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Alligator River Bridge to Close for a Week
Posted by Brindley Beach Vacations and Sales | Sunday, February 18, 2018

Connecting Columbia with the Outer Banks, the Alligator River Bridge will be closing for one week in March.

Now almost 60 years old, Alligator River Bridge—the Lindsay C. Warren Bridge—will be closing for a week in March. The scheduled closing is March 14-20.

We’re mentioning it now, so that our Brindley Beach Vacations visitors coming from the the west through Columbia can make their travel plans for the Kelly’s St. Patricks Day Parade, which will be on Sunday, March 18 this year.

This is the second closure this year fo the aging drawbridge, and in both cases the most important repairs have been to the swing style drawbridge. According to NCDOT, the bridge opens on average 35 times a day, and the parts that move the bridge are worn out.

There are a number of alternate routes. 

For most drivers the fastest route will be to take US 17 through Elizabeth City, then east on US158 to the Outer Banks, which will cross the Albemarle Sound at the Wright Memorial Bridge and Kitty Hawk.

Visitors coming from the south may find it easier to take US 264 through Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. A round about way, but it is a beautiful ride. That route would bypass the Alligator River Bridge and enter the Outer Banks at Manteo.

Hopefully this round of repairs will be the last that will be needed for some time. 

There has been some discussion about replacing the bridge, but at this point in time, there is no funding available.

Albemarle Sound Alligator River Kitty Hawk Manteo Outer Banks St Patricks Day

Jockey's Ridge Most Visited Park in North Carolina
Posted by Brindley Beach Vacations and Sales | Friday, February 16, 2018

Beside a vernal pond in Jockey's Ridge State Park.

The Outer Banks is filled with symbols of life by the sea, almost all of them constructed by people who live and work here. But there is one icon of the Outer Banks that has remained undisturbed for hundreds of years and from the latest reports, more and more people are discovering its beauty.

Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head is, according the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the most visited park in the state’s system. According to information recently released by the state, Jockey’s Ridge had 1,560,254 visitors last year, a 19% increase over 2016.

Although best known as the location of the largest sand dune on the Eastern Seaboard, the park is a small but remarkably diverse ecosystem. 

Jockey’s Ridge, scientifically known as a medaño—a shifting crescent-shaped sand dune—varies in height from 75’-100’ depending on wind conditions. It is the perfect place to learn how to hang glide and for many people that is their introduction to the park.

But within park boundaries there is also a small but dense maritime forest, and a remarkably complex aquifer that creates vernal pools during periods of heavier rain. 

A vernal pool is created when the pressure of an underground pool forces water to the surface. This past summer, which was wetter than normal, so some of the most extensive vernal pools recorded at the park

During those periods of time in the summer when vernal pools are deepest, the spade foot frog, unique to that environment emerges. The frogs, certainly very different than anything else, are just one of an extraordinary range of wildlife that call Jockey’s Ridge their home.

Although it is very rare to see them, red and grey fox, raccoons and coyotes are found throughout the park.

Eastern Seaboard Jockeys Ridge Medano Nags Head Outer Banks

Remarkable History of Pamlico Sound Shipwreck
Posted by Brindley Beach Vacations and Sales | Wednesday, February 14, 2018

CSI team working on the Pappy's Lane shipwreck. Photo Coastal Studies Institute.

There is a tendency to think of shipwrecks as something ancient or at the very least a few hundred years old, but the work Dr. Nathan Richards, Program Head of Marine Heritage at the Coastal Studies Institute, and his team did in telling the story of the Pappy’s Lane shipwreck is as fascinating and historically important as any dive done in the deep sea.

Pappy’s Lane is a street on the north end of Rodanthe, and just off the end of the street there has been a rusting ship that is now nothing but a hull resting in the shallow waters of Pamlico Sound.

In the work area for what will be the Jug Handle when the bypass to the S Curves is built, NCDOT needed to have an archeological assessment of the wreck done and they asked Dr. Richards to take on the task.

What he discovered was a remarkable slice of American history.

There were a number of theories about what the ship had been originally, but for the most part the belief was it had been used to haul rocks to build NC12 when it was under construction.

As it turned out that was close, but not quite right, but what was most astonishing was the full history of wreck.

From the beginning of the examination of the ship, it was apparent it was not originally built as a barge. There was considerable evidence of modifications, and there was a design feature on the stern of the ship that had not been modified and was not typical at all for barge construction.

Richards and his team began the meticulous task of recording every inch of the wreck, then comparing that to blueprints of known ships. Dead end after dead end followed until they began looking at WWII ships.

The ship, as it turned out, was based on a landing craft design—the Landing Craft Infantry Mark 3-LCI (L)(3). The ship was large enough to move an entire company of troops to the shore, and was used extensively in the Pacific by the Marines.

However, after a number of bloody battles, it was apparent the lightly armed LCI needed close artillery support and the LCI frame was used to create the LCS Gunboat. According to Richards, the Gunboat was the most heavily armed ship of its size in WWII.

Further research from the team led them to discover when and where this particular ship was built. It was the USS LCS (L)(3)-123, built in 1944 by George Lawley & Son, the designer of the craft, at their Neponset, Massachusetts shipyard.

The ship served with distinction until the end of the war, but after hostilities ended, it was sold as surplus, and ended it’s days in Norfolk as a fuel barge. To handle fuel, bulkheads were installed, which was on of the most significant modifications. However, the stern was never modified from the original design, a key reference for the team.

When the ship ran aground in 1969, it was well passed its prime and not worth salvaging.

Coastal Studies Institute Lci Lcs Pamlico Sound Pappys Lane Rodanthe Wwii

Surprising Array of Performances Grace Outer Banks Stage
Posted by Brindley Beach Vacations and Sales | Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Young Irelanders coming to the Outer Banks March 10.

When thinking about entertainment, it’s easy to focus on bands or shows that are playing at local bars or pubs. And some of those are very good, so there’s nothing wrong with that.

But the Outer Banks has become a far more diverse place over the past few years and because of that there is a diversity in the arts scene that is surprising for a place with a population that maybe reaches 40,000.

This is winter entertainment we’re talking about. In the summer when the our visitors swell the local population by a few hundred thousand, that’s something else entirely

We do have a couple of really interesting cultural events coming up that may be worth checking out.

The Outer Banks Forum is bringing two very different shows to the Outer Banks. 

On February 17, pianist Emile Pandolfi and vocalist Dana Russell will be at the First Flight High School auditorium in Kill Devil Hills. 

The Forum has brought Pandolfi to the Outer Banks in the past, always to rave reviews. Coupled with a powerful vocalist, this should make for a memorable evening.

Three weeks later, on March 10, The Young Irelanders will take the stage. A new group on a North American tour, from the information that we’ve seen they are Irish national champions in music, song and dance and are in the midst of an international tour.

That’s followed by the Don and Catharine Bryan Cultural Series bringing the Elbert Watson Dance Ensemble to First Flight High School.

Elbert Watch is an internationally recognized dancer and choreographer who has performed all over the world. 

We’re not sure exactly what we’ll be seeing, but he works in ballet and modern dance. Should make for an interesting evening.

Don And Catharine Bryan Emile Pandolfi Outer Banks Outer Banks Fourm Young Irelanders

Sunset on Kitty Hawk Bay
Posted by Brindley Beach Vacations and Sales | Friday, February 9, 2018

Sunset over Kitty Hawk Bay.

When cruising around the Outer Banks, it pays to have a camera at the read. Sometimes everything seems to come together and the moment is just right to capture something an image that tells of the beauty of the Outer Banks.

This image was taken as the sun was setting over Kitty Hawk Bay. It was just a casual ride home along Moor Shore Road. 

There aren’t too many back roads left on the Outer Banks, and Moor Shore is probably as close to one as it gets. There’s not much of a road there—just a short spur off Kitty Hawk Road that avoids a little bit of the Bypass as it goes through Kitty Hawk.

Interesting though—Moor Shore is one of the oldest roads on the Outer Banks. At one time it was the way everyone got from Kitty Hawk to Kill Devil Hills. And from there a road connected to Moor Shore that went to Nags Head. All of it, of course, along the sounds.

It was how the Wright Brothers got from Bill Tate’s house in Kitty Hawk, who lived on Moor Shore, to their Kill Devil Hills camp.

Now, though, the road is mostly used by locals, trying to get a few moment of beauty by driving along one of those hidden gems that make the Outer Banks so special. And Friday evening, that beauty was on full display as the sun, clouds and light conspired to create a memorable setting.

Kill Devil Hills Kitty Hawk Moor Shore Outer Banks Wright Brothers

Will There Be a Beach Parking Fee Charged in Carova?
Posted by Brindley Beach Vacations and Sales | Thursday, February 8, 2018

Typical summer traffic on the Carova beach.

A vote has not yet been taken so nothing is official yet, but Currituck County is considering charging a fee to park on the Carova Beach. 

The fee, in its current form, applies only to parking on the beach in the 4x4 area of the northern Outer Banks. It does not apply to driving on the beach.

The idea is part of an ongoing struggle to create a safer experience for everyone in the Carova area. Because the beach is the only way to get from Corolla to Carova, the increasing use of it has created concerns about safety for drivers and beachgoers. The hope is that if there is a fee charged for day users who are driving north of Corolla to use the beach, the fee will reduce that number. 

Tentative fees are $50 for a 10-day parking pass and $150 that would be valid for a calendar year. Preliminary plans for 2018 call for rental companies to get two free passes for each 4wd house for the entire year. Additional passes can be purchased by renters by viewing an online video and pay online and print for themselves. If passes are lost replacement passes will need to be purchased

Similar to the National Park Service program for Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Currituck County fee would require the purchaser to view a video on beach driving safety.

Businesses have responded cautiously. There is agreement that visitor safety is a valid concern north of the paved road and that it is possible this would be one way to address that. Over the past few years, County Commissioners have passed ordinance mandating a maximum tire pressure for beach driving and have prohibit digging large deep holes on the beach.

The fees would certainly be considered the most aggressive move to alleviate congestion in the area. There are, however, a number of questions that still must be resolved on implementation.

As now presented, fees would be collected at the County’s two visitor centers—Moyock, just over the Virginia state line, and Corolla.

Concerns about staffing and visitor response have been raised.

Carova Corolla Currituck County National Park Service Outer Banks

Super Bowl Sunday and Other Events
Posted by Brindley Beach Vacations and Sales | Sunday, February 4, 2018

That was a heck of a game, wasn’t it?

Pretty much like the rest of America, Super Bowl Sunday revolves around the Super Bowl. And like most places there loyalties are divided.

A very informal pole seemed to indicate a few more Eagles fans than Patriots, but as surveys go, the sample size was somewhat limited.

Still, Eagles fans are pretty happy, Patriot faithful disappointed, but one thing is certain—that was a game for the ages.

As always, lots of parties and a number of bars and taverns filled up with the faithful.

Yes, the Outer Banks is a remarkable place to live or visit, but when you come right down to it, we’re about as American as it gets.

Now that the Super Bowl is behind us, we’ll start looking forward to what the rest of the winter and spring have to offer—keeping in mind, of course, that summer is closing in soon.

Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday this year, which may be a great excuse to get away to the Outer Banks for a few days.

For the gourmet, there are a couple of events featuring food coming up.

The Striper’s Outer Banks Chili Cook-off is Monday, February 19—that’s President’s Day.

The big culinary event is the 2018 Taste of the Beach, March 22-25 this year.

Eagles Outer Banks Patriots Stripers Super Bowl Taste Of The Beach

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