of the shooting box; out back, there’s a “boat hide” to pull into like a garage. Sage grass and pine tree scrub makes the best camouflage: the bushier, the better. But don’t think you can hide completely; every blind is permitted and registered with GPS coordinates in Dare and Currituck Counties.
You get Norman Rockwell moments that are very satisfying... But then, so is eating them.
The federal government sets limits and seasons. Every May, biologists fly over what they call the “Prairie Pothole Region” to count seasonal ponds and breeding pairs. The last 10 or 12 years we’ve been allowed a 60-day season — split up between October and January — and a bag limit of six ducks per day, depending on the species: such as two pintails, four mallards, two wood ducks, etc. If you can’t distinguish them in flight, you can easily break the law. Some people say you need a biologist and a lawyer with you to hunt ducks, and that’s one reason people hire guides. In November, I mostly hunt with family and friends. By January I’m doing guided hunts exclusively. Mostly I’m standing in the rain, calling for birds while the clients huddle up in the blind. It can be very satisfying, especially when it’s a father-son or father-daughter group. You get these Norman Rockwell moments — just quality family time. But you have to be careful because you’re hunting with new people each day. Unfortunately, you seem to hear about some accident somewhere in the world most seasons. But most clients are safe. And being a guide gives me a few more days afield without the wife grumbling. A couple days a year you’ll shoot your limit. Usually you bag a couple. A rare few times you don’t get a shot off. But what it really comes down to is fooling a wild animal. You put out decoys and mimic the way live ducks sit on the water. You look at wind direction, the sun’s position, and where the ducks want to come in. Then there’s the call: trying to trick the wild ducks into thinking that floating piece of plastic is one of their own: “Hey, it’s safe” … “plenty of food here.” After all that time and preparation, harvesting a duck is extremely rewarding. But then so is eating them. — Jay Williams milepost 25
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On a lazy Sunday in October, Kitty Hawk Park crackles with abrasive noise. Scraping plywood. Grinding steel. In one corner an eight-year-old girl learns to ride fakie; across the way, a longhaired teen kickflips some steps. In between, a dozen more skateboarders whir about or wait their turn. A few familiar local faces but plenty more from out of town. Far out of town. And they’re not here for the beach. “Man, you guys have some really good parks,” gushes a thirty-something dad with Connecticut plates. “I skate more down here than I do back home.”
Blame the recession. The 2008 financial crisis that wrecked Wall Street was equally rough on the Outer Banks’ skateboarding community. But what stock analysts call a downturn, skaters call a transition. And they know the same steep angle that rocks your world can just easily push you in a whole new direction.
“Every guy on our team is a carpenter or concrete guy,” says Andy Duck, General Manager for Artisan Skateparks, which he formed with Mark Gwaltney in 2006. “We were all worried about how we’d survive without a housing market. But what we’ve found is that when times are tough, parents work harder, which leaves kids up to their own devices. So it makes sense for municipalities to invest in their park systems.”
Kitty Hawk. KDH. Manteo. Currituck. These days, you can’t swing a town planner without hitting a public skate facility, giving active youth an afternoon practice option without sporting a uniform. (And police officers more pressing duties than patrolling storefront curbs.) But ask the old guard and they’ll tell you it wasn’t always this way. In fact, ten years ago all this little sandbox had was — well, the Sand Box.
“It was basically a mini-ramp and we were damn happy to have it,” says Rob Nelson, founder of the indie skateboard website, Eastcoastaholic.com. “But we still had to drive four or five hours to ride anything with any real wall. In doing that we met a bunch of guys like us; guys in their thirties who said, ‘I own property. I can do this in my own backyard.’ And that’s how we got the Wanchese Bowl.”
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A 10-foot-high, wooden, round structure, Marc Corbett’s “‘Chese Bowl” is legendary among East Coast skaters. Equal parts thrilling and dangerous, the speedy, vertical sphere not only pushed local talents, it gave the ragtag crew who built it a new sense of confidence. Sure, they’d never shot cement, but they knew how to ride it. Besides, skateboarding’s always been a DIY culture that meets challenges head on.
“Basically all the pool guys we contacted wanted ridiculous money to build a pretty basic shape,” Duck explains. “Mark [Gwaltney] was working on a park up in Maryland, so he grabbed a couple of guys and we rented a pump. With our initiative and their experience, we made it happen. Before we’d finished, someone else already wanted one.”
Working the concept of “dual pools” — add water each summer to splash around; drain it next winter to thrash around — Artisan began customizing backyard playgrounds for
Drive. Build. Skate. Repeat. It’s all part of the Artisan team’s daily grind. Bart Kramlik; Marsh Creek Skatepark, Raleigh, NC. Photo: Rob Nelson/Eastcoastaholic.com
The same steep angle that rocks your world can easily push you in a whole new direction. the whole family. Before long, instead of independent skate crews in Rocky Mount sniffing out costs, it was Carolina Beach’s town council. Today, a company born in a tiny community once completely devoid of skateable concrete is pouring worldclass parks from Gainesville to Raleigh; Alabama to Illinois. This fall they finished up in Northern Virginia; next spring they break ground in Sweden. With each new job, they go a little farther, adding up to months on the road every year. “It’s kind of like being in a band,” says Duck. “A bunch of grown men with different personalities; all living out of a suitcase,
working together, skating together, hanging out together. But then I guess we were doing that already.” Sort of. Except instead of trying to convince jaded authority figures that “skateboarding is not a crime,” Artisan works hand-in-hand with politicians, engineers, legal teams and law enforcement, each one sharing the same goal: keep the skaters happy. They start by holding public hearings on a variety of site designs, then encourage numbercrunchers to stretch budgets by asking local companies to donate materials and time. And when it comes time to finally move dirt and pour cement, they max out each dollar
and every ounce of space and creativity. “We fill in a lot of blanks in the field,” Duck insists. “You can get a design 80% to 90% right on paper, but until you’re standing there you don’t see all the limitations — or all the possibilities.”
steel pipe. New plywood molds to make steps and obstacles. Fiberglass forms specifically designed to make time-tested curves perfectly smooth. A vast display of cumulative knowledge built over five years building parks. And a lifetime riding pavement.
When they are home, you’ll find the Artisan team at their Currituck headquarters. Cutting and painting steel coping and handrails. Editing proposed site plans. Fielding fresh work. It’s the same eight guys doing the main labor but the amount of equipment grows almost daily: MIG welders, concrete pumps and stacks of
“Artisan’s done a great job of showing all these towns one crucial fact: skaters build the best skate parks,” says Nelson. “I had 15 guys come down from Boston this fall. Every pool and park we went to they were like, ‘This is so good.’ And I was like, ‘Dude, save it. Because we’ve got ten more. And each one’s gonna get better.’” — Matt Walker milepost 27
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WHO NEEDS PEARLS? endnotes Sorry, Princess. The real prize in this oyster is the pea.
If you’re not expecting it, finding a crustacean shacking up with your bivalve might be alarming. Even a little revolting, triggering a “whoa… that’s not supposed to be there” reflex, like finding a lone Cheerio in your bowl of Chex. But if you’re attuned to the local catch, that pinkish, transparent puff with the short white legs is a delicacy — a talisman of good fortune and “Got One!” bragging rights. And your appreciation is proof of having acquired salty, sandbar-dweller status.
So what is this little bean-sized critter kicking around in your oyster? And why is it there? “It’s called a pea crab,” says Clay Caroon, biologist at the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries. “And it usually comes from a higher salinity area.”
Harvested in several places along the northern Atlantic coast, northern Outer Bankers refer to them as “Crab Slough” oysters. Some indeed come from Crab Slough, a stretch of underwater topography near the inlet. Technically, though, they’re indigenous to several other sloughs, as well as subtidal inlets from Stump Sound north where bushels come chock full of the wriggling rascals.
The amount of time the oysters spend submerged underwater also makes a difference in the prevalence of pea crabs, which are actually parasites. Male and female crabs move into the oyster to mate. The male leaves but the female spends her life there, eating mucous strands.
Yes, mucous strands.
TMI? Maybe. But they sure taste good. Roasted up with the oyster or broiled on the half-shell, the airy body crisps, adding a subtle, one-bite crunch to the chewy surroundings. When swirled into bubbling stew, the pink shell floats to the top of the cream, and when fried it separates into little crabby bits. Raw? Look for wiggling legs to prove its host is crazy fresh.
Even when you don’t find a pea crab inside, Crab Slough oysters are typically more appealing. They tend come in single shells instead of large clumps. And the higher salinity makes them deliciously salty. In fact, “Crab Slough oyster” has become a blanket marketing term, showing up on menus from Nags Head to New York.
Needless to say, Outer Bankers are fiercely proud of them. But then the folks down in Onslow County brag just as much about Stump Sound’s mollusks, where locals like Ted Wilgis, coastal education coordinator at the N.C. Coastal Federation, call ‘em “the Cadillac of oysters.” And nothing beats finding a pea crab riding shotgun. So is a Crab Slough oyster really that much better? Is it a matter of local pride overriding the senses? Or it nostalgia — the smell and taste of the local oyster tied to our best memories of sharing a fire with friends on a winter afternoon? Probably a bit of everything. And the fact they’re harder to find makes them even more desirable.
Like most locals, crab slough oysters take a ‘more is merrier’ approach to hosting. Photo: MattLuskPhotography.com
“Most of the oysters used, consumed, bought and sold in North Carolina probably don’t come from here,” Caroon notes. “The Gulf Coast can produce so many more because the season is longer. They’re harvesting almost year round. They get rid of them cheaper. They flood the market.”
THREE THINGS TO REMEMBER
As a result, while visitors and even some restaurants blindly go for the bulk rate, those in the know spend the time, energy and money to find something more special. And scoring a bushel of locally harvested oysters — every other one stocked with a shiny pink pearl or two — proves that you have good connections and support your community. In fact, the only thing holding more seafood-loving Outer Banks street cred is scraping up some of your own.
• Local oyster “hand harvest” runs October 15 to March 31.
“I like to go out and harvest ‘em myself every once in a while,” says Caroon. “Hand tong me up a half bushel or a bushel. And I’ll tell you what: when I put ‘em on the table, they’re a whole lot better than anything else I’ve ever eaten.” — Molly Harrison
(BESIDES LEMON , TABASCO AND DRAWN BUTTER)
• Commercial dredging generally begins a week or two before Thanksgiving and may close earlier depending on hauls. • Remember to recycle your oyster shells. After decades of decline, eastern oysters are on the rise again, due in part to oyster-shell recycling and reef-building programs. Find an oyster-shell recycling center at this link: http:// www.ncfisheries.net/shellfish/ recycle4.htm
On stage Ed Tupper’s a base guitar hero. Off stage, he’s a computer nerd who plays with his MIDI.
From down the hall comes a synthetic hum of bleeps and beats. A siren’s call of vibrating vibraphones, haunting harps and other audible kilobytes. All leading from one plastic box to the next where a screen of colored bars and pretend amplifiers lets the composer do anything he chooses to a piece of music: write it, score it, record it, email it. Everything, that is, except maybe listen to it.
“None of this equipment makes any noise unless you plug it into the computer,” Ed Tupper explains, diddling with his latest toy, a Guitar Hero axe turned Musical Instrument Digital Interface. “But once you do, they’ll pretty much make any sound you can think of.”
More importantly, they make any sound he can think of. Which is saying something considering the 30-year-old Nags Head native’s instrumental chops. A former Berklee College of Music student, Tupper can throw down on guitar and piano, but is best known for his stand-up bass. For seven years, he’s held down the bottom end for a range of local outfits from jazz quartets to country musicals to the Hound Dog Family Band, a popular pet project of local talents that draws howling crowds with their mix of sixties soul and hipster flair. Little do they realize that when the lights dim, the same man who rocks six-feet of wood and catgut sneaks home to curl up with his MacBook and write 30-second soundtracks for technical websites. Electronic creations that will reach thousands of ears — without ever leaving the confines of binary code.
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MILEPOST: How does a Coquina Beach kid start playing stand-up bass? ED TUPPER: Well, I took piano lessons as a kid. And I played saxophone in the school band. It was actually my teacher, Sam Ballard, who sold me a bass. That’s when I quit the band [laughs]. I always knew I wanted to play music, so somehow I talked my parents into letting me go to Berklee, but I only went for two years. I got so burned out I actually quit playing altogether. Then I moved back here in the summer of 2004 and started right back gigging with a bunch of different people. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
And scoring websites. Explain how that all started. Well, any website has tons of videos. So they either buy stock music or they hire someone to write it. My brother works at Red Hat [a computer software company] in Raleigh and knew I was at the beach struggling. A couple years ago he said, “You should send some stuff.” So I did. Now he and a freelance filmer named Tim Kiernan keep me pretty busy. Sometimes it’s pretty loose. They call and say, “I need something upbeat or mellow.” And I have all these folders that are just little chunks of songs they can listen to. Others, they send me a piece of music — they seem to like Wes Anderson movies for some reason — and say, “I need something that sounds close to this.” Then it’s my job to write something similar. But not too similar. You want to make it your own, even if it’s for the weirdest technical video.
Ed still wears a tie to work on occasion. Dressing up for the night shift. Photo: Crystal Polston
Is that where knowing music theory comes in handy? You can listen, change the right one or two notes and be done? Mostly, I learn the song and play around with it. I usually don’t get too technical. I mean it’s good to learn that stuff. But then it’s also good to leave it floating in your subconscious. Otherwise, what comes out sounds mathematical, not musical. That’s what’s cool with the Hound Dogs is we don’t really practice; we just get up and play and it’s raw sounding. Not that practicing is bad [laughs]. You should practice a lot to learn your instrument. How long does it take you to turn something around? Sometimes it takes a couple hours. Sometimes a couple days. But in the offseason I’ll try to stock up so I have stuff ready to go right out of the gate. Last winter my goal was to start one song idea each day. So I built up this catalog of eight or 16-bar loops. Now I have this folder filled with hilarious file names I can choose from. Sort of like the old joke about birth rates going up nine months after a blizzard. You were in here all winter making babies. Yeah I was. You need something to do or you won’t come out the other side. Plus, my roommate was in Tahiti so I was just cracking out on the computer the whole time. But I like doing it. I’ll just make hip-hop beats for my buddies or record something. I mean, I’m a full tech nerd anyway.
So what happens when you’re done? Do you ever go online and see where the music ends up? Not usually. A lot of it’s in-house videos for corporations. There’ll be some dude in a suit talking about shared dividends. Pretty weird. Sometimes I wonder what the Red Hat guys think. Do they picture me working 9 to 5 in some high-tech studio? Because I’m really laying in bed with my laptop and cell phone. I’ll send a song and fall asleep. Then they’ll send it back, and I’ll wake up and change it. We’ll do that for an hour or two. Or I’ll be across the street fishing, and my phone will ring. I’ll be like, “Yeah I can do that.” And I’ll run back to my house and edit real fast.
A lot of songs are for corporate videos; some dude in a suit talking shared dividends.
