• Outer Banks, NC,  Vacations,  Writing & Publishing

    Scenes from Hatteras Island

    Rising Waters, Rising Bridges, and an Old, OLD Bookstore Building That Looks Brand New . . . and Fantastic! A few weeks ago, we drove the length of the North Carolina’s wonderful Outer Banks, emptying out an SUV of books at bookselling shops along the way. These trips are always a joy, allowing us to visit the Banks, to see old friends, and to sell some books, of course. This year was a little different, however. For one thing, crowds were bigger than usual in May, likely in part to the gotta-get-away-to-the-beach anxiety generated by a year of Covid isolation. But there was a difference with the Outer Banks themselves—specifically,…

  • Outer Banks, NC,  Vacations,  Weekly Blog

    Scenes from Ocracoke

    Still the Outer Banks’ pearl, even as the waters rise MORE: LIVE ONLINE EVENT. JOIN RAY’S ONLINE TALK ABOUT THE OBX: 3 p.m. Thurs., May 27, with Fountain Bookstore. READ HOW AN OCRACOKE BAND WAS NAMED FOR RAY NEXT BLOG: HATTERAS ISLAND OCRACOKE, NC — An overnight stay on this southernmost point of North Carolina’s famed Outer Banks, or at least the southernmost populated point, is always a treat. It never seems quite like the rest of the Outer Banks to me. The other villages are on the windswept Atlantic coast, with sand dunes and rough surf. I love them, too. But Ocracoke, tucked away on the inland side of…

  • Just Because,  Outer Banks, NC,  Vacations

    I’ve Got My Own Band!

    And, no, I can’t play a lick What do Dave Clark, Steve Miller, Bon Jovi, Van Halen — and now I, yes I — have in common? We’ve all given our names to rock bands. There is but one difference. Those eponymous bands (eponymous being a pretentious word meaning, “giving a name to something else“) feature the eponym (haha! another pretentious word) as the principal performer. The Ray McAllister Band does not. I’m not actually even in my own band. (The band members, I’m sure, are fine with that, given that I have no idea how to play an musical instrument. I am, as well, a bad singer.) But the…

  • Just Because,  Outer Banks, NC,  Vacations,  Weekly Blog

    Catching up with ‘Uncle Jack’

    His funny Outer Banks book publishes during the quarantine, with no stores to sell it, but he remains sanquine For Jack Sandberg, as for everyone else, the coronavirus and its accompanying quarantine have changed everything. Fortunately “Uncle Jack” has a sense of humor about everything. Sandberg is the humorist who came to define North Carolina’s beloved Outer Banks, writing for two now-defunct newspapers in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. His writing was funny, yes, but savvy, too, as more than one critic noted approvingly. He loved the OBX, but “Uncle Jack” was keenly aware that the strand of islands faced pressure from tourists, developers and real estate agents, and, of…

  • Coronavirus,  Vacations,  Weekly Blog

    COVID-19 and the Summer of ’20

    So are YOU going on vacation this year? This morning has been rapid-fire crazy, with cancellations or postponements over the coronavirus coming from every angle … every few minutes. Even our home town of Richmond. The first was a note from my wife saying students would be off from her school tomorrow, so faculty and staff could develop plans. Then she sent another saying the big end-of-March 10k road race was being pulled, too, delayed until September. (Our whole family comes into town for that one … or would have.) The Richmond Forum followed with a subscriber email saying its two speaker events this month — one with Michele Obama…