What a great day! Lou Ann and I joined friends this morning for an excursion out into Pamlico Sound. We were on a quest for clams. We loaded the rakes & the baskets, along with nabs (peanut butter crackers for you yankees) and cold drinks into the boat and headed out about 9:30.
We found a terrific location near Portsmouth Island and soon had our limit of 200 clams. The day was gorgeous -- a picture postcard sky with puffy white clouds on the horizon, aqua green water, and a light breeze.
We had plenty of time so we motored over to the dock at haulover point and walked into Portsmouth village. The breeze was brisk so we enjoyed the stroll bug-free until we stopped and stood still in the lee of the historic homes. We visited the post office, the Salter home, the Methodist church, and the Coast Guard station. The view from the cupola was simply spectacular. Egrets were wading in the marsh, gulls were gliding on updrafts, fishermen were out in their open skiffs, and the Ocracoke lighthouse was standing tall across the inlet.
The only other soul we saw was a park service volunteer. (Yesterday, she assured us, was a buggy nightmare. Recent rains and no breeze meant full body mosquito netting for any outdoor activity.)
Lou Ann & I ambled down the sandy lane to Henry Pigot's home, a doll-sized yellow cottage with front and side porches, a low white picket fence, and even a screen house in the back yard. (A screen house is a small screened in enclosure on a post that was used to store meat, eggs, and milk before the advent of electricity and refrigeration.)
We walked quietly through this ghost village, often reflecting on life so many years ago on this fragile, isolated island. Lou Ann had never been to Portsmouth before. Maybe she will want to share some of her thoughts, as a first-time visitor, tomorrow.
[Our current monthly Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Kunigunde Guth Howard, published June 30, 2005. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news061505.htm.]