Looking at the Bright Side

By Molly Harrison | Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Enjoy a free Howling Safari at Alligator River NWR on Sat.

I don't like to start off on a sour note, but bear with me and I'll get to the positive, I promise. We got some bad news recently on the Outer Banks when we learned that the Nags Head Bowling Center was closing. The bowling center has been a recreational favorite on the Outer Banks for a long time, and now it's joined the ranks of Dowdy's, The Village Playhouse, Foosball Palace and Quizzo (anybody out there remember those?). Nearly every Outer Banker held at least one birthday party at the bowling alley, and it was a favorite place for kids, teens, families, seniors, leagues, late-night Rock N Bowl drinkers and nondrinkers alike. I was never a great bowler, but I had my share of gut-busting laughs at the Nags Head Bowling Center. It was one of the area's few indoor recreational outlets, and it will truly be missed! The owners of the bowling center were forced to close because of financial troubles and the building is being sold. There is a possibility that someone else could open a bowling alley there, but there's also the greater possibility of more big-box retail. Another sad local story: the Ark Church and its skating rink, just down the road from the bowling alley, had a fire and therefore aren't open either (for now).

I know I'm not alone when I say that we need more year-round recreational opportunities on the Outer Banks! So here is my plea: If someone out there wants to start a business on the Outer Banks, please consider something recreational, preferably indoor, of the skating, bowling, arcade, sports variety. The Outer Banks needs you, not another national retail chain!

Of course, all is not lost. We know we've got it good here and we're not whining. We'll keep looking at the bright side. The Outer Banks still has its movie theaters. We have laser tag, Bingo, a Children's Museum and skate parks. We have gyms and recreation centers, an aquarium and gardens and historic attractions. We have places to eat and greet and listen to live music. We have outdoor recreation in abundance and relatively warm weather to enjoy it in.

And we have interesting new possibilities on the horizon. On Hatteras Island, an entrepreneur is working on establishing the Hatteras Island Ocean Center. The plan is for two phases: 1) the Ocean Center Pier on the northern edge of Hatteras village between the Sea Gull Motel and Hatteras Cabanas; and 2) Ocean Center Ecology Park on the soundside close to Stowe on 12 shops. If all goes as planned, the Ocean Center will include a fishing pier, food stands, playground, skatepark, arcade, bathhouse, education center, marshwalks, exhibits, watersports amenities, birdwatching, whale and seal watching, music and more. Read more about this facility on their website.

And literally on our horizon, 13 miles offshore south of Cape Hatteras, the new owner of the Diamond Shoals Light Tower wants to create an offshore research center - and open it to visitors. He wants to restore the old light tower and let people come see this curious piece of Outer Banks history. How cool would that be? Read the story about Diamond Shoals Light Tower in the Outer Banks Voice here.

Plus we have so many events going on. Take a look at our By Day and Nightlife sections, and you'll be blown away by the numbers of things to do on this fun-filled fall weekend.

Here's where I hope to be found this weekend: The Mustang Music Festival at Mike Dianna's Grill Room in Corolla. It's a weekend full of world-class music, art, food and fun and the proceeds will go to help protect the colonial Spanish mustangs of Corolla. This year's Mustang Music Festival lineup is an exciting combination of funk, rock & roll, blues and jazz headlined by New Orleans Jazz legends Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk and 2012 Grammy Award winners Rebirth Brass Band. On Saturday October 13th Dumstaphunk will be joined by the Durham-based sextet and Sire Records recording artists Delta Rae with additional performances by the Ben Miller Band, Uberlounge, Formula, Eric Penrod Group, The End of the World Blues Band, Hungry Mother and Category 5. On Sunday, October 14th joining the Rebirth Brass Band for a final day of festival fun are the Holy Ghost Tent Revival, The Tom Principato Band, The Critters, Mercy Creek, Hound Dogs Family Band, Paul Rowland Project, Zack Mexico and Andy Begina. Two-day passes are only $50; day passes available for $30.

In Kill Devil Hills, this is the weekend for the 26th annual Outer Banks Stunt Kite Competition at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills. This competitive fly is on the Eastern League Circuit for sport kite flying and is also sanctioned by the American Kiting Association. Throughout the weekend noncompetitors can enjoy workshops, demonstrations and kite making for kids. The highlights of this event include graceful kite ballet competitions set to music and fast-paced team flying that blend both kite control and speed. It's held on both Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, Dare Literacy Council is holding its Book Sale, the main fund-raiser of the year. The sale is set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Dare County Family Recreation Park, 602 S. Mustian Street, Kill Devil Hills (behind the Brewing Station). If you have any books or time to donate to the organization, call (252) 216-7773.

On Saturday night, the Red Wolf Coalition and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service are holding a free Red Wolf Howling Safari. Meet at the Creef Cut Parking Area and Wildlife Trail on Highway 64 on the mainland to learn about the endangered red wolf and to hear their haunting howls. Other free howlings will be held on October 27 and December 8. Call (252) 216-9464 for information.

Currituck Heritage Day is on Sunday at Currituck Heritage Park in Corolla. There will be food, music, antique cars, kite flying, children's activities, arts and crafts booths and more. Currituck County residents get in free; others are charged $7. Hours are noon to 4 p.m.

In true Outer Banks fashion, this week there are two fund-raisers for families in need of help due to medical expenses. Spread the Love for Hope is planned for Sunday at MexiCali Brewz in KDH from noon to 6 p.m. Hope is an infant diagnosed with Turners Syndrome, and her family can use all the help they can get with medical bills. The event will feature a silent auction, a cookout, drinks and live entertainment by DJ Bose, Christian Benedi and Flip Flop Five.

The Al Lassiter Benefit Bash will be held at Outer Banks Brewing Station on Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. Tickets for the benefit are $15 each or $20 for two. There will be food music, a silent auction and a raffle. 100% of the proceeds go to Al to help pay medical bills, treatment and travel.

Got some time on your hands next week? Consider the Ocrafolk School, which is being held from October 14 to 19. The school offers classes like "Wellness Week" with Ann Ehringhaus, "Woodcarving" with Frank Boyd, "Island Cooking" with Debbie Wells and friends, "the Ocracoke Sampler" with Philip Howard, Capt. Rob Temple and Dave Frum, and "Exploring Ocracoke Music" with Gary Mitchell. There are a couple of spots left. If you can make it, contact Gary Mitchell, Ocrafolk School 2012 Director at (252) 921-0217.

And here's one more thing, just because I heard about it and it's interesting. The Sanderling Resort and Spa north of Duck is set to close this winter for a five-month, multi-million dollar renovation. As if this resort wasn't already one of the nicest accommodations on the Outer Banks, it's set to raise the bar even more when it reopens next spring. Meanwhile, the Sanderling's restaurant, The Left Bank, is closing for good. If you never got the chance to try this beautiful, world-class restaurant, do it now! They'll be open through the end of October. When the Sanderling reopens next spring, the soundside restaurant will have a new name and a new menu.

That's all for now, but remember that there are many more listings of things to do on this site. Keep looking around for ideas. Enjoy this awesome fall weekend! It's going to be a beauty!

Outer Banks This Week Giveaway

This week you have a chance to win a two night stay at the Days Inn & Suites Mariner and a $35 gift certificate to The Black Pelican Oceanfront Cafe!

For more information about Days Inn & Suites Marine, check out their website.

For more information about Black Pelican Oceanfront Cafe, check out their website.

Last Week's Winner

Congratulations to Susan Towery‎!!!

You won a Family Style Picnic from Pigman's Bar-B-Que and a $50 gift certificate to Ocean Annie's Craft Gallery!

Outer Banks This Week Giveaway Winner

For more information about Pigman's BBQ, check out their website.

For more information about Ocean Annie's, check out their website.

About the Author Molly Harrison
Molly Harrison is managing editor at OneBoat, publisher of OuterBanksThisWeek.com. She moved to Nags Head in 1994 and since then has made her living writing articles and creating publications about the people, places and culture of the Outer Banks. When not working she practices and teaches yoga and spends as much time as possible outside and in or on the water with her husband and two children.