Saturday, April 24, 2004

Special Note: I will be unavailable to post any messages until May 2, 2004. Please check back then, and thank you for understanding.

Unfortunately I will miss the community cookout sponsored by the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT), Ocracoke Campus, at 5:30, Monday, April 26. NCCAT's new home is the former Ocracoke Coast Guard Station. We look forward to having this stellar organization as our new neighbor.

Another beautiful Spring day for another outdoors community event. This afternoon at 3:30 the Ocracoke Fishing Princess will be crowned. This will be followed at 4:30 by the Parade of Boats & Blessing of the Fleet. Immediately after the ceremony everyone will gather for a pig pickin' and pot luck dinner. The weather couldn't be finer.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Yet another beautiful day on the island. Birds are twittering, and temperatures are already in the lower 70's under sunny skies.

There is another rental cottage available on Howard Street, "Lawton's," for two people, maximum. For more information, click on the photo below.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Today is Earth Day, 2004.

Yesterday afternoon, as I walked along the edge of the surf I came across a loon resting on the beach. Because loon's legs are set far back on their bodies to facilitate diving, they are incredibly awkward on land, moving with great difficulty. As a result, I was able to approach to within just a few feet. Even though the loon was still sporting winter plumage, it was a strikingly beautiful bird, and it treated me repeatedly to its distinctive call.

In the evening Fiddler Dave & I met at the Pub to listen to two talented musicians from Vermont playing the steel drums. (Steel drum players from Vermont?? Yes, and they were excellent!)

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Although NC Highway 12 has been repaired and open to all traffic for months, the US Army Corps of Engineers and the NC Department of Transportation are preparing a study of problems associated with storm-induced shoreline damage on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands. They are hoping to develop a long-term solution to protect the shoreline and the highway on both islands.

This afternoon, between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. the Corps of Engineers and the NCDOT are hosting an open house and community informational workshop at the Ocracoke School Gymnasium. They are asking for community input, suggestions, and concerns.

Today is looking like yet another wonderfully sunny and warm spring day.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The village is quieter again this week. Spring Breaks are over now. Time for islanders to put last minute touches on rental houses, and to be sure shops and businesses are ready for the coming season.

All the windows and doors are open this evening, hoping for a little breeze to help cool things down after a day with temperatures near 80.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Tonight the Ocracoke Youth Center is hosting a "Big Kid's Talent Show" and Open House at the Youth Center (the former home of "Black Anchor Antiques").

Skies are clear and temperatures are predicted to reach into the 80's today!

I've added another photo of the new foal, "Lawton," on the April 15 entry. And I've made both photos "clickable," so you can see larger, clearer images. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

On this beautiful Sunday morning the temperature is already in the lower 60's, with forecasts calling for low to mid 70's by around noon. Even though it's a bit breezy, it is a wonderful day to be outside, and especially for a walk on the beach.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Today was a superb day for a boat trip to Portsmouth Island. Not only that, today was Homecoming. Approximately 250 -300 people gathered in the village to celebrate 250 years of island history.

Although no one has lived on the island since the early 1970's, many structures, including the Methodist Church, the schoolhouse, the Post Office, and more than a dozen homes have survived storms and occasional neglect.

Now under the care of the National Park Service, many of the buildings in the village are being preserved for future generations.

Some photos of toaday's homecoming:

The Post Office was open for this one day only:

The 1914 Methodist Church:

The one-room schoolhouse:

An island path:

You can read about Portsmouth history and the 2000 Homecoming here.

Friday, April 16, 2004

The day is starting out bright and sunny, but still cool. However, the thermometer is slowly creeping up toward the 60 degree mark. Forecasters call for temperatures in the lower 60's by midday.

Early in the morning of April 15 (yesterday) in 1893 the 69 ton schooner "E.M. Burtom" was stranded at Hatteras Inlet in a "fresh breeze." Three days later, at 7 o'clock p.m., after much effort, the crew of the Ocracoke Life Saving Station (Hatteras Inlet) finally succeeded in freeing the vessel. The ship, the cargo, and all 6 crew members were saved.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Yesterday afternoon I had opportunity to visit one of Ocracoke's newest residents,a new colt born on March 09. In honor of my father, Lawton, a lifelong advocate for the wild Outer Banks ponies, the colt was named Lawton. Simply put, the youngster is cute! (Click on either photo to see a larger image.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

A cold front blew through the area yesterday, but the weather was not too severe. It did blow a bit, however. Today it's cooler (temperatures are in the mid 50's), overcast, and breezy, but there's no rain.

Tonight the Ocracoke Civic & Business Association meets at the Community Center. Their web site is

On this date is 1895 the schooner "Addie Henry" wrecked on Ocracoke's beach.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Today is gray and dreary. Although it's very warm, the sky is overcast and there is an occasional light sprinkle. Weather forecasters are warning of possible severe weather with lightning and hail, and winds of up to 70 mph. The warning is only through 4 pm, so we're expecting a return to pleasant conditions late in the afternoon.

Monday, April 12, 2004

It's been overcast all day, and warm, so it's been a perfect day for working outside. Light rain is beginning to fall as I write, but as evening approaches it will be good to stay indoors and write an article for the Preservation Society newsletter, the "Mullet Wrapper."

I'll also call my Aunt Thelma. I sent her a copy of an 80 year old photo of school children on the front steps of the old schoolhouse. I'm hoping she can identify all or most of the younguns.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Happy Easter!

Last evening's fund-raising concert was a huge success. Sweet sounds of classical violin, energitic strains of banjo, guitar, & fiddle, and trained voices blended in harmony were combined with laughter, hand-clapping & foot-stomping for a memorable evening of music and story-telling.

As "icing on the cake," today, like most of last week, is sunny, warm, and beautiful. Perfect weather for being outdoors.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

A cold front moved through the area yesterday. No severe weather, but it did blow a bit. Today it's cooler (in the mid 50's), overcast, and breezy, but no rain yet.

Tonight the Ocracoke Civic & Business Association meets at the Community Center. Their web site is

On this date in 1895 the schooner "Addie Henry" wrecked on Ocracoke's beach.

Tonight at 7:30 is the Easter Fundraising Concert for theOcrafolk Festival which is held the first weekend in June. Performers will include Molasses Creek, Donald Davis, Coyote, Martin Garrish, & Philip Howard, among others. If past performances are any indication, this will be a stellar show.

On this date in 1885, just one day after the schooner "Sudie" was stranded on "Tarpin Shoal" the schooner "General Banks" struck Ocracoke beach one mile south of Hatteras Inlet at about 12 noon in a gale. All four crew members were saved by the men of the Ocracoke Life Saving Station, as was the vessel and 60% of her cargo.

Friday, April 09, 2004

This afternoon the Ocracoke Youth Center is conducting a fund-raising car wash at the Community Center. Following the car wash there will be a Fish Fry, starting at 4:30 p.m. All proceeds will benefit the Youth Center. Fortunately for the young people washing cars it's sunny and clear, albeit a bit chilly. The temperature has been hovering in the upper 50's most of the day.

On this day in 1885 the commercial schooner "Sudie," hailing from Ocracoke, but sailing all along the East Coast, stranded on nearby "Tarpin Shoal."

Thursday, April 08, 2004

It's a beautiful Spring day. This evening at 6:30 Ocracoke will host a community pot luck dinner to welcome our new principal, Mr. George Ortman, and his family.

On this date in 1861 the brig "Black Squall" wrecked on Ocracoke's beach. This tragedy is related to Ocracoke's second murder. You can read about it here.

The "Black Squall" was of note also because it was carrying an entire circus troupe from Cuba to NYC. Look for more of this story in a future Ocracoke Newsletter.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

It's nearly 60 degrees under sunny skies, with prospects for pleasant days through the rest of the week. Last night's History / Ghost Walk went very well. Even long-time visitors to the island learned many interesting stories they'd never heard before.

On this day in 1887 the sharpie (a long, narrow shallow draft boat with one or two triangular sails) "Hattie" was stranded in Pamlico Sound on the shoal "Legged Lump."

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Tonight at 7:00 pm Philip inaugurates his new Ocracoke History & Ghost Walk. Planned for every Tuesday evening this season, the walk recounts island history, stories of hurricanes & shipwrecks, as well as tales of the supernatural and fascinating island legends.

Check the link above for more information.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

The weather was superb this afternoon as 58 people showed up for Ocracoke's 5K/8K run/walk, and 1 mile fun run. All fees & donations went to benefit island non-profit organizations. Later on the school sponsored a hoop-a-thon that attracted most of the school children and their families.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

The air is cool and the ocean temperature is still too chilly for most folks, but Spring is definitely in the air. Tulips are popping up in local gardens, and every day brings a few more visitors to the island. It's another perfect day for a mid-day bike ride..........or perhaps a stroll along the beach.

All roads to Ocracoke are open, and ferries are operating normally. Come on out for a visit!

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Although it's been cold, overcast and rainy most of the week, this afternoon it's sunny and back into the low 60's. The perfect day for a bike ride around the village. Restaurants are beginning to open up again, looking forward to the start of another season.