First Flight Adventure Park Opens in Nags Head
The wait is over! After two years in the making, First Flight Adventure Park is opening its doors TODAY to the public as the Outer Banks’ first and only aerial park.
The park’s 60-foot tower supports 48 different elements to cross, including ladders, cargo nets, zip lines, a Tarzan swing and more. The elements are ranked in difficulty from Tropical Storm to Category 5 Hurricane, providing activity for all ages and skill sets. As their brochure reads, the course accommodates the adventurer in all of us, “from grandma to Navy seal,” – no experience necessary.
I got to take a preview tour of the park yesterday, and I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun! In my mind I was on an episode of Wiped Out, or American Gladiators, minus the possibility of actually wiping out or getting pummeled by an incredibly muscular woman named Storm. I was high above the sound but felt totally safe, navigating over planks, which I imagined hovered just above hot molten lava. It brought out the kid in me, a quality of a true adventure park!
Equipped with a helmet, gloves, and secured safely in a harness, adventure seekers maneuver along the self-guided aerial ropes course. Participants are attached to leads that are permanently secured to the zip line. This high-tech constant belay system eliminates the possibility of human error.
The tower also gives adventure seekers a 360-degree view of Nags Head from the sound to the ocean, and a spectacular sunset display rivaled by no other Outer Banks attraction. This unique experience is captured for each individual through a system called SnapSport, a photography scheme that follows each adventurer through the course by a sensor in his or her helmet. Afterwards, back at base camp, course-goers can view their photos by searching for the number on their helmet and can purchase what they like.
Owners Brad and Abby Carey are excited to see their dream come to life.
“We both love recreation and this is what this area doesn’t have and it’s what we know,” Abby said.
Growing up in Maryland, the couple’s families vacationed on the Outer Banks every year, and when the two ended up moving away for school, they made North Carolina their permanent home.
“We met in college in a rock climbing class,” Abby recalled with a big smile. “We have lived in Greenville, in the mountains, and now at the beach,” she said.
Permanent Outer Banks residents for four years, but off and on for 10, the Carey’s are locals with a big gift to the area.
Brad has been building aerial parks, zip lines and rope courses for 12 years and Abby has led bicycle tours, so the two are experts in activity. Along with the help of a few others, including the adventure park’s general manager, Brett Harrison, Brad built the park from the ground up. The unique spiral design leaves room for future additions.
More info: Guides are CPR certified and trained in rescue, should a participant need immediate evacuation from the course. There is one guide for every 10 people, but with only one person allowed on each element at a time, guides can keep a close watch on adventurers.
Participants are given two hours to complete the course after a 30-minute preparation session and reservations are preferred but walk-ins are also welcome. The cost is $49 for adults, and $39 for kids, 10 and under.
By Rob Morris on May 16, 2014
Legislation to authorize buying or making a trade for Oregon Inlet and establish an acquisition fund that could also be used for dredging was introduced this week in the General Assembly.
The bill, submitted by Republican Sen. Bill Cook, calls for an appropriation of $15 million to create the Outer Banks Land Management Fund, which would accumulate interest for a potential purchase of the inlet and federal land surrounding it.
In last year’s session, the General Assembly set up the Oregon Inlet Acquisition Task Force. The panel is wrapping up a study of options for obtaining ownership, which would give the state more power to build jetties and maintain the channel.
Money from the fund, if the bill passes, would be used to create Oregon Inlet State Park.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is now responsible for dredging but has had to scratch around for money in recent years. The latest budget proposal from the Obama administration allocates only $800,000 for maintenance of the inlet and nearby waterways, barely enough for surveying.
While the state negotiates with the federal government over obtaining the inlet property, money in the management fund could be used for dredging under Cook’s bill. Memorandums of agreement are already in place to allow the state to pay the Corps for dredging.
The short session deals primarily with budget and non-controversial issues.
