Monday, February 28, 2011


About 8:30 Saturday morning Amy called me from her cell phone. She and her friend Jennifer were walking on the beach, and they had spotted a whale, near the NPS campground. I drove out there right away. The whale was fairly far off shore (even Amy & Jen had just caught a glimpse of its immense body), and by the time I got there we could only see the periodic spouting of exhaled air from its blowhole. But it was exciting, nevertheless, just to know that one of these majestic creatures was nearby.

If you will be walking along our beach be sure to keep your eyes out for whales, especially during the winter months.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of a 1911 wedding on Portsmouth Island. You can read it here:

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Revolutionary War

On Sunday, February 20, 2011, I mentioned the role Ocracoke Inlet played during the Revolutionary War. A reader asked about Ocracoke islanders who may have participated in the efforts to keep the inlet open for providing supplies to the Continental Army.

Here are a few tidbits from "The Outer Banks of North Carolina during the Revolutionary War" by Norman C Delaney, published in The North Carolina Historical Review, Volume XXXVI, January, 1959, Number 1.

  • In 1776, in order to prevent armed British vessels from getting fresh provisions, the North Carolina Provincial Congress established independent military companies to be stationed along the seacoast. The Ocracoke Company's officers were: James Anderson, Captain; Benjamin Bonner, First Lieutenant; James Wahob, Second Lieutenant; John Brag, Ensign; and John Cooper, Commissary. [None of these names appears in the first official US census of Ocracoke Island in 1790. However, Bonner is an eastern North Carolina surname...and Wahab and Bragg are early Ocracoke surnames.]
  • In 1777 Captain Anderson resigned, and John Williams obtained the position. This may have been the John Williams who purchased one half of Ocracoke from William Howard in September, 1759. Henry Toomer was appointed Commisary.
  • In September of 1777 the Ocracoke Company was disbanded for inability to keep the company in supplies and victuals.
  • Obtaining provisions on the isolated Outer Banks was always an issue. In late November, 1777 the Legislature "received a petition from Captain John Sheppard of the scow 'Diamond,' lately stranded on the Bar. Sheppard accused 'sundry persons' from Ocracoke of having stolen the greater part of his cargo."
  • In January, 1778 Royal Governor Josiah Martin wrote that "the contemptible Port of Ocracock...has become a great Channel of supply to the Rebels while the more considerable Ports of the Continent have been watched by the King's Ships."
  • "On November 10, 1779, Governor Caswell was empowered to establish a company of militia, consisting of not more than twenty-five inhabitants of Ocracoke, for duty at the Inlet." Adam Gaskel was named as Captain. The Colonial Council at Kinston, NC, "praised Gaskel's Company for bavery in '...attacking and taking a number of armed boats with their crews....'"[Gaskill is a traditional island surname, but does not appear in the Ocracoke census until 1800.]
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of a 1911 wedding on Portsmouth Island. You can read it here:

Saturday, February 26, 2011


During our January snowstorm Dave Frum came by on his cross country skis:

(Click on photo to view a larger image.)

A few days ago Lachlan told me he was going out in the shed to make something out of wood. He came back later with his own version of cross country skis:

(Click on photo to view a larger image.)

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of a 1911 wedding on Portsmouth Island. You can read it here:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Edgar Howard Quotation

On July 6, 1990,Edgar Howard (age 85) died. He was a native of Ocracoke and a retired vaudeville entertainer, having worked with the Milton Berle Show for 10 years, the Gene Autry Show, and other well known celebrities of the time. He also played his banjo with the Texaco Show. Edgar is buried on Howard Street. His tombstone has a banjo carved in it, and reads, "You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet!"

In April, 1979 Edgar's son, Ronnie, opened Howard's Pub. It had been 50 years since alcohol had last been sold on Ocracoke Island. The grand opening was the talk of the village. Edgar's comment was "We'll have hard-core hippies, hard-core Yankees, and hard-core Southerners. We're going to mix them all and I hope they all get along."

For the most part they have!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of a 1911 wedding on Portsmouth Island. You can read it here:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jimmy Creech

Jimmy Creech was pastor of the Ocracoke United Methodist Church from 1973-1981. His impact on the church and community was profound and lasting. While Jimmy served his Ocracoke congregation he was also active in the volunteer fire department, promoted local musical gatherings, participated in variety shows and theater productions, organized an active youth group, helped sponsor cooking classes in the parsonage, and contributed to numerous other civic and community projects.

After leaving Ocracoke, Jimmy served other churches in North Carolina, and in Nebraska. In 1984, a member of Jimmy’s congregation came out to him as gay and announced he was leaving The United Methodist Church because of its policies toward lesbian, gay and bisexual members. Increased knowledge of these issues in the church and society transformed Jimmy's life and ministry. He began to publicly challenge the church’s teachings and policies about homosexuality and to advocate for the full inclusion and acceptance of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the church and society. Eventually Jimmy's ordination was revoked in 1999 for performing same-sex unions.

In March, Duke University Press will be releasing Jimmy's new book, Adam's Gift, the story of his defiance of the church's official position.

You can click on the image below to read more about Jimmy's book (you might have to click on the image again to enlarge it).

Several book readings have already been scheduled. Below is a list of some of them:

  • Sunday, April 10 • 3:00pm - 6:00pm
    Location: Quail Ridge Books & Music
    3522 Wade Ave
    Raleigh, NC

  • Monday, April 25 • 7:00pm - 10:00pm
    Location: The Regulator Bookshop
    720 Ninth St
    Durham, NC

  • Wednesday, April 27 • 7:00pm - 10:00pm
    Location: The Internationalist Bookstore
    405 W. Franklin St
    Chapel Hill, NC

  • Saturday, May 14 • 10:00am - 1:00pm
    Location: Clifton United Methodist Church
    3416 Clifton Ave.
    Cincinnati, OH

  • Saturday, June 25 • 3:00pm - 6:00pm
    Location: Durham County Main Library
    300 N. Roxboro St
    Durham, NC

Other readings will be listed here:

More information about Jimmy's book is available here:

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of a 1911 wedding on Portsmouth Island. You can read it here:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

David & Alice Williams Cemetery

David Williams (1858-1938) was a surfman at the US Life Saving Station at Cedar Hammock (just south of Hatteras Inlet) in the late 1800s. When keeper James Howard retired in 1903, David Williams became keeper. He served in that post at Cedar Hammock until 1905. In that year he was transferred to the new station built in Ocracoke village.

Captain Dave and his wife, Alice Wahab Williams, lived on the north side of Cockle Creek (Silver Lake). In the late 1990s their house was acquired by the Ocracoke Preservation Society and moved to its present location where it serves as the Society's museum, gift shop, research library, and offices.

Captain Dave and Miss Alice have no direct descendants living on Ocracoke Island. They are buried, along with children and their spouses, in a brick-enclosed cemetery near the British Cemetery and the George Howard Cemetery. Within the last year, briars, vines, and weeds began encroaching on the markers and brick walls. Saturday morning Bill, Dave, Ralph, Andrew, DeAnna, and I (members of the Ocracoke Preservation Society) met at the cemetery with rakes, clippers, weed eaters, and a grass cutter. By the end of thirty minutes the cemetery was neatly trimmed and presentable once more.

The Ocracoke Civic & Business Association is negotiating with island contractors to repair the brick wall.

Click on any photo below to see what's been done.

The Williams Cemetery before the Cleanup:

Making Progress:

Andrew attacking vines:

Another View:

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of a 1911 wedding on Portsmouth Island. You can read it here:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Civil War on Ocracoke & Hatteras

The National Park Service has just issued a News Release.

