Written by Kim M. on 13 Jan, 2003
Ocracoke in November was a wonderful, magical place for me. As soon as we got off the ferry from Hatteras, time no longer seemed important. Gone was the sound of traffic, absent were the billboards and the lighted signs, and far behind me were the…Read More
Ocracoke in November was a wonderful, magical place for me. As soon as we got off the ferry from Hatteras, time no longer seemed important. Gone was the sound of traffic, absent were the billboards and the lighted signs, and far behind me were the cares of my day-to-day life. Wind blew in from the ocean, my feet touched sand, and I instantly relaxed. Even the sound of our own tires was muffled as we turned off Highway 12 and drove down sandy tracks to check out the accommodations on the island. We came without reservations or a master plan. Our whole purpose was to relax and fish on one of the quietest islands in the Outer Banks.
After a brief driving tour and some investigation of rates, we checked in at Blackbeard''s Lodge. We were the only guests there at the time, and we were looking forward to the peace of it all. (Read more about Blackbeard''s Lodge in my Accommodation entry.)
We set about getting our gear in order and made a brief shopping trip to pick up lunch provisions and fishing supplies. Packing a lunch would allow us to keep our afternoon fishing times uninterrupted. We didn''t want to feel like we had to be somewhere to eat at a certain time.
The surf fishing in the Outer Banks in the fall can be quite exciting. It is all a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Bluefish, flounder, red drum, puppy drum . . . they were all there to be had, but they were always "a couple of miles down the beach." It''s a good idea to have a 4WD vehicle so you can drive down the beach and follow the fish. We didn''t have that luxury, so we had to find a spot and stick with it. That''s okay, because sometimes catching fish is so not the point. It was unseasonably warm during our visit, and I enjoyed just hanging out on the beach and chucking some lines in the water from time to time. The only keeper for the trip was a flounder that just met the size limit. We would go out on the beach in the morning and set up, fish until we got hungry, eat lunch, and fish some more. When it started getting dark, we would reluctantly pack up our stuff and head back to the motel, then to the larger of the local general stores to hunt for a place to eat.
Our method was simple. We would go up on the porch of the store and stare at the posted menus until we found something that looked tasty. We would then call to find out if the place was actually open. The old standby was always Howard''s Pub. It''s open all year and the food is always good. We would go to dinner, eat until we were full, sit until we were talked out, then head back to bed. I don''t think I looked at my watch the whole time we were there. It was wonderful.
I understand that Ocracoke can be quite busy in the summer as droves of people flock to the tiny island, but it is a whole other world in the fall. This is the best time to go if you really want to talk to the local people and enjoy a little tranquillity. Be sure to visit the NPS visitor center near the ferry dock and take a gander at the lighthouse and British cemetery. There are radio stations posted that you can tune in to for narration. This is a good way to learn about the rich history of the island and get the story behind the sights. Best of all, there is so much to do when you leave the car behind. We parked at the motel and took several walks on the island, winding around on sandy back streets and popping in at fascinating little shops and eateries along the way. I spent a long time lost amongst the curious treasures offered at one location of "The Rag Picker." The gifts and curiosities went on and on through room after room. I also loved eating my fill of shrimp at the Pelican Patio Bar''s happy hour. At 10 cents each, I had quite a few. If you''re looking to get away and just be for awhile, on your own terms and schedule, you should visit Ocracoke, an island that is on its own schedule all the time.
Back in the days when pirates sailed the high seas, the Outer Banks were often visited by seafaring villains. The most notorious of these was Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. Blackbeard used Ocracoke as a hideout in 1718 and later died there. On Ocracoke's…Read More
Back in the days when pirates sailed the high seas, the Outer Banks were often visited by seafaring villains. The most notorious of these was Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. Blackbeard used Ocracoke as a hideout in 1718 and later died there. On Ocracoke's Back Road (yes, that's really the name of the road), you can visit the modern-day Teach's Hole and learn more about this legendary bad guy. There is a Blackbeard exhibit as well as a whole treasure trove of pirate's booty available for purchase. You can find multiple variations of pirate flags as well as the traditional Jolly Roger that we're all used to seeing. They have T-shirts, stickers, maps, books--you name it. I really had a lot of fun looking at everything and learning a little about pirates in the process. Close