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Outer Banks Event Calendar Heats Up


The sun is finally out, the bikers are on the oad for Bike Week, and all is right in the Outer Banks world--although the past weekend was a bit wet, cold and nasty. But it’s spring, and weather tends to be all over the place until it settles into the summertime warm. 

Now that spring is officially here, though, things are picking up so we thought a quick rundown of some of the more interesting events might be helpful.

The 12th Annual Outer Banks Bike Week is happening all week, but for something a bit more sedate, next Saturday Pirate Putt Putt for Polio Plus is taking place at Professor Hacker’s Lost Treasure Golf Course in Kill Devil Hills. Sponsored by Rotary International, it’s part of an attempt to completely eradicate the disease that still exists in some pockets of the world. Professor Hacket’s, by the way, is one of the more fun miniature golf courses around.

Saturday May 10--Couture by the Shore comes to Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern in Nags Head. A fund raiser for the Outer Banks Relief Foundation, tickets include luncheon a drink and a very, very good fashion show--with lots of laughs thrown in. Having gone to two or three of them, it’s a great time, a great cause and is Outer Banks society at its very best.

The following Sunday, May 18 at the Whalehead Club . . . get your tickets now for the 3rd Annual Mustang Spring Jam. Mike Dianna’s music get together never fails to amaze and satisfy and the 2014 is as good as anything he’s done. 

The headliner is the Ben Miller Band who wowed everyone at the Fall Festival, so look for more fireworks. With the move to the Whalehead Club, there’s more room and a better setting--so everything is on track to be the best yet.


The Fresh Market Opens on the Outer Banks

The Fresh Market has come to the Outer Banks and it is certainly a different kind of shopping experience. Lot’s of specialty food items, a huge selection of produce, baked goods and snacks by the pound. It’s not the place to go to pick up a laundry soap and paper towels--although they stock them too, just not very many of them.

The store is down in Nags Head, just south of the Outer Banks Hospital, so for Brindley Beach guests staying in Corolla, it’s not very convenient, but certainly our guests in Kill Devil Hills or Kitty Hawk--or maybe even Southern Shores--may wish to take a trip down there.

It’s a great store and a lot of fun to wander around getting samples and checking out the hard to find items, but beyond its entertainment value there is a message about the Outer Banks market.

Living in the middle of it, it is difficult to see how strong this economic engine is, but to businesses outside this area, the Outer Banks is regionally a powerhouse economy with tremendous potential. It’s not a market for everyone; it remains seasonal--although not as seasonal as it once was--but for the right investor who understands what is involved, or a business or investor looking for the right opportunity, there is a lot on the plus side of the column.

Lots to Do in Outer Banks Spring Event Calendar


Spring is here and the Outer Banks event calendar is really filling up. 

The big event covering all of the upcoming week is the 12th Annual Outer Banks Bike Week. You couldn’t tell it by today because it’s a little bit windy and chilly outside, but all the forecasts are in agreement that after a little rain on Saturday--when it starts--the weather look pretty good. And by the end of the week, downright spectacular.

Of course there is more than just the Bike Week. 

The Outer Banks Duathlon--bike and running--is this Saturday beginning at 7:00 a.m. Starting and finishing at Jennette’s Pier, the course includes a beach run and a ride around Bodie Island Lighthouse.
The weekend is filled with Easter Egg Hunts . . . too many to list here, but three that have been around a while and stood the test of time are at the Whalehead Club in Corolla, the Cotton Gin on the mainland, and Kitty Hawk Kites across from Jockey’s Ridge in Nags Head.
Then next weekend it gets even busier with the Duck & Wine Festival on the Waterfront Shops in Duck on the 26th, that’s Saturday. Also on the 26th, comedian Heywood Banks will be at the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island for a one night fundraiser.
The days are getting longer, the weather milder and event calendar is getting ready for summer.


New Flood Zone Maps Offer Hope to Many Property Owners

There may be some good news for Outer Banks property owners as the new flood zone maps are finalized. According to a WUNC report, Have We Been Overestimating Flood Risk On The Outer Banks?more than 20,000 properties in Dare County will either be removed from the flood zones or find themselves in a reduced flood risk category.

At the the heart of the new ratings are mapping techniques that were unavailable when the original maps were created. Using a LIDAR (It’s not an acronym. The process is named after quantum physicist Daniel Lidar.) maps are being created that a remarkably more detailed than anything possible before this time. According to interviews conducted in the reporting, the LIDAR is 78 more times precise than the original maps.

