Header background
Header background

Our Archives

Our News & Updates

Shipwrecks of the Outer Banks: Part 1

Characterized by converging currents and constantly shifting offshore shoals, the waters off the coast of the Outer Banks of North Carolina are commonly referred to as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. Despite the construction of navigational aids such as the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton and the Bodie Island Lighthouse further north in South Nags Head, thousands of vessels have found themselves wrecked off the coastline of these barrier islands for centuries, resulting in a significant loss of lives and the destruction of both boats and the seafaring cargo they carried. While many of these ships have sunk to the bottom of the sea and can only been seen experienced divers—or, in some cases, from the sky above during an air tour of the shoreline—the remains of handful of Outer Banks shipwrecks can be spotted from the beach when the sand shifts just enough—or out in the surf when the tide is low enough to expose them.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Laura A. Barnes

The Laura A. Barnes was a four-masted wooden schooner that wrecked off the coast of Nags Head on a foggy night during a nor’easter on June 1, 1921. At 120 feet in length, the Laura A. Barnes was built in Camden, Maine, and was traveling from New York to South Carolina when she foundered in the dense fog. The Bodie Island Coast Guard successfully rescued the entire crew, but the ship wasn’t salvageable, so its wreckage was left sitting on the beach for several years. In 1973, as the Outer Banks became an increasingly popular vacation destination, the National Park Service moved the remains of the ship approximately one mile south, where it currently can be found near the Bodie Island Lighthouse at Coquina Beach. Unprotected from the elements, the wreckage has continued to deteriorate and break apart during hurricanes and other coastal weather systems; however, many large pieces of the ship can still be spotted in the sand dunes at this popular beach access along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Photo Courtesy of Fine Art America

Oriental

Farther south, off the coast of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on Hatteras Island, the wreckage of the Oriental can be spotted in the surf by those walking along the beach. A steamship that served as a transport for Federal forces during the Civil War, the Oriental ran aground approximately three miles south of Oregon Inlet on Hatteras Island in 1862. The remains of the Oriental are often referred to as “The Boiler Wreck” because the ship’s smokestack can frequently be seen jutting out of the water just 100 yards offshore and resembles a boiler. Because the wreckage of the Oriental sits in shallow water that is only 15-20 feet in depth, this shipwreck is popular among snorkelers and divers alike. A wide array of large local fish now call this wreck their home, making it a prime spot for viewing underwater wildlife. To view the shipwrecked Oriental, park at the Pea Island Wildlife Refuge visitor center and head to the beach, as it’s easily visible from shore during good conditions, particularly at low tide. Or, grab a kayak or standup paddleboard and paddle out to sea to witness the wreck up close and personal.  

Photo: Nick Beltly

Pocahontas

Also located off the coast of Hatteras Island is the wreckage of the Pocahontas, a Civil War-era wooden paddle wheel steamer that sank on the shoals 75 feet offshore of Salvo more than 150 years ago. The wreck sits in about 15 feet of water half a mile north of Ramp 23 in Salvo, near the end of Sand Street. According to VisitOuterBanks.com, the steamer was lost during a storm on January 28, 1862, when gale-force winds rendered its boilers useless and caused the ship to wash ashore just before the battle of Roanoke Island. Although no lives were lost in the disaster, 90 of the 114 horses being transported onboard the vessel perished. The Pocahontas wreck is one of the most popular shipwrecks on the Outer Banks, as it’s easily visible from shore and serves as an excellent spot for diving. Surfers and paddleboarders have also been known to paddle out to the wreck—which, thanks to the presence of a large iron rod and portion of the paddle wheel that stick out of the ocean—makes it a one-of-a-kind location for a unique photo op.

Photo Courtesy of Eastern Surf Magazine

*Stay tuned for Shipwrecks of the Outer Banks: Part 2, coming soon!

 

The Benefits of Hardwood Flooring

Whether you’re in the process of constructing a brand-new home or you’re ready to undertake a major renovation project in your current property, one of the first tasks to tackle is picking out the type of flooring that will work best for your home and your family. From hardwood and tile to linoleum and laminate, the choices of style, color and design are virtually endless. For most homeowners, budget plays an integral role in the type of flooring chosen for a newly constructed home or renovated property—but the amount and type of use your flooring will get once it’s installed should also be taken into careful consideration. If you’re looking for a versatile, durable floor that will wow your guests, look no further hardwood flooring.  

