Spring and TOTB On The Horizon

By Michael Lay | Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Spring is on its way!

As I write this, the Outer Banks is preparing for another blast of sloppy, wet and windy winter weather as a storm front surges out of the Midwest, crosses the Appalachians and strengthens just off our coast. But, in spite of this temporary setback, we sense a change coming. From the sound of early morning birdcalls not heard in months to the gradual increase in the length of each day to the perky daffodils steadily emerging from nearly forgotten flower beds, the prospect of Spring's eventual arrival is undeniable. And, as with these emergent signs of Spring, at this time of year we also begin to notice an upsurge in Outer Banks events and activities.

But, first, before we delve into the coming week's offerings, let's talk a little about Food...Drink...and Fun. While it seems impossibly soon (can another full year really have passed?), the Outer Banks Restaurant Association's Taste of the Beach is once again just around the corner, beginning Thursday, March 14 and continuing through Sunday, March 17. Although the festival, perhaps the Outer Banks' signature event, does not officially begin for another week, the advance purchase of tickets is required for admission to specific events, and the earlier you purchase your tickets the better your chance for access to the events of your choice on the date and time of your preference. So, don't delay! Visit the Taste of the Beach website to order your tickets today!

Named "one of the Top 10 Seafood & Wine Festivals" in the country by Coastal Living Magazine, Taste of the Beach has evolved into one of the most eagerly awaited events in the mid-Atlantic region, and the buzz starts weeks in advance. Dozens of restaurants from Corolla and Duck to Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head and Manteo are participating in this four-day event that includes cook-off competitions, tastings, a BBQ showdown, tapas crawls, cooking classes, wine & beer pairing dinners, oyster roasts, wine- and beer-focused events and St. Patrick's Day-themed brunches and parties. All this is in addition to the famous Grand Tasting that is the extravagant culmination of this exuberantly food-centric weekend.

Visit obxtasteofthebeach.com for complete details, ticket purchases a and full list of each day's events - even a downloadable, printer-friendly PDF of the complete event program. Eat well, my friends!

And now for the coming week...

Children and Youth Partnership for Dare County is sponsoring the Block Play Extravaganza from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9 at Nags Head Church. Children from 8 months to 5 years old are invited to play and learn with little blocks, big blocks, square blocks, round blocks, wooden blocks, foam blocks, wooden planks and cardboard blocks. Parents will receive tips on helping children learn math and science concepts through play. Space is limited and registration is required. Call Children and Youth Partnership at (252) 441-0614 to sign up.

This Friday, March 8 the Dare County Arts Council and Full Moon Café in Manteo join together to host a women-focused arts reception and dinner in celebration of International Women's Day. Come converse, commiserate and conspire or just partake in the thought-provoking art, great food and camaraderie. The reception will be held at the DCAC Gallery from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. followed by dinner at the Full Moon Café from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Guest speaker Jagish Singh is a community activist and recipient of the Mary Helen Thomas "Award for Racial Justice" and the Martin Luther King, Jr. "Implementing the Dream Award." Tickets are $25/person and only 60 seats are available. For more information contact Teuta Towler at {encode="towlerobx@gmail.com" title="towlerobx@gmail.com"}.

Reading skills are a primary requirement for success in life. If you'd like to help adults learn English as a Second Language (ESL), prepare for a high school equivalency certificate (GED) or strengthen their reading or math skills, make sure to attend the Tutor Training Orientation offered by the Dare Literacy Council (DLC) on Saturday, March 9 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Pitts Center in Southern Shores. Attendees will learn about literacy tutor requirements, DLC tutor support and the tutoring options available. Teaching experience or second language skills are not required. Pre-register at (252) 261-7773 or email {encode="dareliteracy@gmail.com" title="dareliteracy@gmail.com"}.

Looking for a low-impact way to experience the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge? The Fish and Wildlife Service's Tram Tour could be just the ticket! On Saturday, March 9 climb aboard the open-air tram for a leisurely tour of the refuge from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Pre-register is $7 per person to guarantee your seat. Children 12 and younger are free with a paying adult. Unreserved seats will be available at no charge on a first-come first-serve basis on the morning of the tour. Meet at Creef Cut Trail parking lot at the intersection of Milltail Road and Hwy. 64 east of Manns Harbor. Dress for the weather. For reservations call Cindy Heffley at (252) 475-4180 or email {encode="cindy_heffley@fws.gov" title="cindy_heffley@fws.gov"}.

Routine getting you down? Sometimes a "stay-cation" is just what the doctor ordered...a break from the ordinary when you can't get away for a full-fledged vacation. 1587 Restaurant on the beautiful Manteo Waterfront is here to help. Come in for dinner any Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday night through March 31 and spend $60 (not including tax and gratuity) and stay at The Tranquil House Inn that night free! Reservations are required. For more information visit the website or call their reservation desk directly at (800) 458-7069 or (252) 473-1404 to book your spot.

The OBX Pride Student Cabaret Talent Show brings a fun-filled night of song, comedy and dance to Kelly's Outer Banks Restaurant and Tavern in Nags Head on Sunday, March 10 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $15/person in advance and at the door. Tickets are available from Jeanne Coppage at (252) 480-2568, at the Coppage Law Firm office at 208 W. Walker St. in Kill Devil Hills and by calling David Miller at (252) 216-5884.

As we increasingly recognize the importance of environmental responsibility, healthier eating and sustainability, many Americans are simultaneously becoming more aware of the origins of the food they eat. The source doesn't get any closer than in the "Catch It, Clean It, Cook It" class at Jennette's Pier on Tuesday, March 12 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Expert angler Chris Crockett will lead participants on a morning of fishing followed by a cooking lesson just in time for a fried-fish lunch. Pre-registration is required. Price is $30 per person for ages 12 and older. Children between the ages of 12 and 17 must be accompanied by a paying adult.

If you're seeking a low-key creative outlet, join Candace Owens of Brooke Mayo Photography for Canvas & Cork at Sanctuary Vineyards in Jarvisburg on Tuesday, March 12 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. A $45 fee includes all art materials, 16"x20" canvas, free wine tastings, a glass of wine of your choice and a complimentary Sanctuary Vineyards wine glass. Alternate refreshments will be provided for guests between the ages of 12 and 20. Pre-registration is required. For more information or to sign up, email {encode="brooke@brookemayo.com" title="brooke@brookemayo.com"}.

Outer Banks This Week Giveaway

This week you have a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to ARTspace and a $35 gift certificate to Basnight's Lone Cedar Cafe!

For more information about ARTspace, check out their website.

For more information about Basnight's Lone Cedar Cafe, check out their website.

Last Week's Winner

Congratulations to Sylvia Morgan!!!

You won a $50 gift certificate to Ocean Annie's Craft Gallery and a $35 gift certificate to Full Moon Cafe & Brewery!

Outer Banks This Week Giveaway Winner

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

For more information about Full Moon Cafe & Brewery, 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 mike.lay@oneboat.com.