Outer Banks Year in Review
It’s been an interesting year on the Outer Banks. Progress on replacing the Bonner Bridge is real and there is reason to believe the Mid Currituck Bridge may be moving forward. There has been political upheaval, roads demolished and the threat of offshore drilling. Somehow though, we managed the best year we’ve ever had if occupancy and food and drink figures are to be believed . . . and there is no reason to disbelieve them.
We went back through our online articles by month and pulled out some of the stories that we feel create a sense of what this past year was like and maybe give a hint of what the coming year will hold.
The first Dare County Commissioner’s Town Hall meeting was held Wednesday night and the range of issues and questions put to the commissioners seemed to cover almost every topic.
Commission Chair Bob Woodward began the night by addressing the issue of gas prices and the apparent inequity between the cost of fuel on the Outer Banks and the price just about everywhere else.
Here is the important information for brides, grooms and their families planning on attending the 2016 Outer Banks Wedding Expo: bring a good appetite, comfortable walking shoes and be ready to take a lot of notes.
The annual affair, held over Martin Luther King weekend, has become the signature event for the Outer Banks Wedding Association (OBWA) and for many couples the best introduction to the vendors who will be providing services at their wedding.
The concept behind Ladles, the soup and sandwich shop that just opened in Kill Devil Hills, is simple—homemade soup made fresh daily, all sandwiches and salads made to order and reasonable prices.
Judging by the lines at the register and the seats that seem to be filled at all times of the day, that simple concept has resonated with Outer Banks residents. “The concept is so cool,” Laurie Harvin, one of the owners says. “Everybody loves soup. It’s like a magical thing that happens here.”
If the original assessment of the Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area (WEA) by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) had not been changed the field would have been the largest on the East Coast and one of the largest in the world. When the final assessment was published in January, concerns about shipping lanes and visual impacts had reduced the area from over 1900 square miles to 191 square miles.
As opposition to the proposed leasing of oil sites off the North Carolina coast grows, Outer Banks organizations and residents are finding their voice. At a press conference sponsored by Not the Answer NC and held to draw attention to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) scoping meeting at the Ramada, a gathering of more than 200 citizens crowded into the reception room at the Comfort Inn, next door to the Ramada.
The emotional climax to the annual Outer Banks Community Foundation luncheon was the presentation of a Champion Award to Sterling Webster. Sterling passed away last June, but his wife Jane came forward to accept the award.
Dorothy Hester, Vice President Elect of the OBCF, described a man dedicated to the welfare of the Outer Banks and the well-being of his employees. “I worked for Sterling for ten years, and he used to tell people he raised me,” she began.
By a unanimous vote the Dare County Commissioners passed a resolution opposing offshore drilling for oil and gas off the North Carolina coast. If there was a surprise in the vote, it was the strength of the statements from the commissioners opposing the exploiting of gas or oil in any form.
Discussion about the resolution began with a presentation from Rudi Rudolph, Carteret County Shoreline Protection Manager, noting where the process currently is in the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) system.
The Dare County Special Olympics were held on Saturday at the First Flight High School athletic field. Beneath the gray skies and falling temperatures, something remarkable happened.
In the striving of athletes to be their best, in the joy of competition and the exhilaration of standing upon the winner’s platform, the reminder of what it means to be human was transcendent.
Hands Across the Sand, held today at noon in Nags Head brought what appeared to be 200-250 men, women, children, families and a few dogs together to link hands at the edge of the ocean. Sponsored by Not the Answer NC, an offshoot of the the Outer Banks Surfrider Foundation, the event included music, food, refreshments and information after the event at Farmdog Surf School.
Hands Across the Sand, held today at noon in Nags Head brought what appeared to be 200-250 men, women, children, families and a few dogs together to link hands at the edge of the ocean.
OBX Brewfest note to self: alcohol and coherent writing do not mix. Which is unfortunate.
Someone mentioned that there were 54 brewers lined up in the tents and all of them had at least two, and some of them three samples to try. That’s a lot of beer and a lot of beer to not have the opportunity to sample.
A mile or so into Storm the Beach, as Team Phillips of Lewes, Delaware, scrambled over another obstacle, Mom (Karen) Phillips commented, “It’s a good family activity.”
Seeing her later in the race, she did mention that just how good an activity, might be the subject of discussion later in the day, but she was right—Storm the Beach is a great family activity.
Everyone handles disaster differently. For Doug Brindley, President of Brindley Beach Vacations, when the company’s Corolla offices burned to the ground on June 12, the way forward was to accept what happened, figure out how to accommodate the guests Corolla guests who would be coming to the Outer Banks on the weekend, and start moving to the future.
There is something special about witnessing Independence Day fireworks at the edge of this continent. With the darkness of the sea as a backdrop, it as though the explosions that light the sky are a beacon against a vast unknown; a beckoning light that fills the sky with hope and sustenance.
The image of this country as a symbol of hope is a consistent theme throughout our history, and it is a consistent theme because it is, in fact, who and what we are.
Maggie’s dream of riding a horse on the beach was going to happen. Living in Wisconsin, realizing that dream seemed difficult for the 15-year-old, but sometimes wishes do come true.
Almost from infancy her neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) has been a part of her life. A rare genetic condition characterized by benign tumors that form on the nerves of the brain, Maggie has lost all sight in her right eye and has severe tunnel vision in her left.
As the North Carolina legislature struggles to create a budget for the upcoming year, a proposed redistribution of sales tax revenue in the Senate bill is raising red flags in Dare and Currituck Counties.
At a press conference held this morning before the August Dare County Commissioner’s meeting, local elected officials spoke about the proposal.
As Governor Pat McCrory came to Manteo Friday afternoon to celebrate the success of a number of transportation initiatives, he was greeted by 35 or 40 protestors calling attention to the governor’s position favoring offshore drilling.
Organized by Not The Answer NC, the protest started across the street at Poor Richards Restaurant, but a group of sign holders took their message to the sidewalk bordering the back of the old Dare County Courthouse property.
A Gilbert and Sullivan performance is music for the masses, and that was on full display last night at the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players performance of Pirates of Penzance at First Flight High School. Brought to the Outer Bank by the Don and Catharine Bryan Cultural Series, the Outer Banks Forum and OBX Pridefest, this was theatre as good as it gets.
No one ever accused a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta of a tight, neat plot; quite the opposite—their plays seem to delight in the absurd and sublime and Pirates of Penzance is very much in that tradition.
We’re a pretty hardy bunch here on the Outer Banks and after living here for awhile weather just becomes another part of everyday life. For the most part, there’s not much to complain about—summers are hot in their time, spring and fall are usually pleasant and winter is cold and damp, but it’s supposed to be.
When a storm does come along, we tend to roll with it, accepting that four or five days of wind and rain isn’t enough to keep anyone from daily activities.
Jim and Sandy Williams threw a party at Hairoics Friday night—a little bit of wine, some wonderful food from Red Sky Cafe, and an evening of laughter and great conversation. It was all about celebrating 25 years of being in business on the Outer Banks and it seemed the perfect way to showcase what the couple have meant to their customers and employees over the years.
The couple’s vision was always to do more than style hair and the Kill Devil Hills location gives them plenty of room for their day spa and massage rooms.
BrewTag—a festival of flight, beer or just a good time on a beautiful day? A difficult question to answer because it was all of the above.
Posing the ageless question, if mankind can fly why can’t beer, John Harris and the crew at Kitty Hawk Kites proved the theory that flight for inanimate objects may be possible but the science has a long way to go.
The cranes, dump trucks and assorted heavy equipment have taken up residence on the beach in Kitty Hawk once again. The Beach Road, torn into chunks of asphalt ranging in size from boulder to fit-in-your-hand will be repaired, resurfaced and and according to NCDOT ready for traffic by mid December.
This stretch of road that is being fixed rests immediately to the north of the road that was restored this summer—and significantly, that repair held up very well in the last round of storms and nor’easters that pounded the coast in late September and early October.
There was a fundraiser for Maxine Rossman at Kelly’s Tavern last night. That’s the headline, but it doesn’t tell the story; the statement falls far short of describing the caring, the respect, the admiration that the Outer Banks community has for Maxine.
“If you’ve been here 30 years you touch a lot of people,” Sandy Martin of Sandmark Construction said.
After two years of contentious and sometimes combative town council meetings, the voters of Southern Shores have spoken, rejecting the reelection bids of the three incumbents on the ballot.
Replacing Larry Lawhon, David Sanders and Vice Chair Jodi Hess on the council will be Gary McDonald, Fred Newberry and Christopher Nason. No other local election was comparable in changing the political landscape.
For 27 years the Outer Banks Hotline Festival of Trees has been a part of the local celebration of the holidays. Held for the past few years at the Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Devil Hills, it has managed to keep a remarkable level of freshness and energy, Lynn Bryant Executive Director of Hotline says.
“You’d think after 27 years it would be getting stale, but it’s really, really good this year. We have something for everyone on the trees. Something for the fishing crowd, the hobby crowd, the party crowd . . . everyone.”
A celebration of life is so much more affirming than the mourning of a death.
Bri Blumenthal was only 12 years old when her life ended, struck by a driver who could not see the red light because of evening glare. The loss of that young life is tragic, and sad beyond comprehension, yet what happened at the Brewing Station on Sunday gave a meaning and purpose to those 12 years that will transcend her short time with us.