Tar Heel Traveler salutes Capt’n Franks in Kitty Hawk

By on July 11, 2015

Scott Mason signed books at Capt’n Franks Wednesday. (Russ Lay)

Covering an event that includes writing about a “big city” TV journalist and author who gets paid to travel our great state combined with one of my personal Top-5 restaurants on the beach — Capt’n Franks — and the story almost writes itself.

Here on the Outer Banks we’re cut off from Raleigh television on cable and satellite. But many of our readers are very familiar with WRAL-TV 5 and “Tar Heel Traveler” Scott Mason.

Mason’s travels are a regular part of WRAL’s news programming.

He has written two books about his Carolina journeys, Tar Heel Traveler, which focuses on the some of his favorite locales, and his latest effort Tar Heel Traveler Eats, which obviously covers Mason’s favorite epicurean adventures.

This book is not a collection of restaurant reviews. Instead, each chapter features legendary places that every North Carolinian should put on their bucket list and reads like a homespun narrative told from the first-person perspective of the writer.

Mason’s style is conversational — he includes any traveling companions in each vignette, conversations with owners and customers and even insights into his craft and how he puts together strings of interviews and video into a coherent and succinct TV news segment.

Here’s one example: “I walked into a room full of sandy flip-flops, and though it was barely noon, many a tanned arm was lifting a longneck. The Doobie Brothers crooned from hidden speakers, and a bright row of pastel hats dangled from an overhead wire. Another wire stretched above the lunch counter. The blonde girl running the register stood on tiptoe, reached up, grabbed the wire, and clamped a paper ticket to it with a clothespin. “Two Junkyards!” she shouted and snapped the order down the line to the cook at the other end. I had no idea what two Junkyards were but would have eaten them just because I loved the clothespin system they’d rigged. The cute blonde was impressive, too.”

Locals will immediately recognize this establishment, but for someone who has never been to Capt’n Franks, that single paragraph is enough to both capture the essence of the restaurant and entice one to visit.

And so it was that Scott Mason was at Capt’n Franks on Wednesday while visiting the area for a half dozen segments he was shooting for his “Tar Heel Traveler” news segment.

 He set aside two hours from his crammed schedule and held an impromptu book signing on the outside deck of my favorite hot dog place on the beach, if not the entire planet.

Mason is as affable and down-to-earth as his TV persona and writing style reveal. He loves his job, he loves people, the state, it’s natural wonders, the small towns and big cities, and of course, the food.

Mason’s book focuses on the real North Carolina and the restaurants that are legendary, but not in the New York Time’s haute cuisine style of dining. He brings to life the places that are legends in small and big towns alike but probably overlooked by the casual tourist or businessperson on a mission.

Think of Bill’s Hot Dogs in Washington, NC, B’s Barbecue outside of Greenville, Yum Yum in Greensboro, City Lunch Cafe near Raleigh.

I love this book because the focus is on simple North Carolina fare.

What you’ll find within these 200 pages are a number of hot dog joints, burger dives, barbeque shacks, old school downtown grills and traditional ice cream, bakery and dessert stops.

Mason sold a few books during his two hours at Capt’n Franks, talked to locals and wrote down their suggestions for places he needed to explore for future segments of “The Tar Heel Traveler,” and in the small world that is the Outer Banks, even ran into some of his friends from church and social circles who were here on vacation and serendipitously stopped by Capt’n Franks for lunch.

I became a fan of the book while perusing it during our interview and gladly purchased a copy. I can’t put it down and I’m already planning trips for myself and the Voice based upon the many places I haven’t yet visited but now feel I must add to my list (I have been to seven of the 37 restaurants he covers).

I also checked out The Tar Heel Traveler on WRAL’s website, where segments are archived and added it to my “must visit” list.

There is a lot of North Carolina I have yet to experience and I now have my own “personal” guide to steer me to those locales.


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at mterrell@barnhillcontracting.com or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


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