Tourism officials question move to reopen Hatteras

By on September 15, 2011

Crews are scrambling to fix N.C. 12. (NCDOT)

With the ferry system booked beyond capacity, tourism officials urged Dare County Thursday to reconsider the decision to open lower Hatteras Island to tourists.

Late Friday, the county placed what it called “a mandatory prohibition on visitors without ferry reservations.” While re-enforcing an early policy, it did not substantially change the re-entry decision.

But the latest bulletin seemed to put additional emphasis on access being limited by ferry capacity, which could play into whether travel insurance claims will be honored.

N.C. 12 is still impassable north of Rodanthe, so the only way for visitors to get to the island’s southern communities is by making a reservation on a ferry from the mainland, driving through Ocracoke and taking the free ferry to Hatteras Village.

Scot Leggat, a Hatteras Island real estate executive, asked the Dare County Tourism Board to pass a resolution seeking another look at the call to reopen Hatteras Village, Frisco, Buxton and Avon. Re-entry for tourists started Thursday morning.

Leggat, a member of the tourism board who was participating in Thursday’s meeting by phone, said that 75 to 80 percent of the visitors who have already paid for rental houses cannot get there.

“Getting off of here is going to be close to impossible,” he said.

The resolution was passed unanimously and sent to Dare County officials.

County Manager Bobby Outten said Thursday that he and members of the Board of Commissioners made their decision in the interests of people in Dare County who faced losing their jobs if some business did not return to the island.

He acknowledged that officials were aware of the potential problem with ferry access, but they weighed that against the prospect of layoffs by businesses struggling in the three weeks since Hurricane Irene.

“For the people of Dare County, it was the right decision to make,” he said.

Layoffs now would lead to unemployment benefits running out by February, the middle of the winter, he said. In normal times, many start receiving unemployment later in the year when businesses cut back or shut down for the season, so their benefits last until the next season starts.

As for the tourism board’s request, he said, “I don’t see how we can possibly rescind this now.”

Complicating any decision is that some travel insurance no longer is valid if a mandatory evacuation order is lifted. So in many cases, vacationers who have already paid for their rentals cannot get to them and may not be reimbursed.

Paid ferries run to Ocracoke from Swan Quarter and Cedar Island. (N.C. Ferry Division)

One insurance company on Hatteras Island will still honor claims because it includes lack of highway access in its coverage. The county is trying to persuade a second company to honor claims on the basis of access being limited by mandatory ferry reservations, Outten said.

Leggat said that ferries are booked through next Tuesday. Saturday reservations, when most rentals turn over, are also booked solid.

The emergency ferry from Stumpy Point to Rodanthe is reserved for residents, property owners, essential personnel and vendors. Opening that ferry route to tourists would likely mean losing FEMA funding to keep it running.

Outten explained the decision in an interview with the Island Free Press Monday, but aside from Leggat, members of the tourism board seemed surprised by its complications. Only when board member Bob Woodard made a cell phone call did they learn who was behind the decision.

Woodard said it was made by Warren Judge, the chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners, Commissioner Mike Johnson, who also leads the Dare County Control Group, and Hatteras Island Commissioner Allen Burrus.

The control group is made up of county and town officials who make decisions on evacuations and other emergency procedures for hurricanes.

Gary Perry, Kitty Hawk’s mayor pro tem, said he stepped in for Mayor Clifton Perry during Hurricane Irene as a member of the control group. He and Manteo Mayor Jamie Daniels, another member of the control group, said there was no discussion about when to reopen Hatteras Island to tourists.

The decision has also created a backlash on Ocracoke Island because Hatteras vacationers are now competing for limited ferry reservations.

Real estate management companies are concerned that the decision will have a long-term negative effect on the Outer Banks. Complaints are circulating widely on social media such as Facebook.

Leggat said that management companies were nearly unanimous in opposing the decision.

Most Hatteras vacationers usually get there by driving over the Bonner Bridge at Oregon Inlet and taking N.C. 12 south. But sound surge from Hurricane Irene cut two large inlets and several smaller ones north of Rodanthe, leaving all of the villages without land access.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is making $10 million in emergency repairs that include building a temporary bridge over the largest inlet, which is in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, and filling the rest with sand.

Transportation officials say the road could be re-opened sometime in October. No decision on permanent repairs has been made.

Extra ferry is added for weekend. Click here for more »
See the Tourism Board’s resolution »


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September 25, 2011 8:40 am

Maybe a Youtube video with a goal of 1,000,000,000 hits can tell the story to the whole country concerning the comissioners ploy for the unemployment benefits of Dare County.


September 23, 2011 11:32 pm

Still scared….

Just to clear up a few issues…. Anyone can drive past Frisco, as well as Buxton and Avon, in fact anyone can drive as far North as the Salvo Day Use Area/Ramp 23. The Dare County Sheriffs are stopping folks at that point and checking credentials. ONLY those who are permitted to use the Stumpy Point Ferry are allowed to proceed. Those who had to access Hatteras Island via the Ocracoke Ferry are not permitted to proceed.

The Salvo Day Use Area is currently being used as the dumping ground for debris that is being removed from the side of the roads on all of Hatteras Island and there is a very large growing mountain of it and folks are still piling debris on the side of the road. White goods have not even started being picked up yet.

The ground was already saturated and due to the amount of rain we have had the past week, there are areas of Highway 12 completely submerged under standing water north of Avon. This is further compounded by the drainage ditches along Highway 12 still being full of storm debris a drive North of the roadblock is tedious, fraught with heavy equipment trying to remove debris, other equipment trying to clean out ditches, water standing on the road in many places and at times causing debris to float into the road. The less traffic, the easier and quicker the clean up will be.

There are a couple convenience stores/gas stations now open and only one restaurant that I saw for sure. It appeared that a couple of water sports businesses were also open Besides peoples homes, many businesses were also destroyed and in many cases,the business property also is where the business owners or managers lived. Most of the campgrounds and the couple of motels in the tri-villages had suffered extensive damage as well as the waterfall park/go cart track. The sooner the clean up is completed, the sooner those businesses will be able to try and salvage whatever little season if any, that may be left.

As for ESA and the surfing tourny…. don’t blame Hatteras Island who has always supported ESA,especially the children who compete! In turn, ESA used to be loyal to Hatteras Island too! After Isabel,the ESA directors got together and voted to reschedule the tourny on Hatteras Island, when Hatteras Island was ready, in order to help the economy of the Island, this also involved getting the cooperation and permission of The National Park Service, not the easiest thing to accomplish. But they did it, and we were grateful. At least Isabel came after Labor Day, unlike Irene, who has cost us our two biggest opportunities for income in September, Labor Day and the ESA tourny.

Ahhh but most of those long term ESA directors who made that decision after Isabel have been replaced by a new regime perhaps you should take the matter up with them??? I have no idea why they chose to move the tourny to Nags Head, but I’m sure they made the decision that they thought was best. No matter where or when, at least the kids will still get to surf and compete, but we will miss the excitement in the air on Hatteras Island this year.

As for unemployment, as a small Mom & Pop business owner, I am not eligible for unemployment benefits every winter and neither are a whole lot of other folks who live on Hatteras Island! We are open year round, we live and work here and cannot afford to close up and travel or just rest for 3-4 months, nor do we have a home elsewhere to go to… plus those of us with children have to stay here since the children have to go to school! So we remain open and try to make what little money we can.

Full time jobs are hard to come by! Do you really think that the house cleaners or restaurant workers are working 40 hours a week on Hatteras Island? Do the math! If a restaurant is open from 5-9 six nights a week…. Most are not open for breakfast, lunch and dinner! If you rent a house from Saturday to Saturday how many days a week does the house cleaner work? What time is checkout? What time is check in? How many hours are available to work? Many times the person waiting on you at dinner, also cleaned your rental house and the toilet that you use! Do you really think these people get vacation time, sick leave, health insurance & 401K’s? Newsflash! You are on vacation, NOT us! We are working and providing your vacation for you!

For those of you who claim all we in Dare County care about is tourist dollars,look around you whenever you decide to step foot in Dare County again. Start looking when you are two hours away, no matter which direction you travel from or which County in NC you drive through make note of the industries, corporations etc that you see. Please let all of us know where exactly, there are enough jobs for us and the mass transportation to get us there, unless of course these are jobs that would reimburse us for the gas we would use driving a total of 6 hours a day to and from work!

Ours is predominantly a tourist driven economy. Those who don’t “want” tourists here obviously are the minority of folks who are living on an income that is not derived from tourism or who don’t work in a service oriented business. If you are seriously against folks who live in seasonal areas collecting unemployment benefits during the winter, which by the way their employers contribute to, perhaps you should consider taking your trip to the beach in January, so those folks can remain gainfully employed year round!

Finally….Unless you are a feral cat on Hatteras Island, there is NO shortage of food!!!!! There is however a shortage of money to buy food with! Food Lion is not stocking their perishable food items to the hilt due to a lack of paying customers! It is called supply and demand! Yes there has been days when there was not any fresh meat or the dairy products were almost gone. That does not equate to a food shortage! There is plenty of other food items available! Canned food, frozen food, dry food etc!
BTW-Food Lion is not the only store that sells perishable items!

These rumors have in part been spawned by those who wish to keep visitors away, by running around the Island telling everyone they see, that the “tourists” bought all the food and now there is none for us! Good grief! (Because Lord knows there already isn’t enough drama taking place!)

First of all, there are a couple of food pantries on the island open to all residents, so folks are supplementing, as opposed to spending what little money they have left. Secondly, FEMA provided funds for food, when this kicked in, Food Lion had an unexpected increase in business and their inventory got hit hard. That has stabilized now and as more visitors arrive, they will order more stock. Also there have been glitches with the delivery trucks, which are coming from another federal disaster area, then having to deal with the Stumpy Point ferry glitches etc.
that we have all had to deal with!

In reality, it is the lack of visitors that takes food out of our mouths! To those of you who seemed to understood my first post, and have vowed to come and support the working folks of Hatteras Island THANK YOU!
Life isn’t just a beach and we aren’t just playing in the sand…. not Lil’Wayne

Still scared in Buxton….

Sea Bound

September 23, 2011 10:25 pm

In the event anyone is still bored enough to still be following this thread, after returning from four days offshore to find a rental contract on the seat of my truck with a paragraph highlighted, it became obvious that perhaps i may have a few friends at various rental agencies that may be less than thrilled with me right now.
The paragraph highlighted was under mandatory evacacuations, It went on to state …..”the tenant shall not be entitled to a refund if: (i) prior to the tenant taking possesion of the property, the tenant refused insurance offered by the landlord or the real estate broker that would have compensated the tenant for losses or damages resulting from the loss of use of the property due to a mandatory evacuation order;”
So that folks is the LAW plain and simple. With that said, this morning i went to see the good friend who left the rental contract on my seat. We both agreed that Irene is likely to have profound implications to the rental business for the entire county…. with none of it good.
But did it really have to be that way in the first place? It certainly doesn’t in the future.
My point is why is business loss insurance which is what hurricane insurance is….why is it left up to the renter in this stagnant economy or at any other time for that matter? If the cottage owner is not secure enough with his finances to cover a business loss such as we are now enduring, rather than alienate a valued customer from our area, shouldn’t they be the one responsible for it rather than leave it as a costly elective.
It was then pointed out that there by law can be no hidden cost in these contracts. Though i didn’t answer my friend…does anybody tell their renters that part of the cost of doing business might include $20 bucks a week for pest control etc. etc. etc.
Simply put, from my way of thinking it should be up to the owner to set whatever price they feel they need to set outright to cover any potential cost and losses over the course of the year rather than leave so many with a bad taste in their mouths as has happened under the present scenerio. If that includes the cost of hurricane insurance, pest control, maintainance etc. etc…. for each week then so be it. Then if the renter can’t afford that particular cottage they will find one they can…..and everybody (the realtor caught in the middle, the renter just trying to enjoy a vacation and perhaps the owner) provided they don’t want to gamble like so many of their renters did and just pocket the money they had earmarked for insurance….everybody will be a hell of alot happier. And at least in the case of the cottage owner, they gotta come back!
By the way, my friend good naturedly told me to stick to fishing, something i know a little about. Hoping to go back tomorrow, WEATHER PERMITTING!