Is this how you pictured your life when you shipped off to college? Tapping away on a computer? Or did you think you’d come back and take your old band teacher’s job? No way. Mr. Ballard’s the man. He takes 30 different kids who don’t know what they’re doing — who don’t even know what they want to play half the time — and teaches every single one to play an instrument and read music. I could never do that. Besides, he’s still down here. I saw him on Channel 12 just the other day. — Leo Gibson
artisticlicense fooddrink NAUTICAL STAR
Transoms. Tattoos. Sloops. Seascapes. Josh Everett doesn’t just do it all. He does it well. This is the boat that Josh built.
This is the trailer — that Josh built — that holds the boat that Josh built, that sits under the house that Josh built. (Or rebuilt.) This is the chair that sits by the table a few feet from the bed beneath the picture that lives in the house several miles from the studio — all of which Josh Everett either painted, constructed or radically transformed. Hang out long enough with the 39-year-old Nags Header, you’ll start to wonder if he customized and installed his own dental work, as his whole story involves turning life’s next challenge into a creative outlet, then converting that passion into a commercial product. Starting with the tattoo guns he used to ink his own arm... at just 15 years old.
“I thought my mom was gonna kill me,” he laughs recalling the tale from his Colorado childhood. “Back then, tattoos were still a biker sport. And needless to say those were not very good guns. But they worked. And within a couple years I was making proper equipment.” He wasn’t just making it. He was selling it. By 18, Josh was putting himself through college on the backs, arms and ankles of others, eventually running his own NYC storefront. For a decade he inked skin and sold machines across the world. But like many New Yorkers, John bailed after 9/11, trading a life of Chinese dragons and nautical stars to focus on fine art and carpentry.
“That whole period I lived in the city I was still doing paintings, illustrations, furniture and commercial art,” he explains. “But I found that when people think of you as a tattoo artist, that’s all they think of you.”
And that’s not Josh Everett. The walls of his home alone are a chorus of different creative voices. Sketches and sculptures traded with colleagues and friends. Stained glass lamps from his mom’s former Kitty Hawk shop, Shattered Dreams. ( Josh encouraged her move down after a mid-90s surf trip.) The only thing missing is a major piece by
Everett’s art speaks for itself. PHOTO: ChrisBickford.com
the artist in residence — or so it seems. Until you sit at the Brazilian cherry dining set, all grooved seats and smoothed, arched backs; evidence of many years spent in his dad’s woodshop. And it’s not even the finished product — it’s practice. The real deal resides back in New York with Sabrett Hot Dog President Boyd Adelman. Just like his eight-foot-long brush-and-acrylic depiction of Wanchese Harbor now belongs to local homebuilding fixture Bob DeGabrielle, while the pulpit he carved this summer leads services at Bethany Methodist Church. “That’s the way it is with all my work,” he explains. “The junk I keep for myself; the good stuff gets bought and goes away.”
He turns milliondollar vessels into 3-D reflections of the owner’s personality.
Some goes farther than others. Since 2007, Everett’s earned a rep in the specialized world of painting transoms. Laying out names like “Tyson’s Pride” and “Reel Time” in pinstriped gold leaf. Airbrushing billfish until they spring to life. Turning milliondollar vessels into 3D reflections of the owner’s personality. When I joke he’s doing “tramp stamps” for charter boats, he laughs. But he admits both are high-stakes jobs with no room for error. (What he calls “one strike baseball.”) And the last thing Josh wants to do is have to start over. All over. “That’s the difference with Josh,” explains boat builder John Bayliss. “He not only paints the transom. He mills the wood. Installs it. Does everything but varnishes it. But Josh is very meticulous. He’s been a perfectionist since his first console sketch.” That was 2004, shortly after he arrived on the Outer Banks. Before long, he was Bayliss Boatworks’ exterior cabinetry supervisor, earning a rep as a committed taskmaster. He even learned computer design. That way he could draw the painstakingly detailed sketches that wow clients, as well as the high-tech plans crews use to construct the boat itself.
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“I’d say he’s one of the top craftsman I’ve ever worked with,” Bayliss continues. “If not the top craftsman when you consider his versatility. In fact, I’m not sure there’s anything he can’t do.” Recently, Everett’s been pushing his personal limits by building a 21-foot New England sloop start to finish: from choosing the 100-year-old design; to sketching it full-size on his living room floor; to pouring 800 lbs of hot lead into the keel; to milling and finishing the sprung teak deck; to custom fabricating the fittings. And, of course, adding “Wind Painter” in shiny gold leaf along her back. One might say the three-year effort is the embodiment of all his artistic talents. Yet, Josh readily admits this piece of functional art is as much “for sale” as it is “to sail.” For Josh, all the creativity comes on the planning side, well before he ever picks up an airbrush, palette or planer; the backside is all process. And, commercial job or personal painting, every project feeds directly into the next. “That’s why I’ve never had job in a bar or restaurant my whole life,” he muses. “I guess I’ve got a different definition of a starving artist in that I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure I can keep working creatively. And I make sure I don’t starve.” — C. White
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Christmas. Hanukkah. Kwanzaa. Valentines Day. Every winter holiday promises some degree of warmth. And no community needs it more right now than the Outer Banks. The temporary bridge may be completed. The temporary news teams long gone. But Irene’s impact will endure, with the hardest times surrounding these next few months. So frequent local businesses for each festive gift to friends and family, then pick out something necessary for all the neighbors you’ve never met, be it toys, food or money. Better yet, give something even more precious: time. Because, as Jennifer Johnson at Hatteras Island’s Really, Really Free Market notes: “What volunteer organizations need more than ever is manpower.” So use this list of standing needs to keep goods flowing to all local do-gooders. Then, call and see how you can help first hand. Because the best way to say “thanks” is to keep giving.
Interfaith Community Outreach: From sourcing labor to distributing medical supplies, ICO is BMOC for coordinating countywide relief efforts. Call 252-480-0070 to volunteer. Drop goods at the CDC Diamond Street Building (4301 S. Croatan Hwy, Nags Head.) And make donations via Outer Banks Community Foundation (OBCF), 13 Skyline Drive; Southern Shores, NC 27949. Or submit at: www.obcf.org
following locations directly: Food Bank of the Albemarle (www.afoodbank.org; 252335-4035); Angel Food Ministries, KDH: 441-5897; Dare Center: 475-9279 (Manteo) or Baum Senior Center: 475-5635 (KDH); Lifeboat Community Church Food Pantry (Salvo): 252-489-2015
Hatteras Island United Methodist Men: Buxton’s original “Boots on the Ground” provides year-round food and financial assistance, including help with monthly bills. Call 252-995-5772 to join up; send contributions to United Methodist Men; P.O. Box 1591, Buxton, NC 27920.
Outer Banks Hotline: Besides running five area thrift stores to fund services for domestic abuse victims, this winter Hotline’s Rodanthe location will also handle items donated for Irene relief. Call 252-473-5121to volunteer; locations and hours at www.obhotline.org
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Angel Trees: Unwapped presents can make or break a local family’s holiday. Contact OBX Women’s Club to give gifts, time and donations north of the bridge (firstname.lastname@example.org). Or follow the Kinnakeet Civic Association’s Facebook page to help Hatteras Island firsthand. (Make checks out to HI Angel Tree c/o OLS PO Box 399 Buxton, NC 27920.) Food Pantries/Food Banks: Don’t just drop canned goods; peel off an hour or so to help stack and sort. Ask your favorite church or organization or contact one of
Really, Really Free Market: The St. Waves Plaza location will keep serving the tri-villages, 10am-4pm until Dec. 15. Avon will continue every Saturday 10am – 4pm and Tuesdays, 5pm – 8pm until Nov. 30. After that, RRFM will return to its normal routine; (9am to noon; first Saturday of the month at the Avon Fire Station.) Call Jenn Auguston at 252-2166558 or Jennifer Johnson at 252-305-6336 to fill a necessary shift. Or simply walk in and say “what can I do?” And mail any requested items to Hatteras Island Family Medicine; Attn: Alex Hodges; 50204 Water Association Road; Frisco, NC 27936. (Direct monetary donations to United Methodist Men (address above) or Lifeboat Community Church Food Pantry: P.O. Box 84, Salvo, NC 27972.) Items Most Requested Items By Irene Victims: Dish/laundry detergent; diapers and wipes; baby powder; non-perishable food items (especially Thanksgiving/Christmas fixings and children’s snacks); furniture, especially beds (gently used); appliances (refrigerators, stoves); throw rugs, area Rugs (carpet remnants); 3T Boys clothing ( jackets/sweatshirts, pants, socks); cat food/kitty litter; plastic totes with lids; new pillows; sweatshirts/hoodies; Christmas ornaments/lights; Boys clothing, size 6 to 18; basketball shorts/shoes (kids 5 to 17 years old), tools. Photo: Pullen
Faith In A Flood
“Where’s God now?”
It was more of a curse than a question. My yard was a trash pile. My storage shed an aquarium. Filled with sunken equipment, belly-up tools and barren shelves. If it didn’t float away, it drowned. Like my house. Now a soggy, smelly corpse of bloated insulation and black mold. Everything above the cracked foundation caked in mud. Standing there, surveying the devastation, I felt like crying. Not far from the same spot where — only a few hours before — I couldn’t help but laugh. Nothing was funny; I just didn’t know what else to do. Opening my door to the storm, my mailbox looked like an alligator’s head. The road was a swirling river of brown swamp and debris: crab pots, buoys, even refrigerators. Tables and chairs canted and spun in the various currents just below the surface. Propane tanks bobbed in marsh grass. My yard had already disappeared. So had the patio, the driveway, the parking lot across the street and my front porch. Finally, it threatened the house. “My dad said we should stuff clothes in the doorjamb,” said my roommate, dropping a few shirts on the floor as his girlfriend watched dumbfounded. “To keep… the water… out.” In the sheepish silence that followed, I heard a more unsettling sound gurgling and burbling beneath the floor. I looked around for some means of escape, stopping on a half-submerged trailer hitched to my truck. The boat had no engine. No oars. It was little more than a dinghy. But it was enough. “Evacuate!” I yelled, assembling a makeshift survival kit: clothes, water, beer; wallets, keys and cell phones. We set off at dusk. Billy and I pushed; my roommate pulled. The water did both. But we finally found a home that was high and dry. Inside, a husband and wife treated us like shipwreck survivors from around the corner. After some hot food and showers, we recounted our tale of adventure. Ultimately, thankfully, we slept. Sunday was no day of rest. Nor were the days that followed. But all week, friends
These boots aren’t made for walking. Photo: MattLuskPhotography.com
and family dropped by to show support. Some brought food; others helped clean. All offered words of encouragement. And that’s really where I found my faith and the strength to recover: my neighbors. Rather than crying, complaining, or calling for help, everyone simply pulled up their boots and began dumping piles on the side of the road: box springs, mattresses, and ruined wet carpet; gas grills dressers and tables — they just threw it all out with complete disregard for where it might otherwise go. Evicting the refuse like bad juju. No one told them they could do it; they never got permission. But they had a job to do, and they did it. It was a communal act of solidarity and defiance toward the worst Outer Banks flood in recent memory. One that said: all this junk is meaningless; it’s the people that matter. And we’re not going anywhere. Irene took my golf clubs. My skis. My Milwaukee Sawzall. She even took my cat. But she can’t have me. I’m staying. And I’m keeping the boat. — Brendon Reilly milepost 35
Open for Lunch & Dinner all Year
T IM B UCK II • C OROLLA
On your marks, get set, gobble! The glut of seasonal festivities begins Thanksgiving Day with your choice of two racing options: the 16th Annual Turkey Trot 5k at Scarborough Faire in Duck; or the 3rd Annual Outer Banks Gobbler 5k and Little Giblet Fun Run at the Village of Nags Head. Both are fun ways for families to fend off holiday calories — and both fill up fast. But cheerleaders are always welcome at the finish line (much like that big piece of pie). • Don’t eat leftovers; eat fish. On Sat. Nov. 26, the Jennette’s Pier’s Redfish Tournament runs from 8am to noon. For $15, anglers can battle for awards in a variety of colors, including red drum, bluefish, gray trout. Another $15 keeps the kids busy in an educational marine camp. And all registrants get a pier pass ‘til midnight plus a $350 coupon book to Tanger Outlet (“So you go shop all you want, sweetie…”). Sign up by Nov. 23; call 252-255-1501, ext. 202 for more info. • If you had a hammer… you’d still hire someone else to do the work. So spend Nov. 26 at the Outer Banks Home Services Expo with the area’s best contractors and repair services. Silent auction benefits Relay for Life; canned food drive fills the Albemarle Food Pantry. For more, email soundpub@earthlink. net or call 252-480-2308. • Like your Thanksgiving real traditional? Visit Island Farm Nov. 25-26 to see how Roanoke Island families survived an 1850s winter. Activities include: hearth cooking, food preservation, ox-drawn wagon rides and “vintage cornhole” ( just kidding). Cost is $6 ($5 with a canned good); kids 5 and under get in free. Learn more at www.theislandfarm.com. And be sure to check out their Christmas Past event on the evening of Dec. 10. • Sleigh pictures are so 19th century. This year, get your glider on when Kitty Hawk Kites brings Hangin’ with Santa to Nags Head on Fri. Nov. 25 (10am-2pm) or Sat. Nov. 26 (1pm-4pm). Don’t worry: all gear is reinforced to account for Santa’s heftier frame. And stick around Sat. evening as Kites With Lights brightens the skies over Jockey’s Ridge. Call 1-877-FLY-THIS for more. • Wanna lose holiday weight? Try laughing your butt off. NY stand-up Andy Hendrickson plays the Comedy Club of the Outer Banks (aka The Ramada Plaza Hotel Ball Room) Nov. 2526. Tix and details at www. comedyclubobx.com. • On Sat. Nov. 26, belly up to the Outer Banks Brewing Station as Sparta’s Big Daddy Love invades with a banjo-fueled blend of bluegrass, rock and just about anything else you can think of. • Also on Nov. 26, nationally touring power trio TR3 celebrates Thanksgiving at home; watch Tim Reynolds rip the stuffin’ out of his Tele while drumstick-lover Dan Martier and bottom-end man Mick Vaughn ladle lumpy, rhythmic gravy all over Kelly’s. • Who needs elves? The Hatteras Island Arts and Craft Guild cobbles together Tim Reynolds, stunt guitarist Photo: ArtzMusicAndPhotography.com a full collection of handmade
H OMEMADE W INTER L UNCH S PECIALS!
items at Buxton’s Cape Hatteras Secondary School Nov. 25–26, 10am-4pm. Call Charlotte at 252-441-1850. • Time’s running out on the Art, Automata and Christmas Clocks exhibit at Roanoke Island Festival Park. Michael Davis creates handcrafted, three-dimensional fantasy scenes, one-of-a-kind Automata and Yuletide time pieces, but it all ends on Nov. 29, so don’t waste a second. More at www.roanokeisland.com. • Help out this holiday season by attending the 23rd Annual Festival of Trees, which benefits Outer Banks Hotline’s support services for victims of domestic and sexual abuse. Start out Dec. 1-2 at 108 Budleigh Street in downtown Manteo, where a Holiday Bazaar showcases a wide variety of gift items, decorations and holiday attire collected throughout the year. There’s also a silent auction with quality goods donated by kind local businesses. (Admission is free; but donations are graciously accepted.) Then on Dec. 3, the festival culminates at Jennette’s Pier’s Holiday Social and Benefit Auction at 6:30pm. Come see more than a dozen trees, beautifully decorated with dazzling displays for the highest bidder. For more, visit www.obhotline. org. • Manteo stirs with seasonal spirit all month, beginning with Dec. 2’s Tree Lighting Ceremony. Staged in front of the historic old courthouse on Queen Elizabeth Street, it’s a musical celebration of Roanoke Island’s 400-year tradition of survival and generosity. Then on Dec. 3, it’s the Downtown Manteo Christmas Parade. Enjoy an hour-long waterfront procession of school bands, local businesses — plus Corvettes, Shriners and emergency vehicles — all heaving handfuls of candy at excited kiddies and innocent bystanders. Learn more at www.townofmanteo.com. • Elizabethan Gardens’ Illuminations Winter Nights also begins on Dec. 3, sparking 19 evenings of festive food and drink — plus floral displays and plant sales. Stick around, ‘cause the daytime’s equally aglow with events, including: Holiday Workshops for Gingerbread Cookies (Dec. 10), Photography (Dec. 10) and Wreath Making (Dec. 10/17); a Dinner with Santa on Dec. 16; a Day with Santa on Dec. 23; and two Kid Craft Days (Dec. 17/21). Prices and times at www.elizabethangardens.org. • There’s no excuse for last-minute shopping this year. Not when the Dare Co. Arts Council’s Holiday Small Works Show features local art to fit every budget, such as original paintings, pottery, glass, jewelry, fiber, metal, mixed media and wood. Come out for the opening reception, Fri. Dec. 2, 6pm–8pm; and come back any day through Dec. 30. Learn more at www.darearts.org. • Or solicit your soulful side with Art and Spirit: Sacred Works by Sixty Artists at Festival Park. Local and regional artists present two-and threedimensional work Dec. 3–22, each displaying a personal sense of spirituality. Visit www. roanokeisland.com for details. • Let them sing “Over the river.” We’ll sing “Over the bridge” — twice — as Harbinger’s Kilmarlic Health and Racquet Club hosts the Jingle Bell Charity ½- Mile Fun Walk/ 5k Run on Dec. 3 to benefit Hatteras Island’s Really, Really Free Market. Starts at 10am. Adults: $5; kids: $3. Both must bring at least one item from the market’s list of needs. Racers get a festive hat, pizza, prizes, live music and a warm and fuzzy feeling. Sign up on www.fsseries.com. Or contact Ed Beckley at 252-256-1084. • Bye-bye Irene; hello Harvey. After hurricane delays, the Theatre of Dare is excited to lift the curtain on their 21st season with this Pulitzerwinning comedy written by Mary Chase and directed by Julia Scheer. Catch one of six shows (Dec. 2-4/9-11) at the College of the Albemarle in Manteo. Times are 7:30 Fri. and Sat.; 2pm Sun. Tix are $10; $5 for students. You can find them at Gray’s in Kitty Hawk or Lasting Effect Frame Shop in KDH; more details at www.theatreofdare.org.
We Rent Everything*
* well, almost everything milepost 37
endnotes We’re sad to report Irene closed Manteo Booksellers indefinitely and destroyed nearly 50% of their inventory. But, instead of seeing the situation as “shelves half-empty,” they’ve filled the nearby Christmas Shop with every undamaged title. “Living Legend” Edward Greene and literature legend Steve Brumfield invite you to browse as much as you like in hopes you’ll find something uplifting this holiday season. • Stinson’s Ranch was a Soundside Road icon before Ed Greene runs the jolliest shop south of the North Pole. Irene swept the historic house of its pilings. Go to www. friendsofthecottage.com to help rebuild a century old landmark. • The Outer Banks Centre for Dance says “Try My Nutcracker” when they perform Tchaikovsky’s Christmas masterpiece at First Flight High School on Dec. 10. Tix are only $15. But there are only two shows — 1pm and 7pm — so grab a pair at www.obxdance. com. • Stretch your legs on Dec. 10 with the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Winter Climb. Warning: 248 steps is equal to a 12-story building. Climbers must b at least 42” tall and and there is no carrying. But at least they don’t make you hang any lights. Free admission;10am to 3pm. More details at www.nps.gov/caha. • On Sat. Dec. 17, come celebrate the moment that put KDH on the map with the 108th Annual Celebration of Flight. Be at the Wright Brothers Memorial by 10:35am to witness the annual flyover and absorb every detail of this aeronautical milestone. You’ll need something to occupy your mind for that next delayed flight, random cavity search and other maddening frustrations we associate with modern air travel. For more information (and less sarcasm) visit www.outerbanks.org. • Then immediately jet over to the mainland as the Cotton Gin Celebrates a Currituck Christmas on Dec. 17, 12-6pm. Santa arrives by horse-drawn carriage at 2pm for a two-hour visit, and you’ll want to be there before he hogs all the complimentary appetizers, drinks and holiday discounts. (P.S. Check www. outerbankschild.com for a complete list of local Santa Sightings.) • Restaurant party? Office shindig? You must have some holiday plans Dec. 18-31. For more info, check your calendar or ask the boss (aka your spouse or significant other). Or, just spend the break chilling with the kids. But remember: Dare County Schools are in session Dec. 19-20. (Yet another thoughtful gift from Irene.) • Surfers 18 and under should start working on their Camp Hobgood applications. The 2001 ASP World Champion plans to post up at his Avon home for two weeks next summer just to offer 20 stoked kids from across the U.S. some instructional love (and donate some proceeds to hurricane relief efforts). You don’t have to be the best ripper on the beach; but you should have some working knowledge of local sandbars. Email any questions and qualifications to camphobgood2012@gmail. com by Jan 1. • Just because you took someone home on New Year’s Eve doesn’t mean you have to marry that person immediately. But if you’re seriously guilty, seriously needy, or seriously engaged, check out the 14th Annual Outer Banks Wedding Weekend and Expo, which packs First Flight High with 120+ photographers, florists, planners, etc.
on Jan. 6-8. More at www.outerbanksweddingassoc.org. • Who’s the man? Frank Stick, that’s who. A legendary illustrator for magazines like the Saturday Evening Post, Stick fell in love with the Outer Banks on a 1920s surf-fishing trip, eventually helping to establish Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The 34th Annual Frank Stick Memorial Art Show honors his artistic contributions by showcasing a wide variety of local, original work, including sculpture, painting, drawing, fiber, pottery and mixed media. Enjoy the county’s longest running visual art exhibition at Glenn Eure’s Ghost Fleet Gallery, Jan. 28-Feb. 24, with an opening reception Sat. Jan. 28, 6pm – 8pm. Details at www. darearts.org. • The Arts Council stays busy in Feb. with one-of-a-kind events. A Dancing with the Stars fundraiser pairs area performing artists with “local celebrities”; watch it all go down (in some cases, literally) at the Kitty Hawk Hilton Ballroom Feb. 11, 7-11pm. Then, on Feb. 18, the Southern Circuit Film Tour stops at Cape Hatteras Secondary School. This month’s installment is Barbershop Punk, a documentary about one music fan’s desire to defend his first amendment rights — with a little help from Henry Rollins. • The Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts offers two musical trips backward in time — or across it — depending on your taste. On Jan. 21 the Return recreates the best of the Beatles in living color and sound. Then, on Feb. 18, Brooklyn Rider applies modern influences to the usual string quartet approach. Both shows start 7:30pm at First Flight High. Learn and hear more by visiting www.outerbanksforum.org. • The further we get into winter, the fuzzier things look. Especially when it comes to schedules. But we do see have some vision of future events. For example, we’re certain the 8th Annual Freedmen’s Colony Blues Concert will jam seats sometime in Feb. Lineup and venue were all TBD at press-time, but the performances promise to be historic. For details email email@example.com. • And we know the Outer Banks Chili Cook-Off turns 18 in 2012, promising a barely legal selection of spicy tastes. We also know it’ll be one of the last weekends in Feb. But we don’t know where. (So you’ll just have to call Chilli Pepper’s, 252-441-8081, after the holidays.) • Bolster your local “dune cred” by helping Friends of Jockey’s Ridge bag oyster shells to fight sound encroachment. Volunteers meet at the visitors’ center in late Feb. or early Mar., piling up the shells and throwing down oysters (raw or cooked; with Saltines or without), all while hanging with friends. For details, stay tuned to www.jockeysridgestatepark.com. • And there are still more hot ticket items to come. The first is Taste of the Beach (Mar. 15-18), which crams more than a hundred restaurants’ culinary adventures into just four days. Options fill quickly, so make early reservations at www.obxtasteofthebeach.com. • Likewise, it’s extremely fashionable to attend April 28’s Couture By the Shore presented by Towne Bank. Ten local boutiques strut the Kelly’s runway with fashions, hairstyles and accessories before a backdrop of awesome food and drink. It all benefits the Outer Banks Relief Foundation and it always sells out. So beat the trend by following www.outerbanksrelieffoundation.com. • Finally — seriously — we all know that between harsh weather, decreasing cashflow and increasing temptation, an Outer Banks offseason can push anyone off the deep end. So please keep this number someplace handy: 1-877-685-2415. It’s the East Carolina Behavioral Health Hotline. If you’re having issues holding it together, they’ll find you the appropriate support before you do anything really crazy. And remember: spring is just around the corner, waiting to jump you. (In a good way.)
Open Year Round • Serving Lunch & Dinner
9.5 It's ALL Good! Milepost 9.5 • on Highway 158 in KDH 252.441.7889 • MamaKwans.com milepost 39
OBBS Award-Winning Cuisine & Craft Beers
2010 OBX Shrimp Cook-Off Winner 2010 Taste of the Beach Chef’s Choice 2010 NC Best Dish Finalist 2011 Taste of the Beach People’s Choice 2011 Colington Crab Classic Winner GABF Medal Winner WBC Medal Winner
There’s Only One Brewing Station!
Milepost 8.5 under the WIND TURBINE on the BIG Road in Kill Devil Hills
252-449-BREW (2739) • www.OBBrewing.com