Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dinner with Friends

When I was invited to dinner Monday night I expected to gather with a congenial group of islanders and to enjoy fine food and stimulating conversation. I was not disappointed.

Many of our readers who live off island probably imagine Ocracoke as a rather boring place in winter. Most businesses are shut down, the water is too cold for swimming, and we don't have movie theaters, malls, or a university nearby. But Ocracoke is seldom boring for those of us who live here.

Sometimes dinner with family and friends is full of stories, music, laughter, and lighthearted banter. Last night included some of that (talk about oyster clutches, current events, adventures in Asia, and travels to visit children and grandchildren), but it also included readings from Shakespeare, conversations about Greek and Norse myths, traditional Irish blessings, and a beautiful a cappella rendition of a Japanese drinking song!

All of this took place around a large dinner table laden with dishes of salmon, bison, exotic cheeses, fruit and turkey.

As my mother's father (an immigrant from Hungary) often said, "We eat good in America!"

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

If You Are On the Island... sure to come out to the fish house between 2 and 5 pm today for roasted oysters, steamed shrimp, & Van O'Neal's fish stew! There will also be live music, and dessert afterward at the Watermen's Exhibit (formerly Jack's Store, and later, Annabelle's Florist) out on the dock at the Community Square.

Joyce Reynolds will be there with her latest quilt, made from Ocracoke Island fishing related T-shirts, many signed by local fishermen. A drawing for the quilt will be held at the Labor Day 2010 fish fry. Get your tickets early for just $15.00 each. Proceeds go to the Ocracoke Working Watermen's Association.

See you there!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:

Monday, December 28, 2009

Amish Selfish Bread

Three weeks ago my neighbor Matt offered me a starter for Amish Friendship Bread. I thought, What the heck, it will taste good. Ten days later I had two loaves of deliciously sweet bread and four bags of starter to pass out to friends. By that time Matt had at least eight bags of starter. I never asked how many starters William and Jesse had (they had given a starter to Matt). Like recipients of chain letters or Madoff investors, we were quickly running out of "friends."

So last night as I was baking four more loaves of bread I decided to reconfigure the recipe. Let me say right now that it's a lot harder than you'd think! It's not rocket science, but it's not a piece of cake (so to speak) either. But I think I finally have a recipe for what I call Amish Selfish Bread. Ten days from now I should have just enough batter for two more loaves of bread...and just one starter (for me!).

If you have starter for Amish Friendship Bread (also known as Amish Ponzi Bread) and want to escape from this endless cycle, check with me in ten days. If my bread turns out right I'll send you my "new and improved" recipe for "Amish Selfish Bread."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I was spending time with friends late yesterday afternoon, snacking on cheese, salami, and eggnog, and listening to a little homemade music, when I got the phone call. Lou Ann's father, Dick Saylor, who had been in the hospital for several days after a major stroke, had just died. Lou Ann and her sister had flown to Texas to be with him and their mother. They were all at his bedside when he died.

Dick's love of theater, literature, and the arts were a major influence on Lou Ann. I know that she and all of her family will miss him greatly.

Back home my eyes fell on photographs of my parents and grandparents, and I was reminded of the many gifts they gave to me.

No time is a good time to lose loved ones, but a death during the Christmas season is especially difficult. But as the old year comes to an end it is a good time to remember fondly all of those important people in our lives who have made a difference, and who have helped guide us along life's path.

Farewell, Dick.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I will be taking a few days off for the Christmas season, so I want to take this opportunity to wish all of our readers the happiest of holidays, with further wishes for peace and justice throughout the world.

Many thanks to all of our faithful readers who love Ocracoke and who cherish and help preserve all that is special and wonderful about our small island and community here in North Carolina.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I've been "under the weather" as they say, for a few days -- a head cold that is gradually getting better, and a pulled shoulder muscle that still aches! But I figured I'd better write something before another day goes by. While I was out of commission that winter storm blew through the area (it blew so hard the ferries weren't running again), but other than wind and cold we only got a bit of rain. I kept my gas log stove going which, along with Christmas candles and a tree, made my living room festive, warm, and cozy. So I hunkered down with a book, magazines, and a bunch of crossword puzzles. Of course Amy & David made sure I didn't go hungry.

