19th Annual Mollie Fearing Art Show Looks Great

Mary Ann Remer's tribute to astronaut Scott Kelly, Best in Show.
Mary Ann Remer’s tribute to astronaut Scott Kelly, Best in Show.

There are some great traditions on the Outer Banks for artists and it’s always great to see who turns out for the art shows.

Sponsored by the Dare County Arts Council (DCAC) the Molly Fearing Art Show is one of the best around. Open to DCAC members and Dare County Residents, it is a wonderful mix of art styles and media.

There whimsical paintings and sculpture; startling photography—a personal favorite was Daniel Pullen’s  “Blood Moon”—symbolic art, still life, modern art all blending into a wonderful kaleidoscope of creativity.

Mary Ann Remer’s tribute to astronaut Scott Kelly was the judge’s choice as Best in Show, and they were still tallying the votes for People’s Choice when we left a little before 4:00.

This was the best attended in years, with estimates putting the number between 125-150 coming to the old Dare County Courthouse, now the DCAC Gallery, for the opening reception.

According to Program Director Fay Edwards, there were 84 entries this year, topping last years 75.

A shout out should go to Mike Kelly and Kelly’s Caters. The food was excellent and the staff did a great job of keeping the buffet table full and the wine flowing.

Mollie Fearing was a founding member and first president of the DCAC in 1975. In addition to her contribution to the arts, Mollie was the mayor of Manteo and sat on a number of boards addressing the needs of Manteo.



Painting Party with Amy Redford


A 7th grade social studies teacher, published author and artist, Amy Redford is an interesting person.

Although she is a very good teacher and her books are very readable, it’s Amy as the artist that most people on the Outer Banks are getting to know her.

That’s because Amy hosts art parties. There are two kinds—the Adult Painting Parties and the Children’s Parties . . . although there are subdivisions within the Adult Parties.

About once a month she hosts a painting party at La Dolce Vita in Manteo, but she will also stop by a rental home or a house to host a party.  She’s even done a couple of parties for bridal parties.

Amy has had a lot of training although she is somewhat of an accidental artist. While teaching in Germany in 2000 she took an art class. “I picked up art for the fun of it,” she said. “I discovered that I loved art.”

That love for art comes through in her classes . . . or parties. “I get to brin out the creative in people who really don’t think they have it,” she said.

Children or adults, it doesn’t seem to matter to her.

“Children are a little more demonstrative,” she said. “But I like them all.”



Contact info:



Painting Party info-the basics

Adult Painting Parties

Amy will arrive 15 minutes before the party to set up the painting area. The two hour class includes the art materials and the instruction. 

Party Fees

Adult two hour classes are $35.  Adult classes are for people ages 18 or older.  A minimum of 10 is required for the party/event.

Children Parties

The ages are 5 to 12.   You and your child need to select a picture from my gallery and sign up for the 1 hour  30 minute class.  The class includes art instructions and supplies.

Party Fees

There is a 10-child limit and $250 for the celebration class and a $20 fee for each additional child.

Books by Amy Redford (available at Amazon)

Once You Have Flown

Massenet’s Duet

Historic Home Weekend on OBX

By the front door at Sea Spray and 1958 flat top cottage.
By the front door at Sea Spray and 1958 flat top cottage.

Back in the 1930s, 40s and 50s when the historic homes of the Outer Banks were being built, it’s doubtful that anyone thought they would ever be historic. Rustic, a place to getaway, built usually from whatever materials were on hand, somehow they’ve weathered everything the ocean and climate have thrown their way and now stand as icons of a different time and way of life.

Southern Shores and Kill Devil Hills held tours of their historic homes this weekend. On Friday it was the Kill Devil Hills Tour of Local Historic Landmarks and Saturday the Southern Shores Historic Flat Top Tour.

The homes are as different as can be; the Kill Devil Hill houses are rambling cedar shake homes with floor plans that seem to have sprung from the imagination of the carpenter building it.

The Southern Shores Flat Tops were the creation of Frank and David Stick and they were built to a plan, yet there is remarkable variety in them. Built as cheaply as possible, local lumber was used—luckily that was juniper the perfect wood for the Outer Banks environment. Rectangular box construction, the walls are cement block with the sand usually coming from Outer Banks beaches, complete at times, with shells that were scooped up with everything else.

Certainly two days well spent. Talking to the owners about their homes what came through time and again was a remarkable sense of ownership and responsibility and a sense that preservation is important.

The Tale Behind the Tall Pine Bridge Replacement

Tall Pine bridge over Snow Goose Canal nearing completion in April.
Tall Pine bridge over Snow Goose Canal nearing completion in April.

After 55 years or so they’re finally replacing the bridges over the Southern Shores canals. Not a bad lifespan for a used bridge.

Residents and regular visitors to the Outer Banks know that the Tall Pine Bridge that spans the Snow Goose Canal is being replaced. The latest bulletin from the town of Southern Shores has the completion date of the project right on schedule in about a month.

