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Outer Banks Guide > Outer Banks Blogs > Eve Turek's Natural Outer Banks Blog
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Big Week in Baltimore
       Those of us who are lucky enough to live in Baltimore got a special bonus this week during which the 200th anniversary of the commencement of the War of 1812 has been celebrated in fine fashion. There was a lot of action in and around Charm City during that conflict, about which Uncle Jack knew next to nothing until he moved up here three years ago.
       Since then he has been out to Fort McHenry, home of the Star Spangled Banner, several times and he has even explored North Point where a British army landed and were repulsed by a ragtag bunch of Baltimore citizens in 1814. It really was a pretty interesting war as wars go and well worth googling if you are still ignorant.

              For Uncle Jack the high point of the week-long celebration here was the arrival of an assortment of picturesque "tall ships" from as far away as Indonesia and Spain. They sailed into the inner harbor a week ago and have been tied up to various docks and accessible to the curious ever since. Thousands of visitors have swarmed the inner harbor every day and according to the police there have been no robberies, rapes, shootings or riots in the vicinity during the entire celebration. There hasn't been room.

       With the hope that it might help sell a book or two Uncle Jack has exhumed from the archives another of the 100 pieces included in "Uncle Jack's Outer Banks" (Kindle Edition). Google it to find out how you can download it to your kindle or computer for a mere $4.99 and help doddering old Uncle Jack supplement his pitiful Social Security check.


                            Sun, Sand and Traffic

Uncle Jack has had lots of time to think lately, mostly while waiting to make left turns on the bypass. He looks out at the seemingly endless stream of vehicles coming toward him and his mind begins to wander into the past (which is the only direction he feels safe to go at his age). Often he thinks about the old days when he had to go up to Virginia Beach Boulevard to see traffic like we have here now, and his bosom swells with pride at how far we have progressed in such a short time.
Back when Uncle Jack first came here in 1969 there was only one stoplight in all of Dare County, which goes to show you what a backwater this really was. He can remember when the slogan of the Dare County Tourist Bureau was “The Outer Banks---A Secret Worth Keeping” which he thought was pretty funny because the whole purpose of that esteemed organization was to let the cat out of the bag, so to speak. Uncle Jack wonders sometimes what it might be like around here today if the Tourist Bureau had spent all those millions of dollars trying to discourage people from coming to the Outer Banks instead of wooing them.
Probably not a whole lot different he is sorry to say. Word-of-mouth is still the best advertising and he would guess that just about everybody who ever came here in the old days went home and told everybody they knew about the Outer Banks and then those people would come and love it and they would go home and tell everybody they knew and before long everybody knew. That’s the kind of magical place it used to be.
Uncle Jack knew from day one that the Outer Banks could never remain the idyllic place he perceived it to be when he first arrived. By that time many locals were complaining that the place had gone to hell in a hand basket already but he never quite envisioned the present state of affairs. He is not sure what visitors who are here for the first time this summer will say about the Outer Banks when they get home. It might be something like “The beaches are wonderful but God, the traffic is worse than the Jersey Turnpike”.
Uncle Jack nearly fell out of his barcalounger the other day when he read in the paper that one of the county commissioners had called for a county-wide moratorium on the construction of any more buildings exceeding 10,000 square feet. He is not sure what that would have accomplished given the ingenuity of our developers but in any case his trial balloon was shot down in shreds at an altitude of about 20 feet and the entire matter of rampant, uncontrolled development has been referred to the county planning board for “further study”.
Uncle Jack breathed a sigh of relief when he read that because he was afraid the moratorium might have prevented the company called Beach Mart, Inc. from building yet another big “Wings” store in Nags Head. The new one (across the street from another “Wings”) will be only two blocks from his own gallery---an easy walk because he won’t have to cross the bypass to get to it---so any time he feels the need to buy another imported plastic replica of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse he won’t have far to go.
From what he read in the paper the Beach Mart folks have graciously agreed to make their new store a little less conspicuous than most of their others by reducing the wattage of their night-time lighting a tad. This will make the place a little harder to spot from outer space but travelers on the bypass should have no trouble finding it when they, too, are seized with an uncontrollable need to buy something from China that will remind them of the Outer Banks when they get home.

                                   SCROLL DOWN FOR PICTURES

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This one came from Brazil. Or was it Argentina?

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A view of part of the inner harbor from Federal Hill. Baltimore the Beautiful.

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Harbor East from Federal Hill. Ships galore.

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Hundreds waited in line for a long time to board this colorful Mexican training ship.

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Visiting sailors patiently posed for thousands of pictures. Some of them may have led to lasting relationships or at least a few one-night stands.

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If the Canadians had had this vessel 200 years ago they might have won. It was nice of them to come to Baltimore.

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Local sailors enjoyed a nice breeze to propel their sightseeing around the harbor.

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The commercial sightseeing boats had their best days of the year this week.

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Uncle Jack's delightful, senior friendly house in South Nags Head is still available for rental for a few weeks later in the year. Google "Uncle Jack's Beach Cottage" for all the scoop.

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The Navy's "Blue Angels" burned a lot of jet fuel and raised the ambient noise level all over Charm City while putting on their thrilling show.

posted by Uncle Jack at 10:54 AM

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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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