Let’s hear it for the Library!

February 13, 2012

I’ve been a patron of the Dare County Library for many years. Back in the early days when there was just the one branch in Manteo, I looked forward to the bookmobile which came twice a month to the local fire department (close enough for me to run over for a few minutes). I would find books on the New York Times Best Seller List (from the Sunday newspaper) and place my requests and eagerly wait for the books to come in.

Over the past several years, I have been frequenting the Library in Manteo. I’ve checked out numerous books on tapes (great for long road trips), books on self-help, business development, personal wealth, cookbooks, gardening, fiction and nonfiction. I am currently working my way through NPR’s list of the ten best novels for 2011. In case you missed it, click here.

I’m nose deep in The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. I agree with Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City, who said:

“Not being a huge fan of the national pastime, I found it easy to resist the urge to pick up this novel, but once I did I gave myself over completely, and scarecely paused for meals. Like all successful works of literature, The Art of Fielding is an autonomous universe, much like the one we inhabit, although somehow more vivid.”

I love books, whether paperback or hardback, stories to read and mysteries to unravel, recipes to make your mouth water, photos to inspire and best of all, pages to turn.

For more information on the Dare County Library, click here.

Categories: Arts, Roanoke Island, Things to do, Uncategorized.

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A Few of My Favorite Things: Art & Wine

January 27, 2012

There are lots of reasons to visit the Outer Banks now: it’s quiet, there are no crowds and there are lots of things to do and see. The beaches are deserted, practically guaranteeing a bounty of shells and sea glass waiting to be found.

Rather than post all the current events here, I highly recommend that you check out www.outerbanks.org. They have a great new look and it’s easy to navigate. The current calendar of events is found here. For art happenings, check out Dare County Arts Council’s stylish new website here.

Be sure to check out Sip & Dip, offered at Art Space in Southern Shores. Workshops by local artists. www.artspace.com.

Off Season usually means discounted rates and local specials.  And to me, that means  WINE. We are fortunate here to have several great wine shops with knowledgeable vintners and incredible selections.

The Wine Specialist in Kitty Hawk is located at Buccaneer‘s Walk (next to Capt’n Franks). Owned and operated by my friend Christine and her husband, Fernando  da Mota, they offer free wine tastings on Wednesday nights from 5 until 8 p.m. It’s a great way to sample new wines before purchasing. My husband especially liked the Highway 12 Cabernet Sauvignon, admiring the ripe aromas of dark berries and soft French oak nuances. I especially like the name.

We recently discovered ½ Price Night at Trio in Kitty Hawk – on Mondays, starting at 5 p.m., all wines by the glass, draft beers and wine station tab cards are 50% off. The wine station is the talk of the OBX. It’s a help-yourself automated station where you can enjoy a taste, half or full glass from a selection of high and medium priced wines. I tried a glass of the Biltmore Viogner 2010 and can heartily recommend it as a well balanced white wine with a smooth finish.

Check back again and I’ll share more on restaurants, shopping and what’s fresh at the Beach Road to Manteo.

Categories: Arts, Food & Wine, Holiday Happenings, outer banks, People of Interest, Things to do, travel, Uncategorized.

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Mid-Currituck Bridge: A New Link to the Outer Banks

January 20, 2012

According to an article in today’s Outer Banks Voice, the Mid-Currituck Bridge is one step closer to reality.

“The final environmental impact statement has been released on a proposed toll bridge over the Currituck Sound that would stretch between the mainland and Corolla.

The N.C. Turnpike Authority plans for construction on the bridge to start before the end of 2012, with the span opening to traffic by 2017.”

NCDOT states that the Mid-Currituck Bridge will:

  • Substantially improve traffic flow on NC 12 and US 158;
  • Substantially reduce travel time for persons traveling between the Currituck County mainland and the Currituck County Outer Banks; and
  • Substantially reduce hurricane clearance time for residents and visitors who use US 158 and NC 168 during a coastal evacuation.

For more information and history on the Mid-Currituck Bridge, visit www.ncdot.gov/projects/midcurrituckbridge.


Categories: Environment, News, outer banks, Real Estate, travel.

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What’s Happening This Weekend on the Outer Banks

January 17, 2012

photo from www.outerbanksvoice.com

The Return
Saturday, January 21, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
Relish the incredible sounds of The Return bringing you the best songs of The Beatles appearing live on the Outer Banks. Step back in time, listen to the music that has had a profound effect on the world’s musical scene, and be excited by these amazing young musicians.
Performance at First Flight High School Auditorium
100 Veterans Drive Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

Categories: Arts, outer banks, Things to do, travel.

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New Construction at Marshes Light

January 13, 2012

Renaissance Construction recently broke ground for the construction of a three bedroom home in Marshes Light on home site 7. This marks the fourth home in downtown Manteo’s newest neighborhood. Renaissance Construction is owned by Steve Daniels who is the Marshes Light preferred builder.

“I employ the best local craftsmen and personally oversee to be sure each home is well built in a timely and efficient manner.”

There are only a handful of home sites available at Marshes Light, and one or two will boast panoramic views of the Sound. Marshes Light is a unique location connected by a boardwalk to shops, restaurants, theater and Festival Park in downtown Manteo.

Categories: Home & Garden, Land Development, People of Interest, Real Estate, Roanoke Island, Uncategorized.

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“A Tapestry of Beauty”

January 11, 2012

There are many natural and beautiful places to explore along the Outer Banks. Certainly one of the most beautiful is on Roanoke Island, The Elizabethan Gardens.

“ Built as a living memorial to Sir Walter Raleigh’s lost colonists, The Gardens include a collection of Renaissance statues and Elizabethan-style buildings that let you imagine you are back in the time of Queen Elizabeth I. Spring-time tulips lead to an ever changing palette of year-round color from hydrangeas, native plants, perennials and camellias. Enjoy the colorful crepe myrtles in the Sunken Garden or the view from a sound-side 16th-century style gazebo.”

Upcoming events at the Elizabethan Gardens:

Coldest Day of the Year Plant Sale
Saturday, January 21, 10 a.m. -2 p.m.
Yard sale with books, household items, clothing, damage gift shop items, tools and more. Members receive an additional 10% off all purchases. After the sale enjoy a walk in the Gardens.

State of the Non-Profit Dinner
Wednesday, February  8, 6 – 9 p.m.
The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. The cost is $25. per person for Members/Friends and $30. per person for Non-Members. Please RSVP by Wednesday, February 1, 2012, call Nancy Harvey 252-473-1554 or email marketing@elizabethangardens.org.

Camellia Watercolor Workshop with Linda  Miller
February 14, 17, and 16, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
The Gardens have over 300 Japanese camellias in the collection, represented by over 125 cultivars. Learn basic drawing skills, observation, and watercolor techniques to create a botanical painting. Each student will work at their own pace while Linda Miller consults with each student individually. Beginner to advanced welcome. Materials list provided. 3 day class for Members/Friends $135. 3 day class for Non-Members $145. Call 252-473.3234 or email for reservations marketing@elizabethangardens.org.

Categories: Arts, Environment, Historic Architecture, Home & Garden, outer banks, Roanoke Island, Things to do, travel, Uncategorized.

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New Year’s Resolution – Thinking Outside the Box, the Beach Box, that is

January 5, 2012

As I was stumbling the Internet the other day, I came across a blog, www.thenester.com.  The tagline is “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”

The gist of the current post, as with most New Year’s posts, is about setting goals. And the goals at The Nester are relative to house and home.

