The Community Store was established in 1918 by Amasa (Mace) Fulcher. Under Fulcher’s management, the general store soon became a focal point of community activity on the north side of Cockle Creek (Silver Lake Harbor).  The original structure was a square building of less than 900 square feet. Although close to the sandy lane that would eventually be paved and designated North Carolina Highway 12, the main entrance to the store faced the harbor. A porch invited customers to stop and chat for a few minutes, or to sit for hours. Men congregated there to swap tales, tell jokes, carve small wooden birds, and talk about fishing and the weather.

Community Store, ca. 1944
Community Store, ca. 1944

The accompanying dock extended up to the store and connected with the front porch. A small barbershop operated by Gillis Riddick, Mace’s step-son-in-law, was erected alongside the dock, a short distance from the porch. A section of the dock was customarily lifted up to allow passage along a sandy footpath that led around the shore of the harbor. The removable section was lowered whenever a shipment arrived at the dock and boxes and barrels of new goods were hauled into the store. A fish house on the end of the dock served the growing number of commercial fishermen.

Mace Fulcher died in 1946. Shortly thereafter his widow, Maude Williams Fulcher, sold the Community Store to Mace’s sister’s husband, Isaac Freeman O’Neal (known by all as “Little Ike”), and Little Ike’s son-in-law, Jesse Woolard Garrish. Sometime in the early 1950s the new owners had the original building demolished and a new, larger store built in its place. Several years later the Community Store was enlarged. Although the store still catered to occasional customers arriving from the footpath close to the harbor, the paving of the road on the other side of the store and the increased use of automobiles on the island led to exclusive access to the store from the paved road. And that led to a problem.

The Community Store was shaped like the letter “L,” with the main section perpendicular to the road, and the shorter warehouse section parallel with, and close to, the paved road. A fence divided the store’s parking lot from neighboring businesses. The warehouse blocked the view of the porch and main door, and access to the parking area was only wide enough for one vehicle.

In 1978 Philip and Julie Howard purchased the Community Store. They realized something needed to be done to provide more convenient access to the store. The warehouse needed to be moved.

Ocracoke has a long tradition of elevating and moving houses and businesses. If a house or store were to be moved to another location in the nineteenth century, it was jacked up, then lowered onto rollers made from trees, and pulled to its new locations by horses. By 1978 that was no longer an option. Only one professional house mover served Ocracoke. Sixty-one-year-old Manteo native, Willie Rogers, was contacted and agreed to help with the move.

This is how the store looked before the October 1978 move, with the warehouse parallel with the paved road.

Community Store, Summer 1978
Community Store, Summer 1978

To prepare for the move, Philip crawled into the attic and began disconnecting the two sections of the store. After several days, the two parts were separated.

New framing members and braces were added to stabilize what were now two separate structures.

Community Store with Warehouse removed
Community Store with Warehouse removed

Willie Rogers, an old-time do-it-yourself entrepreneur, arrived with his equipment, including an old “half-truck” with a cab and bare frame rails, extra axles with wheels, jacks, and various lengths of well-used, not-entirely-straight steel I-beams. Everyone was amazed to realize his truck engine did not have any valve covers. Every so often Willie would climb up on the fender and pour engine oil onto the valves. That created an oily mess that never seemed to bother Willie.

Moving Community Store Warehouse, October, 1978
Moving Community Store Warehouse, October, 1978

In two days of much hard work, backing up & pulling forward, and tight maneuvering, the warehouse was repositioned behind the main section of the store, close to the harbor. From there it was just a matter of permanently attaching the warehouse to the main building, and nailing new siding where the warehouse had originally been attached.

Community Store Warehouse Reattached, October, 1978
Community Store Warehouse Reattached, October, 1978

Visibility and access to the store was now assured. The store’s next owners, David and Sherrill Senseney, purchased the adjoining properties, including Jack Willis’ store on the dock (now the Working Watermen’s exhibit) and the original generator plant (now Kitty Hawk Kites), and combined the parking areas in a unified square.

Today the Community Square is owned by the non-profit organization, Ocracoke Foundation (

The Community Store
The Community Store

The Community Store building serves as the island Thrift Store (, and the former warehouse has been repurposed as the Stockroom eatery ( with a small porch overlooking Silver Lake.

Stockroom, Summer, 2023
Stockroom, Summer, 2023

For more information about the history of the Community Store, see  and




Modern-day visitors to Ocracoke Island typically imagine that the small village of several hundred homes clustered around strikingly charming Silver Lake harbor has always been a “traditional fishing village.”

