09/26/13

What Are Your Top Five Things To Do On Hatteras Island?

We all know that there are so many wonderful things to do here on Hatteras Island. Our pristine, family-friendly beaches and quaint villages offer a variety of activities for you and your family to enjoy while visiting us.

The Huffington Post recently listed its top “5 Free Things to do on Hatteras Island.” It is no surprise that spending time enjoying the beaches of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore is top on the list. There is nothing quite like a day at the beach for exploring, relaxing, and playing in the surf!

The Huffington Post list also includes: a trip to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum where admission is free, although donations are encouraged; attending programs offered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge; visiting Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island Lighthouses (there is a fee to climb them, but not to walk around the grounds); and taking a free ferry ride from Hatteras to Ocracoke Island for the day.

We would love to hear what you and your family like to do while visiting us! What are your Top 5 Things to do on Hatteras Island? Please share them with us on our Surf or Sound Facebook and Twitter pages, and follow us on Pinterest to see of few of ours!

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09/16/13

Full Moon Climbs of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse This Week

Did you know that you can climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse at night? The National Park Service offers full moon climbs of the lighthouse throughout the year as a special experience for Hatteras Island visitors and the local community.

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The last Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Full Moon Climb of the season is on Thursday, September 19, 2013. Two tours will be available on Thursday evening; one at 7:30 p.m. and a second at 8:30 p.m. The tours are limited to 30 people each and sell out quickly. So make plans to buy your tickets early!

Tickets will go sale beginning Tuesday, September 17, 2013 from 8:15 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. at the lighthouse ticket booth. Tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for children (11 years of age and under), and $4 for seniors (62 and older).

As there are no lights inside the lighthouse, climbers will need to bring flashlights to navigate the 257 stairs to the top. Park rangers will share stories of the lighthouse keepers of old during the climb. Outside on the lighthouse balcony, climbers will experience viewing the reflection of full moon on the Atlantic Ocean and the lighthouse’s beam of light reaching out to sea (weather permitting).

For more information and things to know before you climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse at night, visit the National Park Service website or give them a call at 252-473-2111.


08/19/13

Cape Hatteras National Seashore Featured on CNN.com

Cape Hatteras National Seashore has recently been featured on CNN.com’s weekly “Summer in the Park” Series. The series spotlights the country’s most popular national parks and gives insider recommendations from park rangers.

CNN interviewed Patrick Gamman, the district interpretive ranger for Cape Hatteras National Seashore, who revealed his favorite things to see and do. If you come for a day, don’t miss the seashell hunting, touring a lighthouse, or watching the sunset over the Pamlico Sound. Ranger Gamman’s “Favorite less-travelled spot” at the Seashore is visiting the beach at nighttime to stargaze and watch ghost crabs. He also recommended a favorite spot to view wildlife, as well as answered several interesting questions including “Moment that made him smile”, “Oddest Moment in the Park”, and “A Ranger’s Request”. To find out what Ranger Gamman recommends, read the entire story on CNN.com’s website, “Life is a beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore“.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore was established in 1953 as the nation’s first national seashore. It encompasses over 70 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean from Nags Head to Ocracoke Island. For more information on the Seashore, click here.


Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Photo Credit:
National Park Service


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.


04/11/13

Bodie Island Lighthouse Opens April 19th

Starting Friday, April 19th, Bodie Island Lighthouse will open to the general public for climbing tours for the first time ever!

The lighthouse, currently located on National Park Service property, was operated and maintained by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) until the year 2000. At that time the USCG tranferred the lighthouse over to the National Park Service and three years later, the USCG transferred over the first-order Fresnal lens as well. A chat with a few Outer Banks natives might reveal a time when the USCG informally allowed “locals” to the climb this familiar, horizontally striped black and white beacon.
A recent renovation of the lighthouse and its first-order Fresnal lens was completed and guided tours will be conducted daily from 9am to 5:45pm, starting April 19th, 2013 through Columbus Day, October 14th, 2013. On April 19th, the National Park Service invites local community members and visitors to tour/climb the lighthouse at no charge. Free tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and can only be obtained in-person, on-site, that day.

Be sure to add the Bodie Island Ligthhouse to your vacation itinerary for a memorable and unique experience!

Bodie Island Lighthouse Tour Information:

Guided tours for the Bodie Island Lighthouse will run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for senior citizens (62 or older), children 11 years of age and under, and for those holding a National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Access Pass. Tour tickets may be purchased on site the day of the tour or may be reserved in advance.

Tours start every 35 minutes and are 45 minutes in length. Each guided tour is limited to 22 people. Children must be at least 42″ tall. Children under 12 must be escorted by a person at least 16 years old. For additional tour information, check the park website at www.nps.gov/caha. Tour start times are 9:00 a.m., 9:35 a.m., 10:10 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11:20 a.m., 11:55 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:05 p.m., 1:40 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 2:50 p.m., 3:25 p.m., 4:00 p.m., 4:35 p.m., 5:10 p.m., and 5:45 p.m. daily, seven days a week.

Day of Tour Tickets: 50% of all tours for each day will be sold on site. Day of tour tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can only be purchased in-person at the site the day of the tour. Day of tour tickets will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. starting April 19.
Reserved Tickets: 50% of all tours for each day will be sold in advance. Reservations for a tour can only be made between one to seven days in advance of the tour date by calling (252) 475-9417. The reservation office opens on April 22 and is open 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., seven days a week. Reservations cannot be made the same day as the tour date.


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!