Embark on a spine-tingling adventure through the remote Outer Banks of North Carolina, where chilling tales and haunted trails await. With a deep connection to the notorious pirate Blackbeard, the island of Ocracoke and the colonial-era towns of Beaufort, Bath, Washington, and Greenville offer an eerie escape for the brave-hearted.
Unraveling the Legend of Blackbeard
Three hundred years ago, Edward Teach, famously known as Blackbeard the Pirate, met his tragic fate off the North Carolina coast. His flagship ran aground, and soon after, he fell victim to an ambush near Ocracoke Inlet.
According to Blackbeard expert and author Kevin P. Duffus, Edward Teach was likely a local landowner’s son, whose piracy activities, supported by a band of locals, including a slave named Caesar, were driven by the economic challenges of a British-controlled colony rather than pure mayhem.
A Pirate’s Paradise
To fully immerse yourself in the pirate lore, begin your journey in the enchanting waterfront town of Beaufort. Join Hungry Town Tours for a captivating walking tour of the town, once a haven for Blackbeard and his crew.
Indulge in a memorable dining experience at La Perla, a Spanish-inspired restaurant housed within the historic Cedar’s Inn. The warm ambiance of candlelit hurricane lamps will transport you to a bygone era.
Unveiling Maritime Mysteries
Satiate your curiosity about Blackbeard at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort. The museum showcases artifacts recovered from the wreckage of Blackbeard’s ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge. Immerse yourself in maritime oddities, including a dessicated whale’s heart that would intrigue even Herman Melville himself.
For a true pirate experience, venture to Ocracoke Island, the heart of Blackbeard Country. Reach the island by ferry, with the North Carolina Ferry system proudly flying Edward Teach’s pirate flag in 2018. Although some ferry routes may be closed during the off-season, the journey typically takes no longer than two hours.
Haunting Encounters on Ocracoke Island
Ocracoke Island exudes an eerie charm and seclusion that has fostered numerous ghost stories and local legends. Join local craftsperson Amy Howard for a spine-chilling ghost tour that reveals the island’s dark secrets. Amy, a descendant of the original settlers, expertly weaves haunting tales, including the chilling story of a murdered landlady in a haunted hotel. Schedule your tour at The Village Craftsman, where you can also peruse and purchase Amy’s handcrafted brass jewelry.
Stroll along Ocracoke’s windswept, sandy beaches and seek refuge for the night at Blackbeard’s Lodge, one of the island’s oldest and most revered bed and breakfast establishments. Run by Chip Stevens, a direct descendant of Blackbeard’s quartermaster William Howard, the lodge boasts a statue of the infamous pirate in its lobby.
A Taste of Ocracoke
Savor a memorable dining experience at The Back Porch, a hidden gem nestled along a country road. Locals flock to this renowned seafood restaurant, known for its delectable dishes and extensive wine selection. The lively atmosphere, filled with island celebrities, artists, artisans, and storytellers, echoes the rich tradition of relishing well-told tales while enjoying a pint or a glass of wine.
Before bidding farewell to the island, explore the enchanting woodlands of Springer’s Point Nature Reserve. This secluded spot is believed to have been a favorite gathering place for Blackbeard’s crew, who kept a watchful eye on the local authorities.
Following Blackbeard’s Trail
A short ferry ride away, the towns of Bath, Greenville, and Washington also hold connections to Blackbeard’s legend. Greenville is home to the conservation study of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, where a real pirate anchor, encrusted with three centuries of sea life, is on display in a special conservation tank, under the care of East Carolina University’s West Research Campus.
Bath, a charming town, claims to be the last place Edward Teach resided before his final encounter with the authorities. It also served as the inspiration for Edna Ferber’s Show Boat, a renowned musical. Bath’s rich history and local showboats offer a captivating glimpse into the region’s intriguing past.
Immerse yourself in the ghostly tales and mysterious trails that permeate North Carolina’s coast. Whether you visit during the 300th anniversary celebration of Blackbeard or any other time, you’ll feel transported to a realm where time stands still and fantastical stories come to life. As Shakespeare wrote in The Tempest, “Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises, Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.” The same can be said of the haunted tales and captivating trails that await intrepid explorers along the Trails Carolina.