The report did not include information about Currituck County, and the new maps that are being generated by the NC Department of Public Safety are still being developed. However, the new maps are available for viewing on their website, although specific information about rezoning areas has not yet been generated.

Not everyone will benefit from the new maps. Some areas, especially in southern Dare County may find they are in an increased risk of flood.

Outer Banks Bike Week Coming Soon

Outer Banks Bike Week is almost upon us--begins next Saturday, April 19, and runs through April 27, which is the following Sunday. Ok, that’s more like the Beatle’s song, Eight Days a Week, but organizers have been squeezing more and more into the event, so the extra day makes a lot of sense.
There are so many events happening during the week, that we can’t possibly list them all but here is just a sampling.
There’s live music every day and a wide range of music styles at multiple venues. There are at least three or four bike shows selling everything needed for a Harley (Outer Banks Harley is sponsoring it, so they get the plug.) There are a number of rides going everywhere--to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras Village to the Whalehead Club in Corolla. 
The event has been gaining popularity ever since it first came to the Outer Banks 12 years ago--in large part because it is very family oriented. Yes there are the usual biker week events that make most people cringe and think I can’t believe you’re doing that--cole slaw wrestling comes immediately to mind--but much more of this event is about the joy of riding with friends and family and the Outer Banks experience.

Hopes Dim for a Mid Currituck Bridge

The latest rankings are in, and it looks highly unlikely that the Mid Currituck Bridge will be built. A new state law Strategic Transportation Investments (STI) Law requires NCDOT to evaluate all state highway projects under an objective rating system. Using the system devised by NCDOT, the Mid Currituck Bridge comes in 178th on the list.

The bridge, conceived as a means to reduce congesttion on summer weekends, improve travel times and make evacuations faster and safer, would connect Corolla on the Outer Banks with mainland Currituck County.

The state is basing their ratings on nine criteria:

1. Benefit cost.
2. Congestion.
3. Safety.
4. Economic competitiveness. 

5. Freight.
6. Multimodal.
7. Pavement condition. 

8. Lane width.
9. Shoulder width. 

At first glance it all seems very reasonable, but--as the saying goes--”The devil is in the details.”

As an example, hurricane evacuation times are no where to be found in any of the rating categories. Hurricanes are actually not all that common on the Outer Banks, but they when they occur, evacuation becomes very important. 

One of the more important rating factors factors are commuter times. Admittedly things can get a bit difficult to navigate on the Outer Banks, but there is no way an area with a total population of 45,000-50,000 can compete with Raleigh or Charlotte. 

Commuting times are 40% of the accessibility part of the Mulitmodal rating. It’s all a bit confusing, but here is the definition for that particular piece of the rating puzzle: “Commuting times by census tracts – Points are based on the average commuting time in the census tract(s) in which the project is located.”

Essentially what this means is the rating for commuting time is skewed to favor a large population base. 

It’s all a first pass, though, from the state. The final results will not be calculated until 2015. There will be hearings and public input will be solicited. Maybe things will change.



Southern Shores Flat Top Tour This Saturday

Symbols of a less complex time on the Outer Banks, the Southern Shores flat tops are unique architectural wonders that have survived the test of time. First built in the late 1940s by Frank Stick, in partnership with his son, David, and others, the buildings are simple in design, feature local building materials and are remarkably well built.

On Saturday, Southern Shores Historic Flat Top Cottages is sponsoring a tour of 14 cottages. Beginning with a talk by Steve Gudas who formed the organization at 11:00 a.m. at the Pitt Center in Southern Shores, the tour times are 1:00-5:00 p.m.

The flat tops were conceived by Frank Stick as an inexpensive way to add value to property he was trying to sell in Southern Shores. To keep costs down, cement was created from Outer Banks sand--it’s common to see shells in the bricks--and juniper, a wood that was plentiful in northeastern North Carolina in the 1940s and 50s, was used.

At one time there were well over 100 flat tops in Southern Shores and the north end of Kitty Hawk. However, property values and the clear preference of visitors for more modern amenities have created pressures to construct larger, more modern homes and today there are far fewer of these gems left.

The tour starts at the Outer Banks Community Foundation flat top at 13 Skyline Road in Southern Shores. Tickets are $5.00.



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