June 13, 2013

Summer programs are underway at
Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station

Summer programs are now underway at the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site and Museum.  The newest program is “Traditional Hatteras Island Cooking-with Samples!” 

All programs are free with the site admission fee. The fee is $6 for general admission, $4 for seniors and students, and $5 per person for groups of 20 or more.

All programs begin at 2 p.m. and run through Aug. 30. They are all outdoors, thus weather-dependent.

Summer programs include:

MONDAY: “Nights in Rodanthe” Movie — Behind the Scenes.

 Most exterior scenes for the feature film, “Nights in Rodanthe,” were actually filmed right here in Rodanthe, where Chicamacomico is located.  The site operations manager, Linda Molloy, was cast as Jill Torrelson opposite Richard Gere in a brief but pivotal role.  Come get the scoop!  Mulloy will autograph and personalize your book and DVD purchases for a truly unique vacation souvenir. The “inn” is nearby. Neither the inn nor a viewing of the movie itself are part of this program


Marvel at the superlatives that make Chicamacomico so very special. You can hear the stories and discover the forgotten yet fascinating history of the United States Life-Saving Service, the original “Storm Warriors” who were the predecessors of today’s U.S. Coast Guard. Hear the details of actual rescues done here. 


Regular admission fee includes samples! Advanced reservations encouraged but not required, though the program is limited to 50 people. Following the restaurant presentation, Miss Elsie Hooper, Hatteras Island elder native, will be in the 1911 Cookhouse (adjacent to the Main Station) to conclude the “Traditional Hatteras Island Cooking” program. There she will do a “show and tell” about the actual coal-burning cookstove there.  She will identify the stove parts, explain their uses and tell how to operate it, what it can do, and what it takes to cook on a coal (or wood stove).  Those who have experienced it say the best food they ever ate was cooked on a wood stove… come find out why.

This program is presented each Wednesday except for the four dates below.


Hear from the actual crew members from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., that made the incredible, famous rescue during Hurricane Sandy last October. This program will be presented only on July 3 and Aug. 7.

WEDNESDAY: BOOK LAUNCHING. Only on  July 10. “Whisper Island” by Anola Pickett.

If you are familiar with Hatteras Island and with the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site & Museum, then you will automatically picture those scenes with every page that you read in “Whisper Island.”  That is no coincidence.  Children and young adult’s author Anola Pickett came to Chicamacomico to do her research for this book – and it shows in the authenticity of the facts, details, and settings of the novel.  Furthermore, if you climb the Watch Tower of Chicamacomico’s 1911 Life-Saving Station, and then look down to the original Chicamacomico 1874 Life-Saving Station, then the cover of the book will look very familiar!

Here is what to expect at Chicamacomico on July 10 for the book launching of “Whisper Island.”   Learn what inspired the story, hear what life was like in the early 1900s, take part in games and activities from that time, and enjoy some scenes from the book, perhaps including you as an actor. The station keeper will be in period garb and conduct a “junior version” of our famous Beach Apparatus Drill using the kids as the surfmen. This will be an interactive, give-and-take program between author and audience


The U.S. Life-Saving Service required all stations to practice this rescue method weekly.  Chicamacomico is now the only place in the country—or the world, for that matter—that regularly performs the complete drill, including live black powder firing and live shot, performed by volunteer active-duty U.S. Coast Guard personnel.  Popularly known as the “Breeches Buoy Rescue Reenactment,” it remains the best show on the Outer Banks!


The longer popular works of drama are around, the more fiction is mistaken for fact. This is simply no “mystery” at all, once the basic factual history is understood.  Where did they go? Where they actually first started, but where was that?  Scott Dawson’s compelling delivery will have you spellbound.

The Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site and Museum are open to the public from April through November.  This historic site, on the National Register of Historic Places, was one of the stations of the United States Life-Saving Service (USLSS), predecessor of the U.S. Coast Guard.  Both services’ histories are celebrated there. 

The seven-acre complex contains eight original historic buildings and includes two complete lifesaving stations (1874 and 1911), two complete cook houses, a boat house, a tractor shed, a horse stable/workshop, three barrel cisterns, one rare “beehive” cistern, and a 1907 island two-story, 10-room home, fully furnished as if the visitor stepped back a century in time. 

This is one of the most complete USLSS complexes in the nation.  The 1874 Life-Saving Station has undergone extensive restoration, now looking much like it did when it was built in 1874.  It became the first operational lifesaving station in North Carolina, thereby now making it the oldest.  In fact, the only government structure on the island older is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and that is by only four years.  The Chicamacomico Station is one of only two 1874 USLSS stations open to the public in the nation.

The Chicamacomico Station was the scene of the most highly awarded maritime rescue in American history; that of the S.S. Mirlo on Aug. 16, 1918.  The original surfboat used in that rescue, Surfboat No. 1046, is on display in the 1874 Station.  It is only one of hundreds of original artifacts, displays, exhibits, and photographs available for viewing.

The Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site and Museum is one of the many sites on the Historic Albemarle Tour and the National Outer Banks Scenic Byway.  It is located in Rodanthe, the northernmost village of Cape Hatteras Island, oceanside at 23645 NC Highway 12, or Mile Post 39.5. It is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from mid-April to end of November.  

To learn more about Chicamacomico, its exciting activities and offerings, visit www.chicamacomico.net, email at [email protected] , call 252-987-1552, and now on Facebook.


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