Although fishing has long been one of Ocracoke’s major activities, before the advent of motor-powered vessels and modern refrigeration, transportation of seafood to mainland markets was frustratingly difficult and often took prohibitively long. The island was able to support little more than a modest commercial fishing industry until the dawn of the twentieth century.

It was seafaring and related jobs that provided early Ocracokers with their primary source of income. In the nineteenth century young island men regularly shipped off on schooners, many to become captains and even owners of two- three- and four-masted ships that carried lumber, coal, molasses, and rum along the eastern seaboard. A modest boat-building trade also emerged on the island.

Seafaring, of course, was part of a larger mercantile enterprise. As early as 1789 John Blount and John Wallace had established a business center on nearby Shell Castle Rock, a 25 acre island of oyster shells in Pamlico Sound. At one time as many as 40 people lived and worked there, part of an extended enterprise that received goods from sea-going vessels, transferred them to lighter boats that could navigate eastern North Carolina’s shallow sounds, and delivered them to waiting merchants in Bath, Plymouth, New Bern, and other inland ports.

On Shell Castle the entrepreneurs built homes, docks, warehouses, a wind-powered grist mill, and at least one small store. This was also the site of Ocracoke Inlet’s first lighthouse, a 55′ wooden, pyramid-shaped tower covered with cedar shingles, and mounted on a substantial stone foundation. Atop the tower was a six-foot lantern and a three-foot dome.

Early 1800’s Pitcher Showing Settlement on Shell Castle Rock:

The location of the lighthouse was chosen because of its benefit to local pilots and merchants, as well as to owners and captains of vessels that regularly used Ocracoke Inlet. It was primarily an economic decision.

Shell Castle Rock was not the only center of commerce near Ocracoke Inlet. A small settlement had developed on Williams’ Point (later called Howard’s Point, and ultimately Springer’s Point) on the southwestern shoreline of Ocracoke Island. Public land was set aside there for the use of the pilots who guided the many sailing vessels that passed through Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina’s only consistently navigable inlet until 1846, when both Oregon and Hatteras Inlets were opened by a violent storm. Pilots were necessary to help captains unfamiliar with the shoals and narrow, ever-shifting channels bring their goods safely to port.

In time homes, docks, warehouses, stables, and at least one store dotted the shoreline at the Point. In addition, there was a blacksmith shop on the point, and even a windmill.

By the early nineteenth century an increasing number of islanders had also settled on the north side of Cockle Creek (Silver Lake), and an existing footpath was widened to create what was soon to become the island’s “main road.” Beginning near the present-day School Road, it included what is today known as Howard Street, and continued all the way to the sound shore.

There, in the vicinity of the modern-day ferry offices and Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum, John Pike and Willis Williams opened stores that sold general merchandise. Willis Williams’ establishment, at the mouth of the “ditch,” also included a small tavern. T.S. Blackwell operated a store some distance to the east.

Over the years a number of other general merchandise stores sprang up around the village.

In the early 1800s, on the “creek side,” Solomon Howard established a store where Lawton Howard’s home is today, on the corner of Lawton Lane and Howard Street. Later, A.B. Howard built a relatively large store on Cockle Creek. Ownership eventually passed to M.L. Piland, and still later to “Big Ike” O’Neal. Nearby, Walter O’Neal opened another store, as did Dr. Charlie Angle, although his merchandise was limited primarily to patent medicines, candy, and soft drinks.

As a young man Homer Howard operated a store where the Community Store is now located. His son, Lawton, said the store did not last long because his father “ate up all the profits.” More likely, his good nature prevented him from collecting money owed to him on charge accounts.

Charlie Minor O’Neal sold groceries, soft drinks, and more from his establishment on what is now the British Cemetery Road. Will Willis’ general store was unique. It was situated on the end of his dock in Cockle Creek.

Bill Styron had a small establishment “down point” (near the lighthouse) where he sold ice cream and milk shakes. Albert Styron’s store was nearby. It became the commercial center on that side of the village with a large assortment of groceries and fresh meat. Clarence Scarborough ran a modest business not far away.

One of the largest general stores on Ocracoke was that established by John W. McWilliams in the late 1800s. Located down point, on the shore of Cockle Creek, with a view of the harbor from one side, and the lighthouse from the other, the “Department Store,” as it came to be called, included several structures joined together. McWilliams traded in groceries, boating supplies, hardware, clothing, and other general merchandise. He even carried a line of furniture. A barber shop sat across the lane. The fierce storm of 1933 did considerable damage to the store, and sometime after John McWilliams’ death the store was abandoned.

