Letter to the Editor: Hoppin’ hares and major rebirths

Published 8:28 am Thursday, March 30, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

To the Editor:

What a happy time of the year for those of us lucky enough to live on the Outer Banks. We’ve slid past the Spring Equinox and into the early days past winter and into the ever-warming days and beach time. History.com says that “an equinox occurs at the moment when the Earth’s axis doesnt tilt toward or away from the sun … you can stand on the equator and observe the sun passing directly overhead.”

We know this juncture as the lead up to Easter, where a Holy Rebirth is worshipped as are the wares of Sugar Kingdom’s bunnies and eggs. Interestingly the celebration of this special natural occurrence grew out of pagan beliefs. The day which was called Ostara or later Eostre celebrated “renewal and rebirth.” It is during this time that the March hares box each other to renew life in their fertile partner who can get pregnant again while already pregnant.

Get the latest headlines sent to you

Bunnies and pagans celebrate renewal and being a born again pagan and tree hugger I want to emphasize a few rebirths and renewals that will add joy to our summer sun, outdoor time, sand, and water. Let the hares hop high while the doors of Marshalls, the new Blue Moon Grill, and (drumroll) … TARGET, open.

Target and Marshalls were built through a rebirth of existing spaces and surrounding area. And lucky for all, the new Blue Moon dodged the controversial rebirth of zones in the now re-renewed and historically important Town of Nags Head. Kudos to all those who influenced that renewal but it is a shame the affordable housing project originally planned seems to have quickly gone cold. The focus on controversial housing has shifted to Wanchese and Manteo. Both are major historical towns in their own right, and as mentioned by concerned Wanchese citizen Lorraine Tillett, “Please do not betray our trust” citing that the “provisions are too vague” for the cluster homes known as the “Village at Old Wharf Road.”

Relax, good citizens, the Board of Commissioners’ chairman said he wanted to be “very, very, very clear” that the development is not Section 8 (family low income housing), and “that Wanchese was not singled out.” Better bring in some of the local Wanchese historically-focused “influencers” to get the commissioners’ attention before the area is clear cut and the “stormwater management, (and) engineered wastewater systems” are installed. What could go wrong?

But even though Wanchese is battling to retain its historically significant status, its sister (sorry, in this case, brother) town of Manteo is experiencing a spring rebirth as meaningful to the cultural DNA of Dare County as was the Theatre of Dare when it relocated to its now permanent home in Kitty Hawk. Where last weekend, I saw a spirited delivery of the musical “Urinetown” where the new business manager, Kelsey Thompson, delivered a terrific last minute fill-in performance for an ill cast member and demonstrated perfectly that “the show must go on.”

And “the show (will) go on” in Manteo thanks to the spring rebirth (again) of the historic Pioneer Theatre. In a nicely written article recently in the CT, we learned that hometown son Michael Basnight, his sister and other focused lovers of this historic town have invested in the rebirth of the Pioneer Theatre that “will be expanding its reach to include not only new movies, but also classic movies, matinees and live entertainment.” Thank you, new owners who know the historical significance of a 103 year old movie theater and who are spirited enough to think big and add a smaller but needed venue to compliment the bigger Vusic production.

Undoubtedly this along with the renewed business ventures like NouVines, and rebirth of the Lost Colony Brewery and Cafe will help with Mike Basnight’s wish for Manteo to become a cultural destination as he affirms “I want to bring those … folks from Raleigh and Norfolk. They’re already coming here for vacation, why aren’t they coming here for business?”

The wild hares are hoppin’ all over the Outer Banks, some a little higher than others, but certainly the summer will give the area renewed placed to shop and dine, enjoy some good beverages, and see some shows that have not been around since the wilder days of the Casino era. Do you feel renewed yet?

Russ Watkins

Southern Shores