Photo: HGTV.com

Aesthetic Appeal

Hardwood floors have made a serious comeback over the past decade. Prized for their natural, aesthetically appealing appearance and durability, hardwood floors are top choice for many homeowners looking to make a statement with their new flooring. Because such a wide array of different types of wood are available—from fir, oak, maple and pine to walnut, cherry, bamboo and beech—you won’t be limited to one specific color palette when it comes to picking out your floors. Plus, if you already have hardwood floors installed in your home but they’re in rough shape or you’re not a fan of the color, you can simply strip the hardwood you currently have and stain it to a color of your choosing.

Photo: Zillow.com

Versatility

Another major benefit of the assortment of color options available for hardwood flooring is the fact that the vast majority are very neutral. Unlike colored carpets or busy tiles, hardwood floors are much simpler and tend to blend well into any type of décor. You’ll be hard-pressed to find flooring that makes the same statement as strips of high-quality hardwood without overpowering the room or drawing the eye to the distracting designs formed by squares of tile. And if you’re not quite ready to part with your living room set or bedroom furniture, you can sit back and relax knowing that there is a hardwood flooring color option out there that will suit your home’s style and budget perfectly.  

Photo: Woodpecker Flooring

Eco-Friendly

If you’re searching for an eco-friendly hardwood floor, opt for bamboo, which has become increasingly popular in recent years. Bamboo floors are known for their strength and durability, and because bamboo grows back much more quickly than the types of trees commonly used for hardwood flooring, it’s a much more environmentally friendly option than its pine, oak or cherry counterparts. Plus, hardwood flooring retains heat well, so it’s much warmer to walk on in the winter and holds heat in your home without forcing you to constantly bump up the thermostat when it’s cold outside.

Photo: Decor Pad

Durability

Perhaps the biggest benefit of hardwood floors is their durability. There’s a reason so many owners of decades-old homes are finding and fixing the original hardwood floors that lie beneath layers of vinyl, laminate or carpet. When properly maintained, hardwood floors can last for centuries. Hardwood floors are easy to care for, and if you have pets or children they make a much better option than carpet since they don’t trap dust and dander—and you can simply wipe up a stain and or spill. To keep your hardwood floors looking great for decades, sand and refinish the flooring every 10 years or so to repair any dents or scratches your floors have endured over time and they will once again be good as new.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discover the Island Farm on Roanoke Island

On the northern end of Roanoke Island lies a secluded spot few tourists vacationing on the barrier islands of the Outer Banks have ever been. Situated just west of U.S. Highway 64 in historic town of Manteo, the Island Farm is a unique destination for both visitors and locals, offering a slew of adventures and a wide array of activities for attendees of all ages. If you’re searching for a place to spend a day on your vacation well off the beaten path, a stop by this historic living site is well worth the trip.

When you first set foot on the grounds of the Island Farm, you’ll feel as though you’ve taken a trip back in time to 1847. The site sits on a slice of the Etheridge farmstead, a chunk of land where one of the area’s earliest settlers, a man named Adam Etheridge, built a house and established a farm with his family centuries ago. Today, the Island Farm comprises a period restoration of the house—including several 19th century furnishings, many of which were original to the property—as well as a dozen other buildings, such as a reconstructed slave cabin, smokehouse, cookhouse, dairy, corn crib, outhouse, woodshed and blacksmith shop.

Historical interpreters clad in period-specific attire can be found working inside and around the various buildings constructed on the Etheridge farmland, giving visitors a chance to witness what daily life would have been like on the Outer Banks in the middle of the 1800s. Throughout the year, interpreters perform a variety of tasks that bring Roanoke Island history to life. Here you can watch a blacksmith create his wares, help a farmer hoe a row of corn, assist the cook in making plates of corn cakes, or stroll along the fences of the pasture that houses animals ranging from a cow and an ox to several sheep and two banker ponies. Several free-range chickens also roam the grounds of this often-undiscovered island attraction.

