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obx portsmouth island = desolate beauty

On a clear day you can see it from Ocracoke: Portsmouth Island. Just south of Ocracoke on the northernmost tip of Cape Lookout National Seashore, Portsmouth is a deserted strip of land accessible by boat only – desolate yet beautiful. Molly Harrison, writing for Our State Magazine does a lovely job of describing the island, bringing the reader to it’s lonely beaches and eerily quiet village.

Preserved village of Portsmouth is part of the allure of Portsmouth Island.  (Ray Matthews)

Preserved village of Portsmouth is part of the allure of Portsmouth Island. (Ray Matthews)

“Rising from the Pamlico Sound south of Ocracoke, on the watery, windy edge of the state, Portsmouth Island is one of the last few wild, uninhabited islands along the North Carolina coast. Out here, beyond bridges, beyond telephone poles and power lines, in the sticky, salty ocean air, lies a barrier island as it is meant to be — vast stretches of smooth, white beach with natural dunes; salt marshes of swishing spartina and needlerush; plains of grasses cut by winding, blue creeks; hummocks of wax myrtles and scrappy, salt-stunted cedars and live oaks; sand flats that alternate between drenched and desert dry.

Twenty-two miles long and never more than a mile wide, Portsmouth is three miles across the sound from Down East Carteret County. Together with South Core Banks, home of Cape Lookout, and Shackleford Banks, the island is forever protected from development as part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore.”

Learn the history, mystery and beauty of Portsmouth Island. Click here.

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