Tag Archives: buxton

Nitrograss Music Festival Benefit for HIGPS

Nitrograss playing HIGPS Benefit at Papawack Theater

Appalachia, bluegrass, banjos, bass, guitar, and mandolin…

One mention of these melodic words does not make one think of the sounds that are customary to those of us who live on the coast. But after this past week these words and the bluegrass band Nitrograss, have become forever a part of preserving our way of life and our heritage. On August 7, 2012, this foursome drove into town with their instruments and talents in tow. They traveled over mountain, bridge, and sandy road in order to tour the Outer Banks and play the first ever Nitrograss Music Festival Benefit for the Hatteras Island Genealogical and Preservation Society at Spa Koru’s Papawack Theatre.

The evening’s forecast was rain, but those attending found nothing but a foot stopping good time while listening to the two time National Banjo Champion, Charles Wood, pound out originals and old time bluegrass classics like he was born with a banjo in his hands. Brothers Micah and Caleb Hanks, also added an irreplaceable ingredient to the mix. Micah with his outgoing personality worked his guitar and the crowd with such enthusiasm and a spicy zest that left the crowd swooning for more. Then there was Caleb. His quick comical wit and style just added that much more to the flavor of the band. He flat tore that mandolin up ! Then there is the bass player, Dakota “Smoky” Waddell. The sweet deep tones emerging from his bass seemed to bring it all together and drive it home. This was a magical night of mountain music on an island thirty miles off shore.

There are many thanks that need to be given out to those who made this wonderful event come together. First, we’d like send out our great appreciation to the men of Nitrograss…Charles Wood, Micah Hanks, Caleb Hanks, and Dakota Waddell. We love you down here on Hatteras. Our door is always open and you will always be a welcomed part of our family. Then there is Susan Davidson, who is Nitrograss’ Marketing/PR powerhouse. She is also the one who first conceived the idea of the band playing a benefit for HIGPS. Susan, you are beyond words. Many many hugs to you. Can hardly wait to see all of you again.

To Joe Thompson and the Spa Koru Family…I do not believe there are words enough to show our appreciation for you. Spa Koru, played a major roll in hosting this event for HIGPS. You are such an asset to our community and thank you for allowing us the privileged and use of the Spa Koru Beach Klub’s Papawack Theater. What an awesome evening and turnout. We couldn’t have done it without you !

Next comes the good part…the eats. To Hurricane Heather’s and Hatteras Harbor Deli, thank you. You put in a lot of time and effort to feed this hungry crowd of bluegrass lovers. You deserve a gold medal and are so very appreciated. Y’all have quite a few hugs waiting for you. You rock !

Stacy Oneal, Greg Humphrey, Elizabeth B. Fox, and Malcolm Roberts…thank you for your time and your help during this very special event. You are all a treasure and truly care about this island. I could probably go on for hours, but I won’t 🙂

Cape Pines Motel in Buxton – Thank you so much for showing HIGPS and Nitrograss that good old island hospitality by providing accommodations for our guys. Your place has always been a favorite and you are greatly appreciated.

To Lee Etheridge and TNT Services of the Outer Banks, you helped where no one else could. Many thanks to you and your staff for all that you did and continue to do in our community.

Last but not least, thank you to all who attended and donated to the cause. It’s our heritage and it’s up to us to preserve it. Looks as if HIGPS, is well on their way to making that happen. Without people like you, none of this is possible.

Dawn F. Taylor
President – HIGPS

Dawn Taylor and Micah Hanks (NItrograss) pre-concert – Papawack Theater

L to R: Mole Man (sound) Dakota Waddell, Caleb Hanks, Micah Hanks, Dawn Taylor

Elizabeth B. Fox and Malcolm Roberts – Taking Tickets 🙂

Stacy Oneal and hubby Greg – Manning the station 🙂

Nitrograss playing Hurricane Heather’s on Hatteras Island

Nitrograss playing Gaffer’s on Ocracoke while touring the OBX.

Dawn Taylor manning the Nitrograss table.


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Hurricane Irene ~ A storm to remember !

Mirlo Beach, NC

As I sit here trying to come up with the opening words to write this blog, I can not help but think of all that has happened on Hatteras Island, since Hurricane Irene hit. By now, most of you have heard through the news media about the destruction here. Many homes and businesses were destroyed. Lives are now changed in so many different ways. But just as our ancestors have done over the years, we will persevere. We have pulled together and once again shown our strengths as a community. I am so proud and so thankful for all who have rolled up their sleeves, put on their waders and boots, in order to selflessly lend a hand. We are so blessed…

Tide coming in...Avon, NC

Dad and I have weathered quite a few storms together in our home. We live in my late Grandparent’s old place in Avon. We feel secure here. This house is built like they used to build them…strong…sturdy…made to endure harsh winds and storms. Dad did however, have the house raised after dealing with it being only three feet off the ground. Only so many times of carpets ruined, walls warped, and furniture and appliances trashed, can one take. So up it went…12 feet into the air.

About a week before Irene hit, all eyes pretty much stayed glued to the weather. A lot of the islanders, especially the old timers, are pretty good at predicting where storms are going and what should be done in order to prepare. With that said, Dad and I made several trips to the grocery store for canned goods and other items that might be needed during and afterwards. We gassed up the trucks. Made sure the generator worked. Moved the camper and both trucks to higher ground. Secured all outdoor items…and then waited.

Waiting for the storm to hit has always seemed the hardest part to me. Not knowing what the storm is going to do to your home, your family, your friends…it’s nerve racking. So Dad and I, along with quite a few others, were feeling quite happy when Irene had dropped to a category 1. But boy, big things do come in small packages. The winds shifted around from the south east to the north west and a mean punch came a long with it. From Avon Village all the way to Manteo, there came a surge of ocean and sound tides. Irene was on a destructive path. A friend of mine who lives in New York called several days after…even the town he grew up in about an hour north of him was destroyed by her. Irene had left a mark.

Gerald Williams home place ~ Village of Avon

The above photo shows the home place of the late Gerald Williams. His house is located directly across the road from us. As you can see, the tide paid a visit to many of the homes and businesses of our village. Dad and I were lucky. Many others weren’t. Piles of household items now lay along side the road with signs that read “Do not take away”. Residence are waiting for insurance adjusters to arrive in order to receive aide in restoring what has been destroyed. Dad and I can deal with the stench of mud in the yard. We can deal with no air conditioner. No tv. No phone. Even the loss of the oil tank which heats our water and house, But to imagine dealing with the loss of treasured family photos, family heirlooms, and those things that help one get through everyday life, is hard to comprehend.

And what is more hard to comprehend is the loss of loved ones through such disasters. Saturday night, our family almost lost two very dear members. Celia and Roger Meekins were owners of the house known as, Sentinel on Pamlico. It was their dream home. Located at Mirlo Beach, it was a landmark with it’s tower that resembled a majestic lighthouse. But most of all, it was a place where they went to relax and enjoy the beauty of the island. Below is a link you may follow to read in detail about the fire that occurred there Saturday night and also the flood waters that Celia and Roger found themselves swimming through in order to reach the safe harbor of their nearby neighbors. It is through stories like theirs, that one realizes that there are still those in this world who would give their dearest possession, which is their life, in order to save others.

Story of Celia and Roger Meekin’s and the loss of their Sentinel on the Pamlico

Remains of the Sentinel on the Pamlico ~ Home of Celia and Roger Meekins

So here we are, recovering. The villages of Avon, Buxton, Frisco, and Hatteras…are all being powered by one generator. The village of Waves had a generator delivered but at this point, I am not sure if it is up and running yet. The people who evacuated are still waiting to return home to see what is left of their lives. Re-entry will start this coming Sunday for those of the village of Buxton. Residence of Frisco and Hatteras will be allowed to re-enter on Monday and Tuesday. Dare County Emergency Managements has posted travel info on their website.

Dare County Emergency Management

Our recovery will be a long one. Yesterday, Elizabeth B. Fox and myself, took a ride up to Rodanthe to see for ourselves the destruction that had occurred. Between the two of us and Liz’s mother, Dixie Burrus Browning, we put together three totes to take with us that consisted of clothing, shoes, lanterns, and unopened over the counter meds, and various other items, to donate. The Salvation Army has brought in relief efforts in order to help. But there were also many natives and locals, such as the Gaskins family of Avon, the men and women of the Cape Hatteras Electric Company, the Avon Volunteer Fire Deptment,and many others to numerous to mention who gave of themselves in order to help us along the path of recovery. A heart felt “Thank you”, is in order.

I’ll end this Hurricane Irene blog with photographs taken yesterday, of the breach at Mirlo Beach. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers…

Dawn F. Taylor

Mirlo Beach ~ Tradewinds Cottage

Anne and Donny Bowers ~ Owners of Indian Town Gallery ~ Frisco

Mirlo Beach

Mirlo Beach sign

Mirlo Beach ~ The Breach

Mirlo Beach

Mirlo Beach

Mirlo Beach

Mirlo Beach


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Buxton Village Books ~ An island’s history in literature

Buxton Village Books ~ Buxton, NC

Buxton Village Books is by far, one of my favorite stops on Hatteras Island. Whenever I find myself wanting to step back in time to an island of yesteryear, all’s I have to do is enter through the door of this enchanting house of books.

Yes, it really is a house of books. Or should I say a kitchen of books ? Recently, I asked Gee Gee Rosell, owner of Buxton Village Books, if she would be willing to answer some questions for our readers. She quickly and excitedly, accepted. Of course, one the first questions I asked was about the building in which her charming book store is housed.

Q: Buxton Village Books, is housed in an old island home. By chance do you know anything about it’s history ?

A: The center two rooms were the detached summer kitchen of a home that burned down years ago. I’ve added the other rooms over the years as my business has grown, but tried to keep the island vernacular architecture in tact.

Q: How long has Buxton Village Books been in business and is it’s current location where it all began ?

A: I started Buxton Village Books in 1984, right here in this building. It was only two rooms then and today there are seven.

So now the questioning had turned to my favorite part of any house…or should I say “home”. The kitchen will always be what I consider to be the heart of it’s existence.

Q: Now most of us islanders love those old recipes that our Mothers and Grandmothers, passed down to us from generation to generation. They are as much a part of our heritage as our brogue or any other trait that makes us Kinnakeeters or Trenters. With that said, what books do you have cooking on those shelves that visitors, locals, and natives alike, can pick up and learn the culinary ways of Hatteras Island, past and present ?

A: “Kinnakeet Kitchens” is one of my favorites. The cover is a lovely painting by Denise Gaskins. Also “Outer Banks Cookbook” by Elizabeth Weigand. Elizabeth isn’t a local but she has done a great job of collecting Outer Banks recipes and the history behind them. Also, Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation, publishes a cookbook titled “Seasonings”. That has contributions from every
village…so it’s full of local food ways too.

Now Gee Gee isn’t a native. But from talking to her, it seems like she should be. I had wondered from where and when she came to this little sandbar. So I asked her…

Q: Where is Gee Gee Rosell originally from and how long have you been on the island ?

A: I moved to Hatteras the day after college graduation in 1974. I went to school at West Virginia University.

In 1974, I was seven years old. Probably playing pick up sticks on my Grandparents wrap around porch in Kinnakeet, when Gee Gee landed on our sandy soil. With all her years spent on Hatteras, there is one thing she has learned…island history. Being a history lover myself, I often stop by to see what is new on the book store’s shelves. I am never disappointed.

Q: You have a wide selection of local and state history, culture, and folk lore books. Would you mind giving our readers a run down of some of your favorite titles and their authors ?

A: There are so many ! So the first thing I’ll do is steer you to our website:, where you’ll find a complete list of local titles under “Hatteras Bookshelf”. Two authors you don’t want to miss are Charles Harry Whedbee and David Stick. Whedbee collected lore and legends during his time as a District Court Judge, in eastern North Carolina. He published 5 books in his lifetime. Stick wrote the definitive history of the Outer Banks in several volumes including a book of essays he edited “Outer Banks Reader”. An author still with us and carrying on the tradition is Kevin Duffus. His “Lost Light” is a great Civil War history centering on the Fresnel lens from the first Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. That just barely skims the surface. Go to our site and take a closer look.

Many times I have been searching through the titles at Buxton Village Books, when in walks a family or couple from as far away as Canada or as close as Manteo. How wonderful it is to see people from far and near, stopping by to learn about the people and culture of Hatteras Island. But often, more so than not, there is a cultural exchange and a friendship begins that will last through years of returned visits to this island bookstore.

Q: I bet Buxton Village Books, has had visitors from all over the world. Do you have any that left a lasting impression and if so, would you mind telling us a little bit about them ?

A: Last winter, Simon Winchester, was here doing research for his book “The Atlantic”. I’ve sold his books for years and love his travel writing. So it was a pleasure and a surprise to meet him. It never fails that an author I hold in high regard will come through the front door on the day I’m grubbing around under the building repairing the wiring ! It’s humbling to say the least to shake the hand of a world traveler when you have your wire cutters in your back pocket and dirt on your face.

Buxton Village Books, has found it’s place among the people of this island. On it’s shelves sits our stories. From ship wrecks, to Civil War heroes born and bred here, to islanders who remember through poetry and family legend…they are all waiting for you to read about them. So why not stop on by. Gee Gee will be waiting for you.

Buxton Village Books ~ local and state history, culture, and folk lore


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