Core Sound Stop 7: Cedar Island
The Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge, comprised of 11,000 acres of marshland and nearly 3,500 acres of forest, is a major nesting place for many bird species, and is one of the most northerly habitats of the American alligator. The unincorporated town of Cedar Island, at the tip of the peninsula, is an old fishing village. Some houses here date back to the late nineteenth century, though the area has been inhabited since at least the eighteenth century. You’ll pass docks on the right that are home to working shrimp and crab boats, and, depending on the time of your visit, you may see vast walls of stacked red and yellow and green crab pots.
At the northeastern end of the island you’ll find the Driftwood Motel and Restaurant, and the landing for the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry. This ferry will take you part of the way to Portsmouth, the last stop on the tour of Core Sound.
The ferry ride to Ocracoke is two hours and fifteen minutes long, and runs eight times a day each way during the summer, and four times during winter. 1-800-293-3779 for reservations (recommended) and to verify schedules. From Ocracoke, you will have one more ferry ride – this one much shorter – across the channel to Portsmouth. Check the Cape Lookout National Seashore website for information on licensed ferry services.
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Photo credits: Cedar Island docks; photo by Sarah Bryan.