Outer Banks Milepost

Page 1

Issue 1.1


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That’s what my waiter buddy, Bailey, calls this place. An old local bumper sticker was even more blunt. It boasted: “Welcome to the Outer Banks. We’re loser friendly.”


Both sentiments imply some level of social dysfunction and fear of success; and both are somewhat deserved. But the restaurant business is one industry where the stereotype ultimately falls to pieces. A delicate world where function is everything — from the front of the house to the far reaches of the walk-in. Don’t give good service, you lose money. Goof-off too much in the kitchen, you get fired. And if the whole operation doesn’t perform to its potential — if the food and service don’t blend like a well-oiled Cuisinart — it fails.


For decades, Sam & Omie’s also booked fishing charters, setting a local standard for serving both food and water. Ash Wednesday survivor’s shot, 1962. Photo: Outer Banks History Center/Joe Scott Collection




On this very beach alone the most recognized and respected businesses built their reps one plate at a time, pushing 20, 30 even 70 years old. Proof that if you do your job well and work your hardest, you can work your way up to the top of the menu — even the top of the marquis. But pick any brightly lit sign on the bypass, follow the cord back to its original power source, and I’d argue you’ll find some curious person who first grabbed a platter or spatula not as a profession — but to fuel some other passion. Be it a line in the water, a toe in the sand or a wave on the head. Who found a gig that fed their needs; then fed that need to stay fulfilled.

Those are the people we’re serving this issue. Because in a society that equates success with sure bets like regular salaries, boring commutes and golden retirements, they are the real hustlers. The ones who seek their financial rewards at the end of the shift — and their real rewards before the shift even starts. Who figure out that 9 to 5 can mean day or night — so long as you make the remaining hours matter. That life isn’t just work. It’s what works for them. And that’s about as functional as it gets. — 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: Grease sponge for a nasty flat-top. Disposable liner for a leaky cooler. Paper billy club for bad tippers. 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 editor@outerbanksmilepost.com. Or light us up on Facebook with your opinions and ideas. We promise to find some way to re-purpose them.

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Clothing • Maternity • Children • Baby • Home • Toys • Art • Gifts • Pets • Jewelry

On the other hand, if you choose a well-made design, keep the blades sharp and change them when necessary, the machine will hum, run and thrive. For a long, long time. In a world where tech companies rise and fall faster than you can say “MySpace.” Where iconic brands like Kodak suddenly don’t click, a perfectly presented meal continues to stand the test of time. Running the whole course of human history from Middle Age taverns to Ancient Roman pizza joints — probably all the way back to some furry caveddweller’s hair-brained dream of making a few extra clams.


Clothing • Maternity • Children • Baby • Home • Toys • Art • Gifts • Pets • Jewelry

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“The way you cut your meat reflects the way you live.” — Confucius “I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.” — W.C. Fields Reader You Brushes & Ink Marcia Cline, 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, Lauren Feeney, Bryan Harvey, Matt Lusk, Mickey McCarthy, Dick Meseroll/ ESM, Ben Miller, Rob Nelson, Crystal Polston, Gina Elliot Proulx , Daniel Pullen, Ryan Rhodes, Patrick Ruddy, DJ Struntz/Surfing, Laurin Walker, Chris Wilson

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Penfolk Molly Harrison, Fran Marler, Mickey McCarthy, Matt Pruett, Ryan Rhodes, Brendan 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 editor@outerbanksmilepost.com • sales@outerbanksmilepost.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: editor@outerbanksmilepost.com; sales@outerbanksmilepost.com.


roadmap go 3 StartingPoint

They work for food — because food works for them.

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Concrete questions, heavy gardening and fries by the ton.


No shortage of warm, fuzzy feelings.


Six niche players describe their roles in the food chain.


Bust out the crayons and color us juvenile.


Dare Co.’s Education Chair provides a lesson on school funding.


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GoSweat Getting fit’s officially a team sport.


GoSurf The Ps and Qs of PWCs.

ArtisticLicense Let them eat cake.

SoundCheck Opera’s in the house.

OutThere Jump in the pit.

EndNotes New shoots for the spring calendar. “Bob Shook”

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by Marcia Cline www.marciacline.com “I mostly like working outside. When I slow down on the beach road, I’m not texting; I’m looking for houses and landscapes, clotheslines and clouds. But when you paint, you paint what you’re invested in. And I invested a lot of time at Tortuga’s Lie. I washed dishes, rolled sushi, waited tables and hostessed. Back then the kitchen was the size of a closet but we still cranked out so much food. And Bob’s such a character; that’s exactly what he’d do when he needed a break — just stop and squat and light one up. Of course, 15 years ago nobody cared if or where you smoked in a restaurant but much later someone asked if I’d consider changing the cigarette to a cup of coffee. I said, ‘Nope. Sorry. That’s Bob.’” — Marcia Cline

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CHANGE HAPPENS Searching for silver linings in a cloudy future


startingpoint Cabo Polonio, Uruguay. April 2006. A 4x4 flatbed piles in a mix of pro surfers and native fishermen, each paying ten bucks for a ride up the deserted point toward a towering lighthouse. Every so often, the driver stops to drop a man and his gear at the spot of his choosing. And each time, Outer Banks visitor Jesse Hines says the same thing: “Man, this place reminds me of home.”


One day, “home” might remind Jesse of Uruguay, as happenings south of Oregon Inlet foreshadow a whole different future. As of February 15, driving inside Cape Hatteras National Seashore will cost $120 a year or $50 a week, without opening any more miles of beach. By next summer, new bridges at S-Turns and Ranger Station (or perhaps one big one) will kill roadside parking for between three and seven miles. Like many residents, my first reaction to both decisions was, “There goes the neighborhood.” Then I realized that I wasn’t going anywhere. So I went searching for glimmers of fortune in a scrap pile of change — beginning with two of Pea Island’s favorite pastimes.



“You probably won’t get any rivermouth set-ups,” responded Harry Friebel, Coastal Engineer, Ph.D., P.E. when asked if surfers will see longer, point-like waves around any new inlets. “But with enough sand flow, finger shoals might form, creating breaks on the down drift of the sediment transport.” For anyone who’s hunted-and-pecked that fickle stretch, some more reliable sandbars — and more of them — is something to look forward to. Likewise, sound-side anglers might find more productive fishing holes.


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“I work near Hatteras Inlet where salinity is often high in the sound,” says Rachel Gittman, Ph.D. student at UNC Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Sciences. “I occasionally catch juvenile flounder and snapper in the shallow near shore habitats near the inlet, so more saltwater flowing into the sound might result in more salt-tolerant species, but only near the breaches themselves.” The fact is Pamlico Sound is way too big to see major changes from two Pea Island pinpricks. But coastal scientists say the problem with NC 12 isn’t the breaches; it’s the lack of them. “The severity of Hurricane Irene’s sound-side flooding from Oregon Inlet to Avon was in part a function of trying to protect Highway 12 from the ocean-side dynamics,” insists Dr. Stan Riggs, distinguished research professor at East Carolina University. “We better rethink the way we maintain Highway 12 on the Outer Banks, because we’re slowly strangling the barrier islands and we’ll pay a major price if we don’t start thinking forward.” In his book, The Battle For North Carolina’s Coast, Riggs and four co-authors lay out what he calls a “string of pearls” strategy where each southern village becomes its own Ocracoke: planes, high-speed ferries and water taxis replace highways and cars; inlets flow freely to replenish the shoreline and improve water quality; tourists and residents reap the benefits. His position is hardly popular in a community where more vehicles equal more dollars. But Riggs maintains his plan could handle the same visitor traffic while driving other industries. “We can put the fishermen back to work,” Riggs continues. “We can put the boat builders back to work. But the people of North Carolina need to decide if they want their barrier islands

upfront and wild coastal systems as a viable economic resource.”


Granted, it’s no fun considering these changes. Driving down south is the whole reason I moved here. But staring at the DOT’s various alternatives, I found myself understanding positions I’d long staunchly opposed: from beach nourishment’s costly commitment to the status quo to the 17-mile “long bridge,” which (as much as I hate to admit it) looked suddenly reasonable compared to a collection of eight-mile fixes across Pea Island. Fixes that may not last beyond 50 years, but still promise permanent scars in terms of both access and natural aesthetics.



I wonder if those Mirlo Beach homeowners would choose a $20 boat ride over a concrete horizon? I also wonder if struggling locals might like full-time ferry jobs — or maybe running their own boat or a beach driving taxi service? This much I do know: bridges, pavement and permits are worthless if they can’t put you on the right piece of beach; and I’d willingly opt for any delivery system that solves that problem — especially if it meant preserving Hatteras Island and its culture for years to come.

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Look, this isn’t a blanket endorsement of Riggs’ vision. But I do like his positive attitude. And I recommend reading the book for no other reason than considering new perspectives. Because in a world where rising sea levels and storm activity will only make things worse, seeking new solutions makes more sense than clinging to the past. And as radical as his proposals may sound, they echo some of the most long-held local beliefs: namely, that Outer Bankers can weather the roughest seas — and that people will do just about anything to enjoy an unspoiled stretch of coast. — Matt Walker


Find The Battle for North Carolina’s Coast: Evolutionary History, Present Crisis & Vision for the Future at area libraries; better yet, buy a copy at your local bookstore.

STOP FLEXIN’ Pee tests and polygraphs. That’s nobody’s idea of a good time. But that’s exactly what Levi Burge signed up for when he joined the International Natural Bodybuilding Federation where steroid use is strictly forbidden. And when you hear the 24-yearold Kitty Hawk local’s advice on how to become a world champion while staying all-natural, you’ll realize filling a cup’s not just the easiest part, it’s probably the most fun.

On November 12, 2011, Burge competed in New York City to become the INBF Amateur Middleweight World Champion at 172 pounds; then he went on to defeat the winners from all other weight classes to take the Open division. So what does the best amateur bodybuilder in the world do next? Go pro, of course.

“Stop drinking, stop smoking,” says Burge, whose sweatshirt hides his physique like his modesty hides his achievement. “Unplug your cable TV. Eat seven meals a day, seven days a week, and get at least eight hours of sleep every night.” Burge goes to bed at 8 pm, gets up at 4:30 am. He goes to the gym five days a week in the off-season, six days a week before competition. And he never deviates. “It takes a tremendous amount of discipline,” says Stu Golliday, owner of the Outer Banks Sports Club, where Burge works as a trainer. Golliday goes on to compare Levi’s sacrifice to a well-known literary figure: “Mark Twain had a character named Pudd’nhead Wilson, who believed in order to be successful, you had to drink what you didn’t want to drink, eat what you didn’t want to eat, and do what you didn’t want to do. Obviously, Levi is proof that it works.”


World Champion Bodybuilder Levi Burge is a much bigger deal

“This opens up the whole professional field to me,” Burge explains. “Tested and untested. But I’m staying natural. It’s a whole different level, but I know what I need to do.” The event he’s most focused on is the INBF Mr. Universe competition in Barbados on June 23. A win there would put Burge in the same league as the man who first inspired him to lift weights as a skinny 13-year-old — and later made him choose a much different path. “Growing up, I always wanted to be like Arnold Schwarzenegger,” says Burge. “Until I heard he used steroids at one point. Then I realized I didn’t want to be like him.” Nope. He’d rather be like Pudd’nhead. — Brendan Riley Photo: Courtesy Burge

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upfront soundcheck EMPIRE BACKWOODS

You’d be thirsty, too, if you cut all this lumber. Photo: Courtesy of Outer Banks History Center

Buffalo City was once a lumber mill and moonshine boomtown – now it’s evaporated


Head west on 64 toward Alligator River, hang a left at the sign for “Buffalo City,” and you’ll find nothing but vinechoked trees and kayak trails. But not even 100 years ago, this empty patch of swamp was Dare County’s biggest town, known for freshly cut lumber — and hard grain alcohol.


In the mid 1880s, New York’s Buffalo Timber Company built the logging town with the help of local black laborers and 200 Russian immigrants, many of whom stayed to haul juniper, pine and cypress from deep in the woods with the help of mule carts. By 1889, Buffalo City had its own post office, hotel, schoolhouse and general store. But when the more accessible trees disappeared, the mill closed.


In 1907, Dare Lumber moved in and added a pulp mill but also failed. Then, in 1925, the Duvall brothers bought


and modernized the operation with 100 miles of branching rail line, carrying15-20 carloads of logs per train. They produced high-quality juniper boat boards and shakes, the strength of which remains evident on some of our oldest oceanfront homes. As workers moved their families in, Buffalo City’s population of 3,000 became the largest in Dare County. And once the U.S. Congress made alcohol illegal in 1920, nearly every family found a new way to pull a living from the backwoods and waterways: 107-proof “Carolina Swamp Juice.” Over the course of Prohibition, Northeastern NC’s

largest lumber town became the nation’s moonshine epicenter. An estimated 50,000 gallons flowed out of Buffalo City — up to 800 gallons per week — made from shipments of rye and sugar that came in from Elizabeth City on the tugboat Hattie Creef. The rye was smoother than corn liquor, but they say red-brown cypress water is what gave each sip its special taste. Bottled as East Lake

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whiskey, five-gallon jugs went to Elizabeth City, Norfolk, and up the coast to Northeastern speakeasies. In fact, business was so good residents bragged they never felt the Great Depression. But with every good party comes the hangover. And while revenuers and airplane spotters couldn’t stop the supply — Congress quickly killed all demand by repealing the 18th Amendment in 1933. With the logging and moonshine industry gone, Buffalo City slowly declined. The last of the residents had abandoned their homes by the early 1950s and swamp reclaimed the land man inhabited for 80 years. The only thing visible today are overgrown roadbeds from rail lines that once ran through the middle of town. — Mickey McCarthy



Info culled from the following sources: Ken Mann’s “My Heart Will Always be in Carolina: Buffalo City,” obxtv.com; “The Rise and Fall of a Moonshine Capital” by Jay Barnes, Our State Magazine; and Logs and Moonshine: Tales of Buffalo City, NC by Suzanne Tate.


Got a seasonal suggestion for “goodbye/hello”? Submit it to editor@outerbanksmilepost.com by April 30.

FORGIVE US, READER, FOR WE HAVE SINNED… In Issue 0.2’s “Artistic License” profile, we neglected to point out that Josh Everett collaborated with Sarah

Gill of Funktional Art to build the pulpit that stands in Bethany United Methodist Church — a pretty significant trespass when you consider their shared history and respect. “We’ve done a bunch of projects together,” says Everett. “Her caliber of woodwork is freakin’ awesome.” See the piece as a work-in-progress and fully installed at www.funktionalart.net. Milepost repents the error.


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NATURE. soundcheck NURTURE. Garden clubs gather to share planting secrets — and end up yielding something more


Sitting surrounded by plant-wise women, I try to soak in as much info as possible between sips of champagne. But how? There are so many strange plant species. And so many talented gardeners. Sinking deeper into the chair, my thoughts only grow more tangled — much like the sandpit of brambles that I call a yard. Finally, one lady puts an arm on my shoulder. “Don’t worry,” she says. “Just try and tackle a little at a time.”

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Five years later, that first meeting of the Counter Culture Garden Girls is paying off with peaceful lilies, tasty blackberries and crinums that race for the sun like pink and green wildfire. Showing the best way to beat back the Outer Banks’ brutal planting environment is with a garden club.





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“I was never a gardener until I joined,” admits Joan Brumbach, president of the Roanoke Island Garden Club (RIGC). “I’ve learned so much from our members.”


duties — the RIGC has plenty to tend to. Still, Brumbach believes the monthly gatherings remain most fruitful thanks to a range of topics and regular interaction. And her counterpart at the Dunes of Dare Garden Club fully agrees. “We help with the butterfly garden at Kill Devil Hills’ arboretum every week,” says president Sally Lowe. “We also clean the beach road on a quarterly basis. But much of what we do is social; in fact, a lot of members say they join for our field trips.”


With three gardens in downtown Manteo — plus educational projects and civic

While both clubs meet monthly, neither

requires attendance — just modest annual dues of $20 and $25, respectively. But if you’re looking for a more demanding commitment, try the Dare Master Gardener’s Volunteer Association. Applicants must complete 40 hours of training then be readily available to use it, whether maintaining the Outer Banks Arboretum and Teaching Garden in KDH or manning a Plant Advice Hotline from 10am–noon, Monday through Thursday. “Most of our programs run nine-to-five,” says Susan Ruiz-Evans, Director of the Dare County Center of the North Carolina

FREE FERTILIZER Nine tips from the Counter Culture Girls’ not-so-secret gardens:


1. Hydrangeas (older varieties), Carolina jasmine, banks rose and some crepe myrtles are salttolerant and survive quite well in our environment.


2. Tomatoes love companion planting with chives, onions, marigolds and carrots. The more fragrant plants close by, the more protected the delectable fruit is. 3. Plant tulips in pots, then submerge them in the ground to avoid pesky voles.


The CCGG comes back greener every spring. Photo: Vaughn

4. With dahlias, pinch back the meristem to encourage a bushier plant. 5. Forsythia divides well, but don’t cut them back; the plant ends up becoming more compact and disease prone. 6. Divide spring and summer blooming perennials in the fall; and divide fall flowering perennials in the early spring when new shoots have emerged.

7. After gardenias have finished blooming, cover the base of the plant with Epsom salt and water to replenish the magnesium necessary for more luscious blooms. 8. Contain perennials that reseed themselves (Four o’clocks, Jerusalem artichokes, etc.) in specific areas, otherwise they become invasive. 9. You need at least two blueberry plants to produce berries, otherwise they can’t cross-pollinate.


HEY! HO! soundcheck

Cooperative Extension. “So we’re looking for full-time residents who are flexible during the work day.”

And what if you don’t know how interested you are? Call the Elizabethan Gardens. The Outer Banks’ biggest floral collection can always use help. And it pays back with close contact to the greenest thumbs around.


“Whether you want to pull weeds or work in administration it’s a great way to pick up tips,” says Marketing Director Nancy Harvey. “I’ve only been there a year and I’m not killing nearly as many things as I used to.”

LET’S GROW! Wanna stick it to The Man? Plant a stake in Southern Shores Community Garden What’s your punk rock garden look like? Is it low rows of purple cabbage with a spiky tomato mohawk? A field of greens slashed and burned with an anarchy symbol? Or is it as simple as a 4’ x 4’ box for fresh, sprouting veggies? Something small and understated that actively fights evil trends like genetically modified foods and childhood obesity; standing up to The Man like a huge middle finger from Mother Nature herself.

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What about the Counter Culture Garden Girls? Sorry. Those first nine girls remain our only members — at least until someone passes and makes room for one of our offshoots to rise in her place. Until then, we’ll share planting tips, valuable life lessons and a mutual passion, strong enough to bring strangers together for life. — Fran Marler



For info on the Dare Master Gardeners Volunteer Association, call 252-473-4290. For Elizabethan Gardens, call 252-473-1554. For Dunes of Dare or Roanoke Island Garden Clubs, email Sally Lowe (sallylowe@embarqmail.com) or Joan Burmbach ( jub25@hotmail.com). All plant fans are invited to May 19’s Coastal Gardening Festival at KDH’s Outer Banks Arboretum and Teaching Garden from 9:30am–2:30pm.

“Our long-term goal is to supply healthy vegetables to food-insecure families,” says Lucinda Hudgins, organizer for Southern Shores Community Garden. “But the immediate purpose is to serve as an educational awareness tool for local children. Twenty percent of Dare County’s 5- to 11-year-olds are obese. Our food is so processed, the next generation has lost touch with the food supply chain; they think everything comes out of a drive-thru window.” It may not all be fast-food, but the bulk of what Americans eat is still built for efficiency. In fact, 86% of corn and 91% of the soy grown in the




U.S. is genetically engineered to resist disease and last longer on store shelves — adding up to 70% of the average grocery cart and a range of potential health risks, especially for children. The Garden’s goal is to fight both trends by giving local kids greater access to organic vegetables and the understanding that eating natural food leads to a longer, healthier life. But there’s at least one young person Lucinda won’t need to convert: her daughter. As a student at Wake Forest University, Kaitlyn Hudgins earned a summer grant to pursue the Garden full-time. By August, she’d scored land from East Carolina Bank plus lumber and ongoing support from Home Depot. She also secured non-profit status through Coastal Harvesters on Hatteras Island and the interest of 80 anxious volunteers. The next phase? Corralling that momentum to create a system that will keep the program running. “Right now it looks like we’re going to have two different gardens,” Kaitlyn explains. “One garden completely run by volunteers that will provide a harvest for food-insecure

families. Another garden families and groups can pay an annual fee to work themselves and keep the produce; and that funding will keep the non-profit side running.” For $150 a year, locals can plant their own 4’ x 4’ Family Food Box; or businesses and groups can sponsor a 4’ x 10’ Feeding Box for $250 a year. All the money will go toward water bills and supplies. With enough support, the garden can open more land to help the fresh food and information reach even more people. “It’s almost happening faster than we can keep up,” says Lucinda. “In three months, we went from just an idea to having physical plants in the ground. And we’re still getting offers, from more land to irrigation supplies. But what we really need now is people. It has so many endless possibilities; it all depends on how energetic and excited our community becomes.” — Ian McKale Interested in sponsoring a box for your family or business? Email Lucinda Hudgins at seafood@ tommysmarket.com

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WHADDYA MEAN, “WEEDED”? Presenting Milepost’s Official 2012 Server-to-English Dictionary


Every unique work culture breeds its own dialect. Use this “waiter translator” to better understand the rest of this issue, your next meal out, or your friends’ relentless griping after any given shift.

startingpoint front of the house:

adj. both a restaurant’s dining area and the staff that services customers (e.g. “Chris is so surly. I can’t believe they let that jerk work ‘front of the house.’”)


back of the house: adj. both a restaurant’s kitchen area and its staff (e.g. “Don’t let any customers see Lazy Eye Larry. He’s strictly ‘back of the house.’”)

small-top: n. a table of few diners, such as a “single,” “deuce,” “three-top,” or “four-top” (e.g. “I’d French-kiss Larry right now if it meant not getting another small-top.”)

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upfront big-top: n. a comparatively large table of diners, usually comprised of eight or more;


either coveted or despised depending on seating time (e.g. “I’m never gonna make any money if Bianca keeps giving Chris all the big-tops.” or “If Bianca gives me another big-top five minutes before closing, I’m gonna key her VW.”)

bluehairs: n. a table of female senior citizens; often known to order low-price items


en masse (e.g. “Better heat up some more soup. A bunch of bluehairs just drove up.”)

grat: v. an active decision to implement the traditional 18% gratuity for tables of six or more (e.g. “I’m gonna grat that big-top of bluehairs; every single lady ordered water.”)


86: v. a number indicating a menu item is out of stock… or just too big of a pain to

deal with (e.g. “Chef says to 86 stuffed mushrooms — unless we want to pick the crab meat ourselves.”)

turn: 1. n. the amount of time it takes to service a table, section, or the whole


restaurant, start to finish (e.g. “On a good night, we can fit three full turns in.”) 2. v. a command of intense pressure to service customers (e.g. “Better start turning some tables if you don’t want to end up back in the kitchen.”)

experience: n. the collective combination of elements in any given restaurant meal — food, atmosphere, presentation and service — or what most people call “going out to eat” (e.g. “All food is prepared fresh and served with care; expect two hours to properly enjoy the experience.”)

campers: n. pl. a group of diners who extend their experience long after they’ve finished ordering and will ultimately cost the restaurant money (e.g. “If this table of campers doesn’t get up soon, I’m gonna drop the check and see if they get the hint.”)

walk-in: 1. n. a table of diners without reservations (e.g. “We just got a walk-in; go seat them in Jamie’s section.”) or 2. n. a refrigerator or wine cooler capable of holding one or more staffers (e.g. “I told Jamie if I catch him making out in the walk-in again, he’s cleaning the grease traps.)

weeded: 1. adj. the condition of facing an overwhelming work situation with no

end in sight (e.g. “Wayne’s so weeded. They just sat his whole section at once.”) 2. adj. the condition of roughly 50% of all college-age restaurant staff at the start of any given shift.

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WWW.OBXSPORTSCLUB.COM 2423 S. Croatan Hwy. Milepost 10 Nags Head, NC 27959 252.441.8361

upfront soundcheck ALL YOU CAN


Think your kid can plow through the fries? Check out this damage estimate of what Outer Banks restaurants consume each year.*


3,383,800 pounds of French fries 12,585,456 slices of bacon


Daily, Weekly, Seasonal, Annual and Corporate Memberships

47,982 gallons of mayo


7,433,700 cups/pats of butter

22,838,000 chicken nuggets/tenders 893,100 pounds of ground beef


3,510,000 packets of sugar

1,560,000 packets of Sweet N Low


993,300 packets of Equal 2,786,660 packets of Splenda


3,281,900 eggs


1,497,700 can liners/trash bags


CALL FOR HOURS (252) 473-1360

1,981,200 burger buns

Specializing in paintings of all sizes... house portraits, pets, wall murals, prints and cards.

15,035,100 straws 21,451,700 paper napkins


480,500 onion rings

5,739,800 pickle spears/servings of chips


395,800 pounds of seafood breading Custom requests welcomed!

Washed Ashore Gallery - Manteo




Catherine Hamill, Artist www.catherinehamillartist.com (252) 473-1360 washedashore@ymail.com

2,016,000 pounds of fryer oil


*Estimates include independent restaurants (no grocery stores, fast food businesses, or chains); furthermore, while the numbers come from a range of reliable sources they still must be construed as SWAG (serious wild-ass guesses)... Photo: L. Dub

getactive startingpoint HEAVY PETTING

Spring’s when cats and dogs like to get busy — so animal volunteers need to get even busier


Birds do it. Bees do it. And stray cats and dogs really do it. “Just one unaltered female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in six years,” says the Outer Banks SPCA’s Corrie Smith. “In seven years, one female cat and her offspring can produce 370,000 kittens.” In this most fertile of seasons, show true loyalty by spaying or neutering all your frisky, furry devils before they go forth and multiply. (Some local vets feature special days with reduced rates; and many of the following services offer financial help for qualifying families.) Then donate time and cash to all those organizations working hard to make sure no animal goes unwanted — or unloved.


Outer Banks SPCA/Dare County Animal Shelter As an “open-admission” shelter and dropoff for Dare County, Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills Animal Control, more than 4000 cats and dogs end up here each year. Funding options include memberships, pet sponsorships, even hosting a “restaurant night”; volunteers 16 and older can do everything from cuddling and cleaning to taking digital photos of needy pets. (252475-5620; www.obxspca.org)

Coastal Humane Society This organization works to ensure no Outer Banker must give up a pet because of financial hardship. Programs include spaying and neutering, emergency medical assistance for owners faced with unforeseen medical costs, and underwriting vaccination programs. They also provide pet food and supplies to Dare County Social Services for seniors facing financial difficulties. Ask about sponsoring their Walk-a-Thon in Kelly’s annual St. Patty’s parade. (252-261-7417)

Animal Lovers Assistance League Besides operating the Currituck County Animal Shelter, ALAL provides exercise and veterinary care to the animals available for adoption. Call for ways to sponsor or donate; volunteers help source foster homes, deliver animals and help in the facility. (252-4570011; www.currituckanimallovers.org)

The Friends of Pooh Get your head out of that honey jar — and tap into your money jar. FOP provides financial assistance to qualified full-time residents of Dare & Currituck Counties whose dogs and cats have been diagnosed with cancer and cannot afford the necessary treatment — such as surgery, oral and intravenous chemotherapy, and palliative care — helping more than 30 animals since 2006. (252-202-5525)


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Alley Cat Rescue (252-207-5153) Feline Hope (252-255-3365) Friends of Felines-Cape Hatteras Since shelters don’t take dangerous ferals, three times the felines end up not getting adopted. That’s why they need three times the help. Not only do these groups source homes and provide foster care for unwanted cats, they trap, neuter and release ferals, as well as offer vouchers or services and host adoption days. Volunteers can help source homes or foster themselves.

Other ways to feed the kitty (and the doggies) A variety of local businesses and services donate time and money to help local animals. The Outer Banks Food Pantry collects and distributes food and litter; Cloud Nine takes food and litter, old blankets and towels, and always appreciates flea meds. Look for Kitty Adoption Days at Cloud Nine, Salty Paws, Holistic Dog and Pet Gallery. And Food Lion’s “Community Rewards” program can donate proceeds to both the Outer Banks SPCA and the Animal Lovers Assistance League. (Learn more at www.foodlion.com)


• • • • • • •

Full Service Oil Change & Lube Full Brake Service Tire Sales & Repair Stereo & Satellite Radio Installation Serpentine Belt Replacement Normal Maintenance Needs Battery Testing & Replacement


449-4095 mP 6 ON THE BYPASS

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Service with a smile? That’s what happens when your job’s your passion. Tony Calvio, La Cabaña. Photo: Chris Bickford milepost


What makes a restaurant work? People with a vested interest in making it work — from the kid who folds the napkins to the boss who calls the shots. We asked six niche players to discuss their role in the food chain. What they do. Why they do it. And where they go when they want someone else to do it for them.

THE COOK TONY CALVIO I think it’s beautiful the way a plate comes together. All the bright colors — the mixed cheeses, the guacamole, the salsa — they bring out the joy in food and make people happy. The thing is, back in Belize my wife did all the cooking. I was a police officer. Then one time I came here to visit my family and thought, “I might as well do something.” So I got a job washing dishes at Chilli Peppers. Over eight years, I worked my way up from prepping to cooking to managing the restaurant. Finally, I decided to move on. I got all my mom’s recipes, talked to my wife and brother and said, “Let’s go for it.” We opened La Cabaña on December 6, 2010.

TONY’S PICKS: I love Manteo because you can find many flavors of food close together. You can go to Ortega’z for a margarita and an appetizer, La Dolce Vita for Italian or Poor Richard’s for a sandwich. For seafood, I like Fisherman’s Wharf and I’ll still go to the beach sometimes, maybe the Black Pelican or Goombay’s or Chilli Peppers. The Sanderling is nice for something romantic, but these days we mostly do family nights and the kids like buffet. That means Captain George’s or Western Sizzlin’. [laughs]

We try to offer something from our culture but with a little American twist. Show people the dishes from where we grew up — Central American countries like Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, a little bit of Mexico, too. But then not everyone likes to try new things; that’s why we have the fried flounder with French fries. [laughs] I do think being a family restaurant helps. Even my wait staff that’s not Hispanic is like family now. We all pitch in. And we all know what we need to do the second we walk in the door. I was here at 6am prepping for the day, putting dry beans to boil. We just did 85 people for lunch with a fryer, a grill, one little kitchen and just two guys. But guess what? We know how to work around it. And I can’t complain. Because that’s what I wanted.

THE HOSTESS LYNN JONES There’s this moment before you open the door. Lionel [Shannon] says, “Are you ready?” And we say, “Let ’em in.” But we never know what to expect. Owens’ has kept books since 1946, but it’s still anybody’s guess, and in summer we can seat up to 600 people. At first it was scary because I’d never worked in a restaurant. I was teacher for 35 years, but I am terrible at math, so it really was a challenge.

Lynn Jones used to teach autistic kids; today, working at Owens’ fills her own special needs. Photo: Matt Lusk

I don’t think people realize how hard it is to keep everything coordinated. And it’s not just about the customers; we’re trying to balance the numbers so it’s fair for the waiters. It’s funny, when you start the night and walk in the kitchen with a table, everyone’s so happy to see you. Walk in just before closing, and no one will even look at you. Everyone’s glances go to the floor or the ceiling or they just turn around. Sometimes for fun, I’ll walk in the kitchen at 8:45 and cruise around just to watch them squirm. [laughs] And I think that’s the main reason I’ve been here five years: the social aspect. I’ve made such great friends. We get together and have lunch — even in the offseason. And even when it’s busy, it’s still fun. Not that teaching wasn’t fun, but some days it was really, really tough. I don’t have any more tough days.

LYNN’S PICKS: We don’t take reservations, so we send a lot of people to Basnight’s, The Dunes or Sam and Omie’s. Sugar Creek is great for big parties and families. Closer to my house, I always love JK’s or Elizabeth’s. Before I worked nights, we went to The Colington Café every New Year’s and Blue Point on Mother’s Day. Now I mostly do lunch: Pizzazz has a great salad bar; I love Bernie’s Salad at Black Pelican; I always get the key lime pie at Kill Devil Grill or the Shrimp Notaburger at the Blue Moon Café — it’s got a fried green tomato and this awesome sauce. For breakfast, my sister and I meet at Stack ‘Em High every week.

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THE BUS BOY RONNIE BROOKS Freedom. That’s what got me into working restaurants. Watching my friends surf all day, work nights and still make more money than I did banging nails. I could go away for the winter — I could go off to college — and still come back to a job. You just have to find the right place; a place that does a good business and takes care of their people. That’s why I like the Colington because it’s so small and tight-knit. As long as you work hard, you can work your way up. After a while the restaurant becomes your home and you’re not going to work — the people are coming to see you. Bus boys are sort of like squires in a way; we’re like waiters-in-training. When we’re slammed, my main job is to flip tables as fast as possible, but I also deliver food, seat people, fill waters, help in the kitchen — basically whatever anyone asks me to do. And you never say, “That’s not my job” to a customer. The least you can do is say, “Let me find your waiter.” It’s not always easy. And it definitely takes a certain personality type. You have to be outgoing; and you have to stay cool. Sometimes you may wanna freak out and rip someone’s head off, but you can’t. So you go back in the kitchen, let out a little scream, then walk back out with a big smile on your face and give them exactly what they want.

RONNIE’S PICKS: I like seeing people I know. Lucky 12 has a killer bar and back area. Chilli Peppers for steamers or a late night drink. Mama Kwan’s pork plate or the Thai Room if I want something totally different. Breakfast is Henry’s if I’m sitting down or a biscuit from Helen’s if I’m driving south. For lunch it’s Food Dudes, Tortuga’s, Kill Devil Grill or Country Deli. On a date I’ll do JK’s or Blue Point if I’m feeling impressive — or the Brew Station if I’m playing it casual. In the offseason: Mako Mike’s does a buy one pasta get one half off that’s killer or there’s always dollar tacos at The Pit.

Ronnie makes sure even the napkins look sharp at the Colington Café. Photo: Matt Lusk



Are you experienced? Start a tab at the Blue Point and let Sonya float your mind. Photo: Bryan Harvey



I kind of like when unhappy people sit at my bar. Because I like the challenge of turning them around. It’s like, “Is life really that bad? You’re on vacation by the ocean. You have a family. You’re fortunate. Let me get your taste buds going and give you an experience you’ve never had before.” I actually got my degree in Public Health so I could help people, but I guess I get the same satisfaction working here. As bar manager, my main responsibility is the beverage program. Blue Point does a huge wine business, so it’s a big job. There’s so much good wine out there and the knowledge is just so vast. But it’s probably my favorite part. I meet a lot of cool people. Last year, I went to Napa, which reminded me a lot of the Outer Banks. You’ve got the Silverado Trail — which is like the beach road — and 29 is like the bypass. I’d go to a vineyard and meet people, then hear someone call out my name the next day in downtown Sonoma.

SONYA’S PICKS: I like good wine and seasonal food as local as possible. Basnight’s does a great job of both. I also like the “everybody knows your name” feeling. That means breakfast at the Nags Head Pier or sometimes Grits Grill. For lunch, I’m usually at Kill Devil Grill or Mulligan’s. Drinks? Ocean Boulevard for live music on a Friday or Lucky 12 for more down home flavor. In Manteo, Ortega’z and Full Moon Café are nice to sit outside. Apps? Metropolis in Corolla is really creative, and Trio is new and different. And there’s nothing like Tortuga’s for steamers and a cold beer after a day on the beach.

But a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Most people are cool, but there’s that handful who can be pretentious. And now everyone has smart phones. Sometimes people walk in and — instead of relaxing and trying something new — they’ve already looked at their wine app and told me to pour a certain vintage. And it’s like, “How’s this: why don’t you taste it first? And then we’ll talk.” [laughs] FEATURE CONTINUED ON PAGE 22 milepost 19


20 21


19 3

Why should kids have all the fun? You’ve spent a lifetime on restaurant lockdown. Now take five with this playful placemat.




“UPS & DOWNS” WORD SEARCH Circle the best & worst of kitchen duty.



























Unscramble this phrase, then use the letters to reveal the cardinal rule of counter culture.

“Want ten? Y’all saw Pitt T. tease Percy.” ______ ___ __ _____ ______ _______ Answer: Always tip at least twenty percent.




17 16




9 14


13 12




START! “I’m Roy,

I’ll be your server.”

Roy's seen dawn every night this week. Help him avoid late tables, sidework and other distractions to


get home at a decent hour.

Bar Open!

Connect the dots, Then color everyone’s favorite part of the night.


FINISH! Some freebies are never safe to take home. Circle the “green lights,” cross out the pink slips.


milepost 21


sleep for the rest of the night.” And when they come in at the end of the week to say PATTI HOOK thanks, I may not know their name — but Good service is all about anticipating I know they’re from Ohio. And I’ll say “Yo, needs. Sometimes, I bring people a beer Ohio! What’s up?” They love it. or water before they order and they say, “How did you know?” I know because I don’t even consider waiting a job. I see it as that’s what I would want. I serve people getting paid well to get to know new people and see close friends. There’s times at Food how I want to be served. Dudes where I’ll have a table go, “Are we the I think we should get kickbacks from the only non-locals here?” And I’ll look around tourism board because we’re the Outer and see people from every part of my Banks’ biggest ambassadors. You say, “First life — the gym, the beach, my accounting day down?” They say, “Yes.” And you say, business, my neighbors — and I’ll go, “Yeah. “Go over the bridge and explore Pea I think you are.” And then I try to make them Island. Or take the kids to Jockey’s Ridge feel like they’re a part of it. And that’s what at sunset and let ’em run around — they’ll brings them back the next time.

Waitress Rule #1: Keep the drinks coming. Patti shifts into work mode at Food Dudes. Photo: Julie Dreelin milepost


PATTI’S PICKS: When I spend my hard-earned, kiss-who-knows-how-much-tourist-butt money, I expect a lot. I like Ocean Boulevard. for atmosphere and music. The best lunch is a Country Deli sandwich on the beach; in Manteo the tuna melt at Poor Richards is a must. And if I’m in a real rush, a Harris Teeter sub. Dates? JK’s because I like the Steak Sanchez or Red Drum for something more laid back. Apps? Tortuga’s, baby: nachos, tuna bites and a margarita. And I love sushi night, but only in the offseason — same goes with Blue Moon Café and Kill Devil Grill . Because I don’t like to wait either. [laughs]

THE OWNER MIKE KELLY Restaurants are significant cultural reference points. What you call Tortuga’s — someone else calls Quagmire’s or Gandalf’s. You see different names and owners change over the years and it becomes like a life story in your mind. I moved here in 1972 with a teaching degree and no plans. I worked in kitchens, as a waiter, went into management. In 1985, I bought J. Fleming Monday’s — and that became Kelly’s Tavern. Owning one restaurant doesn’t mean you’ll do two or three well. Staying involved is key. And a good staff. And every owner or manager wears a variety of hats. This morning I met with Town of Nags Head at 9am, talked to the Rotary Club about borrowing a catering truck, then discussed a private party at Pamlico Jack’s — that was before I walked in the door. I stocked wine, ordered seafood, met with Mako Mike’s staff. This evening I’ll help seat tables. You might even end up in the bathroom with a plunger. Is it fun? Very much so. Maybe not always “yippee-ki-yay” type fun, but I think anyone who sticks with this business has to enjoy it. You’re not sitting in a cubicle. You get to see people. And when everything’s going right — when the cooks are putting out good food and the servers are on a roll — you can’t beat it. Today, I saw a woman walking her dog, so I stopped and said, “Sophie, I hope your food was good on Saturday.” And she said, “Mike, we all had the best time.” And after that you don’t think about the headaches or how long you’ve been doing it. You just think: “Thank you.”

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MIKE’S PICKS: I normally only go out a couple times a month. When I do, I want a restaurant to deliver on the reason I went. This week I went to Playa Azteca because I wanted a cold beer and a flavorful Mexican dish — I got both. I went to Ocean Boulevard because Sunday’s my day off and they serve late; I enjoyed a well-presented salad with good friends at the bar. And I went to Chilli Pepper’s because I love


Menus from many of our great local resta urants, in the back of this book.

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a burger with mustard and onions. On a top end night, I might go to Owens’ or JK’s — or in summer I like sailing my boat up to Blue Point or checking out 1587 in Manteo. Recently, I’ve been hitting the Brew Station, because I’ve really come to appreciate draft beer.

The secret to “Mako” Mike’s success? Never stop moving. Photo: Bryan Harvey

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After four years of financial dieting, Dare County’s school budget is skin-and-bones. Education Chair Ben Sproul discusses why now’s the time to cough up more dough.


Pop quiz! What’s $1.3 million divided by 30,000? Easy, right? $43.33. What’s not so easy is securing that money in a recession. When Dare County’s Board of Education asked for help in filling last year’s school budget shortfall, they were denied for two primary reasons: 1) the county had maintained their commitment to schools by not cutting dollars the past four years; and 2) local kids receive more money per student than anywhere in the state. But, just like everything else, it turns out school funds have to work a little harder on the Outer Banks — a fact even the commissioners addressed later by finding an extra $350,780 to avoid losing personnel. This spring, the BOE will plead its case again in an even tougher climate. We sat down with Chairman Ben Sproul to find out how the math works, what’s at stake, and what you can do to help.



MILEPOST: You say we need more money, but critics say $10,000 per student is more than anywhere in the state and the schools need to use it more wisely. BEN SPROUL: Do you know why that’s not true? Well, the $10,000-per-student figure is true — and it’s a figure to be proud of because we invest in our kids — but it doesn’t buy as much as in another system because of our geographic set-up and the decision ten years ago to have three high schools in an area with only 5000 students. Now, there are benefits to that — like smaller class sizes and shortening the time parents and kids spend getting to school — but it comes at a cost. First, it’s inherently less efficient than, say, 5000 kids at one school. Second, the state has a bunch of rules about what they will and won’t fund. For example, the state doesn’t pay for a third principal, vice principal or guidance counselor. And we’re going to pay those things out of local funds forever.

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at around $19 million four years ago. But it’s very complicated in terms of funding because the state has this formula where they say, “we’re gonna fund this many salaries,” and we hand pick who the county pays for and who the state pays for — and that’ll be the most expensive employees. So every month, the finance department is shucking-and-jiving to squeeze the most out of every dollar or every position we get. But even if the funding stays the same each year, the cost of health care and benefits go up. And all the low-hanging fruit has been cut over the past four years. In fact, the only reason we got an extra $350,000 from the county last year was by making the argument, “You say we’re not getting a cut, but it still translates into a cut in teachers.“ At least they did that much. Who puts together the budget? The budget is put together by professionals for a lot of professional reasons, such as class size. Let’s say you’re allowed 18 kids in a classroom, and you have 36 kids. Once you get a 37th kid, you have to hire another teacher — but you’re only getting a state allocation of $6000 or $7000 for that one kid. Now, when you’ve got 20 kindergarten classes, [shuffling an extra kid] isn’t a big deal, but when you’re in a small system, there’s a lot more volatility.


Where’s the bulk of the expense? And how much do you get from the county? We’ve got 11 schools, 700 plus employees and approximately a $50 million dollar budget, roughly 85% of which goes to teachers. The county basically flat-lined us





We only need to sell one. Photo: Laurin Walker

That’s interesting. Because most parents think, “Yea! Smaller class!” But in reality, one extra kid might suck $20,000 out of the budget. And what takes the brunt of these things is the stuff that isn’t required, but you still want to have. Like high-level high school classes such as advanced science and math. Because we can’t financially justify hiring a teacher for a handful of students. That’s why Virtual Public High School is so great for small systems like ours. The school can pay something like $350 a semester per student and have a top-tier teacher on a computer screen giving a class and answering questions. We have that now in small doses, and it’s certainly worthy of advocacy on the state level to do more. But we still have a high ratio of kids taking Advanced Placement and college credit classes. There’s a whole bunch of kids who have their freshman year of college done before they graduate. How do our schools rate overall? Statewide, we’re in the top five counties for lowest dropout rates and highest on-time graduation rate — over 90%. Something like 80% of our kids take the SATs. And the number of kids going to college is

really high. Of course, people like to say, “Big deal. Isn’t North Carolina something like 48th in the nation?” But a recent comprehensive comparison put all three of our high schools in the top five percent nationally. That’s amazing. That is amazing. But the fact is America’s schools still underperform on a global level. And even locally we don’t offer things that I had in a Virginia Beach public high school 25 years ago. That’s the tough part of my job: getting people excited about what we’ve accomplished and, at the same time going, “There’s so much more we can do.” What would you do? And would it require a tax increase at this point? You know, [former chairman] Dave Oaksmith used to say, “We’re willing to take the hit for asking for the money.” And one thing I like to do with any budget is ask, “What do you want?” Then divide the cost among all 30,000 taxpayers. Often you realize it’s not that much. What would I do? If I had $100,000 extra, the first thing I’d do is expand Pre-K — what used to be “More at Four” — because even though it’s needs-based it has the most dramatic effect

Why do you think it’s so hard to convince budget hawks to spend on schools? I’d argue a good school system is good for business because it draws talented people who might move elsewhere. You can always make the argument that investing in schools makes for a better longterm population because it’s more desirable for doctors, entrepreneurs, higher income families and so forth. But there’s a whole separate budget item that’s about $500,000 annually for maintenance — of which we’re now about $1.5 million behind. And those costs will only get more expensive. One reason we had to renovate or build at such a clip ten years ago was because in the ‘70s and ‘80s, they pushed things so far down the road. And we’re already starting to see the public notice. Like the track at Manteo. I get emails from parents saying, “We can’t hold a meet here.” And you have to tell folks, “This was on the plan three years ago. And it still is. But we need to fix some leaky roofs first.” So what’s the forecast from the state for next year? More cuts. Worst yet, they say. Because last year fed programs filled in a bit. Now all that money is expired and there’s going to be another round of discretionary cuts on top of that.

Is there a chance you’d have to fire teachers? That depends. Last year we reduced staffing through attrition. If no one retired? Probably. But they call it a RIF — a reduction in force — because you’re not actually firing someone. You just don’t have money to renew their contract. Really? When I was a kid, RIF stood for “reading is fundamental.” Isn’t that funny? But that’s what they call it. You realize some people call you “alarmist” for similar rhetoric. I don’t think it’s alarmist when it’s the truth. I mean, it’s dollars and cents. If you have fewer dollars, you’re going to have fewer people. You just have to decide where those fewer people are not going to be. So what can the public do? The best way to put it — using the business term “level of service” — is if we want the level of service to not get worse, we need to find a way to replace the funds that are being lost. The best way a person can make that happen is to tell their commissioners: a) “I’m willing to pay more taxes, but I want it to go to education”; or b) “I’ve looked at your budget and here are the things I think you should stop funding in favor of education.” And that’s a lot to ask because it’s so complicated. But the real takeaway is there’s so much to learn about how it’s done. And I think a lot of people out there are interested enough to armchair quarterback but not interested enough to go talk to their principals and teachers. So I’d encourage people to do that first. We have some fantastic educators who are happy to tell you how it really works if you don’t understand. And the more eyes that are on the ball, the better off we’re all gonna be.

Ed note: The preceding interview was edited for space, flow and clarity; read the entire discussion — covering topics from school lunches to PTOs — at www. outerbanksmilepost.com.

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on student achievement for everybody. Because kids who couldn’t afford to go to pre-school don’t hold back the class for years to come. Down the line? That’s why you need a big team of professionals to put together the budget, because you have to take whatever little is extra and figure out how to spread it around. Maybe it’s PE time. Maybe it’s AP classes or foreign language opportunities. We can’t do everything. But there’re ways for the public to have input and we can work together on what the priorities are.

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Exercise is a constant battle between good and evil. Chris Clark leaps into action. Photo: Crystal Polston

You don’t need a Ph. D to see group fitness has officially infected the Outer Banks. Just watch the gym parking lots go from packed to empty in a single hour. Better yet, listen to your friends. The ones trumpeting huge lifestyle changes in strange lingos filled with oddly named exercises; guilt-tripping fellow practitioners for missing classes while seeking fresh converts. As one woman I know brags, “We’re not a class — we’re a cult.”

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And that’s why they work. Because when there’s no shining sun to warm you up or an inner voice to dress you down — when the whole outside world thinks you’re nuts — a group of like-minded, willing victims can make you do just about anything. Even when it’s the least pleasurable thing on the planet.


THE CULT OF PHYSICALITY For many Outer Bankers, staying fit is a ritual that takes constant support, frequent guilt and daily sacrifice It started with Zumba. That part-dance-craze/part-exercise-class with the structure of a regular routine and the spontaneous joy of a flash mob. Moving about in a sea of shimmering spandex, spicy salsa and pulsing Reggaeton, it would almost be sexy — if it weren’t so painfully embarrassing. Because staring back from that mirror of rippling femininity is one ugly dude in bad trunks and black socks. Spazzing like a paper skeleton on a windy day and wincing with each awkward step.

“I tried to make it less girly for you,” Celeste Donohue giggles while changing tracks. “At least I left out the belly dancing.” Girly? Maybe. Easy? No way. Three songs in, my heart races, my legs burn and my bald spot’s a salt pond of spent calories. But that’s not why Donohue started instructing three years ago; and it’s not why her classes draw up to 40 takers of every age, shade, shape and gender. “What Zumba really does,” she says, “is give you a feel-good attitude.” She’s right. Looking around, all the ladies are smiling and swaying, way too lost in the rhythm to care how I look. They’re not even really exercising — they’re dancing. Most importantly, they’re dancing together. milepost


“People absolutely work out more often in a group situation,” explains Dr. Richard Keefe, Professor of Medical Psychology at Duke University Medical Center. “It’s not just peer pressure or fun, it is elemental to who we are as humans.”



“I almost threw up last Friday. Too many burpees.”

This is the type of semi-proud statement I expect to hear at a college rush party, not from a 40-something professional between stretches. But apparently, sharing embarrassing moments is equally important in the fitness fraternity. And when it comes to CrossFit, “burpees” (a cruel combo of jumpingjack and push-up) are just one example of ritual hazing. Sometimes you do crunches and lunges; others you swing kettle bells and push truck tires. The variety makes sure you don’t get bored; the format lets you do it alone or with a class. But it’s the clock that matters as every “Workout of the Day”(aka WOD) comes with a time, pushing you to beat a personal best, a close pal or a record-holder halfway ’round the world. “There is no top end,” explains Tracey Rotolo, who introduced CrossFit to a couple friends after finding the national program online in 2006. Now she runs a gym with 150+ members. “Anyone can come in and follow the same workout. We’ll have 50-year-old moms next to college kids. And they’re all equally miserable.” Born out of a military culture, all WOD’s also have a name. More recent workouts are “Heroes” named for fallen soldiers’ favorite routines, but the originals are all “Ladies.” And as Tracey notes: “All the ladies are real bitches.” Mine’s named “Elizabeth.” She’s a pushy broad who demands everyone hoist a 35-pound bar over their heads in “clean-and-jerk” fashion for 21 reps, then run over to the rings for an equal number of dips — then do both 15 more times; then another nine. She also wants us all to finish in less than five minutes. And what’s scary is: I try. Not because of the faceless California marine who holds the record — or the guys and gals grunting on either side — but because of the clock over my head, cracking the whip with each silent second. Ten minutes later I’m sucking down water, drenched and sore. But the real torture comes in the following hours — and even days — as my quads shudder at the sight of a staircase and it takes two hands to pick up the phone. And where every other call is another

CrossFit aficionado aching to hear how bad I’m hurting. That’s when I realize: if Zumba’s trick is to make folks laugh with you; CrossFit’s is to make sure no one laughs at you. “If we are being observed, we are more likely to put forth more effort so the rest of our tribe sees us as valuable,” Keefe explains. “Being held accountable for your actions by your peers is as embedded in the human DNA as the quest for fire.”

Palms down on sharp pavement. Elbows locked. Triceps burning. A voice in the blackness meters out torture in slow, even tones. “This is a service you signed up and paid for. You don’t need my respect. You don’t need anyone’s respect.” Matt Costa knows he’s lying — only peer pressure could keep twenty adults holding pushup position in the pre-dawn hours — yet he keeps on talking, adding weight and discomfort with each syllable. Finally, an arm caves. A knee buckles. Only when every person’s chest hits the asphalt does he tell the whole group to rise and tromp toward the beach. Four years ago, Costa and his partner, Jay Bowman, started Outer Banks Boot Camp with just eight members. Today there are 122 participants. Some start at 5:30 am; others at 8pm. There’s co-ed. A ladies camp. Elite veterans and couch-potato rookies. But everyone signs up for a six-week, 75-minute regimen that’s pure Parris Island; and nobody stops until everyone’s finished. “I don’t believe in flexibility,” Costa explains as he jogs beside me. “We don’t set a task in front of anyone that can’t be done. It’s our job to encourage everyone to complete that task.” Make that tasks. By 6:30am, we’re sandy and wet from stomach crawls, lunges, crunches, sit-ups — a total of 10 stops along a three-mile run, where red flares give each station a sinister glow. But it’s the sand itself that proves most evil. Halfway back, each soft step makes my knee scream, “Stop!” But the shadows streaking past won’t let me. They whisper stern cheers like “you got this’’ and “little more,” each one pushing me farther ‘til I drop my sand bag in the pile, high-five my team leader and move on to the next round of challenges. And that’s the real secret behind every group fitness program. Sure, you can get ripped working-out solo in a basement or score a personal high jogging for miles. Even dancing alone is good for both the soul and the booty. But you’ll never feel the same sense of camaraderie or need to perform — and therefore you’ll likely never feel the same rewards. “That’s one of the great things about humans,” says Keefe. “While we can be incredibly competitive with one another, at our best, we use that drive to make each other, and the group as a whole, better.” Ducking headlights as I limp back over the bypass, I can almost hear the puzzled drivers thinking, “What are those idiots doing this early?” I wonder if they realize that we’re actually having fun. That the same urge to bond with your bar buddies after midnight can push you through “just one more” the following morning. That with time, you don’t even feel the pain — you feel its absence. But mostly I think, “Maybe that Zumba class wasn’t so bad after all.” — Matt Walker



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everything they don’t consider “real surfing”: the best ones hog too many waves; the worst are just plain dangerous. But beneath all that rage lies a layer of fear: fear that the more surfers see the region’s best watermen use PWCs, the more they’ll want one themselves. “When we first started using a ski seven years ago, this heavy Hatteras local warned me that people might get the same idea,” says Noah Snyder, the Outer Banks’ first recognized pro surfer and Drew’s ski partner. “But you’ve gotta put in a lot of time and money before it ever becomes fun. And if you don’t follow the rules and start putting people’s lives in danger — namely your own — you’ll get turned off quickly. Just like anything, there’s a right way to do it and a wrong way.”

With great power comes great responsibility

Surfing — or cheating? It all depends on your point-of-view. Photo: Lauren Feeney

Surfing’s fun. No big secret there. But it’s not all fun. During the offseason, blustery winds, raging currents, frigid water and extra neoprene can add up to way more struggle than stoke. Many days, you don’t so much ride waves as dodge sets and duck-dive hypothermic water hammers — usually while watching empty peaks heave and fold and spit their guts out on either side of you. But what if — instead of paddling out — a buddy picked you up? Even better: what if he placed you perfectly inside the best Hatteras barrel of your whole life? What if you had . . .a jet ski? “Considering all the untapped winter surf around here, something about going 30 miles per hour way out the back and getting whipped into a wave as deep as possible seemed attractive,” says Drew Meredith of his first attempts catching waves with a Personal Water Craft (PWC) back in 2004. “From the first ride, I was hooked; you could hunt waves down and draw different lines. But it’s not really surfing — it’s tube-riding.” It’s actually called “step-offs.” Basically, the PWC driver streaks onto an unbreaking wave; the surfer scoots off the back onto his board and stands up in

So what’s the wrong way? According to Paul Stevens, Chief Ranger at the National Park Service Outer Banks Group: “Personal Water Craft are prohibited at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. On the ocean side, we have jurisdiction from mean low water to mean high water


perfect position. Without ever really dropping in he’s surrounded by water and racing for daylight at a time when a paddle surfer would still be finding his feet. On a big, drifty day, a good team can pick off sets for hundreds of yards, exchanging hours of heaving pits. Wave counts stack up. Bodies stay warm. Arms never tire.

mark, therefore, no launching or retrieving of PWCs is permitted. We ask they stay a reasonable distance away from swimmers and surfers, most of the time this means east of the outside sandbar.”

With enough training, surfers can score waves — and survive tubes — that would be impossible on paddle power alone. But that takes practice. And lots of it. As a result, tow teams — and more of them — are showing up in warmer seasons, smaller swells and on more crowded days.

Meredith takes it a step further: “The law says to stay 150 feet from everybody and everything — I tell people 300 feet, because that’s how long it takes to go from full speed to zero — but the paramount rule is don’t do it where people are paddling. Even if you’re in the zone for an hour and two guys paddle out, you have to move down. Basically, it comes down to personal responsibility of not being an idiot.”

Just last fall, an unidentified team invaded a Pea Island lineup of no less than 20 surfers, in friendly conditions where even utter novices were getting epic rides. That gradual encroachment has surfing purists crying foul for a range of reasons. Some say safety. Others noise. Many hate on PWCs for the same reason they loath Stand Up Paddleboards, kayaks, kiteboards and basically

Whether our local lineups will follow their lead remains to be seen. For now, expect the two factions to keep fuming on the most critical days and sandbars. A world where split peaks and flowing water keep the definition of left and right — and right and wrong — as fluid as what the waves are doing, and where you sit that very second. — Matt Pruett milepost 29

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Melinda Gregory lives in a cheerful pink cupcake of a house. A little abode in the heart of Kill Devil Hills that smells perpetually of vanilla, sugar and fresh-baked heaven and looks like it was custom built for some fantasy princess or perhaps Glinda from Oz. And while what transpires inside is always enchanting — a daily whirl of tasty buttercream, frosting flowers and chocolate ganache — the real fairy tale is how she got there to begin with.


“While I was in art school, I applied for a job at a bakery that needed a cake decorator,” says the sweet, petite owner of Just Desserts. “They asked if I could do it, and I said, ‘Why not?’”


With those two magic words, Gregory began a lifelong career. After attending Paris’ elite Ritz Escoffier cooking school, she moved to the Outer Banks, where she made her first wedding cake in 1985. Today, she’s baked at least 4,000 more — including another 100 per year for birthdays and special occasions — doing everything herself with a mix of sweat equity and sweet inspiration. Some are signature models, like her Sandcastle and Aloha cakes. Others are custom built to a bride’s special specs. A few combine new ideas to inspire fresh creations. All remain a welcome creative outlet for an artist who always wanted to paint and draw and went on to craft 3D sculptures that stimulate almost every sense. Especially imagination.


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MILEPOST: How did you discover that you had this talent for baking and decorating? MELINDA GREGORY: I guess you just kind of fall into different things. But I started baking when I was in elementary school and junior high. I actually did a project in high school on different cakes — I had forgotten about that — so I guess it was fortuitous.

Melinda Gregory’s cakes are a mix of tasty ingredients and pure wonder

Have shows like “Cake SOMETIMES A Boss” provided a more LACE DESIGN educated public or are they creating more IS EASIER annoying customers? THAN GOING I just wish [the TV shows] were more AROUND specific about the work MAKING SURE involved. Because when people want guitars and THERE’S NOT baseball fields, they can ONE SINGLE get a little shell-shocked [when they hear the FLAW. price]. Actually, TLC did call last October to ask us to come on “Fabulous Cakes” — but it was Columbus Day weekend and we were booked solid. How long does it take to create one of your cakes? A lace cake may take a couple of hours once I have everything made. It’s a solid eight hours just to decorate the Sandcastle Cake, and that’s after I bake it and stack it. But I don’t cover any of my cakes with fondant [a form of icing that’s easy to sculpt]. I only use it as decoration. If you just slap icing on a cake and then throw a blanket of fondant over it you can mold it into anything you want. Practice, practice, practice is what helps you get the look of that smooth cake with buttercream. I don’t know, fondant’s a little like play-dough to me. And it doesn’t taste that great.

Cake creation sounds really fun. Are there any downsides to what seems like a fantasy job? Everything has a downside, too [laughs]. But Dress your cake like you would any bride: dazzling yet tasteful, and there’s not much I see as a downside. I don’t use a easy on the eyes. Photo: Julie Dreelin dishwasher because I use the pans too frequently. That’s no big deal to me. But like any kitchen work, Do you still get to create a lot of new designs? Or do people mostly dictate what they want? it’s heavy. You don’t think about it when you’re decorating a cake on the counter, but I love to create new designs — and I try to do new ones and spin-offs for the wedding shows that cake weighs 75 pounds when you pick it up to put it in the refrigerator. I don’t to give people ideas — but it’s limited. With weddings, everybody says, “This is what I want.” think the cakes have gotten heavier — I think I’ve gotten older. And with the market now, everybody wants plain, plain, plain because they think it’s less It seems after so many years of baking cakes, you’d get sick of the icing — or just the smell. expensive. Which is the case in some areas, but sometimes a lace design is easier than going No. I don’t. But it surprises me how long it lingers. Sometimes I won’t bake for days around and around making sure there’s not one single flaw in the icing. But the current and someone will come in and say how good everything smells. — Molly Harrison trends seem to be more flowers and ribbons. And beach themes are always popular, too.

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SURE CAN SING startingpoint getactive

Selby’s voice is lot like his school bus: bright, big and full of promise. Photo: Chris Bickford

Tshombe Selby knows he has a gift for opera – now he has to prove it to the world The big voice nails notes with dizzying height and massive volume. A sharp tux makes sure he looks the part. Six square feet of frame conveys respect and fixes your attention. But the key to Tshombe Selby’s future singing career isn’t his size or his suit — or even the way his larynx and diaphragm pair up to produce such tremendous warmth and timbre. It’s his ice-blue, gasfriendly Chevy Baretta.

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“Every time I go to Virginia, it’s like I’m taking my voice in for a full tune-up,” says this 27-year-old Manteo native of his weekly visits to work with Dr. David Sadlier, Assistant Professor of Voice at Christopher Newport University. “We work on vocal techniques, all the foreign languages and song styles, how to act on stage, where the vibrato needs to be… everything. It’s where I get my whole plan together.”



So what’s the plan? To take a natural gift honed in church choirs over 22 years and transform it into a classically trained strategic weapon worthy of the most famous opera houses. A pretty big task when you consider Selby’s Pandora mostly points to hip-hop and slow jams; praise and worship — maybe even the occasional Aerosmith ballad — but hardly ever Verdi or Wagner.



“Very few people are born or raised with an inherent sense of how to sing opera in the U.S. because it’s not popular,” says Sadlier. “But it comes pretty natural to Tshombe. And he’s fortunate because his voice fits really nicely into the lyric tenor category, which is the broadest range and includes all the quintessential operatic roles — Rodolfo in Le Boheme or Faust in Faust. So he has the raw talent, for sure. Plus, he can make some real sound.” Tshombe’s always known he can sing. By age five he was wailing God’s praises next to his grandmother and aunts at the Haven Creek Missionary Baptist Church. At 10, his father inspired him to take on the “Star Spangled Banner” before a Manteo High School basketball game, sparking a winning streak of local performances that still

continues from sporting events to holiday celebrations. Most recently, he took home The Lost Colony’s 2011 Cora Mae Basnight Scholarship for demonstrating musical distinction. But, should he ever have doubts, someone close by always seems to point the way. In fact, it was Selby’s choir director from Elizabeth City State University, Dr. Billy Hines, who first encouraged him to pursue opera. “I was listening to this dude sing an aria,” Selby recalls. “It was Pavarotti’s La Donna e Mublier. And when I hit the high C at the end, Dr. Hines said, ‘Young man, not many people can do that; you need to practice.’” Five years later, Tshombe remains committed to hitting those notes, working an odd combo of jobs — school bus driver, church music director, security manager for The Pit — that funds his lessons and keeps his days free. But he’s also learning that patience and perseverance are as important as practice. After spending last year preparing to apply for a Yale Master’s program,


Selby got sick before completing his recordings. Rather than force the issue, he elected to hold off until next December in order to make the best possible impression. “I guess I could be devastated,” he smiles. “But everything I’ve worked for is still there; I know all my French pieces, my German pieces, my Italian pieces. Besides, I know I’ll be alright; all my life I’ve been blessed to meet people who I believe were sent by the Man up above to help me do what I’m meant to.” This March, Selby puts his faith in the American Vocal Association by applying for a young artist apprenticeship. If all goes well, come September he’ll head to Boston for two years of intense training and immersion with the world’s best voice coaches, making contacts with opera houses from Sydney to Chicago to New York City. And while it’s still not a sure bet, it’s the best possible opportunity in a craft that often recognizes talent, but only rewards determination. “There are a million great voices on the street everyday,” says Sadlier. “The ability to act on stage? To be completely natural while singing foreign languages? To stay musically accurate yet still put a personal stamp on it? That all takes constant work. Even Pavarotti had a voice teacher until the day he died. So I’d say Tshombe has as good a shot as anybody.” — Leo Gibson milepost 33

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SCRAPS FOR SCRUBS He’s treated like a dog. Sometimes scorned, often ignored. As much as anyone can be ignored while operating the loudest, most annoying apparatus in the Restaurant Kingdom: Crumless maximus. Aka: the Hobart Warewasher. Trucker cap, do-rag or paisley bandana — he gets to choose his collar, but the leash is always the same: a cut-rate paycheck and a shift meal. Scalding water and chemicals make sure he’s the cleanest dude in the joint, yet everyone assumes he’s the dirtiest. Customers never inquire about his college plans between pours of wine or say “Send my compliments to the dish pit!” after inspecting their flatware. The staff? Swamped chefs barricade him in a corner with crusty pots. Punk busboys keep him sweating under a barrage of filthy plates. Frantic managers spout insults over the tiniest water spot. Then there are the waitresses — nicotine butterflies from Planet PMS — huddling in his area between rushes to spread petty gossip as if he doesn’t have ears. Or even a pulse. He doesn’t know which is worse: listening to their garbage, dumping it, or the fact that he’s so damn invisible. He might have a sick grandma in Currituck, a family in Mexico, or a price on his head in Russia and it would mean less than beans. The bartender never pours him a drink on the house. The waits never tip him out. And that pretty hostess they just hired would certainly never say yes to a date.

Illustration: Ben Miller

After all, he’s just the dishwasher. He’ll never make the schedule or take home the Benjamins. But he also won’t take home the headaches. No panicky work dreams. No real-life nightmares or mundane decisions. Packed house or empty sections. Seafood or steak special. Medium, well done or totally raw — it’s all the same to him: another overflowing tub and the same robotic process. Scrape. Hose. Rack. Stack. His arms feed the steaming dragon for hours. Waist locked to the sink while his brain wanders freely — to next semester, his last session, a long-lost lover from the past, or perhaps some not-so-distant future cooking position. Maybe even a spot on the floor. Then right around the time the saucepans turn into dessert forks, a single, covered dish slides toward him from under the heat lamp. Posting up in his stainless steel den, he quietly watches his mop bucket grow heavy with hot water and the promise of a quick exit. As the floor staff tears into the night’s bad tippers and choke down Saltines like rabid fiends — and the cooks curse their way through the following day’s prep work — he feasts slowly and sophisticatedly on a fat helping of filet mignon. There are even enough scraps left over to take home to his dog, Hobart. — Matt Pruett milepost 35

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endnotes Goodbye famine season, hello feast time. Come out Mar.15-18, as 2012’s Taste of the Beach kicks winter in the ribs with four days of epicurean delights from coffee tastings to tapas crawls to brew schools to wine flights — plus two sessions of the “Grand Tasting” finale on Sun., Mar. 18, where 30 local chefs and vendors compete for the 3rd Annual TOB’y Awards. Buy tix now at www.obxtasteofthebeach.com. • What’s green, has 3,000 legs and loves candy? The 23rd Annual Kelly’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Stand between MP 10.5 and 11.5 on Mar. 18 for a partying procession of 1,500 participants, including school bands, dog lovers and shark-riding Shriners. Bring a bag for sweets but put a leash on your leprechauns. (Those monster trucks can sure leave a mark.) And if your idea of fitness ain’t Tootsie Rolls and 12oz curls, join the other nutters for Mar. 17’s 4th Annual 8k Running of the Leprechauns through Nags Head Woods. Go to www.kellysrestaurant.com for deets. • Can’t get enough of classic rides and pimp Corvettes? Be at First Flight High School on Mar. 17 for the 5th Annual Shamrock Car, Truck and Bike Show presented by the First Flight Cruisers. • Or, if you love the ponies, be at the Hilton Garden Inn on Mar. 17 for the 3rd Annual Night at the Races, featuring a hat contest, silent auction and playmoney pari mutuel betting. Proceeds benefit the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. Advance tix are $30 at www.corollawildhorses.com or $40 at the door. • Flat-bottom boats, you made the rocking world go round. Learn how thru Sept. 1 at Roanoke Island Festival Park’s 150th Anniversary Civil War exhibit, “Workboats and Watermen.” (More at www.roanokeisland.com.) And while you’re there, peep in on the Outer Banks History Center’s “Fishers, Fighters and Freedmen” display, Mar. 3-Dec. 30. Call 252-473-2655 for details. • It’s not all blue and gray at Festival Park: the 15th Annual Priceless Pieces Quilt Show is Mar. 2-24; UNC Opera featuring the music of Jacques Offenbach plays Mar. 17; the Dare County High School’s Student Art Show goes Apr. 4-28; and from May 4-30, it’s the 15th Annual Mollie Fearing Memorial Art Show. • Mar. 9’s a real drag at the Outer Banks Brewing Station, when the A Few Good Men Woman-Less Beauty Pageant gussies up your favorite firefighters, lifeguards and law enforcement to raise money for the Sgt. Earl Murray Children’s Christmas Fund and Memorial Scholarship Fund. Tix cost $25; call 252-202-6184 for more. • You think your yard’s a mess? Imagine what it takes to get the Elizabethan Gardens ready for summer. Mar. 10’s Spring Fling Clean Up Day is your chance to help. You bring gloves; they provide buckets, wheelbarrows and lunch. For details call 252-473-1554. • “I’m not a slacker; I’m an artist!” Prove it by submitting a cover concept for the impending Outer Banks Sounds CD. Winner gets exposure on 1000 CDs and all marketing materials. So scratch out your best Sgt. Pepper rip-off and send it to info@darearts.org by Mar. 31. • Word is the CD will be ready by Memorial Day, giving area band members plenty more chances to go home with a tourist (instead of the other way around). That means you only have two more of Sounds Showcase Nights starring contributing artists; be at Kelly’s on Mar. 15 and Apr. 19. Get details at www.darearts.org. Better yet, let them come to you by listening to FM 99.1 The Sound. • The live music scene only heats up through spring. Let’s start with the Brew Station, where fans of screaming guitar will howl for Charleston SC’s Graham Worley Band (Mar. 17), DMB cover-lovers will cram in for Crowded Streets (Mar. 24), and fans of the five-string git’r (aka the banjo) will worship the Blue Sky Mission Club (Apr. 6). • And for all those who felt empty after Southern Culture on the Skids had to cancel last Thanksgiving, we’ve received word they will return to Port O’Call this spring. Keep your beehive to the ground for

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buzz on dates. • To every turntable, there is a season … and it’s now through the summer. Join DJ Bruce and the occasional g-g-g-guest Wed. nights at the Brew Station, Thurs. nights at Lucky 12, and Fri. nights at Mama Kwan’s. Requests are always accepted (but only on green paper with pictures of old, white dudes). • Carolina, one day they’ll, someday they’ll NC’s Avett Brothers pounce come home. ‘Til then, be at on P-Town, 4/28. P-Town’s Ntelos Wireless Photo: Gina Elliot Proulx Pavilion on Apr. 28 if you want to see NC’s own Avett Brothers — possibly the best damn alt-folk-rockers in the whole world. And the Black Keys and Arctic Monkeys will fling serious sonic poo around ODU’s Constant Center on Mar. 23. • More sophisticated ears will be happy to hear the Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts has two upscale acts for the First Flight High Auditorium: on Mar. 31 at 7:30pm, it’s the Fabulous Equinox Jazz Orchestra, a “Rat Pack meets Dean Martin variety show with a touch of ‘A Prairie Home Companion.’” And on May 6 at 2:30pm, the nationally recognized Virginia Symphony classes up the joint. Learn more at www. outerbanksforum.org. • Comedy troopers will line up Mar. 9-11 when the Theatre of Dare presents Neil Simon’s classic “The Odd Couple,” directed by Janelle Parrish. Let this hilarious tale of uptight Felix and messy Oscar transport you to a time when two middle-aged divorcees could move in together without raising eyebrows. And come back in May for “Forbidden Broadway” directed by Jason Forbes. This satire of legendary musicals, like Cats, Rent and Hairspray, will run May 11-13 and May 18-20. All shows are at COA in Manteo: Fri./Sat. starts at 7:30pm; Sun. at 2pm. Tix are $10 for adults, $5 for students. For more information, visit www.theatreofdare.org. • Dig documentaries? Then grab a seat at Festival Park for the Southern Circuit Film Tour. On Mar. 24 it’s A Gift for the Village, an unlikely tale that links the Virginia Tech tragedy with Tibet; then on Apr. 21 You Don’t Know What I Got offers five uniquely powerful female perspectives. Both shows start at 7pm and feature Q&A sessions with guest directors. More at www.darearts.org. • Meanwhile, the Dare Co. League of Women Voters continues its “Women in Film” Series with Iron Jawed Angels (Apr. 3) and The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter (May 20). Both are free to the public at KDH’s Spring Arbor community room at 2:30pm and feature open discussions with Dr. Lin Logan. ( Just don’t call ’em “chick flicks.”) Call 252-4802866 for deets. • Here come the brides... and the caterers, the photogs, hair stylists and DJs. It’s all part of Mar. 24’s Outer Banks Wedding Show at The Sanderling Inn,

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endnotes where you can find everything to make your special day memorable. (Except the drunk, cake-smashing brother-in-law.) Learn more at www.obxbrides.com. • If the ocean’s your true love, be at Jennette’s Pier on Mar. 24 for Outer Banks Surfrider’s Annual Conference to discuss access and water quality issues, get campaign updates — and most importantly — contribute ideas over some food, drink and a wave or two. You don’t have to surf or be a member, you just gotta care. Email outerbanks@surfrider.org for details. • And the NC Coastal Federation is loving nature from north to south. Find them at Corolla’s Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education on Apr. 11 for Outdoors Day’s wildlife education programs, food vendors and prizes from 10am-3pm. And on May 16, join in a day of Marsh Grass Planting to protect Hatteras Harbor. More info at www.nccoast.org. • Earth Day does not belong to man; man belongs to Earth Day. So be at Jennette’s Pier on Apr. 22 from 1-4pm for activities and presentations from NC Science Festival participants like the NC Aquarium, Jockey’s Ridge and others. And congrats go out to the pier and its staff for receiving the Albemarle Stewardship Development Program’s 2011 Outstanding Stewardship Award. More at www. jennettespier.net. • Everyone’s favorite repeat local holiday — First Fridays — starts again on Apr. 6, jamming Downtown Manteo with live music, good food and nothing but cool people. (Well, except maybe that creepy guy with the pirate hat and hokey accent.) And with the Dare County Arts Council Gallery fixed back up, every First Friday features an opening reception: look for Water, Water Everywhere with watercolors by Carol Trotman and mixed media by Betty Lease College of the Albemarle: Jewelry Works, Apr. 6- May 2; and Fred Vallade’s ceramics and Marcia Cline’s paintings share space May 4-30. • Families have three “Egg-stravaganzas” to celebrate Easter: Mar. 31 at KDH Rec Park (1:30-4pm); Apr. 6 at Corolla’s Whalehead Club (1-3pm); and Apr. 7 at Elizabethan Gardens (10am-2pm.) All feature egg hunts plus a basketful of other activities. • Then come up to Corolla to melt those calories on Apr. 14 with the 2012 Pedal-Foot-Paddle Triathalon’s 7-mile mix of biking, running and kayaking. (And while you’re up there, get your tix for May 27’s Beach Music Festival. After Apr. 30, the price jumps from $15 to $20.) More at www.whaleheadclub.org. • One fish … two fish … we’ll stop there since Outer Bank Anglers Club has a pair of tournaments on deck: Catfish (Apr. 14) and Flounder ( June 2). Show you gotta pair yourself by throwing your lure-crusted cap in the ring. Get the scoop at: www. outerbanksanglersclub.com. • Happy Apr. 20! We can’t remember what we’re supposed

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Carol Trotman’s watercolors help anchor DCAC’s First Friday opener on Apr. 6.

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to be celebrating, but we’re pretty sure it involves junk food, “Simpsons” repeats and letting chemo patients and the terminally ill manage their own pain. • What?What?! Sorry, we can’t hear you. Must be the 10th Annual Outer Banks Bike Week, which runs Apr. 19-29, promising a roaring blur of poker runs, party nights, leather chaps and the occasional ITCOB tattoo. • It also promises to make the Flying Pirate Half Marathon on Apr. 21-22 quite interesting. Look for record times in every division —5k, Fun Run, the big 13-miler — because nothing keeps you moving faster than a pack of wild hogs up your tailpipe. (More at www.obxmarathon.org.) And for those with a serious case of the runs, stick around for the 29th Annual Yuengling Nags Head Woods 5k on May 12. (More at www. nagsheadwoods5krun.org.) • Last Sept.’s Flags Over Hatteras Civil War event took a bullet thanks to Hurricane Irene, but they’re back up and charging Apr. 26-29 with a range of history programs, re-enactments and period fashion — plus guest speakers like nationally known Civil War authors: James McPherson, Ed Bearss and Craig Symonds. (Go to www.flagsoverhatteras.com for locations, dates and details.) • Between lectures, sneak over to Frisco Woods for Windfest XVII’s breezy gathering of kiteboarders and windsurfers from Apr. 26-28. Then come back June 1-3 to see what’s SUP, as OBX Paddle Palooza ( www.obxpaddlepalooza.com) celebrates a weekend of Stand-Up Paddleboarding. • Get ready to rumble when the girls of the Kill Devil Derby Brigade host their first big bout Apr. 27-28. Derby Spills in Kill Devil Hills will draw top regional teams to duke it out at Aviation Park. Come cheer Rollin’ Bayou, Storma Brewin’ and the rest of the team as they make their debut. • And as long as you’re going around in circles, don’t miss the Outer Banks Relay for Life carnival on May 19 at First Flight High — the most successful stop of its size in the whole country, raising thousands of dollars for cancer research one step at a time. Learn more at www.obxrelayforlife.org. • Still not dizzy? Scoot over the bridge for May 19’s Currituck Wine and Music Festival on Sanctuary Vineyards’ North Lawn from 12-6pm. Enjoy live music, delicious food and a Barrel Roll competition for prizes — plus 30+ wines from a range of NC wineries. Tix are $20 in advance; $30 at gate. More at www.sanctuaryvineyards.com. • And the 40th Annual Hang Gliding Spectacular lifts off May 18-21 at Jockey’s Ridge. Plenty of pros swoop in for the world’s oldest, continuous hang gliding competition; plenty more families post-up for a rock climbing wall and kite-making. And a portion of proceeds benefit Friends of Jockey’s Ridge. Learn more at www.kittyhawkkites.com • Seventyfive? They don’t look a day over 425. That’s right, The Lost Colony — America’s longest running outdoor drama — is turning three quarters of a century this year. Be there to blow out the candles on June 1 for opening night. Even better, show up on May 31 for Dare Night, where residents get to see a free show, but only with proof of residency and two canned or dry goods for Albemarle Food Bank. Get full details at www. thelostcolony.org. • Or for a more cutting-edge thrill, try June 2–8’s Triple S Invitational, where the world’s top kiteboarders compete in surf, slicks and slider disciplines for seven days — then party with fans for seven nights. Boost over to www.realwatersports.com for band lineups and more. • Finally, Mar. 6-8 marks 50 years since the Ash Wednesday Storm bathed the Outer Banks in nasty weather. (And a whole heap of seawater.) June 1 marks the beginning of the 2012 Hurricane Season. Please take this moment to remember Mother Nature’s awesome power — and maybe check your insurance.

Got a hot date? Submit summer events by April 30 to editor@outerbanksmilepost.com.

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