Driving down Highway 12 into Hatteras Village is a sensory wonder, and you should turn off your radio and open your car windows to really experience it all.
With the Pamlico Sound on your right and the Atlantic Ocean on your left, vast expanses of water morph from dark green to sapphire blue as you watch. Sea oats sway gracefully in the breeze atop the sand dunes on the ocean side. The tang of salt air is on your tongue and in your nose, and you hear the sound of the waves as they crash onto the beach. Above you, birds glide on updrafts, hunting for tidbits to eat while crying out to mark their territory. If you chance upon some pelicans you almost feel as if you’ve gone back in time to the Jurassic Period and are watching pterodactyls swoop over the beaches of long ago.
Photos by Nicholas Hamann
The entrance to the village is just a prelude to all the experiences you can enjoy in Hatteras. There’s a palpable spirit of community that welcomes visitors. This is a place where you can park your car and leave your old life behind as the island village welcomes you to its fold. Explore Hatteras by foot, bike, golf cart or kayak and you will discover picturesque beaches, parks and trails. There’s the historic Weather Bureau Station, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, Hatteras Village Park and lots of locally owned and operated shops. Hatteras’ working waterfront is home to both commercial and charter fishing, and you can see fresh seafood unloaded at the docks. While summer is a glorious, bustling time in Hatteras Village, there are fun events year round to introduce you to the amazing natural resources that local people treasure.
The Hatteras community traditionally has been very close knit, helping each other in times of need and sharing joyous moments. Wanting to share their beautiful village with others, the locals have created events to encourage visitors and Outer Bankers alike to be a part of this charming place.
Springtime in Hatteras Village begins with a subtle quickening – the sea grass turns green, businesses begin humming and Hatteras hosts its annual Storytelling Festival the first full weekend in May. The seafaring heritage of the village has generated a wealth of stories about adventure, bravery and family. People gather in the Civic Center (a building the village raised money to build and maintain) to listen to music from local talent and stories about coastal lore.
Autumn is a particularly magical time in Hatteras Village. The rush of summer tourists slows a bit, the humidity drops out of the air and the ocean stays swim-ably warm. While you can catch gorgeous sunsets any time of the year, those during autumn are particularly spectacular. Hatteras Village hosts its annual Day at the Docks the third week in September. This celebration of local watermen began in 2004 as The Spirit of Hatteras, an event to rejoice over their recovery from devastating Hurricane Isabel. The event celebrates the strength of the community and its heritage of commercial and charter watermen. There are competitions, demonstrations, children’s activities, music, cook-offs and educational talks. The event culminates in the Blessing of the Fleet, a celebration of song, prayer and poetry as the working boats of the island line up in the Pamlico Sound and navigate back to their moorings.
Winter in Hatteras is a time of deep, restorative calm but also joyous celebration. For a glimpse into the unifying spirit that is such a part of the village’s core identity, catch their Christmas parade on December 12. The celebration starts at 2 p.m. as local schools, churches, fire and police departments, businesses and individuals parade their floats down Highway 12. The spirit of the celebration is evident as cars line up along the highway and people sit and chat, children play happily and collect candy thrown from the floats. Many of the businesses host an open house afterward with hot drinks and snacks. One special evening Santa rides through the village on the fire truck with the siren announcing his arrival, making sure Santa drives by every house in the village that has children. The magic of Christmas in Hatteras Village comes alive.
Starting next year Hatteras Village will host its first annual Starry Night on Valentine’s Day weekend. This event is structured around the phases of the moon so there is not excess light interfering with star watching. An astronomer will give a talk at the Civic Center followed by viewing the stars in the night sky. While the beach is a great place for star watching, this event will take place in Hatteras Village Park, a community-owned walkway through the marsh that is free of light pollution.
The heart of Hatteras Village is community. Life on an island, while saturated with extraordinary natural beauty, can be a challenge as well as a joy. The residents of Hatteras Village know how to pull together and celebrate their rich history and culture. With its peaceful, welcoming vibe, unparalleled beaches, parks, waterfront, shops, museums and events put on by volunteer residents, Hatteras Village enchants all year round.
DAY AT THE DOCKS
September 17 - 20, 2015
December 12, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.
February 13, 2016
HATTERAS STORYTELLING FESTIVAL
May 6 & 7, 2016
Events funded in part by the Outer Banks Visitor Bureau.
For Hatteras Civic Information and events, go to: