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.


03/25/13

Coming Soon to a Village Near You! Hatteras Island Ocean Center

Exciting plans are underway to open the first phase of the Hatteras Island Ocean Center this Spring in the former Beacon Shops located on NC Hwy 12 in Hatteras Village. The first phase of this multi-year project includes an interactive information and education center, as well as wetland trails for exploring the unique ecology of Hatteras Island. This series of noninvasive trails will lead to a launching area for kayaks and paddleboards at trail’s end.

The Ocean Center headquarters will house exhibits on the varied components of Hatteras Island’s ecosystem. These interactive exhibits will focus on marine life, shipwrecks, weather, shellfish, salt marsh ecology, and of course, sea turtles! As you enter the Center, a “larger than life” screen will display the underwater photography of local artist, Russell Blackwood. Next, head to the exhibit on sea turtles which will include a machine that simulates x-rays and probes, allowing visitors to learn about the biology of sea turtles while making the connection between sea turtle maladies and the environment’s impact. In addition to playing “Sea Turtle Veterinarian,” visitors will have an opportunity to learn about nesting habits and rehabilitation procedures for the sea turtles of Hatteras Island. From there, visitors can explore a fishing exhibit set up in conjunction with the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum and Captain Ernie Foster of the Albatross Fleet. This exhibit will focus mainly on charter and commercial fishing, with the addition of beach and pier fishing in the future. As you make your way back around to the entrance, take a minute to check out the interactive whiteboard with daily updates on weather, tides, and island happenings. If you’d like to enjoy a Hatteras Island Ocean Center souvenir, choose from a few Ocean Center choice goods and be on your way to explore the wetland trails!

The second phase of the Hatteras Island Ocean Center will include a state-of-the-art pier and pier house located on NC Hwy 12 in the same vicinity as the former General Mitchell Motel in Hatteras Village. The pier house is expected to include a restaurant, other food vendors, a covered playground, an arcade, a public bathhouse, tackle shop, equipment rental, indoor and outdoor exhibits, classrooms, research areas, and a wildlife rehabilitation area. This phase is still in the very beginning stages as funding is being pursued.

Stay tuned for updates and make plans to stop by the Hatteras Island Ocean Center on your next visit to Hatteras Island! Visit www.hioceancenter.org or follow them on Facebook


03/8/13

Bodie Island Lighthouse Set to Open Spring 2013

The National Park Service plans to open Bodie Island Lighthouse (pronounced “body”) to the general public for guided climbing tours in late April to early May 2013. Bodie Island Lighthouse, located north of Oregon Inlet, has undergone an 18-month long restoration project aimed to restore and preserve this historical beacon and make it accessible to the general public after being closed for many, many years.

The beacon you see today as you enter the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, north of Oregon Inlet, was rebuilt in 1871 after being demolished during the Civil War in 1861 by retreating Confederate troops who feared the Union would use it to their advantage for navigation. Upon reconstruction, Bodie Island Lighthouse was partly built using materials left over from the “newest” Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Currituck Beach Lighthouse is considered its architectural twin.

Today this familiar black and white, horizontally striped structure stands 156 feet tall and is equipped with a first-order Fresnal lens. Its 160,000 candlepower beacon shines 19 miles over the ocean to safely guide mariners around the coast and through the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”

Stay tuned for the much anticipated opening date of the Bodie Island Lighthouse! In the meantime, visit the Bodie Island Lighthouse Visitors Center located in the Double Keepers’ Quarters, just 6 miles south of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore entrance.


02/12/13

Shipwrecks…UNCOVERED

It’s that time of year again! Days on end of a strong “blow”, as native islanders would call it, tends to expose treasures that have remained hidden from the salty elements for many years. Whether you are in search of miles of phenomenal shelling, a scattering of sea glass, or treasures washed ashore from shipwrecks of yore, the beaches of Hatteras Island are the place to be!

The waters that surround our barrier island are known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic due to the convergence of two strong ocean currents, the Labrador and the Gulf Stream, as well as the treacherous, ever-changing Diamond Shoals. Thousands of ill-fated boats and their crews are said to have been lost near Cape Hatteras. Other factors leading to the grim total of ships lost to sea were the Civil War, German submarine attacks, as well as pirate attacks.

Many shipwrecks have found their home on the sea floor but there are a few that have been laid to rest on our shores. These mysterious pieces of maritime history can occasionally be seen as the sand shifts to uncover these treasures.

Take some time to treasure hunt while you’re here and see if you can locate one or more of the following shipwrecks on Hatteras Island:

Oriental 1862
Located seven miles south of Oregon Inlet campground or 30 miles north of Buxton. Park at Pea Island Comfort Station. Wooden remains are occasionally exposed, as well as a wooden bow which is located on the beach 1 mile north.

G.A. Kohler 1933
Located off of Ramp #27 on the beach.

Altoona 1878
Turn down Lighthouse Road in Buxton. Follow the road 1.7 miles to its end in the gravel parking lot. Walk over the ramp to the beach, then south along the beach 1/2 miles and west 1/4 mile to the bow of the Altoona.

The Pocahontas
Look for the parking area on the east side of NC Hwy 12, just south of the last building on the south end of Salvo, and 4/10 mile south of mile marker 43. The visible part of the wreck can be seen in the surf at high or low tide, but more is visible during low tide.

For more information on maritime history, be sure to visit the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras!


11/28/12

Outer Banks Maritime Heritage Trail

Take a journey along Highway 12 and explore the dynamic marine environment and get a sense of how it has shaped the Island and the people who have called this sandbar home for centuries.

Click here to watch videos, view photos, and listen to stories shared by Outer Banks natives.

Happy Trails!


10/22/12

U. S. Coast Guard to perform Historic Breeches Buoy Reenactment

This Thursday, October 25 at 2pm, the USCG will perform the Historic Breeches Buoy Reenactment in a special post-season beach apparatus drill. The demonstration will be held at the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station and Museum in Rodanthe and will begin promptly at 2pm. Please allow plenty of time to park, get tickets, and get to the program start area. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for seniors (62+) or youth (6-17).

For more information, call 252-987-1552.


10/2/12

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse closes on Oct. 8th for the 2012 season

Columbus Day, October 8th, will mark the last day to climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse for the 2012 season. Tickets can be purchased on site the day of the climb, starting at 8:15am. Tickets are $7 for adults and $3.50 for senior citizens (62 or older), children (11 and under and at least 42″ tall), and those holding a National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Access Pass. This time of year, climbs are made every 10 minutes between the hours of 9am and 4:30pm.

Be sure to come prepared! The climb to the top consists of 248 spiral stairs, which is the equivalent of a 12 story building.

“Built in 1870, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse protects one of the most hazardous sections of the Atlantic Coast. Offshore of Cape Hatteras, the Gulf Stream collides with the Virginia Drift, a branch of the Labrador Current from Canada. These powerful current forces southbound ships into a dangerous twelve-mile long sandbar called the Diamond Shoals. Hundreds and possibly thousands of shipwrecks in this area have given it the reputation as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic“‘. -NPS

Join one of 120,000 people to date who have climbed the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse this year!

*The lighthouse will reopen for the 2013 season on Friday, April 19th.


09/25/12

Frisco Native American Museum participates in Museum Day 2012


Celebrate a day of learning in the heart of Frisco, NC on Saturday, September 29th! Frisco Native American Museum is proud to join Smithsonian magazine in celebrating the 8th Annual Museum Day! On this day, selected museums and cultural institutions open their doors free of charge to Smithsonian magazine readers and Smithsonian.com visitors.

The Museum Day admission card has been printed in the September 2012 issue of Smithsonian magazine and a downloadable version is also available on Smithsonian.com. The card must be presented in order to enter free of charge at participating museums and cultural institutions.

Spend the day browsing interesting exhibits at the Frisco Native American Museum, then hit the nature trail at the museum to experience and enjoy the maritime forest.

If you’re unable to make it to Frisco on Saturday, be sure to stop by on your next trip the island. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30am to 5pm. Visit them on the web at or call (252)995-4440 for more information.


09/24/12

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Full Moon Tour

This Saturday, September 29th, full moon tours of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse will be available! This is your chance to climb the 257-step staircase while park rangers provide interesting stories and tales of the lighthouse keeper’s duties. You will also be able to view the light up close and hear about how it operated in the past and how it works today. Weather permitting, you’ll have a bird’s eye view of the beam of light reaching out to sea and the reflection of the moon over the Atlantic. It’s truly a once in a lifetime experience!

The National Park Service will be offering two tours that evening. There will be one at 7pm and another at 8pm. Each tour is limited to 30 people and tickets must be purchased in person, starting Thursday, September 17th at the lighthouse ticket booth between the hours of 8:15 and 4:40pm. Tickets are $7 for adults and $3.50 for children (11 and under), as well as seniors (62 and older). Be sure to get your tickets early!

Just a few guidelines for the climb to the top…
1. Be sure to bring a handheld flashlight. There are no lights inside the lighthouse.
2. All participants are required to be 42 inches tall and must be able to climb the steps on their own.
3. Children 11 years of age and under must be accompanied by an adult (16 years of age or older).
4. For safety reasons, all participants must climb and descend with the group.
5. Keep in mind that the lighthouse can be challenge to climb…It’s tall, dark, and often hot and humid.

Mark your calendar!!!