Flying Pirate Half Marathon Attracts International Runners

Part of the fun of the Flying Pirate Half Marathon are the costumes.
Part of the fun of the Flying Pirate Half Marathon are the costumes.
The Race

A little more than 1600 racers were registered for the Outer Banks Flying Pirate Half Marathon. Somewhere between The Woods Road in Kitty Hawk and the finish line at the YMCA in Nags Head 400 runners dropped out, although weather may have played a role in that.

With a stiff northeast wind and hard rain at the start time this morning, it’s possible some runners decided not to even give it a try.

Too bad if that’s the case.

The Flying Pirate Half Marathon is a beautiful run though two maritime forests—Kitty Hawk Woods and Nags Head Woods. The course parallels Kitty Hawk Bay of much of the run and for the most part it’s a flat course, although there are some hills at the end.

Race conditions at the start were a bit wet and blustery, but it did calm down a bit, creating almost a perfect condition for long distance running. Cool temperatures and a light rain to keep the body from overheating.

The winning time seemed to reflect that. Asheville native, Chass Armstrong crossed the finish line in a blistering 1:12:13, almost 15 minutes faster than the second place finisher.

The Flying Pirate Half Marathon highlights a weekend of race related activities including a 5K and fun run on Saturday.

Sponsored by Outer Banks Sporting Events, the weekend is a fundraiser for two local nonprofits—the Dare Education Foundation and the Outer Banks Relief Foundation.

Where the Visitors Originated

In addition to its role as a fundraiser, OBSE races, which include the Outer Banks Marathon in November, are designed to promote the Outer Banks as a destination.

They may have outdone themselves this year. Although most runners were from North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland—and quite a number form the Outer Banks—there was a good representation of visitors from Georgia, Michigan and California.

However, the entry that really stood out were the four or five runners from Dalian, a port city in Northeastern China.

Kitty Hawk Looks to Restore Soundside Shoreline

Overwash from a March storm made Moor Shore Road impassable.
Overwash from a March storm made Moor Shore Road impassable.

Last month a storm blew into the Outer Banks from the west. As Outer Banks storms go, it wasn’t particularly memorable.

The wind blew hard from the west; there was about a half inch of rain and temperatures hovered around 50 degrees.

What the storm did do, though, what push water into Kitty Hawk Bay—that’s what west winds do— and that water overwashed Moor Shore Road, a low-lying street along the water.

Kitty Hawk Bay Overwash

The overwash has become increasingly common.

In a presentation to the Kitty Hawk Town Council earlier this month, Michelle Clower, Coastal Specialist with the North Carolina Coastal Federation noted that NOAA observations indicate the shoreline in along Moor Shore Road is eroding at 1’ per year.

At the presentation, Clower discussed two plans for shoreline restoration.

The simplest plan would restore approximately 400’ of shoreline. The complete plan would encompass 866’ and would restore and protect the shoreline along the entire length of Moor Shore Road from the bridge at the north end of the problem area to the multi-use path on the south end.

Project Details

One of the reasons the Coastal Federation felt the Moor Shore project was particularly important are the many uses of the road.

Although a secondary road that sees little traffic, it is an important part of the bike trails that link Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills as well as being part of the Outer Banks Marathon route. This weekend, it will be part of the Flying Pirate Half Marathon.

The smaller project has a cost of $70,000. The larger project would cost the town about $145,000.

Kitty Hawk Mayor Garry Perry, speaking for the Town Council, felt the larger project was the better choice, noting the longterm cost would be considerably less because of the greater protection it offered.

Perry indicated the Council would examine the issue in its budget workshop in May and see if the moneys could be found in the upcoming budget.

Lost Colony Remains Lost

The signet ring at the heart of the controversy.
The signet ring at the heart of the controversy.

Evidently the Lost Colony is going to remain lost for a bit longer.

According to a Smithsonian Magazine article that was published earlier in April, what archeologists had believed was a significant find has turned out to be…well, not very significant.

The Original Find

In 1998 ECU Archeologist David Phelps found what appeared to be an Elizabethan era signet ring on Hatteras Island. Phelps took the ring to a local jeweler and asked if the metal of the ring could be determined.

Concerned about harm to the ring, Phelps specifically told the jeweler that he did not want the ring damaged in any way.  Because of that some of the basic tests that could be done at that time could not be used.

The jeweler examined the ring, weighed it and told Phelps that, based on his inspection of it, the ring appeared to be gold.

A gold signet ring would have been an important part of the tools the Colonists had wth them. Its finding seemed to confirm theories that the Lost Colony fled south to Hatteras Island where it was known the Indians were friendly to the English.

What We Have Discovered

Unfortunately the ring is not gold.

Using an x-ray fluorescent device that was not available in 1998 a team of ECU scientists examined the ring and it is brass. Unlike the analysis that would have been done in 1998 to confirm the content of the ring, this new technique causes no damage to the artifact.

Since it is not gold, the ring was most likely used for trade with the Indians in the area. When cast from brass, the rings were fairly common and were typically part of a merchant’s bag of tricks.

Although the Lost Colony disappeared around 1587, British exploitation of the East Coast of North America continued. Thirty years after the Lost Colony, disappeared, British traders were well-established with regular contact with Indian tribes.

Easter Egg Hunting Time on the OBX

The Easter Bunnies are revving up their greetings, the weather is looking fantastic for the weekend and there are some great Easter Egg hunts on tap for the kids on the Outer Banks.

We admit it…we’re suckers for watching kids scramble across grassy fields or almost any open space searching for Easter Eggs. There is something so innocent and so fun about seeing the excitement on a child’s face when they find an egg that makes the world seem like a better place.

And there’s a pretty good selection of Easter Egg hunts, or “Eggstravaganzas” as many of them are called on the Outer Banks this weekend. So there’s no excuse for not taking that son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter or yourself to one of the events.

Be sure to check the dates on the events. Some are on Friday the 14th some Saturday and some Sunday.

Have fun, find lots of eggs and take lots of pictures.

23rd Annual Cotton Gin Easter Egg Hunt

Cotton Gin, Jarvisburg

April 16

2:00 p.m.

On the north lawn. Hayrides, the Easter Bunny and 1000s of eggs.

Whalehead Club Egg-Stravaganza

Whalehead Club, Historic Corolla Park

April 14

1pm to 3pm

Little kids (2 & under) at 1:45pm; Older kids (3-5 & 6-8) 2:00pm.  Also, visit with the Easter Bunny, sack races, jellybean counting contest, bean bag toss, bake sale, hot dogs and, much more!

Kitty Hawk Kites Eggstravaganza

Jockey’s Ridge Crossing, Nags Head

Friday, April 14 – Saturday, April 15
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Start the 2017 season off right with Kitty Hawk Kites. Whether you’re visiting for the holiday or “stuck here on purpose,” come out and watch massive 30 – 100 foot kites flying high over Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Across the street from the dunes, take your picture with the Easter Bunny, and let your kids join in the Jockey’s Ridge Crossing egg hun

Easter Eggstravaganza 2017

Elizabethan Gardens, Manteo

April 15

10a.m-1:00 p.m.

Egg spoon races, hat contest, musical acts, dancers, special visit from Sir  Walter “Peter” Wabbit, make and take crafts, egg roll race, find special prize eggs to win: prizes, gift certificates, stuffed animals and more! Hop on over to attend our “Please bring your own Easter Basket for collecting eggs and prizes.”

Greg Hahn Starts Lost Colony Season with Laughter

Greg Hahn performing at the Sound Stage at The Lost Colony.
Greg Hahn performing at the Sound Stage at The Lost Colony.

Greg Hahn is a funny, funny man.

Taking the stage at the 4th Annual Comedy Tonight fundraiser for The Lost Colony, Hahn started off telling the sold out audience that when he asked his agent how to jump start his career, he was told, “You’re going to Manteo on the Outer Banks.”

Greg Hahn-The Act

The words of his act are funny…very funny. But what really sets Hahn apart is his energy. He never stops moving.

His hands wave in the air, he marches across the stage, changing his gait to match a joke, his shoulders slump, his facial expression changes. And all the time, it’s one joke after another after another.

His self-described style? “I go with pure panic.”

His jokes are rapid fire, one right after the other. It’s a lot like the classic line about the weather, “If you don’t like the weather now, wait five minutes.” Except in this case it’s wait five seconds because that’s how fast the jokes are coming.

But in that pure panic of his act, among the jokes fired out like rounds from a machine gun, themes emerge.

He takes on the obsession on fitness many people have.

“What kind of a man takes yoga?” he wonders. “Hey. Back off or I’ll stretch.”

A minute later he’s talking about his personal workout regimen.

“I do four hours on the treadmill. Just don’t turn it on. It’s easier on the knees.”

He also tells stories. His website, mentions that he was a captain in the Marines and that becomes a tale of its own.

It seems the same week he got out of boot camp his sister was getting married and he was asked to seat the guests. “Fired up” after basic training “I accepted this challenge.”

The result was  200 people being told that “I am not your friend” and all 200 sitting in the same row.“

Great stuff, lots of laughs and a good way to begin the season. Opening night for The Lost Colony isMay 21 with performances through August 19.

Greg Hahn Comes to Lost Colony

Greg Hahn brings his comedic mayhem to the Lost Colony stage April 7.
Greg Hahn brings his comedic mayhem to the Lost Colony stage April 7.
Comedian Greg Hahn Brings His Special Madness to Roanoke Island

A little bit of mayhem, a little bit of madness and a lot of laughter comes to the Outer Banks this Friday when Greg Hahn takes the stage at the Soundstage Theater at The Lost Colony on April 7.

Think of an energizer bunny making jokes about his love life, or lack of one. His time in the Marines that was served exclusively during peace time—and how people still expect war stories.Working out at a gym and dreaming of shoulders so broad his head would look like a pea.

It is a show that is pure mayhem. Hahn is loud and his jokes come rapid fire. A classic example of if you didn’t laugh at that joke wait ten seconds because another one is coming.

As part of their fundraising efforts The Lost Colony brings national acts to the Outer Banks. During the summer the shows perform outdoors at the Waterside Theatre, which is where The Lost Colony.

At this time of the year it’s best to be inside. The Soundstage Theater was at one time the storage and dressing rooms for the play.

Last year’s summer performances included the Michael Jackson tribute band Who’s Bad, World Turning-a Fleetwood Mac tribute band and the indie rock band Dawes.

This year’s schedule has not been announced yet.

This is the 80th anniversary of The Lost Colony. First performed in 1937 as a way to bring tourists to the Outer Banks, the enduring legacy of the play includes a number of well-known stars of stage and screen who walked the Waterside Stage early in their careers.

Opening night is May 21 with performances Monday through Saturday through August 19.

Joe Lamb, Jr. is a proud sponsor of The Lost Colony.

Best OBX Restaurants by Category

By a narrow margin, Art's Place in Kitty Hawk gets our nod for best burger.
By a narrow margin, Art’s Place in Kitty Hawk gets our nod for best burger.

A local newspaper—the Virginian Pilot, which is somewhat local—recently wrote an article listing their five favorite Outer Banks restaurants.

It was a good article and the restaurants listed were all very good. Anything chosen in an article like that is, of course, subjective, but it’s hard to find fault with the selections.

The problem, though, is it was a “five best” listing without categorizing anything.

As an example, you would not go to Coastal Provisions to get a good burger. Conversely Art’s Place would not be anyone’s choice for oysters on the half shell.

So, to help the undecided along, we present our Joe Lamb, Jr. best of list by category.

Best Burger

Art’s Place

4624 N Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk

(252) 261-3233

This was a tough one. John’s Drive-in just down the road from Art’s Place is al fresco drive-in food at it’s best. And Mulligans in Nags Head does a great job as well, but there is something about those burgers cooked to order on a flat grill that is special.

Best Oysters

Coastal Provisions

Southern Shores Crossing, Southern Shores

(252) 480-0023

If there is anyone on the Outer Banks who has done a better job of working with local oyster farmers and sourcing oysters from all over the East Coast, we have no idea who that could be. Amazing selection with a real eye for detail.

Best Casual Fine Dining

Saltbox Cafe

1469 Colington Rd, Kill Devil Hills

(252) 255-5594

Another difficult decision, but the attention to fresh food, well-prepared that Randolph Sprinkle brings to his dishes elevates food to art. And his wife, Amanda, is a desert chef, so save room…or go ahead and stuff yourself.

Best Outdoor Cafe

Full Moon Cafe

208 Queen Elizabeth Avenue, Manteo, NC 27954

(252) 473-6666

There are not a lot of outdoor cafes on the Outer Banks. Aqua serves food outdoors with a beautiful view of Currituck Sound. Roadside Bar and Grill in Duck has a wonderful little outdoor seating area. But there is something magical about sitting on a sidewalk on a summer day, sipping a drink and eating a meal. Oh—and the food is very good.

Best Wine Bar


3708 N Croatan Hwy., Kitty Hawk

(252) 261-0277

Other places have a number of wines available by the glass, but no one comes even close to the selection Trio always has on hand. And they always have 24 beers on tap. Great cheese plates to go with everything, too.

Lost Colony to Celebrate 80 Years

Scene from The Lost Colony opening night 2016.
Scene from The Lost Colony opening night 2016.
A Play Worth the Memories

It’s never too early to celebrate success and with the 80 anniversary of The Lost Colony coming this summer, it seems like a good time to call attention to America’s longest running outdoor drama.

Written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Paul Green, the play tells the story of the first attempt by the English to colonize the New World. The story itself is exciting and Green did an outstanding job of telling the tale, but the play has remained successful because it’s production values and special effects.

The list of outstanding actors who have been a part of the cast is too long to list here, but just a short sampling gives some idea of what to expect for an evening of entertainment.

Andy Griffith was part of the cast for three years; Carl Kassel of NPR fame was Chief Wanchese in 1952; Tony Award winning designer William Ivey Long has been associated with the play for years.

Seeing a play outdoors is a different experience. Located on the north end of Roanoke Island there is usually a breeze coming off Roanoke Sound in the evening, although it does get warm sometimes.

However, the setting itself is magnificent. Bordering on Fort Raleigh National Historic Site—the theatre is actually on park grounds—the walk to Waterside Theatre is beautiful. Lined with trees, with the scent of a forest part of the experience, it feels almost as though a walk to the past is occuring.

Upcoming Show to Benefit The Lost Colony

There is a benefit show for the Lost Colony coming up Friday, April 7.

Greg Hahn will be bringing his insanely energetic humor to the Soundstage Theater. The Soundstage Theater used to be the dressing rooms and storage for The Lost Colony production, but improved facilities closer to the stage allowed the building to be converted to an indoor theater.

Hahn is a master a poking fun at the every day foibles of our lives. He seems to be a comedian who knows how to get some laughs with jokes that are safe for almost everyone in the family.

2017 Taste of the Beach Best Yet

A great time and lots to try at the Joe Lamb, Jr. BBQ & Wings Showdown. At the Roosters booth.
A great time and lots to try at the Joe Lamb, Jr. BBQ & Wings Showdown. At the Roosters booth.

Now that was a Taste of the Beach to remember…perfect weather, great food, fun crowds. As the 2017 Outer Banks Taste of the Beach goes into our memory banks, we can look back on it as an example of what happens when things go right.

What Went Right

There’s no doubt that the weather helped this year, but that wasn’t the only reason things went as well as they did.

Sometimes things just seem to fall into place and there’s no clear reason why. 2017 seemed like one of those years.

As writers we tend to focus on the big events—The Joe Lamb, Jr. BBQ & Wings Showdown, the Chowder Cook-off or the Grand Tasting & Bartenders Bubbly Bash that wraps things up on Sunday.

The Events
The Chowder Cook-off winner, Stripers.
The Chowder Cook-off winner, Stripers.

In many ways, that’s out of necessity. There are so many great events happening during the Outer Banks Taste of the Week that reporting on all of them—or even a small percent of them—just isn’t possible.

The folks at Sanctuary Vineyards at the Cotton Gin in Jarvisburg always have some great events and this year they added a wine pairing at their new restaurant Thyme & Tide Cafe.

Trio in Kitty Hawk is always a blast with their wine and beer pairings; Wes Stepp at Red Sky had a session talking about his Tastefully Fit. The list goes on and on, but from a writer’s standpoint the best way to give a real feel for what the event is like, is to go to the majors events where 15 or 18 chefs are on hand.

We already talked about the  Joe Lamb, Jr. BBQ & Wings Showdown—amazing pork, ribs and wings. We know we ate too much but that was just a warmup for the Chowder Cook-off at Southern Shores Crossing.

A record crowd was on hand and a record number of restaurants. Big kudos to the Taste of the Beach staff for having it so well organized.

The big winner was Stripers with their Corn and Clam Chowder that was the Judge’s and People’s Choice winner. It was excellent, but there were some other ones there that were a very close second.

At the Coastal Cravings table. Coastal Cravings won the Judge's Choice for their Rockfish Ceviche Taco.
At the Coastal Cravings table. Coastal Cravings won the Judge’s Choice for their Rockfish Ceviche Taco.

The Grand Tasting & Bartenders Bubbly Bash at Port O’ Call has become a great way to wrap things up. The chefs pull out all of the stops on their creations, the champagne cocktails are innovative and delicious. What is particularly nice is the organizers made the decisions to divide the day into two sessions. In the past, with one session, at times there wasn’t enough room to move your hand to your mouth to taste the food.

The Grand Tasting is a lot of food to eat—but at least it’s uniformly excellent.

The Judge’s and People’s Choice really seemed to be spot on. The Ceviche rockfish tacos that the Judges liked was perfectly balanced between the mildness of fresh local rockfish and the tartness of the citrus for the ceviche.

The People’s Choice was the Jolly Roger crab cake. Someone commented earlier in the day that it would be nice to have a basic good old fashioned dish. That’s what the crab cakes were.

By all means, look for the Outer Banks 2018 Taste of the Beach next year. It’s four days well spent and the extra time on the exercise bike is worth every moment.

BBQ & Wings-A Joe Lamb, Jr. Favorite Event

Serving up BBQ, ribs and wings at the 2017 Joe Lamb, Jr. BBQ & Wings Showdown.
Serving up BBQ, ribs and wings at the 2017 Joe Lamb, Jr. BBQ & Wings Showdown.

Our Joe Lamb, Jr. BBQ & Wings has the distinction of being our favorite event in the Taste of the Beach, one of our favorite Outer Banks happenings.

Near perfect weather greeted everyone at the Showdown.
Near perfect weather greeted everyone at the Showdown.

Yes the Chowder Cook-off is a lot of fun and the Grand Tasting puts some of the finest chefs anywhere together in one room, but it’s hard to imagine anything more quintessentially North Carolina that barbecue and wings.

And this year the weather gods really smiled on us.

It as nice, too, because the everyone who showed up could take their ribs, barbecue and wings out to the picnic area we had set up and enjoy a perfect Outer Banks spring day.

With Jonny Waters & Company back for a third year pushing out some great country and blues tunes, this seemed about as close to perfection as it gets.

Jonny Waters on drums beating out the rhythm to Santana's “Oye Coma Va."
Jonny Waters on drums beating out the rhythm to Santana’s “Oye Coma Va.”

We’re always cautious about reviewing the food we’re sampling except to say it was all wonderful. That, of course, is the safe way to go—we might think the sliders at Blue Water Grill were the best, but not everyone would agree.

The judges picked Pamlico Jack’s as the best pork BBQ and the People’s Choice award went to Frogman’s BBQ.

The one selection that we agree with and seemed to be fairly universal were the ribs from Simply Southern, just across the Wright Brothers Bridge in Currituck. Big, juicy, succulent smoked ribs. Fantastic.

We had a lot of fun, but it is a lot of work and our Joe Lamb, Jr. crew really stepped up. We also could not have done this with out the help of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau who sponsored the event with us.

A tough job, but someone has to do it. At the judge's table.
A tough job, but someone has to do it. At the judge’s table.

Judges Award for Best Pork BBQ – Pamlico Jack’s

Judges Award for Best Ribs – Simply Southern Kitchen

Judges Award for Best Wings – Cafe Lachine

People’s Choice Award for Best BBQ – Frogman’s BBQ

People’s Choice Award for Best Ribs – Simply Southern Kitchen

People’s Choice Award fir Best Wings – New York Pizza Pub