Lighthouse was built more than a century after Blackbeard's
demise. Yet it is as inseparable from Ocracoke as Blackbeard's
legend. And even though Blackbeard came first, Ocracoke
Lighthouse is, without a doubt, the de facto symbol of
Ocracoke. It's the first thing you spot when arriving
on the Cedar Island or Swan Quarter ferry, and the last
thing you see from those ferrys when leaving.
Lighthouse is shown from the harbor in the two photos
at left, which were taken from a similar angle,
but thirty years apart, in 1973 and 2003. The lighthouse
seems to be the one steady presence across time
that makes things feel the same on Ocracoke, even
as things change all around it.
Lodge is one of the better known old buildings on Ocracoke
and the oldest
public lodging on the island. No, Blackbeard didn't
sleep here, but the atmosphere in this old rambling structure
could make you think he might have. Built in the 1930s
as Wahab Village Inn, it originally had a theater and
a skating rink, and later also housed the first telephone
switching equipment on the island until the phone company
got its own building.
well recognized structure is "The Castle", a bed
and breakfast located on the south side of Silver
Lake. Its multiple dormers and "tower" make it easily
distinguished, shown in the top left photo taken
and at right in a 1973
photo. The lower left photo shows how
the harbor looked back in 1973, with The Castle
easy to spot in the left of the photo and the lighthouse
in the center.
historic U.S. Coast Guard Station at the ferry docks is
one building that's hard to miss on Ocracoke. It was built
in 1904 and is still in operation a century later. Its
white paint and distinctive red roof make a handsome site
next to the harbor entrance.
British Cemetery is another historic site that visitors
come to see. This is where four crewmen from the HMC Bedfordshire
were laid to rest by the residents of Ocracoke in 1942
after their ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat. The
quaint cemetery site was simple
and dignified back in 1973 when the photo at left
was taken. But like much of the village, it's gotten more
cluttered over the years, as seen in the
2003 photo at right. Back in '73 you could park and
visit the site. Now there is no parking, so if you visit
here you have to ride a bike or walk.
Natural Beauty of Ocracoke
beaches are wide and unspoiled by development of any kind.
There are absolutely no homes, condos, motels or anything
else along these beaches to keep you from enjoying the
natural beauty they offer. Whether fishing,
the birds, shell hunting or just enjoying the sun
and breezes, Ocracoke beaches are unsurpassed.
The Scotch Bonnet, designated the
state shell of North Carolina in 1965, is a popular and
relatively hard to find shell for which Ocracoke is known.
Several Scotch Bonnets and other shells were found in
less than an hour of casual looking while walking along
the beach on Ocracoke across from the pony pens on the
north end of the island. An experienced and keen-eyed
shell hunter could have a fine time here.
thing that will never change on Ocracoke, no matter how
much time passes, is the natural splendor of early mornings
and sunrises on the beach. Why the sunrises seem more
glorious on Ocracoke than other places is one of those
mysteries you can't explain. Maybe it's that magic of
Ocracoke working, or the peaceful state of mind this place
seems to bring about. Whatever the reason, it's certainly
worth the trip just for the view. These photos below were
taken at the first beach access ramp just north of the
village, by the airfield entrance. If these aren't enough
to convince you, there's another page following this one