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Archive for the ‘Ocracoke Island Activities’ Category

Activities of Interest in Ocracoke

April 3rd, 2017 by Fred Westervelt

Hey, y’all…

Just a quick premention of several events worth your attention in the next several weeks.

Clam Chowder Cook Off 15 April: . Yummy and exciting.
Easter Sunrise Service 16 April: be visually awed looking east and watch the sun emerge across the Atlantic.
British Cemetery Memorial Service 12 May. An annual tribute to WW II

More details for these and others will follow here and in The Ocracoke Observer and Ocracoke Current.

Valiant, resilient Ocracoke…

October 16th, 2016 by Fred Westervelt

At this time last weekend, following several days of what turned out to be overly optimistic predictions that Hurricane Matthew would drift eastward and largely spare us, Ocracokers were nonetheless battened down for the worst. And ’twas well they were.
The storm struck with full fury, with severe wind and major flooding thruout the village.
Recovery is proceeding, and we expect to back in good form by the 17th. However, a major disappointment for all is the resulting cancellation of this year’s Pirate’s Jamboree at the end of October. Much of the logistical underpinnings for that event has been badly compromised
Nonetheless, there will be lots to do and see, and the weather is gorgeous.
For details of all this see www.ocracokeobserver.com

Smile, John Adams…

June 22nd, 2016 by Fred Westervelt

For those who are curious, and for those familiar with these pages over the years, we are pleased to note that once again, after a brief interruption, Ocracoke will enjoy fireworks on Independence Day. Not on the 4th, but on the evening of the 3rd, to usher in the joy of freedom.

Thus, Mr. Adams- yep that Mr. Adams- will look down and be pleased that his prediction, in a letter written on 2 July, 1776 to his wife Abigail, will come to pass once again- that Independence will be “celebrated as the great anniversary Festival….with Pomp and Parade,…..and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from tis Time forward forever more.”

So Thanks, Mr. Adams. And to Mr. Franklin, who when asked what form of government he anticipated replied “A Republic- if you can keep it.”: we’re struggling a bit, but we’ll do it.

For details, follow www.OcracokeObserver.com. and www.ocracokecurrent.com

In Memoriam

May 26th, 2016 by Fred Westervelt

As Memorial Day approaches my mind drifted into the topic. We know that the day sprang from the Civil War, and in my early days I recall aged veterans of that strife marching in parades. The Spanish War didn’t seem to play much of a part. Then World War I (“the war to end all wars”, remember?) contributed the ubiquitous poppy, and we each had one- stemming from Col. McCrae’s immortal “In Flanders fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row…”

Then shortly along came World War II, truly world-wide with its terrible carnage. We hoped for no more, only to find ourselves in Korea, then ‘Nam- and on and on. There really have been no more intervals between wars- just a continuum of combat or threatened combat- you know the names- to this day. And those who have sacrificed so much are in one or another way with us still.

“Rest, comrades, rest and sleep;
We have the watch.”

Interrupt the barbecue and the beach for a moment, and think on it even if briefly.

In Memoriam- HMT Bedfordshire in WW II

April 29th, 2016 by Fred Westervelt

During the early days of World War II the shipping lanes along our East Coast became known, sorrowfully, as “Torpedo Alley”. Unescorted, many ships and crews carrying war materiel to Britain were the victims of German U-boats. Early on 12 May, 1942 HMT Bedfordshire, on anti-submarine patrol, was added to this list, torpedoed and sunk with all hands.

The bodies of four seamen from Bedfordshire washed up on Ocracoke shore, and were buried in what became known as British Cemetery, later ceded to the United Kingdom and tended by U.S. Coast Guard personnel.

Each May there is a memorial service, attended by representatives of The U.S., Britain, Canada and Germany. This year the ceremony will be held on 13 May. Should you be among those fortunate enough to be here, do plan to attend. You’ll never forget it.

“In the Spring,,,

March 7th, 2016 by Fred Westervelt

…when a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of…”  Ocracoke, of course- the beach, boating, friends and fun.

Officially 20 March, but already one senses a softness in the air, the blooming daffodils, and car tracks on the beach. Restaurants and others are coming alive after the winter break, and one must again look before crossing the road. On the 27th is the Easter Sunrise Service- on the beach facing east over the Atlantic, the sun lifts gloriously over the purest of horizons. An uplifting experience.

So many events coming up soon, come on down and join in the fun!
March 17, St Patrick’s Parade
March 18 and 19, NC Shell Club meeting
March 26, come on down and vote for me in the Clam Chowder Cookoff!
April 23, Ocracoke Island 5/10K and Family Fun Run
April 24, Ocracoke Island 1/2 Marathon
April 30, Portsmouth Island homecoming

last year's sunrise service

last year’s sunrise service

a beautiful Ocracoke sunrise

a beautiful Ocracoke sunrise


An interesting month begins

February 1st, 2016 by Fred Westervelt

Now that our month of R and R is concluded, Ocracoke also stirs and swings into high gear for February- additionally noteworthy for Groundhog Day (the 2nd), Super Bowl L (oops, the NFL has rejected the Roman, thus it’s 50) on the 7th,Valentine’s Day (14th), several notable presidential birthdays, and ’tis Leap Year as well.

We drove on he beach yesterday- and had it all to ourselves for as far as we could see both ways. Almost calm “surf”, a few birds and absolutely silent. Nice!

Lest we forget…

December 4th, 2015 by Fred Westervelt

Those of us old enough to recall it will never forget the stunning news of the Sunday, December 7th 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor which officially launched the U.S. into WW II. We had been following the Eropean war and that in North Africa, of course, and perhaps by whistling in the dark hoped that we could remain uninvolved.

As we now know, we had sub rosa long been playing a support role to Great Britain, but public sentiment was opposed to deeper engagement. Sound familiar?

“Those who cannot remember their history are condemned to repeat it”


Community Tree Lighting, and more!

December 4th, 2015 by Fred Westervelt

As the year draws to a close, another Ocracoke tradition looms, for on 8 December (5-7 PM) we’ll have our Tree Lighting together with music and wassail punch. We’ve always wondered what the latter really is, so we looked it up (Google, of course).

Borrowing from one referemce, ’tis “mulled (another chase*) ale, curdled cream, roasted apples, eggs, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and suger.

The OPS Gift Shop will, of course, be open and welcoming, together with a raffle for a spectacular quilt lovingly made by the Ocracoke Needle and Thread Club.

Join us at the OPS Museum.

* mixed, messed or muddled



He was a bold man who…

November 6th, 2015 by Fred Westervelt

first eat a oyster, wrote Jonathan Swift, long ago. No longer is bravery needed- simply an appetite and a zest for the finer things in life.

The 11th Annual Oyster Roast and Shrimp Steaming, sponsored by the Ocracoke Working Watermens Association, will be enjoyed between Christmas and New Year’s,. Put it on your calendar- December 30.

Keep your eye on these pages for details, and have a look at www.ocracokeworkingwatermen.org.

Welcome Back!

October 9th, 2015 by Fred Westervelt

At present the Hatteras and Swan Quarter ferries are operating normally, and taking reservations. There is standing water here and there, warranting care in navigating..

What a week!

They Also Serve, and do they ever!

April 29th, 2015 by Fred Westervelt

Those who have followed this column are familiar with the OVFD, the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department, its genesis and its recent success in creating a new operational building, The Fire House. An interesting history, that.

Well, the 10th Annual Memorial Day Weekend Firemen’s Ball is slated to take place this year on Saturday, 23 May. A peek at their website www.ocracokefiremensball.com is rewarding.

The festivities include a pig pickin’ with the yummiest barbecue, NC style, you ever tasted; silent and live auctions of some neat stuff, and the evening dance with great music by local musicians.

You’ll love it!


Our R and R

January 15th, 2015 by Fred Westervelt

The Cove is closed for the month of January, and the time will be well employed. In addition to allowing Sharon and John to wander more widely, we shall be catching up on maintenance work, steam cleaning the carpets, and warding off the ravages of our coldest month.

We look forward to welcoming you in February and beyond, and to a great year. Beach access shall have benefited from recent federal legislation, travel access from the north will enjoy improved roadways and, we hope, faster ferry voyages, and our favorite haunts and eateries will be well rested and rarin’ to go.

Happie New Year!


A Different Christmas Treat

December 5th, 2014 by Fred Westervelt

Here’s a tasty and different opportunity- The 9th Annual Oyster Roast at the Ocracoke Seafood Company- Saturday 27 December, 2-5 PM.

Organized by the Ocracoke Working Watermen’s Association, which deploys the proceeds for education and outreach, The Roast offers “all you can eat” oysters, steamed shrimp and fish stew, together with cocktail sauce, vinegar and crackers.Bring your own oyster shucker- expert guidance is available. Admission fee will depend upon oyster market price.

Dessert and hot cider will follow at the Association’s Exhibit at Community Square- please bring a dessert to share.

Prepare for the New Year, and join us at The Roast. You’ll love it!

