Summer visitors to Ocracoke often imagine that Ocracoke in the winter is dead, deserted, and dismal. Shops and restaurants are mostly closed, there are no performances at Deepwater Theater, Park Service interpretive programs are suspended, and the ocean is too cold for swimming.
All of that is true, but there is plenty to do for those of us who live here. It is a time for pot luck dinners and other get-togethers for family and friends. I still play poker every Friday night. School basketball games draw large crowds. The churches and other non-profit organizations offer spaghetti suppers, bake sales, and movie nights. Gaffer's pub hosts periodic Trivia Nights and a Thursday night local Jazz Ensemble.
We walk on the beach, visit neighbors, and join friends for parties and other social events. Some of us play bridge, make quilts, draw, read, learn a new language, or build boats.
Of course, many of us work all winter: school teachers, hunting guides, grocery store clerks, carpenters, plumbers, preachers, and others. About 150 children attend school. Shop owners may take time off for trips and other off-island adventures but there is always planning and other winter responsibilities (cleaning windows & shelves; repairing and maintaining buildings; ordering new merchandise; e.g.). Officers and members of island organizations still hold regular meetings, plan events, raise funds, and contribute to the well-being of the community.
Life on the island, even in the dead of winter, is full and rewarding. It is anything but dull.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the "Joe Bell" flower. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012112.htm.