Just The Sea, The Sand, & A Few Songs
Though each Outer Banks local is a true island dweller — connected to the North Carolina mainland by a few fleeting bridges — we aren’t necessarily “stranded.” Sure, we all have to travel about an hour to mindlessly stroll through Target and indulge in Chick-fil-A, but we have the necessary means to get by. That’s why the prospect of living on an actual deserted island is so interesting.
While the Outer Banks is no commercialized Myrtle Beach-esque metropolis, it’s certainly no Easter Island. But what if the Outer Banks was deserted? No monument, no Highway 158, no Duck Donuts. Nothing. Just you, the sand dunes and the sea. It’d be relaxing at first, surely, with the sound of waves breaking along the shore. But soon you’d be left with nothing but your own thoughts. Personally, I could survive for a while. I’ve seen “Cast Away” enough times. But it would really help to have a few songs to keep me company. Likewise, these Outer Banks locals consider what three songs they would like to have with them if they were stranded on a deserted island.
Donna Creef, Dare County Planning Director
Donna Creef has always been a Led Zeppelin fan. “I’ve listened to Led Zeppelin since I was in junior high,” she said. “I just want to say — picking out three songs was a very challenging task!” But in the end, Creef went with one of the band’s lesser-known songs, You Shook Me, as her top pick. After graduating from East Carolina University, Creef moved to Colington in May of 1988. She continues to be impressed by the natural beauty and the surroundings of this tiny beach town. “I also like the sense of community we have here, despite there being all these people who come in the summertime,” Creef said.
Stephanie Barsanti, Barista at Duck’s Cottage
Stephanie Barsanti is hard to miss. She’s the one with the eccentric personality and bright red lips who made your Mucky Duck over at Duck’s Cottage. You can find her dancing behind the counter, mouthing lyrics to whatever pops on the 80s on 8 radio channel that rings throughout the coffee shop. It’s no surprise her picks are true feel-good classics, because for Barsanti, that’s what it’s all about. “I would rather listen to songs that make me feel good,” Barsanti says. “You only get one shot at life, so I’d rather waste it laughing and smiling.”
Taylor Sugg, President of Townebank of Currituck
Local family man Taylor Sugg moved to the Outer Banks in 1992 when he got a job working for Wachovia. “I thought I was going to be here three years, and now it’s been, well, a whole lot more than three years!” he jokes. It’s been such a great place to raise his daughter, Olivia, who instinctively knew which song her dad was going to pick first – Arrested Development’s Everyday People. “He plays it all the time!” she says, shaking her head. Shrugging, Sugg didn’t argue with her. “Hey, It’s a good song!” he exclaims.
Whitney Hines, Co-Owner of Surfin’ Spoon
Whitney Hines seemingly does it all — she’s an artist, surfer, mother — not to mention the co-owner of Surfin’ Spoon. Her song choices are just as sweet as her personality. (And we’re talking on the sweetness level of cup of frozen yogurt from the Spoon.) The Avett Brothers’ At The Beach was an easy first pick. Her go-to, it even played in the labor room when both of her children were born. Next, Come Thou Fount is her favorite hymn. “It talks about the reality of how we will wander, but we’re always tethered,” Hines said. “I sing it to my children every night.” Souvenirs by Switchfoot is the song she’ll sing when she’s out surfing, in between waves. The lyrics remind her of her husband, Jesse. All three of her picks remind her of the things she loves most — her family, and, of course, the beach.
Doug Wingate, Manager of Walgreens in Kill Devil Hills
Doug Wingate lived in Baltimore until he was in his early 30s. He and his wife moved to the Outer Banks to, “get away from the big city,” somewhat of a common thread among many locals. He’s called the Outer Banks home for 29 years now. Incredibly musically inclined, Wingate plays guitar and has been a part of several bands over the years, even going as far as opening for Inner Circle. (The group who made the hit Bad Boys.) If he were stranded on a deserted island, he figures he would do a lot of stargazing. Jefferson Airplane’s Have You Seen The Stars Tonite, was selected just for that reason. Wingate also chose The Crystal Ship by The Doors, because the group is his wife’s favorite band, and it would serve as a lovely reminder of her. As for his third choice, Layla by Eric Clapton, Wingate says, “Hey, if I’m stuck on a deserted island, that song would keep me working.”
Reagon Pearson, Sophomore at First Flight High School
There’s a reason Reagan Pearson’s song choices are all loud, catchy bangers. “They would keep me up!” Pearson exclaims. “It would prevent a predator from eating me.” The First Flight High School sophomore has lived on the Outer Banks ever since he was two years old. The talkative, easy-going video game enthusiast is grateful to live in such a small, supportive community — and can’t begin to imagine what it would have been like to grow up anywhere else.
Ray Robinson, Executive Director of Outer Banks Sporting Events
Ray Robinson could probably sing an entire Otis Redding album by the time he was two years old. “My grandfather would listen to him all the time,” says Robinson, who recently moved to the Outer Banks from Walkertown, N.C. in mid-April. So it’s no surprise that one of his top picks is Sitting on the Dock of the Bay. “I think of my grandfather every time I hear it.” His second pick, Diamonds and Pearls by Prince, was the theme song of his wedding (not to mention the symbols of the Greek letter organizations he and his wife, Glasher, belong to). And as an avid car enthusiast whose first car was an old yellow Mercedes-Benz, Janis Joplin’s Lord Won’t You Buy Me a Mercedes-Benz will forever be close to his heart.
John Buford, Choir Director at First Flight Middle & High Schools
For John Buford, choosing a favorite song is like picking a favorite child. The teacher’s life revolves around music, quite literally going from school to school every day to instruct the craft to musicians across ages. It was tough, but eventually Buford narrowed down his list. “Because it’s on a deserted island, I’d need something of gravitas to keep me occupied,” says Buford. His first pick, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, will always remind him of a particular time in his life. “I sang a role in this opera one summer. Not only could I enjoy the mastery of Mozart, but I would recall the people, places and experiences of the summer of 1999.” Famed composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music also made the cut. “I can’t think of a better lyricist to keep my mind engaged than Sondheim,” Buford concludes.
Miriam Beyer, Owner/Instructor at Island School of Dance
Miriam Beyer’s life revolves around dance. In turn, she is always searching for new songs to sway to. With Island School of Dance’s second studio opening this upcoming school year, this will surely allow her even more opportunities to help young dancers mature into confident ballerinas — as well as allow for many more songs to be danced to. Beyer’s song selections include her personal favorite song that makes her, “want to dance every time” she hears it, and two others that anchor her to her faith.
Dino Colao, Nautica Store Manager
Originally from Chicago, Dino Colao moved to the Outer Banks in 2011 looking for a change of pace. He certainly found it. While many locals lament over tourist season’s population increase, he says it still can’t be compared to the windy city. “When we think it’s busy, it’s still nothing compared to there,” says Colao. Although he enjoyed Chicago’s beaches — just a few blocks away from the heart of downtown — nothing can really compare to this small beach town. Colao took this question to heart, picking songs that remind him of what matters most. Dean Martin’s Ain’t That A Kick In The Head makes him think of all the people he loves, while Frank Sinatra’s My Way reminds him of his dad. Perhaps his last song choice, Mötley Crüe’s Home Sweet Home, is an ode to “how friendly the locals are,” now that he quite comfortably refers to the people and community of the Outer Banks as just that — home. ♦