Fire Destroys the Original Cotton Gin

Fire destroyed the Cotton Gin in Jarvisburg.
Fire destroyed the Cotton Gin in Jarvisburg.

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.

Hot Music, Hot Night for Midsummer Meltdown

People's Blues of Richmond at Mike Dianna's Grill Room, Corolla during the Midsummer Meltdown on Sunday.
People’s Blues of Richmond at Mike Dianna’s Grill Room, Corolla during the Midsummer Meltdown on Sunday.

It was hot, it has humid and, yes, maybe there was a bit of a melt down but the Mid Summer Meltdown in Corolla was one heck of a show.

The headliner was the People’s Blues of Richmond. This is probably the third time we’ve seen them thanks to Bearded Face Productions who keep bringing them back to the Outer Banks.

The important thing to know about PBR, though, is they seem to just keep getting better and better. The group is a trio with Tim Beavers on guitar, Matthew Volkes on bass and Nekoro Williams, drums. But their music is so full, so complex that it’s sometimes  where it’s hard to imagine there’s only three of them.

They played some of their newest material, and it’s really interesting stuff. Still based on the blues, but they’re clearly seeing how far they can take their sound. This is really a group worth checking out if the opportunity comes up.

C2 & the Brothers Reed opened for the Meltdown. Evidently they lost their lead singer a little before the Midsummer Show date. What they decided to do, since they didn’t have someone for vocals was put together some jams. Wow! There is no other word to describe how tight and how musically interesting what they were doing sounded.

Hopefully they’ll be back and maybe even with a lead singer in the future.

The summer and the fall a filled with events for the whole family. Be sure to check out Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates for the best homes in the best locations.

An Outer Banks Sanctuary Takes the Lead

High waters of the Currituck Sound at the Audubon Sanctuary docks in Corolla.
High waters of the Currituck Sound at the Audubon Sanctuary docks in Corolla.

The Pine Island Hunt Club is now the Donal C. O’Brien Audubon Center in Corolla. At one time it was one of the premier hunting lodges on the Currituck Sound, it’s holdings stretching from the Currituck Sound to the Atlantic Ocean.

Before NC 12 connected the Currituck Banks with the rest of the world, to drive to Corolla, everyone had to pass through the guard gate at the south end of the property. The guard house is still there on the south end right on the Dare/Currituck County line.

There’s a wide, hard-paced path that used to be the dirt road everyone took to get drive north. It’s a wonderful walk now, and perfect for any bike that has fat tires.

Forty years ago it was donated to the Audubon Society by the Slick family, the last owners of the property. For the past 10 years, Audubon has been solely responsible for maintaining the grounds.

The administrative center is in a beautiful old building—the 1913 clubhouse. 

There was a gathering at that clubhouse recently of northeastern North Carolina elected officials, representatives of the Governor and Audubon North Carolina executives.

It was an interesting meeting, bringing together a variety of ways of viewing how and what government should do. But what was particularly interesting was the agreement—not consensus, but agreement—that concerted action was necessary to mitigate rising waters.

It had rained very hard the day before the meeting. The ground was saturated and at the docks where kayak tours are launched, Currituck Sound had flooded the road leading to it. 

Robbie Fearn, Sanctuary Manager explained what was happening.

“One of the big challenges that has really not been addressed about barrier islands is that you have the ocean coming up on one side and the sound on the other side. The water table sits on this pocket of salt water underneath. As that come up, every time it rains, like it did buckets last night, that water has no place to go,” he said.

To mitigate some of those effects, Audubon will be being a very large living shoreline project on the property soon. Other plans were also discussed that will keep the facilities viable for some time.

The Outer Banks is a beautiful place to live or visit. Come stay with us at Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates and discover for yourself what life on a sandbar is all about.

Outer Banks 4th of July an All Day Affair

Fireworks over Avalon Pier, Kill Devil Hills.
Fireworks over Avalon Pier, Kill Devil Hills.

On the Outer Banks the 4th of July is pretty much an all day affair. There’s a parade; there’s a street fair—two of them, really. And of course fireworks. Spectacular fireworks.

