Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse

A short walk from Roanoke Island Festival Park, lies the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse. Lying at the end of a pier in the waterfront harbor, this was the third lighthouse we got to see close-up on our trip.

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Very charming!

From http://www.townofmanteo.com:

The Town of Manteo dedicated the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse on Saturday, September 25, 2004. The lighthouse is on the Manteo waterfront, on the east side of Roanoke Island.The Roanoke Marshes Light  is an exterior reconstruction of the square cottage-style screw-pile lighthouse which stood at the southern entrance to Croatan Sound, near Wanchese. It was decommissioned in 1955, and lost in the Sound during an attempt to move it to private property.

Near the lighthouse, is a Weather Tower. The US Weather Bureau once used Coastal Warning Display towers such as this one to fly signal flags to warn mariners of wind shifts or approaching storms.

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The Manteo Weather Tower is believed to be one of only five towers still in use, and may be the only one with all of its original signal lights affixed.

While the lighthouse and the weather tower were undeniably the best sights to see in the harbor, we did see something else that was very cool!

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This guy was using a water jet pack to cruise around the harbor! Maybe this is not new to the average joe, but we had never seen one and were enthralled. I wanted to try this so bad, but it just wasn’t in the cards that day.

All in all, our impromptu trip to Roanoke Island was one of the best days of our trip. We left the island, picked the dogs up from the kennel and ended our day back on Hatteras, just in time to view a beautiful sunset.

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The Lost Colony

Our second to last day of vacation, we decided to visit Roanoke Island, known as the site of the first English colony in the New World. Having not been in a history class for many moons, we were a bit confused, as we were thinking that Jamestown, Virginia, was the location of the first settlement.

We got the scoop once we entered Roanoke Island Festival Park. The Park was like a living museum, complete with a reproduction Elizabeth II, the ship that brought the settlers across the Atlantic:

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Visitors are encouraged to go inside the ship, explore and converse with the reenactors.

On the grounds is an American Indian village (also reproduction):

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and a replica of the actual first settlement, including a working blacksmith reenactor (not pictured) who was forging nails for the tourist:

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The pictures don’t really do this place justice. There was much more to it. It really felt like a living history class. And speaking of history, we learned that Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas, established around 20 years after Roanoke.

Roanoke, unfortunately, came to a mysterious end, and became known as the Lost Colony.  One of the colonists, John White, left for England in 1587 to obtain much needed supplies so that the colony would survive the coming winter. He expected to return to Roanoke within three months. Instead, he was delayed for lack of a ship, as England was involved in a war and all ships were confiscated for use in the war efforts. It was 1590 before he was able to get back to his new home on Roanoke. When he arrived, he found the colony had simply vanished. The only clue he found was the word “CROATOAN” carved into a tree, perhaps indicating that the colonists had headed to the island of that name (now known as Hatteras Island). He was never able to find the colonists, among whom were his daughter and granddaughter, the first English child born in the New World.

Next post: our third lighthouse on this trip!