The National Park Service ("Outer Banks Group: Know Your Park, Citizen Science Program Series) continues this winter with a presentation from Civil War historian Drew Pullen on Monday, February 28th at the Fessenden Center in Buxton at 7:30 p.m. and on Tuesday, March 1st at the Ocracoke Community Center at 7:30 p.m.

The program is free and will last approximately 1 hour.

Civil War activities on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands are a timely topic as the sesquicentennial (150 year anniversary) of these events is fast approaching. Some of these activities are important “firsts” during the Civil War, including:

* July 10, 1861 -The first hostile shots fired by the U.S. Navy at Southern-held territory on the oceanfront—The side-wheel steamer-boat Harriet Lane shelled Fort Hatteras and Fort Clark at Hatteras Inlet;
* July 21, 1861 – The first true naval engagement—The USS Albatross fought the North Carolina steamer Beaufort off Oregon Inlet;
* August 28, 1861 – The first amphibious landing – Union troops came ashore to capture Fort Hatteras;
* October 1, 1861 – The first capture of a United States vessel—Confederate forces captured the Union tug Fanny in the Pamlico Sound; and
* November 18, 1861 – The first provisional Unionist government within a seceded state—Formed at Hatteras, it consisted of two men and did not last long.

Mr. Pullen is the author of two books on the Civil War, Portrait of the Past: The Civil War On Hatteras Island, North Carolina and Portrait of the Past: The Civil War On Roanoke Island, North Carolina.

The Know Your Park citizen science program series is designed to further connect the Outer Banks communities and residents with the rich natural world and cultural heritage of their neighboring National Park sites; Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Wright Brothers National Memorial and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. “These presentations offer park visitors
as well as local residents an opportunity to learn more about, and better enjoy, the coastal environment and their National Parks” stated Mike Murray, Superintendent, Outer Banks Group.

For more information contact Cyndy Holda, Public Affairs Specialist, 252-473-2111, ext. 148.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of a 1911 wedding on Portsmouth Island. You can read it here:

Monday, February 21, 2011

1911 Wedding on Portsmouth Island

We've just published our latest Ocracoke Newsletter. This month we share an account of a wedding that took place on Portsmouth Island nearly one hundred years ago. It is entitled "A Beautiful Church Wedding on Portsmouth Island, Fifty-Seven Years Ago" and was written by M. Mason Daniels in1968. In addition to the story of the wedding, the bride shares many fascinating memories of life on this now abandoned island at the turn of the twentieth century.

You can read the article here:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ocracoke in the Revolutionary War

Here is another quotation about Ocracoke from the magazine I mentioned a week and a half ago:

"Less well known, perhaps, than the area's fishing appeal, is the fact that Ocracoke Inlet was vital to the armies of General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. Ocracoke Inlet seemed to the British to be too small and insignificant to require a blockade. The shoals were dangerous, and skillful pilots were needed to navigate the waters with safety. Ocracoke, through the help of the area's loyal patriots, became a great channel of supply for American troops."

It is always interesting to be reminded of the role this tiny island and it's inhabitants played in some of the defining moments of our nation's history.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

First Robin

My mother always made a notation on her calendar when she spotted the first robin of the year. For me in 2011, that was yesterday afternoon at 5 pm. was in the low 60s yesterday. And...the pollen from the cedar trees is starting to float in the air. I think spring must be around the corner!

In other news, the Ocracoke Methodist Church is sponsoring a Roast Pork Dinner tomorrow, February 20, at 12:15, right after church. In addition to the roast pork, there will be potatoes, green beans, rolls, and a beverage. Don't be late! For the last fundraising dinner David arrived right at 12:15 and got the last two plates!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Little Humor

Leafing through an old scrapbook, I came across a newspaper article (I believe it is from the June 26, 1977 issue of the Raleigh News & Observer) titled, "Ocracoke Visitors Ask the Darndest Questions." A few samples (collected by National Park Service Rangers):
  • Does it rain salt water here?
  • Is this still the United States?
  • Where is low tide?
  • Do you have to take another ferry to get to Ocracoke?
  • What does the ocean do?
  • What is the name of the Ocracoke lighthouse?
  • What are we supposed to be looking at on this island?

One of my all time favorites (referring to Howard Street) is "I see this is a one-way street. If we go down there, can we get out?" I can only guess what they were thinking -- maybe that at the end of Howard Street there is a huge parking lot filled with rusting automobiles.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Whales are not frequently seen from Ocracoke's beach. In all of the years I've lived on the island and walked along the beach I've only twice seen a whale off shore. Although I have not seen a whale for several years I was chatting with Jamie Jackson over at Jimmy's Garage several days ago and he told me that more than one person had seen a whale recently. Speculation was that the whales were either right whales or humpback whales.

Mostly, whale sightings are in the winter, from Thanksgiving until late February. I'll keep looking. If any of our readers has spotted a whale this year, please leave a comment and tell us about it.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fear No Fish

Are you an Ocracoke Island restaurant you work with fish, prepare menus, or otherwise pass on knowledge about fish...are you a local fisherman or fisherwoman...or are you just interested in fish and how to prepare and cook them?

If so, you might be interested in a "waterman and chef's roundtable and cooking collaboration to explore the care and preparation of water-to-table fish and seafood." This event will be held Friday, February 18, starting at 10 am (no one knows how long it will last), at the home of Merle & Donald Davis on Ocean View Road (in the garage).

For more information you can contact Merle or Donald at 252-928-2587.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sock Hop Photos

For all of our readers who are not connected with islanders on Facebook (where many photos have already been posted), I thought you would enjoy seeing a few images from our 1950s Sock Hop Saturday night. Click on any photo (the first seven courtesy of Amy Howard; the next three courtesy of George Brown; the last one and on-line album courtesy of Jennifer Kidwell) to view a larger image.

Kati Wharton in her poodle skirt (that's Lachlan in the background, hauling himself up to inspect the desserts):

Andrew & Laura Stern (how about those glasses!)

Sock Hop King and Queen (that's Brian & Jamie hiding under those costumes):

Two of the evening's smoothest dancers* (that hipster on the left won best male costume [his comment, "Costume? What costume?"]):

Clifton, Brett, John, & Martin kept the tempo up all night long:

Martin, Queen Jamie, and April (best female costume) perform:

The dance floor was full all night long (check out all the white socks):

*Any idea who those dancers in the fourth photo are?

Teenyboppers from Hatteras Island or somewhere on the northern Outer Banks:

Doing the Jitterbug:

Oh, those two-toned shoes:

You can also click on this photo of that cool Daddy-o below to see an on-line photo album by Jennifer Kidwell:

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:

Monday, February 14, 2011

February 14

Happy Valentine's Day! We love our faithful readers. Thanks for joining us regularly to share insights into daily life on Ocracoke Island.

The following may not be the most romantic news you'll hear today, but starting last week, if you live (or are visiting) on Ocracoke Island you can now hear a weekly radio broadcast of international, national, and local news and commentary every Monday morning at 9 am at WOVV (90.1 on your radio dial). The newscaster is Andrew Stern, who lives on Howard Street with his wife Laura and three children, Gretchen, Nicholas, and Charlie.

PS: Look for Sock Hop photos tomorrow (including one of Andrew and his wife Laura).

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jack & Danny

I recently discovered a decades old magazine with black and white pictures and a story about the Outer Banks.

The cover and other identifying pages of the magazine are missing, so I have to guess about some details, but the magazine was clearly affiliated with the Standard Oil Company (originally Ocracoke's only service station was a franchise of Standard Oil Co.), and was published soon after the Herbert C. Bonner bridge was built in 1963 (a photograph caption says the bridge "now crosses Oregon Inlet").

In an interview with Jack Willis (owner of Jack's Store, which was located on the dock where the Working Watermen's exhibit is today) and Danny Garrish (who operated the Community Store) the author includes this quotation by one of the men: "...[I]t is rather enjoyable around here even when our slack season comes. I guess you would have to live here awhile to know the peace of mind that the outer Banks offers. We've lived here all our lives. We think we are capable of handling just about any situation. Even when that old Atlantic starts snorting, we don't think too much about it. We are as tough as it is, and that's satisfying, too."

I'll second that thought! And I wish Jack and Danny were still around to share their insights and good humor.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pixadilly Photos

George Brown periodically sends me photos of Ocracoke that he's taken. If you are familiar with George's pictures you know he has a keen eye for subtle detail, unusual perspective, and the interplay of form and color.

Every day George posts one new photo on his blog, Although George publishes photographs from many different places (lately he's been sharing images from New Mexico), yesterday he began posting a new series of Ocracoke Island pictures. You can click on the link above, or his photo below to go directly to George's site.

If you would like to automatically receive the pixadilly photo-of-the-day in your email box simply click on the "subscribe" button above the photo on George's web site.

Don’t worry. George does not share e-mail addresses with anyone and you can “unsubscribe” anytime you wish.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tilmon & Elizabeth O'Neal

On January 4 of this year I published a blog about the return of my great grandfather's wooden grave marker, after it's having gone missing for thirty-five years. You can read that article here: Tilmon W. O'Neal and his wife Elizabeth Gaskins O'Neal are buried near O'Neal Drive in the Trent Woods area of Ocracoke village.

About two weeks ago Joyce Spencer (Tilmon & Elizabeth are also her great grandparents), her sister-in-law, Bobbie Jean Midgette, her son, Jesse Spencer, friend Clifton Garrish, and I gathered at the graveyard to place a new stone marker at the grave site. Joyce remembered exactly where our great grandparents are buried and was instrumental in seeing that the marker was procured and the grave properly identified.

Click on any photo to view a larger image.

The New Marker:

Jesse & Clifton Placing the Marker:

Betty Jean, Philip, & Joyce:

Lachlan & Philip at Lachlan's Great Great Great Grandparents' Grave:

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Recently I've been commenting on modern technology. I now want to say a few words about some more traditional technology -- the front porch.

Years ago nearly every house had a porch (called a "pizer" on Ocracoke). Before television, the Internet, and air conditioning, folks sat on the porch in the morning, the late afternoon, the early evening...actually anytime they had a few minutes to sit and relax. I love my porch. When the weather warms up we sit out there almost every morning, watching the day wake up, listening to the song birds, and drinking a cup of coffee (well, Lou Ann has coffee...I have a glass of orange juice).

In the afternoon we sometimes have a few minutes to sit a spell. We pull down the bamboo shades or the sun would get unbearable. But we never pull them down all the way -- we want to feel connected. We can always see the sandy lane, so we wave to folks who walk by, chat awhile if neighbors or friends stop for a few minutes, and often invite people up on the porch.

After supper, and late at night, if the bugs aren't too bad, we often sit in the porch swing and talk about the day, visit with friends, and share cool drinks. We like it when folks stop to visit. Front porches help build community. And that's community with actual human beings, not pixels on a computer screen.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A New World

Yesterday I mentioned Molly Lovejoy who is spending her junior year in Austria. My daughter Amy was in Berlin for her junior year...more than twenty years ago. How things have changed! In 1989 we wrote actual letters on paper, put them in envelopes and mailed them to Europe. Even if we wrote regularly, it took several days for the letters to be delivered, and several more days to receive a reply. We talked on the telephone every few months...only for short periods of time because it was expensive.

Today, with the Internet, Skype, Facebook, and Twitter, we are almost instantly connected all over the world. Molly's daddy, Dave, told me how he tuned in to our new Ocracoke radio station, WOVV (90.1 on the dial), and skyped Molly so she could hear the broadcast of one of the Ocracoke Dolphins' basketball games. Dave even went over to the gymnasium and asked the announcer to send Molly a greeting!

Blanche tells the story of her uncle Elisha Ballance, an Ocracoke Island sailor in 1899. He was on a schooner crossing the bar at Ocracoke Inlet, on his way to the West Indies, when he looked back and saw a huge fire raging out of control in the village. But there was no turning back. The captain had cargo to deliver. It was not until months later that the schooner returned to Ocracoke and the sailor discovered that the large Ponzer Hotel (which sat where the NCCAT center [the old US Coast Guard building] is today) burned to the ground after the cook let a stewpot full of goose boil over and set the building on fire. Did I mention that times have changed?

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


Over the last several decades the Ocracoke community has hosted a number of foreign exchange students (from Germany, Japan, Columbia, Denmark, and other countries). In turn, our island students have ventured to many parts of the world, including Australia, England, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany. Most of these students have been affiliated with Youth for Understanding, an outstanding program for exchange students.

This school year Molly Lovejoy is spending her junior year in Austria. You can read her blog here: She is having a great experience.

Recently I discovered that since July of last year my blogger host site allows me to track certain information about my page views, traffic sources, and audience. Curious, one day I clicked on "Page Views by Countries, Now." There were several dozen readers from the United States, of course...and one from Austria!

Molly, Hello from Ocracoke!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:

Monday, February 07, 2011


One of the great things about Ocracoke, the Outer Banks, and eastern North Carolina is the fresh seafood. On Saturday night a small group of friends got together for oysters, direct from Pamlico Sound. Newspapers were spread on the wooden table, and our host piled the steamed bivalves in the middle of the table. With two bowls of cocktail sauce, a box of saltines, and oyster knives in front of us, we were ready!

One nice thing about fresh oysters is that no one feels the need for anything else...except beer, of course, and lively conversation! Sure, vegetables are nice...and dessert, other meals. But after filling up on oysters, nothing else seems to matter.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Six Year Olds!

On Monday Amy and I went up the beach (dentist appointment, shopping, lunch with a friend). Amy always enjoys stopping at the thrift stores. At one place she purchased swim fins for $2.00. They are just the right size for Lachlan.

On Thursday Lachlan & I spent the afternoon together. It was raining so we read some after lunch (he loves Greek myths, especially Jason and the Golden Fleece), then played games. Later I needed to run a few errands. We put on our jackets and hats and headed to the car. Instead of shoes Lachlan decided to wear his new swim fins! He was quite the sight, tromping through the puddles, up the stairs, and into the lobby of the bank. Oh, to fathom the mind of a six year old.

Yesterday he was a cowboy.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Some Practical Information for Travelers

I recently received this press release:

Expect Temporary Delays on NC 12 in Cape Hatteras National Seashores
Bodie Island District for Next Several Months

Date: February 1, 2011
Contact: Cyndy Holda, 252-473-2111 Ext. 148

Superintendent Mike Murray announced today that in mid-February
contractors from multiple agencies including the National Park Service
(NPS), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), North Carolina
Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and the United States Navy, will
begin construction projects including resurfacing of NC 12 in the
Bodie Island section of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The projects

Replacement of drainage pipes along NC 12 by NCDOT

Preparation of road shoulders for widening NC 12 by NCDOT

Removal of several buildings associated with operation of an existing
radio tower by the US Navy

Paving of NC 12 from Whalebone Junction south to Highway 1243 (Old
Oregon Inlet Road) by the FHWA

Paving of the Bodie Island Lighthouse Road and parking areas

Replacement of the water line from Highway 1243 to the Bodie Island Lighthouse

Beginning Monday, February 14, 2011, the section of NC 12 just south
of Whalebone Junction Visitor Center to the intersection of SR1243
(Old Oregon Inlet Road) will be closed to traffic for approximately 30
days and all traffic will be detoured to SR 1243 during this period. A
single lane of traffic will reopen on NC 12 as soon as possible.

In addition, on February 21, 2011, the North Carolina Department of
Transportation (NCDOT) will begin construction along NC 12 from SR
1243 to the Oregon Inlet Bridge. This section of road will be open to
single lane traffic.

The total road construction project from Whalebone Junction to Oregon
Inlet Road will extend from February 14, 2011 through May 27, 2011.
Motorists may encounter temporary traffic delays of up to 20 -30
minutes for north and southbound lanes while the projects are being

For more information, please contact the park at 252-473-2111 ext. 148.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:

Friday, February 04, 2011

Loon Rescue

Early yesterday afternoon I took my daily walk along the shore. Bill Jones was with me. About a half mile down the beach we spied a loon out of the water. I thought, now this would be the time to have my camera, but no such luck. When the loon saw us it immediately started towards the surf.

If you know anything about loons you know they are extremely clumsy on land. Their legs, set far back on their body for superior swimming ability, don't work very efficiently out of the water. Many people, when they see a loon on land, immediately think they are injured. I thought, maybe if we hurry we can get a close up view of this marvelous creature. As we drew nearer we noticed that the loon was moving even more slowly than expected. It was dragging a fishing lure attached to monofilament that was wrapped around its wings and legs.

We had no difficulty intercepting the bird. After a close examination and some quick thinking I took off my jacket and covered the loon's head (every time we had approached, it lashed out and tried to bite my leg). With a firm but gentle grip I could keep the loon still. I pulled my pocket knife out of my pocket and handed it to Bill. He had to cut the fishing line in several places to free the bird, but the wings and legs seemed no worse for the ordeal.

After I removed the jacket the loon lost little time pulling its way to the water. It dove under the breakers and emerged on the far side, gazing around, undoubtedly relieved to be unencumbered.

Bill says that was the best beach walk he's ever had. The loon, it turns out, is his favorite bird, and he was happy to help rescue one of these remarkable creatures.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Sandersons and Wahabs

The temperature climbed up into the 60s yesterday with some light rain (far different from so many other parts of our country!). It was the perfect day to pay a visit with cousin Blanche. Recently I had had correspondence with a couple of people who have distant connections with Ocracoke -- a descendant of Richard Sanderson, who sold Ocracoke Island to my ancestor, William Howard, in 1733 (I offered my condolences), and a direct descendant of Eliza Bradley Howard (1808-1870) & Job Wahab (1802-1860). Eliza Bradley & Job had 15 children. Surprisingly, today there are no Wahabs living on Ocracoke. Blanche always likes to know when I hear about island and family connections. And she can always fill in more details. What an amazing resource...and gracious neighbor...she is.

Several months ago I published an Ocracoke Newsletter about the Ocracoke Wahabs. In case you missed it you can read it here:

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Beach Theater

The past several weeks have been perfect for enjoying dolphin displays just offshore, in the breakers and beyond. These playful marine mammals are numerous in Ocracoke's waters this time of year. On virtually any given day you need only walk onto the beach and cast your eyes out toward the water. In a matter of minutes you'll notice dorsal fins gliding by. It is not unusual to see these creatures (especially the younger, light gray ones) jumping, twisting, and turning. Sometimes two or more will dart up out of the water and dive back, their tails slapping the surface, sending spray into the air. One of the most enjoyable sights is watching their sleek bodies ride the waves, just under the surface. It is almost impossible not to anthropomorphize these delightful animals. They must be having so much fun, we think. And they probably are. Why else would they be riding the waves?

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Sock Hop

It's not too early to share some fun news. Ocracoke Child Care is sponsoring a Valentine's weekend 1950s "Sock Hop."

Martin Garrish and John Golden, along with island friends, will be entertaining us with an evening of classic early rock & roll tunes (John has just released his newest album of 50s songs).

There will be dance contests, costume contests, even a hula hoop contest. And they will be serving soda shop food -- hamburgers and vanilla cokes!

Mark your calendars for Saturday, February 12. Dance begins at 7 pm at the Ocracoke Community Center. Click on the poster below for more details.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here: