Holiday Spirit Bridges Distances of Water and Time

By Michael Lay | Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Only in a few places do residents have as much appreciation for history as they do on the Outer Banks. Whether it is due to the awareness of our place in the story of European colonization of the New World and the later development of powered flight or a well-honed sensitivity to the ephemeral nature of an existence constantly subject to the vagaries of weather and the environment, Outer Bankers are a history-conscious bunch. Perhaps none more so than those who call Roanoke Island home. This New Year's Eve the Manteo Preservation Trust weds holiday celebration and historical preservation with its New Year's Eve Party, a fundraiser for restoring the belfry to the historic Dare County Courthouse located across from the waterfront in downtown Manteo.

Ring in the New Year with friends and fellow history buffs at Avenue Grille on the Manteo Waterfront Tuesday, Dec. 31 beginning at 7 p.m. The $125/person ticket price includes dinner, three drinks, live music, party favors and midnight champagne toast.


Dare County Courthouse Manteo

Tickets are limited, so please respond no later than Dec. 16 to make sure yours are reserved. Make your check payable to Manteo Preservation Trust, P.O. Box 234, Manteo, NC 27954. Be sure to include your current mailing address. For more information call (252) 202-6596.




Hatteras' Holiday Spirit Endures

Bridge or no bridge, you can't keep Hatteras folk down - the Hatteras Village Christmas Parade will take place Saturday, Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. just as organizers originally planned. Beginning at Teach's Lair Marina, the parade will proceed up Highway 12 to the Hatterasman Drive-in. Park anywhere along the route and cheer on the floats, fire trucks, horses, Coast Guard vehicles, marching bands and, of course, Santa Claus. Immediately following the parade join locals and visitors at the Hatteras Community Center for cookies and cocoa. Anyone interested in entering the parade should call Dennis Robinson at (252) 475-4388 or email {encode="" title=""}. If you can make it to the island this weekend, make sure to stop in Hatteras Village and help the locals hoist up their holiday spirit.

While you're on Hatteras for the parade, why not head to Buxton for the free Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Winter Climb. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. all climbers (who must be 42 inches tall and able to climb on their own) are invited to make the 248-step ascent to the top for a 12th-story view of the barrier island that is unmatched anywhere. Children younger than 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Just a ferry ride farther south will deliver you to Ocracoke Island in time for the Ocracoke Community Christmas Concert held Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Ocracoke Community Center at 999 Irvin Garrish Highway. The free concert, featuring performers of all ages, will benefit the local food pantry. Please bring a donation of non-perishable food items.

On Wednesday, Dec. 18 gather at Ocracoke Assembly of God Church at 5 p.m. for an evening of Christmas caroling around the Village! After spreading the Christmas cheer you can warm yourself with a free chili supper back at the church.

Lights, Dinner, Santa!

The Elizabethan Gardens' WinterLights celebration gets turned up a notch Friday, Dec. 13 with the addition of Dinner With Santa! From 6 to 9 p.m. the whole family can enjoy a meal together, kids can catch a little one-on-one time with the jolly ol' elf himself and everyone can be awed by the spectacular display of lights and music that is WinterLights! A professional photographer will even be on hand offering candid photos for purchase. Dinner seatings will take place at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets for Members/Friends of The Gardens are $35/adults, $20/youth. For non-Members, tickets are $40/adults and $25/youth. For more information call (252) 473-3234 or visit The Gardens' website.

Chillin' For The Arts

This Saturday, Dec. 14 from 6 to 10 p.m. the Dare County Arts Council hosts Chillin' for the Arts, its annual winter fundraiser, at 108 Budleigh in downtown Manteo. The evening's centerpiece is an auction of local artists' works, special packages from area merchants and restaurants and a selection of items that may help you complete your holiday shopping! As an attendee of last year's event, I can vouch for the fundraiser as a truly entertaining opportunity to rub shoulders with artists, touch base with friends and arts supporters gathered together from all over the Outer Banks, enjoy some excellent food and drink, do a little dancing and maybe take home an amazing piece of locally created art! Proceeds from the benefit help support arts programming such as the Community Music School, Literary Open Mic Night, annual art shows and the Arts Council's after school kids' classes. Live music will be performed by Kim Kalman and Aquarium. Tickets are $35/DCAC members and $40/person for non-members. To get your tickets, call (252) 473-5558 or visit the Arts Council website.

And a quick reminder to all those last minute shoppers...The Arts Council's Holiday Small Works Show continues Monday-Saturday through Dec. 31. With more than 500 works of art from which to choose, there is something for every budget and taste. For more information call (252) 473-5558 or visit the Arts Council website.

Christmas Past at Island Farm

Some of us still can remember Christmases before the advent of, computers or the existence of mega-malls. But have you ever wondered what a Roanoke Island Christmas was like circa 1850? Find out at Christmas Past at Island Farm on Roanoke Island Saturday, Dec. 14 from 2 to 7:30 p.m. Santa will arrive by ox-drawn wagon at 2 p.m., bringing the family Christmas tree, which you can help decorate while enjoying cookies and cider from the cookhouse! Take a wagon ride, make your own corn husk doll or candle to take home or give as gifts, experience the preparation of an 1850s-era Christmas dinner and more. Visit with Santa Claus from 6 to 7 p.m. while he reads a Christmas story by a warm fire! Admission is $8 with children 5 and younger admitted free.

Spiff Up the Holiday Table

The rest of the house is decorated, why leave the holiday table lacking? Rectify the situation by purchasing an original holiday centerpiece handcrafted by Dare County Master Gardener volunteers Dec. 12 through 14 at the Master Gardener Centerpiece Sale at Belk in Kill Devil Hills from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. each day. Centerpieces will also be available for purchase at Island Pharmacy in Manteo on Friday, Dec. 13 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Proceeds from sales of the $18 centerpieces support the Outer Banks Arboretum and Teaching Garden and other horticultural outreach programs.

Christmas In Corolla

Beautiful any time of year, the festive and elegantly decorated Whalehead is especially impressive during the holidays. During the day Monday through Saturday, take the Holiday Legacy Tour and experience Whalehead decked out as the Knights, the estate's original owners, would have known it, complete with recollections of the holiday traditions of staff from Portugal, England and Germany.

Holiday Legacy Tour at Whalehead Club

Downstairs you'll find a model train depicting the Knight's journey from Philadelphia to Corolla and Christmas trees decorated by Currituck students with themes illustrating popular literature of the time period. Tickets are $10/adult with discounts for students and young children.

Stunning during the day, the Whalehead, bedecked and aglow in all its 1920s Christmas splendor, is even more inspiring at night. See for yourself Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 28 when you take a Holiday Candlelit Tour. Candles, light sculptures and twinkling lights illuminate the mansion and grounds, harkening back to Christmases past. On Thursday evenings pianist Christine Niver will play holiday favorites from the earliest days of Whalehead, many of which remain popular today. The Acoustaholics will perform a seasonal set Friday evenings and caroler Heather Synan will brighten the mood Saturday nights. Hot chocolate, cookies and holiday ornaments to make and take home will be available for only $1 each! And don't miss the opportunity to enjoy a carriage ride around the park! Tickets are $15/adults with discounts for students and young children.

Wright Flight

This holiday season many of us will find ourselves strapped into an airline seat on our way to visit family and friends in distant places. This air travel, far less time-consuming than traveling the same distance by car, is possible because of the experiments in powered flight conducted by the Wright brothers right here on the Outer Banks 110 years ago. On Tuesday, Dec. 17 gather at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills to reflect upon and celebrate this anniversary of the Wright Brother's first flight. A full schedule of events can be viewed at the First Flight Society's website.


Outer Banks This Week Giveaway








This week you have a chance to win a $35 gift certificate to Kinnakeet Clay Works & a $35 gift certificate to Blue Pelican Gallery & Yarn Shop!

For more information about Kinnakeet Clay Works, check out their website.

For more information about Corolla Cantina Bar & Grill check out their website.



Last Week's Winner


Congratulations to Sherrill Cole!!!

You won a one night stay at the Sea Ranch Resort & a $35 gift certificate to Beachside Bistro!

Outer Banks This Week Giveaway Winner


For more information about Sea Ranch Resort & Beachside Bistro, check out their website.

About the Author Michael Lay
Michael Lay is a local graphic designer, artist, photographer and writer. He lives in picturesque downtown Manteo, NC, and is the manservant of two beautiful and willful feline princesses, Sophie and Sassy. You can contact Michael at