One of our favorite ways to start our Independence Day celebration and really get us in the mood for the rest of the day is to check out the town of Duck’s 4th of July parade.

Parade, Town of Duck, 9:00 a.m.

Nothing that we have seen is quite like it. It is this wonderful combination of the weird, wacky and love of country that it is impossible to walk away and not be smiling.

Plan to arrive a bit early. Parking and traffic can be a problem.

 The Duck parade is a morning event, so there’s plenty of time to get ready for the afternoon events.

There are two of them and they lead right into some spectacular fireworks.

Whalehead Club, Corolla, 3:00 p.m.

Fireworks at Dusk

Games, competitions and rides geared toward children during the afternoon. Lots of food vendors are always on hand and usually there’s fundraiser or church group thrown in the mix with some delicious homemade goodies.

The setting is beautiful and the fireworks over Currituck Sound is as good as it gets.

Manteo Waterfront, 3:00 p.m.

The Manteo 4th of July festivities are street fair and celebration all rolled into one. 

A lot of food vendors, craft booths, offbeat and original competitions—Wacky Hat and Best Bike Decoration contests—and the traditional. Best apple pie…it doesn’t get any more traditional than that.

Live music all day. Just a wonderful, wonderful time.

The fireworks are lit off at Roanoke Island Festival Park, but can be easily seen anywhere along the waterfront.

Just Fireworks

Nags Head, Nags Head Fishing Pier

Kill Devil Hills, Avalon Pier

There is something indescribably wonderful about sitting on the beach and watching fireworks. Making it better, the towns do a really nice job of putting on an excellent show.

The two locations are about five miles apart, so it is possible to sit in the middle of the piers and watch both shows. Some of the sound and effects are lost over distance, but it is a pretty cool experience.

We hope you’re as excited as we are at Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates about celebrating our nation’s birthday.

Second Outer Bean Opens in Village of Duck

Outer Bean in Duck. A great look and many of the same great items.
Outer Bean in Duck. A great look and many of the same great items.

Outer Bean in Kitty Hawk has always been one of our favorite places. Great coffee, excellent smoothies, wonderful sandwiches and lunch specials—made with organic ingredients when owner Necla (Nay-schlah) Rader can get them.

The help is always friendly and the feeling is very much a European cafe, where you can sit and sip an espresso and no one will hurry you away. Some of that feeling may be that Necla’s native country is Turkey and before she became a citizen she traveled a lot.

The big news is, though, there are now two Outer Beans. 

This past week the second Outer Bean opened in the Barrier Island shops right on the north end of Duck. The shop is right across the street from Sunset Grille.

This new place is much smaller, so some of the menu items are not available in Duck. However, the staples are still there. On a hot day, the iced cappuccino is excellent and their smoothies are guaranteed to put a bounce in anyone’s step.

They will be serving sandwiches at the new location, but paninis and those spectacular soups that Necla whips up…well, there’s just no room to make any of that.

Initially the Duck Outer Bean will have to be mostly a to go place. Over time, Necla may be able to figure out some sort of seating arrangement, but right now the place is pretty small and any seating would have to be outside.

It’s definitely worth checking out. It is the perfect location for weekend traffic heading to Corolla. Just about the time things begin to ease up a bit, Outer Bean will be on the right. A great excuse to stop before the last half hour of the trip.

Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates homes put our guest in the heart of what’s happening on the Outer Banks. We look forward to seeing you this summer and many times to come.

SELC Sues to Stop Mid Currituck Bridge

Proposed route of the Mid Currituck Bridge.
Proposed route of the Mid Currituck Bridge.

In a move that is probably a surprise to no one who is following the events, the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) is suing NCDOT to stop construction of the $500 Mid Currituck Bridge.

The SELC has been opposed to the bridge since it was first formally proposed in the late 1990s. The span will connect Aydlett on the Currituck mainland to Corolla, bypassing the troubled intersection of US 158 and NC 12 in Kitty Hawk. Highway planners see the bridge as the best option to alleviate the traffic jams that have plagued weekend traffic in the summer for years.

With the announcement in March of a Record of Decision approved by the Federal highway Administration, the the Mid Currituck Bridge moved closer than it ever has to reality. The Record of Decision is the final step before construction bids are let.

 According to the SELC they are representing a number of groups and organizations including the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, hunters, fishermen. A local group NoMCD, is also opposed to the bridge, although it is unclear if they are part of the suit.

The case was filed on April 23 in in the US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The SELC maintains the bridge is an expensive and unnecessary project that will significantly damage to the environment. The suit alleges NCDOT failed to hold any public hearings on the Environmental Impact Statement since 2012.

The current Environmental Impact Statement is based on a 2012 EIS that was issued just before a planned ROD. NCDOT did solicit public input for the updated EIS, although there were no public hearings.

The bridge will be toll bridge. Although highway engineers believe it will alleviate traffic congestion it main purpose is to bring hurricane evacuation into compliance with state standards.

Sp[ring is here and it is spectacular on the Outer Banks. Plan your visit now with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates.

Outer Banks Taste of the Beach Coming Soon

Great food and great times.

Spring is almost here and that means the Outer Banks Taste of the Beach cannot be far behind.

There are a lot of places that do a “Taste of…” but no one does it as well as the Outer Banks Taste of the Beach.

Think of it as a combination amazing culinary adventure and a tour of the of everything from Corolla to Manteo…with a couple of side trips to the mainland.

The dates have been moved back just a bit this year and the event will be the last weekend in March, beginning or Thursday. The dates are March 28-31.

Hopefully that will get us slightly warmer weather. In the past the ToB has been in the middle of March and weatherize we’ve run the gamut from balmy springtime to nor’easter. 

Regardless of the weather, the show must go on. 

Since most of the events are indoors, what’s happening outside shouldn’t matter too much  There are, however, two outdoor events that will certainly benefit from better weather…although experience has taught us that regardless of the weather the BBQ & Wings Showdown is a lot of fun.

Look for the Showdown at the Nags Head Soundside Event Site from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

One other big event to put on the radar  is the Chefs Grand Tasting & Bartenders Bubbly Bash. That also will be held under the tent at the Event Site. 

Although it’s outside, the Event Site tents will allow far more room for the what is a grand finale of the weekend. The Grand Tasting has been growing is size and squeezing everyone into one room has become difficult for the restaurants and at time uncomfortable for the guests.

The Chef’s Grand Tasting will be Sunday from 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm.

As the big weekend gets closer, we’ll call out a couple of events that look especially different and interesting.

Be sure to book your home for this very special week with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates.

Hello to Mustang Rock & Roast, Goodbye to TS Michael

Mustang Rock & Roast poster

Hurricane Michael will be just a memory by Saturday and Sunday, but as it leaves the Outer Banks it’s dragging some awesome weather behind it.

Actually by the time it gets to the Outer Banks, it will be Tropical Storm Michael and after looking at every weather forecast we can find, it looks as though Thursday and early morning Friday are going to be wet and windy days, but nothing that would raise concerns on the Outer Banks.

What that means is for anyone who had plans for the upcoming weekend, don’t change those plans.

The big event of this coming weekend is the Saturday and Sunday Mustang Rock & Roast, combining great music with food. It’s hard to imagine anything wrong with that combination.

Six bands will take the stage on both days, and one of the best features of Mike Dianna/Bearded Face Production is the continuous music through the use of two stages. As one band is playing, the next one is setting up, and when the fist band’s set ends, the music begins immediately

It creates a great day of music.

This year though, Mike is taking it one step farther by combining fun food with the festival.

Saturday its steamed oysters—that’s the Rock—and Sunday there’s a barbecue showdown. That’s the Roast.

The headliners for the festival, Big Something on Saturday and Pink Talking Fish on Sunday will be capping two days of great music.

And the weather will make this an even better event, with daytime temperature hovering around 70 and bright sunshine.

