Saturday, October 18, 2014


The day trip to Ocracoke happened, and I'll tell you this -- there's not enough time in the day to do Ocracoke in one day, from Oriental. Just sayin'. But we did try! We got up with the sun ~
We made the 7:45 ferry at Minnesott. I started to knit. I knew I'd have plenty of knitting time while on the four ferry rides that dominated our day.
Okay, Tammy, I'm working hard on your shawl! I hope you like the look.
After crossing the Neuse River, we drove out to Cedar Island, a low, watery peninsula where the other ferry takes off. We passed swampy salt marshes on both sides.

Occasionally when it gets too wet, they build a high bridge. See how flat it is? Adam shook his head and muttered, "Reminds me of Nebraska."
In Oriental we have ditches along our roadways, little ditches. They come in handy for extra rain. (In Iowa, there were massive ditches, useful for sliding your car into during particularly bad winter storms.) But the ditches on either side of this highway occasionally broke out into full-fledged lakes. I felt I was skimming over the surface on an unconvincing film of asphalt.
We reached the Cedar Island ferry station early ... but better late than dashing in at the last minute! We sat and enjoyed the glorious weather. It was a picture-perfect day outside. Julia loved all the ferry rides.
And yes, that's a puppy dog you see on Adam's lap. We took the dogs along because 14 hours is too long to leave them alone.
Cedar Island is right on the Pamlico Sound -- big water. Sand burrs and salt water.
It was lovely and relaxing.

Our van was on the very front of the large ferry. The ride to Ocracoke takes 2 hours and 15 minutes. Here's a photo of the lounge. Some people slept on the benches, wrapped in blankets. Some ladies played cards.
A photo of North Carolina's lighthouses. You can read more here. A friendly lady on the ferry told me they'd been to Ocracoke many times, and that we could walk up into the old lighthouse there. I was excited.

Bo-Beau whined for the water. He only threw up once.
We passed the other ferry, traveling from Ocracoke to Cedar Island. We also saw the Swan Quarter ferry, entering Ocracoke just before us. It was taller and bigger, and through our broken binoculars it looked like a floating hotel.
We started seeing the channel markers for Ocracoke. Adam brought along his GPS. One important thing he wanted to do on this trip was to chart the ferry's trip through Ocracoke's tricky, narrow channel, and save it in his GPS, so if when we sail here ourselves, we will have a perfect chart to use. See the markers?
One wreck in six feet of water, which is rather deep for this area! Adam says he doesn't think these poles are part of the boat, but perhaps were put there to alert boats, to avoid crashing into the submerged boat.
Left of the channel thousands of birds rested on a long sandbar.
Here you see the entrance to Ocracoke's Silver Lake, a lovely, round sheltered bay, edged with shops, hotels and boat slips.
It was nearly 1:00, so we drove off the ferry and headed for the lighthouse. When Adam and I came to Ocracoke 25 years ago for our honeymoon (Okay, don't even ask about the insanity of youth. We drove 2 days from Jackson, Mississippi to Ocracoke, and 2 days back. We barely made the ferry back then ....) well, we never even saw the lighthouse. I didn't know where it was on the island. There was no Google to assist, no websites with handy maps. Adam planned out the whole trip by visiting the local library. Remember those days, old folks?
I thought it odd that the tiny 4-car parking lot warned, "15 minute parking only." 15 minutes?
Here's the old gate. This structure was erected in 1823. It stands 75 ft. above sea level.
Sadly, I rattled the locked lighthouse door and realized that it is not open for visitors. Sigh. No wonder 15 minutes is adequate.
We proceeded to our next destination -- the Bed-and-Breakfast where we stayed all those years ago. Here it is! Oscar's House is a cute little place. We wanted to return last summer, but she only books for longer stays. It's kind of a hippy/greenie/progressive/spa-yoga-Hindu prayer kind of place now :) The innkeeper is a wonderful cook. Those upstairs windows were ours once.
I knew Julia would enjoy a little shopping, and Ocracoke has quaint galleries and quirky artisans. The shop below is called Books to be Red. I like a used bookstore.
A bit dumpy on the outside, it was utterly delightful inside the door ... rather like some good friends of mine! (heehee - sorry. Couldn't resist.) They had YARN. Such beautiful yarn.
~ and some fun pottery ~
~ and yet more yarn ~
~ and neat things hanging from the ceiling.

Not used books, but new ones. And some very pretty journals. I like the one on the right; Julia prefers the one on the left.
Nearby lay Ocracoke's oldest lane, Howard's Street. Unpaved, shaded by ancient live oaks, littered with sagging cottages, crab pots, and postage-stamp-sized cemeteries.

Nearby is the island's tiny school. Their mascot? The Dolphins, of course! Someone adapted a smooth piece of driftwood for the purpose porpoise.
Captn. Garrick rests here.
Although Adam made his delectable pumpkin scones for us, plus a fresh loaf of bread and a pot of honey butter, Julia complained of hunger. We'd looked up some eateries on Ocracoke, and read of Eduardo's taco stand, with fabulous food and the lowest prices on the island. Sadly, I discovered they do not accept credit cards, so we pooled our funds and came up with $9. It was enough for two tostados, so we sat at their picnic table. It was delicious. I glanced at my watch. It was almost 3:00!
I think that's when I realized that my idea of a leisurely visit to Ocracoke was a fool's errand. When your ferry arrives there at nearly 1:00, and you have to be back in the ferry line at 3:30 to leave, you don't have much time!! What was I thinking?
So I put the van back in the ferry line, and Adam and I went for one last stroll while Julia dog-sat our over-excited pups. They were rather stimulated by the time on the water and all the people. They live such a sheltered life. We were very dog-weary by day's end.
Nets laid out to dry:
We walked across the parking lot to the local museum in an old farmhouse. I wish I'd gone there earlier. We didn't have time for me to do what I love to do in a museum:  read everything and soak in all the details. It takes forever, but I feel immersed in the days gone by.
An old ship's rudder from the early 20th century, recovered on the island:
I wanted a shot of Silver Lake so you could see how pretty it is, how protected and calm. I didn't have a good vantage point.
After our return ferry ride back to Cedar Island, the sun was just setting.
As I considered the clock, I realized it would be just possible -- but not easy! -- to drive maniacally to Cherry Point to catch the 7:30 ferry back across the Neuse, to get home. If I didn't arrive on time, we would sit there for an additional hour. So I drove in a way that I no longer relish doing -- it wracks my nerves. But we made it, barely. We drove up to the ferry just as they were finishing boarding. All that to say ... if Adam and I ever return to Ocracoke, we will stay overnight somehow. And if we sail there ourselves, we will stay at least two nights, because we would be stupid to sail all the way there (a full day's sail) and turn around and do it all again the next day! There are slips in Silver Lake managed by the park service, and they only charge a little per foot, for the length of your boat. That may be our next option. So there's our expedition to Ocracoke! Julia loved it, which was my goal. She's worked hard in school and deserved a day away.


  1. What a delightful one day get-away.

    Thanks for sharing ~ FlowerLady

  2. What a wonderful trip. Hoping you get a longer stay next time.

  3. Sounds like a great day. My favorite part was thinking about Adam in the library planning your honeymoon. And him making you pumpkin scones and bread -- you are blessed! I would really enjoy the boat rides, such beautiful scenery.

  4. What a fun journey! Such a character-packed place. I suppose the fact that it's so hard to get to helps to maintain some of that character? Love the bookstore and all of the sights. The shawl is lovely, by the way. Hope you get inside that lighthouse one day! :)

  5. Ocracoke ---- magical place! I loved your quick (!) little tour. We've taken the ferry from Hatteras; it's a much faster trip. I love ferries, though, and would probably enjoy the Cedar Island route. Your lovely post has made me want to go back. A couple of days would suit me just fine. Have a blessed and bountiful day. You are probably still on "island time," right? 8-)

  6. What a lovely outing! Despite the short amount of time that you had, your pictures whet my appetite to visit to Ocracoke Island (I have never been--I'm not sure I've ever been on a North Carolina ferry, come to think of it). The driftwood porpoise was adorable! Glad you came up with the funds to buy something: it's always a shock when someone doesn't take plastic. Fun read :)


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