No Water Views Here

Which got me thinking.  I live in a 25 year old reverse-floor plan single family home. We’ve made three major renovations, but it’s still a REVERSE FLOOR PLAN. For those of you not familiar with this layout, a reverse floor plan is a house on pilings (typically 8 feet above ground), with a drive under or carport and (hopefully) an entry on the ground floor, bedrooms on the middle floor, and kitchen, living, dining and maybe an extra bedroom on the top floor. A lot of homes on the Outer Banks are built this way to take advantage of views of the ocean or sound from the upper floors.

As the trees grew in our back yard, our views of the ocean dwindled. We haven’t had a view of the water for at least 10 years. We love where we live, but we are over the stairs. We want our main living areas – the kitchen, living and master bedroom to share the same floor at ground level. But tearing down and starting over is a major expense and not in our foreseeable budget.

So we’re stuck in a mode of not doing anything, except basic maintenance. But the post at The Nester made me take pause and think about making some goals of my own. Here are a few of her ideas (I won’t list them all here, just the ones that spoke to me):

  •  What’s my favorite room in my house? Why?
  • How and where does my family hang out together?  What’s working for that room? What’s annoying in that room?
  • Is there something in my home I want to do but I’m afraid?  What if I take that risk?  What’s the worst that can happen?
  • Am I neglecting my home and not putting money into something that is needed?
  • Stop apologizing for my home.

Categories: Home & Garden, outer banks, Real Estate, Remodeling, Uncategorized.

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2011 – A Year in Photos

December 29, 2011

















Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy New Year!

Photo by Amanda Mager






Categories: Arts, Fitness, Holiday Happenings, Home & Garden, Land Development, Marshes Light Marina, outer banks, Real Estate, Roanoke Island, Things to do, Uncategorized.

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New Year, New Starts at Marshes Light

December 26, 2011

Despite a sluggish real estate market in 2011, Marshes Light has withstood not only foreclosures and lowered property values around the Outer Banks, but also Hurricane Irene in late August. The storm created minor damage to the electrical boxes at the marina and the elevator pads in the buildings. All have been fixed or in the process of being repaired.

Sales in 2011 included two marina villas and two home sites with a new home currently under construction. Interesting fact – there have been no re-sales at Marshes Light indicating that Marshes Light is a highly coveted community with a great deal of pride of ownership.

We are developing plans and pricing for the next condominium building, The Camellia. Located on the Marina, every villa within will face east with panoramic views of the Roanoke Sound. The building will house eight villas, three with two bedroom villas, and five with three bedrooms. With a lot of interest in the Camellia, we anticipate heavy demand for these eight villas; so be sure to let me know if you would like to be included on updates and sales information.

View from The Camellia

Our sales office is located on the Marina at 301 Dartmoor Lane. Phone 252-475-9863 or visit us at www.marsheslight.com.

Have a healthy and happy New Year!


Categories: Uncategorized.

Mortgage rates fall to record lows

December 20, 2011

From http://www.linkedin.com/news

By Les Christie @CNNMoney December 15, 2011: 1:44 PM ETN

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Mortgage rates sunk to record lows again this week. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.94%, matching the all-time low hit in early October, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey.

Meanwhile, 15-year fixed-rate loans hit a new record low of 3.21%, surpassing the record set on October 6.  Five-year adjustable rate mortgages also plumbed new depths, hitting 2.86% for the week. “We’ve been hanging around record lows for a few months now and we finally hit another one,” said Keith Gumbinger of HSH Associates, a provider of mortgage data.

Low-interest mortgages will be available at least through mid-2012, according to Freddie Mac’s chief economist, Frank Nothaft.

The low rates can translate into big savings for home buyers. Five years ago, a home buyer would have been lucky to land a 5% rate on a 15-year loan. On a $200,000 mortgage, that would have meant the borrower would have paid $1,582 a month. Should a borrower land a 3.2% rate on a $200,000 loan now, the monthly mortgage payment would come to $1,400 — a savings of $182 a month.

Categories: Financing, Mortgage Rates, News, Real Estate, Uncategorized.

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