Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hit the High Seas with Wicked Tuna: North vs. South on August 17

NAGS HEAD, N.C. -- As a spinoff to the highly-popular Wicked Tuna series, the National Geographic Channel is pitting some of Gloucester, Massachusetts’ finest fishermen against a new group of captains from North Carolina’s Outer Banks in the new series Wicked Tuna: North vs. South. When the bluefin tuna season comes to an end in Massachusetts, the northern captains decide to try their luck in the Outer Banks. As the crew hits the high seas and ventures into uncharted territory, they are not only faced with unpredictable weather and dangerous water, but some very protective local Outer Bank captains whose families have fished the area for generations.

Sculpt For Wildlife Set for September 13

EMERALD ISLE, N.C. -- Start working on your sand-sculpture blueprints now for the annual Sculpt for Wildlife contest September 13. The competition, a fundraiser for the nonprofit group Outer Banks Wildlife Shelter (OWLS), is at Eastern Ocean Regional Access at the 15 mile marker, 2701 Emerald Drive, Emerald Isle. The town and Firehouse Subs sponsor the event. Sandy Feat, renowned sand sculptors from Raleigh, will be on hand again this year to give a demonstration, build their own awesome creation and judge the contest. Many area businesses from across the county have donated prizes, including dinner certificates, free admission to the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll shores, movie tickets and more. In addition to the sand sculpting, several of OWLS education animals will make an appearance. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. with judging at 2 p.m. Lunch will be available from noon to 2 p.m. and beverages, T-shirts and other items will be available throughout the day. The entry fee is $25 the day of the contest, but teams can pre-register at OWLS for $20 by calling 240-1200. The first 10 teams to sign up will receive free parking.

Building, Tourism Aid Outer Banks Unemployment Rates

(from The Virginian-Pilot)
KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. -- Construction supervisor Kelly Haggard had to raise her voice over the hammering and sawing around the new, four-story beach house on Virginia Dare Trail in Kill Devil Hills, N.C. Two trim carpenters, three painters, two plumbers, six electricians, two siding guys and eight pool installers worked at the house across from Avalon Pier. "The work has picked up," said Haggard, sweating along her shoulders and back through a golf shirt. "We're doing really well." Two Outer Banks counties - Dare and Currituck - are seeing good economic times similar to the boom years of the previous decade. Currituck County leads the state with an unemployment rate of 4.2 percent in June, the lowest since September 2008 when it was 3.4 percent, according to figures from the state's Employment Security Commission. The jobless rate was below 5 percent in April and May.

New Scenic Routes in the Outer Banks

(from The New York Times)
NAGS HEAD, N.C. -- Four new driving trails link cultural and natural heritage sites along the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway in North Carolina, and a new kayak network weaves through miles of pristine coastal creeks and sounds. Down East Paddle Trails includes 16 kayak trails, ranging from 2.3 miles to 13.7 miles, and explores coastal creeks, marshes, sounds and shoals of Carteret County’s remote Down East area, the southern arm of the national byway. The four thematic driving trails lead visitors to scenic, historic, recreational and cultural attractions in 21 fishing villages along the byway, including Atlantic, Harkers Island and Ocracoke. They follow the 138-mile Outer Banks National Scenic Byway, beginning just south of Nags Head at Whalebone Junction in Dare County and ending at the North River in Carteret County, just north of Beaufort.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

NC Startup Happy Fix® Hosting Inaugural SnapYeti Snapfest

APEX, N.C.  -- North Carolina’s happiest startup, Happy Fix®, is inviting its growing community of Happbassadors in the Outer Banks and beyond to join the fun with the company’s inaugural “What’s Your Happy Fix?” Snapfest hosted on SnapYeti, the popular online photo contest marketplace. Participants are invited to share a photo of their favorite Happy Fix at www.snapyeti.com/contests/200 and compete for the most votes, with the winner being awarded a free Happy Cap or Happy Tee after the contest ends August 25. “SnapYeti is a great place to bring people together to have fun and promote worthwhile causes, it really fits right in our wheelhouse with regard to celebrating what’s great in life,” said Stacy Menzies, Happy Fix Happbassador-in-Chief.

Award Winning Artist David Hunter to Demonstrate Etchings at Seaside Art Gallery

Outer Banks Tees Just $12!
NAGS HEAD, N.C. -- Etchings began as early as the 15th century in Europe. Initially, it was a practice used by goldsmiths and metal-workers to hand-decorate metal items of their day. These items included armory, dinnerware and guns. These techniques progressed to printmaking by using metal plates to create original art. The mastery of etching original art continues to this day. Award winning artist David Hunter is known for his mastery in etching high detail images into a zinc plate. Meet Hunter at his live demonstration shows on August 29th, 30th, 31st & September 1st 2014 at Seaside Art Gallery in Nags Head, NC. Experience the art of etching as he inks & highlights his etched plates, then creates original art by hand-pressing them. Each piece is an original work of art. Visitors attending the free demonstrations will have the opportunity to meet and talk with him about his craft and works of art. Hunter can dedicate his art to visitors during the show.

OBX Bridge Work Halted by Judge

Outer Banks Tees Just $12!
RALEIGH, N.C. -- A federal appeals court panel on Wednesday unanimously rejected North Carolina's plan to replace a crucial Outer Banks bridge without rerouting a state highway away from a wildlife refuge. The dispute centers on a plan to replicate the existing 2.5-mile Bonner Bridge across Oregon Inlet at a cost of $216 million. The bridge is the only span connecting the mainland to Hatteras Island and was designed to last 30 years when built in 1963. Construction has been blocked by a lawsuit by environmental groups, who favor a 17-mile bridge that would bypass the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. The route favored by environmentalists would require building the second-longest bridge in the United States at a cost of more than $1 billion, state transportation officials said. Environmentalists counter that changing the route would also help avoid recurring problems with the current road, which is frequently rendered impassable by water and sand kicked up by storms.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Rising Seas: Will the Outer Banks Survive?

(from National Geographic)
HATTERAS, N.C. -- The tourists flocking to North Carolina's Outer Banks right now know that the joys of summer there -- the gorgeous beaches, the wild horses, the views of the lighthouse at Cape Hatteras -- come to an end as the season fades. But they may not know that the place itself is disappearing from the map. Under the combined effects of storms, development, and sea-level rise, portions of this narrow, 200-mile island chain are collapsing, says Stanley Riggs, a coastal geologist at East Carolina University in Greenville. "We're losing them right now," he says. "In the next ten years, it's going to be awful." In an area of Hatteras Island between Avon and Buxton, the beach has receded about 2,500 feet in the past 150 years. That portion of the island has narrowed to just 25 percent of its original width, according to Riggs. In Buxton and Rodanthe, and farther north in Nags Head, houses and hotels once solidly on land stand on spindly stilts in the surf. State Highway 12, the only road to Hatteras Island, repeatedly has buckled and washed out during storms. It briefly closed after Hurricane Arthur made landfall July 3. The erosion is set to worsen as sea-level rise accelerates around the world because of global warming. As that happens, coastal communities everywhere will face the same wrenching decisions that confront Outer Banks inhabitants today—and that are causing enormous fear there, says Michael Orbach, professor emeritus of marine policy at Duke University's marine lab in Beaufort, North Carolina. What's at stake for locals is not just summer fun but a way of life and an entire economy that is now based on tourism. "All these effects that people have been talking about for years are now actually starting to be seen," Orbach says. "And they realize that we don't know what to do about it." >> Read More

NC's Inner and Outer Banks a Land of Pirates, Wolves, Legends

(from News & Observer)
NAGS HEAD, N.C. -- Along the Inner Banks and Outer Banks of North Carolina, you can climb a lighthouse, spot a black bear or while away the afternoon on the sands of some of the East Coast’s most beautiful beaches. There is something magical about the land of sunken ships, pirate tales and wild horses that roam the shoreline. Even the names of places evoke a time of swashbucklers and legends. Alligator River. Kill Devil Hills. Chocowinity. Nags Head. Mattamuskeet. While the Outer Banks have become a tourist mecca, with a Wings store every few miles along Highway 158 in Dare, there are also massive national wildlife refuges, protected seashores and conservation areas that hug the waterways. There, red wolves and bald eagles have a world almost to themselves. Exploring the IBX and OBX (Inner Banks and Outer Banks, for those unfamiliar with the lingo) usually involves water. Hop in a canoe, board a ferry or drive the sleepy, swampy roads in search of North Carolina’s wild scenery and mystery. >> Read More