The Lost Colony: The History of the Mystery

March 31, 2023

We learned our lesson going into Ocracoke and left first thing in the early morning to avoid the fery. Turning on the correct navigational overlay, we set our course for Roanoke Island and the town of Manteo, NC.

Entering Manteo was a challenge due to confusing channel markers. The route was narrow and shallow, but we managed to get in. Reservations had been made at Shallowbag Bay just in time for a 50 mph windstorm. Docking was the typical stern in with two pilings to attach the bow lines (I’m getting better at these).

Not many Loopers go to the Outer Banks, but I had heard great things about them and wanted to visit Roanoke Island to add to the kids’ homeschool curriculum.

Roanoke Island is the first British Colony in North America, established in 1585. In 1587, the first child of English parents was born in the settlement (named Virginia). In the same year, Governor White, Virginia’s grandfather, has to return to England for needed supplies, but is unable to return to the colony due to attacks by the Spanish Armada. In 1590, Governor White organized a relief expedition and returned to the colony; however, the colonists nor the settlement, were to be found. The only clues are the word CROATOAN carved into the palisades and the letters CRO carved into a tree. The disappearance of the colonists is still a great mystery and many hypothesis exist. Researchers and archeologists continue to uncover the mystery of the Lost Colony.

April 1, 2023

I woke up to the giggling of children and know they’ve woken up early to play pranks for April Fools Day. Michael has hidden the French Press coffee maker (unfortunately for him, he forgets that we now go to Coda for our morning coffee) so we weren’t inconvenienced. Annette then shows me she can use magic to unlock my phone.  She did something with the settings and voice command, but it was a very clever trick. Aside from that, there were no other pranks by the kids.

The day is extremely windy, reaching steady 50 mph winds. Ensuring the boats are secured, we walk a mile to town and prepare our exploration adventure.

Our first stop is the Roanoke Island Festival Park. It’s a Living Museum with a couple of actors playing the role of colonists. The kids learned how a blacksmith makes nails and received one to take home. There was an area on the Native Americans and Michael was able to participate in covering the side of a longhouse. Finally, there was a recreated Queen Elizabeth ship that we were able to tour and experience.

The afternoon was spent exploring the downtown area. There was one store that was a repurposed bank that still has a vault incorporated into the shop. We also enjoyed wine tasting and learning about the local grape varieties including discovering information on a 400-year old grape vine known as the Mother Vine. Unfortunately we were unable to locate this vine. Despite it being windy, we had an enjoyable time exploring.

The evening was a rollercoaster ride. The wind was howling and the boats were really rocking. We were secured, but I would look through the porthole in the middle of the night and see the boats bouncing around. The next morning, I noticed that our bow lines broke the wooden cleats on the front pilings.

April 2, 2023

The morning started with a trip to a nearby Christmas shop. The shop was huge! Each room had a different theme of decorations, ranging from Star Wars to Dr. Seuss. There was an additional section dedicated to Halloween and a general store with more wine tasting and chocolates.

The kids wanted to rest and the boys wanted to work on boat projects, so Tonia, Barb, and I took an Uber to the northern point of the island to tour the Elizabethan Gardens and Fort Raleigh National park.

The Gardens were lovely despite it being early Spring. The rose garden had a rose gifted by Queen Elizabeth II from her Windsor Garden collection to commemorate America’s Bicentennial.

Fort Raleigh National Park is believed to be the actual settlement location. There’s a recreated earthen mound of the old fort built over the discovered sunken remains. The park also had a decent museum of the history of the area. Thankfully, the wind died down and we were able to enjoy the scenery without having our hair whip us in the face.

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