Bluegrass music fans have the opportunity to hear their favorite tunes September 23-26 at the Bluegrass Island Festival on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The event will be held at Roanoke Island Festival Park, a 27-acre island across from downtown Manteo. Gates open at 11AM on Wednesday and 10AM Thursday through Saturday.
The music lineup includes more than 25 bands with headliners Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis on Friday evening and Cherryholmes Reunion on Saturday evening. Food vendors will serve barbeque, roasted corn, hamburgers, hotdogs, corndogs, and most anything fried. While you’re in Mateo, I recommend a visit to Stripers Bar & Grille, which offers a large variety of seafood treats—the shrimp quesadilla is my favorite.
Public docks are available for free daytime use on the Manteo waterfront next to the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse. An excellent paid alternative with daily and overnight docking is Shallowbag Bay Marina, which can accommodate boats up to 65 feet.
Take the Lighthouse Challenge
Each September for the past 10 years, the Chesapeake Chapter of the United States Lighthouse Society organizes the Maryland Lighthouse Challenge. This year’s challenge on September 19th and 20th dares participants to visit 10 lighthouses in the Chesapeake Bay area, some not normally open to the public.
Small keepsakes are given at each lighthouse, and there’s a special souvenir for anyone who manages to visit them all. Lighthouses on the list are Concord Point, Seven Foot Knoll, Lightship Chesapeake (which is a boat), Hooper Strait, Choptank River Replica, Drum Point, Cove Point, Piney Point, Point Lookout, and Fort Washington.
This year, all-day cruises are also available on September 17th, 18th and 21st through Sawyer Charters to visit some bonus lighthouses. Participants have the opportunity to view the following lighthouses from the water: Hooper Island, Point No Point, Smith Point, Solomons Lump, and Holland Island Bar. The price includes lunch with a stop at Smith Island for a seafood meal. cheslights.org
A less publicized but arguably tastier destination is the annual Ribtoberfest at Town Point Park along the Norfolk, Virginia waterfront. This year’s fourth annual festival and feast on September 26th features mouth-watering BBQ and sides, frosty craft brews, live music, and other family fun. Top local chefs and restaurants will serve everything from ribs, brisket and pulled pork to collards and fried okra.
Mariners can dock along the promenade to enjoy the fun and listen to the music while relaxing on board. For reservations call the Festevents office Monday-Friday at (757) 441-2345 between 9AM and 5PM. If there is no space to dock there, Waterside Marina is close by and is an excellent place to tie up if you’re looking for temporary or overnight docking.