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OBX Alternative Routes for Summer Drivers


Malcolm Fearing, NCDOT Division 1 Transportation Board Representative speaking at Jarvisburg Meeting.

One thing was obvious after a meeting earlier this week sponsored by NCDOT to discuss what could be done to alleviate summertime traffic coming to the Outer Banks—not a lot. At least not in the short to mid term.

The Mid Currituck Bridge is back in the planning docket, and that is probably the best hope, but current projections put the completion date 10 years in the future.

So, what to do about the traffic while we’re waiting for the MCB to be completed was the subject of a meeting held at the Jarvisburg Elementary School—a few miles north of the Wright Memorial Bridge—last Monday night. 

One suggestion that came out of the meeting that some of our Joe Lamb guests coming from the north may wish to think about is looping around the Outer Banks and coming in through Manteo. We’ll call it touring the Inner Banks to get to the Outer Banks.

Yes, it will add 40 or 45 miles to the trip, and in the spring, fall or winter it doesn’t make sense—although there are a number of pretty little towns along the way. But on a summer weekend when traffic sometimes backs up to Jarvisburg . . . it’s worth considering. Our keyless entry guests especially may wish to consider this option.

One suggestion that was made, and Jerry Jennings from NCDOT noted it was already under consideration—adding southbound lanes on US 158 at the intersection with NC12 by the Aycock Brown Visitor’s Center in Kitty Hawk. That would allow southbound traffic to move more quickly and help to alleviate some of the congestion backing up onto the Wright Memorial Bridge.

Since we’re talking about summertime and our rental, this seems like a good time to mention that the earlier a reservation is made, the more likely we can match you with the perfect house.

Candy Bomber Comes to the Outer Banks

Colonel Halvorsen talking to students from Manteo High School at Dare County Airport.

The Candy Bomber—a restored C54 transport plane—has made the journey to the Outer Banks every year since 2000. This year Lt. Colonel Gail Halvorsen (USAF, Ret.) who was the Candy Bomber in 1948.

Listening to the Colonel talk about his experiences is a like taking a guided tour into a piece of history that is almost forgotten but resonates as he recalls his  experiences.

He was a 27-year-old First Lieutenant flying cargo planes in Europe when the Soviet Union closed all land access to Berlin. At the time the Germany was divided into sectors of control with the British, French and Americans controlling West Germany and the Soviets East Germany. 

Berlin, in the heart of East Germany was also divided and in June of 1948 the Soviets cut off all land access to the city believing that if the residents could not get food and supplies they would turn to the East Germany and become part of the Eastern bloc of nations.

The Allies began the Berlin Airlift, to this day the largest and most sustained airlift ever mounted—and through their efforts kept a city of 2,000,000 alive.

Halvorsen went beyond the call of duty, and in an act of compassion started dropping candy bags attached to homemade parachutes to kids at the gathered at the end of the runway.

He didn’t ask permission; he just did it because he thought it was the right thing to do—which almost got him in a lot of trouble with his commanding officer.. The word came down though, that that small act of kindness by one American pilot had a tremendous effect on morale, and soon all of the American planes were dropping candy to the children of Berlin.

Colonel Halvorsen is 94-years-old now. He came with the Candy Bomber to the Dare County Airport this year. And energetic man with a wonderfully positive attitude toward life, he is wonderful example of a life well-lived.

An OBX Celebration of Christmas


Outer Banks Hotline and Children at Play got together this year and combined Santa and the Train with the Festival of Trees, held everything at the Outer Banks Brewing Station and it was fantastic.

Santa and the Train is wonder afternoon of children delighting in being children and three or four hours of adults remembering the joy of childhood during the holidays.

In the backyard of the Brewing Station a golf cart is hauling around three or four cars decorated in Christmas scenes. The cars are filled with little kids. 

Inside there is Santa Claus, crafts and a sock skating rink which has kids sliding, falling and laughing.

The Festival of Trees in in the huge tent out back and it’s hard to tell, but it looks as though there are more trees filled with gifts than ever.

This is the 26th Annual Festival of Trees, and it is the major fundraiser for Outer Banks Hotline. Santa and the Train is also a huge fundraiser—Carole Dawn Emerson the Executive Director for Children at Play remarked that the money raised at the event enables the organization to keep their doors during the winter.

The Festival of Trees has moved around a bit over the past few years, but it seems most at home at the Brewing Station for some reason.

Festival of Trees especially is truly a community event with numerous Outer Banks businesses contributing trees, auction items and gifts to throw into a raffle.

A great way to celebrate the holidays.

Outer Banks Cleansup after Nor'easter

Cleaning up the Beach Road in Kitty Hawk.

The backhoes and road graders were out in force this morning cleaning up after the three day nor’easter that hammered us. The north end of Kitty Hawk always seems to experience some of the worst of it whenever the seas get churned up, and with waves in the surf zone at 11-16’, winds from the NE at 25-30 with stronger gusts, there was a fair amount of over wash on the beach road.

Not much damage, though, as far as we could tell. We did notice that the dune line in front of Ocean Boulevard where owner Donny King has been stabilizing the sand with Christmas Trees held up remarkably well.

South of us, Hatteras Island got really hammered. NC12 had to be closed for a couple of days as the ocean washed over the roadbed at the temporary bridge at New Inlet and topped the dune line at the S Curves. 

The north end of Buxton really took a beating. The beach there has been retreating for a number of years, and this storm seemed to bring home how important it is that action be taken.

Dare County has plans to nourish the beach in that area. However, the beach itself is owned by the National Park Service and there is an additional level of legal complications in nourishing that beach because of circumstance.

Christmas Brings Small Town America to Life on OBX

With the Holiday Season in full swing on the Outer Banks it seems like there is almost too much to do to see everything, but there are a couple of must see traditions for folks living and visiting here.

Last night’s tree lighting in downtown Manteo is one of those slices of small town life that should never be missed if there is any way to get there. Centered around the steps of the old Dare County Courthouse, that’s now the home of the Dare County Arts Council, the celebration of the season is a wonderful reminder of what is best about small town life in America.

There is free hot chocolate and cider.  A local church hands out Brunswick stew—and it’s really good, too—children’s choirs sing, dancers dance, there’s narration, Santa Claus and of course the giant evergreen in the parking lot between the Tranquil House Inn and Poor Richards gets lit.

The weather was perfect for the event last night and the 2014 version may have been the best attended yet . . . and they have been doing this for something like 40 years.

Another great event on Roanoke Island—and this one ongoing—is the Winter Lights at Elizabethan Gardens. One of the finest formal gardens anywhere, the paths are lit with thousands of lights for the holiday season. Beautiful and memorable.

Outer Banks Model UN Dinner at Brewing Station

Model UN delegates and parents at the the Outer Banks Brewing Station.

After our visitors have left the Outer Banks what remains is a wonderful, thriving community that truly cares about our kids and their education. That caring attitude was on full display at the Outer Banks Brewing Station on Wednesday night.

The event was an international dinner for the First Flight High School Model UN program. Started three years ago, membership in the school sponsored club has mushroomed to over 50 active members. The dinner was part of a fund raising effort for a February trip to a competition and conference in Norfolk in February.

There were over 75 parents, grandparents, teachers and students sampling national dishes from Latvia, Japan, Cameroon and other countries. It was a great time to try some foods not normally on a menu, catch up with friends and help fund an outstanding program in a local school. The final count is not in, but it looks as though more than $1500 was raised to help the First Flight kids take part in an international role playing event.

The Model UN program is an international educational simulation and academic competition where students from schools across a region meet to address international issues in a simulated international setting.


Small Business Saturday OBX Style

Kitty Hawk Kites at Jockey's Ridge Crossing in Nags Head lit up for Holiday shopping.


Today was Small Business Saturday, which admittedly is a somewhat manufactured special day, but here on the Outer Banks it has a lot of resonance. Almost all the businesses are small businesses. Yes, there is a Walmart and a Kmart, but other than that, locally owned, locally managed . . . local everything defines our businesses.

Mom and Pop businesses? Yes, they are. Our kids go to school with their kids, we see them at community events, so yes, the Gray family who own Gray’s Departments Stores or John Harris who founded Kitty Hawk Kites 40 years ago, are very much a part of the Outer Banks community.

With that comes a great spirit of pulling together, and trying to have fun while doing it.

The town of Duck always gets high marks for celebrating the Holiday season with a little different flair. 

Saturday (12/6) is their annual Christmas parade with Santa arriving via fire truck. Then there’s the lighting of the crab pot Christmas Tree on the Village Green. 

And for everyone hanging out there on Saturday, or shoppers who find their way to the village, there is the Holiday Window Decoration Contest

Twenty-five businesses participating, now through December 19. It seems like a great reason to wander through the town and do a little shopping.



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