‘Keeper’s Table’ dinner-theater event offers unique historical telling of the surfmen

Historic interpreters James Charlet and his wife, Linda Molloy, spin hair-raising true accounts of Outer Banks history and culture of the U.S. Life-Saving Service stations rescues. They will appear at the Sanderling Resort’s Lifesaving Station Restaurant. The “Keeper’s Table” event in Duck will be Tuesday, April 13 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. (Contributed photo)

DUCK — The unique “Keeper’s Table” dinner-theater event is returning to the Sanderling Resort in Duck Tuesday, April 13.

The sold-out 2020 event drew rave reviews and has been taken up a notch this year. “Keeper James” Charlet, in full dress uniform, portrays the keeper, or officer in charge, of a U.S. Life-Saving Service station. He will be telling true, dramatic shipwreck-rescue stories documented in official records of the service.

Keeper James will be partnered by his wife, Linda Molloy, in her formal period dress. Their “stage” will be the original boat room of the actual Caffeys Inlet Life-Saving Station No. 5, now the Sanderling Resort Lifesaving Station Restaurant at the picturesque Sanderling Resort. Here, Keeper James and Linda will regale guests as they dine upon a meal much like the Surfmen ate in their time, which makes the event all the more unique.

The U.S. Life-Saving Service existed from 1871 until 1915, with nearly 300 life-saving stations along America’s Atlantic, Gulf, Pacific and Great Lakes coasts. The brave rescuers, known as Surfmen, had a solitary purpose: saving lives in peril from the sea “so others may live.” During their 44-year history nationwide, using no more than small, open, wooden boats and cork lifebelts, they responded to over 178,000 lives in peril, of which they saved over 177,000. Yet, somehow, America has forgotten these peaceful heroes. In 1915, the U.S. Life-Saving Service merged with the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service to become the U.S. Coast Guard.

North Carolina eventually had 29 of these life-saving stations along its coastline. They were built in stages over the years, starting with the first seven built and operational in 1874. Caffeys Inlet was one of those first seven, adding to the event’s uniqueness. Since North Carolina’s life-saving stations were guarding the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” those occupying the stations saw some of the most action in the history of the service.

Keeper James and Linda will mesmerize the audience with real accounts from Charlet’s new book, “Shipwrecks of the Outer Banks: Dramatic Rescues and Fantastic Wrecks in the Graveyard of the Atlantic” from Globe Pequot Press. Signed copies will be available for sale following conclusion of the program.

The Sanderling Resort Lifesaving Station Restaurant is located at 1461 Duck Road in Duck. The dinner-theatre event on Tuesday, April 13 will be from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

The menu includes: first course, lentil apple soup with smoked bacon; second course, free range blueberry BBQ chicken on cast iron red rice

and roasted rutabagas; third course, Outer Banks chocolate bread pudding with bourbon cream sauce; drinks, refreshing sweet iced tea included with dinner or order from the beer, wine and cocktail menu.

Tickets are $62 per person with reservations recommended. For more information, call 252-449-6654 or go on the web at sanderling-resort.com/events-calendar/events-list/keepers-table/1618355400.

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