Sunday, June 12, 2011

Teach's Hole-Ocracoke

Hello Pumpkin Fans,

Saturday 11 June 2011 I went to Ocracoke with my wife, the lovely Frau Punkinstein.  Ocracoke is a tiny (approximately 10 miles square) island off the coast of North Carolina.,_North_Carolina
It is famous for being one of the pirate Blackbeard's haunts.  Also he was killed in action near there as well.  In fact, the whole Nag's Head, Hatteras, Ocracoke trip was very piratey.
There is a ferry that takes automobiles from the end of Hatteras over to Ocracoke (short trip, maybe 30 minutes) and the businesses at the tip of Hatteras are also rife with Blackbeard imagery.
On the island proper you can find Teach's Hole pirate gift shop and Blackbeard exhibit.  A very reasonable price gets you into the exhibit which includes an 8 minute film and some nice artifacts.

The whole Teach's Hole experience was short but enjoyable, which meant that we had an island to explore.  It's a 4 hour trip from Chesapeake to Ocracoke, so you might as well stick around and enjoy it.
Frau Punkinstein at Teach's Hole
Let's hit some high points:
1. The island is small enough to bike around or walk around.  Once land from the ferry and disembark in your automobile you drive along on the only road for a few miles.  The road cuts through dunes and scrub land punctuated by the occasional clear view of either the Atlantic Ocean one one side or Pamlico Sound on the other.  At the southern end of the island you will find the village of Ocracoke.  The village sports a regular population which makes up the local businesses.  Their high school has a sophomore class of 7 people, if memory serves. While in the village you can easily rent a golf cart, bicycle, kayak, boat or similar conveyance.
2. Fresh, local seafood.  Fishermen bring their catch straight to the local restaurants and fishmonger.  There are some beautiful fillets to be had.
3. Hotels.  Did anybody here see Jaws...
4. No mobile phone reception.  I see that as a plus.  I don't own a cell phone anyway.
5. Good food.  I enjoyed eating at Howard's Pub (fried scallop sandwich and pub fries, Frau had the steamed shrimp.  Normally I don't like friend seafood that much, but enjoy a fried oyster sandwich from time to time so I thought I'd try something new.
6. Eduardo's Taco Truck.  We ate dinner at Eduardo's before we left.  I had the roast pork tacos.  Authentic taco truck FTW!
7. Time Warp Factor 11.  Ocracoke has some historic buildings and unpaved roads.  The whole place feels like a cross between a tourist town (which it is) and an old colonial island community (which is also is).  General stores with wooden floors and a small community feel complete the picture.
Here is a photo of a graveyard on Howard Street.  It's just a few plots in the trees behind the house that presumably some of these late people used to own/live in.
What did you do on your vacation?  I saw dead people; you?  Oh, yeah, golf.  Oh, so pretty much the same thing then.
8. Great beaches.  I have been to a few beaches in my life.  I live near Virginia Beach (not so great, but Sandbridge has some nice beachfront).  The beaches at Ocracoke are very nice.  The water was warm and the sand was clean.  We found many good shells and only occasionally thought the rip was going to carry us away. (Channel rip is a serious problem around the barrier islands)
Bad Things
Horseflies.  I have only one complaint and that was the horseflies that kept attacking me at the beach.  Frau too.  Wild ponies live on Ocracoke as well as horseback riding horses.  Where there are horses there are those annoying biting HORSEFLIES.  I drowned two of them and still they attacked.  It wasn't really as bad as I make it sound, but one should have at least one negative to make the positive look all the better.

Ocracoke, laid back, pirate haven.  Decent people who realize that they are a tourist town ("[Ocracoke] is a Summer town, we need Summer dollars," Mayor Vaugn...{okay, that was Jaws again, sorry}) and treat the tourist decent.  Prices are not too high and the isolated nature of the place should impart a relaxed attitude on all who visit.
I swear, I don't work for the North Carolina tourism board.  That said, if anyone from the North Carolina tourism board wants to hire me, I am available, like all good privateers.
I should do a follow up post on Blackbeard, come to think of it.
In the meantime:
Hurry Hurry, see the pirate with two asses!

Keep your pumpkins lit.

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