My love affair with the Outer Banks is as old as I am; the first time I put my toes in the sand here I was wearing diapers. Somehow my young parents got wind of the Banks all the way up in Ohio and in 1963 made the long trek across the county (and the brand new Bonner Bridge) to Hatteras Island. Instantly hooked, they came back nearly every summer. They still visit, of course these days they stay with me.
Transplanted from Michigan in 1988, I have been working in advertising and publishing on the Outer Banks for ages. The most fun I’ve had so far (until this project) was creating the Ocracoke Observer, the community newspaper on Ocracoke Island, and next up was the five years I spent at the helm of the North Beach Sun, a community quarterly.
Delighted to have spent nearly 30 amazing years on the Outer Banks, I’ve spent my best days giving back to the community I love –through my involvement with community newspapers, sitting on non-profit boards, creating and chairing fundraisers for special needs preschoolers, the local women’s shelter and more, and championing local arts.
Inspired by a lifelong love of the OBX, I hope to remind locals and visitors alike with this magazine to look a little deeper and explore the rich history and local color that exists beyond the bright shiny lights of the Bypass.
It’s easy to get caught up in the obvious ways to enjoy the Outer Banks: beach walks and raw bars, followed by a dose of shopping for cheap souvenirs (not that there is anything wrong with that). But, to really connect with the best the OBX has to offer, sometimes we need to go a little deeper.
Heading out to see a local band, learning a bit o’ pirate lore, catching an art show, discovering a forgotten fishing village, or taking a hike in a maritime forest can show both visitors (and locals) a different side of the Outer Banks. Slurping oysters is better when you know that the shells will help create seedbeds for more oysters and breakwaters that can prevent erosion at Jockey’s Ridge State Park.
I feel that when we connect with this place on a deeper level ~ when we begin to care and cherish these amazing banks and the pioneer-spirited people who live here ~ we become better caretakers. And we all need to take care of the Mother and each other.
I found myself on these hidden Outer Banks. I hope you do, too.
dawn church | curator & publisher