Outer Banks, NC,  Vacations,  Weekly Blog

Scenes from Ocracoke

Still the Outer Banks’ pearl, even as the waters rise

The Castle, an historic bed-and-breakfast. It was our anniversary and Vicki’s quick thinking allowed us to book the last room. Never stayed here before. Enchanting place.

OCRACOKE, NC — An overnight stay on this southernmost point of North Carolina’s famed Outer Banks, or at least the southernmost populated point, is always a treat. It never seems quite like the rest of the Outer Banks to me. The other villages are on the windswept Atlantic coast, with sand dunes and rough surf. I love them, too. But Ocracoke, tucked away on the inland side of the island, is just different. More like a New England village, maybe. Surrounding a lake. Walkable. The past and the present intertwined.

Here are some photos. We’ve just had a quick but memorable visit, the layover point between two long, long, long days of delivering books to stores. We hadn’t seen Ocracokee in two years, since the devastation of Hurricane Dorian in September 2019. (Covid wiped out the need for our delivery trips last year; we mailed smaller shipments instead.)

Instead of writing about it, though, I thought pictures would handle things nicely.

This is the famed 1901 Island Inn, which is being renovated for public use by the Ocracoke Preservation Society. It began life as an Odd Fellows Lodge and schoolhouse, and has been a coffee shop, a couple of inns, and several private residences over the past century-plus. (You can read much more interesting stuff about the inn HERE.) I didn’t know the building had already been lifted. But you can see that it’s about five feet in the air now. Eventually it will be lifted to about 14 feet so pilings can be put underneath, then lowered back to this five-foot level. Of course, with the rising waters, many Ocracoke buildings have begun being lifted since Dorian’s devastating floods.
And finally, if you go to Ocracoke, you MUST have your picture taken with the lighthouse. I’m pretty sure it’s the law.

Ray McAllister, former columnist of The Richmond Times-Dispatch and former editor of Boomer Magazine, is the award-winning author of six books, including four on North Carolina’s islands. Through Beach Glass Books, he is also the publisher of 10 books by other authors.