Have you ever been to Ocracoke Island before? Strike that, have you ever heard of Ocracoke Island? It’s the last, most southern island within the Outer Banks, which is off the coast of North Carolina. My folks have been going there during spring break for the last 15 or so years. This year, the was extra special, the entire family – my sis and her husband, my brother and his girlfriend, Daryle, Jack and I all came under one roof of a grandiose rental on an inlet. Some serious relaxing and family time was had.
Ocracoke is a special place, it’s unlike your typical beach town as it doesn’t have all the surf shops and fast food restaurants that I’ve grown accustomed to. Oh no. Instead it’s a quiet place with only one stop light on the entire island. You can ride your bike from corner to corner in less time than it would take for you to even begin to feel winded. (It’s small.) Most roads are still unpaved, so you can hear that wonderful crackling sound of rocks beneath your shoes. There are a handful of unique shops selling local and/or unusual finds. I bought myself a beautiful hammered gold ring, from Secret Garden. I also couldn’t live without a charmingly sweet hand knit zebra stuffed animal that was all the way from Kenya at the shop Over the Moon. The island is so small and hidden, these shops don’t even have websites. They rely on people meandering down a dirt path to keep them afloat. There are also probably about eight or so restaurants to choose from running the gamut of a beachy watering hole like Howard’s Pub, a staple to the island; to The Flying Melon which offers a more refined selection of local seafood and ambiance.
Visiting during spring break, the weather is always iffy. We pray for warm sun and which only sometimes we actually get. In fact, it was way colder in Ocracoke than it was in DC. And since it’s an island it was windy too. We got two days of good weather and we spent them entirely outside. The men surf fished at the beach while the gals chitchatted and built sand castles with Jack and his two adorable cousins. The other day of warmth, the men (again) went clamming in the bay and unearthed 10 dozen fresh clams! Yes we spent the week enjoying chowder, clams casino, and steamed clams, plus an ice filled cooler full to bring home.
Ocracoke has become a place of stability. We go and live our lives, we grow a little older, we have new experiences. I’ve changed so much since the last time I was there. I’m married and have a young child. And whenever I go back, it hasn’t aged a bit. It’s waiting for me with open arms. The locals are sweet, the coffee from Ocracoke Coffee tastes just the same, and sunsets never unimpress.