Monday, November 28, 2005

Wild Ocracoke

Spending Thanksgiving on Ocracoke Island was a family tradition for Paul when he was a boy, and it's a wonderful gift he's been giving his own son (and me). We missed last year, so it was really nice to be there this time. Despite the New York Times' promotion of our favorite perch on Silver Lake, the island didn't seem overcrowded; in fact, we thought it might have been a little bit down compared to other years.

Happily, everything was much the same (but note the startling news about Albert Styron's store, now a commercial print shop). New to us this time was the Springer's Point Nature Preserve, 31 acres of wilderness along the sound side of the south end of the island--a relic of what the whole island must have looked like once upon a time.

springer's point

The purchase was made possible by a $2 million grant from the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund. It's managed by the N.C. Coastal Land Trust, which plans to buy an adjacent 91 acres in coming years.

springer's point live oak
Ancient live oak.

springer's point soundside
Soundside, somewhere near Teach's Hole. (Blackbeard's treasure is said to be buried on Springer's Point.)

The trail is delightfully unimproved as yet, leaving much to the imagination. You can't miss Sam Jones' grave, though. He's buried here beside his horse, Ikey D.

springer's point sam jones grave
Sam Jones, who purchased Springer's Point in 1941, died in 1977.

The best history of Springer's Point, including episodes involving pirates and ghosts, is told by Philip Howard, whose ancestor William Howard Sr. once owned the whole island. Little did we know, when we heard Roy Parsons perform at the Okrafolk fundraiser on Friday night, that we were in the presence of a man who had been shaken to the very core by the ghostly apparition of his former employer, Sam Jones.

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