Nags Head: a salty tale of smarts

Evening yester was all about the sea and music. How could I not like it?!

I caught the duo Pint and Dale at Rhapsody in Bloom, a house turned cafe where the tea arrives in floral ceramic pots and the brownies dusted with powdered sugar look positively and delectably soft and tempting. I passed; as a jobless person, I learn to do without the pleasures of life.

Pint is William Pint, on the guitar. Dale is Felica Dale, on the hurdy-gurdy.

They’re a charming musical husband-and-wife duo who travel all over regaling audiences with stories of the sea and salty sailors and sunken ships.

Which segues into a colorful snippet they shared — and allegedly the way that Nags Head, a maritime town on the coast of North Carolina, came unto its name.

Back in the 18th century the North Carolina coast was subject to land-based pirates a'plenty. Sailing ships were misdirected and run into rocks and cliffs intentionally. The survivors were none and the shipwrecked spoils scooped up. If you look at a map documenting the locations of wrecks, you'd see an area thick with black X's .

Now, this one fella — perhaps more than one, no one really knows — got quite smart.

He led a horse, a nag, down to the shore and tied a lantern around its neck. As the horse moved and fed, the lantern bobbed, looking like the light of a ship nearer the shore to the merchant shippers farther out. So in they'd sail, then run aground into the thick sand banks that characterize the state. Bye-bye shippers and bye-bye cargo.

Right or wrong, you gotta admire the cleverness … and the inspiration behind the name of Nags Head, North Carolina.

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