Today it's a cool 41 degrees, with just a light breeze. Today is also the anniversary of the wreck of the schooner "Mary" in 1839.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Winter Surprise

As a major winter storm moves through western North Carolina & Virginia, and up into the Northeast, Ocracoke has been mostly spared. We are getting just clouds, wind, and rain. Gusts are 30 mph or more right now, so we're expecting some coastal flooding, but no snow or freezing temperatures.

Yesterday Dale (we've decided that he is now our roving reporter) sent me this photo that he took on Wednesday. Chester has an orange tree in his yard, and had just picked this juicy orange. I know this is not Florida, but still it's pretty remarkable that we have oranges hanging from branches a week before Christmas. Just thought our readers would enjoy the picture.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:

The pewter sand dollar below is just one of many pewter sea life castings that are available from Village Craftsmen. Click on the photo to view a wider assortment.

Friday, December 18, 2009

More Fog Photos

Wintertime resident and photographer George Brown sent me two more photos taken Monday during the dense fog. I think they capture the day. Click on a photo to view a larger image.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:

Although I am not a musician, Village Craftsmen has carried a line of easy to play instruments for several decades. Click on the photo below to see our Bowed Psalteries, Strumsticks, Door Harps, and several varieties of Kalimbas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Island & Outer Banks News

Tonight is the Ocracoke School Christmas program. It begins at 7 pm in the school gym. This is always a delightful way to spend a winter evening. Come on out and join the fun.

In other news...
  • The US Coast Guard continues to aid those in distress along the Outer Banks. On Monday, when ferry operations were suspended due to fog, two patients (one with a fractured hip, and one with abdominal pains) were transported across Hatteras inlet in the Coast Guard's motor lifeboat. You can read more here.
  • The National Park Service has recently acquired two more Outer Banks ponies to help maintain the genetic strain in the Ocracoke pony herd. You can read more here.
  • Today is the 119th anniversary of the wreck of the schooner Blanche. Cousin Blanche, who was born 29 years after the wreck, says older folks would sometimes good-naturedly tease her by telling her she was log wood (the schooner's cargo).
  • On this date in 1903 Orville and Wilbur Wright made the world's first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight at Kitty Hawk, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:

For many years Village Craftsmen has featured solid bronze bells in our collection of fine American hand crafts. Click on the photo below to see ship's bells, dinner bells, wind bells, and door bells.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Monday's Fog

Amy just sent me a few photos she took of Monday's fog. Enjoy!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:

Village Craftsmen carries an extensive line of hand carved shore birds. Click on the image below to see a large selection.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lighthouse Renovation & Fog

For the last several weeks workers have been on the island making long-overdue repairs to our 186 year old lighthouse. They are sandblasting metal parts; welding railings, steps, and other rusty areas; rebuilding portions of the dome; replacing glass in the lantern; repairing the lightning protection; and replacing the ground-floor wooden door.

I understand that the crew is experienced in the renovation of historic lighthouses.

I rode my bicycle down to the lighthouse a couple of days ago to capture the scene on my camera (I really did!), but they had removed the scaffolding. However, I mentioned it to Dale at the Post Office. And he was kind enough to email me the following photo.

I'm sure that the few (very few!) visitors to the island have been disappointed by not being able to get the typical picturesque photo of our lighthouse, but we are all happy to have the needed repairs made (and thoughtfully, in the off-season).

Speaking of the paucity of visitors, the few tourists on the island yesterday were stranded since ferries were not running most or all of the day because of dense fog. For us islanders (at least for me) the fog made for a peaceful winter interlude. It felt like a soft blanket had been wrapped around the village, protecting us from the rest of the world.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:

Click on the photo below to view our assortment of fun and exciting kaleidoscopes:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Osyters & Stars

If you don't live along the coast you may never have experienced the delights of an oyster roast. I understand that the Ocracoke Working Watermen are planning a community oyster roast on Tuesday December 29. If possible, be sure to be there!

Last night I was invited to join a few friends for an oyster dinner. This is how it works. The table is covered with newspapers. There are no plates, just bowls of homemade sauce...and the only utensils are oyster knives. Packages of saltine crackers are placed on the table; plastic buckets rest on the floor. Then the oysters are brought from the oven in metal trays. They are just barely open, "grinning" as they say. All you need to do then is shuck the oysters, dip them in sauce, place them on your crackers, and savor! Oh yes, just drop the empty shells in the bucket.

When you've had you fill, clean up is easy. Roll up the newspapers, dump the shells in the sandy driveway, and wash the bowls and knives. Of course, you might just want to slide under the table first!

Back home, I crawled into bed about 10:30. Just before midnight I was awakened by a phone call. "I'm so sorry if I woke you up," Lida said. "But you need to go outside and look at the sky. The shooting stars are beautiful."

So I got out of bed and walked out into my front yard. It was so dark, and the sky was so clear. The Milky Way stretched across the heavens, surrounded by a myriad of stars. In just a few seconds I saw my first shooting star. Lida was right. Every minute, on average, a bright light streaked across the sky. What a great way to end the day!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:

Martha Hayes has been displaying her pottery at Village Craftsmen for many years. Click on the image below to see an assortment of her wares.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Yesterday afternoon residents were treated to an outdoor art show at the edge of town. It was quirky (the presentations included a large red and yellow "flag" with a round hole, boots filled with handmade paper "straws," a large worn globe connected to a guitar amp surrounded by original "post cards" [we were encouraged to pick up the post cards and toss them into the air for "scatter art"), and much more.

Everyone was bundled up as protection against the cold and wind, but spirits were high as friends and neighbors wandered about enjoying the creativity and the sense of community. I commented to one of the artists how fun it was to be reminded of the talent and originality in our small village, and to celebrate the outdoors, art, and unconventional spirits all wrapped up together.

Just one more reason to be happy to call Ocracoke home!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:

Click on the photo below to see Pottery by Hank Goodman.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Finally it feels like December! At 7 am this morning the temperature was just 37 degrees, with a steady breeze of about 20 mph.

Last night the community gathered for our annual Christmas concert. Several dozen people performed...on guitar, keyboard, fiddle, cello, clarinet, mandolin, and more. There were also madrigal singers, poets, and storytellers, all with a holiday theme. Everyone joined in for caroling at the end of the program. It was definitely a "feel good" evening.

Well, I'm off to install heat in my outbuilding (should have done this last week!).

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:

Village Craftsmen features an assortment of unique laser-cut wooden kitchen ware. Click on the photo below to see more.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Historic Ocracoke Home for Sale

The Ocracoke Preservation Society has recently purchased an historic island home that is now for sale with protective covenants. An open house is scheduled for Saturday, December 12 from noon to 2 pm. The house is located on Lighthouse Road across from the Assembly of God church.

The photo below shows this charming house. OPS has also prepared a press release which is included after the photo.

The Ocracoke Preservation Society Historical Trust Purchases Historical Simon O’Neal Home, Ocracoke North Carolina

December 8, 2009

Bill Jones, President of The Ocracoke Preservation Society on Ocracoke Island, NC has announced the purchase of The Emma and Simon O’Neal Home ca. 1900.The home is the first to be bought through a newly established Preservation Project Fund.

The Historic/Land Trust Committee of OPS is committed to preserving historic buildings and to promoting the history and heritage of Ocracoke Island. The goal of the committee is to identify endangered historically significant property, option or purchase it and place protective covenants on the property. These protective covenants will ensure the continuance of the historic integrity of the property when it is sold.

The committee will work with prospective buyers to assist in the use of the Federal and North Carolina Historic Preservation Tax Credits. In consultation with Preservation North Carolina and the NC Department of Cultural Resources, the committee will also work with buyers to provide information, resources and restoration guidelines. They are looking for buyers who have a love of Ocracoke and a love of the history and architectural heritage of this historic home.

