The small village of Ocracoke is the only community on isolated Ocracoke Island. The first people to live here were likely pirates, followed by ship's pilots who knew how to navigate the waters of Pamlico Sound. Later islanders continued to make their living from the sea as waterman, with the Coast Guard or Navy. Today however, most make their money from tourism during the warmer seasons of the year. Despite the summer influx, the town still retains most of the charm that draws people there in the first place. There are no Olive Gardens or McDonalds here, no Holiday Inns or Gaps, just locally owned places to sleep, shop and eat great seafood. Once on the island most visitors park the car and head out on foot, by bike or on golf carts to explore. There is a happening local music scene and the whole place has a quirky, salty, eco-friendly, bohemian kind of vibe.
My unexpected favorite find was Springer's Point, a 122 acre preserve on the edge of town owned by the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust. Springer's Point has trails that lead past salt marsh wetlands, Eastern Red Cedars, Yaupon Hollies and through a windswept Live Oak filled maritime forest.
Once through the forest you are on Pamilco Sound at Teach's Hole. Edward Teach was better known as Blackbeard. In 1718 the governor of Virginia dispatched Lt. Robert Maynard to Carolina to apprehend Blackbeard who was caught off guard, shot 5 times, cut in 27 places, beheaded and his body thrown into the water here at what would be known as Teach's Hole. His head was put on the bowsprit of Maynard's ship and brought back to Virginia and displayed as a warning (not the Disney version).
This was my fourth trip to Ocracoke Island and my first visit in nearly 15 years, and I enjoyed sharing it with my son. Hopefully I won't wait so long to return.
(My complete photo set from the Village and Springer's Point is here.)