Thursday, October 06, 2011

Fall on Ocracoke

About the only vegetation that changes color in the fall on Ocracoke is the poison ivy. Cedars, yaupons, live oaks, and pines stay green all year. But autumn is usually glorious...and this year is no exception.

Several days ago, as I was walking along the beach late in the afternoon I picked up four beautiful, near perfect scotch bonnets. Only one had a small hole; all of them had the distinctive scotch plaid pattern.

For days the temperature has hovered between the low-60s and the mid-70s during the day. Bright sunshine has dried up all of the puddles. Some days the clouds have been phenomenal, piled high and gleaming white against the cerulean sky. At sunset the edges of the clouds glow like hot iron on a blacksmith's anvil.

Neighbors are taking advantage of the fine weather to prepare boats for the winter, paint steps, wash windows, make minor house repairs, walk their dogs...anything to get outside and enjoy these last days before we close the doors and crank up the heat.

On Tuesday John & Joan invited me to join them for a morning fishing in Ocracoke Inlet. It couldn't have been more beautiful out in Pamlico Sound. Even on the open water it was not cold. A long sleeeved shirt and lightweight jacket was all I needed to stay comfortable. And we caught several blue fish. I fried them up that evening and Amy, David, Lachlan and I enjoyed a fresh fish dinner. As my grandfather used to say, we eat good in America!

Yesterday afternoon I went sailing on the Windfall II. The sunset was spectacular -- even a tinge of green as the sun slid below the horizon; not exactly the emeral green flash, but a hint of green. And I am planning on doing some clamming later today or tomorrow, before the weather turns cooler.

What more could I ask? Family, friends, good food, fantastic weather, and a phenomenal place to live!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of slavery on Ocracoke. You can read it here:


  1. debbie s.9:56 AM

    sounds wonderful philip! enjoy the fall, family, and fun :)

  2. Anonymous12:02 PM

    What a wonderful World -- oh, check out the you tube video of 7-year-old Oleg Aleksandrov signing this Louis Armstrong classic. it is un believable

  3. Love blue fish and your description of fall is beautiful and correct. I can even hear the sea oats swaying in the wind.

  4. Anonymous2:44 PM

    From D.C. -- All that and freshly caught blue fish too--almost heaven!

  5. looks like you are having a spectacular sunset this evening

  6. Anonymous8:20 PM

    Ocracoke is spectacular in October and it looks like this year doesn't disappoint. I read your personal account and it makes my heart twinge....I miss Ocracoke so deeply and probably never as much as in October. This NC mainlander yearns to be there.....thanks, Philip, for filling a void with your descriptive blog. If I close my eyes, I can pretend to be there, at least.

    I am envious of your Scotch, please! :)

  7. I always wanted to visit in October and in the winter. never made it yet but haven't given

    We came down once the 3rd week of Sept. You could already feel the quitness and hush of autumn in the air and hear the sea oats rustling in the wind. Driving out So Point we could smell, hear and see fall. As I get older I seem to be losing my sense of smell and I hate it!

  8. I have no idea what I did in the last post to cause the problem, but if you keep scrolling you can see the rest of my comment.

  9. Anonymous8:08 AM

    Philip, do the restaurants stay open in the fall in winter? Is there any work for young people like me if I came down there then? Would it be a good time to get a headstart on getting a summer job?

  10. In most years Ocracoke business owners are struggling to find employees in late summer/early fall because college students have returned to school.

    This year is different because of the effects of hurricane Irene. Not all of the restaurants have reopened...and there are fewer visitors on the island. As the weeks pass Ocracoke will get quieter and quieter.

    Winter is definitely not a good time to look for work on Ocracoke.

  11. Chris9:11 AM

    Philip, My wife and i are thinking about coming out to he island this next week. You mentioned that not all of the restaurants are back open. Is there a list of closings anywhere? What about all the shops? As much as we want to come, making a 12 hour drive to get there and everything be closed would be a bummer.

  12. Chris, you will find plenty of places open on Ocracoke. I think Cafe Atlantic is the only restaurant that has closed for the season, though some others may only be open 4 or 5 days a week. Most of the shops are open their regular hours. Village Craftsmen is open 10-5 Monday through Saturday, and 10-2 on Sunday.

    October is a wonderful time to visit Ocracoke. You might even want to take a dip in the ocean. The air might be chilly, but the water is still relatively warm.

    Besides that, we are hoping Highway 12 will be re-opened sometime next week.

    As long as you are not looking for work you should have a great visit!

  13. Thanks for the info philip. I wanted to be sure we weren't driving that far only to have absolutely nothing to do. We are looking forward to the slower pace of the island. I can't wait to stop by the craftsman and check out anything new.

  14. Philip, Are you guys still collecting supplies for the people in Hatteras (school or personal)? If so, do you know of anything they are still in need of?

  15. For the latest information about items needed on Hatteras go here:

    You can bring any supplies to Village Craftsmen. We will see that they get to Hatteras.

  16. Anonymous3:12 PM

    Thanks Philip, you are like the Godfather of Ocracoke without the violence! Maybe I'll wait until March to come down and look for a job.

  17. Anonymous8:01 AM

    Philip, I hadn't considered the Cafe Atlantic has already closed for the season. Last year, that restaurant was open much later, but then again, Irene hadn't come to call. It's one of my favorite restaurants there. Jason's is another great place and I have been able to keep up w/ their hours via their FB page.

    Thanks for the most helpful info. You will never know how grateful your bloggers are to read up-to-the-minute and honest info on your blog.