Ocracoke Magic

By Beth P. Storie

It seems like everyone writes and talks about how cool Ocracoke Island is. You read about the ferry ride over the water, away from the ticky-tack sameness of so many towns, and how it eases you into a different vibe. It’s like a Brigadoon experience where, at some point in that journey across the water, you pass through a veil into a magical land. Except it’s not magical, really. It’s just Ocracoke. But, then again, maybe we do want to go back to the magical description – at least close to it.

There are very few places left in America that have succeeded in welcoming thousands of tourists yet have kept their original soul. Most times, when you attract so many people who love what’s there, the there starts changing, merging into more of what the visitors want and in the process losing what attracted them in the first place.

But Ocracoke isn’t like that and, in fact, has thrived in this respect. The islanders have adapted in ingenious ways. Too many cars on the small island roads? Let’s rent golf carts and bikes that, btw, also slow down the pace! Need more retail space to accommodate interesting, locally owned shops? Let’s turn older homes on back roads throughout the village into shops! Need more rooms to accommodate visitors? Let’s refurbish existing hotels, create cozy B&Bs and elegant inns out of historic homes and use island houses as popular vacation rental homes . . . no high-rise chains here! 

The locals, ever protective of the place they call home, have welcomed adaptation without losing the charm and character of their island. People who visit fairly easily fall under the spell of the place. They love the slow, Southern island life where you’re expected to be friendly, expected to wave to passers-by. When you run into faces you’ve already seen while you were out shopping, on the beach or at one of the restaurants, you smile and acknowledge them.

If this is now magical, let’s keep it as such and spread the word. Ocracokers would nod and smile knowingly. 

Life on Ocracoke is simple and laid-back, but the islanders provide everything you’ll need for the perfect vacation, from comfortable places to rest your head to restaurants to fill your belly to ways to get out and explore the great outdoors.

10 years of Ocracoke vacations - plus bike and golf cart rentals!

Blue Heron Realty
(252) 928-7117 | 585 B Irvin Garrish Highway | blueheronvacations.com


Comfortable rooms and suites overlooking Silver Lake Harbor

Ocracoke Harbor Inn
(252) 928-5731 | 144 Silver Lake Road | ocracokeharborinn.com


Surf lessons, SUP rentals and kayak tours plus an impressive shop

Ride The Wind Surf Shop
(252) 928-6311 | 486 Irvin Garrish Highway | surfocracoke.com


Your one stop for beer, groceries, beach supplies and souvenirs

The Ocracoke Variety Store
(252) 928-4911 | 950 Irvin Garrish Highway


The spot for fun on Ocracoke

Howard's Pub
(252) 928-4441 | 
1175 Irvin Garrish Highway | howardspub.com

 

 

About the Author Beth P. Storie
Beth Storie first came to the Outer Banks for the summer of 1976. She fell in love with the area and returned for good three years later. She and her husband published the national guidebook series, The Insiders' Guides, for more than 20 years and now are building OneBoat guides into another national brand. After spending time in many dozens of cities around the country, she absolutely believes that her hometown of Manteo is the best place on earth, especially when her two children, six cats and one dog are there too.