02/24/16

Top 7 Free Activities on Hatteras Island

While the snow is still melting around the country, we wanted to help get you in the right state of mind. Let’s talk vacation. And not the crazy expensive lavish one. The real one that you can not only afford, but which will create so many meaningful memories. They say the best things in life are free, and we tend to agree here on Hatteras. Without further ado, here are a few recommendations of some things to do that won’t break the bank while you’re staying with us.

1 • BEACH | It’s obvious why you chose this beautiful place. And there’s nothing better than just taking it all in with friends and family. With miles of pristine coastline, there’s no shortage of serenity.

 

 2 • LIGHTHOUSES | The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the world’s tallest brick lighthouse standing at 208 feet tall. Known for its black and white candy cane stripes, its beam of light spans 20 miles into the ocean, protecting one amazing stretch of land. While there is a fee to actually climb the lighthouse, the grounds, Hatteras Island Visitor Center, museum, book store, shaded picnic area,.75-mile nature trail and beach ramp access to Cape Point are free, making this an attraction offering a little something for everyone. Note: You can also check out Bodie Island and Ocracoke Island Lighthouses on either end of the Seashore as well!


3 • PEA ISLAND NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE | 
Located on the north end of Hatteras Island, the bird list for Pea Island Refuge consists of more than 365 species; the wildlife list of 25 species of mammals, 24 species of reptiles and five species of amphibians. The Visitor Center is chock full of state-of-the art exhibits and is totally free to check out. With walking trails, wildlife displays, birdwatching, and seasonal guided canoe tours.

4 • GRAVEYARD OF THE ATLANTIC MUSEUM | The Museum is dedicated to the preservation, advancement and presentation of the maritime history and shipwrecks of the Outer Banks from the earliest periods of colonization to the present day, which greatly emphasize the 1524-1945 period. If shipwrecks and history are your thing, you will absolutely dig this expedition. While this attraction is free, donations are welcome.

•  FERRY RIDE | The Hatteras/Ocracoke Ferry is one of the most popular of the seven coastal ferry routes run and managed by NCDOT. Free, with no reservations required, this island-hopper runs 365 days a year and is a great way to jet on over to Ocracoke Island for the day. You’ll catch a number of folks boarding in cars, trucks, bikes and on foot for a scenic ride offering views of sun, sand, surf, water and wildlife. Dolphins love springing up beside the ferry when the water’s warm, so keep your eyes peeled!

6 • GET YOUR ART ON | Let the inner artist in you come out to play. Hatteras is saturated in creativity! Check out local artisan works in these lovely one-of-a-kind island galleries: Kinnakeet Clay Works, Pea Island Art Gallery, Blue Pelican Gallery, SeaWorthy Gallery, Indian Town Gallery, and other hidden gems you’ll surely find along the way with galleries in each village on the island.

7 • WATERSPORTS + FISHING | Shallow sound waters and great ocean wave action have made Hatteras Island a prime destination for folks who enjoy kiteboarding, windsurfing, surfing, boogie boarding, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. You’re sure to fulfill some lifelong adventure dreams right here…and for free! Always be on the lookout for clinics and demo days where you can try these out at no cost. If you try it and rock (like we know you will), many of the local establishments offer super affordable classes and even rental equipment that they’ll deliver right to the door of your rental home.


05/6/15

British War Graves Ceremonies Honor Foreign Sailors

Ocracoke Ceremony - Image Courtesy Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

Ocracoke Ceremony – Image Courtesy Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

On May 7, at 11 a.m. the British War Graves ceremony will take place at the British Cemetery in Buxton. A ceremony at the British Cemetery in Ocracoke will be held on May 8 at 11 a.m.

For 73 years, near the anniversary of the Bedfordshire’s sinking, members of the National Park Service, U.S. Coast Guard, and British Royal Navy join visitors and local citizens to honor the service of the men buried in the cemeteries. The two ceremonies honor the 65 foreign sailors who lost their lives just off the coast of the Outer Banks. Free and open to the public, the ceremonies are organized by the Friends of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, the Ocracoke community, the U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary 16-04, the National Park Service and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

For more information, call the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum at (252) 986-2995 or visit www.ncmaritimemuseums.com.


04/15/15

Plan Your Visit to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

With the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse opening for climbing in just a couple of days, we wanted to share a quick guide to help you plan your visit to this beautiful historic structure.

More than Just a Lighthouse

While the structure itself, the tallest in the country with it’s stunning Fresnel lens, is an engineering marvel – there are plenty of other sites and activities surrounding it to make the trip even more worthwhile. The park is open year-round.

Keepers of the Light Amphitheater

The lighthouse was moved to it’s current location in 1999 to escape erosion. The foundation stones, inscribed with the names of the 83 lighthouse keepers, remained at the original site. When shifting sands continued to cover them these past few years, the Park Service agreed to begin carefully moving them to the new site where they now form the Keepers of the Light Amphitheater.

Visitors Center & Keepers’ Quarters Museum

A Hatteras Island Visitor Center on-site offers orientation information a bookstore. Just beyond the visitor center is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse ticket booth. You’ll also find an off-road vehicle permit office, a pavilion for ranger programs, and restroom facilities. Ranger programs are scheduled during spring, summer, and autumn months.

The lighthouse is surrounded by a wide lawn divided by a brick pathway leading to the “Double Keepers’ Quarters”.  The Keepers’ Quarters houses the Museum of the Sea, a two-floor museum with exhibits on Outer Banks history and natural history and a small audiovisual room where you can watch video presentations (available on request).

Hit the Sand

The beach lies just beyond a stand of maritime forest, and is easily accessible from a separate parking lot. In summer months the beach is lifeguarded and is a favorite spot for families, surfers and fishing enthusiasts.

Hiking and Lunch

The Buxton Woods trail loop begins at a site just down the road from the lighthouse and is a great hike for naturalists of all skill levels. A relatively level path goes through a diverse maritime forest ecosystem, home to many different species of plants and birds. You’ll traverse some of the highest points on Hatteras Island!

The start and end of the Buxton Woods trail loop is at the Buxton Woods Picnic Area where you’ll find a number of tables where you can enjoy lunch in the shade of the maritime forest. Or pack up some Apple Uglies from the nearby Orange Blossom Cafe and Bakery to enjoy outdoors and fuel a morning hike!

Hours and Admission:

Address: 46368 Old Lighthouse Rd, Buxton, NC 27920
Hours: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm (Memorial Day – Labor Day) 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (year-round)
Open for Climbing: (3rd Friday in April – Columbus Day)
Climbing tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for senior citizens (62 or older), children (11 and under, and at least 42″ tall), and the disabled. Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis and can only be purchased in-person at the site the day of the climb. There are no advance ticket sales for regular climbs.

Tickets:

Ticket sales begin at 8:15 am and climbs begin at 9 am, running every 10 minutes with a limit of 30 visitors per climb. Ticket sales close at 4:30 pm in the spring and fall, and 5:30 pm the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Ticket holders should arrive at the base of the lighthouse five minutes prior to their ticketed climb time.


04/13/15

Have we Solved the Mystery of the Lost Colony?

Artifacts from the Lost Colony
What has been called, “one of America’s most intriguing unsolved mysteries” is one step closer to being solved.

Many are familiar with the story of the Lost Colony, brought to life in an outdoor drama on Roanoke Island each year. A group of men, women and children came to Roanoke Island in 1587to establish the first English settlement in the New World. They found life to be difficult and sent their Governor back to England for supplies. Held up overseas by the impending war from Spain and did not return until three years later. The colony had vanished. There were no typical signs of distress and the only clue that seemed to be left was the word “Croatoan” carved into a post.

According to an article just released on the Outer Banks Voice, two “star finds” were made in the past week on Hatteras Island. These, along with many years of supporting artifacts, led chief archaeologist for the Croatoan Archeological Society to announce that “Overwhelming circumstantial evidence” shows that some of the 1587 colonists, proclaimed so many years as lost, lived for generations on Hatteras Island and assimilated among the Croatoan Tribe of the Native-American Manteo. He went on to describe a wonderful brotherhood that existed among the Croatoan Natives and colonists and describes Hatteras Island as a wonderful place, even hundreds of years ago.

There you have it, Hatteras Island has been a favorite for vacationers for over 400 years.

Read the entire article here.


10/27/14

A Rare Glimpse into History – Sunken WWII Ships Found off the Coast of Cape Hatteras

Providing new insight into a relatively little-known chapter in American history, a team of researchers led by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has just discovered two significant vessels from World War II’s Battle of the Atlantic, 30 miles off the Cape Hatteras coast.

The attacked WWII merchant ship Bluefields and the German U-boat that attacked it only to be assailed by aircraft and escorts protecting the merchant ships were both found resting less than 240 yards apart on the ocean floor. It’s a rare window into a historic battle story and the underwater landscape of the battles of World War II.

These most recent findings are part of an ongoing Battle of the Atlantic, underwater archaeological field expedition on the remains of vessels from the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II. German, American British naval and merchant vessels lost in the Atlantic have been visited and studied by archaeologists, marine biologists and researchers. The UNC Coastal Studies Institute here on the Outer Banks, as well as NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, East Carolina University, Minerals Management Service, the National Park Service and the State of North Carolina have all collaborated on this mission that has been ongoing and making interesting discoveries since 2008.

To find out more about Maritime History be sure to check out the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum on your next trip to Hatteras Island.

For more information on this exciting discovery, view the complete article on NOAA’s website here: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2014/20141021_ww11_vessels.html


04/15/14

Original Lighthouse Stones Reunite on Site with Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Call to mind the image of a lighthouse and chances are it’s the iconic candy-cane striped Cape Hatteras structure that you think of. It’s been called “America’s Lighthouse” and it’s one of our most-loved national landmarks.

