Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Portsmouth Island Homecoming

Every two years Friends of Portsmouth Island ( and the Cape Lookout National Seashore sponsor a Homecoming celebration at Portsmouth Village. The date this year is Saturday, April 28.

Events will include a hymn sing in the Methodist Church, a program under the tent in the village, and a potluck dinner on the grounds. Please bring food to share and a beverage. The post office will be open for business, and a special cancellation will be offered. A highlight of the day will be a ribbon cutting for the newly restored Henry Pigott House.

Henry Pigott's House

Rudy and Donald Austin will be operating a passenger ferry service that day. Cost is $20 per person, round trip. Call 252-928-4361 for reservations.

For more information please visit the Friends of Portsmouth Island web site (, or call Richard Meissner (252-728-2250, ext. 3008).

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Rondthalers of Ocracoke Island. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous10:20 AM

    From the Ocracoke Preservation Society:

    Please make plans to visit the museum and see our new exhibit “Portsmouth Beckons”. This exhibit features 14 photographs from Portsmouth Island by talented Outer Banks photographer, Michael Halminski.
    To inaugurate this special exhibit, OPS will host and opening reception, at the museum, on April 27th, 2012 from 6:00-8:00pm. Mr. Halminski will be with us to talk about his work and his love of Portsmouth. Also featured that night will be author James E. White, III, who will be signing his book, Portsmouth Island: A Walk in the Past, along with other books he has written about life and people on Portsmouth. Work by Mr. White and Mr. Halminski will be available in our gift shop during the reception and throughout the season. The reception on April 27th will be a great evening for all members of Friends of Portsmouth, and anyone else who’s interested in learning more about that beloved island.

    Thanks, DeAnna

  2. Anonymous8:10 AM

    Curious, Philip, whether you've done much exploring of Portsmouth Island? We made the trip once--toured the village, crossed the...boggy mud reach the beach, then caught the boat back to Ocracoke. But I wonder what's beyond the village; beyond the general store. I recall seeing a hom or two further southward, away from the main path that leads toward the church and the old lifesaving station. I got some sense those were actually (and actively) private homes--perhaps second homes or vacation homes for a few folks. But what's beyond? I think nothing, at least until you get to the much farther southern reaches of the island, where I think folks can cross over from the mainland and there are a few fishing/cabin rentals available, but that seems many miles distant from Portsmouth Village. I recall there used to be an ATV concession available via Ocracoke, that would take visitors by boat to Portsmouth where they could then drive around, perhaps on a guided tour. That would seem about the most...practical way to explore the further reaches of the island, beyond the village. The same "pull" that always tends to draw me "just a little farther" up the beach--to explore what's just beyond that rise, or just around that next dune--intrigues me to know what's beyond the villge on Portsmouth. As someone who's visited the island more than once, perhaps you've had occasion to stray beyond the beaten paths.

  3. From the Post Office/General Store a path leads to the Gilgo house and the Schoolhouse. From there a path (I think it's called the "Straight Road") goes to Sheep Island and the "Middle Community." There are no longer any buildings down there, but I have walked a mile or so down that path, and I noticed one or two foundations.

    There are still a few private leases for some of the island houses, but I heard that the Park Service may not renew those again. The NPS owns all of Portsmouth Island.

    I do not know what rules and regulations address ATV use on Portsmouth, so I do not know where they are permitted. I know that jeeps and other such vehicles are prohibited in the village.