Dancing the Day Away at the Carpe DM Marathon

Carpe DM–A Dance Marathon for a Good Cause

The 2nd Annual Carpe DM Dance Marathon is just around the corner. This Sunday, November 5 at Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern in Nags Head, the chance to dance ’til your feet fall off is just waiting to for the right hoofer.

The Carpe DM is a fundraiser for GEM Services. The organization provides day services for adults suffering from memory loss.

If last year’s event is any predictor—and we’re confident it is—the 2017 version should be a blast. Music from the Riff Tides is always a good time. The music is straight from the late 1950s to mid 1960s—ie. it’s du whop music and the Riff Tides do it to perfection.

It’s all about the dance, of course, and that’s where it gets interesting. Individuals, teams, partners…anyone who pays the fee and wants to dance can get on the waxed dance floor of Kelly’s and try their luck.

The object is to be the last dancer dancing. It’s sort of like the movie “They Shoot Horses Don’t They” without the angst, depression and rage. Actually, it’s really fun…at least that’s what the contestants reported last year.

GEMm Adult Day Services has become an important part of helping local individuals and families coping with memory loss. Through education, programs and support the organization has been invaluable in bringing awareness to the issues surrounding dementia, including information on treatment and care options as well as helping families find ways to cope with the stress of caring for a loved one.

This may be a last dance at Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern. Mike Kelly will be closing his signature restaurant at the end of the month. The 4.9 acres that is home to the building is being sold to Lidl, a discount grocery store headquartered in Germany.

Kelly’s other restaurants, Pamlico Jack’s in Nags Head and Mako Mike’s in Kill Devil Hills will remain open. Kelly’s Catering Services will also continue to serve customers.

Manteo Is the Place to Be This Weekend

With Dare Days and First Friday on tap, Manteo is the place to be this weekend. Making it even better, the Outer Banks weather is looking great for Friday and Saturday.

First Friday

First Friday is the Manteo celebration of small town life the first Friday of the month from April through October. What makes the June First Friday special is it’s the first one of the summer.

Centered around the Dare County Arts Council Gallery, that used to be the County Courthouse, First Friday includes live music on the steps and inside a featured artist every month.

First Friday, though spreads out across the downtown waterfront area of the town, with live music from two or three other venues, food prepared from carts on the street and shops open late.

Dare Days

Dare Days, though, is certainly the highlight of the weekend.

This is the 42nd Annual Dare Days and it has become a wonderful celebration of Dare County and its culture.

A family oriented day, there are street vendors out serving food, lots of game and great live music.

The games are imaginative and look to be fun.

There is the Blue Ribbon Competition, a cooking contest with contestants in age groups 6-12, 13-17 and adults. And what are they preparing: Cookies, Breads, Pies, Candy, Cakes, Pickles, Jelly, Jam and Preserves, and Salsa and Relish. In other words, a little bit of everything.

There is also an “Everything That Floats but a Boat Race,” a Kid’s zone and, more.

There are two stages set up for live music, and looking over the lineup…it’s pretty impressive. The Original Rondells bring amazing vocals to the stage; Jonny Waters will be on hand with his tight rocking country rock arrangements. Also a new band that’s getting a lot of recognition, The Ramble will be playing.

Arts and craft booths will line the streets, music always playing, lots for kids to do…it should be a great day.

A Mostly Good 2016 Year in Review

2017-a mostly good year.
2016-a mostly good year.

2016 was certainly an interesting year. Most of it was really positive and and there is not doubt the Outer Banks is still the best place anywhere for a family vacation.

Some of the headlines, though, were not as pleasant as others, and a lot of those unpleasant headlines were all about the weather.

From cold-stunned turtles in January to the surprise visit from a powerful Hurricane Matthew, the weather was in the headlines on the Outer Banks.

Still, it was a good year on the Outer Bank. Here are some of the highlights…and yes, the lowlights of the weather.

Replacement for Bonner Bridge Breaks Ground
Ground breaking for the Bonner Bridge.
Ground breaking for the Bonner Bridge.

Long overdue, but at long last the replacement span for the Bonner Bridge is finally moving forward. Here’s what we wrote:

“Three years from now and a few hundred million dollars later, a replacement span for the Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet will finally be in place. Today marked the official beginning of the process as politicians came from Raleigh and Washington, DC to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new bridge.”

100th Anniversary of the National Park Service-New Citizens Welcomed
Receiving the certificate of citizenship.
Receiving the certificate of citizenship.

With such a large presence on the Outer Banks, the centennial of the National Park Service was important. There were a number of special events in conjunction with the celebration, none more compelling than a swearing in ceremony for new citizens.

“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.”

Roanoke Island Aquarium Gets a Facelift
Extensive renovations at the Roanoke Island Aquarium have left the otter exhibit alone.
Extensive renovations at the Roanoke Island Aquarium have left the otter exhibit alone.

Delayed a year to get the budget for renovations in shape, the payoff was a spectacular result.

“After a false start and a couple of construction delays, the renovation of the Roanoke Island Aquarium–the Outer Banks only aquarium–is almost complete. It’s open now and even though a couple of the exhibits aren’t quite ready yet, what there is a really exciting.”

The Weather

The weather for 2016 can easily summed up. When it was good it was very good. When it was bad, it was very bad

Cold Stunned Turtles Early January

loggerhead turtle
Cold Stunned Loggerhead at Roanoke Island STAR Center

“The STAR Center at the Roanoke Island Aquarium was designed as a care facility for injured and sick sea turtles, but never anything on this level. The problem, according to Christine Legner who oversees the facility, with all the warm weather, the turtles “ . . . just didn’t get the cue to leave.”

Tropical Storm Hermine

“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.”

Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew was an unwelcome and unpleasant surprise. We knew it was going to rain a lot; we knew the winds were going to be strong, but the Outer Banks seemed to get more than expected.

Fall in love with Halloween on the OBX


Fall on the OBX is filled with many family friendly fun events.
Make sure you don’t miss out on all the kid-friendly activities that the Outer Banks offers. One fall favorite you can’t miss is the pumpkin patch at Island Farms. Grab yourself a Charlie Brown worthy GREAT pumpkin! Don’t forget get to carve it & set it out on Hallows Eve to light the way for trick or treaters!

If you aren’t sure which neighborhoods welcome trick or treaters stop by the annual OBX Halloween parade on Sunday the 30th at 2pm, enter a costume contest, get candy, enjoy a pumpkin contest and more kid-friendly activities

For the thrill seeker in the group, stop by Wanchese Woods at dusk and walk through the EXTREMELY terrifying haunted house for just $15 dollars a person. Calm your nerves afterwards at the Jolly Roger’s Scaryoke event beginning at 10pm all weekend!

We saved the best for last, we can’t forget about one of the Outer Banks most fruitful offerings during the fall which is the oysters!! This is the perfect time of year to enjoy oysters, stop by the Oystoberfest at Ocean Blvd in Kitty Hawk or buy a ticket for the Oink and Oyster roast presented by the First Flight Rotary Club of Kill Devil Hills and located at Longboards Island Grill in Kitty Hawk but don’t be distressed if you couldn’t make it to either of these events. The Outer Banks will be serving up oysters all throughout the fall just the way you likem’, stop by any of our local seafood restaurants and enjoy a bushel on the half shell today, you will not be disappointed!

Let’s sendoff October with a celebration and start off November the right way.
Find out more about our Fall events here: http://www.joelambjr.com/events


OBX Matthew News-This Weekend and Beyond

Hurricane Matthew should be long gone by next weekend when the Outer Banks Seafood Festival takes center stage.
Hurricane Matthew should be long gone by next weekend when the Outer Banks Seafood Festival takes center stage.

Even though it looks as though Hurricane Matthew is going to pass well to the south of the Outer Banks as it heads out to sea, we’re still feeling some of the effects of the storm. Nothing at all like Florida is experiencing—and Georgia and South Carolina after that, and we really hope coastal residents in those areas are staying safe and out of the way of the wind and surging seas.

One of the characteristics of tropical systems is they pump a lot of moisture into the atmosphere. That moisture is coming down locally in the form of rain and a lot of it…6-8” on Saturday into Sunday.

That rain—and it’s going to be windy too—means two of the best music festivals around had to be canceled. The Mustang Music Festival and the 10th Annual Duck Jazz Festival will not be happening this year.

A piece of good news: The 24th Annual Parade of Homes is going forward, and talking to some of the builders today, it looks as though the turn out was pretty good.

The ocean is certainly stirred up right now, and there has been some overwash; the Beach Road around the Black Pelican is closed and NCDOT crews are working to hold the ocean back, piling sand on the dune line as quickly as they can.

If this weekend seems too wet, think about visiting us next Saturday for the Outer Banks Seafood Festival. The early read is the weather looks great.

For some great information about local effects of Hurricane Matthew, check out the National Weather Service briefing: http://www.weather.gov/media/mhx/LatestBriefing.pdf

OBX October Events Fill the Month


October is suddenly upon us and there is so much to do that we can’t even list it all. We’ve gone through the Event Calendars for the month and featured what we think are some of the best Outer Banks events, but check around, we may have missed some.

There is so much to do this October that it’s difficult to make any recommendations, but a few highlights do stand out.

Columbus Day Weekend may be the musical highlight of the Outer Banks year—there’s the Mustang Music Festival, the 10th Annual Duck Jazz Festival and Shana Tucker will be at First Flight High School courtesy of the Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts.

One of the best seafood festivals around has got to be the Outer Banks Seafood Festival October 15 at the Outer Banks Event Site in Nags Head.

Speaking of seafood festivals, a new one just showed up this year. Oystoberfest at Southern Shores Crossing looks to be a blast. Organized by Dan Lewis and the folks at Coastal Provisions, it should be a lot like their annual Chowder Cookoff—which means a lot of fun and some great oysters.


Island Farm’s Pumpkin Patch

Island Farm, Roanoke Island

October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

Includes an ox-drawn wagon ride to the farm’s pumpkin patch. Activities include make your own corn husk doll, candle making, children’s 19th-century toys and games, stuff a scarecrow, scarecrow photo booth for taking photos, and interacting with the farms animals.

Jim Mulford Memorial Red Drum Tournament

Jennette’s Pier

October 1

Open to all ages, costs $15 adults; $8 children 12 and under. Door prizes, giveaways and awards for winners. Register online today or sign-up the morning of the event.

Nags Head Elementary School’s Great Pumpkin Fair And Fun Run

Nags Head Elementary School

October 1

Hundreds of pumpkins and fall decorating items including mums, gourds and corn stalks. Games and activities for kids. Stay for lunch with food from Mulligan’s and Tubb’s Hot Dogs plus treats from Island Snowball and a bake sale.

Outer Banks Parade Of Homes

Nags Head to Corolla

October 6- 9

From dream homes to vacations getaways, the finest Outer Banks builders.

2nd Annual “Inshore Slam” Fishing Tournament

Manteo Waterfront

October 7-8

Tournament will be held on the Manteo waterfront, with docking available, at the Maritime Museum.

Mustang Music Festival

Whalehead Club, Corolla

October 7-8

One of the finest music festivals around. Proceeds benefit the Corolla Wild Horse Fund.

Shana Tucker

First Flight High School, Kill Devil Hills

October 8

Relish the stunning sounds of this award-winning singer-songwriter and cellist who credits her genre-bending ChamberSoul journey to the influences of her jazz and classical roots, interwoven with 80s and 90s pop music movie tracks and world music. Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts.

Live Jam At The Blue Point

Town of Duck

October 8

Enjoy live jazz along the sound, and catch festival musicians participating in an informal jam at the Blue Point.

Oink N’ Oyster Roast

Longboards Restaurant, Kitty Hawk

October 8

Fresh oysters, homemade BBQ, crabs. There’s beer, tea (sweet and not), and water. All included in your ticket! Music from the First Flight High School Band!  Tickets may be purchased from any First Flight Rotary Club member or First Flight High School Band member or online. $25

Saturday Evening Community Concert On The Green With Frank Vignola

Town of Duck

October 8

Join us for a new event on the Duck Town Green, on Saturday evening as we kick-off the 10th Annual Duck Jazz Festival.


10th Annual Duck Jazz Festival

Town of Duck

October 9

Free live music from azz performers at day-long festival. Attendees are welcome to bring chairs, food, coolers, blankets, and pets.

Outer Banks Seafood Festival

Outer Banks Event Site, Nags Head

October 15

Festival offers opportunities to meet watermen and see the tools of their trade. Cooking demonstrations, educational booths and, best of all, the chance to eat fresh, local seafood from more than a dozen restaurants.

31st Annual Outer Banks Stunt Kite Competition

Sounside Event Site, Nags Head

October 22-23

A regional event that showcases world-class stunt kiting skills. OBSKC will be sharing the stage with the OBX Brewtag in 2016.

Dare County Arts Council’s Emerald Elegance Gala

Pirate’s Cove Pavilion, Manteo

October 22

The Emerald Elegance Gala will feature exquisite cuisine by Black Pelican Catering, spectacular décor designed by Holiday House, cocktails, a silent auction full of art and exclusive packages from local businesses and a wine lottery that will entice wine connoisseurs of all tastes. Sponsored by the DCAC.


Outer Banks Brewtäg

The Soundside Event Site, Nags Head

October 22

Brewtäg contestants will be competing to see who can launch and fly an empty 1/6 keg barrel the furthest.

Harvest HayDay

Elizabethan Gardens, Manteo

October 29

Event combines all the colors, flavors and fun of fall. Whether it is the hayride or hale bale maze, we have families that look forward to this event all year.

Oystoberfest 2016

Southern Shores Shopping Center, Southern Shores

October 29

Local and regional oyster farmers will be on hand shucking raw oysters for your eating pleasure, along with about a half dozen Outer Banks restaurants offering their individual oyster dish samples. Buy tickets online only. Event also to benefit the North Carolina Coastal Federation.

The Beer Witch Project

The Outer Banks Brewing Station, Kill Devil Hills

October 29

Zombies, witches, ghouls and maybe even a naughty vampire nurse serving your drinks.  Live DJ and admission to a legendary backyard party following the event included.

3rd Annual Outer Banks Halloween Parade of Costumes

Kelly’s Outer Banks Restaurant & Tavern, Nags Head

October 30

Trick or treat stations, surprise guest appearances, celebrity photo ops, live entertainment & much more. An unbelievable collection of prizes for the best costumes.

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., & Associates 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.

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.

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.