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Joe Lamb, Jr. Guide to OBX Traditions

Flying a kite. One of many Outer Banks traditions.

One of the best parts of visiting the Outer Banks is how wonderfully and naturally family tradition seems to occur. Here at Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates, we know that is the case because there are so many families that have made us a part of their summer traditions. 

Traditions are different for every family, but we thought we would suggest some of the things we like to do as activities that could become a tradition for our first time visitors.

The Lost Colony

The longest running outdoor drama in the United States, actors have been walking the boards of the Lost Colony's Waterside Theater since 1937. Great theater, spectacle and history all rolled into one . . . and it’s in a beautiful setting.

Climb a Lighthouse

There are three lighthouses on the Outer Banks that can be climbed: Cape Hatteras, Bodie Island and Currituck Beach. The view for the top is breathtaking and worth every step of the effort. Cape Hatteras is a bit of a trek from the northern beaches, but Bodie Island and Currituck Beach beckon. Bodie Island is part of the National Park Service and requires a reservation. Currituck Beach, in Corolla, is probably the most accessible.

Fly a Kite

If there is a better place to fly a kite than Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head, no one has identified it yet—and that’s any place in the world. A panoramic view of the ocean and Roanoke Sound, nothing to stop the wind and convenient with parking at the park or Kitty Hawk Kites.

Flying on the beach comes in at a close second, but safety first—there can be a lot of people on the beach—and the southwest winds that dominate in the summer are not a good direction for beach flying.

Duck Town Green

It seems strange to give a town the nod as a family tradition, but there is so much happening on the town green that it’s worth a visit almost any day. Best times are morning with lots to to for kids or Thursday evenings when there is live music.

Entertainment for Last Week in July

National touring band, Delta Rae, comes to Kelly's Outer Banks Tavern this Friday.

A great end to the week as July comes to a close—something for kids and the family and a great show coming up at Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern.

Thursday, which is tomorrow, the Kitty Hawk Kites annual Watermelon Festival will be happening at the Jockey’s Ridge Crossing store in Nags Head. This is one of the most fun festivals happening on the Outer Banks at any time: face painting, a watermelon ice cream eating contest, watermelon eating contest, a watermelon seed spitting contest—and that’s just a partial list.

It’s great fun for the whole family—and Kitty Hawk Kites is bringing in a waterslide this year so pack a bathing suit.

Friday evening Delta Rae is playing at Kelly’s Tavern in Nags Head. The band is based out of Durham, but this is a national act that sings with power and amazing skill. The words, and music at times, are haunting, even troubling, but the skill of the musicians shines through. Their sound is a cross between rock, country with some gospel harmonies thrown in.

They first showed up on the Outer Banks music radar three years ago at the Mustang Music Festival and even though they were not the featured act, for a lot of the people attending they were talk of the show.

It would be difficult to imagine a better way for music lovers to cap a great week at the beach.

Tickets are $30 for the show and it's an almost sure bet that it will be a sold out performance. 

Karaoke Covers the Outer Banks

Singing karaoke on the deck at Hurricane Mo's with the Atlantic Ocean in the background.

It seems like karaoke has taken over the Outer Banks. Oh, there’s still lots of places for live music, but karaoke has definitely become a popular way to spend an evening during the summer. 

It’s a 7-day-a-week phenomenon with bars hosting karaoke night from Duck to Nags Head, and there is probably a style for just about everyone.

Personal favorite? Probably the Friday evening karaoke on the deck at Hurricane Mo’s in Kitty Hawk. The setting is beautiful, with the ocean as a backdrop, there’s usually a nice breeze to keep thing comfortable, the drinks are reasonably priced and the energy is so positive and so fun that it’s tough to not smile at the end of it.

DJ McKay with T-MEE Productions gets the crowd going. A gifted performer and singer herself, her enthusiasm for the music is infectious. Her data base of songs is huge—one of the largest if not the largest on the Outer Banks, which is important; there are very few arrangements she can’t find for the performers.

Admittedly the performances are uneven—and that’s true no matter where the karaoke is happening, but this is one of those place where it may not even matter. There are usually 25 or 30 people singing along with every song.

Also making Hurricane Mo’s just a little different, there are Sam and Dana, the singing bartenders who can really sing. 

Of course there are a number of other places for karaoke—a couple of the piers host DJs from time to time; Kelly’s on Tuesday nights is good; the Jolly Roger has karaoke seven days a week. 

So, for the singers, would be singers and drive time rock and roll stars, there it is—Karaoke, a chance to shine.

Karaoke Schedule (It's a good idea to confirm times and availability)

Jolly Roger Sunday-Saturday


Mulligan’s Wed/Friday

Poor Richard’s Wednesday 

Longboards  Wednesday/Friday

Hurricane Mo’s Friday

Nags Head Pier (Fish Heads) every other Saturday

Ramada Inn (Peppercorns) Saturday

Riding on the Beach in Corolla

LeeAnn McGraw and Maggie riding on the beach in Corolla.