Proceeds from the Mustang Rock & Roast supports two fantastic causes—the Corolla Wild Horse Fund and the Mustang Outreach program that helps to supplement the music programs in local schools, teaching kids about music and performance.

The Mustang Rock & Roast is just one of a number of great fall events on the Outer Banks. Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates has the perfect accommodations and great rates for an autumn getaway.

Perfect Weather Creates Perfect Opportunity to Explore Outer Banks

Sunny weather and a beautiful sunset over Kitty Hawk Bay.

Sunny weather and a beautiful sunset over Kitty Hawk Bay.

It looks as though the weather gods are going be blessing the Outer Banks with some beautiful sunny days and mild temperatures for the next week. This is certainly the time to get out and enjoy some beautiful fall days.

There is so much to do, that we can’t list everything, but here are some suggestions.

Hop in a kayak

The biggest complaint about kayaking on the sound, or any open water, is the wind. All the forecasts that we have seen for the next few days call for light winds, making for idea conditions to paddle around the sounds.

Take a Hike

We know that hiking on the Outer Banks may not be the first thought when coming for a visit, but there is much more to the area than many people realize. There are four maritime forests preserves on the Outer Banks—Currituck Estuarine Reserve, Kitty Hawk Woods, Nags Head Woods and Buxton Woods. All of them offer a very different side of the area that is worth knowing. Or head over to Alligator River on the mainland for a very different experience.

Climb a Lighthouse

Best bet in this case would be the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla. No reservations are needed to climb it, but check in with the National Park Service on the status of Cape Hatteras Light and Bodie Island Light as well. The view from the top is always spectacular, but when there is not a cloud in the sky, the view goes to a whole new level.

Take a few minutes to check out the Sunset

Relax…breathe deeply and take 10 minutes to do nothing but watch the sunset over anyone of our sounds. It will be 10 minutes very well spent.

Take a Walk on the Beach

It sounds cliched, but there is nothing quite like walking on the beach on a perfect autumn day. It’s something the is good for all the senses and is particularly good for the soul. Just about any beach will do. And make it a long walk.

Anytime of the year is a great time to visit the Outer Banks. Check out our listings at Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates.

Reports Indicate Mid Currituck Bridge Project Moving Forward

Proposed route of the Mid Currituck Bridge, spanning Currituck Sound.
Proposed route of the Mid Currituck Bridge, spanning Currituck Sound.

40 Years Since Project Was First Discussed

If recent reports are accurate, the Mid Currituck Bridge may be back on track. The long-planned but always delayed project is seen as the best alternative to reduce weekend traffic woes during the Outer Banks summer season.

The project was first envisioned in 1978, but NCDOT planning for the bridge did not begin until the 1990s. Plans call for a 6 mile two lane toll bridge spanning the Currituck Sound at Aydlett on the mainland, connecting with the Currituck Banks just south of Great Beach Pond about a mile south of Corolla Village.

The project’s website indicates a Record of Decision will be issued in late summer or fall of 2018. Since there is very little time left in the summer, fall seems most likely and thetas what is being reported.

The Record of Decision of decision outlines the scope of the project and is needed to award contracts. It typically takes 15-18 months to negotiate contracts, so reasonably construction would begin in 2020. The NCDOT timetable has always seen the Mid Currituck Bridge as a four year project, so a 2024 opening is the prediction.

That timetable aligns with the reporting that we’re seeing.

However, there are a number of cautionary notes that have to accompany this.

The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) has voiced concerns about the project and has funded a study that suggests there are less expensive alternatives to spending $489 million that would result in significant improvements in traffic delays.

Although the bridge is seen as a means to reduce traffic woes, its primary purpose is to allow faster evacuation times if an evacuation is needed. According to the SELC, their plan would also reduce evacuation times.

To date, the SELC has not stated that they will sue to stop the Mid Currituck Bridge. If a lawsuit is filed, though, it would not be filed until the Record of Decision is issued, and typically not until the end of the comment period for it.

If a lawsuit is filed, it’s difficult to know when the project will move forward.

Great weather and a beach to yourself…fall is the perfect time to visit Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates and the Outer Banks.