Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Views From the Lighthouse

As promised, I am posting several photos I took Sunday afternoon from the top of the Ocracoke Lighthouse. Click on any photo to view a larger image.

A ferry approaches the village:

The Charlie McWilliams house & Silver Lake (old Coast Guard Station on the left):

The red roof is the light keeper's quarters (Atlantic Ocean in the distance):

A view toward the South Point (Portsmouth Island is on the horizon on the right):


Pamlico Sound is in the distance:

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of early twentieth century itinerant salesmen, entertainers, and preachers who found their way to the island. You can read it here.


  1. These are wonderful

  2. Anonymous10:13 AM

    Thank you! I could look at pictures of Ocraoke all day!

    Okay, silly question time ... what do you call the area around Silver Lake? For instance, if you were going to go to a shop or restaurant located on Silver Lake, how would you say it? "Let's go eat at Joe's on/by/at ???"


  3. Anonymous11:19 AM

    These are the views from the old 'yard long' photo I have of the island. I figured it had to be taken from the lighthouse beacon but now can see the similarities for sure. Thanks for sharing these! Missing the island something fierce. Sheila

  4. Anonymous1:43 PM

    the photos are amazing. Who is/was Charlie McWilliams ? what a house that is ! also it appears everyone was sleeping late on such a glorious day or downtown shopping I did not discern human life except the ferry obviously had a pilot.

  5. Gorgeous! Can't wait to get down there less than 46 days!

  6. Anonymous, to answer your [not so] silly question: Ocracoke village is divided (now only metaphorically, though prior to WWII, physically) into two major sections: Down Point -- on the south side of NC Hwy 12, including the lighthouse and Springer's Point [after which Down Point is named], and Around Creek -- on the other side of the highway and around that side of the harbor [now called Silver Lake, but originally called Cockle Creek...hence Around Creek], including the Community Store, Howard Street, etc. Prior to WWII there were two tidal streams (Ocracokers called them "guts") that flowed from Cockle Creek to the "bald beach." These guts were filled in when the Navy dredged the harbor in 1942.

    To the other anonymous, Charlie McWilliams (1892-1972, & "Charlie Mac" to all) was a cigar-smoking native islander and bird carver who carried mail by truck from 1950 (before there was a paved road to Hatteras Inlet) until the 1970s. I'm pretty sure his father, John Wilson McWilliams, a prominent storekeeper on Ocracoke, built the house.

  7. Anonymous9:47 PM

    Oh, Philip. What beautiful pictures. I am so looking forward to our annual May visit. It can't come soon enough!! judy

  8. Anonymous12:27 AM

    These beautiful pics make me Island-sick. Our annual February reservations were made (since last September) at The Captain's Landing on Silver Lake in the Village. My husband has bone cancer and unfortunately his hip broke 1 week prior to our arrival date. We are still keeping our reservations for our annual September trip.
    We are always following Island life through Philip's journal - even more so now.
    P.S. Our home has many items purchaed from The Village Craftsman - including fun jewelry for myself.

  9. Will the lighthouse be open for the public to walk up

  10. No, the lighthouse will not be open for the public to climb into the lantern room, or onto the staircase. See yesterday's post for photos of the interior of the lighthouse. As you can see the only access into the lantern room is up a steep steel ladder. The space surrounding the Fresnel lens is narrow. There is only room for a very few people (4, maybe 6 maximum), and the 150 year old lens would have no protection from being bumped or jostled. Also, the doorway onto the balcony is only about 3 feet high. You have to crawl outside. Once on the balcony a child could easily slip or even crawl off the ledge. On top of all that, the structure, though professionally restored, is still very old...and very fragile. Public access up the stairs would do much harm. However, there is good reason to expect occasional access into the base of the lighthouse during the summer months, as has been done in the past. Volunteers provide information and answer questions.