A Memorable Autumn OBX Weekend

Outer Banks Weekend Features Something for Everyone
Learning to dance at Artrageous 2016.
Learning to dance at Artrageous 2016.

This past weekend on the Outer Banks was a perfect example of why autumn is the time to come to the Outer Banks.

Saturday was filled with lots of events, all of them family friendly. Our Joe Lamb, Jr. minions tried to get to everything, but we’re sure we missed something along the way.

Kids and creativity is what Artrageous is all about.
Kids and creativity is what Artrageous is all about.

If there is a better event for kids anywhere than the Dare County Arts Council’s Artrageous it would be hard to imagine.

The event is all about kids and creativity. Held every year at Rec Park in Kill Devil Hills, kids can try their hand at blacksmithing, get their face painted or create a mural on the side of a building.

Families, definitely put this on in your autumn calendars for next year.

Beautiful setting and perfect weather made Crabdaddy 2016 one to remember.
Beautiful setting and perfect autumn weather made Crabdaddy 2016 one to remember.

Perfect setting, perfect weather, lots of crab and good wine. Throw in some great music and it just doesn’t get much better.

Held at the Cotton Gin the last Saturday of September every year, Crabdaddy is part celebration of the autumn grape harvest and a wonderful celebration of the bounty of local waters—in this case blue crab.

Sanctuary Vineyards is owned by the Wright Family, the same family that owns the Cotton Gin so the setting makes sense.

The wines have shown steady improvement over the years and they are very good now.

Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival
Soggy Mountain Boys headlined Saturday night at the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival.
Soggy Mountain Boys headlined Saturday night at the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival.

The outdoor stage at Roanoke Island Festival Park is spectacular the bands were among the best in Bluegrass. By the time things wrapped up on Saturday evening there was no doubt that the 2016 Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival was something special.

It helped that the Soggy Mountain Boys were the final act. Putting a very traditional spin on what bluegrass is all about, some of their sounds would have fit right in 75 or 80 years ago.

Next big weekend is Columbus Day–Mustang Music Festival on Friday and Saturday and the Duck Jazz Festival on Sunday.

Bluegrass Festival the OBX Place to Be

Balsam Range performing Thursday evening at the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival.
Balsam Range performing Thursday evening at the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival.
Great Music on the Outer Banks Stage

We had a chance to check out the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival yesterday and for any of our Joe Lamb, Jr. guests visiting the Outer Banks this weekend, Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo is the place to be.

The weather is looking absolutely spectacular through the weekend, although the festival wraps up on Saturday.

Yesterday we caught Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Balsam Range, and Steep Canyon Rangers at the festival. That’s three very big names in the world of bluegrass and they lived up to their billing.

The Rage is probably the most traditional of the groups, but Vincent has surrounded herself with amazing musicians and the result is bluegrass done right.

The vocals that Balsam Range brings to the stage is almost otherworldly they’re so good. How good?  Good enough that they have been named Vocal Group of the Year and lead singer Buddy Melton has been named Male Vocalist of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association.

And then there’s Steep Canyon Rangers who have taken the traditions of bluegrass and stood them on their heads combining elements of rock, blues and classical in to their arrangements—and yet retaining a very pure traditional sound.

There’s more great music on tap.

Tonight—Friday—Rhonda Vincent comes back for an encore performance beginning at 7:45. Gene Watson closes out night with a 9:15 show.

Look for the Soggy Mountain Boys closing the show tomorrow night, but don’t come just for the last act; the Bluegrass Festival is an all day event and Roanoke Island Festival Park is a beautiful setting for the event.

Our OBX version of the Northern Lights

Photo Taken by Jim Trotaman of J. Aaron Trotman Photography (link to page below)
Photo Taken by Jim Trotman of J. Aaron Trotman Photography




Alaska may have the Northern Lights and the popular book “Life of Pie” may have referenced a neon green, glowing carnivorous island. However, this weekends amazing light show on the OBX puts it in the running for one of Mother Nature’s best performances yet! A shout out to our friend Jim Trotman for capturing some of this weekends fascinating show while out strolling the beach himself.

A stunning parade of neon blue lights dancing across the ocean’s surface, flowing smoothly like an orchestra playing a grand aqua-blue symphony. The waves lighting up each time they rippled across the surface or crashed on the beach. This unique natural occurrence is referred to as bio-luminescence. A change in the oxygen level in the ocean took place this weekend causing a unique algae bloom. This bloom was extremely interesting as the algae were from the marine –dwelling species of dinoflagellate Noctiluca scintillans commonly known as Sea Sparkle. When this specific species of plankton is stressed by too much motion a chemical reaction occurs creating a bright neon light referred to as bio-luminescence. Some believe this is could be a defense mechanism to ward off predators others think it is mother natures way of showing us that magic still exist.


The glowing blue neon waves weren’t the only thing that made this weekend a fascinating spectacle.

The start of the New Moon occurred on Saturday .  Like a scene from Avatar, the moon rose over the sparkling neon water and enchanted the beach goers with its orange and reddish hue cascading light through-out the night sky. I have truly never witnessed anything more mesmerizing. It isn’t every day you have the chance to be transported to another world. A place where the sky’s glow red, the water glitters a neon blue and the moon takes over half the night sky.

The Outer Banks of NC has many spectacular things to offer but in my opinion one of its best qualities is something that can only be provided by Miss Mother Nature herself. If you missed it, don’t worry. The Sea Sparkles will one day return. You too will be able to witness the enchantment that mother nature has to offer.  Be sure to book your Outer Banks vacation early as Oceanfront properties are the first to book!


Fall Is Music Fest Time on the OBX

Steep Canyon Rangers, headlining Thursday night at the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival.
Steep Canyon Rangers, headlining Thursday night at the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival.

Fall is music festival time on the Outer Banks and there is some great entertainment lined up beginning this week with the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what to expect.

Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival

September 21-24

Rhonda Vincent and the Rage. Thursday and Friday.
Rhonda Vincent and the Rage. Thursday and Friday.

Some of the biggest names in Bluegrass will be coming to the Outer Banks this week. Rhonda Vincent and the Rage will take the stage twice; look for them on Thursday afternoon and Friday evening.

Steep Canyon Rangers will also be performing on Thursday, taking the stage at 7:45. In a music style dominated by great musicians, Steep Canyon really stands out with tight arrangements and innovative sounds.

Also look for Gene Watson on Friday and the Soggy Bottom Boys on Saturday to closeout the Festival.

Hatterasity-A Bluegrass Block Party

October 8-11

Hatterasity is a Hatteras Village bluegrass happening, there’s some great local talent—but local talent in this case is Ocracoke’s Molasses Creek with a national reputation. There’s also a great jam session to kick things off on Tuesday evening—bring your instrument and sit in.

Mustang Music Festival

October 9-10

Lettuce-funk band. One of the headliners at the Mustang Music Festival.
Lettuce-funk band. One of the headliners at the Mustang Music Festival.

Promoter Mike Dianna has created one of the best music festivals around. His move two years ago to the Whalehead Club brought the festival to the perfect setting for Mike’s vision of music at all times.

The two day festival features two stages, so that when one band is playing the other is getting ready to go. No breaks between performance…one stops the next one starts.

The music is always worth the price of admission—Mike consistently manages to bring groups to the Outer Banks that are right on the cusp of going to the next level and it shows.

This is a very family friendly event with proceeds going to two great causes—the Corolla Wild Horse Fund and the Mustang Music Program that works with kids to learn how to perform music.

Duck Jazz Festival

October 11

Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo, headline the 10th Annual Duck Jazz Festival.
Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo, headline the 10th Annual Duck Jazz Festival.

The 2016 version of the festival is the 10th Annual and the lineup this year is amazing.
Headliners Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo may be the finest jazz guitarists around—certainly the people they have loved with over the years would seem to indicate that.

Their styles are smooth and expressive—a classic jazz sound.

The setting is perfect. There may not be any place better to sit outside, sip some wine and take in a free outdoor jazz concert than the Duck Town Green.

Top 10 Reasons to Rent Monthly during the Outer Banks Winter

We all know about the amazing summers spent on the Outer Banks, frolicking under the warm sun, splashing around in the refreshing Atlantic and spending warm nights under the stars Barbequing with friends and family. Labor Day use to mark the end of the “busy” season here on the beach but each year, the peak season seems to last a little longer and the fun continues later into the Fall.

You would have never guessed that roughly 20 or so years ago after Labor Day the Island was completely vacant… Only a very small few knew the secret of how special the Outer Banks is once the sun begins to set a little earlier, the nights grow a bit cooler, the traffic subsides and each person you pass you know by name. Slowly but surely it seems that the long kept secret of winter on the Outer Banks is out and we couldn’t be more thrilled to share our special slice of heaven with you!

Show Me the Winter Rentals!

Many people still don’t know what to expect from winter on the Outer Banks so let me paint a picture for you!

Off-Season Renters in OBXImagine, starting your day first with a cup of locally brewed fresh coffee and taking it down to the beach, that’s right some days are still warm enough that with the proper bundling or garments you can enjoy a sunshine-filled stroll down the beautiful coast collecting more seashells and sea glass than would have ever been possible during the summer months! Shell collecting becomes one of my absolutely favorite hobbies during the winter months, there is something so serene about taking a walk down an empty beach, feeling the sun on your face & watching it glint off the water while the bird’s perform a private concert just for you! Days are blissful but the nights do get a little colder. Visualize yourself cozying up with loved ones in front of a fire, drinking hot cocoa, snuggled up in the blanket you purchased at one of the many unique boutiques that are only on the Outer Banks, listening to the mighty melody of the oceans roars in your extremely well priced Ocean Front cottage!

So, now that the stage is set and the picture is painted, what else does winter on the Outer Banks have to offer besides peaceful nights and extremely LOW rental prices? The list goes on and on… So let me break it down for you:

The Top 10 Reasons to Rent in the Winter in the OBX

  1. Collecting Shells During the Off-Season
    The winter season is the BEST time to find shells!

    No lines! Visit the grounds of your favorite spots like all the amazing Light Houses, or the Wright Brothers Monument without having to wait in those long hot summer lines!

  2. Most of Your Favorite Restaurants are still opened with NO WAIT and delicious menu items.
  3. Holiday shopping, Tree lighting ceremonies and Parade events are a must!
  4. Bird Watching at Pea Island and of course FISHING!!!!
  5. Sea Glass/ Shell collecting is at a peak due to the rough seas washing up treasures from the sea floor! (your friends that are stuck in the city will love it as a souvenir and wish they would have come with you!)
  6. Peaceful time spent on reflection, the Outer Banks is one of the most premiere spots for artist to get away and focus on their work; whether you’re a writer, painter, photograph or musician the solitude and beauty of each day is just what you need to inspire your next piece of work!
  7. Enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot tub while watching an unparalleled Outer Banks sunset from your vacation rentals deck.
  8. Witness the possibility of snow fall on the SAND! Due to our sunny days it melts quickly but it sure is a site to behold if given the chance!
  9. Take a walk around Historic Whalehead club in Corolla and see it completely decorated with a Christmas tree in each room!
  10. Did I mention, the AMAZING DEALS and LOW LOW PRICES!!


So what are you waiting for? Check out our winter rentals OBX page to find your hidden treasure.

Surf Weekend on OBX

Outdoor viewing of Psychic Migrations at the Brewing Station, Friday, September 16.
Outdoor viewing of Psychic Migrations at the Brewing Station, Friday, September 16.

It is wonderful to sit outside and watch a surfing movie, and that is what we got to do tonight as the Dare County Arts Council’s Surfalorus Film Festival opened tonight at the Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Devil Hills.

It was a bit windy, but the screen was anchored and things went really well.

Really good movies. Photography as always the case in surf movies was excellent, but some of the shorts, especially, raised some fascinating questions about  how we view ourselves and what we consider important. The Malloy Brothers in particular stood out in that regard.

This is pretty much a surf themed weekend on the Outer Banks. Surfalorus runs through Saturday and Sunday sees the ESAs—the Eastern Surf Association championships kick off at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head.

The ESA is the largest amateur surfing organization in the world, and their championships, that last the entire week, feature competition from 10 to 75 or 80.

Last year there were some pretty rough conditions, but the early signs point to much better surf this year.

The competition includes, surfers, SUP, skim board and body boarding so there is something for everyone.

Grab Your Blanket, The new American Horror Story has arrived!

Photo Courtesy of J. Aaron Trotman photography


The moment we have all been anxiously awaiting is finally here!




“My Roanoke Nightmare” premiered yesterday on FX. Normally, I’m not the biggest fan of scary or haunting TV series but this one mentions one of my absolute FAVORITE places, Roanoke Island. This FX series has been the main topic of discussion amongst my friends for roughly the entire last month. Fall on the Outer Banks is a bit slower and gives us locals a chance to catch up and relax. A group of my closest friends and I like to get together and binge-watch different series when the weather turns crisp and sweaters start to come out. This fall we picked “AHS” for its intriguing theme and not to mention the little bit of excitement that comes from living so close to Roanoke Island!

I haven’t watched the first episode yet but from what I’ve heard it’s a cinema minefield! Similar to Inception, the movie starring Leonardo DeCaprio, like a dream within a dream, it’s a documentary within a show that narrates specific (possibly real) events that took place on Roanoke Island during the 18th century… The name of the show is completely accurate, American Horror Stories and what better theme for a series of episodes than that of the 115 English Colonists that vanished in 1587 without a trace?

I may not normally be into spine-chilling, unnerving television series but I have my blanket ready, pillows fluffed, doors locked and am ready to see what all the AHS hype is about! Watch it with us and let us know what you think in the comments section below!!! If you’re really interested in the haunting truth about Roanoke Island and the Lost Colony but don’t want to stay to close to where the story takes place, check out our vacation rentals in Nags Head NC which is less than a 20-minute drive to Manteo NC, where the Lost Colony re-enactment is performed each summer.

Don’t forget to bring an umbrella for the raining teeth though! Just kidding, that part of the series trailer definitely can’t be true… Can it?  I guess we will just have to watch the episode and see!!

AJ Croce Wows the Outer Banks

AJ Croce talking to the audience at his Saturday night performance.
AJ Croce talking to the audience at his Saturday night performance.

The Outer Bank Forum brought AJ Croce to the Outer Banks Saturday night, and his performance left no doubt the Croce legacy is alive and well in the late Jim Croce’s son.

An amazing musician, Croce played a concert he told the audience he doesn’t perform very often—his “Two Generations of American Music”, which include songs from his father’s repertoire.

Croce, whose voice sounds remarkably similar to his father, moved seamlessly between his own compositions and his father’s songs. And, although he performed the music of his father flawlessly, he really hit his stride playing his own music.

A gifted pianist and guitar player, it is on piano in particular that he shines.
One performance specifically put his skills on full display.

Come and Go begins as almost random notes on the piano, but it builds into a composition of extraordinary complexity in Croce’s hands. There are touches of classical music, honky-tonk, jazz and blues all woven together into a seven minute improv.

The band playing with him was excellent, but lead guitar Michael Bizar really stood out. Bizar has been playing with Croce for a number of years and seems to have a real understanding of what he is doing with his music.

Although Croce’s own music was the highlight of the evening, the encore he presented has to be mentioned.

Saying, “I’m going to share a very special recording with you, a recording that was made at our kitchen table,” he played a recording of Time in a Bottle, allowing it to play for a minute. Then he and Bizar began accompanying the music, Croce’s voice blending perfectly with his father’s.

It was a powerful tribute to a great musician.


Mike Kelly Negotiating Sale of Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern


Ending months, if not a couple of years, of speculation, Mike Kelly announced he is in negotiations to sell the property where Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern is located. In interviews with local newspapers and online reporting, he stressed that nothing is imminent, but it is apparent that he is ready to move on after 31 years of providing great food and entertainment on the Outer Banks.

Mike pointed out in interviews that none of his children are interested in taking over his business and that he felt now that he was approaching retirement age, this was the time to start pulling back.

Although he is in negotiations, the restaurant and tavern is booked through New Years, so no matter what, nothing is going to happen right away.

There are a rumors but no hard facts about who or what will be moving into the five acre site. Mike has made it clear that it will not be a chain restaurant, but beyond that, anything is speculation.

What the next business will be will be come more clear when the first set of tentative plans are presented to the Nags Head Planning Board, although at this point in time, nothing is scheduled.

Still up in the air is whether there are any plans to sell the other two restaurants in the Kelly’s Group, Mako Mikes and Pamlico Jacks.


Goodbye Hermine

Outer Banks Fishing Pier, Sunday, Spetember 4, 11:30 a.m. Surf running at 8-10'.
Outer Banks Fishing Pier, Sunday, Spetember 4, 11:30 a.m. Surf running at 8-10′.

It looks as though we have another day of high surf battering the Outer Banks as Tropical Storm Hermine spins away out in the Atlantic. All sign point to her meandering a bit and then moving out to sea, but it does look as though tomorrow, Monday, is not going to be a good beach day.

There’s certainly some picking up we have to do now that Hermine has left. She was a tropical system of a different nature; the wind and rain Friday night into Saturday early morning was downright noisy . . . ok loud—very loud.

But Saturday by 9:00 or 10 a.m. it really seemed as the worst of Hermine was gone. The wind had died down to tolerable levels—20 or 25 mph and it had stopped raining. Then the trailing end hit and we had some of the strongest gusts of the whole episode; 60 and even a report (unofficial) of 70 mph. Pretty crazy, and not like most tropical systems that are here and then gone.

The Beach Road north of in Kitty Hawk took a beating again, but it doesn’t look nearly as bad as it did last year. The sand dunes are gone, but it appears as though the road is intact.

The Outer Banks didn’t shut down for this one at all—no reason to really. A day and a half of being a little miserable, but things are already back to normal. Fall is a great time to visit. Give us a call at Joe Lamb. Jr.—the rates are reasonable and the weather is great…and there doesn’t look as though there is anything in the Atlantic that’s going to change that any time soon.