September 23, 2011 4:07 pm

We are cancelling our visit to Hatteras, the rental company and CSA insurance have been contacted and are no help at all. We are losing our $900 we prepaid for our 2 October week rental, and Hatteras area is going to miss our tourist dollars. Ferry access at a reasonable time is out of control and when one’s spouse reads of food store shortages and mayhem getting on the ferry boats, it becomes a lost cause. We will file CSA claims, do not expect any money back, hope a smart law firm begins a class action suit. We were really looking forward to our vacation this year in OBX but now we must stay home.


September 21, 2011 8:28 pm

Cris thank you. I hope your stay is and will be well.

Fight big govt

September 21, 2011 8:21 pm

I know you don’t delete the comments. I know who does. I also know of other people have had similar unemployment comments deleted. So get your facts strait. I should thank you for driving on a NC road???You want a big thanks for all the tax money you and your many generations of families generate, but on the next breath you say you go from 35,000 people (most on unemployment) to 235,000 in the summer. I’ll thank the guy from New York, Virginia, Jersey, etc. They pay all the taxes you speak of. You are trying to pass the buck from real estate agencies to the insurance agencies. News flash hot shot- the insurance companies are from all over the country. The insurance contract states they rely on the local team estate agencies. Period.. You want to complain about high cost of living??? You choose to live in paradise right!?!?! You say the wages are lower than usual.. Exactly- working at a gas station, hotel, restaurant, anyplace a visitor uses- you will not get paid the same as other counties because it’s a 4-5 month seasonal work year. One must go on unemployment the other 7-8 months. You expect a raise year to year??? Naw …. the college kids usually take the jobs, and go back to school where I’m from. Working class people like yourself don’t depend on others to pay their way.. I respect your opinion. But that’s all it is.. An opinion from a outer banks local. Your facts are alittle off. You think slot of yourself. I shouldnt say all expect unemployment I take that back. MOST receive help down there in the off season. You know it and so do I.. Did it ever occur to ya that some hard working people in the obx don’t like it that the lazy crowd, the mooching crowd, the hand out crowd get the $$ they do… Maybe not you but some don’t like it. Don’t take offense if it doesn’t pertain to you. As far a KDH being the armpit of the outer banks it is bro….. Not an insult just a fact. Help clean it up buddy. It’s your family spot… Paradise to you… I respect it. Good on ya.

dam Yankee

September 21, 2011 6:25 pm

Just to be clear: we, the residents of Hatteras Island, WANT our guests to be able to come and enjoy their vacation. Please don’t feel that you aren’t welcome because a couple of bitter snarky people are calling you tourons. We are tired and frustrated and scared. Not the easiest situation in which to express oneself diplomatically. The ferry access is a different matter: only so many cars will fit in a day, so, you all won’t be able to make it. This is unfortunate but it is what it is. We are doing the best we can do.


September 21, 2011 12:28 pm

Jeff; Thanks. I understand. Best of luck to you.


September 21, 2011 12:06 pm

Fight Big Gov’t

First of all, I don’t appreciate you trying to insult me and where I am from. We are all adults here. I’m a true blue local from a generational, hardworking family. I don’t go on unemployment and have a year round job and I’m not a licensed Realtor.

Second of all, I have no ability to delete comments. The moderators of this website do all of the deleting and obviously felt your comments were inappropriate.

I will not go in circles with you about this issue. But I will say that I know my friends and family here on the Outer Banks – including those that file unemployment in the winter – are not the lazy, stupid people you are making them out to be.

I suggest that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.


September 21, 2011 11:09 am

To Chris I am not down on tourst I am down on tourons there is a big difference Tourst are what floats the boat here and we all are very glad they are here what I am refering to is the touron that wants everything their way and if anything gets in their way all they do is BIT$H. some of the coments on the site are realy COLD they show no hope of any remorce for the people that lost their world and all hope of a future

Fight big govt

September 21, 2011 10:36 am

INKDH you are completely wrong. You must be a salty real estate agent. As a buisness owner and a NC property owner, im telling you-you are totally wrong. We pay insurance to cover the unemployment and out of town visitors pay the money that pays the insurance. I won’t waste my time arguing with you. Kill devil hills is the armpit of the outer banks. The lowest rental area. You probably are from Pennsylvania and live in Colington. If your not renting other peoples property for more than you deserve you will work at a gas station or a restaurant. There is a Small group of teachers, doctors, and public safety employees that work year around, but KDH guy everybody vacations in the Obx growing up, come back wash dishes or drive some nails and get paid to go to costa rica or hawaii during the off season. I’m pissed a large group of awesome people were supposed to compete in hatteras for the Easterns surfing comp. Biggest on east coast. For kids!!! And real-estate people are making calls not to give the insurance agencies the nod for a refund. These people have to now pay to stay in nags head and eat the money from hatteras. You live on an island.. You do the math. You live on a island that can easily be destroyed and you will leave.. You are salty. Everyone on the island is. You probably voted for Obama!! You wanna get political vote that Basnight democrat clown in again. Everyone is finding out what’s what with the outer banks. Bottom line your whole community is controlled by a tourist dollar. Unemployment is paid by tourist dollars. It hurts I know…. No name calling no profanity. Don’t delete this one like you did atleast 4 others. Unemployment is pretty touchy huh.. Cause it’s a way of life for outer banks residents :-)

Rob Morris

September 20, 2011 11:06 pm

Only your comment with name calling and profanity.

Fight big govt

September 20, 2011 9:52 pm

Numerous comments about unemployment on here have been deleted.. I wonder why……


September 20, 2011 7:16 pm

Thanks, inKDH. You’re probably right, just frustrated. We go to HV every year in the fall and have a gang scheduled to be there starting Oct 1 this year. Sadly, we have no interest in going to a place we’re clearly not wanted or don’t belong right now. The residents don’t need to fight with visitors for resources plus add the whole access issue. Therefore, we’ve decided not to go and hope for at least some refund or credit against a week next year. We’ve even offered to split the cost with the property owner. If we take the whole hit, I really doubt we’ll all vote to return.


September 20, 2011 5:05 pm

Chris, while I understand your frustration, it really isn’t about real estate companies. They are paid a management fee – a small percentage of the rent the owner receives – months ago when the first payments are made. The rest of the money paid is released to the out-of-area homeowners to cover expenses. Most of these people depend on the rental income to help carry the house – mortgage, maintenance, utilities, etc. And in this economy, many investors are already hanging by a thread and this income means the difference between keeping the home and foreclosure. The real estate companies have certainly EARNED every penny of their 15% management fee with what they have had to deal with this month – just think for one second what the operating expenses during a time like this might be. It is for these reasons that NC Real Estate Law, as in most states, says if you are offered travel insurance, the real estate companies, nor the owner is liable to return your money. Right, wrong or indifferent, it is the law and it is definitely in your lease.

Now the travel insurance companies are another story. It is ridiculous they will not pay people what is due to them. Please understand, however, the real estate agencies that people are accusing of being the enemy are the very ones FIGHTING for the renters with the insurance companies. They don’t want you to not get your money back, and neither do the owners. And don’t get me started on the decision to lift the mandatory evac.


September 20, 2011 3:32 pm

Jeff, sorry but you’re wrong about most of us. Just wrong. It’s not about you, your neighbor, or the bait shop, or cafe. It IS about the real estate agencies, the travel insurance companies, and Dare government that for all practical purposes have ordered me to get there, come hell or high water, or lose $thousands.

Do I want take up space on your ferries? No! Do I want to fight with you over bread, gas, or milk? No!


September 20, 2011 3:03 pm

Hey Fight Big Gov’t,

1st of all, way to turn people’s misery into something political and self serving. Please stop drinking the Tea Party kool-aid and insulting people here, insinuating they are lazy, when you obviously have no idea how the unemployment system or tax code works.

The working crowd does not pay for unemployment directly. Businesses do. The businesses that hire the seasonal workers that live here. Second, workers here typically work April through at least Thanksgiving, and longer if we are able, so your Memorial Day to Labor Day assumption is incorrect. Memorial day to Labor Day would not be enough time at a job to even qualify for unemployment benefits. Third, the seasonal workers here have to save during the summer and put money away for the offseason because you cannot live off of unemployment wages alone. They are only a small percentage of the already low wages those in the service industry make. The cost of living here is considerably higher, wages considerably lower than the average. You may come on vacation here and pay those high prices one week out of your year. We pay it all year. Most of us count down the days until the season begins and we can go back to good, steady work. We continue do it because it is a price to pay to live in paradise and our families have been here for generations. If we did not live here, and work here, you would not be able to come on vacation and enjoy all of the services offered to you. Those lifeguards? Seasonal employees. Waitresses? Seasonal employees. The cleaners at that cottage you rent? Seasonal employees. Even some of the park service employees are seasonal. Our businesses pay unemployment tax like everyone else. They could not continue to operate without seasonal employeees. Dare County’s population is roughly 35k year round. On any given day in the summer, the population is 230k. Do the math.

Dare County, along with the other coastal counties, contribute far more sales and use taxes per resident to state revenues than other “non-tourism” counties. For example, in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, dare county – population 35k – collected 64 million dollars in sales and use taxes. franklin county – population 60k – only collected 13 million dollars in sales and use taxes. Once again, do the math.

These “seasonal” businesses collecting these taxes produce jobs and “mooching” employees make it all work. Dare, Currituck and Hyde counties make HUGE contributions to our state economy. Therefore, WE are the ones who often PICK UP THE SLACK. So if you happen to live in another NC county, you are welcome for the maintenance on that state road you drive on everyday.


September 20, 2011 2:33 pm

I have read some of the coments of these tourons, these people have no consern that that people have lost all their stuf their home there work. all they do is bi$ch about is the fact they have to wait for a ferry and they have paid their $… and they are icnvienced to get to their dest. The dot is making do with the resorses thev have!They lost the only road link to an act of GOD. I would like to hear the coments if the shoe was on the other foot and it was their life that was destroyed! These people are so so self centered that it stinks!


September 20, 2011 7:52 am

Sue said, “the real undertones are starting to show” and unfortunately I have to agree w/ her. Say what you will about the yanks – at least they let you know exactly how they feel about you.

karen wheless

September 20, 2011 12:41 am

Ditto –
I hope you all will go and scroll up and an re-read the posting by “Scared” on Sept. 17th. If this does not bring the reality of this situation to a point and a tear to your eyes nothing will. Read this … and re-read your comments, if you were against the re-opening to visitors.

