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Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Advice for Houseguests, one mo' time.
       Uncle Jack was delighted to learn that he has something in common with California Chrome, the wonder horse who will soon try to become the first Triple Crown winner in decades. They both use nasal strips! Faithful readers will know that Uncle Jack devoted an entire blog entry recently to his discovery of this wonderful invention and how it has changed his life for the better. He hopes the fact that California Chrome uses them will help spread the word. They are miraculous.

       Summertime is rapidly approaching and for those who are lucky enough to own oceanfront domiciles it means houseguests are coming and some of them are bound to make it through your best defenses. Years ago Uncle Jack wrote a column on this subject which he has reprinted from time to time but in case you have lost track of it here it is one more time.             

                            Advice for Houseguests

Uncle Jack has lived on the Outer Banks for a long time now and he has noticed some very interesting things about the flora and fauna. One thing he has noticed is that there are lots of swans around here in the winter but hardly any in the summer.
Another thing he has noticed is that houseguests are just the opposite of swans. You hardly ever see a houseguest around here in the winter but they are all over the place in the summer. Come to think of it Uncle Jack has never seen a houseguest and a swan at the same time.
Uncle Jack has noticed that the average houseguest tends to be a lot more trouble than the average swan. Swans eat out most of the time for one thing, and they never take showers. Houseguests spend most of their time sitting around the dining room table waiting for food to appear when they are not in the bathroom.
Anyway Uncle Jack thought it would be a good idea to give some advice to houseguests who are planning to come to the Outer Banks. These suggestions are not "cast in concrete" as they say over at Coastal Redi-Mix. Not everybody likes Stilton cheese, for instance, so you might not have to bring any if you are not staying with Uncle Jack.
What to bring your host and hostess:
One half-gallon Rebel Yell bourbon per person (excluding children under 5), three cases Rolling Rock beer, six pounds medium shrimp (heads off, please), two dozen steamed jumbo jimmy crabs, two dozen clams, five pounds scallops, three dozen Silver Queen corn, one bushel Currituck peaches, three pounds Stilton cheese, two cases good imported red table wine (ditto white), two loaves French bread, five pounds Virginia Diner peanuts.
Also bring assorted non-perishable items such as canned truffles and caviar that your host and hostess can enjoy next winter while watching the swans. Also bring sheets, pillow cases, towels, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, depilatories, aspirin, insect spray, styrofoam coolers and good books, all of which you should remember to forget when you leave.
Chores your host and hostess should not have to do during your visit: Cook meals, wash dishes, take out garbage, clean bathtub, scratch dogs, mow lawn, make morning coffee, smile.
Things you can do to express appreciation to your host and hostess: Go to see "The Lost Colony" every night by yourselves. Talk about pleasant things like what you are planning to fix for dinner tomorrow night or where you are planning to take your host and hostess for lunch. Do not talk about the horrible traffic or how the developers are ruining the Outer Banks or how rotten the fishing is in the summer or how terrible the weather has been during your visit.
Your host and hostess do not want to have to tell you how wonderful the weather was last week, how great the fishing is in the spring and fall, or how easy it is to cross the Bypass in February.
If you do everything Uncle Jack has suggested your host and hostess might invite you to come back again. If you are really lucky they might ask you to come back next winter when the swans are here.

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As far as he knows Uncle Jack's house in South Nags Head is still available for rental the last week of August and the first week of September. Call Cola Vaughan Realty at 252-449-2652 for the latest scoop on availability.

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You can walk to Jennette's Pier from Uncle Jack's house. Google "Uncle Jack's Beach Cottage" for more information about this senior friendly, pet friendly, close-to-the beach rental house.

posted by Uncle Jack at 3:01 PM

Comments [4]

Monday, May 12, 2014
Manteo the Beautiful
       Uncle Jack has to confess he didn't think much of Manteo when he first laid eyes on it back in 1969. The waterfront was a mess, many of the buildings on the main streets were vacant or in disrepair and the whole town seemed badly to need a major facelift.
       Thanks to the 400th Anniversary celebration in 1984 that is exactly what it got and the momentum of those early years has continued right to the present. Manteo has transformed itself over the past 30 years into a charming, prosperous-looking village that is a delight to visit (and to live in, he presumes).
       He and Mrs. U.J. very much enjoy visiting Manteo, especially the waterfront area, during the off-season when it is cool and the streets and sidewalks are uncrowded. They paid a visit last week and strolled around for a few hours and took some pictures. In a way it's like a visit to Ocracoke without the ferry ride. Sort of.
       They have been beachwalking every day the sun appeared which has been fairly often recently thank goodness. They have found the replenished beaches of South Nags Head extremely difficult to walk on because of all the drop-offs and undulations so they have fled to the untouched natural beaches in the National Seashore south of McCall Court in Sonag and also at Coquina Beach where the walking is easy.
       The weather looks good for the rest of the week and then it's back to Charm City for three months of R & R around the pool while their renters keep the beach warm for them until September.

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This boardwalk with its boat slips connects downtown Manteo and the new Marshes Light development. A very pleasant stroll in picturesque surroundings.

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The Marshes Light museum is a splendid replacement for the former Manteo water plant which once occupied this prime space on the waterfront.

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Informative plaques scattered around the waterfront remind visitors of Manteo's early history as a fishing and boatbuilding center.

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George Washington Creef's boatyard has been preserved as an interesting museum full of exhibits like this old shad boat of the kind that Creef designed and built back in the early 1900's.

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Boatbuilding still goes on in the Creef shed where the Elizabeth II was launched in 1984 as part of the 400th Anniversary celebrations.

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One of the sleek local racing boats on display in the Creef museum. Boat racing was a popular pastime in the area a half-century ago.

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Beach lovers who enjoy the ambience of a natural, unaltered beach (flat at the water's edge for easy walking, tons of shells, birds galore, etc.) can find it easily accessible at Coquina Beach, a Park Service facility a couple of miles south of Nags Head

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Coquina Beach is big enough to accommodate horses and riders as well as surfers, sunbathers and fishermen. These folks brought their horses in a van which they parked in the spacious Coquina lot near a beach access crossover.

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At the moment the last week in August and the first week in September are still available. Google "Uncle Jack's Beach Cottage" for more info. Call Cola Vaughan Realty, 252-449-2652 for the latest word on availability.

posted by Uncle Jack at 11:27 AM

Comments [2]

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After retiring in 2005 after 35 years as owner/operator of Yellowhouse Gallery and Annex on the Beach Road in Nags Head, Uncle Jack, accompanied by Mrs. Uncle Jack (a.k.a. Susan), commenced to travel extensively. This blog is a chronicle of their ramblings around the U.S. (in their redoubtable Mini Cooper convertible) as well as visits to England, Ireland, France, Italy, and Malta, interspersed with lengthy stays in South Nags Head and Baltimore between trips. He took a lot of pictures along the way, many of which are posted along with each blog entry.
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