Our original goal for Friday was to ferry around Shackleford Island and Cape Lookout via Beaufort, NC. A ominous storm cloud hanging overhead changed that plan. We knew better than to be on the water, so we headed to Harkers Island in search of access to Cape Lookout National Seashores.
The island is small, but it's been well settled with a history we've only begun to learn. We discovered Harkers is home to the Cape Lookout National Seashore Visitor's Center. They do not, however, have a bridge to Cape Lookout. Lesson learned: access to Cape Lookout and Shackleford Island is by ferry only. Click HERE for a list of authorized ferry services.
We did see Cape Lookout lighthouse from the Visitor's Center, but from a distance of 4.5 miles. It's a working lighthouse, and we spotted the glow from the Fresnel lens from the parking lot.
We stopped at one of the ferry services to inquire about fees and running times in preparation for our next visit. Most ferries to Shackleford and Cape Lookout are only $10 a person round trip at the time of this writing.
Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge. Along the way, we found the city of Davis, which has a car ferry pointed toward Cape Lookout NS. Further up the road, we also found pitcher plants alongs one of the country roads. North Carolina nurtures these endangered plants in a variety of locations along the coast, and we were pleased when we found them on this trip. We fed a host of mosquitoes as we took pictures of a few of the specimens we spotted.
Since our visit, I've purchased a book on the history of Harkers Island and have read about the settlement of Harkers by residents of Diamond City on the wilderness known as Shackleford Banks, and the changes born to the island and the economy with the building of the bridge. For more about what's quickly becoming the lost history of Harkers, go to www.bluewaternc.com/CrystalCoast/Harkers-Island/HarkersIslandHistory/
UPDATE: We did return to Harkers to take the ferry to Cape Lookout, and I finally saw the wild ponies that still roam the island: