On a hot July day in 1587, 117 men, women, and children left their boat and set foot on Roanoke Island to form the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Three years later, when a fleet with supplies from England landed, the settlers had disappeared without a trace, leaving a mystery that continues to baffle historians. Much of the 12-mile-long island, which lies between the Outer Banks and the mainland, remains
wild. Of the island's two towns, Wanchese is the fishing village and Manteo is tourist-oriented, with an aquarium and sights related to the island's history.