By Connie Leinbach
Since moving to Ocracoke last fall and opening a business, Kathleen Triolo has found her life.
Island Vibe, on British Cemetery Road, open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., offers a taste of Italy, Greece and Tibet and evolves as the day progresses.
Homemade Greek yogurt is her morning specialty along with baked goods, granolas, fruit and nuts.
Afternoons are for shopping among her hand-crafted Himalayan clothing or relaxing on the back deck with a beer, glass of wine or fruit yogurt smoothie and homemade edibles.
A kitten or two laze inside, and her little Maltese dog, Willy, is the greeter.
Born in Thailand to American parents, Triolo developed a unique perspective on life.
“The benefit to a career in corporate America was that I had the opportunity to travel the world,” she said.
Years of visiting cafes and shops in other countries became the unconscious foundation that gave rise to this new venture.
“I combined my favorite off-the-beaten-path establishments and came up with a single eclectic place,” she mused. “I’ve always wanted to do something like this, but the time was never right.”
Her arrival in Ocracoke was a leap of faith.
“I felt like I was existing but not really living” said Triolo about her life in urban Denver, Colo. Needing a break and wanting some serenity where she could finish her novel, Triolo visited the VRBO website and typed in “one bedroom and beach.”
Ocracoke was the first hit.
In early November, Triolo packed her car, bundled in Willy, set her GPS, and headed towards Ocracoke, a place she had never heard of before.
“My GPS stopped working half way through the Outer Banks, so I just kept following the signs,” she said with her ready smile. “It was dark, and, I have to say, the ferry was a bit of a surprise.”
Everything started to come together and make sense once she arrived in Ocracoke.
“I don’t think I could have been more fortunate,” she said about meeting Mike Stockwell, who owns and operates Morning Star Stables on the same property as her rental.
She decided to fix up the old Candy Land store, and she and Mike decided to collaborate on this new venture.
A commercial kitchen in the cafe has allowed her to introduce some of her favorite foods.
“The menu will expand as I take in my visitors’ desires and requests,” she said.
Island Vibe is a dream realized for Triolo.
“I could have done this alone, but having Mike and his horses added a whole new vibe to my shop,” she said with a laugh.
Triolo has fallen in love with the island and everything Ocracoke has to offer.
She said, “I have met such amazing people and have deep gratitude and respect for this place.”