When the lighthouse was moved in 1999 it was carried to a new foundation, 2,900 feet behind its initial site, while the original stones stayed. Those original foundation stones were ceremoniously inscribed with the names of over 80 lighthouse keepers and are being threatened by the sea. The Cape Hatteras Genealogical and Preservation Society and other interested citizens reached an agreement with the National Park Service wherein the National Park Service will carefully move the stones, weighing over a ton a piece. With the moving scheduled to be completed by Memorial Day, the stones will be placed in a semicircle near where the lighthouse sits today and named “the Keepers of the Light Amphitheater”.

hatteraslighthousestonesblogpost


10/18/13

Rare Historic Reenactment Set for Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station This Sunday!

You have a unique opportunity this Sunday to step back in time and experience a rare reenactment of a rescue technique that was used to save crews from wrecked ships off of our Hatteras and Outer Banks coastline. The Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station and members of the United States Coast Guard will demonstrate a “Beach Apparatus Drill”, also known as a “Breeches Buoy”, which was used to rescue one person at a time from shipwrecked vessels when seas were rough. The drill involves firing a projectile out of a small, cannon-like gun and rigging up lines to haul a buoy from shore to the ship and back.

Only a handful of sites across the United States demonstrate this drill which makes this a “not to miss” event. The reenactment is on Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. sharp! The Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site and Museum will be open from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. with the admission price to enter the site and for the reenactment $5 per person. For more information on the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station, please visit the website by clicking here or follow them on Facebook.

 


08/27/13

Where Did the Name "Salvo" Come From?

Hatteras Island History – Where Did the Name “Salvo” Come From?

The Hatteras Island Village of Salvo has recently been featured by HamptonRoads.com as part of its “What’s in a Name” series. The story overviews Salvo’s role in the U.S. Civil War and how the events of the time caused this seaside village to earn its name.

In October 1861, Confederate troops tried to retake Hatteras Island by attacking a Union regiment which was based near where the village of Salvo is today. As the skirmishes went back and forth, in what was called the “Chicamacomico Races”, the Union positioned the ship Monticello near the coast and set to bombing the Confederate forces on Hatteras Island. According to Hatteras historian Danny Couch, the ship’s captain instructed his deck officer to “Give them one more salvo for good measure” as the Union ship was departing. (A “salvo” is a simultaneous discharge of weapons, bombs, or cannons.) According to several accounts, the Union did not have an official name for the area being bombed, so it become known as Salvo after the Union captain’s departing order.

Salvo was officially recognized by the federal government in 1901 with a new post office, which remained open until 1992. Salvo is one of the seven villages that is part of Hatteras Island.

Read the complete story, “What’s in a Name? Salvo, NC“.

 

This old post office in Salvo, N.C., was used through the early 1990s.
(Steve Earley | The Virginian-Pilot)

 


08/12/13

Hatteras Site Added to National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom

A site on Hatteras Island, which served as a safe haven for hundreds of runaway slaves during the Civil War, has been added to the National Park Services’ Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

Hotel De Afrique housed freed slaves from North and South Carolina during the period of 1861 and 1865 after the Union forces defeated the Confederate forces at Hatteras Inlet and at Forts Clark and Hatteras. The freed slaves helped Union forces build ships and fortify forts in exchange for housing and food. The original site of Hotel De Afrique has disappeared due to erosion and flooding.

A monument commemorating Hotel De Afrique and Hatteras’ participation in the National Underground Railroad was dedicated in late July during a ceremony held at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras. The monument is located at the entrance to the museum.

Remember to include a visit to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum while you are here. The museum offers a unique view of Hatteras’ maritime and Civil war history. For information on the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, click here or call 252-986-2995.


04/1/13

Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Opens for 2013 Season

Today, April 1st, marks the opening day of the 2013 season at Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station, the first operational life-saving station in North Carolina! Located in Rodanthe, NC, Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station and Historic Site is the scene of the most highly-awarded maritime rescue in American history, the SS Mirlo! You’ll have a chance to tour one of the few USLSS sites in the nation with all of its original builidings, including the 1874 Life-Saving Station, the Drill Pole, the 1892 Cook House, the 1907 Midgett House, the 1911 Cook House, the 1911 Life-Saving Station, and the 1911 Horse Stable. It’s the largest, most complete USLSS complex in the nation and 1 of only 2 1874 USLSS stations in the nation open to the public.

The complex is open Monday-Friday, 10am to 5pm for self-guided tours. Admission is $6 per person or $4 for seniors (65+) and students. Be sure to check out the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Calendar of Events for Summer Porch Program dates, the Beach Apparatus Drill, and American Heroes Day!

The Chicamacomico Historical Association is a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose purpose is to restore, preserve and interpret the buildings and history of Chicamacomico Life- Saving Station, as well as the U.S. Life-Saving Service and its successor, the U.S. Coast Guard on the Outer Banks. The Association owns and operates the museum site and the museum shop and raises its own funds. 100% of all admission fees, gift shop purchases, memberships, and donations go directly to the preservation, restoration, and operation of this historic site.