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Bonner Bridge Replacement May Be in the Works

Who knows? Maybe a replacement span for the Bonner Bridge may actually happen within a typical person’s lifetime. A press release from the SELC and NCDOT indicate the longtime foes are in “confidential . . . discussions”, to quote from the joint statement, to find a way to move forward.

Twenty years past its predicted lifespan, it’s still safe to use the link between the northern Outer Banks and Hatteras Island, mainly because of the time, effort and money NCDOT has put into it, but it is becoming more and more expensive to keep the bridge safe, and a replacement span is long overdue.

What seems to have sparked the talks was a ruling from the US Appeals Court that seemed to favor each side. On the one hand the court found that NCDOT had followed the law in developing their environmental impact statement. However, the Court agreed with the SELC that there had been a procedural flaw that had to be reexamined by the lower court.

It’s been three years of constant legal battles, and although no one is saying why the two sides are now in conversation, it may be that simple legal exhaustion—and the price tag involved—has taken its toll.

TR3-An Outer Banks Original

Talk to just about anyone on the Outer Banks about the entertainment scene and you’ll hear rave reviews about the quality of the musicians. The local music talent really is out of proportion to the population.

If there is a king of the hill or top dog, though, it’s got to be Tim Reynolds and TR3

Reynolds, who is the lead guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band, has been living on the Outer Banks since 2007 and soon after he got here he teamed up with drummer Dan Martier and bassist Mick Vaughn to reincarnate TR3.

Their music is an extraordinary blend of electric ballads, jazz and hard rock—complex and layered it’s sometimes hard to imagine that just three musicians can create that much sound. That’s sound referring to the texture of the music, not necessarily their volume . . . although they can be loud at times.

We’re bringing this up now, because their latest CD, "Like Some Kind of Alier Invasion", is about to be released in early October and they are about to go on tour. The CD was recorded at a local recording studio and the trio took their time about. The early reports are they really got it right.

Outer Banks Heats Up with Things to Do

Here it is September, and the summer season is officially history here on the Outer Banks. However, although summer is gone, there is still a lot to do on the Outer Banks. This is just a list with a few of the highlights.

The next big event will be the ESA Championships (Eastern Surf Association) at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head coming up September 14-20. The amateur label may be misleading for some of these surfers . . . they are really good.

The end of the month—September 25-28—the 3rd Annual Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival takes the stage at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo. It has gotten more and more successful every year and this year the headliner, Ricky Scaggs, takes it to a whole new level.

Two weeks after that, music is again center stage with the Mustang Music Festival on Friday and Saturday October 10 and 11 followed by the Duck Jazz Festival on Sunday the 12th. The Mustang Music Festival is moving to the grounds of the Whalehead Club this year, so look for even more arts and crafts along with the full spate of music on two stages.

The Duck Jazz Festival never disappoints, so Columbus Day weekend is definitely the time to plan an Outer Banks trip.

Great Time at 3rd Annual OBX Art & Craft Festival

The artwork was the star at the 3rd Annual OBX Arts & Craft Festival was amazing. Twenty-five booths in the Hilton Garden Inn in Kitty Hawk and everyone was different. 

It got is start artist James Melvin and potter Charlotte Alexander wanted to put together an artist’s show on the northern Outer Banks. Manteo had it fair share of shows, and Hatteras runs a number of craft fairs over the summer, but there was nothing on the north end.

They took their idea to hotelier Sterling Webster (who just passed away), owner of the Hilton Garden Inn, he liked their concept, liked that funds left after paying for the event would go to local charities—this year N.E.S.T. and the Outer Banks Relief Foundation—and gave the founders a great price.

The artwork is wonderful. Two personal favorites . . . the range of creativity that Randy Hodges manages to demonstrate with his blacksmith art has to be seen to be believed.

The other personal favorite is the art of James Melvin. Many people know him from the drawings he does for Suzanne Tate’s Nature Series children’s books, but his paintings are remarkable for their ability to evoke the mood and color of an event. Certainly worth second, third and fourth looks.

when. Demonstrating an extraordinary range of media, styles and genres, walking around the booths the skill of the Outer Banks artists became apparent. 


Great End to a Great Summer

Wow! What a spectacular way to wrap up the summer of 2014 on the Outer Banks. Temperatures nudging 90, a nice SSW breeze, water temperatures in the mid 70s . . . it just doesn’t get much better than this.

It’s been a good summer, Hurricane Arthur notwithstanding. That was definitely an oddity. July Hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin aren’t very common in July, and very rare for the Outer Banks. The last July hurricane to come ashore here was Alex at the end of July 2004 and that affected Ocracoke only.

Arthur was here and gone so quickly though, that it hardly caused a ripple, although in typical Outer Banks fashion, rescheduling July 4th fireworks was taken with a shrug and an “of course we can handle this” attitude.

Even though summer is wrapping up, there is still a lot to do this fall. Two September events to put on the reminder list:

The ESAs (Eastern Surf Association) championships are scheduled September 14-20 at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head. It’s an amateur competition, but with surfers coming from all over the East Coast the level of performance is excellent.

The 3rd Annual Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival is September 25-28 at Roanoke Island Festival Park. Headliner Ricky Scaggs will be there Saturday night. Friday night it Rhonda Vincent who headlined the past two years and wowed everyone.

Mixed Review for Cristobal Waves on the Outer Banks

We were hoping for better quality waves as Hurricane Cristobal passed a few hundred miles offshore, but the winds from the north never did let up. The waves were there, but with the 6’ break came a lot of chop and some sloppy conditions.

The day wasn’t a complete waste for surfers though. There were a few SUPs riding waves and a couple of surfers got some great rides. A tough trip back to the line though with waves coming in at odd angles on the paddle back out.

It was a great day for kite surfers though. With the winds from the NNE at 15-20 mph and some very rideable waves, the kite surfers we saw seemed to be having the best day on the water.

We’ll cross our fingers and hope for the best. The early forecast calls for some more good waves through tomorrow with gradually diminishing winds. Best time for waves should be in the a.m. although the wind is forecast to remain from the north throughout the morning. 


Surfing for Autism on the Outer Banks

It’s been five years for the annual Surfing for Autism at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head and the event has gained in popularity every year. This year, organizers, said 80 families and maybe a little more than that were in the surf.

It is a free event, as it has always been, and it’s all about giving the kids an experience they could never have otherwise. Yet in watching the families . . . the parents and siblings—and even the spectators—what becomes apparent tis that this event is something that touches everyone.

Great weather this year. A warm day, but certainly not hot, a little bit of chop in the surf but some nice small waves were popping up all day.

Surfing for Autism is a homegrown affair, started by two parents, Mark Slagle and Eileen Lowery, who had children who were autistic.

 The event, which couples experienced surfers—a couple of them are ranked pros—with children living with autism began as a free event and there has never been a charge for it. There never will be either, as the literature put out by Surfing for Autism makes clear: “Because raising a child with autism today has been shown to cost $3.2 million, we also wanted our event to be offered at no cost to participating families.”

Just a good homegrown Outer Banks event and a great day on the beach.


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