The new bridge is a modern construct—looks like it will last at least 50 years and maybe 100. The old bridge. . . . well, it had a life before coming to Southern Shores and how it got there says a lot about David Stick who played such a pivotal role in the creation of the town.

David joined his father, Frank, in the early 1950s to market the new resort community of Southern Shores. Frank felt the beachfront properties were where the greatest potential lay. His son disagreed, viewing the soundside of the 2600 acres as ideal for year round residents.

To raise money he harvested the dogwood trees in the forest and used the money made from that to cut some roads and create canals to drain the swamp. However, after building the roads and cutting the canals there was no money left to build a bridge. Since the roads did not meet NCDOT standards, the state was not going to put a bridge in for him.

But NCDOT was replacing some bridges in Eastern North Carolina and David agreed to take the old bridges away intact. It was a classic win/win: David got the bridges he needed at the cost of moving them and the state didn’t have to pay to dispose of them.

They are getting replaced now.

For anyone coming down to the Outer Banks for the next month it’s important to know that there is no through traffic on South Dogwood in Southern Shores because the bridge over the canal is closed.

Wright Memorial Setting for Citizenship Ceremony

Receiving the certificate of citizenship.
Receiving the certificate of citizenship.

Thirty-nine new citizens were welcomed to the Outer Banks yesterday at a swearing in ceremony at the Wright Brothers Memorial.

It was an amazing event—emotional, awe-inspiring and perhaps a little bit intimidating with the realization of what these newest Americans coming from 23 countries have gone through to follow their dream.

There were remarks from Jay Wesselmann U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Dave Hallac, Superintendent of the National Park Outer Banks Group—and they were thoughtful and appropriate. The day, though, belonged to those 39 men and women who had traveled from China, the Philippines, Yemen, Viet Nam or Brazil to follow the dream of opportunity.

And what is compelling and does not seem to have changed since first immigrant set foot on these shore—parents were coming to give their children a better life . . . more opportunity, a better education and the chance to freely express themselves.

One of the most memorable images from the day was the joy on the faces of every new citizen as they came forward to receive a certificate of citizenship. Without speaking a word, their actions shouted out that the ideal that the United States embodies is still very much alive.

The Countries represented at the Swearing in Ceremony:

The Philippines, Taiwan, Columbia, Trinidad and Tobago, the People’s Republic of China., Mexico, Ecuador, India, Canada, Israel, Czech Republic, Honduras, Poland, Brazil, Romania, Yemen, Viet Nam, Iran, Morocco, S. Korea, El Salvador Burma and Paraguay.

Check Out The Wright Brothers Monument This Summer!

The view from the top of the Wright Brothers Monument. Photo, Kati Wilkins, North Beach Sun.
The view from the top of the Wright Brothers Monument. Photo, Kati Wilkins, North Beach Sun.


Mystery solved!

This summer for the first time in over 25 years the National Park Service is going to open the Wright Brothers Monument to visitors.

Towering over the Wright Brothers Memorial Park and everything else surrounding it the monument perches on top of a 90’ sand dune that has been stabilized. Including ht 60’ of the monument, at 150’ it’s the highest point on the Outer Banks until Bodie Island Lighthouse.

A little piece of history about the Monument—it was the original visitor’s center. From 1933 when it was dedicated until 1957 when the current Visitor’s Centers was completed, everyone trekked up Kill Devil Hill to get the inside scoop on gifts, books and information.

As long as the only connection to the outside world was a wooden bridge at Kitty Hawk and a couple of ferries coming from the west, that was fine.

But when real bridges connected the Outer Banks with the rest of the country, the small, cramped space inside was no longer adequate.

It is a beautiful piece of architecture and the interior is as starkly beautiful as the outside. There is a very narrow, twisting stairwell to what was once an observation deck at the top, but even a one time climb to the top is enough to convince anyone that the stairs are unsuitable and unsafe for use by the general public.

Kind of a shame, too, because the view from the top of the Monument almost feels like soaring above the earth.

Jockey’s Ridge-Kite Flyers Dream & More


The sun has come back to the Outer Banks; we’re getting some nice breezes from the south, which is what is expected as the weather turns to spring and summer. We had a couple of rugged days in there, but spring is always like that as the atmosphere makes up its mind about what the season is going to be.

Kites are starting to pop up again on Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head—a sure sign that more pleasant days are here.

In a landscape filled with symbols of the beach life, Jockeys Ridge seems to have taken its place an icon that people look to and remember. With over 1,000,000 visitors every year, it stands to reason that visitors and locals see the massive dune structure as a symbol of the Outer Banks.

It was almost destroyed.

Back in the early 1970s developers were ready to level Jockeys Ridge and build vacation homes. In fact, the bulldozers were ready to move when Carol Lista (there’s road named after her in Nags Head) stood in front of the ‘dozers and refused to move.

Her actions inspired others and from that People to Preserve Jockey’s Ridge was formed. Some intense lobbying and excellent marketing followed and in 1975 Jockey’s Ridge State Park was established.

People to Preserve Jockey’s Ridge eventually became Friends of Jockey’s Ridge and nonprofit organization that continues to advocate for and support the park. Joe Lamb, Jr. is a proud sponsor of the organization.

There is nothing like Jockey’s Ridge anywhere. It is a living dune—meaning the sands are in constant motion, changing the shape and landscape throughout the year. The highest sand dune on the East Coast, it is home to the Kitty Hawk Kites hang gliding school and may be the finest place in the world to fly a kite.

National Park Service Turns 100

Bodie Island Lighthouse.
Bodie Island Lighthouse.

2016 is the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service and with the huge presence the NPS has on the Outer Banks there are some a few things coming up that might be worth checking out.

There are three national parks on the Outer Banks—Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Wright Brothers Memorial and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on Roanoke Island. All three are administered as the Outer Banks Group from offices at Fort Raleigh.

Officially established in 1953, over 2.4 million visitors were counted last year. The park extends from the west side of South Nags Head to Ocracoke Island and includes Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Bodie Island Lighthouse.

The Wright Brothers Memorial is iconic to the Outer Banks. Perched atop Kill Devil Hill, the monument is a permanent reminder that powered flight was first achieved here. The memorial was authorized in 1927 and became a part of the NPS in 1953.

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site seems to be just about where the original Roanoke Island Lost Colony was situated. It’s also the home of the Lost Colony Outdoor Drama, the longest running outdoor drama in North America, now in its 78th season.

Some Spring Time Events:

Naturalization Ceremony  April 16 at 3 p.m., Wright Brothers National Memorial. United States Customs and Immigration Service will hold a citizenship ceremony. The agency has an agreement with the Park Service to hold these ceremonies where new citizens “learn about and reflect on American identity and the responsibilities of citizenship.”

First Colony Foundation Archeological Dig: “Project Dogwood” – April 17- 23, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. The First Colony Foundation is planning an archaeological dig in honor of the Centennial and the 75th anniversary of the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.

The Lost Colony Drama Centennial Dedication – May 27, the Lost Colony Amphitheater. The Roanoke Island Historical Association will dedicate the season on opening night of The Lost Colony Drama to the National Park Service and kick off several activities. Joe Lamb, Jr. is a proud sponsor of the Lost Colony.

First Friday Heralds OBX Springtime

Drifting Sands performing at the grand opening of the Bluegrass Island Store.
Drifting Sands performing at the grand opening of the Bluegrass Island Store.

Springtime has come to the Outer Banks.

Ok . . . it doesn’t feel much like springtime today, but yesterday, was First Friday in Manteo, the first First Friday of the season and the weather cooperated. A little bit overcast but temperatures stayed in the mild range with light winds.

First Friday is really as much a celebration of small town life as it is an excuse to get out and enjoy the evening air, and last night’s event did not disappoint.

There were two grand openings—Big Buck’s Ice Cream took over where the Manteo Coffeehouse used to be on Sir Walter Raleigh Street and Cory Hemilright opened a Bluegrass Island, a box office store in the Phoenix Shops. It was probably needed—Cory, the promoter and force behind the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival, has a number of events that he is now associated with.

At Big Buck’s ice cream was being scooped at an amazing pace—$1 scoops will do that and they were generous scoops. All very fresh . . . Big Buck’s prides itself on making their ice cream daily.

Over at Bluegrass Island local bluegrass band Drifting Sands was having a great time on the porch in front of the store.

With temperature comfortable it was a perfect evening to stroll around downtown Manteo, stop by the taco table at Ortega’z, get a $3 tuna taco and think about the upcoming season.

OBX Beach Nourishment a Go for 2017

Kitty Hawk Beach during a storm. Kitty Hawk is particularly vulnerable to ocean encroachment.
Kitty Hawk Beach during a storm. Kitty Hawk is particularly vulnerable to ocean encroachment.

Beach nourishment is back on track and will begin in the spring of 2017. Originally scheduled to begin for the towns of Duck, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills in April of this year, initial bids were $4 million over estimates and were rejected.

A number of officials expressed the view that the dredging companies qualified to handle the task were tied up with a major project on the Mississippi River this year and did not feel an urgency to place competitive bids.

It would appear as though that was the case. The winning bid from Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company was $4.9 million less than the $43 million set aside for the project. Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company was the company that handled the Nags Head project in 2011.

Beach nourishment is being funded through an intralocal agreement requiring the towns to pay 40% of the cost and the county picking up the rest of the tab. The towns have created Municipal Service Districts (MSD) with properties closest to the beach paying additional property tax.

In Dare County, the Nags Head was the pioneer in beach nourishment. Although there have been some issues with sand encroaching on properties, there has been no property damage caused by ocean overwash since the town’s project was completed in 2011.

If all goes as planned nourishment will begin in April of 2017.

Anticipated Project Schedule Provided by Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company:

Town of Duck

Start Date: April 1, 2017

End Date: June 1, 2017

Town of Kitty Hawk

Start Date: June 1, 2017

End Date: August 20, 2017

Town of Kill Devil Hill

Start Date: August 20, 2017

End Date: October 10, 2017