Instead of saying I will never return and I have been screwed. Read this and do what I am going to do per “Scared’s” comments. Call the electric company and pay somebody’s electric bill. Go in droves and spend money there. Rent 1/2 the house you normally do and eat in every single day – donate the rest to someone on HI who is scared and desperate.

Retarded $$ spender

September 20, 2011 12:08 am

Ocrakoke resident: Us retarded tourons are only coming back because YOUR OWN ELECTED OFFICIALS lifted the ban on visitors which in turn caused loss of insurance benefits.
Obviously the devastation you have been through makes you less than a prime vacation spot. How would you feel if your flood insurance wouldn’t cover your losses because they had too many claims on Ocrakoke Island?
You will have full opportunity to express your anger
(TO THE PEOPLE WHO SHOULD CARE ABOUT YOUR OPINION) February 2012, when they are up for re-election.
I can’t vote them out of office; but I can vote where I go on vacation next year, with my wallet. If $$ is the only language understood by your politicians, this retard knows who to speak that language.

Business owner

September 19, 2011 10:57 pm

I, for one am glad visitors are coming to Ocracoke. These last few comments posted are pretty much uncalled for. So many of the visitors coming to Ocracoke have made great donations to the Hatteras Island residents that have been hurt by Hurricane Irene. It is not business as usual, but it is business.Visitors, please keep coming to Ocracoke & Hatteras. You are the lifeblood of the Outer Banks.

The decision to open Hatteras Island was made, I think, with good intentions to help the businesses & employees of those businesses of the Southern villages. I hope it works. I don’t think the decision makers thought out the consequences of the opening. The ferries are not equipped to handle all of that traffic; thank goodness it happened in Sept. and not August. The result has been all of this name calling back & forth. NO one is a winner here. No one on Hatteras & no one on Ocracoke & certainly not the ferry division.


September 19, 2011 10:30 pm

Sooooooo, touron money is nice but the sooner you get off “our island”, the better, huh? Hmm…kind of like get off the island but leave your daughters behind? I’m starting to feel very used. Maybe I won’t be back to HI. As pleasant as it always seemed, the real undertones are starting to show. I don’t even get THAT in NYC.

Fight big govt

September 19, 2011 9:49 pm

I can’t believe the people in charge are putting $$$ infront of safety. I find it extremely disturbing that this SEASONAL island depend on the working crowd in NC to pay them unemployment year after year after year. This scheme is very popular. It’s been going on forever. I know first hand. Out of town “tourist” come to the outer banks to memorial day to labor day and mooch the rest of the year on our money. Knowing they will do it repeatedly for years to come. Wow wow wow wow wow NOW the people in charge are making decisions to protect these peoples unemployment privileges?? Seasonal work is seasonal work. If ya can’t make ends meet without mooching off unemployment, then I don’t want to spend my Money in your town anymore. Last straw. Boasting about not working with me paying you is not cool. I feel bad the people in charge are letting tourist over when they can’t get off in an emergency. This is why this country is the way it is. No one wants to work. Everyone wants to get paid. Even if it means charge visitors $$$$ for a place they can’t get too. The only reason the ferry was opened (besides help) was to trap visitors money. This will come back to haunt this community..


September 19, 2011 8:20 pm

Okie Resident – If “food shortages are low” then what’s the worry? Read it and think about it, even this retarded visitor gets it.


September 19, 2011 6:22 pm

Time to stop the free ferry to Ocracoke?

Because it seems to me that the Ocracoke Resident wants it both ways- happy to take the Hatteras Island “retarded tourons” money when NC12 is open- but doesn’t want to be bothered with them otherwise.

Many HI “tourons” have paid thousands of dollars for their vacation rental, and thanks to the greedy insurance companies and corrupt local officials, they are now faced with losing all that money if they don’t grab one of those precious ferry reservations.

So keep yapping, Ocracoke Resident, maybe NC DOT will end the “free ferry” that delivers HI tourons to keep the business flowing in Ocracoke.

OBX Touron

September 19, 2011 4:24 pm

I agree with Stan. We will spare you our vacation dollars and general lack of respect from now on. No need to drag us back to the ferries.


September 19, 2011 1:57 pm

Ocracoke Resident: Us “retarded visitors” and “tourons” are being forced to go to HI. Very, very few want to return and interrupt the good folks trying to put their lives back together.

Also, keep biting the hands that feed you everyone, soon you people will get what you’re asking for…nobody and nothing. In today’s USA be glad you have an economy to support your region – many don’t.

Ocracoke Resident

September 19, 2011 11:40 am

Ferry is booked up through the 18th of October for coming over. Probably longer than that now. I think anyone who had plans to go to hatteras should be completely re-directed and sent elsewhere, reservations or not. I live on Ocracoke we got hit no where near as hard as Hatteras. But all these retarded tourists trying to pour back into a devistated area is rediculous. You do realize you are going somewhere where the food shortages are low, 50 – 75% of places are still boarded up (last I heard a few days ago, may be different now), and you can’t go past Frisco. Not only are you inconviencing the residents of Hatteras Island, it is also putting a damper on Ocracoke. We couldn’t get our mail for 4 days because of tourist having all the ferry slots booked up. I never even knew that the United States Mail Service needed a reservation. Neither rain nor hail nor sleet nor snow shall stop the postal service but the North Carolina Ferry Division and tourists sure did put a stop to them. I am not worried about my mail as it is bills (which can wait lol) and other junk mail. But what about any elderly or people who have medical conditions that get their medications through the mail. What if they were waiting on their heart medication they were suppose to be taking twice a day. I guess a weeks vacation is more important to alot of this tourons than the lives of the locals. You are coming to someone elses home show some respect before we all drag you back to the ferries.


September 19, 2011 12:03 am

Just got back from Hatteras. There was no insect problem and I delay on the ferry either way. In the southern villages things appear to be in pretty decent shape, especially considering the damage further up the road. The police have had to set up a roadblock to keep “sightseers” away from the northern villages. I was also told that a decision is hoped for tomorrow about insurance coverage from th insurance collision. There is hope that since ferry reservations r now required that those who can’t get a ferry reservation may be covered.


September 18, 2011 10:40 pm

“The decision by a minority of our commissioners, while probably well intentioned, was wrong. There is a reason why we have a Control Group, which is to make sure that all of the consequences of disaster recovery decision making are considered. This minority group did not see the total picture, resulting in the chaos we have at present. Not to mention that they broke the law.”


Why do we even have a Control Group and Emergency Manager if a “minority” of commissioners is going to make shady backroom decisions anyway? The whole point of the control group is to have a general consensus from all of Dare County. How in the world were they just cut out? Not to mention, do these commissioners not think it is important to consult with the Realtor, c of c, and tourism bureau communities when making decisions of this magnitude? It makes you wonder who really IS calling all of the shots in our area. If they did indeed break the law, I hope they are removed from their positions immediately.


September 18, 2011 6:03 pm

People are acting like this stuff only happens on the OBX. I just got back from a trip to Canada … weather sucked … bugs were intolerable … pilot almost crashed the plane … got stuck in a god-forsaken mining town … I didn’t blame a single person in any of the places I was traveling … it wasn’t their fault! Mother Nature is gonna kick your ass no matter where you go on this beautiful Earth. Enjoy the ride folks!

Marty Brennan

September 18, 2011 3:59 pm

Would like to add, the ncdot and private contractors are busting their butts to secure a safe hwy 12 repair. Hats off to them.


September 18, 2011 2:54 pm

Build a looooong bridge—

Patrick Young

September 18, 2011 1:05 pm

Simple question: I have a vacation planned starting the 25th in Salvo. Should I come?

chris stafford

September 18, 2011 12:18 pm

After everyone reads all the angry comments from all different vantage points I hope you will go back and re-read the comment from “Scared” on Sept 17th. I live in KDH and was very fortunate to have no damage. When the road opens I plan to take a day trip, cross that bridge and spend some money. Anyone care to join me? I’ll be happy to drive.


September 18, 2011 11:48 am

The decision by a minority of our commissioners, while probably well intentioned, was wrong. There is a reason why we have a Control Group, which is to make sure that all of the consequences of disaster recovery decision making are considered. This minority group did not see the total picture, resulting in the chaos we have at present. Not to mention that they broke the law.

No one is benefitting from this situation, not the local residents who can’t even purchase basic neccessities, not the rental companies, who are unable by law to make refunds, not the vacationers whose trip insurance now does not cover them, and the list goes on. This is a lose lose situation for all of us.

Ethics are Stupid

September 18, 2011 9:09 am

All of us vacationers are not wealthy people either. It is a terrible thing that has happened and the pictures make we want to cry for everyone living it. That said, I rented a house with 6 rooms and had filled each room with extended family members. We agreed to share the expenses equally and everyone looked forward to a wonderful visit in a wonderful location. NOW, our realty company wont tell us if we can or can’t come. We purchased the offered insurance but were not given a copy of the travel insurance in order to read all the fine print. We find out that we aren’t covered and will get no refund, switching weeks doesn’t sound likely. I am personally giving money back to my travel companions as I can not in good conscience take their money without giving them anything in return… This is not something I can really afford to do, but also I can not afford to lose these relationships. I am hoping that someone in NC feels the same way towards me. If not, I will likely have to get a second job to pay this off… just saying ethics are stupid & this will be my last vacation to OBX.


September 18, 2011 7:22 am

Switching the conversation from the immediate issues of recovery, refunds, and rentals, let’s consider the longer term issue of access to Hatteras Island.

Should we proceed with building the parallel bridge across Oregon Inlet with an ill-defined and unfunded piecemeal promise to patch up and/or relocate sections of highway 12 on an “as needed” basis?

Some folks are saying that Hurricane Irene’s aftermath proves that ferries won’t work for the island, but I’m thinking ferries might be the only sensible solution for the long term.

True, traveling to the island by ferry would change the travel experience, but there might be ways to incorporate that into part of the vacation experience. And, maybe ferries wouldn’t support carrying the number of vehicles vacationers typically bring with them, but maybe all those vehicles wouldn’t be necessary if we made our villages more pedestrian friendly, added public transportation, and encouraged the start-up of private transport services.

The island might see a decline in the number of tourists visiting the island, but those numbers alone don’t reflect the actual impact on the local economy.

Would it be possible for Hatteras Island to “reinvent” itself in responsible to the challenge of access?


September 17, 2011 10:45 pm

my husband and i just returned from ocracoke september 16 after spending the week there. the weather was absolutely beautiful and im so glad we didnt change our plans for this week after reading about the ferry opening back up to hatteras. we didnt have any problems with our reservations to the cedar island ferry to return home. if we wouldve have waited til this week coming up to go to ocracoke it may have been a complete fiasco there at the ferry dock. i realy believe dare county shoulve waited til the bridge was completed to let visitors back on hatteras island. it just may be completely crazy for the residents of ocracoke to have todeal with, they are such great people! god bless the obx!

Sea Bound

September 17, 2011 10:01 pm

Sue, the worry of every islander who has come to depend on tourism on Hatteras Island has happened….not just one village as those of us that endured Isabel in Hatteras village. In that case it seemed the upper villages picked up the pieces and barely missed a beat.
And i will tell you that i will get little disagreement from the residents and business owners of my home town that it has never been the same since. Our business used to keep 45 rooms full until it washed out in the street. We now have only 15 and struggle to fill them. As in our case whether it is the changing demographics or what have you, the last thing this island needs is negative publicity at a time when a dollar is so hard to come by.
The bottom line is people have options and you don’t bite the hand that feeds you….


