We had one full day at the Outer Banks, exploring the area a bit more. It is truly beautiful and different. The Outer Banks of North Carolina Though everything we saw and all the places we ventured to were beautiful. And everywhere we went there was so much history just waiting to to be discovered and learned.
On the last day of our trip, we toured around more of the Outer Banks and the Crystal Coast area. Our first stop for the day was Fort Macon. Fort Macon is surrounded by water on three sides and it is located outside of Beaufort, North Carolina. The Carolina waters and inlets provided a safe haven for sailors, seafarers and pirates alike, which meant there was often danger lurking about in the surrounding waters. The inlets were in constant danger of being raided by pirates or hostile nations. The need for protection for the area first became evident in 1747, when Spanish raiders attacked the British Colonists and captured the town of Beaufort for several days. Beaufort was captured once again, this time by the British, in 1782. Plans for construction of a fort were first started in 1756, but were not completed until 1808, meaning the coast was left unprotected and vulnerable for all those years in between. The first fort was Fort Dobbs. Unfortunately, however, Fort Hobbs was destroyed by a hurricane in 1825. Fort Macon was constructed a year later, and still stands today.
Fort Macon was constructed after the Revolutionary War, but was used as a fort during the American Civil War. Depending on which side you were fighting for, it was either good news or bad news, when at the start of the Civil War, Fort Macon, which is located in the South or the Confederate States, was seized by the Union or Northern soldiers. The Confederates regained control of the fort, only to have it be seized once again by the Union soldiers in 1862. The fort served as a coaling station for the Union Navy for the duration of the war.
After the Civil War, Fort Macon was used as a Federal Prison from 1867-1876. Like Alcatraz, off the coast of San Francisco, the warden and some of the prison guards and their families lived on the premises. They lived in what was called “collapsible houses”, which just meant they were easy to construct and take down, and they were not fancy or elaborate at all.
The local “grocery store” for the residents was located in one of the cells.
Because of the isolation everything was made on site as much as possible. Certainly all the food was made and/or grown on site as much as possible. Here is the bakery oven used to bake all the bread. Rumor has it, the bread was like bricks and if not eaten right away, could be used as a brick or like a weapon.
Out tour guide was “convinced” this was the actual bread from the day, rather than just replicas, because the bread was notoriously so bad and so hard.
Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and informative which made the tour very interesting.
Fort Macon was officially recruited for service one more time, during WWII. Unofficially though, it is still used for “battles” today. On the day we were there, there was a Star Wars photo shoot taking place, so we got to see some Star Wars and intergalactic action too, which made our visit even more fun and unique.
Fort Macon is located in Carteret County on the eastern end of Bogue Banks, between US 70 from Morehead City and South of N.C. 58, crossing the bridge to Atlantic Beach, at 2303 E. Fort Macon Road, Atlantic Beach, N.C. 28512. You can contact them either by phone at (252) 726-3775 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.ncparks.gov. You just never know what you are going to see or who you are going to meet and that always makes life much more interesting.