Sunday, November 06, 2011

A Most Interesting Beach!

I was just alerted to an article touting the "10 Most Interesting Beaches in the World." To qualify, the beach "had to have the kind of story you would want to share with your friends, but it also had to be the kind of place where you would want to lay your towel."

We were not surprised to find Ocracoke on the list. Ocracoke's eighteenth century history as an important commercial port for trading vessels traveling to and from the mainland, and the place of Blackbeard's final battle in 1718, provided the "story." And our beautiful, unspoiled beach is the perfect place "to lay your towel."

You can read the article here:
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article written by my Uncle Marvin in 1954. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous11:05 AM

    Don't try to hide the fact that ocracoke is a jem, let the world know. I think the state should build a bridge to ocracoke and bus them in by the thousands, tear down those beat up waterfront motels and build a Wings store and maybe a large Hess Gas station, do it right. That would really make the place popular. The more the merrier. Let that money roll.

  2. Anonymous6:11 PM

    Oh no!!!!

  3. A note from Philip -- I hope I didn't give the impression that I think this kind of publicity is good for Ocracoke. But Ocracoke IS a most interesting place, as most of our readers know. And I did think our readers would like to know about this list. We have maintained our "sense of place" to a great extent so far. Let's hope that continues.

  4. There is so much more to Ocracoke than a beach with an interesting story and a great place to lay your towel. I am greatful that the multitudes don't "get it," and that I am one of the many who does. My only regret is that I was unable to get down to the Island this past weekend for my annual autumn pilgrimage.

    TTFN, Bear MacDonald

  5. Anonymous5:17 AM

    Ocracoke Island is a cherished place and I agree, Bear, that the beach is only one special aspect of it.

    This NC mainlander honestly thinks about Ocracoke Island every single day. My heart tugs to be there with a deep yearning, regardless of the weather. I don't care if it is cold and blustery, or if it is one of those "perfect" weather days. I read every bit of news I can about Ocracoke from receiving the fantastic "Ocracoke Observer" newspaper in my mail to faithfully reading Philip's terrific blog to ordering items about Ocracoke from VC to following the Island Press OBX news via the internet. Of course, I also view every web-cam I can find with live camera shots of O.I. I, too, missed going this fall to O.I. and I have felt so "out of sync". I ache to be there.

    A fellow I know visited O.I. a few weeks ago and he became frustated with the "long" ferry ride. He commented to me about the ridiculous time it took the ferry to transport them the 27 miles from S.Q. to O.I. He thought it should be a 30 minute trip, at the most, rather than the 2.5 hours it is. I replied, "You see, that is part of the charm about Ocracoke. It takes over two hours to arrive from S.Q. so it allows one time to start the unwinding process from normal, hectic life on the mainland and to intake deep, invigorating, refreshing breaths of salty air while riding the ferry. I told him when I board the ferry, I instantly start to feel a calmness and soulful peace. It's as if my body suddenly relaxes and I'm "in sync" again.

    Selfishly, I am thankful that some people don't fully understand O.I. It saves the island for those of us who truly appreciate all this lovely, unique spot on earth has to offer.

    I am blessed to be one who truly knows what a precious treasure it is. I guess that is why I miss being there so much.

  6. Anonymous2:55 PM

    I agree with the Ocracoke mainlander above. In 1975 Susan Barksdale ran an ad in the Greensboro paper for her cottage rental on the water. You locals know the one that I am talking about. $265.00 a week. It even came with it's own pier. I belisve I met up with David Gaskin or Gaskil for the key.
    There I was 26yrs old, doing a solo vacation on Ocracoke in July minding my own business on my bike when I saw this 'older' woman working in the yard of the house across from the cottage.She was really working up a storm, it was a HOT Ocracoke day! For some reason I asked her if she would like some help. She politely told me no thank you and that I should just enjoy my vacation in her cottage. This was Ms Barksdale. I had no idea who she was until she introduced herself. We ended up talking about everything while I ended up helping her in the end. I mowed her yard, raked, pulled out poison ivy - you name it I did it. Hey, I was on vacation. I was having fun.
    The next year when I called her to see about renting her cottage and if the rent was the same as last year. She told me to come on down and just enjoy myself. Once again was the rent the same as last her kidding way she told me, you just don't get it. You were that nice young man who helped me with the yard work last year while you were on vacation and to just don't worry about the rent. Just come on down and have fun.
    Well, I did enjoy the week but I also helped her clean out her attic and a few other things. She collected shells, a few jars with Whelk egg cases and whatever else she found.
    I was beginning to learn how to make canvas decoys and I brought her one. 7 years later she was still letting me stay there for nothing and I always enjoyed bringing her things and helping her around the house.
    She had an endless supply of Ocracoke stories.
    I moved to Los Angeles for a while and tried to get back in touch with her when I came back but I never did. I had a couple of phone numbers for her but I never got anywhere with them. Sadly, to this day, I have no idea what ever became of her. I am now 62. I have a feeling that Ms Barksdale might not be with us anymore.
    I have been coming to Ocracoke every summer since 1970. The Bonner bridge was NEW and a blinding white with newly poured cement.
    I read these blogs and comments each day. It's like being there.
    Do I love Ocracoke? What do you think............

  7. Susan Barksdale is still with us. She is in a nursing home...and has some memory problems. If you email me at info at villagecraftsmen dot com (put "For Philip" in the subject box) I will send you contact information.

    By the way, that was a great story. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Anonymous6:46 PM

    I agree with anonymous 5:17AM. The SQ ferry ride is the only way to come to the island. It allows you to exhale and enter the peaceful balance needed to relax and leave the busy life behind. I'm sorry that you friend cannot find that adjustment.

  9. Anonymous7:50 AM

    Anon 6:46....nice to have a kindred spirit...thanks for your comment about my post. There are those who just get it about O.I. and then there are those, tragically, who miss the simple joys that this wonderful treasured spot on earth has to offer.

    To the "young man" who became a friend to Mrs. Barksdale, I agree w/ Philip, it is a wonderful story and sweet rememberance. Please update us when you are able to contact Mrs. Barksdale via Philip's channels. Who knows, she may just remember you and those sweet vacations you spent on O.I.

    I can't wait to hear more....

  10. Anonymous4:09 PM

    Aside from that first comment (really-were they joking?) I so agree with all of the comments. Most often we've had to drive down the banks to get to O with a sundown ferry ride from Hatteras (if we're lucky) as the trip is so long we can't make a ferry from SQ or CI on our second day of driving from Ilinois. This year due to Irene we came out on the ferry-we love that long rolling boat ride-we rarely get that kind of opportunity and watching O come into few with our binos was so fun! The anticipation of 2 whole weeks!

    In talking with a Lillington resident, he commented that O. was a lot like Key West before....oh I so hope that doesn't happen. You see enough of that on the banks driving south and you are so glad to get on that Hatteras ferry and go out to wild and wonderful O.

    Yes, we love those deserted beaches but also love the whole scene, people and places and history. How fun to go inside the lighthouse this year, and attend a potluck with locals and close the Jolly Rodger for the season.

    I kind of hate to see articles like the one you posted Phillip. As much as I want you all to thrive, I don't want it to become another Martha's Vineyard or Key West. I worry that these huge new rental houses being build will promote that kind of development. Am hoping that the meetings coming up sponsored the the Foundation assist in coming up with sustainable alternitives and ways to improve your lives out there.

    Will continue to check your blogs, got the last newspaper today (I was the guess the gadget gal in October), Mullet Wrapper and WOVV until we can make it back out! Hope winter is gentle on ya'll!
    Sue M.

  11. Anonymous5:05 PM

    concerning that first comment about the Wings store etc. Of course I was kidding. The point that I was trying to make was I know you want to thrive, so does every community BUT you have to balance it out. Just look across NC and the country, when a place is discovered believe me, WHEN IT'S GONE IT'S GONE FOREVER - look at Manteo, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head where are the original towns? They are already gone compared to 10-15 years ago. Can't people just leave just one place alone? JENN

  12. Anonymous8:20 PM

    Ocracoke Island is in a class all by itself and I pray it will always be unique and oh so special.

    Good discussion, fellow bloggers and Philip. This NC, Person county, mainlander is thankful to all who are passionate about this little gem of an island....those who are blessed to call O.I. "home" and those of us who love to visit 27960!!!

  13. Anonymous12:16 PM

    Thanks for your clarification Jenn-I knew it was way too over the top but suppose some of those day trippers from Hatteras feel that way. Am glad that it's location-go to the end of the road then get on a boat for a few hours-deters some of them...Sue M