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What to Expect When Ocracoke Reopens

David Scott Esham, owner of the Pony Island Motel, supervises the rebuild of the first floor of the motel. Photo: C. Leinbach

Reprinted from Island Free Press

Ocracoke Island will look very different when it reopens to visitors Monday as repairing and rebuilding activities from the inundation Sept. 6 by Hurricane Dorian will continue for many months.

Debris from building tear-outs and demolition will be along the roads throughout the village, so extreme caution is advised. As islanders are busy repairing their homes and businesses, visitors are advised to be respectful of private property. Gas, food services and lodging will be limited and visitors are advised to prepare accordingly.

When the island opens, ferries from Swan Quarter and Cedar Island will operate on regular schedules and tolls will apply to these routes.

The Hatteras to Ocracoke-Silver Lake ferry will run from 6 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and the Ocracoke-Silver Lake to Hatteras will run 8:45 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Ferries between Hatteras and Silver Lake will run until N.C. 12 on Ocracoke has reopened, which may be Dec. 6.

The Nov. 17-18 nor’easter delayed Friday’s planned Nov. 22 reopening of N.C. 12 on Ocracoke. When it opens, the regular Hatteras to Ocracoke (called the South Dock) will resume and the Hatteras to Silver Lake runs will cease.  Be aware that the long runs into the village are subject to cancellations if the weather is too bad. N.C. 12 has been closed since Dorian hit and breached the dunes.

Ferry operations are still suspended on NCDOT’s Hatteras to Ocracoke South Dock route but will resume when N.C. 12 on Ocracoke can be reopened, which may be Dec. 6.

National Park Service

The National Park Service reopened all oceanside and soundside beach areas Friday but the campground will not open until next spring. The park service visitor center and associated restrooms will not be available as they were damaged during the storm.

The Ocracoke Day Use Area, or Lifeguard Beach, and its parking lot will not be accessible because it is being used for debris staging. The Park Service village parking lot is not currently usable for boats and trailers. Park Service boat ramps and docks suffered some damage, but they are usable. The Ocracoke lighthouse grounds will be open, but the lightkeeper’s quarters were badly flooded.

What’s open now

Many Ocracoke businesses have reopened after Hurricane Dorian.  Here’s an update:

The Anchorage Inn, Berkley Manor Suites, Bluff Shoal Motel, Blue Heron Vacations, the Castle Bed & Breakfast & Courtyard Villas, Ocracoke Island Realty, Ocracoke’s Lightship Realty LLC, Ocracoke Harbor Inn, Pam’s Pelican B&B and Pony Island Motel & Cottages are all open for business.

Food & Drink:

  • Back Porch: Take Out. Text orders to 252-928-6401 by 3 p.m., pickup is at 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. 252-928-6401. Cocktails, beer and appetizers served from 5- to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
  • Plum Pointe Kitchen inside 1718 Brewing Ocracoke: 5-9 p.m. daily, 252-928-7586.
  • Sorella’s Pizza & Pasta: 5-9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, 252-928-7777.
  • 1718 Brewing Ocracoke: 5-9 p.m. daily. 252-928-2337.
  • Zillie’s is open 4-8:30 p.m. daily, 252-928-9306.
  • Helios Hideaway will open next month.
  • The Ocracoke Variety Store and ABC Store are open.
  • Ocracoke Cigars: 1 -7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 972-814-0886.

Ride the Wind Surf Shop will open Nov. 22,10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Tuesday through Saturday. Opening Thanksgiving week are Island Artworks, Kitty Hawk Kites, Bella Fiore, Books to be Red, Down Creek Gallery, Over the Moon and Village Craftsman.

Drumstick Sportfishing, Dream Girl Sportfishing, Gecko Sportfishing and Tradewinds Tackle.

Angie’s Gym, Ann Ehringhaus (wedding minister), Yoga with Amy/Deep Blue Bodywork & Massage, Beach Ride Rentals, Harrell & Associates, Island Mobile Medical Care, OBX Rentals and Shuttle Services, Ocean Atlantic Event Rentals, Ocracoke Observer, Ocracoke Current, Ocracoke Alive, Ocracoke Island Yoga and Stillwater Spa & Wellness.

Opening Spring 2020 

Blackbeard’s Lodge, Cove Bed & Breakfast will open in March; Captain’s Landing Waterfront Inn office is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to take reservations, leave a message;  Oscar’s B&B and Sand Dollar Motel in January; Harborside Motel and Gift Shop, Silver Lake Motel, Edwards of Ocracoke Cottages  in March; Teeter’s Campground March 1; and Crew’s Inn B&B in April.

Ocracoke Oyster Co. will open March 1; Back Porch Lunchbox, Dajio and Eduardo’s will open early March; Ocracoke Fudge & Ice Cream Shop mid-March; Jason’s Restaurant and Slushy Stand in March; Jolly Roger Restaurant & Marina, Ocracoke Coffee Co. April 1;  Flying Melon, Sweet Tooth and Fig Tree Bakery & Deli, Gaffer’s and Pony Island Restaurant in April; Graceful Bakery and Howard’s Pub in early spring; and SmacNally’s in the spring.

The Community Store, Harborside Gift Shop, Mermaid’s Folly, Ocracoke Preservation Museum & Gift Shop, Ocracoke Seafood Co., Ocracoke Island Trading Co. and the Sunglass Shop will open in the spring.

Native Parasail, Ocracoke Island Golf Carts, Rascal Charter Boats and Wheelie Fun Golf Carts will open in the spring. Anchorage Marina will open March 15.

Special Events
The Oyster Roast is canceled for 2019 but most events on Ocracoke Island, including Ocracoke Preservation Society’s Art Auction in January, will take place as usual.

Events scheduled in 2020 include the following:

  • OPS Art Auction Fundraiser Jan. 25
  • Waterfowl Festival April 18
  • Portsmouth Island Homecoming April 25
  • Ocracoke 5k/10K Race April 25
  • Ocracoke Half Marathon April 26
  • British Cemetery Ceremony May 8
  • OVFD Fireman’s Ball May 23
  • Ocrafolk Festival June 5-7
  • Women’s Arm Wrestling June 11
  • Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks July 3-5
  • Fig Festival Aug. 7-8
  • Health Center Seafood Festival Sept. 5
  • Ocrafolk School Oct. 18-23
  • Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree Oct. 29-Nov. 1
  • Festival Latino de Ocracoke Nov. 6-8
  • Parade of Boats Nov. 28
  • Oyster Roast TBA

Deepwater Theater: Dingbatter’s Guide to Ocracoke, Season 2, is on Wednesdays and Thursdays, Molasses Creek Band in concert. Both shows are at 8 p.m. from June to September. Coyote Den is also open.

Resources for travelers

This story is provided courtesy of the Island Free Press, a digital newspaper covering Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. Coastal Review Online is partnering with the Free Press to provide readers with more environmental and lifestyle stories of interest along our coast. 

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The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.