Residents of Dare County and its six towns are reminded that there are different policies governing the disposal of Christmas trees as the holidays draw to a close. Before the tree may be discarded, all ornaments, lights, ribbons, and decorations must be removed.
In the past years, there have been different volunteers and businesses that have stepped up and helped collect trees for beach nourishment events in the Outer Banks. With a bigger Beach Nourishment project in the works for 2022 in the Nags Head, NC area it is uncertain if these volunteers will be participating again this year.
If you are uncertain of what to do with your real Christmas trees this year please contact the town government office where you live to ask about collection dates and times in your area. You can find some phone numbers below to help expedite your search now.
Town of Duck: 252-255-1234
Town of Kill Devil Hills: 252-480-4080
Town of Kitty Hawk: 252-261-1367
Town of Manteo: 252-473-4104
Town of Nags Head: 252-441-1122
Town of Southern Shores: 252-261-2394
Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates advises you to recycle your Christmas trees, as repurposing them will make a long-term effect on the OBX for future beach vacation enjoyment.
Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates is one of the most trusted vacation rental managers in the local area by growing into a market leader in the Vacation Rental and Sales Industry. Joe Lamb Jr. and his family have played a vital and intricate role in the Outer Banks Community for decades.
Over the past 50+ years, Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates have worked diligently to help promote the Outer Banks for the amazing beach and family vacation destination that it is, helping to increase tourism in the area and grow our beautiful community.
There is energy production in the Outer Banks future. Clean energy, actually. Not oil, but a known resource just waiting to be exploited.
It’s wind energy. Twenty-seven miles off the coast of the northern Outer Banks there is an area called the Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area (WEA).
Looking at it on a map, it doesn’t look all that large. Look at the statistics and its massive—122,405 acre (191 sq. miles). It is not its size that is drawing attention, however. It is the potential that it holds. The numbers are still theoretical, but there should be enough wind energy in the WEA to power between 500,000 and 700,000 homes.
No other WEA on the East Coast can match that. In fact, if fully developed it would be one of the largest in the world.
The journey from being identified as a WEA to energy production is a long and complicated journey though, and the first steps in what will be a multi-year process have just happened.
Because the Kitty Hawk WEA is outside the waters North Carolina controls, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) controls how it will be developed and who will develop it.
To their credit, BOEM worked closely with North Carolina in determining where the WEA was placed. As an example, one reason the eastern boundary of the site is 27 miles from shore is because of concerns about how people would react seeing turbines spinning in the wind during their stay on the Outer Banks.
After establishing the WEA, BOEM puts the site out for a lease bid. That was in 2016 and there was a lot of interest from some of the biggest names in wind energy.
The winning bid went to Avangrid Renewables for a little bit more than $9 million in March of 2019.
Avangrid has not yet begun developing the area, although they are doing extensive survey work to determine the best placement for turbines and the specific areas of strongest and most consistent winds.
A subsidiary of a large Spanish energy firm, Avangrid already has a footprint in northeastern North Carolina. In partnership with Amazon, they developed a 208 MW wind farm in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties outside of Elizabeth City.
Will there be energy generated from the Kitty Hawk WEA? At some point probably; the potential is simply too great to not develop.
But under the best of circumstances, if everything comest together perfectly, it will be five, and more likely six years before the first kilowatt of power flows from the Atlantic Ocean to the shore.
When the first Environmental Assessment of the Kitty Hawk WEA was announced in 2012, there were no offshore wind farms in US waters. In 2016 the first, and still only, offshore wind farm off Block Island, Rhode Island began generating energy. A little less than five miles offshore, the site consists of five turbines generating 6MW of energy, enough to power Block Island which had been dependent on diesel generators.
Avangrid does not yet have a buyer for the energy Kitty Hawk would produce, but a number of factors make the project very attractive.
The price of wind energy had dropped significantly since Block Island came on line. Block Island is producing energy at $.25/kwh. The national average is a little over $.13/kwh making that project very expensive. But the cost of producing offshore wind energy has plummeted, and is now under $.10/kwh, significantly less than the national average.
Bringing the Cost Down
There are a number of reasons for that. The cost of construction has fallen as more is learned about how to build the platforms for the turbines. There has been remarkable improvements in the durability of the turbines, lowering maintenance and replacement costs.
The biggest improvement, though, has been in blade design. Four or five years ago, turbine blades were 250’ and capable of generating 7MW. The latest generation are 350’ and are capable of generating 12MW of energy. They will also operate in lower winds.
For the Kitty Hawk WEA to come on line there are still a number of significant hurdles to leap. There are going to be environmental hearings on the siting of the platforms. Bringing the energy to shore may be the biggest engineering problem to address. The nearest location that could handle the amount of expected energy is in Virginia Beach,70 miles from the WEA.
It does seem as though the stars are aligning, although it may be another five, six or maybe even seven years. But wind energy from the Outer Banks seems likely.
If all goes as planned, sometime next year, probably close to summer, the Jug Handle Bridge that will by pass the S Curves just north of Rodanthe will have its ribbon cutting.
The S Curves, just north of Rodanthe, is one of the most dynamic areas of Pea Island.
There have been one or two glitches along the way, but fur the most part the project is pretty close to being on schedule.
The two biggest glitches were Hurricane Dorian. That’s a weather glitch and weather is by far the biggest concern of project managers.
The other glitch was a problem with the concrete pilings that will support the bridge.
The problem has been corrected, by back in December inspectors noticed minute cracks were developing in the pilings. Luckily the problem was noticed quickly, although one of the defective pilings had been driven. That piling has been removed—a very difficult process.
The bridge is being built from the north and south simultaneously. It was on the north end that the defective pilings effected. As a consequence, the north end is running a little behind the south end that is coming from Rodanthe.
The process of building the bridge is remarkable for how straightforward the process is, yet how critical each component is coordinated.
Because the bridge is designed to have a 100 year lifespan, the pilings have to be driven deep beneath the waters of the Pamlico Sound. The pilings for the main part of the bridge are 155’ long and since the bridge will be about 25’ above the surface of the water, the pilings are being driven 130’.
The cranes and gantries the handle the pilings were custom built in Italy and watching them place the pilings is like witnessing a very slow moving dance of remarkable intricacy.
We’ll file more reports on the progress of the Jug Handle Bridge from time to time as it continues it trek across the Pamlico Sound.
There is always something interesting happening on the Outer Banks. Book your stay with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates and discover what life on a sandbar is all about.
It’s such a simple idea it’s amazing that it works. After the holidays are done and all the trimmings come off the Christmas tree, create a new purpose for it. Place it at the base of a sand dune and let nature take its course.
Here on the Outer Banks it’s become sort of an annual rite of passage.
The idea came from a project at Jockey’s Ridge State Park where some middle school students and Boy Scouts were laying out Christmas trees to capture sand and rebuild the dune.
it was just a natural progression for someone to figure, “Hey, if it works at Jockey’s Ridge, why wouldn’t it work on the beach?”
And the answer is, it does, and it does very well.
The first to start gathering trees was Betsy Seawell, owner of the Islander Motel in Nags Head. That was in 2009 right after Nor’Ida carved away the dune in front of her motel.
Pretty soon she was, as she describes herself, the Crazy Christmas Tree Lady, going up and down the Outer Banks collecting trees wherever she could find them.
About 2013 Donny King, owner of Ocean Boulevard in Kitty Hawk had some ocean got in the game, although at the time he did not know about Betsy’s efforts. After Sandy passed and he saw that although the dunes were damaged they still kept the sea out of his restaurant, he figured a little help for the dunes was in order.
Donny knows a lot of people and he’s pretty savvy about media, so his efforts really took off.
H’s expanded his efforts now, doing a Better Beaches OBX that includes sand fencing, plants and of course, Christmas trees.
2020 may be the biggest year yet for Christmas trees. Trees can still be dropped off at Betsy’s motel, but the big shipment will be the 25 plus trucks loaded with trees that Donny has arranged to bring from Virginia Beach.
It’s been an interesting week here on the Outer Banks. Right now there’s the first of the true nor’easters of the season moving in and it looks as though it’s going to be a heck of a storm.
A great white shark pinged fairly far west of Oregon Inlet.
But we’ll start with the coolest story of all—the sea cows.
Ok, they’re just cows, but given how remarkable their story of survival is, maybe sea cow is the right word.
When the 8’ mini-tsunami swept across Cedar Island, it took with it a lot of feral and wild animals, including 28 horses and most of a herd of wild cattle that live on the island.
There was little hope that any of the animals would or could survive. The horses didn’t. And the thought was the cattle didn’t either. And most probably didn’t.
But earlier this week, just south of Portsmouth Island on the norther end of the Core Banks one of the wild herd was spotted. And when park personnel went to investigate—it’s on NPS property—two more were discovered, munching away on sea oats and sea grass.
The NPS is planning on sedating them and returning them to Cedar Island. The barrier islands of Core Banks are very unstable.
The Shark. Cabot the Shark.
It seems Cabot, at 533 pound male great white shark that has been tagged, pinged pretty far west of Oregon Inlet. Actually he was a couple of miles into the Pamlico River.
There’s a couple of things about Cabot being where he was that is a bit odd.
He’s really active and moving very quickly. On Wednesday evening he pinged in the ocean east of Duck. By yesterday evening he was in the Pamlico River. To reassure anyone who is concerned about an encounter with Cabot, his last ping was this evening (Friday) east of Avon.
Most odd though, great white’s very rarely venture into fresh water, and that far west of Oregon Inlet, the water is fresh. They need salt water for their survival, so there’s probably a good reason why Cabot didn’t stay in Pamlico Sound very long.
And then there’s the nor’easter. The winds are picking up pretty well, and it looks as though we’ll have some overwash in areas prone to it.
Should be interesting.
But then it’s always interesting on the Outer Banks. Plan your stay with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates and see for yourself how interesting the Outer Banks really are.
The original Cotton Gin on the Currituck Mainland has been so much a part of Outer Banks life that it’s hard to imagine what it will be like without it. After Saturday’s blaze the left only charred remains of the store, we’ll have to face that reality.
We don’t know yet what caused it or why it burned fro eight hours and the Currituck Fire Departments were unable to put the blaze out.
We can hope the Wright family who own the Cotton Gin will be willing to and have the resources to rebuild it.
But we don’t know any of that right now.
All we know right now is that one of the most remarkable and wonderful stores ever is gone.
Wandering through the Cotton Gin was like walking through an attic that was a combination rambling old mansion and barn. There was a randomness about how it all came together that made exploring the many rooms—none of them very large—the type of activity that could keep anyone, man, woman, child, occupied for hours.
The product selection was, well, different. In a wonderful individualistic way. That the store was successful was obvious. Why it was successful —that’s a bigger question.
In the world of retail that now exists, the Cotton Gin is exhibit A that most of the experts don’t know what they’re talking about.
This is not, or was not in this case, an example of a slickly merchandised store. Just the opposite. Instead there was a beautiful charm that it exhibited was founded on not being perfectly organized.
It absolutely would not work in almost any other store or setting. But for the Cotton Gin it was perfect.
There are three Cotton Gin stores still in existence—Corolla, Nags Head and Duck. They are very nice store; Corolla comes closest to the original. But nothing will ever quite match the original Cotton Gin.
Hurricane Dorian is gone, thank goodness, and the cleanup is going very well. The northern Outer Banks completely opened to visitors this afternoon and hopefully Hatteras Island will follow suit in a few days.
Ocracoke, though, is going to take a while to cleanup and get ready for visitors. Initial reports seem to indicate there was record flooding from the storm surge. That much water, about 8’, does a lot of damage and the mess that has to be cleaned is time consuming and kind of yucky.
The northern Outer Banks got off pretty easily. There was some damage, but nothing catastrophic, unless of course, a tree is resting on your roof. There was, thankfully, very little of that.
There was some damage though.
Both the Avalon Pier and Nags Head Pier lost part of the pier. It appears to be about last ten yards in both cases. Avalon Pier has already said they are going to rebuild. We haven’t heard anything from Nags Head Pier yet, but it’s a really popular fishing site, so hopefully they will also be rebuilding.
Dominion Power is getting high marks for getting power restored as quickly as they have. One of their most remarkable feats has been replacing every power pole along the Causeway between Nags Head and Manteo.
Every pole was taken out. Some were shattered like matchsticks, others leaned almost to the ground. Not count on how many poles there are, but there were a lot there.
Mostly, though, life is pretty much getting back to normal now that Hurricane Dorian has passed.
The ESAs are this coming week beginning on the 15th. Held at Jennette’s Pier, it’s the largest amateur surfing competition on the East Coast and one of the largest anywhere.
We’re back to almost normal on the Outer Banks. See for yourself how special life on a sandbar is a when you reserve your Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates home.
Under the heading of “Local Lad Does Good” we present Peanut Butter Falcon.
Co-written and co-directed by Tyler Nilson who was raised on Colington Island with Mark Schwartz, Peanut Butter Falcon tells a wonderful story of family, love and the human spirit.
The Outer Banks premier was this weekend and we had a chance to see the film. The reviews of the film have been remarkably positive and after seeing it, there is no doubt about why the national press has been so good.
Zak is a 22 year-old with Down Syndrome. His family will not care for him and he is a ward of the state, housed in a senior citizen home. Played to Zack Gottsagen, who is an actor who has Down Syndrome has the role of Zak and he is fantastice. The story focuses on relationship with Tyler (Shia LaBoeuf), a troubled character with his own demons.
Although filmed in Georgia, there are repeated references to the Outer Banks. Kind of fun from a local perspective.
But whether it references the Outer Banks, Georgia, Florida, or any other place, the reason to see this film is because of how good it is.
This is a heartwarming, incredibly uplifting tale of what it means to run toward something instead of running away from something.
Zak wants two things in life–his freedom and to be a professional wrestler. His goal is to take lessons from his hero, Salt Water Redneck. He knows about Redneck from an old VHS tape he plays over and over, much to the dismay of his roommate, Bruce Dern.
After repeated attempts to escape, bars are fitted into his window, but Dern pries them open with sheets, explaining that at one time he was an engineer. Covered in soap, Zak squirts to freedom wearing nothing but his underwear.
Hiding under a tarp in Tyler’s boat, he and Tyler find themselves on the run together.
Zak is pursued by Dakota Johnson, his caretaker at the facility. Tyler is being chased by a pair of brothers who are pretty ticked off that he torched their crab pots. There was a reason for the act, although justification seems a bit hard to come by.
The journey the two take becomes a voyage of discovery as the two deal with their personal demons and learn to focus on what can be accomplished.
It is a great movie. Be sure to see it.
Check out Peanut Butter Falcon then come to the Outer Banks and see if you can find all the references. Stay at a Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates home while doing that. The experience will be even better.
The kids are about to head back to school and just in time for their return to the classroom we got some great news about out schools. Niche, a research company that evaluates places to live, schools, neighborhoods and the workplace ranked Dare County Schools sixth in North Carolina.
For those of us who live here and have kids in the school system or maybe someone who works with the schools, that ranking is a great validation. There is a lot of support for local schools, and to have a national organization recognize the quality of education our kids are getting is a real feather in our caps.
It is important to note that the Niche ranking is separate from the rankings done by the North Carolina Department of Education.
What’s interesting the Niche evaluation is how inclusive it is, looking at a number of factors, not just test scores and dropout rates that are the traditional ways of evaluating a school’s performance.
The scoring system does place a lot of emphasis on academics, which it should, but other factors are also included.
The Niche system evaluates teachers as well as academics. In the scoring Dare County Schools received an A- in academics but local teachers received an A.
The teacher grade includes ongoing instruction and advanced degrees. Much of what the teachers have accomplished is because of their initiative, but there is also a lot of support locally that includes grants for teacher training.
In any discussion of community support for local schools, the Dare Education Foundation has to be part of the mix. One of the most important functions of the DEF is providing affordable housing to teachers at their apartment complexes in Kill Devil Hills and Hatteras Island. It has been an invaluable tool in recruitment.
DEF also is also provides classroom grants and funds for teacher training.
So, yes. We’re proud of our schools and the support we give them.
As moves go, Jubilee Music Store in Kill Devil Hills, the distance was not far. But when it comes to what the new store looks like and what it has to offer—well, that’s a completely different story.
The old location was kind of crammed into the a store on at the end of plaza. It gave the store a kind of an old-fashioned pre-slick looking retail feel to it. Which was great, perhaps, for ambiance but wow were things packed in there.
The move to where Mom’s Sweet Shop used to be was not very far at all. Both stores were in Seagate north and the moving consisted of loading guitars, mandolins, a few trumpet and just about every other instrument imaginable onto carts and wheeling it about 40’ or 50’.
The change, though, to what the new location offers is monumental.
Suddenly everything is on display and seeing how much is still hanging from all the walls and how filled the store is that is actually slightly more than twice as big, it gives pause to wonder how everything ever fit in the old store.
Jubilee Music is a musician’s dream store. Owner Ronnie Swaim encourages shoppers to pick up instruments and try them out. He seems to believe—quite correctly—that the best way to sell a guitar is for someone play it.
Good news about the old location. The Mustang Outreach Program will be using it for their studios. The Mustang Program works with young musicians (eight years and up) to hone their performance skills. Under the direction of Ruth Wyand, the program has been tremendously successful.
Mom’s Sweet Shop seems to have hit a bit of a snag in getting their new store ready for the season just north of Seagate. They’re taking over what was the Kitty Hawk Duck Village Outfitters. Workers are there every day, so they’ll probably be open soon.