Our Coast’s Food: Brunswick Stew

Was it the Cape Fear region’s Brunswick County? Brunswick, Ga.? Brunswick County, Va.? All of them lay claim to the original recipe for Brunswick stew, that steaming mélange of corn, tomatoes, lima beans, potatoes and so much tender, shredded chicken.

Or should that be beef? Or pork? Or a combination of beef, pork and chicken? This is where self-proclaimed Brunswick stew purists roll their eyes. Squirrel is the choice for true Brunswick stew, they say — unless you’ve trapped a raccoon or opossum.

Wait. The debate isn’t over yet. 
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Ocracoke's Street names: Who are Nubbin, Ikey D, and the Poker Players?

Who is “Mark,” and why does he have a path on Ocracoke? Where’s the poker game on Poker Players Lane?

Streets in Ocracoke have sometimes quirky, sometimes obvious (Creek Road), even ho-hum names, such as North Street or Middle Road. While Ocracoke has had European settlers since the 1700s, the island got official street names only in 1999.
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10 bands are set for Hatterasity, a bluegrass block party, on Oct. 8-11

For die-hard bluegrass fans, the festival season can’t arrive soon enough or last long enough.  And each festival, from the smallest one-day concert to the three- and four-day tent cities like Grey Fox and Bean Blossom, has something unique about it that induces what bluegrass fans called the “perpetual grin.” 

On Oct. 8-11, 10 bands will descend on Hatteras Island for the second annual Hatterasity Bluegrass Block Party.  A portion of all proceeds will be donated to the Hatteras Village Medical Center, a non-profit center that serves the island's residents and visitors.
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The Snakes of North Carolina:  Respect but don't fear them...WITH SLIDE SHOW

With all the attention that sharks are getting this summer, snakes have been able to slither under the radar as the most sensationalized animal threatening human existence. Usually this time of year, we hear all about the “copper-mouthed, water-headed rattlers” aggressively chasing after people.

Those with ophidiophobia, the fear of snakes, are wary during the warm-weather months when these cold-blooded reptiles are much more active and moving about. Venomous or not, most people just don’t like snakes. Snakes have never been able to overcome their depiction in the Bible as Satan in the form of a snake that convinces Eve to take a bite out of that apple and thus, introduces sin into the world. The Greek story about Medusa, the woman with snakes growing out of her head who could turn people into stone with merely her gaze, didn’t help either. 
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New evidence puts some Lost Colonists at 'Site X' on mainland

In the decades-long search for clues to the fate of the elusive Lost Colony, little has been found that definitively points to the colonists’ day-to-day life. But recent archaeological findings near a Bertie County swamp provide strong evidence that up to a dozen of the relocated Roanoke colonists had actually lived there.

The First Colony Foundation, a nonprofit group of professional archaeologists and historians focused on the 1584-1587 Roanoke Voyages, held a press conference on Tuesday, Aug. 11, in Chapel Hill.  That event highlighted the significance, in particular, of the shards of Surrey-Hampshire Border Ware and North Devon plain baluster jars that were dug up since 2012 from the Bertie location now called “Site X” – remnants of items that Native Americans did not want. 

“They weren’t interested in English ceramics,” Nick Luccketti, principal investigator with the James River Institute for Archaeology and the foundation member who is leading the dig, said in a telephone interview. “The artifacts are not indicative of trading.”

Up until now, almost all the Elizabethan-era artifacts unearthed in digs on Roanoke Island and Buxton can be associated with trading between the English and the Indians. The presence of Border Ware and baluster jars – used to hold provisions on sea voyages – indicate that between six and 12 of the remaining 100 colonists had moved to the Bertie site and lived there for some time, Luccketti said.

Read the story in The Outer Banks Sentinel.

Drilling off the Carolina coast is topic of radio show...WITH AUDIO

Drilling for oil and gas off the North Carolina coast was the topic of the Radio Hatteras interview show, "To the Point," on Sunday, Aug. 16.

The guest for the interview was Frank Tursi of the North Carolina Coastal Federation.  A former award-winning environmental reporter, Tursi now is the editor of the federation's online news service, Coastal Review Online. 
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Island Living: The lessons learned with age

Island Living is a very different experience depending on your age. Yes, this seems completely obvious, but it’s a bit of a sudden realization for me.
When you’re 20-something, 30-something, or 60ish-something, the island has its own unique appeal and charms and its own list of things you enjoyed at one point, but never want to do again.
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Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station is topic of radio show...WITH AUDIO

Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site in Rodanthe was the topic of the Radio Hatteras interview show, "To the Point," on Sunday, July 19.

The guests for the interview were John Griffin and Warren Wrenn, president and secretary respectively of the non-profit Chicamacomico Historical Association, owner of the station, who talk about restoration work on the site. 
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The Night Sky:  Stargazing tips for August

The Perseids Meteor Shower will peak the night of Aug. 12.  This event is capable of producing more than 50 meteors per hour.  It should be a good show if the skies are clear.  The moon will just be a slight crescent and will not cause major interference with viewing the meteor shower. 
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The Birds of Raccoon Island

Naturalist Sam Bland ventures out to explore Raccoon Island in Pamlico Sound, a haven and nursery for various coastal birds.
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Purple martins return to roost

Purple martins are beginning to return to their roost at the west end of the old Manns Harbor bridge. By the end of July, the number of birds at the site will be close to 100,000.

From late July and into early August, the Coastal Carolina Purple Martin Society will host visitors at the roosting site to explain and share with them the amazing phenomenon of thousands of the birds swooping in over the sound at dusk.
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New island music academy is one artist's 'divine inspiration'

Passion is the fuel that drives an artist’s creative engines, the impetus to spend the estimated 10,000 hours it takes to truly master a difficult craft.  While some artists tend to be more passionate about themselves, the best artists understand that it is the work at hand that is important and that inspiration is indeed the spark of the divine.

Such is the case with professional musician Jessie Taylor of Avon and her vision for the Cape Hatteras Music Academy, which will begin providing musical instruction for Hatteras Island youth in the fall. Taylor’s motto is “What we are is God’s gift to us, what we become is our gift to God.”  She is quick to credit divine inspiration for the new musical venture.
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