Recently a reader asked, "can you pass along some constructive suggestions (or perhaps your own pet peeves) to help us all be better guests of the island?"
First, a couple of comments: Most visitors to Ocracoke are considerate and respectful of our beaches, our community, and our private property. And anyone who asks the question above clearly already understands how to be a valued guest of the island. However, here are a few suggestions for all of our readers:
--Please follow NC state law and bike with traffic...and walk facing traffic. In addition to being our law, it is also safest for everyone.
--When walking along our narrow streets, please try to stay out of the traffic lanes as much as possible. Probably the most annoying behavior is walking in the traffic lane with backs to oncoming vehicles. I am constantly amazed at how many parents with small children walk like this. Thankfully there are very few injuries because cars are moving so slowly.
--If you rent a golf cart, please pay attention to the rules and regulations. We have already had serious injuries...and one death...as a result of misuse of golf carts. I have seen several people racing down Howard Street in golf carts. They are not amusement rides.
--Be friendly...be patient...be kind. This applies to everyone -- visitors and residents alike. Visitors often need a little extra time to figure out where they are, or where they are going, or how to find a parking space. Slow down, relax, and be courteous and considerate.
--If you see litter while walking on the beach...or along our roadways...stop and pick it up. If everyone picked up just a few pieces of litter it would make a difference.
--Please carry a flashlight, or use a bicycle headlight when biking after dark. This, too is our law, and will help prevent injuries. (I must confess that I sometimes ride without a light when my batteries die...shame on me!)
--Please turn off your cell phones when entering stores, restaurants, and music concerts. It is really not necessary to be connected to the rest of the world at all times. In fact, one of the gifts our island has to offer is a respite from the outside world. Take advantage of it.
These are just a few suggestion, "off the top of my head." Maybe some of our local readers have more comments to add.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a history of the marine hospital on Portsmouth Island. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082111.htm.