The North Carolina Coast Sights


Portsmouth Village Review

Inhabited from 1753 until the early 1970s, the village listed 685 permanent residents at its peak in 1860, according to the census that year. It was a "lightering" town, where ships heavy with cargo had to unload to smaller boats that could navigate the shallow Ocracoke Inlet. But the Civil War and the dredging of a deeper inlet at Hatteras were the beginning of the end for Portsmouth. By 1956 there were 17 inhabitants; the last 2 left in 1971. Today the public can tour the visitor center, the one-room schoolhouse, the post office and general store, the Methodist church, and the turn-of-the-20th-century Life Saving Station (a multiroom Coast Guard station). Guided tours are available June 1 to Sept. 1. The walking trails can be difficult because of standing water, sandy soil, and mosquitoes. Public restrooms are not abundant; bring your own food and water.

Updated: 10-09-2012

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