Major dredging funded by $7.8 million in Hurricane Sandy relief money cleared a channel more than 14 feet deep and 400 to 600 feet wide in December. But the work was quickly undone by sand migrating south from Bodie Island spit.
At one point, the channel was impassable through the navigation span of the Bonner Bridge. A cut has since been cleared by the Corps to deeper water.
Establishment of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore transferred ownership of the property around the inlet to the U.S. Department of the Interior, according to a statement from Cook’s office. The deed was recorded Sept. 3, 1958, in the Dare County Registry of Deeds.
“While the federal government may have had good intentions when they purchased the land around the inlet in 1958, they have unfortunately failed to uphold their promise to take good care of the inlet. Under their control the inlet has been unnavigable and dangerous,” Cook said in the statement. “The time has come to reclaim the land around Oregon Inlet to properly develop and manage it.”
(May 8, 2014) – Analysis of data collected for the Realtors® Confidence Index shows the market share of all-cash purchases is on the rise, despite declines in distressed sales and investor activity, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the findings are counterintuitive. “Distressed home sales, most popular with investors who pay cash, have declined notably in the past two years, yet the share of all-cash purchases has risen,” he said. “At the same time, investors have declined as a market share, indicating other changes have been underway in the marketplace.”
Distressed home sales declined from 26 percent of the national market in 2012 to 17 percent in 2013 and 15 percent in the first quarter of this year; NAR projects distressed homes to drop to a single-digit market share by the fourth quarter. All-cash purchases rose from 29 percent in 2012 to 31 percent in 2013 and 33 percent in the first quarter of 2014.
In Florida more than half of all homes were purchased with cash. High levels of all-cash sales also were recorded in Nevada, Arizona and West Virginia, accounting for close to four out of 10 transactions.
The findings, derived from a survey of about 3,000 responses each month for NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, also show investors edged down from 20 percent of buyers in 2012 to 19 percent in both 2013 and the first quarter of this year.
A separate annual study of consumers, NAR’s 2014 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, shows investors at a somewhat higher market share, but declining more sharply from 24 percent in 2012 to 20 percent in 2013.
“These findings beg the question as to why we’re seeing higher shares of cash purchases,” Yun said. “The restrictive mortgage lending standards are a factor, but the higher levels of cash sales may also come from the aging of the baby boom generation, with more trade-down and retirement buyers paying cash with decades of equity accumulation.”
Another study, the 2013 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, shows trade-down buyers rose to 29 percent of buyers last year from 25 percent in the 2012 study and 23 percent in 2011, suggesting a contribution to the trend in cash sales.
“A majority of foreign buyers pay cash as well, and the five-year bull run of the stock market has also provided financial wherewithal among higher wealth households,” Yun said.
In Florida, where more than half of buyers paid cash in 2012 and 2013, distressed home sales declined from nearly four in 10 purchases in 2012 to three in 10 during 2013, and investors edged down.
“Florida is the most popular state for international buyers, who generally pay cash, as well as vacation-home buyers who frequently pay cash. In addition, downsizing retirees are known to pay cash from the proceeds of their homes in the north. This helps to explain the disparity there, but that isn’t the case in most other states,” Yun said.
For example, in West Virginia cash sales rose from about one-third of buyers in 2012 to nearly four out of 10 buyers in 2013, but distressed sales declined from a quarter of the market to less than one in five, and investors were half of what they had been in 2012.
The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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NOTE: While the survey was not designed to break out geographically, sufficient data is available to provide annual market shares for 29 states on all-cash sales, investors and distressed sales for 2012, 2013 and the first quarter of 2014. There were insufficient data for 21 states and the District of Columbia, but breakouts are available for nine sub-regions with responses from every state.
By Sam Walker
The contractor working to smooth out the ride on the westbound Wright Memorial Bridge still plans to reopen the span in less than two weeks.
“As of today, it is still the contractor’s goal to have the bridge open to traffic by May 15th,” John Abel, Jr., North Carolina Department of Transportation’s bridge program manager for Division 1, said Thursday in an email.
Since late September, G.A. & F.C. Wagman Inc. of York, Pa. has been using a special process to grind down the original bridge deck and place a layer of latex-modfied concrete on the road surface.
More than half of the bridge that carries U.S. 158 west between Kitty Hawk and Point Harbor has nearly been completed.
“There is still a lot of work that needs to be performed prior to the date but it is still their plan to have it open by the 15th,” said Abel.
The worse-than-expected weather this past winter led to the resurfacing project not being finished as originally planned.
The bridge will reopen to traffic for the summer, then close again sometime after Labor Day so that the $6.3 million project can be completed.
Under the original contract, the NCDOT would levy an at least $1,000 a day for each day the bridge remained closed after May 23.
When the westbound bridge was built in 1995, the supports of the deck did not bend as expected after the concrete road deck was poured on top.
The road deck between each bent, which is the combination of pilings that supports the bridge, had a more pronounced “hump” causing the bouncy ride over the bridge.
A similar issue developed on other bridges built around the same time in the region, including the Washington Baum Bridge over Roanoke Sound, but not to the severity as on the Wright Memorial Bridge.
With only one lane in each direction available on the normally eastbound span, traffic delays developed during several weekends in April due to disabled vehicles, accidents and high vehicle volume.
Traffic backups plagued the first two weekends after the span closed in the fall.
Flying Pirate Half Marathon & First Flight 5K
May 3 & 4, 2014 5th ANNIVERSARY!
First Flight 5K Sold out.
Double Dare Challenge – SOLD OUT
Half Marathon – SOLD OUT
REGISTRATION CLOSED SUNDAY, APRIL 27TH ~ at Midnight Matey!
News & Updates:
Important Need2Know runner information. Click here
Weekend backups slow traffic Wright Memorial Bridge
Participants traveling from the North on 168, using the Wright Memorial Bridge may encounter a delay on or near the bridge which is still down to just one lane in each direction. Please be aware of the change in traffic pattern when you approach the bridge.
The 5K course map is ready! See the revised route.
Free Fun Run for the kids under 12! See the Fun Run page Medals at Finish (while they last…)
5th Year Runners recieve special SWAG. Yo!
Costume Contest Matey!
Get your Pirate gear on and win! Get creative, funny and/or fancy!
Enthusiasm Counts! Show your stuff at a special Mile Marker judging spot.Prizes will be awarded at the Post Race Jamboree. Win a free entry to 2014! Yo Ho HO!
You must register before Midnight April 13.
The Flying Pirate Half Marathon course winds its way through the natural beauty that is North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Run the 13.1 miles and cover some spectacular ground – 2014 is the 5th Anniversary of this fun filled Pirate themed half marathon! Come to the Outer Banks and join the Pirate’s for this fantastic race!
Begin in Kitty Hawk and follow the course into Nags Head, along the Albemarle Sound, around the Wright Brothers National Memorial, and through the Nags Head Woods Maritime Forest. Finish with a Pirate Jamboree in Nags Head!
Details for Half Marathon and Challenge participants:
- Free parking – free shuttle service – bag check
- Free runner beer & food at the Pirate Jamboree Finish Line. (All scallywags are invited!)
- Shake yer booty with live music!
- Finishers SWAG! Just cross the Finish Line!
- Special SWAG for 5th year runners!
- And the awesome Flying Pirate Event Shirt & Medal
- Brave Double Dare Challengers will earn the 5K shirt & medal, the Half Marathon shirt, medal & other swag
- AND A COOL DOUBLE DARE CHALLENGER MEDAL!
Yo! Thats 2 Shirts and 3 Medals! Guaranteed to impress your crew with this bling!
THE CHARMS OF CURRITUCK COUNTY
by Laura Martier
Corolla Wild Horses
“Part of the charm of Currituck County,” says John Wiltgen, marketing program manager for Currituck Department of Travel and Tourism, “is that there are no chains or big box stores. It’s like stepping back in time… and we live in it.” Wiltgen is referring to the staff and management of the Department of Travel and Tourism, who are lucky enough to live in this beauteous area, but also to the growing numbers of people who are moving to and vacationing in Currituck County.
With the wild Spanish Mustangs roaming free and the wide expanses of pristine shoreline, much of it accessible only by four-wheel drive, it’s easy to see how the Corolla area beaches were recently voted #1 by online readers of Coastal Living magazine. What isn’t so obvious are the many attractions and activities to enjoy in Currituck County before your feet even hit the sands of Corolla or the rest of the Outer Banks.
Spending a day in Currituck County feels a little like entering a time machine with the dial set 30 years ago – at least in terms of the open land and personality of the area. With its laid-back local folk, mom and pop stores, verdant vineyards and farmlands, fascinating history and miles of unspoiled nature, it holds a charm that easily entices you to slow down and look – not just drive through. You can spend an entire day exploring and still have more to discover, and to do so well, it’s a good idea to gather a bit of knowledgable guidance. So, before you begin your Currituck County adventure, stop in at the Currituck County Welcome Center just over the North Carolina state line on U.S. Highway 168.
Opened in 2008, the Currituck County Welcome Center, the only non-state-owned visitor center at a major entry point in North Carolina, welcomed more than 70,000 travelers last year alone. You’ll be greeted with complimentary coffee, clean facilities, Southern hospitality, plenty of information and lots of smiles.
Springtime is a perfect time to meander on the Currituck mainland. Antique lovers can wander down the road and find scores of hidden treasures housed in old barns and charming storefronts. Take a break from the hunt and picnic on the lawn of one of Currituck County’s vineyards or microbreweries, or pop into one of the many local restaurants where you can sample cuisine like North Carolina barbeque, locally caught seafood and down-home Southern cooking.
The highways of Currituck County are lined with eight historic markers where the story of the War Between the States unfolds. The easy pace of these highways and by-ways will inspire you to stop and look. History lovers will appreciate historic sites like the Jarvisburg Colored School and the Currituck County Historic Jail, two of the oldest county buildings in North Carolina. They are all within a short distance from each other and a stone’s throw from the Currituck Ferry that takes you to nearby Knotts Island.
The ferry makes its round-trip voyage five times a day, seven days a week. The trip is 5 miles long and takes 45 minutes. Once aboard, you are able to leave your vehicles and walk around to enjoy the beautiful view of Currituck Sound. Once you’re on the island side, stop at Knotts Island Market for some provisions then take your time exploring Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge and the Charles Kuralt Trail and the Currituck Banks National Estuarine Preserve. Photo opportunities abound here with acres of pristine wetlands, marsh grass and cypress trees and an abundance of wildlife in its natural habitat.
Is golfing your passion? Golfers of all levels will find the perfect course here. Currituck offers some phenomenal, award-winning courses. Kilmarlic, named #14 in Golfweek’s 2013 list of Best Courses That You Can Play in North Carolina, is one six courses on the Currituck mainland. After a day of enjoying the mild spring air on the green, tuck into a local day spa for a relaxing massage or facial before ending your day with dinner on the Intracoastal Waterway. In 2012 Currituck County experienced the highest percentage increase in visitor spending in the state of North Carolina. It’s not hard to see why. With a surprisingly diverse environment and something for everyone, Currituck County—its beaches, by-ways and off the beaten path treasures—will have you coming back again and again.
Moyock, NC 27958
500 Hunt Club Drive
Corolla, NC 27927
About the Author: Laura Martier
Laura Martier is a longtime Outer Banks resident who currently divides her time between her home in Southern Shores, where she lives with her partner Dan Martier and dog Deva Om, and Nosara, Costa Rica. After almost 17 years of nonprofit management, fundraising and community building, Martier now dedicates herself solely to seeking adventure and expressing herself though music and writing.