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.

Who’s Bad Brings Michael Jackson to Lost Colony

Joe Bell (Jobel) as Michael Jackson on stage at the Lost Colony's Waterside Theatre.
Joe Bell (Jobel) as Michael Jackson on stage at the Lost Colony’s Waterside Theatre.

Now that was a concert for the Outer Banks to remember!

Performing at The Lost Colony’s Waterside Theatre, Who’s Bad brought the genius on Michael Jackson to the Outer Banks. Sheer energy, great choreography, excellent musicians and a show stopping performance by Joe Bell—Jobel as he is known on stage.

The range of Jackson’s music and choreography really come alive in a production of this caliber. What really seemed to bring everything together, though was Jobel. His vocals were on pitch, his dancing had the same fluid yet crisp, precise moves associated with Jackson and teamed up with a band that seemed to be able to do it all and two stellar dancers recreating the Jackson choreography, Waterside Theatre was jumpin’.

With so much of Jackson’s’ repertoire brought to life, it’s difficult to pick out any one performance that was the best. Jobel included a set of Jackson 5 hits— and he did amazingly well. What seemed to make that set work, was the genuine effort he put into bringing those songs to life.

If pressed, the last set that featured Jackson’s best known and earliest hits, would be the pick as best—although given how good everything else was, that’s a tough argument to make.

But Billy Jean, Thriller and Man in the Mirror carry a certain mystique with them to this day.

Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates is a proud sponsor of The Lost Colony and we’re looking forward to next year’s Live at the Waterside Concert Theatre.


Currituck Banks Reserve-A Different Side to the Outer Banks

End of the Currituck Reserve Boardwalk Trail leading to Currituck Sound.
End of the Currituck Reserve Boardwalk Trail leading to Currituck Sound.

The Outer Banks is a surprising place. Almost all of our visitors come for the sun, the sand and the chance to sit on a beach and do as little as possible. After two or three days of that, it can begin to drag a bit and then the exploration of the Outer Banks really begins.

There is a remarkable history here—check out The Lost Colony, the longest running outdoor drama in the United States. Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates is a proud sponsor of the play and it’s a great evening of entertainment. there is more recent history at the Whalehead Club or any of the lighthouses that dot the coast.

There is also a wilderness side to the Outer Banks; the western shoreline that borders the sounds is a place of dense forests and surprising beauty.

One of the most accessible is the Currituck Banks Reserve in Corolla. The trailhead and parking lot is about mile past the Currituck Beach Lighthouse at a sharp righthand turn in the road.

There are actually two trails—a .3 mile boardwalk and a .75 primitive trail. Those are one way distances so double them for the full length.

The boardwalk trail is suitable for anyone. Towering pines line the path creating a canopy of green. The trail ends with an overview of the northern end of Currituck Sound.

The primitive trail should be fine for anyone eight years and up, although it’s important that children know to stay on the trail. There are two stairs about 25 yards from the beginning of the boardwalk that is the beginning of the trail. Look for the blue blazons that mark the path.

A good pair of walking or running shoes, or even sturdy sandals, should be fine, although flip-flops would be pushing your luck a bit.

The trail winds through an extensive grove of live oak, twisted and shaped by the relentless winds of the Outer Banks. It ends at a marsh on the edge of the sound.

This is a great introduction to a side of the Outer Banks that is often overlooked.

Late spring to early fall, insect repellant is a must.


79th Season for Lost Colony

Sir Walter Raleigh (Ethan Lyvers) defends the colony in London from naysayers.
Sir Walter Raleigh (Ethan Lyvers) defends the colony in London from naysayers.

Now that’s the way to start the season!

The 79th year of The Lost Colony kicked off last night and all the elements for success was there and they didn’t miss.

The weather at Waterside Theatre where the play is performed was perfect, the acting was outstanding, the staging compelling and fun to watch and the dancing and singing were as good as it has ever been and maybe even a little bit better. There was a little bit of problem with the mikes, but that’s fixable.

Two notable actors who went on to other careers were honored at a pre-performance ceremony. Chief Wanchese, 1952—Carl Kasell, for many years the voice of NPR news received the Emma Neal Morrison Award for exceptional service to the arts in North Carolina and former Senator Pro Tem, State Senator Marc Basnight, who played a number of parts as a child, was given the  Skipper Bell award as a distinguished alumni of the production.

Basnight is battling ALS and could not attend, but his daughters were on hand to accept the award.

The evening though was all about the show and what a show it is. Filled with pageantry and great story telling, the tale of the doomed first attempt by the English to colonize the New World unfolds. Underfunded and with dubious support from Queen Elizabeth I at best, the fate of the 115 colonists was sealed almost before they set sail in 1587.

Their predicament was further complicated by the heavy-handed blundering of Ralph Lane who lead a military force that was supposed to hold Roanoke Island until the colonists arrived. His killing of the local chief, Wigina, insured a hostile welcome from local tribes.

Although circumstances were stacked against them, the play that Paul Green wrote in 1937 focuses on the pursuit of dreams and the perseverance it takes to achieve things we sometimes believe are beyond our reach.

Worth checking out—especially for visitors who have never seen the play before, performances will run through August 20.

Remember it’s outdoor theatre at night; bring a light sweater or jacket in case the temperature drops. It’s helpful to have mosquito repellant also.

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

#joelamb #lostcolony

National Park Service Turns 100

Bodie Island Lighthouse.
Bodie Island Lighthouse.

2016 is the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service and with the huge presence the NPS has on the Outer Banks there are some a few things coming up that might be worth checking out.

There are three national parks on the Outer Banks—Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Wright Brothers Memorial and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on Roanoke Island. All three are administered as the Outer Banks Group from offices at Fort Raleigh.

Officially established in 1953, over 2.4 million visitors were counted last year. The park extends from the west side of South Nags Head to Ocracoke Island and includes Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Bodie Island Lighthouse.

The Wright Brothers Memorial is iconic to the Outer Banks. Perched atop Kill Devil Hill, the monument is a permanent reminder that powered flight was first achieved here. The memorial was authorized in 1927 and became a part of the NPS in 1953.

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site seems to be just about where the original Roanoke Island Lost Colony was situated. It’s also the home of the Lost Colony Outdoor Drama, the longest running outdoor drama in North America, now in its 78th season.

Some Spring Time Events:

Naturalization Ceremony  April 16 at 3 p.m., Wright Brothers National Memorial. United States Customs and Immigration Service will hold a citizenship ceremony. The agency has an agreement with the Park Service to hold these ceremonies where new citizens “learn about and reflect on American identity and the responsibilities of citizenship.”

First Colony Foundation Archeological Dig: “Project Dogwood” – April 17- 23, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. The First Colony Foundation is planning an archaeological dig in honor of the Centennial and the 75th anniversary of the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.

The Lost Colony Drama Centennial Dedication – May 27, the Lost Colony Amphitheater. The Roanoke Island Historical Association will dedicate the season on opening night of The Lost Colony Drama to the National Park Service and kick off several activities. Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates is a proud sponsor of the Lost Colony.

79th Season of Lost Colony Coming Soon


What a wonderful day we had today on the Outer Banks. The temperature climbed to the mid 70, there was a wonderful breeze from the south and the sun shone all day. That kind of day brings the yearning for summer to the top of the list.

With thoughts of summer, one summer activity that Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates. has been sponsoring for years and takes a lot of pride in supporting is the Lost Colony.

This is theatre at its best—great acting, wonderful songs, a little bit of dancing and a compelling story based on based on a historic puzzle that has remained unanswered for 430 years.

The 79th Anniversary of the Paul Green classic outdoor theatre also includes production design with great special effects and lighting from six time Tony award winner William Ivey Long.

Performed at the Waterside Theatre on Roanoke Island, the Lost Colony is the longest running outdoor drama in North America—and the outdoor feature of the performance is something to keep in mind. Generally evening temperatures are very pleasant, but for the first two weeks, it can get a little bit chilly at times. Bug spray might be good to have as well.

A performance of the Lost Colony is a grand evening of entertainment, though. So pick an evening, reserve some tickets and take in the show.

The play runs from May 27-August 20