On Monday, September 16, Bob and I went on a day trip to Ocracoke Island.
We departed Nags Head at 7:00 AM and caught the 9:00 AM ferry from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke Island.
Our first stop on Ocracoke Island was the pony corral.
The ponies are descendants of Spanish horses that arrived on North Carolina’s barrier islands as far back as the 16th century. There are several theories about how the ponies arrived on the Outer Banks. One theory is that the ponies arrived on Spanish ships that wrecked on the shoals, allowing the ponies to escape to the islands. Another theory is that Sir Richard Grenville, leading an expedition from England in 1585, stopped in Haiti to pick up supplies and livestock (including some of the Spanish ponies) on his way to Roanoke Island in North Carolina. His ship ran aground, and some of the ponies were released to lighten the load so the ship could break free. The ponies roamed freely until the late 1950s, when Highway 12 was finished. It was deemed unsafe at that time for the Ocracoke ponies to continue to roam free. The ponies were confined to an area of approximately 180 acres.
After viewing the ponies we walked across Route 12 to one of Ocracoke’s beautiful beaches.
We continued our drive on Route 12 to the village of Ocracoke, where we visited the British cemetery and the Ocracoke Island Light Station.
On May 11, 1942 the HMS Bedfordshire was sunk by a U-boat off the NC coast. All hands were lost. The bodies of four British sailors washed ashore and were buried on Ocracoke. Two of the grave sites are marked unknown, and the other two bear the remains of Thomas Cunningham and Stanley R. Craig.
Ocracoke Island Light Station
According to a Wikipedia article, Ocracoke Light is the oldest operating light station in North Carolina. The lighthouse was built in 1823 and stands 75 feet. Its diameter narrows from 25 feet at the base to 12 feet at its peak.
Supposedly the pirate Blackbeard’s last battle was fought near Ocracoke Village. Located in Ocracoke is Teach’s Hole, which houses a Blackbeard exhibit as well as Pirate Specialty Shop.
We stopped at Teach’s Hole in hopes of finding pirate tee shirts for our twin granddaughters. We struck out with the pirate clothing. Teach’s Hole, however, did provide for a photo opportunity.
We left Nags Head early in the morning and were ready for lunch by 11:30 AM. We chose to eat lunch on Ocracoke Island at Jason’s Restaurant.
Our waiter recommended the traditional Ocracoke Drum Fishcake. Excellent choice!
We caught the 1:00 PM ferry back to Hatteras Island and made it back to Nags Head by 3:30 PM.