The Emma and Simon O’Neal Home is a fine example of an Ocracoke “story and a jump” style architecture. This frame house features a steep gabled roof with an open hipped porch and turned posts and cedar shake covering. The O’Neal home has its original staircase, wooden two over two sash windows, the original corbelled chimney and interior bead board walls and ceilings. It sits on a large lot consisting of 8,963 square foot with an abundance of native vegetation. The house is one and a half stories and features 3 bedrooms, a living room, plus the kitchen and bath rear addition and has 1,056 sq. ft. of living space.

This historic home has been in the O’Neal/Gaskins family for over 100 years. The Gaskins sisters have memories of the lighthouse beaming into their bedroom window and spending many a summer evenings sitting on the front porch. The home was originally built for their grandparents at the time of their marriage. The land was given to them by Emma’s family, who were Styrons.

The property is for sale and can be viewed on line at Preservation North Carolina’s web page or on the Ocracoke Preservation Society web page.

The Simon O’Neal Home is located on 458 Lighthouse Road and has an Ocracoke Preservation Society sign in the front yard.

For more information and viewing, contact:
  • Paula Schramel -252-921-0290 email-
  • Trudy Clark - 252-928-8029
The Ocracoke Preservation Society, Inc is a non profit organization established in 1983. It is a volunteer led organization, with a local board of 10 members. The current President is Bill Jones. The Historic /Land Trust Committee is comprised of Chair Trudy Clark, Frank Brown, Ed Norvell, Paula Schramel and Betty Shotton.


Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:

Click on the photo below to view pottery by Holly & Bill Stewart:

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Wassail Party

Dozens of islanders gathered last night at the Preservation Society Museum for the annual wassail party, caroling, and the lighting of the community Christmas tree.

Lachlan and I walked down to the museum at 5 pm (David followed later). Several other children were there so Lachlan spent most of his time in the cedar tree in the yard, playing with his friends, and I was able to sample the hot cider & cookies, and chat with neighbors without interruption.

I met two couples who have recently moved to the island, Phil & Jennifer, and Tony & Janey. They all seemed positively delighted to be now calling Ocracoke home. Welcome to the island!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:

A neighbor asked me a couple of days ago if we still sell goose neck back scratchers. I assured her we do, and told her she won't find a better back scratcher anywhere! They are curved just right, and are comfortable to grip. Take a look by clicking on the image below.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Old Christmas

As we enter the Christmas season (actually the Advent season according to the ecclesiastical calendar) I am reminded of "Old Christmas" customs on the Outer Banks. In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII shortened the official year by eleven minutes and fifteen seconds as a correction to the inaccurate Julian calendar of his time. He also deleted ten days to bring his new calendar into sync with the solar cycle. All Catholic countries immediately complied. Protestant countries resisted the change for many years.

Great Britain and the American colonies did not switch to the Gregorian calendar until September, 1752, when eleven days (September 3-13) were dropped from the calendar in order to make the correction. In that year December 25 (on the "old" calendar) was January 5, 1753 (on the "new" calendar).

Apparently villages along the Outer Banks did not hear about the change until some years later. Many Bankers refused to go along with the change and continued to celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar. By 1801, as the calendars drifted farther apart, "Old Christmas" now fell on January 6. Although Old Christmas has fallen on January 7 since 1900, it has become traditional to continue to celebrate Old Christmas on January 6. I am assuming that this is because December 25 corresponded to January 6 for 100 years, and for most people the original reason for the difference had been forgotten.

For many years several Ocracoke families celebrated only Old Christmas. Today only a few islanders mark both holidays.

In Rodanthe on Hatteras Island villagers have been celebrating Old Christmas for more than two hundred years with a community oyster roast on a Saturday afternoon, and a party in the evening with the appearance of "Old Buck," a costumed islander playing a mythical wild bull. According to legend, a wild bull terrorized medieval English villagers many years ago until a hunter finally killed him. It seems the earliest settlers brought the custom with them to the Outer Banks.

Sad to say, I have never attended an Old Christmas celebration at Rodanthe. Even though it is primarily an event for locals rather than a tourist attraction, I'm told that visitors are welcome. It is held during the first week of January. You can learn more, including the exact date, by googling "Old Christmas Rodanthe."


Village Craftsmen's hand made island soaps are among our most popular gift items. Click on the photo below to go directly to our Andromeda Soaps page.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Lovely Bones

Winter finally came to Ocracoke. Early yesterday morning the temperature was just in the upper 30s (my outdoor shower was brisk!). The rest of the day was mostly sunny, but cool.

As most of our readers know, Ocracoke has no movie theater, so it's a treat to be off the island and have time to see a new release. I am not planning to be near a theater anytime soon, but if you are, consider seeing The Lovely Bones, a movie based on the novel by Alice Sebold. It is about a young girl who was murdered, and who watches over her family and her killer from heaven. I am not in the habit of plugging movies, but I mention this one because our good friend, Jim Goodwin, who makes ships in bottles for Village Craftsmen, was commissioned to construct a number of his creations for the movie. I understand that Jim's craft plays an important part in the movie.

The Lovely Bones opens in theaters Friday, December 11.

You can see some of Jim's ships in bottles, and read a synopsis of the film here.

Also, you can see more of Jim's ship models on our web site. Just click on the image below.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:

Sunday, December 06, 2009

December on Ocracoke

It sure has been quiet here since Thanksgiving. Most of the side roads are more like foot paths, there's so little traffic. Unlike summertime, nearly every vehicle you see sports a Hatteras Inlet ferry priority sticker. Just the other day I saw Vince and Sue walking down Howard Street. None of us was in a hurry, so we just stopped to chat, then walked along together talking about family, current events, and stories from the past. This is a relaxing time of year.

Even though it's quiet right now, there are lots of community activities scheduled for the next several weeks. Take a look at yesterday's post for details.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:

Take a look at some of Village Craftsmen's most popular pottery, Blanket Creek Pottery, by Paul Borian. Just click on the image below.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Ocracoke Christmas

Many thanks to Sundae Horn who has compiled a list of island Christmas celebrations. If you are living on the island, or visiting during the holidays, be sure to take advantage of many of the following gatherings. They are all free and open to the public.
  • Dec. 5: Holiday Kids Cinema at Deepwater Theater, 6 pm. Snacks are available for $5.
  • Dec. 8: Wassail Party & Community Christmas Tree Lighting, 5-7 pm at the museum
  • Dec. 10: Community Christmas Concert, 7 pm at the Community Center
  • Dec. 12: Ocracoke Library Cookie Swap, 11 am
  • Dec. 12: Jimmy's Garage Party. Pig pickin' & pot luck dinner, 5-7:30, music & dancing afterward, at Jimmy's Garage
  • Dec. 13: Children's Christmas Party at Books to be Red (check on School Road for the time)
  • Dec. 17: Ocracoke School Christmas Program, 7 pm in the gym
  • Dec. 18: Community Christmas Caroling. Meet at Methodist Church at 5 pm. Supper to follow
  • Dec. 18: Christmas House Decorating Contest, judging begins at 6 pm
  • Dec. 19: Live Nativity, 6-7 pm at Methodist Church
  • Dec. 20: Children's Christmas Pageant, 7 pm at Assembly of God Church
  • Dec. 24: Christmas Eve Service, 7 pm at Methodist Church
Whew! It's a busy time of the year.

To read our latest Newsletter, about place names on Ocracoke Island, click here:

To view some of the latest offerings from our on line catalog, click on the photo below, of our unique "lazy spoon:"

Friday, December 04, 2009

Moonlight on Howard Street

It's hard to believe it's December. After just one day of cooler weather, Wednesday and Thursday were so mild (temperatures in the mid to upper 60s) that I worked outside again most of the day in just blue jeans and a t-shirt (but it looks like today and the next several days will be about 10 degrees cooler again).

The most striking thing about the recent weather (at least for me) occurred late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning. I was over in my office above the Village Craftsmen until after midnight researching the history of the Doxsee Clam Factory on Ocracoke. When I walked back home the village had a surreal, other worldly character to it. The sky was completely occluded by a layer of clouds. Although I couldn't see the full moon, its diffused light permeated everywhere. Every tree, fence, footpath, and bush was bathed in an unfamiliar glow that gave a curious and wonderful appearance to my world. I just stood and absorbed as much as I could before walking home to bed.

To read our latest Newsletter, about place names on Ocracoke Island, click here:

To view some of the latest offerings from our on line catalog, click on the photo of our pewter measuring cups below:

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Doxsee's Clam Factory

A few days ago I stopped to chat with Beverly Meeker. She and her husband Leonard own the tract of land across the ditch (the entrance to Silver Lake Harbor) from the former US Coast Guard Station (now the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching campus). Beverly was curious about the Doxsee Clam Factory that operated on her point of land from 1897/1898 until about 1912 or somewhat later.

I had heard a number of stories about the clam factory but our conversation spurred me to do more research. The Doxsees, from Islip, NY, moved their clam business to Ocracoke after the clams in NY's Great South Bay were depleted. On what is now the Meeker's point Henry Doxsee and his family built a conglomeration of buildings for steaming, picking, and canning clams, clam chowder, and clam juice. He also built a large dwelling, a boarding house, and a hunting lodge (with dance hall). His son, James Harvey Doxsee, built his home on the north side of the harbor.

Eventually the clams were over-harvested in Pamlico Sound as well, and the Doxsees moved again, this time to Marco Island, Florida.

Most visitors to the island (as well as many current residents) are totally unaware of this rather large commercial operation that was located here at Ocracoke in the early twentieth century.

One day I'll write a more comprehensive history of the Doxsee Clam Factory for our monthly Ocracoke Newsletter. This month, however, I have documented many of the traditional island place names. You can read the current Newsletter here.


We've added even more hand crafted Christmas ornaments this year. Click on the photo below to view the work of Sunrise Glassworks:

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


I recently completed another monthly Ocracoke Newsletter. This time I discuss many of the traditional place names on the island. If you live on Ocracoke, or are a frequent visitor, you may have heard the terms "around creek," "down point," "up trent," and "the ditch." Maybe you even know where old hammock is, or tar heel plains, or loop shack hill.

In the Newsletter I also link to an article written in 1949 that lists many island place names. Interestingly, many of the names are still in use today, in spite of the many geographic and political changes to our beloved island.

To view the current Newsletter click here.

The Christmas season is almost upon us. Click on the photo above to view some of Village Craftsmen's latest additions...stylish Christmas ornaments.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Island Woods

A cold front passed over the island last night. Yesterday was so mild that I worked outside much of the day in blue jeans and a t-shirt. This morning it's a mere 45 degrees. Although I still have outdoor jobs to finish (trimming bushes, clearing a patch of overgrown weeds, and storing clam rakes & baskets) I think I'll spend the morning inside.

Yesterday afternoon I took a hike "down below" at "old hammock." I was trying to walk from where I parked my car alongside Highway 12 to the ocean, but I was thwarted by standing water. As it was, I ended up slogging through wet areas up to my ankles after forcing my way past vines, briars, fallen trees, and low hanging limbs. Eventually I came to a large expanse of standing water that I decided not to cross. I turned back, but often found my way blocked by thick underbrush. Eventually I made my way across several wooded ancestral dunes and down to the highway. I was happy to discover that I was only a short distance from my car.

If you don't know what I mean by "down below" and "old hammock" look for our next Ocracoke Newsletter. It will discuss many of the traditional place names on Ocracoke Island. I'll be working on that later today.

Don't forget take a look at our on-line catalog for great ideas for holiday shopping.

(Click on photo of the "Birchbark" design serving set to view our entire line of nature themed Table Art.)

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a transcript of a letter written in 1949 by a visitor to the island. You can read the letter (which provides a glimpse into Ocracoke life sixty years ago) here: