Sunday, May 22, 2011


Yesterday was a beautiful day to visit Portsmouth Island -- warm, sunny weather...hardly a mosquito (although there were a very few deer flies)...and an opportunity to step inside Henry Piggot's house. The organization, Friends of Portsmouth Island, has taken Henry's house as its current restoration project. The house is diminutive, with small rooms, tiny windows, low ceilings, almost-doll-sized front porch, and steep stair steps with incredibly narrow treads. And it is as cute as a bug's ear.

At the US Life Saving Station I had my first opportunity to see the new replica of a surf boat. At 26 feet long, designed to be rowed by eight surfmen, and capable of carrying fourteen people, it was an impressive example of the equipment used by the brave and courageous life savers who rescued so many victims of shipwrecks on our shores.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the autobiography of Frank Treat Fulcher. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous7:44 AM

    how did the rowers train ? did they row together everyday? One would have to be very strong to row a boat with 14 people. Did any member of the friends of .... document the restoration project and is so have they posted digital images on the web page? thank you for your response.

  2. Anonymous1:40 PM

    "Cute as a bug's ear" it!
    Is this an Ocracoke saying?

  3. Anonymous3:56 PM

    Heavens to Betsy, another quaint American folk expression!

    Presumably working on the principle that the smaller the thing is the cuter it will be, the idiom suggests its subject is the epitome of cuteness. It means some person, especially a child, who is pretty or attractive in a dainty way. Other than that, no good explanation exists for the existence of the simile. I’m also reliably informed that, entomologically speaking, the idiom is nonsense, since bugs don’t have ears.

    And it has been around since at least 1900.

    My favorite is "cute as a speckled puppy in a red wagon."

  4. Please see my reply about the life saver's...and the expression, "cute as a bug's ear" on Monday's post (May 23, 2011).

  5. AlwaysWantedToVisit9:47 PM

    Is it legal/permissible for anyone to take a boat over to Portsmouth or do you have to have special permission? I have always wanted to go over there. I can't afford the private services. Of course, I don't have a boat either, so I guess I'm out of luck. I've always wanted to try swimming across. Don't worry, I know better than to try!

  6. Anyone may take a boat to Portsmouth. The Austins will take you over there for $20. It is a bargain -- much cheaper than buying a boat, and cheaper than the cost of a 6 gallon tank of fuel.

    You're right. It's best not to try swimming across. The currents can be swift.

  7. Anonymous10:21 AM

    How does someone get in touch with The Austin's? Is this $20 per person? We're coming in July and would love to go visit Portsmouth! Thanks for the info!

  8. For information about contacting the Austins follow this link:

    It is $20 per person.

  9. Here is the last part of the link above, in case you can't read it all: