04/24/13

Maintain Your Green Thumb on Hatteras Island with Salt Tolerant Plants

Warmer weather has graced us with its presence and everyone is walking around with a little “Spring” in their step. We get busy sprucing up our homes whether it’s clearing the clutter, spring cleaning, or ordering fresh new pillows for our living space, but the outdoors are calling! We’ve been cooped up during the short days of winter and we long to head outside to get a good dose of vitamin d and feel the warmth of the sun on our bare skin.

As we step outside and gaze around our yards, for the first time in many, many months, we’re excited to weed last year’s garden beds! (The glamour of weeding quickly fades as warmer temperatures and an increase in humidity = happy plants (and every other living thing that has been lying dormant throughout the winter). Weeding becomes second nature and can get old fairly quickly, so once the beds are weeded the planning commences. What will we plant this year and where? What plants did well last year and what didn’t? Which plants needed more sunlight? Which plants survived the salt air and wind the best? As we juggle all of this in our heads and jump for one scenario to the other, there are certain factors we must, without a doubt, keep in mind. After all, we live on a sandbar, also known as Hatteras Island

There are a few factors to consider when working alongside Mother Nature in your private sand lot at the beach. First and foremost, respect the salt air. There are plants that are very tolerant of salt spray, which are the tiny droplets of salt water carried through the air from waves crashing on the beach. Secondly, windy conditions can also pose a problem for very delicate plants. It is not uncommon to experience a constant 15 mph SW wind during the summer months on Hatteras Island. Of course that does not include gusts, which can reach 25-40mph at times. Other factors are high temperatures and very little rain. We did experience a good amount of rain last summer (2012) but typically Hatteras Island may experience a few brief thunderstorms here and there throughout the summer. Oh, and don’t forget the sandy soil! Sandy soil allows excessive drainage, which can be an issue for certain varieties of plants. In order to enjoy your time in your yard to the max (without breaking the bank), take note of a few plants that do exceptionally well here at the beach.

Review this list of suggestions for nurturing your green thumb while dwelling on an island…
Highly Salt Tolerant:
Yaupon
Live Oak
Century Plant (Agave Americana)
Oleander
Rosemary
Yucca
Palmetto
Pampas Grass
Lantana

Moderately Salt Tolerant:
Eucalyptus
American Holly
Crepe Myrtle
Sweet Bay
Bottlebrush
English Ivy
Coral Honeysuckle
Virginia Creeper
Yarrow
Asparagus Fern
Mexican Heather

Slightly Salt Tolerant:
Butterfly Bush
Gardenia
Dwarf Nandina
Fountain Grass
Purple Coneflower
Hardy Hibiscus
Canna Lily

Hopefully this compilation will save you time, money, and the frustration of trying to make the traditional plants of the season thrive in the more challenging conditions of the coastal environment. Do a little research on the above list and decide which plants will work best in your space. Also track sun exposure, as some plants love the sun while others tolerate it for only short periods or prefer to stay in the shade (sounds like some beachgoers you may know).

See you at the garden center!


04/22/13

Lyrids Meteor Shower set to peak on Earth Day 2013

Are you up for a night of the best free entertainment you may witness in the late hours of April 22, 2013? Lyrids meteor shower is set to peak on Earth Day (late night, 4/22/13 to early morning, 4/23/13) and will appear to originate in the region of the sky that features the constellation Lyra the Harp. The Lyrids have been observed for at least the past 2600 years, according to written record.

If you’re willing to stay up late, you are in for quite a show! The shower is said to average approximately 10-20 meteors per hour and has been known to produce large bursts of activity of nearly 100 meteors per hour. In 1803, due to the earth’s passage through a thicker part of the dust trail that causes the shower, more than 700 meteors were seen per hour from Richmond, Virginia.

Head on out on the night of the 22nd and get set up. Make sure all outside lights are off (if you have control over that) or move as far away from street lights/city lights as you can (preferably Hatteras Island, the best place ever to view a meteor shower). Get comfortable. Give your eyes time to adjust to the dark and watch for bright meteors in the northeastern part of the sky. Locate the very bright star Vega, from which most meteors will appear to originate. It’s your chance to witness a free light show of bright meteors with highly visible tails!