If you’re not content to sit back and watch 19th century island life unfold before your eyes, you can take part in a wide array of hands-on activities and demonstrations. From woodworking, cooking and blacksmithing to garden planting, and harvesting, you won’t find a lack of things to do when you visit the Island Farm on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Once you’ve exhausted your list of daily “chores” on the farm, climb into an on-site wagon for an ox-drawn wagon ride around the premises, or embark on a self-guided tour of the farm and farmhouse.

The visitor center provides historical context via a series of educational exhibits on such topics as fishing, farming, boatbuilding, island culture, slavery and the locally famous Freedmen’s Colony. A family graveyard on the property allows visitors to pay respects at the final resting place of Adam Etheridge as well as many of his immediate family members and descendants. A large oak tree referred to as “Crissy Oak” marks the final resting spot of Crissy Bowser, a longtime resident and worker on the farm.

Whether you’re looking for a way to take a break from the beach during your Outer Banks vacation or you want to add a history lesson or two into your trip, you’ll find all that and more during your visit to the fun-filled Island Farm on Roanoke Island.  

*All photos courtesy of TheIslandFarm.com

 

 

History of the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse

Photo: Dan Waters Photography

The Outer Banks of North Carolina are home to several historic lighthouses that have aided mariners sailing along the treacherous coastline for centuries. While most visitors to the area are familiar with the well-known beacons, such as Buxton’s Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Bodie Island Lighthouse located in South Nags Head, far fewer vacationers have paid a visit to the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse in downtown Manteo.

Photo: Courtesy of Lighthouse Friends

Constructed in 1877, the original Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse was a screw-pile structure situated at the southern edge of the Croatan Sound, halfway between the village of Wanchese and the North Carolina mainland to the west. Like its counterparts that illuminate the coastline on the ocean side of the Outer Banks, the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse served as one of many such screw-pile structures throughout the sounds that separated the barrier islands from the mainland. The lighthouse emitted a beam of light that helped sailors to orient themselves as they ventured from the sea lanes of the Atlantic Ocean and through shallow channels in the sound on their way to inland ports along the eastern portion of the state.

Photo Courtesy of VisitNC.com

Outfitted with a Fresnel lens built in France that measured 2 feet 4 inches in height and weighed 200 pounds, the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse was operated by the U.S. Coast Guard until 1955, when it was deemed no longer necessary due to the advent of more modern navigational aids and subsequently decommissioned. The lighthouse was sold to a private owner, and an attempt was then made to relocate the structure to private property further inland, but it was damaged so severely in the process, the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse was ultimately destroyed and lost in the sound.

Photo: Stephanie Banfield

For decades, the lighthouse that once lit the waters of the Croatan Sound was all but forgotten—until 1999. At that time, the Town of Manteo was planning its centennial celebration, and residents came up with a plan to reconstruct a replica of the original Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, this time in the Roanoke Sound. Designs for a full-scale exact replica of the 1877 structure were drawn and approved; however, a slew of issues ranging from lack of sufficient funding to the devastating effects of 2003’s Hurricane Isabel forced the project to come to a temporary halt. Nearly half a century after the original lighthouse in the Croatan Sound was decommissioned, the brand-new version of the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse was completed in September 2004.  

Photo: Pinterest

Today, the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse can be found at the southeast corner of downtown Manteo in the waters of Shallowbag Bay. A long, wooden boardwalk stretches from the Manteo waterfront into the sound, where the square-shaped, white structure with a red roof and black shutters stands guard over the shoreline. Visitors to this area of the Outer Banks can tour the inside of the replicated lighthouse to learn about the maritime history of Roanoke Island via an assortment of education programs and exhibits. After taking a self-guided tour of the structure, guests can sit back and relax on one of the benches or picnic tables that line the decking behind the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse to watch boats and paddleboarders passing by and to take in a picturesque view of Roanoke Island Festival Park, downtown Manteo and the neighboring coastal community of Pirate’s Cove.

 

Footer background

Let Us Know

© 2017 The Coastal Cottage Company. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Web Design