Amasa Fulcher (1876-1946), a former member of the US Lighthouse Service, worked with John McWilliams for several years. In 1918 “Mace,” who lived “around creek,” left the McWilliams enterprise and established the Community Store on the harbor nearer to his home.

The Community Store soon became a focal point of community activity on the north side of Cockle Creek. Mace was a prominent and upright citizen, and an active member of the Ocracoke Methodist Episcopal Church (Ocracokers called this the “Northern Church”). By all accounts he conducted business in a “fair and square” manner. Although his opinions may not have always been popular (he was a Republican in a predominantly Democratic township), he was universally respected.

In later years Mace was elected one of the island directors of the county-wide fraternal organization, Knights of Hyde. As a prominent Methodist layman, the task of conducting burial rites for the crew of the British armed trawler, “Bedforshire,” fell to him in 1942.

The Community Store was a square building with a “shed addition” attached to the northwest side. Although close to the sandy lane that would eventually be called North Carolina Highway 12, the main entrance faced Cockle Creek. A porch with benches invited customers to stop and chat for a few minutes, or to sit for hours. Men congregated there to swap tales, tell jokes, carve small wooden birds, and talk about fishing and the weather.

The accompanying dock extended up to the store and connected with the front porch. A small barbershop operated by Gillis Riddick, Mace’s step-son-in-law, was erected alongside the dock, a few yards from the porch. A short section of the dock adjacent to the porch was customarily lifted up to allow passage along a sandy path that led around the shore of the harbor. The removable section was lowered whenever a shipment arrived at the dock, and boxes and barrels of new goods were hauled into the store. A fish house on the end of the dock served the growing number of commercial fishermen.

The Community Store, ca. 1944:

(Photo courtesy of Ocracoke Preservation Society.)

Inside, not far from the front door, stood a large pot-bellied stove. Kerosene lanterns provided light when it was needed. The Community Store had no spittoon, but a round cheese box filled with sand served the same purpose. A wooden rocker was pulled up close to the stove on cold winter days, and two or three other chairs stood nearby.

With fewer than 900 square feet, the store nevertheless held a copious amount and variety of merchandise.

There were groceries, of course. These were arranged on shelves behind the long, wide counter along the right hand side of the store. All of the usual items were there — flour, bread, sugar, salt, canned milk, butter, jellies, spices, and other staples. On the counter rested three large oval glass containers, fastened together and filled with hard candy. Small scales served for weighing candy. Larger scales for weighing other bulk items sat on the counter as well, near the brass cash register.

Wooden bins filled with potatoes were stacked under the front window. Barrels held beans and peas. Another large barrel held high quality West Indies Molasses. Rice was displayed in an adjacent container.

Tea and coffee, as well as various brands of snuff and tobacco, were also offered for sale.

Meat was often in short supply, although salt pork and slab bacon were almost always on hand. Large tubs of lard complimented the grocery section.

Children loved to inspect the cookie display. Six boxes of FFV (Famous Foods of Virginia) cookies, both plain and fancy, were stacked neatly near the center of the store. One of the favorites, “Mary Jane” cookies, contained molasses. Mr. Mace also sold “Johnny Cakes,” fig newtons, chocolate cookies, and marshmallow cookies with sprinkles.

A prominent feature of the store was a large wheel of cheddar cheese that perched on the counter. A heavy cast iron cheese cutter stood ready for Mr. Mace. After years of experience he could slice just the right amount for a customer almost every time.

In the center of the store, behind the pot-bellied stove, stood a long handmade walnut table with shelves built on top of it. Here Mr. Mace displayed bib overalls and dungarees. Above these were men’s, women’s and children’s shoes. Higher yet were caps and hats. Underneath the table he stocked rubber boots and tennis shoes.

A small office was located in the back corner, on the left. Adjacent to it were shelves of sewing material. There was white material for bed clothes and such. Bolts of material for work clothes, printed material for children’s togs and house dresses, and fancy materials for Sunday clothes rounded out the selection. Nearby was the O.N.T. (Our New Thread) cabinet with spools of cotton, needles, buttons, and other supplies, including several patterns of fancy lace.

A glass showcase on the same side of the building contained dress shirts, collars, pants, dresses, socks and underwear. A tall glass case was used to display perfumes and other cosmetics.

Other areas of the Community Store were filled with dishes, pots and pans, and sundry household items. Mops and brooms were hung from nails and pegs, as were oil skins and other boating supplies. Kerosene lamps, along with wicks, chimneys, and shades, were arranged next to new-fangled flashlights and batteries.

To meet the needs of local carpenters and do-it-yourselfers, Mr. Mace carried an assortment of nails, screws, tacks, nuts and bolts, and other hardware.

Oil and gasoline tanks on the property provided fuel for fishing vessels, and even for the small but increasing numbers of motor vehicles.

At Christmas time, Mace would rearrange the center shelf and pile it high with toys, gifts, and other enticements for the holiday season.

One noteworthy feature of Ocracoke’s Community Store was the shed-roofed “lean-to” on the northwest side of the building. In addition to chicken and horse feed Mace added a rather unusual item to his inventory. For years islanders had been keeping casket boards under their houses or over the rafters in outbuildings. When a death occurred a carpenter was summoned to nail the boards together to fashion a simple pine casket.

But times were changing. Sometime in the 1940s the Community Store began selling professionally built caskets. Two adult and one child’s casket were now kept in stock on a regular basis. Neighbors no longer had need of their casket boards and many were used for other projects. At least one dining room table on the island was constructed from wood originally intended as a coffin.

Mace Fulcher died in 1946. Shortly thereafter his widow, Maude Williams Fulcher, sold the Community Store to Mace’s sister’s husband, Isaac Freeman O’Neal (known by all as “Little Ike”), and Little Ike’s son-in-law, Jesse Woolard Garrish. Although the store retained the official name, The Community Store, it became popularly known as Garrish & O’Neal’s Store.

Sometime in the early 1950s Little Ike and Jesse had the original building demolished, and a new, larger store built in its place. The Community Store was a growing business. As a result, several years later the new store was enlarged. By the mid-1950s the store was commonly referred to simply as “Jesse’s Store.” Presumably by then Little Ike had sold his interest to Jesse Garrish.

Jesse was an energetic and hard working man. He was also pleasant and quick-witted. The store thrived under his ownership. By then change was in the air, however. Frazier Peele ran his first ferry across Hatteras Inlet in 1950, and the state of North Carolina took over operations several years later. Just as importantly, sandy lanes throughout the village were being paved, and a new, hard-surface road was laid down from the village to the north end of the island.

With better access to markets, fishing became a more practical occupation. And an ever growing tourist industry was initiated. The Community Store became a gathering place for locals and visitors alike. A bench and rockers on the front porch beckoned all to sit and share stories. This was the place to be if visitors wanted to meet local fishermen and island characters.

By then, Jesse had purchased coolers and freezers. Mayola ice cream was popular with the local teenagers, along with soft drinks and Nabs. Boys and girls spent many summer afternoons on the porch, drinking Coca-Cola (filled with peanuts), or Orange Crush, listening to the old-timers recount tales from years gone by. Whittlers wiled away many an hour on the Community Store porch carving seagulls and pelicans. They prized Mayola’s small wooden ice cream spoons because they were shaped just right for fashioning wings.

In 1962 Jesse died and his son, Danny, took over operation of the store. Like his daddy, Danny loved people and enjoyed bantering with locals and tourists alike. He hired good folks to help him out. One of his most memorable employees was Monford (Monk) Garrish who had the enviable ability to say the most outrageous things without offending anyone.

Of course, the store continued to provide groceries and basic necessities. In addition they began carrying coolers, suntan lotion, and other items for the tourist trade. One afternoon a woman from off-island walked up to the counter and asked Monk if they sold Nose-Kote, an early brand-name sun block designed especially for noses and ears. Monk immediately noticed that the woman had a larger-than-average nose. Without a moment’s hesitation he blurted out, “Yes ma’am, we do carry Nose-Kote….but not in gallon buckets.”

The Community Store functioned as headquarters for the Burial Association. A large map of the Community Cemetery and its various plots (with names of those interred there) hung on the office wall. Even after Twiford’s Funeral Home in Hatteras began directing funerals on Ocracoke Danny and Monk continued to tend to the immediate needs of the deceased and their families. It was not uncommon for Monk to transport a body from the church to the cemetery on his old blue Jeep pickup truck.

In 1978 Danny’s mother, Lucille, decided to sell the store. Philip and Julia Howard purchased it. They continued to hire Danny as manager. While they owned the store, the warehouse section, which had been an attached “L” extension alongside and parallel to NC Highway 12, was detached, moved, and reattached to the store in its present location near Silver Lake (Cockle Creek).

The Community Store, ca. 1980:

Philip and Julia kept the store stocked with all of the modern-day necessities, as well as items reminiscent of Mace’s general store. Pottery mixing bowls, agate cookware, tin cups and buckets, coal oil lamps, and wheel cheese shared space with cereal boxes, cans of vegetables, bread, cookies, flour, and soft drinks.

In 1980 Philip and Julia, unable to manage two businesses (they already owned the Village Craftsmen on Howard Street) sold the Community Store to David and Sherrill Senseney. Long-time employee, Ricky Tillett, eventually took over management of the store.

Located on Silver Lake near several docks and other businesses, the Community Store continued to be a magnet for locals and visitors. A bulletin board on the porch was always filled with posters and announcements – pot lucks, fish fries, items for sale. A nearby chalkboard listed the day’s birthdays and anniversaries, as well as other significant events.

Islanders were saddened when the Community Store closed its doors in the spring of 2006, after eighty-eight years of uninterrupted operation. Although the Ocracoke Variety Store, which had been serving islanders for several decades, continued to live up to its name with a large assortment of groceries, t-shirts, hardware, and other items, Ocracoke residents and visitors continued to hope that in the near future another entrepreneur would come forward to inject new life into the Community Store, one of the island’s most prominent traditional businesses.

Update, April, 2008:

In 2007 James and Susan Paul made that dream come true with a commitment to lease the Community Store from David Senseney. Throughout the winter and spring of 2008 they have been busy repairing, restoring, repainting, and cleaning the store.  Reopening is scheduled for Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 6 a.m., an event eagerly anticipated by Ocracoke residents.

The Community Store, ca. 2000:

With determination, hard work, and the support of the community, James and Susan, trading as the Community Store, should continue to serve the village of Ocracoke for many years to come.


Fall Greetings from all of us at Village Craftsmen!

We hope all of you had a Thanksgiving holiday filled with many blessings.  In spite of recent tragedies we are all keenly aware of much to be thankful for.

On Ocracoke, family and friends gathered around traditional Thanksgiving tables to celebrate this quintessential American holiday.  I was privileged to share in two bountiful dinners that included the familiar roast turkey as well as copious quantities of vegetable dishes, breads and desserts, all provided by the more than two dozen people who gathered for the feasts.

An Ocracoke Thanksgiving Potluck:
Potluck Potluck

My island get-togethers are seldom complete without some good old home-made music.  This holiday we were all treated to the considerable talents of the Molasses Creek musicians and assorted friends who picked up guitars, fiddles, and banjos to entertain us after dinner.

Home-made Music, Ocracoke Style:

Recently I was asked to write a short article about Ocracoke for an upcoming booklet to be published by the Hyde County Chamber of Commerce.  Some of you who are new to Ocracoke may not know many of the basic historical details about our island.  With this in mind, I am reproducing my article below.  There may even be some new information for some of our long-time visitors.  I hope you enjoy it.


Ocracoke Island!  The name itself suggests history, enchantment, even magic.

Some of the earliest recorded names for the island (Wokokon, Wocokon) reflect the island’s Native American connection.  Ocracoke’s first residents were members of the pre-Columbian Wocon tribe.  Eventually the “W” was dropped and spellings such as ‘Okok’ and “Ocrcok” evolved into the present-day  “Ocracoke.”

The European history of the island begins on November 11, 1719 when John Lovick, Secretary of the Colony of North Carolina and a Deputy of the Lords Proprietors, was granted the island of Ocracoke, containing 2,110 acres.

During the early eighteenth century Ocracoke was used chiefly for raising cattle and sheep. Because larger vessels were unable to navigate the shallow Pamlico Sound, Ocracoke Island soon became a settlement for pilots who transported sought-after goods to ports on the North Carolina mainland.

Pirates have long been a part of our colorful island history.  Buccaneers continued to use the island as a temporary campsite even after the infamous pirate Blackbeard was killed here in a naval battle on November 22, 1718.

On July 30, 1759 William Howard, of the Province of North Carolina, bought Ocracoke Island for £105.  He was the first owner to make his home on the island, and may be the same William Howard who served as quartermaster to Blackbeard the pirate earlier in that century.  Many of his descendants continue to live on the island to this day.

Over the next two hundred years Ocracoke prospered and grew.  Located near the southern end of the island, and nestled around one of the most beautiful natural harbors in the new country, Ocracoke village attracted sailors, pilots, and commercial fishermen.  Eventually, as sturdier homes were built and more families were raised on this isolated ribbon of sand, stores, churches, and a school were established.  Today the year-round population numbers about 750.

