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Welcome to the holidays on the islands, and let us hear from you

Welcome to the 2015 Christmas on the Islands Page, which features holiday shopping tips and information and news aboutevents during November and December. 
We hope our readers will shop locally for their holiday gifts and other needs.  Our small, locally owned businesses need our support all year-round.
Most of the advertisers in our holiday shopping guide have websites, so you can shop even if you won’t be here.
The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are a great time to be on the islands. Have a terrific holiday season and enjoy
We will be happy to list your event.  Please send information to [email protected]

(Click here for more information about advertising on our shopping guide.)


Ocracoke Polar Plunge is New Year's Day

For those adventurous souls, the fifth annual Ocracoke Polar Plunge is on for 2 p.m. New Year’s Day at the airport beach. 

This event, often called the Polar Bear Plunge in other areas, is a popular phenomenon where people start the new year with a quick dip into the ocean.  In addition to the United States, they also take place in  Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Last year, about 35 brave folks did their dip on Ocracoke, up from only about six or seven the previous year, according to Justin LeBlanc who attributed the increase to social media with a posting on Facebook. This year, LeBlanc is off-island and Jason Wells is organizing it.

Expect the weather to be cooler than what it has been the last week or so.  Although the water temperatures may not be frigid, the Coast Guard issued a warning last week about not staying in the water for prolonged periods of time.

Rodanthe's Old Christmas is moved to Jan. 9

Rodanthe’s famed Old Christmas will be held Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, at the Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Community Building.

Starting off the activities is an oyster shoot with the first shots fired around 1 p.m. The prize for each round is a half bushel of oysters. Shells are purchased from the shoot organizer.At 5 p.m., a chicken and pastry dinner will be served along with a time for visiting. Sometime between 6 and 7 p.m., Santa Claus will make a long-delayed visit to Hatteras Island’s northern villages. When the fire is deemed ready, oysters will be shoveled on for roasting for an all-you-can-eat treat. Music by Elvin Hooper’s band, Chicamacomico, kicks off the dancing at 8 p.m. and then remember to hang around for Old Buck to make a visit.

Expect to pay a cover charge for the chicken dinner, oyster roast and dance. The ticket price is set when the oysters are purchased. Organizers will buy between 25 and 30 bushels of succulent oysters and around 95 pounds of chicken to prepare for dinner, reports Connie Page, one of the organizers. The event was originally set for Jan. 2, but organizers could not purchase enough oysters.

10th annual Ocracoke Oyster Roast is Dec. 30

The 10th annual Oyster Roast will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 30, at the Ocracoke Seafood Company. 
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Holiday lights on Ocracoke are winners

One businesses and four island residences were awarded prizes last week in the Island Celebration, a judging of holiday lights, sponsored by the Ocracoke Civic and Business Association.

The judging is organized by Teresa O’Neal, owner if Island Ragpicker, who with her husband Albert, drive three judges that Teresa recruited that day around the island to view the handiwork. 
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Dare County sets holiday trash collection schedule

Dare County has announced its trash collection schedule for the December holiday weeks.

During Christmas week, the Dare County Recycling Center located on Driftwood Drive in Manteo, the Manns Harbor Transfer Station  and the Buxton Transfer Station all will be closed on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Dec. 23-26.

There will be one holiday trash collection for the week of Dec. 20-26.  The schedule is:

  • Wednesday, Dec. 23: Closed, No Trash Collection
  • Thursday, Dec. 24: Closed, No Trash Collection
  • Friday, Dec. 25: Closed, No Trash Collection

During New Year's week, the Dare County Recycling Center located on Driftwood Drive in Manteo, the Manns Harbor Transfer Station  and the Buxton Transfer Station will be closed on Friday, Jan. 1.