Every once in a while a story comes along that is a reminder that sometimes people are kind and generous for no reason other than it’s the right thing to do. This is one of those stories.

Maggie and her family hail from Wisconsin and for some time she has wanted to ride a horse on the beach.

She’s almost 16 years old and for most of her life neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) has been her companion—and not a pleasant companion at all. A very rare genetic condition characterized by benign tumors that grow on the nerves in the brain, in Maggie’s case there has been a steady loss of vision until now she has no sight in her right eye and tunnel vision only in her left.

Her family asked the Wisconsin chapter of Make a Wish about Maggie’s idea and they called the Eastern NC chapter, who contacted Outer Banks volunteers. 

Monday evening on the beach in Corolla Maggie’s wish came true.

Riding with LeeAnn McGraw, owner of L&L Farm in Powells Point, Maggie disappeared into the horizon for an hour and a half ride. 

It was clear that Maggie and LeeAnn hit it off. When they came back into view the two of them were grinning and chatting away. Holding the reins on Maggie’s horse was LeeAnn’s boyfriend, Cody Edwards, who should probably get a special nod because he walked the whole way, and the ride was much longer than anyone thought it would be.

There were so many people that contributed to Maggie and her family being able to come to the Outer Banks that it’s not possible to list them all. The house they stayed in was donated; looking at how many restaurants donated food and services, the family probably ate for free all week; there were recreational activities for the kids—Maggie has three sisters—and services for the family. 

It was a great reminder that sometimes doing the right thing just feels good

Skimboarding on the Outer Banks

Competitor at Outer Banks Skim Jam 2015 in Kill Devil Hills.

Summertime on the Outer Banks and there is no way of telling what events or happening might come up. That comes to mind because the Outer Banks Skim Jam is happening this weekend in Kill Devil Hills at the beach access by KMart.

Skim boarding doesn’t have the acclaim as surfing or kiteboarding but it’s definitely a sport and watch the competitors for a while it’s pretty clear they’ve taken dropping a flat board in 2” of water to an art form.

Sponsored by Skimcity, this is a pro/amateur competition, and judging by how many people were on hand watching and how many little kids were there trying to mimic the pros, it seems apparent it’s a sport that’s been flying under the radar for a while but may be catching on.

Competition is set up very similar to surf contest rules; four competitors have a set amount of time to skim as many waves as they can. Same divisions too, with age ranges from the youngest to masters.

It was a great day to be on the beach today. The temperatures were on the warm side—upper 80—and a very gentle breeze from the south. Tomorrow looks about the same; maybe a little warmer, but a great day to be on the beach.

Jefferson Starship Flies High on the Outer Banks

Jefferson Starship at Waterside Theatre, Lost Colony.

The Jefferson Starship concert at the Lost Colony Sunday night was about as perfect setting as could be. A light breeze off Roanoke Sound, the evening temperatures were in the upper 70s and the music . . .  amazing.

The band may have been around for the past 40 some years and their roots go back even farther than that, but they still know how to rock the house. The two original band members, Paul Kantner on bass and David Freiberg on rhythm guitar and vocals, are still on top of their game after all these years. 

Freiberg especially stood out for his vocals, and this from a guy who seems to be 77 years old. We know his age because he mentioned 70 years ago he attended 2nd grade in Manteo.

One of the neatest things noticed was the age range of the audience, from early 20s to retired couples . . . and everyone know all the lyrics.

It’s difficult—if not impossible—to pick out a favorite moment from the evening. Lead guitarist soloed on electric guitar playing tribute to Jefferson Airplane guitarist with a wonderful version of "Embryonic Journey”.

Lead singer Cathy Richardson killed it on “White Rabbit”, their encore song, “Volunteers” was pure energy and a lot of fun.

Next up in the Lost Colony’s Waterside Concert series is Resurrection—A Journey Tribute on Sunday, August 2.

Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates is a proud sponsor of the Lost Colony.

Beach Road in Kitty Hawk Under Construction

Looking north from the beach access at the Black Pelican on the Beach Road.

After a late season nor’easter wiped out a portion of the Beach Road (NC12) in Kitty Hawk in the beginning of May, it was just a matter of time before NCDOT came out to make permanent repairs. 

The repair crews have arrived and it’s very important that anyone who is traveling through Kitty Hawk know what’s happening.

According to the press release from NCDOT, the repair area will extend from Lillian Street on the north to White Avenue to the south. For landmarks for drivers who know the area fairly well, that would be from just north of the Black Pelican Restaurant to south of John’s Drive In.

NCDOT has indicated they will be finished by mid August. 

The plan includes some road repairs, but mostly they will be shoring up the dune line to protect the road in the project area. 

Although the press release indicated the road would be closed from Lillian to White Avenue, at this point only the north end of the project area is restricted, from the intersection of Kitty Hawk Road north to Lillian.

The Beach Road is often used as an alternative route to US 158, the Bypass in Kitty Hawk. Until construction is completed, it is recommended that the Beach Road not be used as an alternative.

NCDOT has indicated that access to businesses and residences will not be restricted.


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