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Pancakes, Ponies, and the Pursuit of Peace: An Ocracoke Mini-Adventure💕

Good Morning and Welcome to My Atlantic Life  🥰

Just a quick hello for today, as I'm deep in the throes of finishing off the final chapter of my Icelandic adventures, which I promise to share later this week. But amidst the flurry of writing and reminiscing, I found myself yearning for a dose of the present, a little adventure to ground me in the here and now. So Sunday was a mini adventure to Ocracoke!

As we’ve had a couple of close friends visiting with us at the inn for a few days - Dave kindly helping JB out with some repairs around the inn, and MaryEllen spending some time on one of her favorite pastimes when she is in Hatteras - "shelling" (in fact MaryEllen loves to "shell" so much that she had arrived at the inn earlier in the week with a large beach bag with the name "Maryshellin" emboldened on the front of it - a gift from her daughter), I thought she might like to join me on my Ocracoke trip, as an avid "sheller", I knew that an opportunity to walk the beaches of Ocracoke would be met with joy!

In line for the 6am ferry

Leaving Hatteras....

The day began in the predawn darkness, a favorite time of mine, when the world whispers secrets to those awake to listen. We left the inn enveloped in an inky blackness, with only a 5 min drive to catch the 6am sunrise ferry to Ocracoke, it wasn't long before we were in the extremely short line (I think there were a total of 7 vehicles on the ferry, a far cry from the crazy long lines that snake around the corner and along NC12 in the summer season, where you can be waiting 3-4 hours for a ferry!). Once onboard, having left the ferry terminal, MaryEllen settled in to read, whilst I ventured out of Jake (the Jeep)…..As I stood on the deck, the salty North wind greeted me with an exhilarating blast, a howling symphony that danced around me, invigorating my soul and marking an incredible start to my day. The ferry was super quiet, well it was 6am on a Sunday morning, so not surprisingly I had the deck to myself……In those moments of solitude, surrounded by the vast expanse of water and the emerging light of dawn, it was easy to lose myself in thoughts and memories. The occasional cry of a seagull, echoing across the waves, catapulted me back to childhood boat trips, infusing the cold morning air with nostalgia and a sense of continuity.

Jake on the Ferry

The ever shifting shoals around Hatteras Inlet (the inlet that separates Hatteras from Ocracoke) mean that the journey to Ocracoke, via buoy markers that help the captain of the boat safely guide us through the channels avoiding the trecherous shallows, frequently changes. For now, we have to travel in the opposite direction from Ocracoke, in a strange dance between the shoals, before turning and heading to the island. The trip taking almost an hour and fifteen minutes.

The Blue Spot on the map is the Ferry

Upon reaching Ocracoke, it was time to drive up to the village approx. 12 miles away. That turned out to be a micro adventure in itself – not long after starting up NC 12, the high tide, coupled with the strong winds, had pushed the water up and on to the road, and it was close to being washed out!! I therefore had to be super careful maneuvering on the sand and water covered road. Fortunately, it was only a short section, but it was a stark reminder of our Outer Banks islands’ frail existence against the might and power of the Atlantic Ocean.


Rather disconcerting as the waves wash over the road 😨

First stop was the "Pony Pen", a secluded 180 acre area enclosure on the soundside of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, where the Ocracoke ponies live safely. Some historians believe that the arrival of the Ocracoke horses can be traced back to a Spanish shipwreck that occurred in 1565! For me, seeing them sheltering next to their barn on this sunny, but super chilly day, warmed my heart 💕

The Pony Pens

Once in Ocracoke, of course nearly everything is closed up for the winter, save for the essentials that are a necessity for the thriving local community. We quietly drove through the deserted streets, something that is a little more challenging when the island population increases by a huge amount in the heat of the summer season. Ocracoke, with its award winning beaches, is a super popular vacation destination for many, and the main road through the village can get rather congested.

After the trip through the village it was time to head to the beaches, just before we left the little community we happened upon a charity takeout Pancake Breakfast…...what luck - and we were only too happy to donate to the school’s 5th grade summer trip fund in exchange for a truly yummy breakfast 😋

A delicious surprise Breakfast!!!

The magnificent beaches of Ocracoke then beckoned – MaryEllen off on her shell hunt along the water’s edge, as for me…….after a brisk, refreshing (yeah the wind was a rather chilly companion) stroll along the beach, I found a little nook to shelter in, where once settled in, I could pen the thoughts swirling around my little lady brain.

Award Winning Ocracoke Beaches...

After being on the island for a few hours, it was time to return to the ferry terminal as the schedule had let me know, that there was a 3 hour gap if we didn’t make the next ferry….and much as I love the beaches on Ocracoke, it was time to get back to my cozy inn in Hatteras.

The return to Hatteras by ferry on the sunny afternoon, belied the chill that lingered in the air, a gentle reminder of the morning's raw beginning.

The drive wasn't quite as bad on the way back to the ferry terminal as the tide was going out

Spectacular skies on the ferry back to my Hatteras Home 💕

Jake the Jeep 🥰

Almost Home...

Back home at the inn, the warmth of familiarity enveloped me, a comforting end to a day of adventure and introspection.

This brief escapade to Ocracoke, shared with a friend, was a vivid reminder that adventure doesn't always mean crossing oceans or scaling mountains. Sometimes, it's found in the quiet company of friends, in the laughter shared over simple joys, in unexpected yummy breakfasts, and in the serene moments of beauty offered freely by the world around us. And, as I put the finishing touches on my tales of Icelandic exploits, I'm reminded that adventure, at its core, is a state of mind, always within reach, waiting just beyond the threshold of our willingness to explore. You just have to step out there....💕

Until next time,

Take care

Love and Hugs,

Pam 🥰

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Love this adventure! I live in upstate NY and have spent part of our winters, Spring , Fall and yes, summers in the OBX! I too fell in love when I first took my family on vacation there, some 18 years ago! It reminds me of the wild places close to where I live here in NY. The Adirondack mountains! I have camped and travelled there since I was a child. The Outer Banks reminds me of that wld place also except the opposite, the beach. These two places are in my heart forever! We'll be visiting in March for a month, Corolla, may come by and visit to check out the Inn and some courses and retreats you offer.…

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