On the drive down to Avon on...
On the drive down to Avon on Rt. 17 you will come across 'GRAVEDIGGERS'. If you are into the 'truck pulls' and the monster trucks you will know what this is. This is his garage... not at all what you would expect. Just a normal house along the highway with a glass garage door for all to see. You can walk up and watch, trucks in front yard for kids to looks out. Fun rest stop.
Wild HorsesThere are small...
There are small herds of true Spanish Mustangs, wild since the 1500's, roaming the Islands. As the islands became settled, the horses were pressed into service for transportation, pulling fishing nets, and beach patrol with the U.S. Life Saving Service (predecessor of the Coast Guard). The horse herds split north and south of Nags Head as the human population grew. Today, horses can be found in Currituck County (northern beaches) and in Ocracoke (southern beaches) at the Pony Pens. These horses are wild and protected by law. Please obey all local laws pertaining to these animals
'Since the mid-1920s, ferries...
'Since the mid-1920s, ferries have connected the coastal communities of Eastern North Carolina. The original ferries were privately operated. Although they provided few passenger amenities, they were vital to life in the region's small communities. Ferries provided transportation for goods, medical supplies and other services needed for everyday life.
In 1934, the state of North Carolina began subsidizing these private services. The North Carolina Department of Transportation established the N. C. Ferry Division in 1947.
Today, North Carolina boasts one of the largest ferry systems in the United States. Each year 2.5 million residents and visitors ride the ferries
Like Hatteras, Ocracoke has spawned many colorful legends. One of the most intriguing is the story of the pirate Blackbeard's last battle. The bloody fight was supposedly waged in Teach's Hole channel near Ocracoke Village. Some historians have cast doubt on this traditional tale, but it certainly makes for an interesting yarn.
The story goes that Blackbeard, near the end of his infamous career, hatched the idea of fortifying Ocracoke as a pirate haven. Hearing of this devilish plan and despairing of any help from Charles Eden, the colony's do-nothing Royal governor, the responsible citizens of coastal North Carolina appealed to Governor Alexander Spotswood of Virginia for aid.
The call was answered with the dispatch of two small sloops under the command of Lieutenant Robert Maynard of the Royal Navy. The two craft sailed to Ocracoke, where they found Blackbeard's ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the channel. Maynard sent out two small boats seeking a clear passage to his quarry. These were fired upon. Maynard displayed his colors, and the battle was joined in earnest.
One sloop soon ran aground, but Blackbeard bore down on the larger vessel, the Ranger, which was under Maynard's personal command. The Ranger was swept with cannon fire, for the British had only small arms with which to press the attack. Cleverly, Maynard ordered all his men below to escape the murderous fire. Seeing an apparently helpless vessel, Blackbeard brought the Adventure alongside and personally led the charge onto the deck of the British sloop. He soon met Maynard face to face, but as Blackbeard charged, the commander grazed his skull with a pistol. Charging up from his hiding place below, a Royal marine dealt the pirate a terrible neck wound with his saber. On and on Blackbeard fought with Maynard, until he finally fell dead at his enemy's feet. A later examination revealed that the pirate had suffered over thirty major wounds. In a grisly gesture, Maynard severed Blackbeard's head from his body and hung the disfigured visage upon the bowsprit. The body was flung overboard and is said to have swum three times around the Ranger before it sank.
Source: Claiborne S. Young's
Despite a fierce reputation...
Despite a fierce reputation that has survived nearly three centuries, Blackbeard wouldn't be called a successful pirate. Those were rich men who died a quiet death at an old age.
But Blackbeard certainly was notorious.
He was born Edward Drummond around 1680 in Bristol, England, according to history brooks. He assumed the surname Teach, also spelled Thatch, Tache or Tatch, as a pirate. His more well-known nickname came from his dark, bushy whiskers.
Legend says that Blackbeard, a big man with a formidable countenance, used his beard to heighten any pirate's biggest weapon - the ability to engender fear. Before battle, he supposedly braided his whiskers into pigtails and tucked slow-burning matches amongst them or behind his ears, spending curls of smoke around his face.
Blackbeard was always armed with an array of daggers, swords and loaded pistols, though some historians say there's no evidence he killed anyone until the day of his own death.
His nautical bad-guy career began during Queen Anne's War, as a privateer sailing out of Jamaica to attack French merchant ships.
After the war ended in 1713, Blackbeard crewed for another pirate in the Bahamas. he captured the French slaver, Concorde, in 1717. When he was rewarded with its command, he renamed it Queen Anne's Revenge.
At its largest, his force included four ships and 300 or more men. The fleet assaulted mariners from the Caribbean to New England. North Carolina's coast offered several hideouts from colonial and British authorities. An anchorage at Ocracoke is still called Teach's Hole. Bath was another Blackbeard haunt.
North Carolina's Gov. Charles Eden reportedly shrugged at pirate activity and possibly shared in Blackbeard's booty. Eden pardoned the pirate in June 1718.
Blackbeard supposedly was semi-retired in November 1718 when he met his end at Ocracoke. In fact, some historians theorize the losses of Queen Anne's Revenge and a smaller sloop, Adventure, in June 1718, were intentional. Grounding the vessels in Beaufort Inlet might have been the pirate's way of 'downsizing' his business.
Pirate attacks off the colonial coast continued, however, and Virginia's Gov. Alexander Spotswood blamed Blackbeard. Not so forgiving as Eden, he put a price on Blackbeard's head and urged the British military, the Virginia Assembly and Eden's opponents to help capture him.
Blackbeard was tricked into battle by Lt. Robert Maynard off Ocracoke Nov. 22, 1718, on a British sloop. According to legend, the pirate fought on even after being shot, stabbed and slashed across the throat, until he died while cocking a pistol.
It was the custom of the times to display dead pirates as a deterrent to the occupation. Blackbeard's severed head was hung from the bowspirit of Maynard's ship.
Blackbeard, alias Edward Teach, made Ocracoke Island his hideout and on November 22, 1718 was killed in battle near Ocracoke Inlet. Offshore of Springer’s Point, the area where the battle took place is still called Teach's Hole. There is a legend that Ocracoke got its name when Blackbeard, anxious for the battle to begin, cried: “ O Crow Cock, O Crow Cock! “ pleading with the rooster on board to announce the light of day.
Ocracoke Island, part of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, is located on the southern most part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Since there are no bridges to Ocracoke, it can only be reached by air or by water. There is a state owned and operated ferry at each end of the island. The island is 15 miles long and the entire oceanfront remains in a natural setting. The village of Ocracoke is at the southern end of the island. The year round population of the village is approximately 750 residents but is much higher during the summer tourist season.
In the past, fishing was the number one industry on Ocracoke, but that has been surpassed by the tourist trade. Ocracoke is a popular summer vacation spot for all ages. It offers unspoiled beaches, a rich history, and a chance to get away from it all
Try the sound side...
Most stick exclusively to the Ocean side of the island.
The sound side has a lot to offer, including watersports, no large waves, and the ability to wade out 100s of feet offshore without getting in water over your chest.
Give it a try.
Also, if you plan to go fishing, the sound offers 1000s of bait fish. Go pick yourself up a casting net, and catch minnows as long as your heart desires. They make great bait!!
Take the ferry over to Ocracoke.
Once on Ocracoke Island, there is really only one road. Once you park at the end of that road, leave your car for the day. There are shops, restaurants, a marina, etc...
You will also want to stop into the Blackbeard Museum. The exhibit has a lifesize recreation of Blackbeard in full battle garb. The exhibit features a short documentary, artwork, and treasures.