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I am assuming it's possible to get to the Ferry once again from Hatteras village. Hurricane Isabel created a new inlet, making Hatteras Village only accessible by boat and in October of last year, it wasn't possible to get to ferry if you weren't local. But like I said, I am sure this has been restored for the visitor season, which I believe began on April 9th.
Ocracoke is a fishing village and a very popular day trip for people vacationing on the Outer Banks. Still part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, there are lots of activities to see and do for a day, but I don't know if I would spend my entire vacation here (it depends on how much you want to be islolated)
The Ocracoke lighthouse is the 2nd oldest lighthouse still in operation in the nation (Sandy Hook, NJ is the oldest, I believe) and if you are doing the lighthouse tour of the outer banks, it's something you should see. It was once very useful--to guide boats, but as people began going to the mainland rather than to this village and also since the channel moved a mile away from where it originally was, it was pointless. Still, it's a main attraction of this village.
Additionally, there is a visitor center, museum, lots of shops and good restaurants. Ocracoke has lots of history--including that of Blackbeard, who visited the island. There are maps for walking tours available, and I recommend taking your car on the ferry, driving toward town, parking it for the day and walking around Ocracoke.
The ferry makes many trips back and forth from Hatteras Village to Ocracoke in the summer...check the schedule in the Sunny Day Guide or in other papers.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
This lighthouse is located 32 miles away from the Bodie Island light, making it pretty well off the beaten path, I think. But, you can climb it (I have this new fear of spiral staircases...don't know where it came from, but it's here...so I haven't climbed this one) and you most likely won't have to wait in long lines to do so. It's only from Easter through Thanksgiving, though... What's interesting to me in particular about this lighthouse is that ownership was just transferred FROM the National Park Service to a non profit organization who has been maintaining the structure anyway for a couple decades.
Written Feb 26, 2004
These gardens are located in Manteo at Ft. Raleigh National Historic Site along with the Lost Colony. This is the site of the 1st English colony where the last of them suddenly disappeared and no one knows where they went. So, they put some gardens up? I don't know...it's an accurate representation of an English garden from this time (hence the name, I suppose) It's really beautiful...the landscaping, the period furniture. The sunken garden and the Queen's rose garden are among the highlights. I recommend you don't drag your kids to this...how much fun will that be for them? The NC Aquarium is also on the way to this....
Written Feb 26, 2004