Thursday, September 15, 2011

OcraFolk School 2011

Renew Yourself at Ocracoke Island's "Ocrafolk School," October 23-28, 2011!

Every year, travelers retreat to the pristine beaches of the Pearl of the Outer Banks, Ocracoke Island, NC for fun, relaxation, and renewal. But come the last week of October there is yet another great reason to journey to this remote destination. The Ocrafolk School!

This fall retreat for grownups is accepting registrations for its fifth year of week-long workshops and activities for adults. Classes with space still available are "Island Cooking" w/chef Debbie Wells, "The Ocracoke Sampler" w/local historian Philip Howard, Capt. Rob Temple and Ranger Dave Frum, "English Paper Piecing (hand pieced quilting)" w/Debbie Block , and "Exploring Ocracoke Music" w/Gary Mitchell of the band Molasses Creek. This year's other offering, "Island Photography" with Ann Ehringhaus, is full and currently taking registrations on a waiting-list-only basis. All classes are limited to 6-8 students, and the registration deadline is Oct. 3.

Debbie Wells is a local chef of renown, originator of Ocracoke's popular "Back Porch Restaurant" (featured in Saveur, Gourmet, Bon Appetite, The New York Times, and the Washington Post). Her "Island Cooking" class will emphasize local seafood, other meats, some old-time Ocracoke specialties, vegetables, 'Mexican day' with guest chef Eduardo and elegant desserts, and will include a visit to the local fish house and a clamming trip.

"English Paper Piecing" is an old method of hand piecing quilts. By basting fabric onto pre-cut pieces of heavy paper and joining the pieces together with a simple hand stitch you can create a quilt top of any size or design. After learning the basic method from Debbie Block, each participant will work on a design of their choosing using squares, diamond, triangle and/or hexagon shaped pieces. No experience necessary but a love of fabric, color and quilts will help you to enjoy this class.

Ocracoke Island is known for having quite a vibrant music scene. In the "Exploring Ocracoke Music" class, students will spend the week 'behind the scenes' with Gary Mitchell of the band Molasses Creek (award winners from A Prairie Home Companion) exploring and visiting the musicians, rehearsals, recording studios, history, venues and local radio that make it all happen. No musical experience is necessary, but certainly welcome.

Philip Howard, eighth generation islander, joins Capt. Rob Temple and ranger Dave Frum to bring alive Ocracoke history in the "Ocracoke Sampler" class. Students will hear island stories, see fifty-year-old Ocracoke home movies, be guided through ancient family cemeteries, read original Life Saving Service shipwreck logs, sail on the schooner Windfall 2, sing sea-chanteys, listen to traditional ghost tales, tour a preserved maritime forest, and much more.

The school, which began in 2007, is held yearly the last full week of October and includes workshops exploring island history, culture, food, art, music and crafts through hands-on activities. In addition to the classes, students participate in group meals, music and other events throughout the course of the week. The Ocrafolk School is sponsored by the private non-profit "Ocracoke Alive".

For more information, email, call 252-928-4280 or visit

Hope you can join us for a great week together this fall!

Gary Mitchell (director)
Ocrafolk School
PO Box 596
Ocracoke, NC 27960


Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a history of the marine hospital on Portsmouth Island. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous12:59 PM

    What is the typical weather at that time?

  2. Usually it is mild and pleasant at the end of October. However, it is unpredictable. It might be warm and sunny...or it might be cold and blustery. As a general indication of the weather that time of year, we have never had to cancel our Ocracoke Sampler class kayaking trips, hikes, or clamming expeditions. But you never know!

  3. Anonymous1:32 PM


    When do they expect to complete the temporary bridge in Rodanthe making access to Ocracoke from the north possible again?

  4. Anonymous2:20 PM

    Love the Ocrafolk School concept and the time of the year is usually very comfortable. One year I was on the island in late October and a chilly n'easter blew through. It was on a Sunday, but the next day, except for some road overwash, etc; life returned to normal and the rest of the week was sensational!

    Ocracoke shines in October!

    Great poster! Hope all the classes will be filled. Wish I could be a fly on the wall this year! :)

  5. I have not heard when the temporary bridge might be completed. I suggest you check regularly with the NCDOT for the latest official information. When I hear reliable news I will post it.

  6. Anonymous8:34 AM

    I did hear this morning (Fri) that more ferries have been added to the SQ and CI/Ocracoke schedules. Hopefully, everyone will have a better opportunity getting on a ferry when they want to ride one. NC ferry web-site has updates and I have seen on-line a specific web-site which addresses Highway #12 progress.