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OBX Mustang Spring Jam-Great Music, Great Time

 Fireside Collective in concert at the Mustang Music Spring Jam.

A great weekend last weekend. The highlight had to be Mike Dianna’s Mustang Music Spring Jam up in Corolla.

A day of wonderful music capped off with New Madrid, a group who is putting southern rock back on the map.

Innovative music too with the top award for innovation going to Asheville’s Fireside Collective. Playing classic bluegrass instruments—except for the electric bass—they tore in to some classic rock ’n’ roll songs and were great. They did some classic bluegrass as well, but there is something about hearing the guitar lead from Johnny B. Goode played on mandolin that creates a permanent memory.

The highlight of the day, though, had to be the kids of Mike Dianna’s Mustang Music Outreach

Working with local musician, amazing guitarist and teacher Ruth Wyand, Mike has been supporting lessons, helped to find  place to teach and created an environment where kids can learn how to perform. And it all seemed to come together at this year’s Mustang Music Spring Jam.

From an opening set that included Beatles and Rolling Stones numbers to closing out their time on stage with Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk, the kids showed what happens when they’re challenged and they accept that challenge.

Now We are Two Again-Westbound Wright Memorial Bridge Reopens

Traffic entering Currituck County mainland on the just reopened span of the Wright Memorial Bridge.

After two years the Outer Banks has two Wright Memorial Bridges again. 

Although the westbound span of the twin bridges was the most recently completed, the outbound road never offered the smooth almost seamless ride the inbound lanes did. The expansion joints that allow the road surface to expand and contract with temperature differences never seemed to be quite right and as a result the ride was bumpy swaying trip over the Currituck Sound.

That rough ride also contributed to the damage to the road surface and a decision by NCDOT to strip the bridge to its expansion joints, put them in correctly and resurface the road.

The plan was to close the westbound bridge after the 2013 summer, work all winter and have the bridge ready for 2014. Then a harsh 2014 winter set construction back and the bridge had to reopen for summer traffic safe, but clearly unfinished.

After the 2014 peak season ran its course, construction crews were back on the job, finishing the repaving and as of Wednesday of this week, both spans are open again.

The new surface that was put on the bridge is a latex concrete—an expensive process, but by all accounts it will pay for itself in greatly reduced maintenance costs.

OBX May Music Madness

It’s May, the weather is warming up nicely; the days are getting longer and suddenly music is everywhere. Here are four great upcoming music festivals happening this month that will keep toes tapping a voices singing.

Mustang Music Festival

May 17

Timbuck II, Corolla

Mike Dianna always seems to find national acts that fly just below the radar, and he’s done it once again this year with New Madrid and Josh Daniel. Those are the headliners but it’s a full day of music starting at 1:00 p.m. Always family friendly, this is a great way to kick off the 2015 festival season. 

2nd Annual Shallowbag Bay Shag Music Festival 

Memorial Day, May 25

Roanoke Island Festival Park, Manteo

A full day of classic beach music at a beautiful outdoor setting . . . what could be better?  The Embers, The Tams, Band of Oz all the sounds from the 1950s and 60s with the Roanoke Sound as a backdrop.

Rock The Cape 

May 30

Koru Village, Avon

The folks at the Dare County Arts Council have been putting this on for the past three years at Koru Village on Hatteras Island. It’s worth the trip. Great music with Big Daddy Love and local favorite The Hound Dogs Family Band, who put on an amazing show. 

OBX Brewfest

May 31

Outer Banks Event Site, Nags Head

This will be the inaugural happening at the Outer Banks Event Site and what a great way to introduce the newest site for outdoor music on the Outer Banks. Amazing music from Tauk, People’s Blues of Richmond—who wowed everyone at last year’s Mustang Music Festival, and Schimick String Band. They’ll be almost 50 breweries on hand all in a great setting. This is an adult only event.

Soundside Live=Families, Fun, Great Music

Here’s what the Outer Banks is all about—families, a beautiful environment, having fun. Here’s what the first of what we hope is an annual event Soundside Live was was all about—families, a beautiful environment, having fun.

It was supposed to be the first event at the new Outer Banks Event Site in Nags Head, but weather delays pushed everything back so an alternative had to be found. The alternative? The beach at Jennette’s Pier.

There was a bit of a northeast breeze, but it never it kept the temperature comfortable; the ocean was rough, but somehow that just added to the atmosphere. Families were everywhere . . . kids of all ages running around; there were maybe a dozen dogs—all well-behaved; a couple of kiteboarders kept sailing by.

And then there was the music: Roadkill Ghost Choir and Greensky Bluegrass

Great stuff. Roadkill has an eerie almost classic rock and roll sound and Greensky does bluegrass with an attitude. Good driving beat and great musicians.

The event was sponsored by the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau and originally it was supposed to be a ticketed event, but it’s kind of tough to sell a ticket to the beach. So maybe the way to think of this is a gift to the Outer Banks from the OBVB.

Joe Lamb, Jr. Sponsors Relay for Life

Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates has been one of the sponsors of the Dare County Relay for Life for quite a number of years. It feels really good to be connected to  community effort that does so much good for so many people. 

The Relay for Life kicked off at 1:00 o’clock Saturday afternoon and walkers kept going all through the night ending at Sunday morning at 8:00.  Held at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo, it was a great venue. Walkers experienced just about ideal weather with bright sunshine, if a bit cool, but the lower temperatures made it easier for the participants.

The first lap belongs to the cancer survivors—and seeing the children, mothers, fathers, the elderly, teenagers is a reminder that this is truly a disease that effects everyone in the community.

The efforts of the walkers paid off with over $40,000 raised toward finding a cure for cancer.

A quick housekeeping note: in our last blog we mentioned that the Beach Road just north of the Black Pelican was washed out. NCDOT is on the job and has indicated that they’ll have the road repaired and open by Friday.

Late Season Nor'easter Catches Outer Banks by Surprise

Damage along the Beach Road in Kitty Hawk.

The nor’easter that came through the Outer Banks on Wednesday and Thursday wasn’t much as these things go. It was windy, kind of nasty, definitely colder than it should have been. A little bit of rain, but not too much. It was a fast moving storm and for anyone who has lived on the Outer Banks for any length of time, it was inconvenient but no big deal.

Then we woke up on Friday morning to find out that the storm had undercut a section of the Beach Road in Kitty Hawk just north of the Black Pelican and taken out—completely taken out—the dunes beside the beach access stairs at the end of East Kitty Hawk Road.

Wow! For those of us who have lived here for some time, this was really surprising. It will all get repaired, of course—and NCDOT has been really good about getting on top of these situations, but it is a reminder that there is a lot of power out there in the ocean.

It’s also a nudge to move forward with beach nourishment. The town of Kitty Hawk is one of the Outer Banks towns that has signed on to an interlocal nourishment project with Dare County. If things go as planned, process will begin later this year with nourishment probably two years off.

In the meantime—avoid that short strip of the Beach Road until it’s fixed.

The Other Side of the Outer Banks

Kitty Hawk Woods in June.

Surprising but true—there are hiking trails on the Outer Banks. No need for boots or even heavy shoes, in most cases running shoes or even good sturdy sandals should be enough.

It’s another side to the Outer Banks, one many never get to experience, but for the (slightly) adventurous, it’s a nice change of scenery from the beach.

Nags Head Woods

The entrance to Nags Head Woods is in Kill Devil Hills and it seems to be evenly divided between KDH and Nags Head. Administered by the Nature Conservancy, Nags Head Woods is 1100 acres of surprisingly steep hills, wetlands, dense forest and even a sand dune on the south side—although that’s more difficult to get to.

The hills are relict sand dunes that have become covered in a more dense soil that allows hardwood trees to grow. The elevation gain is abrupt, giving a hike an almost mountain-like feel. The trails run along ridges that drop into deep ravines with hardwood trees the dominant forestation along the ridge lines.

Kitty Hawk Woods

Part of the NC Coastal Reserve system, Kitty Hawk Woods, is larger--almost 2000 acres—than Nags Head Woods, flatter and easier to hike, but similar in many ways. There are ridges, swales and swamp with hardwood trees dominating the ridges.

Bikes are allowed in Kitty Hawk Woods, and the trails are ideal for a moderately skilled rider.

Best bet is to get a trail map online. There is an office on Kitty Hawk Road, but the one man crew has responsibility for three reserves scattered from Corolla to Buxton.


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