Throughout its history Ocracoke and its people have been witnesses to a number of important events. Ocracoke Inlet, with its deep and navigable channel, was a strategic point of entry into Pamlico Sound and ultimately to mainland North Carolina during both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. During the War Between the States, local residents served proudly in both the Union and Confederate armies. Fort Ocracoke, on nearby Beacon Island, was the scene of a naval attack in 1861.  The fortress was abandoned during that time, and later destroyed.  Recently, marine archaeologists have uncovered numerous artifacts in the vicinity.

World War II saw the construction of a naval base on Silver Lake Harbor and the erection of the first radar tower near the beach on what is now known as “Loop Shack Hill.”  The war was closer to our shores than many Americans realized.  Throughout the conflict local residents reported seeing numerous ships burning off-shore as the result of aggressive U-boat activity.

The British Cemetery, next to the historic Howard family graveyard, is the final resting place of four sailors from HMS Bedfordshire, an armed trawler, which was torpedoed on May 11, 1942.  Island residents discovered their bodies on the beach shortly after the tragedy and arranged for a fitting burial under the shade of several ancient live oak trees.  Today the graves are under the care of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and the US Coast Guard.  Every spring, a memorial service is held to honor these and other brave sailors who served in WWII.

The British Cemetery:

Ocracoke residents have survived not only world political unrest, but hurricanes and shipwrecks, as well.  In the 1800’s many islanders were owners, captains or sailors on schooners that plied waters along the eastern seaboard.  Over the years, more than 500 vessels have met their fate in the waters around nearby Diamond Shoals. Many older homes in the Ocracoke historic district were built with lumber salvaged from ships that wrecked in storm-tossed seas.  Not a few local residents are direct descendants of the brave men who served in the U.S. Life Saving Service.  Their heroic deeds during many a daring rescue constitute a noble legacy that has been passed on to the younger generations.

Major hurricanes in 1899, 1933, and 1944 as well as more recent storms have pummeled the island with high winds and rising water.  Although native islanders all have stories of exciting encounters with ferocious storms, very little property damage has resulted, and no one has ever lost a life in a hurricane.

Today Ocracoke is host to a growing number of vacationers, especially in the summer months. Sixteen miles of pristine, undeveloped beach, a part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, beckon first-time and veteran visitors every season.  Beachcombing, sunbathing and surf fishing are among the most popular summertime activities.

In addition, Ocracoke boat captains offer fishing charters in the relatively shallow waters of Pamlico Sound, as well as off-shore in the warm waters of the Gulf Stream.

Many visitors prefer to explore the shoreline in kayaks or sailboats.  There is ample opportunity to observe herons, egrets and other waterfowl, as well as turtles, dolphins and assorted sea life.

Seven miles northeast of the village the National Park Service cares for the descendants of a once-wild herd of ponies.  Some believe the original ponies were brought to the island by the earliest settlers; others think they swam ashore from ships that wrecked on nearby sand bars.  For years Ocracoke hosted an annual Independence Day pony penning.  In the mid-1950’s Captain Marvin Howard organized the only mounted Boy Scout troop in the country.

In the village, many people enjoy biking or walking, especially along historic Howard Street where small family cemeteries, gnarled old live oak trees, and moss-covered fences suggest an era not so long ago when life proceeded at a slower pace.

One of Ocracoke’s most popular destinations is the picturesque white lighthouse and keeper’s quarters.  Built in 1823, this beacon is one of the oldest lighthouses still in active service in the U.S. The steady beam can be seen up to 14 miles out to sea and serves as the most recognized symbol of the community of Ocracoke.

When you visit Ocracoke Island be sure to take time to reflect on all that makes this place so special to those of us who live here.  Although Ocracoke has many outstanding restaurants and fine shops, don’t forget that the island boasts a rich history and a colorful past.  Because of many years of cultural isolation many native Ocracokers still speak a distinctive brogue and continue to celebrate their unique island heritage.

Slow down. Sit for a spell on the store porch. Enjoy a spectacular sunset. Wait for the boats to  pull up to the docks with flounder, crabs or clams.  You will be rewarded with a sense of history, as well as a feeling of peace and calm.  If you stick around long enough you might make a few new friends. Over time Ocracokers might even share their stories, their hopes and their dreams.  Then you will feel like you have become a small part of this unique island community.


We thank all of you who honor and treasure our island home.  We wish you all a wonderful Fall and look forward to hearing from you soon or seeing you on your next visit to Ocracoke.

Philip and the entire staff at Village Craftsmen