The trash collection schedule for the week of Dec. 27-Jan. 2 is:

  • Monday Dec. 28: Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores, Colington, Buxton, Frisco, and Hatteras
  • Tuesday Dec. 29: Manteo, Wanchese, Manns Harbor, East Lake, Stumpy Point, Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo and Avon
  • Wednesday, Dec. 30: Kitty Hawk, Colington, Buxton, Frisco, and Hatteras
  • Thursday, Dec. 31: Manteo, Wanchese, Manns Harbor, East Lake, Stumpy Point, Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, and Avon

Elementary school  students decorate post office tree in Buxton

Cape Hatteras Elementary School students participating in The After-School Enrichment Program were invited to decorate the Christmas tree in the lobby of the U.S. Post Office in Buxton.  The students enjoyed making ornaments representing different parts of the world and were very creative in the designs of their ornaments. They were also taken on a tour of the post office, and the students were able to learn about how the mail system works. For more information about the after-school program, contact Marsha Riibner-Cady, Director at 252-216-8613.

Annual Hatteras Christmas Parade is another crowd pleaser....WITH SLIDE SHOW

On Saturday, Dec. 12, a long line of cars, pedestrians, and even golf carts descended on Hatteras village to enjoy one of Hatteras Island’s most beloved holiday traditions – the annual Hatteras Village Christmas Parade.

The weather clearly favored this year’s event, as bystanders and parade participants alike were treated to sunny skies and record-high temperatures that reached 73 degrees, breaking the old record high of 72, which was set in 1961.
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Annual bird count is a Christmas rite

It’s almost Christmas. ‘Tis the season of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, of parades and Christmas flotillas, of holiday gatherings to feast on turkeys and to count them as they roam though fields and woods. 
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Cancer Foundation plans New Year's Eve dance

The Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation will sponsor a New Year's Eve dance on Thursday, Dec. 31, from 8 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. at the Hatteras Village Civic Center.

Tickets a
re $20 a person or $35 a couple, and you must be 21 to attend. Tickets will be available at the door. Hors d' oeuvres will be served and mixers will be available, plus a champagne toast at midnight. Music will be by DJ Davis Durrett.  A selfie station will be provided by Let's Take a Selfie.

The Cancer Foundation is an all-volunteer organization.  One hundred percent of the proceeds from its benefits help island cancer patients with medical bills not covered by insurance and travel expenses for treatments. More information is available at

Our Coast's Food:  Lightning Rolls for Christmas

Christmas is weeks away, but writer Liz Biro can already smell the light rolls in the oven. Some folks along the N.C. coast call them “lightning rolls” or “light bread.” Others say “hot rolls” or “yeast rolls.” She likes the name lightning rolls best. Her mind plays the words in the melodious brogue of the High Tiders. For generations, they have lived along the state’s central and northern coasts, where this bread is ubiquitous at holiday time. In the chatter of long-ago Christmas morning kitchens, she hears their “i’s” pronounced “oi,” as in “Hoi Toider.” 
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Holiday events planned for Ocracoke Island

Christmas is celebrated on Ocracoke Island with  many community activities. Some of them have a long tradition on the island.  You may even want to visit the island during December just to admire the holiday  lights at homes and businesses, in a contest sponsored by the Ocracoke Civic and Business Association.

Here is this year's calendar of celebrations:

  • Wednesday, Dec. 30. 2 to 5 p.m. Ocracoke Working Waterman’s Association Annual Oyster Roast, desserts and hot cider at OWWA museum starting at 3 p.m.

For more information on Ocracoke events, go to the Ocracoke Observer,

Island Living: Hatteras for the Holidays, 2015 Edition

The arrival of Thanksgiving and Christmas on Hatteras Island is when our columnist Joy Crist internally takes stock and recollects all the reasons why the islands are amazing during the holidays.  And inevitably, this leads her to think about how she spent all her past holidays, and revisit the joys and tribulations of Christmases past.

And she assures readers that a decade or two make a big difference in spending holiday on the islands.
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Most Hatteras and Ocracoke post offices will extend Saturday hours for holidays

 The U.S. Postal Service, Greensboro District announces the extending of Saturday retail hours for some of  eastern North Carolina post offices during the three weekends before Christmas 2015. The dates for extended hours are December 5, 12, and 19.

On these dates, offices listed below will observe their weekly retail opening time Monday – Saturday, and Saturday hours will be extended until normal weekly close of business. These extended hours are designed to provide additional mailing and shipping convenience to customers during what is projected to be a busy shopping season.

Among the post offices with extended holiday hours are Rodanthe, Avon, Buxton, Hatteras village, and Ocracoke.  The Frisco Post Office will not have extended hours.

Holiday shipping tips and suggested mailing dates, along with other information, are available online at Postal officials encourage customers to ship their gifts and greetings as early as possible to avoid the rush that culminates with the busiest mailing day of the year on Monday, Dec. 14.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Below is the complete list of post offices with extended Saturday hours during the holidays.

ELIZABETH CITY----- 27909, AVON ----- 27915, BUXTON ----- 27920, CAMDEN ----- 27921, COLUMBIA -----27925, COROLLA ----- 27927, CRESWELL ----- 27928, GRANDY ----- 27939, HATTERAS ----- 27943, KILL DEVIL HILLS ----- 27948, KITTY HAWK ---- 27949, KNOTTS ISLAND ----- 27950, MANTEO ----- 27954, NAGS HEAD ----- 27959, OCRACOKE ----- 27960, RODANTHE ----- 27968, ROPER ----- 27970, WANCHESE ----- 27981, ELIZABETH CITY ----- 27909

A guide to dining out during the holidays

The weather is much cooler, the days are getting shorter, and there are many fewer visitors on Hatteras and Ocracoke. Many of the islands’ restaurants have already closed, and others will be closing shortly.

However, visiting during the holidays is much more popular with tourists than it once was. Spending Thanksgiving or Christmas by the ocean when there is less hustle and bustle is appealing to many. So if you are planning a visit to the islands this holiday season, we have some information for you if you don’t want to be fixing all of your meals yourself while you are on vacation. 
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This year's Outer Banks books for Christmas giving

And this year books about the Outer Banks just seem to be made for gifting. There are several favorite authors with wonderful additions to their writing and new authors with books that fill in spaces we haven’t had published before.   
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Our Coast's Holiday Food:  Candied Yams

"There is an idea prevalent that anybody can cook sweet potatoes, this is a very great mistake, and the many, many dishes of illy cooked potatoes that are placed before me as I travel over the South, prompt me to believe that these recipes will be of value.”

George Washington Carver made this observation during the 45 years he studied sweet potatoes. Some four dozen reports resulted. Many contained those recipes of value, including Thanksgiving’s ubiquitous candied “yams.”

If you’ve ever sat down to a holiday meal in eastern North Carolina, you’ve seen your share of marshmallow-topped candied yams. Cloying, mushy, canned sweet potatoes often bob in rusty, sugar syrup.

Did Carver’s cooking lessons even matter? 
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Annual Hatteras Food Drive is underway

The 22nd annual islandwide Food Drive to benefit the Hatteras Island Food Pantry is now underway. 

The island's food panty, operated by the United Methodist Men is a non-denominational, non-profit community outreach, and it will be unable to meet the needs of island residents and get through the winter, the period of greatest demand, without your support. 

 Whether you give non-perishable food, personal care items, pet foods, or money, 100 percent of all donations goes to assist Hatteras islanders.

If you live off-island or do not have time to shop, please consider making a tax deductible monetary donation. Checks can be written to United Methodist Men and mailed to Hatteras Island Food Pantry, PO Box 1591, Buxton, NC 27920.

There are the several convenient drop-off locations. They are:

  • Hatteras Realty in Hatteras Village and Avon (Daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.)
  • Our Lady of the Seas Catholic Parish Hall in Buxton (24-hour drop-off box on porch)
  • Frisco Shopping Center in Frisco (Daily 6 a.m.-9 p.m.)
  • Surf-or-Sound Realty in Avon (Daily 8:30 a.m.-5:30 a.m.)
  • Midgett Realty in Hatteras, Avon, and Rodanthe (Daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.)
  • Burrus Red & White Supermarket, Hatteras village (Daily 7 a.m.-8 p.m.)
The drive runs through Dec. 31. If you have questions or would like more information, contact food drive organizer, Linda Browning, at (252) 995-3662.