‘Tis time to be Thankful

November 14th, 2014 by Fred Westervelt

The busy season has wound down, and our little village is very quiet. One can (almost) actually cross the street  without looking either way. However, life goes on, and there are things to do.

For a change of pace, why not visit us for Thanksgiving? Many restaurants will be humming with seasonal fare, shop browsing , the Museum and the beach will welcome you, and what could be nicer than a few days at The Cove?

A great preamble to your pre-Christmas rush.

Our uninvited guest…

July 3rd, 2014 by Fred Westervelt

Remember the long-ago movie “The Man Who Cam to Dinner”, starring Monty Woolley – fell, broke a leg and stayed forever? Well, our guest may be uglier,  but at least he won’t stay interminably. His name is Arthur.

About to be a Category 2 hurricane, Art (you see, we try to appease him with friendly familiarity) will land on us after midnight and be gone by noon on the 4th. Six of our guests will ride it out with us, so we’ll have to whip up a party- safely.

Sorry that this will disrupt planned visits as well as our Independence Celebration, that latter having been, at least in part, shifted to the 5th. Nature simply will have her way with us- part of what makes Ocracoke what it is..

Epilog (6 July):  Art was far less damaging than had been anticipated, and cleran up is proceeding quickly. Full power is restored, and the Island is open to all. NC 12 from the north is limited in spots, but open. Whew!

Happy 6th of July!

Our Independence Day…

June 28th, 2014 by Fred Westervelt

In these days of stress, uncertainty and unrest we shall contemplate deeply our independence origins and those who carried the day more than two centuries ago.. Since then, legions have devoted their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to the perpetuation of  this, the most spectacular nation in world history.

And we are exceptional, despite the efforts of  the various unfriendlies to reshape us for their own purposes. Early on it was the Tories, more recently the progressives from within, and adding further insult  the fanatical religious radicals who look upon us as infidels. However, the people are restless and stirring, and this, too, can be overcome. It’s a process.

Ocracoke’s celebration will include a flag raising, music and dancing, the traditional sand sculpture  contest, a fig cake bake-off, the classic car show, our old-time mid-afternoon parade, story telling and more. We’re sorry we shan’t have fireworks, but there’s another movement afoot which has misplaced priorities. It’s that process, and it must run it’s course.

God Bless America!


May 27th, 2014 by Fred Westervelt

This past week there was resurrected the locally written and performed “Tale of Blackbeard” a musical written in the 1970s by resident Julie Howard. Rollicking, melodious and adroitly produced by Ocracoke Alive, “Blackbeard filled to house with laughter and applause for four evenings and a matinee.

For those who missed it, this artistic landmark will be re-performed each Monday evening from 9 June thru 11 August inclusive. Contact  www.ocracokealive.org  in advance for tickets You won’t be sorry!


Play Ball !

September 22nd, 2013 by Fred Westervelt

Baseball is looked upon by many as the All-American sport. This is no less true for today’s Ocracoke, where school kids and adults alike began informal baseball efforts many years ago, in such areas as the current Day Care Center lot and the NPS parking lot.. The long story, as is usually true on the island, is one of perseverance.

As available land suitable for a baseball field dwindled, practices were limited to the yards of helpful residents. The new school gym had space to rig netting for batting practice.  Summer baseball under the auspices of the Ocracoke Youth Center, with support from the Ocracoke Civic and Business Ass’n,, led to an Ocracoke team, the Raptors, of 10-12 yeas olds who joined the Hatteras Island Babe Ruth Little League. Hone and away games were played at Burrus Field in Buxton, more than an hour  and a ferry  ride away. When shoaling shut down the ferry the Coast Guard would provide transport across the inlet.

And, two years in a row,  the Raptors won the championship, often in dramatic fashion. Clearly, Ocracoke needed to solve the problem of a “field of dreams”. Some dedicated  people, the Baseball Committee, scrutinizing GIS mapping of the village, found hiding in plain site an available  property. After further study it was agreed that this would fill the bill, the owners (the Burruss family, believe it or not) were willing,  terms were drawn up and a contract was closed.last December..

.The field will also support soccer and other field sports, and provide a venue for a new Youth Center. Funding for all this is progressing, permitting (yes, even that) is complete and we’re on our way. In the contrived linguistic arithmetic of the blogger, “If you build it they will come” + “Take me out to the ball game” = “Play ball !” Won’t it be nice when home games can truly be played at home?



August 20th, 2013 by Fred Westervelt

Altho’  quite literate and expressive, Blackbeard and his cronies are frequently depicted as uttering that single word during their predations- so what better way to introduce the forthcoming Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree to be held October 25-27?

