Ocracoke Observer: What to expect as the island reopens to visitors

FFHS photo

Now that Ocracoke Island will open to visitors on Monday, Dec. 2, the island will look very different 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 the mainland, Swan Quarter and Cedar Island, will operate on their regular schedules and tolls will apply to these routes.

Ferries between Hatteras and the village (Silver Lake) will run until the N.C. 12 on Ocracoke has reopened to all vehicles, which may be Dec. 6.

  • Hatteras to Ocracoke-Silver Lake: 6 a.m., 11:15 a.m., and 4:30 p.m.
  • Ocracoke-Silver Lake to Hatteras: 8:45 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 7:15 p.m.

The Nov. 17 to 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.  

What to Expect

National Park Service
The National Park Service plans to reopen all ocean and sound side beach areas on Dec. 2, but the NPS campground will not open until next spring. The NPS visitor center and associated restrooms will not be available as they were damaged during the storm.

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

What’s open now

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

Lodging:
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 currently open for business. 

Food & Drink:
Plum Pointe Kitchen (Inside 1718 Brewing Ocracoke):  noon to 9 p.m. daily. 252-928-7586
Sorella’s Pizza & Pasta: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. 252-928-7777
1718 Brewing Ocracoke: 5 to 9 p.m. daily. 252-928-2337
Zillie’s: 4 to 8:30 p.m. daily. 252-928-9306
Helios Hideaway (opening in December)
Back Porch (reopening Dec. 16) : Take Out. Text orders by 3 p.m.; pickup at 6. Monday through Friday. 252-928-6401. Cocktails/Beer/Appetizers) 5- to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
The Ocracoke Variety Store and ABC Store are open.
Ocracoke Cigars: 1 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. 972)-814-0886

Shopping
Ride the Wind Surf Shop will open Nov. 22, Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Opening Thanksgiving week: Island Artworks, Kitty Hawk Kites, Bella Fiore, Books to be Red, Down Creek Gallery, Over the Moon, Village Craftsmen, Moonraker Tea Shop (opening in December).   

Fishing
Drumstick Sportfishing, Dream Girl Sportfishing, Gecko Sportfishing, Fish Tales Charter Fishing and Tradewinds Tackle (Phone number posted on the door).

Services:
Angie’s Gym, Ann Ehringhaus (wedding minister), Yoga with Amy/Deep Blue Bodywork & Massage, Beach Ride Rentals, Harrell & Associates, OBX Rentals and Shuttle Services, Ocean Atlantic Event Rentals, Ocracoke Observer, Ocracoke Current, Ocracoke Alive, Ocracoke Island Yoga, Stillwater Spa & Wellness, Jimmie’s Garage.
Gasoline is available by credit card only at Jerniman’s.
Ocracoke Health Center, 305 Back Rd. 252-928-1511. M-F, 8 am to noon & 1-5 pm. After hours: 252-928-SICK (7425)
Island Mobile Medical Care, Gail Covington, family nurse practitioner. 252-996-0511. (Unavailable Nov. 25 to Dec. 2)
Laura L. Trent, DVM, 252-923-3787. Ocracoke mobile veterinarian. (
Roanoke Island Animal Clinic: In December– Wednesday, Dec 11. Typically, every third Wednesday of every month at 9 am. in the Life Saving Church.

Opening spring 2020 

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

Restaurants
Back Porch Lunchbox, DAJIO, Eduardo’s (early March), Flying Melon, Sweet Tooth and Fig Tree Bakery & Deli, Gaffer’s (April), Graceful Bakery, Howard’s Pub (early Spring), Jason’s Restaurant (March), Jolly Roger Restaurant & Marina, Ocracoke Coffee Co. (April 1), Ocracoke Oyster Company (March 1), Pony Island Restaurant (April), Slushy Stand (March), Ocracoke Fudge & Ice Cream Shop (mid-March), SmacNally’s.

Shops
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.

Recreation
Native Parasail, Ocracoke Island Golf Carts, Rascal Charter Boats, Wheelie Fun Golf Carts, Anchorage Marina (March 15). 

Entertainment
Deepwater Theater, Coyote Music Den 

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:
OPS Art Auction Fundraiser – January 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 – August 7 & 8
Health Center Seafood Festival – September 5
Ocrafolk School – October 18-23
Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree – Oct. 29-Nov. 1
Festival Latino de Ocracoke – November 6-8
Parade of Boats – November 28
Oyster Roast – TBA

Ocracoke Alive Deepwater Theater shows (8 p.m.)
June to September (Wednesday: Dingbatter’s Guide to Ocracoke (Season 2); Thursdays: Molasses Creek Band in concert

Local resources for travelers
VisitOcracokeNC.com for more information. 252-928-6711
N.C. Department of Transportation (https://www.ncdot.gov/divisions/ferry/) for status and schedule of all ferries to and from the island.
Hyde County http://www.hydecountync.gov/  252-475-5655

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.

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