More Historic Sights

Ocracoke 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.

2003 Ocracoke 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.

Blackbeard's 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.

Another 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 in 2003, 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The Natural Beauty of Ocracoke

Ocracoke's 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, watching 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.
One 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 with more.

Related Links -

Ocracoke Lighthouse

Ocracoke Civic & Business Association
official web site

Copyright © 2003 Fred Hurteau           * Copyright information and image use policy *

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