Enjoy the show!

The sky is clearing...Perfect night for a meteor shower on HI!

The sky is clearing...Perfect night for a meteor shower on HI!


04/18/13

Cheers to Beer! NC Celebrates Beer Month Across the State

This month North Carolinians are raising their glass to NC craft beer! Throughout the month of April, beer connoisseurs, professional brew masters, amateur brew masters, and even those people who simply enjoy the taste of a delicious craft brew will acknowledge and celebrate North Carolina brewed beer. With more than 60 microbreweries across the state, North Carolina is currently home to more breweries than any other state in the South. With that being said, the Outer Banks of North Carolina is lucky enough to be home to a few very unique breweries that are special in their own right.

Introducing North Carolina’s oldest continuously operating brewery in the state – Weeping Radish Brewery, Farm, & Butchery in Grandy, NC. On July 4th, 1986, Weeping Radish opened for business in the heart of Manteo after the owner, Uli Bennewitz worked with his local senator to pass a bill that would allow microbreweries to sell their own beer on site after 25 years of not being able to do so. In 2006, Weeping Radish Brewery, Farm, & Butchery moved to their Eco Farm in Currituck County.
True to his German roots, Bennewitz’s beer has always adhered to the German Reinheitsgebot Purity Law of being all natural and unfiltered with no chemicals or preservatives. Next time you’re traveling to the Outer Banks, stop by for a $5 brew tour on Wednesdays at 11am and sample the beer that NC beer writers, Win Bassett and Anne-Fitten Glenn selected as their “not-to-miss-tap,” Weeping Radish’s Black Radish Dark Lager, a dark German lager-style brew.

A little farther down the road is Outer Banks Brewing Stationin Kill Devil Hills, the nation’s 1st wind-powered brewery! In 1992, Peace Corp volunteers, Eric Reese, Aubrey Davis, and Tina Mackenzie brainstormed ideas based on their current interests and talents and envisioned an environmentally conscious restaurant and brewery. Eric’s love of the Outer Banks began during summers spent with his grandparents, which led to an interest from all parties of following through with their vision and making things happen!
The Brewing Station’s brew master, Scott Meyer out of Berkeley, California, is on hand for brew tours Fridays at 3pm. Formerly a vintner, Scott is a national and international gold medal winner in brewing competitions. Check out the brew master’s blog for a glimpse behind the scenes!
Check out their current beers on tap .
(A personal favorite is the Lemongrass Wheat Ale, a zesty golden hefeweizen infused with a potent smack of Lemongrass. The flavor is crisp, tart and refreshing – World Beer Cup Silver Medal winner!)

And last, but certainly not least (depending on your point of entry to the Outer Banks) is Full Moon Café and Brewery in downtown Manteo. This unique, upbeat eatery opened its doors in the fall of 1995 and has since added the brewery to its offerings. Specializing in British and Irish-style ales and stouts, Full Moon Café and Brewery uses a one barrel RIMS system filling one and two barrel fermenters.
Sign up for a brew tour before venturing to Roanoke Island and be sure to sample some of their delicious brews such as Lost Colony Ale, Baltimore Blonde, and Charon Stout. After the tour, dine with Full Moon Café and Brewery in charming downtown Manteo and be amongst the list of famous Full Moon patrons, such as Richard Gere, Jimmy Buffet, and Edward Norton.

Whether you share a love of craft brews or simply find the history of breweries intriguing and the craft of brewing just as interesting, we hope that you enjoy or have developed a new found fondness for NC crafts brews and the fine folks behind the more than 60 breweries across the state!

Cheers!

**PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY**


04/11/13

Bodie Island Lighthouse Opens April 19th

Starting Friday, April 19th, Bodie Island Lighthouse will open to the general public for climbing tours for the first time ever!

The lighthouse, currently located on National Park Service property, was operated and maintained by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) until the year 2000. At that time the USCG tranferred the lighthouse over to the National Park Service and three years later, the USCG transferred over the first-order Fresnal lens as well. A chat with a few Outer Banks natives might reveal a time when the USCG informally allowed “locals” to the climb this familiar, horizontally striped black and white beacon.
A recent renovation of the lighthouse and its first-order Fresnal lens was completed and guided tours will be conducted daily from 9am to 5:45pm, starting April 19th, 2013 through Columbus Day, October 14th, 2013. On April 19th, the National Park Service invites local community members and visitors to tour/climb the lighthouse at no charge. Free tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and can only be obtained in-person, on-site, that day.

Be sure to add the Bodie Island Ligthhouse to your vacation itinerary for a memorable and unique experience!

Bodie Island Lighthouse Tour Information:

Guided tours for the Bodie Island Lighthouse will run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for senior citizens (62 or older), children 11 years of age and under, and for those holding a National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Access Pass. Tour tickets may be purchased on site the day of the tour or may be reserved in advance.

Tours start every 35 minutes and are 45 minutes in length. Each guided tour is limited to 22 people. Children must be at least 42″ tall. Children under 12 must be escorted by a person at least 16 years old. For additional tour information, check the park website at www.nps.gov/caha. Tour start times are 9:00 a.m., 9:35 a.m., 10:10 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11:20 a.m., 11:55 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:05 p.m., 1:40 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 2:50 p.m., 3:25 p.m., 4:00 p.m., 4:35 p.m., 5:10 p.m., and 5:45 p.m. daily, seven days a week.

• Day of Tour Tickets: 50% of all tours for each day will be sold on site. Day of tour tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can only be purchased in-person at the site the day of the tour. Day of tour tickets will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. starting April 19.
• Reserved Tickets: 50% of all tours for each day will be sold in advance. Reservations for a tour can only be made between one to seven days in advance of the tour date by calling (252) 475-9417. The reservation office opens on April 22 and is open 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., seven days a week. Reservations cannot be made the same day as the tour date.


04/10/13

Surf or Sound Realty Enjoys 13th Annual HICF Dance

On Saturday, April 6th, several members of the Surf or Sound Realty team gathered at the Hatteras Civic Center in Hatteras Village for the 13th Annual Spring Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation Dance. As always, a great time was had by everyone in attendance! It was a fun-filled evening of good food, good music, and good company, all for a GREAT cause!

The Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation, an all-volunteer group, provides support for cancer patients and their families who live on Hatteras Island. To date, the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation has assisted over 80 islanders with cancer and their families with grants in excess of $450,000. In addition to financial assistance, HICF also provides community outreach through monthly support group meetings with educational and informational guest speakers.


04/3/13

2nd Annual Hatteras Island Community Fair

On Saturday, May 11th, the grounds of the Cape Hatteras Secondary School will be transformed into the Hatteras Island Community Fair, a playground for all ages! For a second year, community organizers have joined together to provide a fun-filled event for Hatteras Island locals and visitors from 1-7pm in Buxton. Throughout the fair there will be games, rides, several food vendors, and live entertainment! Let’s continue to make this a much anticipated annual event! Check out the Hatteras Island Community Fair Facebook page for details…


04/1/13

Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Opens for 2013 Season

Today, April 1st, marks the opening day of the 2013 season at Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station, the first operational life-saving station in North Carolina! Located in Rodanthe, NC, Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station and Historic Site is the scene of the most highly-awarded maritime rescue in American history, the SS Mirlo! You’ll have a chance to tour one of the few USLSS sites in the nation with all of its original builidings, including the 1874 Life-Saving Station, the Drill Pole, the 1892 Cook House, the 1907 Midgett House, the 1911 Cook House, the 1911 Life-Saving Station, and the 1911 Horse Stable. It’s the largest, most complete USLSS complex in the nation and 1 of only 2 1874 USLSS stations in the nation open to the public.

The complex is open Monday-Friday, 10am to 5pm for self-guided tours. Admission is $6 per person or $4 for seniors (65+) and students. Be sure to check out the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Calendar of Events for Summer Porch Program dates, the Beach Apparatus Drill, and American Heroes Day!

The Chicamacomico Historical Association is a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose purpose is to restore, preserve and interpret the buildings and history of Chicamacomico Life- Saving Station, as well as the U.S. Life-Saving Service and its successor, the U.S. Coast Guard on the Outer Banks. The Association owns and operates the museum site and the museum shop and raises its own funds. 100% of all admission fees, gift shop purchases, memberships, and donations go directly to the preservation, restoration, and operation of this historic site.