Harkers Island and the Core Sound Museum

Submitted by OcracokeWaves on Sun, 04/05/2009 - 11:38.

We have always enjoyed visiting Harkers Island.  As my wife says, it reminds us a little of Nova Scotia where we lived for a few years.  The island way of life brings people together and creates a special bond.  Harkers Island is just a short drive from Beaufort.  As you can see from the Google Map, it would be an even shorter boat ride.  Except for the no wake zone on Taylor's Creek, it might even be quicker.

On the drive up to Harkers Island, it does not take long before the area feels like Down East.  The water seems closer and the marshes bigger.  Somehow even the land feels flatter.

About four miles after turning off of Route 70 just past Otway, you cross the bridge to Harkers Island. We are always impressed with the interesting homes along the way as you drive the four mile length of Harkers Island.  There are also some great live oak trees along the way.  The water is never far away.

On the way to the Core Sound Museum which at the end of the island, you pass a few ferries that will take you over to Shackleford Banks or Cape Lookout.  We have taken advantage of Calico Jack's Ferry Service a couple of times in the past.  Our visits to Cape Lookout have been magical and well worth the twenty dollars we paid the last time we went.

The road to the Core Sound Museum is on the left just before the mainland visitor's center for Cape Lookout.  The building for the museum is very impressive.  It is also a work in progress.  Since the museum is a private non-profit organization they are completing the inside of the building as they raise funds.

What they have already done is wonderful.  The local history that they have preserved is amazing. Currently there are exhibits of all the small towns in the area.  There is also a duck carving exhibit which I am sure is active during parts of the year.  The museum has lots of decoys, quilts, and scale models of boats.

There is also a very nice gift shop.  Entrance to the museum is free, but I know they appreciate the support of a small donation.  Plans are to have a library and to install an elevator so people can view the surrounding area from the tower.

The museum also has some self guided hiking tours. Since it was late in the day, we took the shortest one which goes around Willow Pond.  When we got to the backside of the pond, we could see trees filled with a large flock of Ibises.   Much to my surprise as we got closer to the birds, we saw that the museum and its many volunteers had provided a wonderful birding blind so that it would be easy to take pictures. 

This is a slide show of our visit to the museum and our hike of the Willow Pond Trail

After we finished our hike, we drove over to the parking lot across from the Cape Lookout visitors center.  We could see Cape Lookout and as is often the case, there were a couple of other cars with people enjoying the view and that sense of isolation that comes from being on an island.

We had a great trip to the Core Sound Museum.  It is a wonderful place, full of evidence of the rich life that has defined the people of Harkers Island.  We will be headed back soon to tackle the longer trail and to take an even closer look at the cultural heritage of Down East.