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Bodie Island Lighthouse

Bodie Island Lighthouse

The Bodie (pronounced “body”) Island Lighthouse is rumored to have been named because of the number of bodies that washed ashore there from numerous shipwrecks which occurred in the infamous “Graveyard of the Atlantic” off the North Carolina coast long ago.  The historical truth is that it was named after the Body family, from whom the land where it now rests was purchased.

The distinctively banded lighthouse stands approximately 165 feet tall and is located soundside between Nags Head, NC and Oregon Inlet on the northernmost island of the Cape Hatteras Seashore.

The present lighthouse is the third Bodie Island Light, constructed in 1872, and was preceded by a first lighthouse built in 1847 and a second built in 1859.  The first, due to a faulty foundation fell victim to the elements.  The second was destroyed by retreating Confederate troops in 1861 who thought it might be used by Union troops as a lookout post during the Civil War.

Care of the lighthouse in July of 2000 passed from the U.S. Coast Guard to the National Park Service.  Restoration efforts began in 2010 and the facility is open to the general public for tours.

Call to setup a tour – 252-441-5466

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Undoubtedly the most popular and well known lighthouse on the East Coast, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse stands tall and proud with its history of warning seagoing vessels of the dangerous Diamond Shoals sandbars off the coast of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina.  At 208 feet from base to spire it is the tallest lighthouse in the nation and 23rd tallest traditional light in the world.  Its beam can normally be seen 20 miles offshore and even further in exceptionally clear weather.  Built in 1870, it has been a sentinel to ship’s captains for over 100 years.

Its distinctive spiral stripes give it a look that resembles a giant barber pole but makes it the most recognizable light in North Carolina.  Much controversy and media coverage regarding moving the treasured landmark 2900 feet inland to protect it from the encroaching ocean further served to fuel its fame.  That move was accomplished between 1999 and 2000 to the dismay of many a doubting fan, a great number of whom believed it couldn’t be done without destroying the structure.

Today the lighthouse stands in its new location accompanied by buildings that historically housed the keepers of the light.  One such building has been renovated and contains the Hatteras Island Visitor Center and Museum of the Sea.  It displays exhibits of the maritime heritage and history of the Outer Banks as well as information about the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, National Park Service rangers programs and a bookstore and is open year round.

For those wishing to climb the 268 steps to the top of the lighthouse for a magnificent view of the Seashore and surrounding Maritime Forest, the light is open to the public from early April until mid-October.

Contact us about arranging a Lighthouse tour including Hatteras Light! 252-441-5466

Ocracoke Lighthouse

Ocracoke Lighthouse

Although it is the shortest lighthouse in North Carolina standing only 75 feet tall, the Ocracoke lighthouse, as well as the island upon which it is built, has quite a colorful history.  Ocracoke became known in 1585 when English explorers shipwrecked there and within two centuries became one of the busiest inlets and inland travel routes along the East Coast.  In the early 1700’s it was known as a favorite anchorage of Edward Teach, the notorious pirate known as Blackbeard, who eventually was killed and beheaded by Lieutenant Robert Maynard of the Royal Navy.

The Ocracoke light is the second oldest operating light station in North Carolina and was originally constructed in 1823 by Massachusetts builder Noah Porter.  Its walls are 5 feet thick at the base tapering to 2 feet at the top.  Its distinctive white color was the result of a whitewash consisting of lime, salt, whiting, ground rice and glue combined with boiling water which was applied while still hot.

As it is located at one of the highest points on the island the light has survived many storms and hurricanes and, along with the light keeper’s station, has sheltered many an Ocracoke resident in the past.  Often residents arrived in boats as flooded streets became otherwise impassible.

A resident lightkeeper is no longer needed for the fully automated facility and it is now overseen by the United States Coast Guard.  Although the lighthouse cannot be climbed it is open to the general public to tour and photograph.

Call to setup a time to see the lighthouses. 252-441-5466