Activities will include an historically accurate encampment, an authentic ship-to-ship battle, a scavenger hunt and a memorial to Blackbeard at Springer’s Point (yes, that one just down the road from The Cove) on Sunday morning.. All this will begin the crescendo toward a grand event in 2018, the 300th anniversary of Blackbeard’s defeat and decapitation by Lt. Maynard, HM Royal Navy.

You can keep up with the evolving details at www.piratejamboree.com .

New Variations on an Old Theme

August 3rd, 2013 by Fred Westervelt

Those contemplating visiting the Outer Banks for the first time will be interested in a new development designed to enhance their enjoyment. The Outer Banks National Scenic Byway, established in 2009 and still evolving, spans 138 miles from Whalebone Junction on NC 12 in Dare County to US 70 west of the North River bridge in Carteret County. .It connects 21 villages with Ocracoke,Island and Ocracoke village the centerpieces (of course!),  4 museums, 4 lighthouses, 2 National Seashores, 2 wildlife refuges 2 ferry crossings and centuries of shared heritage.

By next summer it will be marked by medallion and other signs, and many miles of pedestrian pathways as well. Interpretive kiosks and wayside exhibits along the route will highlight the history of the area, but are farther into the future. All this is about community stories, the people and what they’re about. Even the Outer Banks veteran will learn things from this.


Standing Watch…

July 20th, 2013 by Fred Westervelt

There’s a proud buzz thruout the village as we admiringly marvel at a new structure springing up on Hwy 12- our new Fire House, soon to be home to our Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department, the OVFD   .This may seem like a mundane topic unworthy of these pages, but not so.  It’s the culmination of a village dream, legions of volunteers and donors, a dedicated and thoughtful planning committee, a bit of government and the proceeds of auctions and tons of barbecue devoured at the annual Firemen’s ball, this year our 8th. Oh, yes-  forget not the donation of the site by the Hutcherson family.

There is, of course, a story. Before mid 20th century little Ocracoke dealt with fires  fairly informally- good luck, cistern  or ocean water by bucket brigade, that sort of thing. Along came systematic ferries from Hatteras together with Hwy 12, and  building growth ensued,  having gotten a push from The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard during World War II.

The OVFD  was organized in 1966, to meet the need. Legendary developer Sam Jones, he of The Castle, Berkeley Manor, and more, donated the first fire truck and Stanley Wahab the first fire house. In the 70s the community water system was developed, permitting fire hydrants. New equipment was acquired, and the Ocracoke Fire Protection Association (OFPA) was organized by agreement with the Coast Guard and The Park Service. The old fire house was soon outgrown, trucks parked outside in the weather, and the dreaming began.

An important offshoot of the OVFD was the Ocracoke Rescue Squad in 1977, ultimately blending into the Health Center and then Hyde County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in 1995.. But that’s another story, one to be proud of, for another day. Meanwhile, come admire the new quarters, and even become a part of it with a donation to the building fund at www.ocracokevfd.org .


And another Happy Birthday…..

June 4th, 2013 by Fred Westervelt

When in the Course of Human Events, it becomes necessary… you know how it goes- the creation of the greatest country in world history. 237 years ago. Who could have known then what lay ahead?

Ocracoke’s 4th of July Celebration takes many forms, and evolves right up to the last minute. Early morning raising of Old Glory, a A Grand Parade with inventive floats, a classic car show, beach events, square dancing, music of all sorts, story telling, fun things to eat, and shared happiness- more still in the planning stages. And our own little village and marvelous beach- cause to sing out

Happy Birthday, USA, and many happy returns !


Lest We Forget…

April 28th, 2013 by Fred Westervelt

On 11 May, 1942, the antisubmarine trawler HMT Bedfordshire was torpedoed and sunk with all hands off Ocracoke. Four bodies of the crew were subsequently found and interred on the Island. The site, the “British Cemetery” later ceded to the British government, is tended with care by U.S. Coast Guard personnel.

Each May, this year the 9th at 1100 hrs, there is a memorial ceremony with representatives of the navies of the United States, Great Britain, Canada and Germany participating. The public is encouraged to attend and thoughtfully recall this tumultuous period in our history.

For a Fabulous Weekend, Try the Ocrafolk Festival

April 27th, 2013 by Fred Westervelt

Ocrafolk festival

Regarded as one of the top island festivals in the world, the 14 Annual Ocrafolk Festival will be celebrated this year June 7-9. Presented by OcracokeAlive, this delightful gathering brings together musicians, artisans and enthusiasts from near, far and wide. Original art work, jewelry and other desirables abound, and the entertainment is fabulous.

Join us for a unique weekend. For more info, visit their website.