Visit Ocracoke: Riding the Ferry
We normally don't visit Ocracoke in the summer because even with three ferry's tirelessly shuffling people back and forth from Hatteras to Ocracoke Island, the wait is forever. We once went in the summer after getting up early on vacation, driving the hour from Kill Devil Hill down to Hatteras and were told it would be a three hour wait to get on the ferry on this side. We couldn't imagine the wait on the opposite side so we turned around defeated and went home. Well, being the dead of winter we decided on our recent trip visiting my mother and father in law, because it is winter, couldn't be that many people heading to an island in the Atlantic. Let's go!
We packed up early Saturday morning with a couple of bags of chips left in the car from the drive down to the beach and that large box of Gobstoppers we won from the Wilderness Lodge and drove down to catch the ferry. When we got there, we noticed a ferry just departed so that kind of stank but we all did have to use the restroom so we headed inside the small station to use it and find something to drink. Chips and no drink can make for a dry mouth.
We walked around inside and check out some nautical charts, ferry times and bought a couple of items from the vending machines. After becoming bored of doing that we walked around outside noticing the one car in front of us and felt pretty good about getting on the next ferry. Soon the ferry did arrive from Ocracoke but it must have been lunch break because all of the workers got off and went missing for about twenty minutes. Soon we were told to board. I drove my car on the ferry and we were finally off.
Usually the ferry ride is about thirty minutes but because of the nor'easterns that have come through the OBX, it has pushed sand into the inlet in between Hatteras and Ocracoke. Instead of turning south towards the island, we headed west for about twenty minutes before turning back south and then east towards the island. After we reached the island and drove off the ferry, it's about a twenty minute ride into town. We were starved by this point. We were thinking we would be on the island around noon but now it was pushing two.
We had already had a place in mind to eat but when we reached it, it was closed for the winter season. At this point we were all thinking we were going to be stopping at a convenience store for some pre-made, plastic wrapped sandwiches but we finally came across a Restaurant. Don't you love pulling up and seeing the restaurant is named Restaurant? I was thrilled, let me tell you. The food wasn't that bad and the restaurant was really named The Topless Oyster.
After eating, Douglas showed us around the island because she comes here every year with girlfriends she goes to school with. We visited the lighthouse, the canal homes and saw all of the unopened shops. It was getting around four and I realized at four-thirty the ferry would be leaving. Knowing we weren't going to make it home before dark, we still were ready to go. We popped on the ferry and enjoyed the hour ride back.
It was a nice visit but nothing compares Ocracoke in the summer to Ocracoke in the winter.