September 17, 2011 7:36 pm

For all of you who are unfortunately inconvenienced by the ferry and the hurricane and lost reservations or just the hassle of travel here, remember that us locals have enough stress and aggravation of not having places to live, having food shortages, plus having to deal with your B.S. “Tourists”, quit your bitching and try to help. You have a house to go to and we don’t. If you do come down, try to be positive for the sake of us. We appreciate the revenue that is much needed, but we don’t need any more negativity.


September 17, 2011 6:34 pm

I cannot believe that such a beautiful vacation destination has turned into a living hell for our family. We rented a house on Ocracoke Island from Blue Heron Realty and were suppose to arrive on the Saturday after Irene. We purchased travel insurance and have been told that we will not be receiving any of our money back due to a natural disaster…Go figure! Working with the credit card company and plan to sue Blue Heron Realty if needed. Just unbelievable to be treated so poorly. Ocracoke Island is one of my favorite places on earth and this experience with this realty firm has clearly made me indifferent if I ever return.


September 17, 2011 5:41 pm

Sea Bound, I am just an occasional visitor to the island and really don’t know how much greed and avarice exist there. My own experience has been that the people are pretty generous and fair to visitors. I stay at a place where it used to be I could book three days and if I decided to leave early, the money was refunded to me. With the economy the way it is now and the disaster that just struck, I see why people want to hang on to their pre-paid dollars. Not to mention, I wonder how many of these rental owners can even get insurance themselves now? It would not surprise me if the visitor deposit monies are already spent. I am not saying this is right. I am just saying it could explain a lot of the “no refunding”.

Marty Brennan

September 17, 2011 3:15 pm

To the locals I have a message.The man has had his foot on the back of the renters too.We have’ nt had a raise in pay in serveral years but that did not stop you all in raising your price each year.We save all year long
to make our payments on our rental’s house it’s kind of hard to take losing year worth of preparing and money when it does ‘nt come easy as you all think . It ‘s a bad ecomony everywhere.Wise up and remeber the ” customer is always right”!

Happy Barracuda

September 17, 2011 1:47 pm

1-”I’m a property owner in Dare County”
2-”We’ll never vacation on Hatteras Island again, NEVER!!”
3-”The hurricane clean-up efforts has ruined our vacation”
4-”The mosquitoes are ruining our vacation”
5-”If we do return we’ll get our moneys worth one way or another”


September 17, 2011 12:05 pm

It seems after reading these comments(most) are more worried about there wallet then their fellow man Very sad.

Randal Mathews

September 17, 2011 11:57 am

to Larry Sidwell: It’s not hat really don’t know any Ocracokers or what they think. no Thanks for insulting your neighbors.
There are diverse opinions here just like everywhere else. Many of us depend on travel to and through Hatteras Island for reasons unassociated with tourism.
Now is not a good time to be bashing each other when everyone south of the breach has been traumatized to different degrees. I want to see Hatteras Island and the residents there recover from this..and the residents and visitors that truly love Hatteras and Ocracoke will continue supporting the communities here.

The Man

September 17, 2011 10:03 am

Sea Bound has it right.

It’s sad to see these arguments in which people are trying to legally justify ripping someone off… all it does is make us look bad and hurt our business. Most of this island’s economy all begins with realty, and people walking away with a bad taste in their mouth over all this, or even people reading what’s going on here, hurts the local economy much worse than the money you plan to gain “legally” since someone can’t get to their rental house. The difference of ripping someone off v. being fair in this case could be the difference of hurting local business v. stimulating local business.


September 17, 2011 8:46 am

To Wahoo and other owners; I too own a place mid-OBX. I was lucky enough to be able to able to afford it without any rental income. What income I could generate was gravy in my eyes. If you purchased needing xx rentals then, well, sorry. Yes, you didn’t make Irene – NOBODY DID – NOBODY wanted this – but you all also had to know how risky owning property on HI is!? I’m very sorry for your situation but frankly, you put yourselves there. The fact that your clients are angry they aren’t getting what they paid a lot of money for or possibly will choose to take their vacation $ elsewhere is all part of the deal you signed-up for. I do feel bad for you and the rental companies now but you all sure loved it when the money was pouring in. I’ve stayed in some very expensive places that were dirty, things broken or not working, etc there over the years and have had the rental agencies basically thumb their nose at my complaints so what goes around maybe comes around?

To Sea Bound; Good post. Thanks for your viewpoint.

To all stakeholders; here’s hoping that all can work together on ways to share the pain; while not ruining the relationships that make HI so special.

Remember first though that the only real pain is felt by the folks smack-dab in the middle of it.

For those that would like to help here’s the org recommended to me:


September 17, 2011 8:14 am

To Sue; Very well said! Especially the part about the two weeks. Are a few weeks of visitors dropping what little $ they can (what’s open?) really worth all this?

Paul Bungard

September 17, 2011 3:51 am

Don’t complain if you don’t deal with Torons

Paul Bungard

September 17, 2011 3:49 am

funny how most of us that actually live down here. Don’t own property. If you buy down in Hatteras you should know it get washed out just about every time we have a big storm. if your smart you buy north nags head to corolla.


September 17, 2011 12:52 am

Another thought for consideration…. from Buxton

I completely understand the frustration, disappointment, and anger that is being vented here by those who may have lost their vacations and the money, no matter who is to blame. I can also sympathize with the non resident property owners…. However our community has been devastated in ways that have not yet even begun to be addressed.

I sit here reading about folks who are or may be out thousands of dollars and folks who are losing money on their investment property and the realty companies who already got their money, hiding behind insurance companies and homeowners when it comes to refunds. These are the “haves”…. Frankly I find it all quite nauseating since I have had absolutely zero income since August 25th.

I am watching families being torn apart as some of their loved ones have lost everything, not just their possessions, but also their places of employment were flooded Now some of their loved ones are leaving because they were renting, living paycheck to paycheck and cannot even turn to their relatives for help, because they have lost everything too. Many have simply left with no idea where they will go or what they will do.

Then there are those who didn’t get flooded but are on the verge of being displaced due to the economic impact
Irene placed upon them. Particularly the self employed who own Mom and Pop businesses and have suffered little or minor physical damage. These folks live week to week, the equivalent of paycheck to paycheck.

A great deal of small business owners on Hatteras Island live in or reside on their business properties. In campgrounds, motels, over top of restaurants, stores etc.
Look around next time you are here….Not only are they on the verge of losing their businesses, but they too will have no place to live either. These are the “have nots” those who were teetering prior to Irene, those who couldn’t afford insurance, those who like everyone struggled because of the national economy and gas prices, but then had the added burden of the consent decree and it’s beach closures thrust upon them through no choice of their own. Those who were just trying to survive.

There are folks here right now who cannot pay their business or personal electric bills that were due September 10th, and if they aren’t paid by the end of the month, their electric will be shut off, ditto for the quarterly water bills due September 15th. Yet they were ready for customers two weeks ago and have since shut their doors, those who were lucky enough to even afford employees have now laid them off.

I know folks who don’t even have the $650 they need to pay their rent October first and there are NO job prospects now. More victims of Irene…. Sorry but the possible loss of $3000 vacation rental money seems very unimportant in the scheme of things that really matter.

Has anyone noticed that there aren’t many similar complaints from folks who had reservations in campgrounds and motels. Most of those places are more than willing to reschedule or refund deposits. Why? They can’t afford to lose their guests and want them to return next year! In turn many of those guests have been kind enough to not request refunds and let the owners keep the deposits they desperately need now and apply them towards next years stay. There are also no insurance companies involved.

MANY gift shops, tackle shops, surf shops, specialty stores, coffee shops, charter boats etc are also suffering. The sentiments of many of the Mom and Pops has turned to, “I would be better off if I had been flooded, or washed into the Ocean!” There are two atmospheres very noticeable on Hatteras Island one is crises mode the other is quiet desperation….

Countless folks who came out ok physically after Irene have volunteered relentlessly helping those who were devastated, many are sharing what little they do have to share, while quietly watching there own devastation occurring. The fear is mounting daily and you can see it their faces… October will be here soon and it is going to be a long dark cold winter for many of us and no FEMA won’t be there to find housing for those who will also end up displaced from Irene 3 months later….

While the Dare County commissioners may not have exactly thought through the details and consequences of some of their decisions and perhaps it is now obvious that opening some of the island to visitors isn’t going to work can you please give them some credit for making an attempt to bring some relief to those on Hatteras Island who are experiencing a slow and painful death. They hear and see the fear in our voices and in our eyes.

The aftermath of Irene is just beginning. Cleaning out damaged homes and businesses, finding temporary housing for people and their pets, those things are being dealt with. The outpouring of help and donations of food, clothing, school supplies, etc has been beyond belief.
Financial relief however is non-existent,particularly
for those who have had no income since the evacuation order went into effect on August 25th.

As much aggravation as some have in not getting a straight answer regarding their vacation, put yourself in our shoes! We have no idea when we can expect any income… and we were all very aware that not everyone would want the added burden of dealing with the ferry situation and nobody would be back to business as usual, but we are running out of money for essentials like our $3.82 a gallon of gas, toilet paper,Advil, pet food, mosquito repellant, never mind our car payment or car insurance or utility bills, or mortgage payments, phone bills, taxes etc etc.

There was a glimmer of hope, with visitors being allowed to return….was, now it has turned to despair once again. Is the island ready? Not really, but we can not afford to wait. At least the commissioners tried to help the rest of us.

Better to try and fail, than to not try at all… that is the spirit of entrepreneurship… it is the principal our country was founded on. If it wasn’t for entrepreneurs there wouldn’t be any services on Hatteras Island available for you on your vacation. Sadly there will be far fewer next time you come, if you even do return. Or go rent your big vacation houses some place else, but the only change will be in your location, all the contract, insurance issues etc will still be there and disasters can occur anywhere!

We know some of you want to come and help and we are grateful but you can’t no matter how much we want you to and how much you want to. I know so many who have lost nothing because of Irene, yet are on the verge of losing everything….Sadly no matter how much money you donate to relief funds, it will never reach these people because they still have a roof over their heads… for now. Wait for the road to open, then come.

Talk to people, listen to their words, find those folks who are about to lose their place of business, their home, their car, call the electric company, pay someones bill for them, social services won’t help unless there is an eviction notice. Rent a smaller place and go find somebody to help! The little people who have nobody to turn to need you… Particularly those older folks who cannot find a job and are not old enough to receive social security benefits. Rent a smaller place and spend the leftover money in the businesses here on the island so people can stay employed.

Speaking for all of us on Hatteras Island who are very scared right now and try to pretend we aren’t so our elderly parents and children won’t worry….


September 16, 2011 11:22 pm

I would first like to say how sorry I am for everything your going thru at this time, and hopefully as the weeks fly by your problems will ease.

As I sat here reading all the comments I’ll have to say I found myself rather suprised at some of the comments. One person didn’t seemed very concerned that the carpeting my have mold underneath and the place might smell…..oh well we’ll rent it anyway??? Please let us know which is your place… we can avoid doing any kind of business with you!!!

And to Sea Bound……finally someone with common sense…let us know your motel/cottage as you would be the only person I’d want to make a reservation with. Are alot of you blaming your misfortune on Irene or the enduring economy??? If I make a reservation and the Island is hit…Call or email me and refund or offer to make a reservation for next year….Everyone is complaining about all the Tourist……why are they coming??? They wouldn’t be taking up space on the ferry if there was no place to stay……maybe instead of blaming the counties maybe all the owner/rental’s should take a time out and not rent until October…..We all live in different parts of the country and all face different situations….a percentage of your rental payments should be put in a emergency fund….I know easier said than done. Remember your in a service industry…& if word gets out that you only refunded 1/2 or you rented a mildew infested unit…’ll find people will know which company or individuals….did this.
If anything I was hoping someone would suggest a gift card campaign… give those business’s income right now….and those vacationing next season will have gift cards to use then….Whoever is in charge of the Ferry should appoint one Ferry for service/deliveries and contractors…a continuous trip and include also the residents.
Once again I wish you all the best…..I wish I could help. The only way right now is to tell you we will be back… enjoy your beautiful area. However, I’ll wait until things are somewhat better and we’re welcome to come back.
Living on a barrier island…you enjoy the beauty…but also know the risk..just as other parts of the country whether it be tornado’s, earthquakes….hurricane’s or fire……Wishing you the best……and to some..please make this situation better…..that in the future maybe things will be different…..because there will be another Irene….one day.


September 16, 2011 11:12 pm

Gee, losing thousands of dollars on a rental is bad. But then coming to an island with packed ferries, low groceries, temporary power, scattered debris, hatching mosquitoes, mold and mildew, and frustrated, exhausted people doesn’t seem like much of a vacation either. Perhaps it would be best to consider your money a donation and wait until next year for a real vacation, when things are hopefully back in order. Geez Louise, if businesses start closing in October anyway, what difference is two weeks going to make? Tighten up, organize, cut the crowds, and give people a sweet island experience next year, because chances are good they’ll not come back when they see reality now!


September 16, 2011 10:16 pm

Cottage owners are a threatened species.


September 16, 2011 9:46 pm

i have the same compassion for the piping plovers that i have for the park service. hopefully both are endangered species!!!!!!!!!!!!!


September 16, 2011 8:41 pm

I’ve seen no concern for the plight of piping plovers being posted here.

Have you no compassion for a threatened species?

Sea Bound

September 16, 2011 8:07 pm

As a local fisherman and business owner (motel and cottages), first off I don’t get paid if i don’t put any fish on the dock…… nor do i expect to get paid if i haven’t offered any services in the hospitality business due to extraneous circumstances such as a hurricane.
So while alot of blame is being placed on the individuals responsible for opening the island, there is two other groups that also needs to be held accountable in these circumstances. If the individual cottage owner wants to hide behind the language in the contract in this situation, then they should expect to reap the reward of their greed….and the same for any rental agency that doesn’t insist on a full refund for there patron’s under these circumstances….if requested. Hurricane insurance be damned, we all expect and should get what we pay for.
It’s and ill wind blowing and sadly it’s blowing my way too…. Do what’s right folks, you shouldn’t need a lawyer to read all the fine print before you go on vacation…..that after all is what they come here to get away from….


September 16, 2011 7:55 pm

as its been said”Please understand”the people of HI are not complaing, its the people trying to help. As a vendor that is my family and all they want is to be treated fairly.


September 16, 2011 7:45 pm



September 16, 2011 6:53 pm

David, you are wrong. The house are available for rent and the idiot county government declared an end to the evacuation. In fact LEGALLY the owners do not owe you a refund. The argument cuts both ways – Yes, we knew about the risks when we invested. So did you when you rented!

I will be giving my renters 1/2 the money back if they can’t get here, but understand that that is MY decision, NOT a requirement.

You seem to want to make the realty companies and owners the bad guys. ALL OF US opposed the lunacy of the Dare County Commissioners and none of us caused the hurricane,

If the renter who posted finds a lawyer to sue either the insurance company or Dare County, count me in. And don’t forge that you don’t have to live here to conribute to a candidate running against these fools. I plan to make a contribution to anyone running against the incumbants.

Ellen McCoy

September 16, 2011 5:45 pm

I am a tourist planning on visiting Oct 2nd. I DO NOT want to come but I can’t take a $1000 loss. I am terribly afraid of an emergency and no way off the island. I have reservations on swan ferry that I made 8/28 when I saw pictures of the road. My husband and I are in our early 60s. I have had both hips replaced and have an ankle fusion. We have been comming to the outer banks since 1980. We will do everything we can to keep our footprint to a min. If they ban tourists again we will spend our money on a Northern Dare Co rental. Please understand we have no choice other than to lose our money.


September 16, 2011 5:17 pm

I’m a non-resident property owner and I have watched my “investment” consume nearly half of my take-home pay for the last seven years. I finally found a buyer for a short sale, and have had to delay closing three times because of Irene and her aftermath. The shortfall requires me to pay back the bank over the next six years, still consuming about third of my take-home. I have had to pawn family heirlooms to pay for the repairs before I can close.

Stuff happens. I’ve faced the fact that I’m going to lose a ton of money. But if the many tenants who have already approached me for a refund expect to get anything, they’ll have to stand in line behind a lot of other creditors.

Maslin Seal

September 16, 2011 5:07 pm

In addition to the Visitor’s Bureau, both the Chamber of Commerce and the Outer Banks Board of Realtors have passed resolutions asking the commissioners to reconsider their decision.


September 16, 2011 4:37 pm

Larry I suggest that you get in your truck, go to food lion and the other stores and reevaluate your statement. If that is your definition of well stocked I would hate to see your definition of bare.

Lets pile some more people on here with no food or supplies able to get here. Then let the power go out when we have too many here for the generators to handle the load. You haven’t seen the beginning of tempers flaring yet but if it happens you will. The residents can’t get off and neither can the tourist even if they want so they’ll be stuck and pissed off. Most are going to be that way when they get here and figure out everything anyway. No worries We’ll just send them all to your house and it will all be fine.

Marty Brennan

September 16, 2011 2:55 pm

The insurance co., realtors, and Dare co. officals are same as one.If you don’t think so do you wanna buy a bridge?


September 16, 2011 2:50 pm

“The largest picture here though is that Hatteras Island needs to come to terms with the fact that the access issue isn’t going to disappear. ”

Agreed. Well said, Stinkbug.


September 16, 2011 2:22 pm

Shallow draft catamaran ferries are available, but they cost many millions of dollars, so it is hard to see them as a long term solution in this time of the tea-baggers voting against every sort of government spending (except for their Medicare).

Nice 400 passenger model, I suppose it might carry 50 cars if it was modified for cars. I like the idea of the water-jet style propulsion for the shallow waters of the sound.


September 16, 2011 2:00 pm

One thing is for certain, and that is that Hurricane Irene has brewed a storm of controversy and disagreement on how Hatteras Island and Dare County should handle post-storm conditions and issues. That the county announced that tourists would not be allowed on the island until sometime after September 17th and then reversed that decision with little advance notice was one mistake. Another was that that decision was not made by the county Control Group and by the process designed to handle those sort of decisions.

The largest picture here though is that Hatteras Island needs to come to terms with the fact that the access issue isn’t going to disappear. No matter how many breaches are filled with sand or temporarily bridged this go-round, a new storm will come along and bring the island to another standstill and we will be in this same mess all over again. We need to recognize that access and life and business on the island will have to change in response to natural forces that we can not control. High speed, shallow draft catamaran ferries are used in other places. Would they work here?

Larry Sidwell

September 16, 2011 1:47 pm

Their is plenty of gas, Foodlion, Conners, Red and White are all fully stocked. Many restaurants are open. The beaches are open. The only thing is their are debris piles that are on Hwy 12. The Tri-Villages are devastated, if you come please think of donating to the recovery effort.Cable and internet are out in some areas but are being restored daily. Ocracoke seems to want it both ways, they opposed a ferry charge last spring,because they thought it would hurt tourism,which is far from the truth, they oppose a bridge, and they don’t want Hatteras tourists driving thru. We on Hatteras deal with Ocracoke tourists driving to the ferry docks daily and you don’t hear us whining!! Its time this island gets some income flowing!!!


September 16, 2011 1:34 pm

im considering not coming down for my vacation on Ocracoke because of this mess. thanks Dare county.


September 16, 2011 1:17 pm

I wish we had David(above) on our side when our group of 7 missed our plane to Europe this summer because of a a stupid accident at the airport exit. We ended up stuck in traffic for hours within sight of the terminals but missed the flight and not willing to chase a cruise ship a day late somehwere in Turkey we bailed on the whole vacation. We are fighting the airfare/tour company through the credit card company for a refund.

Fast forward a few weeks and we decide we can salvage this years vacation with a road trip to OBX. A 2 weeker was booked starting this Sunday and our trip insurance will be denied and the Ferry is booked halfway into next week. After numerous complaints asking for a full refund, the owners would only give us half credit towards another stay next. I can tell you that if we do make it down we will get our moneys worth one way or another….


September 16, 2011 1:07 pm

To those of you that think visitors should have “read the fine print”, it is not that simple. Who would ever expect to be allowed to re-enter an area that was not fully functional? To not have the road open and expect all of us to go on the ferries is something we cannot anticipate. After all the years I’ve gone down to the Outer Banks, pays thousands of dollars to stay at a house and had to prepay for it, I will now go elsewhere. I had to be evacuated last year because of Earl and now this. Nothing against the people there (my state got hit bad as well) but I’m done.


September 16, 2011 12:01 pm

Commissioners, Burrus, Judge, and Johnson should be held accountable for this fiasco. They bypassed the control group with their decision. The lack of foresight on their part is deplorable. Now we have visitors back on the island,no access for vendors to bring food , water, gas and other supplies. Cape Hatteras EMC has warned that they might not be able to maintain power if the northeaster does futher damage to the temporary transmission lines. Sad that this is who we elected to lead our county!


September 16, 2011 10:56 am


September 16, 2011 10:50 am

JimH you are so unhappy you are threatening to sue but you will put yourself in this position again next year possibly? “Your problem is with your rental company not with the residents of HI.” That is true but they cannot be separated. If the rental companies (or whomever else benefits) push this then yes, they are hurting the residents. Threats (facts?) are meant to make sure they understand the possible ramifications (fair or not) of their decisions.


September 16, 2011 10:46 am

Catch-22 is alive and well- the island is “open for visitors”- but they can not get there because of limited ferry service.

So the fat-cat rental insurance rip-off companies keep their money, and vacationers are ripped off. How many will never go back to Hatteras?

I personally will always rent about three days before my visit. That way you have a reasonable chance that you will be able to get to your house.

Terrible decision to open Hatteras Island to visitors when there is limited electrical service, limited food, tons of debris everywhere, etc. This is all about some fat-cat insurance company raking in the money, then never paying it out.


September 16, 2011 10:32 am

No way I’m going to put myself in a disaster zone when residents are fighting for their homes and lives so I’m not coming refund or not. All can keep my money this year. You won’t get anymore tho and THAT WILL hurt local jobs, businesses, owner-renters a lot longer than a few weeks. Just like everywhere else in the US the little guys will take the hit. Go ahead and insult me by calling me whiney on top of it. Fact is, you live or invested in a region that is almost solely dependent on me coming there.


September 16, 2011 10:28 am

Rental companies will need to refund the money for unused rents as the properties are basically not accessible. They have sold a product that they cannot deliver . . . legal action should and probably will be taken. The rental insurance is a waste of money unless there is an evacuation during your vacation. The current issue (lack of access to the rental property) is no different from having rented a storm damaged house or one that has been condemned. You cannot sell something if it is not available. The rental companies had better figure out a plan to make amends,as in refunds, before they are forced to legally do so by way of lawsuits.

As for those tourists with their threats of going other places, I say go and don’t come back. Nobody cares how long you have been touristing on HI especially when you follow up with threats of not returning. Please promise not to return and go somewhere else. Your problem is with your rental company not with the residents of HI.

OBX is the best

September 16, 2011 10:15 am


Please contact for a special message.


Sherri Swan

September 16, 2011 10:06 am

Has there been any testing for bacteria levels in the Sound for the lower villages? I saw one posting that stated the levels were too high to allow folks in for recreation.


September 16, 2011 9:59 am

…by the way our group would GLADLY work with the owner on a monetary compromise.

David said it well above. Two years ago we decided we wanted to purchase a second home on the OBX and our final two choice came to Hatteras or Manteo. The Bonner Bridge, South 12, and turtle/plover issues made our choice sad but easy. When you invest on HI you take the chance.

Rob Alderman

September 16, 2011 9:49 am

I’ve been working the past few days on an article for the IFP about the loss of fishing and it’s economic impact.

Every person I’ve interviewed had damage to their homes if not totally lossed. They all were unhappy about the return of the visistors, but said they would gladly set aside their personal problems at the shot to make $10.

For more people and biz owners then you may think..I lil bit a money will mean the difference between bankruptcy and breadline and taking care of themselves.

Most HIers are proud and do not want help–They just want the chance to take care of themselves.

Dale Farrow

September 16, 2011 9:38 am

I sat in line for 3 hours yesterday..sweating and swatting flys…watching the line grow longer and longer behind me..then I was close to getting on and a truck hauling a crane pulls up so I am bumped back another hour and a half…my ride time from Manteo to get home to Buxton was almost 7 hours…boy I would love to add that to my 10 hour drive if I was a tourist!!And to top it off today the ferry from Stumpy Point to Rodanthe is closed due to high wind !!! sooooo if you are trying to get on the island today you got to wait till the wind stops blowing…hummmm how long does a Noreaster blow this time of the year???


September 16, 2011 9:34 am

First our large group LOVES HI, specifically the village and one home we always stay in. We go every year, like a migration. We spend $ in shops, in eateries, on charters, on dockage and fishing supplies for 3 boats, etc. etc. We respect and love the locals. It’s a very special place. We feel for all those whose lives have been affected.

That being said, there are other “special places”.

The residents of HI, save for a few that will profit off of me coming there, don’t want me there. I don’t blame them. They shouldn’t have to fight with me for food, gas, essentials, ferry space, on and on. The last place I want to visit is a place we are not welcome and I understand that hostility. The locals deserve to be hostile this year.

To you few making money off my rental fees this year – STOP being so short-sighted and naive. You may get to keep our money this year but…as I said, there are other special places waiting and willing to take your place.

non property owner

September 16, 2011 9:32 am


Wise words you have written. I want to make clear that when I suggested some people could walk on the ferry, I was talking about Ocracoke renters. Never once do I suggest that I think that is a good idea for Hatteras renters. I also know it won’t work for a lot of the Ocracoke folks. But it can & does work for some. It isn’t a matter of figuring things after you get here. Set it all up before you come. Two couples came yesterday and did just that. They are happy with their decision. They don’t plan to fish~you can’t take a golf cart to the beach.

Everyone is going to have to be patient and let it all unfold. Now with the Rodanthe/Stumpy Point ferry not running during this NE wind, HI property owners are probably going to try to get on the Swan Quarter ferry.That will just add fuel to the already hot fire.

breadmans wife

September 16, 2011 9:09 am

my husband is a bread vendor and is doing his best to travel there twice a week right now to help re-stock those food lion and grocery shelves. The problem is that ferries were re-opened but with no priority service for vendors. He’s waited for HOURS (4, 5, 6 hours) for the Stumpy Point ferry which is supposed to be reserved for locals and vendors and has seen tourists get boarded before him. He sells bread!! A basic commodity – and it is taking him 20-25 hours to run a single trip there because of the hours he is waiting in line and traveling the ferry. There needs to be some kind of priority for locals and vendors/commercial people.
As to the non-resident homeowners – I am NOT unsympthetic to your pain – but- I feel that someone who LIVES there year round or supplies the island year round – does need to get priority.


September 16, 2011 8:59 am

Our vacation is scheduled for two weeks beginning on September 24th in Rodanthe but we know it is not going to happen. Irene created a bad situation for everyone concerned. There are no winners here except maybe the travel insurance companies but come on, everyone knows how insurance companies operate…there are winners and losers. We don’t like the idea of paying a lot of money for a trip we can’t take but what is the option?…screaming, whining, a lawsuit? We take our licks and move on…as another e-mail author said, “weather is king” out there. We rented from a “Vacation Rental by Owner” and the owner was gracious enough to refund some deposits and offer a half price re-booking through 2014 which they didn’t have to do. Good luck to everyone who lives on Hatteras Island and we will be back, it is too beautiful a place to mark it off our travel itinerary in the future.


September 16, 2011 8:34 am

Is there anything more annoying than the pollyanna’s telling everyone to come on down, we need your business, everything is fine, just walk onto the ferry and figure it out from there? Really don’t know how to respond to such thinking – words fail me.

Dare County commissioners need to be fired, the sooner the better. That much is obvious. Any group that makes decisions like obviously are not fit to lead.

While everyone feels bad for the non-resident owners who rent their homes, they entered into a risky business proposition when they bought the house and decided to rent it out. And there’s not one among them who can claim not to have known something like this was a possibility. When you invest on a barrier island, you know it can be wiped out in any one of a dozen storms that will threaten each year. It’s part of life on the Outer Banks. And when you rent a house, that house is now a business. If you’re customers can’t use the house for whatever reason, then you owe a refund back to your customers. Name me any other business where such is not the case. If you pay for a product in advance and are not obligated to deliver.

Trying to push the blame on travel insurance isn’t appropriate either. That’s not what they are there for. The county, business owners and rental owners are the ones who bear the risk of a damaged infrastructure that prevents renters from coming and spending their monies. Sorry, but that’s the brutal truth. If that means some places go out of business or lose their homes to foreclosure, that’s what happens when times get tough whether it’s a hurricane or a recession/depression.

The one thing I am absolutely sure about is this propensity for making renters the victim has to stop, whether it’s Hatteras renters this week or Nagshead renters at beach front during the nightmare of a replenishment project. Owners seem to think renters owe them to share the pain and that’s unethical and illegal. If someone brings a lawsuit, I guarantee the renter wins. Courts make assessments like that all the time – contract language or not.

But as some have pointed out, the biggest damage here is the impact on renters who will be chased away to other places having a sour taste in their mouth. I know from personal experience having not returned to a particular beach after a similar experience 25 years ago. People remember.

Local Seafood Supporter

September 16, 2011 7:39 am

high stress time.
please remember that we all love the Outer Banks; we all have a lot invested.

let’s remember to be loving in our actions and thoughtful in our interactions.

every little thing gonna be alright.


September 16, 2011 7:00 am

It’s interesting that I’m on Hatteras Island this week (storm related stuff) and none of the residents here (and I’ve talked with quite a few) think letting them back on is a good idea. None.

So, who are the powers that be listening to? Could it be falling tax revenues?


September 16, 2011 6:51 am

Karen is right on! I have been coming to the outer banks for years, and there is nothing that can take it’s place as far as the beauty and peacefulness. I usually vacation in the spring, but I have been run out a few times when I stayed in the fall. The only thing that would keep me from coming there is if the island fell in the ocean! Then I’d probably take up scuba diving just to find it! The vacationers have no idea what the local residents have gone through. I can only imagine how hard it has been. But I know they will bounce back! And I will be there to support them when they are ready for us to come back!


September 16, 2011 6:14 am

There are plenty of locals who are angry about the situation that has arisen. Besides knowing that most of what we say falls on deaf ears and the county does what it wants and doesn’t consider the opinion of the islanders. Most are just to tired to argue anymore after seeing how things were handled after the storm and with all the cleanup that has been going on and will continue to go on for weeks to come. This should be a big learning lesson for the county but I’m sure it will be overlooked next time as things down here usually are. Most of the people that are wanting and having to get here will not be able to wait to get off after they figure out they will be stuck on the island just like us.

Jeremy D. Adams

September 16, 2011 3:22 am

I don’t have a dog in this fight, but it seems a bit draconian that the guidance established exactly for this situation was not followed.


September 16, 2011 1:10 am

Karen. This is years of my life saving for this vacation. We do have sympathy for the residents. I feel badly for what damages and hardships they have suffered. I too had extensive damage and flooding of my home from Irene. But to expect people to pay for a vacation they can not take is not fair either. After a very difficult year this vacation was more than just a week of my life. This vacation was so much more than that for us. This was my savings too. I did purchase the insurance and they are not expected to pay out even though I can not even get on the island. I understand your frustration but please understand ours. We need to find a fair solution not insult each other.


September 16, 2011 12:31 am


That’s not quite what u had said. Let me explain a few things though. Any time you ha e a reservation and something is seriously wrong with the house u rented the Realty company will try to place u in an equivalent house at no charge TO YOU. However they will.transfer your rent payment from the defective house owner to the one u actually stay in. That is fair. If my house is not ready I am not honoringmy side of our contract and don’t deserve to be paid (even though the problem may not be due to any fault of mine). But you were complaining about owners not giving u a refund. Even though we are NOT obligated to.make any price adjustment since our houses are ready many of us are going to anyway for the period after trip insurance ceased. Also while some r very quick to complain about the Realty companies, as u did, u might want to know that THEY r urging the owners to refund, give alternate weeks or compromise. They are hardly ur enemy and neither r the owners.

Also I have not heard anger from residents directed toward owners or guests. They r the victims and r fully aware of what dare county did.

karen wheless

September 16, 2011 12:26 am

the poster above made a very wise statement that i agree with … i feel like reposting this a million times
” in reality the only one to blame is IRENE!!!!
My heart goes out to all the hard working islanders and hope things get better real soon.”

karen wheless

September 16, 2011 12:04 am

and let me tell you poster above, a cruise out of baltimore will never come close to the nc outer banks. i have seen the comments here (i will never vacation there again, blah, blah, blah) what a bunch of winey babies. it is a frigging week of your lives. how bout you trade a week of your lives to a livelihood of one of those local residents. i am seeing some ridiculous statements here being made.


September 16, 2011 12:02 am

I will be having an attorney look over the contract then look toward a class action. I may go unreimbursed but it won’t be without a fight. I can not even get there!!! I will keep you posted on what he says. And yes the county officials made this mess. It is a shame I can not vote there :). We have been told we can’t even file the claim until the 24 th .


September 15, 2011 11:59 pm

It is going to be an absolute nightmare. I was in a local supermarket this evening that is usually very well stocked but has been less and less the last few days due to delivery schedules. Cleanup is going on all over the island at this time so that will piss the tourist off as well.
Why they opened Avon where they can ride into the village where some people have their whole lives in their front yards is beyond me. The said so far there have been no incidents, just wait until a tourist rides through there with a camera and starts asking questions. They’ll never get the law out of there.
They compromised an already fragile power grid and are going to overload it with more than we can handle. That makes for an island full of pissed off tourist and locals. Sit back and watch the fireworks folks. You didn’t get them in July but you’ll have them soon enough.
Everybody remember that elections are coming up in the county. Time to put someone who has the islands best interest and safety of the people in mind not their own agenda.

No property owner

September 15, 2011 11:56 pm

Finally, someone that makes sense. I’ve been sitting here reading these comments thinking that cottage rentals are a business and if that business cannot provide the product, why should the renter pay. Mortgages, cable, electricity are no different than inventory in a store anywhere. If that inventory is broken, the business has has to make good on it. The money for the cottages should be put in some kind of escrow account. Paid to the owner after the renter uses the house, paid back to the renter in case of this type of situation.

There are NOT enough ferries to get everyone over to Ocracoke & Hatteras. They could run all night long, the the USCG has rules & regulations about the # of hours they can work. I’m sure those hours are being stretched already. We all better keep our fingers crossed that one of them doesn’t break down. That happens all the time.

If you are coming to Ocracoke, think about walking on the ferry. Rent a golf cart or just bike like the locals do. I imagine you can get help (thru rental companies) to get all your belongings to the cottage. It is time to think out of the box a bit.

One of the reasons all the locals are so angry is that we understand what a PR nightmare it is and that many long time visitors won’t return. There doesn’t seem to be an answer. EVERYONE is going to lose some money or time this year. Face it. Now come, relax and get to the beach.Enough time for stress later.

karen wheless

September 15, 2011 11:48 pm

Warren judge and others made absolutely the right call on this – period. I am a nonresident property owner and just came back from Hatteras last weekend via the ferry system and yes it took longer than normal.

Here is the scene there in southern Dare County … Albeit the northern Hatteras Island Villages’ recovery is bound to be slow go things are proceeding there. On the other hand the Food Lion and grocery stores are full of food and fully staffed wishing they had a customer, gas stations full and operable in all the villages. Lower village in Avon, Buxton, Frisco, Hatteras Village are ready and able for people to come/visit/vacation and life to resume. Locals are actually the businesses closing their businesses because they have no business to support. They need people there in any damn way or line or ferry they can get them there! And if people want to come and are willing to wait they can handle it. So, they have to take a couple of extra hours on each leg of the trip, that is the visitor’s choice to do that.

Hatteras Village is an absolutely beautiful vacation ghost town in those southern areas and it feels like a Twilight Zone episode to see jobs and businesses closed/laid off because no people are there. Those commissioners decided for the people living there! They made the right decision to open the world back up to the livelihoods and the economies of the local residents, their worlds, their jobs – period.

Rick N.

September 15, 2011 11:42 pm

I had reservations for the week of 9/18. Me and my family have made the decision to not even try it. I see this as a complete fiasco waiting to happen. No guarantee of basic essentials, fuel, no guarantee of utility services. Sounds more like glorified camping to me. The decision by Dare Co. is nothing but political, greedy, and short-sighted. I
come to the Outer Banks each year. I can assure every business owner there, I will not be back due to the way this situation has been handled. I can also assure you based on the social media that I have read that I’m definitely not alone in my opinion. The decision may bring in a few more $ for Dare Co. businesses, but they’re going to lose the PR war.

Marty Brennan

September 15, 2011 11:38 pm

Here a suggestion for the owners.Maybe the owners of homes at the northern beaches that are not rented can work out deals with you for discounted rents for these next couple of weeks or months so that the cost maybe can be reasonable to all parties! Just saying.


September 15, 2011 11:25 pm

You can always go Class Action against the insurance companies, or just deny the charges for the rental/insurance if you never received the services you paid for. The Credit Card Companies are on your side. Looks like Dare County really pooped the bed on this one.


September 15, 2011 11:19 pm

Sad, I don’t know what you can do about it. The property management companies I’m sure were against this plan. If Dare County just keeps the evacuation in order until the temp bridge is built, everyone is happy. Those who have trip insurance are reimbursed, those who can drive down are happy to take their vacation since they can drive here. But opening up visitor access on a ferry system that can service about 25% of the load on a full checkin weekend on the island (including cleaners, laundry delivery, visitors, other off-island help, etc) was the ultimate in poor planning.

If you bought trip insurance, they will cover you until the island is re-opened to visitors. Which it is. But you can’t get here because the ferries are all booked. So you have to pay for a vacation that you can’t even take.

The Dare County board is the group that has made life miserable for everyone involved, and they deserve the heat for this. The property management companies hate that decision just as much as anyone else I’m sure, they just don’t want to come out and say that our county officials are incompetent.

I’m still in shock how 5 “officials” can’t get a pen and a piece of paper and perform a basic math problem.

50×8 = 400, if you run 16 ferries that’s 800 and still not even what ONE property management company might check in on a Saturday or Sunday. Multiply that by 4. Pull head out of rear end. Only allow non-resident re-entry once temporary bridge is up. The end.

Marty Brennan

September 15, 2011 11:16 pm

If owners don’t work out a solution with their renters , no big deal we’ll just book a cruise out of Baltimore( same amount of money) next summer.Don’t bite the hand that …


September 15, 2011 11:13 pm

Marcy, I can understand your point however this particular house was not a house that was booked solid and has plenty of availability for the rest of the year. I consider it shifting funds where the house may have not rented the week we were due to go down. Some of us ARE trying to work out some sort of deal however the rental companies aren’t helping at all. When you are originally told if something happens to the house you are supposed to rent or you aren’t able to check in, we will put you in a different house and now they can’t do anything for us… They don’t want to help us at all and blame you as the owners that they can’t get the answers from you.

And for those residents so mad at the visitors, did you ever for a second consider maybe US as visitors want to help you? We want to bring supplies down and want to help with clean up. Maybe I’m the only one out of thousands who want to come down that would enjoy “helping out a neighbor” but we don’t want to just take all of your supplies. Some of us truly want to help. Only a thought…


September 15, 2011 10:37 pm

I am interested in what legal stand the visitors have to get their money back. I am surely not about lawsuits and such but there HAS to be something we can do!! I just do not see how this is acceptable. I will surly be looking into that and contacting the Better Business Bureau. I am very sorry for anyone’s loss and do recongnize this as a hardship for the people there. The hurricane did thousands of dollars of damage to my home as well. It is not that I lack compassion but I have lost a lot of money on a vacation that I can’t even take. It has taken years for mr to save for this and a first family vacation ever. As I am sure the island is beautiful and a wonderful place to visit, I assure you my family and I will not visit there for any future vacations.


September 15, 2011 10:31 pm

This is just a simple 3-step problem

1) Whoever was so out of touch and quite honestly STUPID to make the decision to let visitors back on (I’m looking at you, Dare County morons) deserves the lion’s share of the blame for this. As a poster said above, it’s a simple math problem. 50 cars per ferry x 8 ferries = 400 people. That’s less than one single rental company’s checkins on a Saturday. Multiply that by 4 rental companies. It’s that simple. If you couldn’t figure that out, you don’t deserve to be on the Dare County board and you don’t deserve anyone’s votes or support. You didn’t help the locals. You screwed them. For every person whose job you think you saved this year, those businesses will make less money next year because of the bad publicity of this mess, people will not come past 9/1 next season.

2. Why would they not send ferry traffic straight to Hatteras with “Hatteras-only” visitors? People are going to have to go through Ocracoke and it’s going to clog their road, they’re going to have to wait to get on ANOTHER ferry, and then get to Avon and wait in ANOTHER line at Food Lion, and everybody down here will be so miserable, tourists AND residents, that it’s going to be unbearable. At least leave Ocracoke out of the equation, let the people who want to go there have some peace and quiet and relaxation. Dare County took a dump on Hyde County here.

3. The stores aren’t stocked, the infrastructure isn’t here, the County Commissioners (again) are pretty stupid. Cape Hatteras Electric is even sending out pre-emptive emails because they know they won’t be able to handle all this load with the temp lines they put up. So of course the power will be off and on at least a few times this weekend. Secondly, Food Lion can only get a truck every so often, they can’t possibly be stocked for the rush that’s about to happen. No Village Grocery in Avon, so between Food Lion and Connor’s, that’s all visitors can do for food. Oh, should I mention Burrus Red & White? That’s probably half the reason Burrus voted to open things back up, but he’s probably grossing only $1,000 less per week by not having visitors here.

Whoever voted for this crap not only doesn’t belong in politics, but I don’t know how you even have a job you are so incompetent.


September 15, 2011 10:27 pm

I had NO IDEA I was spending extra (what is it now? $100?) money for vacation insurance that basically wouldn’t do ANYTHING for me all this time!
Luckily, my Hatteras Village vacation was the week before the hurricane.
But I was always under the impression that “if for any reason you can not be in your rental for even ONE night, you will receive reimbursement for that portion of your rent” or something like that.
That’s what the insurance brochure used to say.
So basically, we always thought, that if we got the flu the day before we left for vacation, and had to skip a night, we’d get $$ back.
I thought it was that simple!

And I can’t BELIEVE, that after paying for something, and NOT getting it, that rent won’t be refunded!!
I do not own a rental of any sort. So I don’t know how it all works.
But what happened to someone paying for something, and either getting it, or getting a refund???
That all just sounds so crazy, unfair, and even illegal to me!??!
If we buy something from Walmart, and it doesn’t work, we can take it back, right? If it’s broken we take it back, right? So if we BUY a vacation from a realtor, WHO decided that it’s ok to NOT be able to get money back if it doesn’t work???
I guess I won’t bother wasting my money on insurance anymore, if it’s not gonna help anyway. Forget that!

Carl A

September 15, 2011 10:26 pm

I am one of those visitors who were scheduled to arrive shortly in Avon. We won’t be getting a refund. We can’t get there either.

I’m a repeat renter in October, braving the threat of hurricanes and missing a few close calls in the past. Until now I was oblivious to the possibility of the scenario that has unfolded. I did not fully read and understand NC hurricane coverage or how the NC vacation rental laws affect outcomes. Now it is clear. We lose, insurance or not in many foreseeable circumstances.

The decision to reopen the island in the financial interest of the island businesses is certainly short-term thinking. Long term Dare Co. and the Hatteras communities will suffer the ill will that current policies engender. The residents, business and property owners would be well served to use the power of the vote to remedy the situation for the future.

We’ve now made new vacation plans elsewhere and I’m quite certain I’ll think long and hard about coming back to Hatteras next fall.

Beautiful place. Good luck with the future. I feel bad for the residents


September 15, 2011 10:17 pm

Geez, people! It’s still a freakin’ disaster area (regardless what the govt may say). Vacation out there? No idea how long it would take to get off the island if a storm comes this way? The tourists headed out there are even more stupid than the committee that opened the place up–those guys are smart enough to be considered criminal.

Lorraine Burgess

September 15, 2011 10:07 pm

The people who are asking Dade County to RECIND the decision to “open the island to visitors”—you’ve got to be kidding me.!! Visitors are on the move to the island from all directions and some from many miles away — I would think real hard about that request–it’s obvious you didn’t!!


September 15, 2011 10:01 pm

We’re trying to LEAVE Ocracoke to get home after a vacation on Ocracoke, but cannot get a ferry reservation on either Saturday or Sunday the 24th or 25th. This is a mess and is causing a total gridlock for Ocracoke and Hyde county tourism. If opening Hatteras is a done deal, the NCDOT needs to make a major adjustment to the ferry schedules to accomodate the influx to and from Ocracoke on the Swan Quarter and Cedar Island ferries. Someone didn’t think this through.


September 15, 2011 9:49 pm

I will never,never purchase insurance again!!! They make it sound so simple to get your money. I have reservations for first week of Oct. Part of our family will have to drive 16 hours with small children & then ride a ferry. It ain’t gonna to happen! We are going to another beach, in another state. I have been coming to OBX for 30+ years. I love it there, but I do not know if I will ever go back. I tried to change our week to early next year,but was told by the rental company, it is up to the owner of the house. No help from rental comapny-No help from insurance company. Hope they do not have another hurricane and try to evacuate all of these people off of the islands. Has anyone considered what would happen in a medical emergency?

Lorraine Burgess

September 15, 2011 9:43 pm

Reading all the comments,opinions,pros and cons from all
people from all positions I feel really upset for everyone! We are arriving on the 18th by ferry (reserved)from Cedar Island to Ocracoke to Hatteras Island for a booked Sept.17th to Oct 1st vacation in Hatteras Village.
We are driving from Ontario Canada starting Sept.15th. I was hoping that Dare County would open the island by ferry to visitors and they did!—but saying that- I did not fully understand the inpact of that decision. Good for us but an absolutely tramatic experience for the islanders of Ocracoke and Hatteras with all the hard work and inconveniences (one of many examples—trying to get off the islands for necessities etc.)–but in reality the only one to blame is IRENE!!!!
My heart goes out to all the hard working islanders and hope things get better real soon.

dam Yankee

September 15, 2011 9:39 pm


Please explain how the policies of the insurance companies are making Hatteras Island look bad. Actually, they are making THEMSELVES look bad. And, guess what? You don’t have to buy travel insurance from the company that you’re renting from. You can get it from anyone who sells travel insurance! It’s not the fault of the rental companies that you failed to read the terms of the policy you purchased. It’s like people who buy homeowner’s insurance and expect to be covered when the 100-year storm floods their home. Oh, my, but I spent all this money paying insurance, you should cover EVERYTHING! Well, they don’t. Is that the fault of the person you bought your house from? I think not. Caveat Emptor, or however you spell that.

OBX Resident

September 15, 2011 9:23 pm

It is crazy to let tourists down there. Rodanthe is trashed, the stores are trashed. I think the officials were trashed when they made the decision to open it up. Anyone that has been to rodanthe will understand this. I cannot even get a contractor down there to clean up my property because of the ferry issue.


September 15, 2011 8:26 pm

You’ll be shocked when you see how big that inlet is, it grows daily, with NE winds forthcoming this weekend and for the next several months. It’s not a breach – it’s an INLET.


September 15, 2011 8:25 pm

I would like to know if CSA Insurance is going to honor their contracts. I have been coming to Hatteras for 20 years, and if I am not able to get my money back I will probably not risk a vacation rental on the island again. That makes me sad because I love the area. I would have thought that the rentals companies would offer a good product in their choice of travel insurance. This gives Hatteras a bad name. I will loose $3000.00 but last year 6 families came down and I know my family alone spent $1000.00 on entertainment, art, food, and clothing. I can not get to the island this year because the ferry is booked. Opening the island too early will only hurt the future of the business owners.

Richard Vacula

September 15, 2011 8:07 pm

I would hope common sense would prevail and not the almighty $$$.I feel for the people who are out of work for now.I feel that I have no choice but to go,or lose my money. I would have prefered to have a choice in the matter,either choosing to travel over by ferry or have the choice to reschedule another week when the road is repaired.I have made ferry reservations,hoping they hold true.I have thoughts and remember the mayhem of people trying to get off the islands after the section of Bonner bridge fell.Lets not hope for a repeat of that.This being said,I have been coming to the outer banks for a week or two since 1973 and have always enjoyed it.This will be my vacation this year,hopefully to be enjoyed.But the thought of another four to five hours added to a nine hour trip has already dulled this enjoyment,also having to leave a day early to ensure getting home and back to work.I hope that the powers that be will come to their senses and reconsider reopening the island at the present time.You may wind up with more unhappy visitors then you would care to have.


September 15, 2011 7:59 pm

And, Ashley, “switching weeks” IS a refund. My house rents solid. “Swithching weeks” means I put a non-paying guest in my house and still have to pay all the costs.

FYI, non-resident owners are not all rich people, which sometimes seems to be implied. I have NEVER stayed at my own house in the summer – can’t afford to. It is an investment property, just like the stock market. There is a huge mortgage, mounting expenses, and rents haven’t been raised in at least 9 years for most of us.

And the same Dare County that made stupid decisions this time stopped doing property assessments, so we all pay property taxes based on house values we can only dream about.

We are actual regular people like you. Please do not act as if it somehow on our heads to give you money – which is what you are really asking. Try at least a compromise – splitting costs, for exampke. This is not our fault any more than it is yours and legally we don’t have to give you a refund. Try compromise – it will get you a lot further with those of us spending time and money to repair hurricane damage while we lose rent as well.

dam Yankee

September 15, 2011 7:59 pm

OK, folks. Reality check time. Yes, the insurance companies are making money: some more than others. Before you start squawking about how awful it is, please consider the residents of these islands. Are we ready for you to come back? Not really, but WE HAVE NO CHOICE. Dare County officials have spoken. Now, consider the non-resident property owners, whose homes you are renting for your visit. Are they all millionaires who don’t need the $$? You might think so, but in reality, hardly any of them are. Many have been skirting the edge of foreclosure for a while now. “Switching weeks” sounds simple enough, but it takes money out of their pockets, which most of them can’t afford to lose. Also, the administrative nightmare of “switching” people is a concept which the property management companies are not yet ready to deal with: they are still compiling lists of damaged houses, dealing with owners and vendors, all of whom have also had to take ferries to get to where they are needed to fix things. Insurance adjustors have to come in, make their assessments, only AFTER that has been done, can the management folks inform guests what is going on. The northern villages are a WAR ZONE, debris and standing, mosquito-breeding water everywhere. Thank heaven Dare County had the sense to keep the tri-villages closed right now. Trust me, you DON’T want to be there. Hurricane Irene was the worst storm the Outer Banks has experienced since Isabel, and worse because of the placement of the breeches: when only Hatteras village was cut off, at least the rest of the Island could start to pick up the pieces. SO WHAT if the only way on is by ferry? The only way to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard is by ferry, and you have to pay a whole lot more than $15 a trip. I am truly sorry for guests who bought insurance and thought they’d be covered, only to discover that after 30 days, they aren’t. But, it’s there in the fine print for everyone to see, if they only looked at what they were signing before they blithely pledged $3500 back in March or whenever they made reservations. This is a bad situation no matter how you look at it. We are all doing the best we can do with the hand we’ve been dealt. It is what it is. If you don’t want to ride the ferry, don’t come. It’s as simple as that! The NCDOT guys are truly amazing and they are busting it out to get the road fixed, but it’s not as easy as all that. Weather is King on the Island. This event should have taught us all that, if we didn’t already know. Please, everyone, look beyond your own vacation and see the big picture: it’s a lot bigger than you might think.


September 15, 2011 7:51 pm

If owners vacation at a house you have rented, u r entitled to a full refund, I am a non-resident owner here right now scrambling to get ny house in the perfect shape that renters have a right to expect – and in my case the house will be ready.

But the insanity of what Dare County did screws us too.
Like everyone else we were told “not before the 17th…” And like everyone else we were stupid enough to believe them,

If the person who has rented my house for next week can’t get here, then what? If Dare County had showed any judgement, they would be covered by renters insurance. When they can’t get here, they will undeerstandably feel they should get a refund. I, also understandably, can’t afford to do that. Thanks to Dare County, even if we compromise, we both lose….. and they will not be likely to want to come back here next year.

As far as I can tell, the ONLY people who come out ahead are the insurance companies. If you think the few people who will get here are going to boost the local economy I think you are wrong. And its going to make chopped liver of Okrakoke;s.


Rose Smith

September 15, 2011 7:50 pm

Bottom line is that the officials who made the decision could not have possibly passed 5th grade math! With limited numbers of cars on each ferry only so many people can be transported during any 24 hour period. And, as with almost every single tourist venue – everyone arrives on Saturday and departs on Saturday… Except in this instance there is no way to depart on Saturday or Sunday because all the ferries are booked – and even overbooked. I was told to be at the ferry one full hour before departure – even with my reservation – and I was cautioned I still might not get on. I can’t imagine how those who made this decision did not consider the impact on Ocracoke. It’s a tiny little island with 1 general store and 1 gas station. What happens when the line for the ferry to Hatteras backs up all the way to the pony pens? Or worse yet, blocks the main road in town. Time will tell. My prayers are with those folks who depend on tourism for their livelihood… I hope folks know it isn’t your fault and will choose to come back next year. I know I’ll be there if at all possible!

Jim S

September 15, 2011 7:38 pm

If we cant get our money back from the insurance companys, I think we should sue Dare county for the money, they created this risky and dangerous fiasco. Also our creditcard companys might be able to help.


September 15, 2011 7:01 pm

My understanding from the residents and company owners on Hatteras Island is that many gas stations are wiped out; Food Lion in Avon is only partially stocked; small retailers and restaurants who usually close in Oct aren’t going to spend money on inventory to re-open for such a short period for a minimal # of guests.

So whose jobs are being saved by this re-opening?

How does the entire Outer Banks recover from the absolute “HATE” public relations being generated from this decision that was made by apparently four people?
It needs to be rescinded. If it was protecting our local population, I think we’d all be for it but it is not.

Ashley Harden

September 15, 2011 6:50 pm

I realize that its hard right now for the companies with all of us patient visitors constantly asking next steps. I wish the owners would call and provide solid facts as we are not getting anything from the companies. We are all out lots of money if we purchased insurance or not. Most of us have saved all year for these trips and we are getting the runaround when we only want to know what’s next can we switch weeks etc. It’s funny they say they have already paid the owner and u are at the mercy of them. Honestly owners could be getting paid by visitors and staying at the house themselves same week without refunding money. I feel horrible for the residents there as they are trying to pick up the pieces as a lot of people have been through with other hurricanes(fran, Hugo, etc…) but for the owners who do not have any damage please contact your property management company and tell them if u r refunding or switching weeks. Please give us answers for our lost $2,000.00 please???????

Nancy K

September 15, 2011 6:13 pm

I was just told by my realtor, Surf or Sound, that Travel Guard will not pay any claims after Sept 23. My vacation week isn’t until 10/8 so all I can hope for is Rodanthe being reopened via Rt 12. The ferry idea is insane!! Many visitors drive hours to get to OBX & then are asked to endore many more hrs before getting to their rental. My other concern would be getting back off the island & home in time to return to work. I’ve been coming to Rodanthe for the last several years & love it but I won’t come back.


September 15, 2011 6:00 pm

Heaven forebid another storm changes path and heads that way. How would they get everyone back out?

Trina Leapley

September 15, 2011 5:48 pm

Also, I don’t see why putting off letting visitors on til the road is built would cost them THAT much money. What about all the people who will not come back to OBX next year b/c of this – my family included. The only reason we have to be one of those visitors is b/c we cannot afford to eat the rental money we have paid already and get another vacation house somewhere else or just stay home.

Trina Leapley

September 15, 2011 5:46 pm

I am pretty sure the ins company semi responsible for not giving reimbursements is CSA Insurance. Their policy is the one offered by Hatteras Realty, and they have very limited coverage. If the road was destroyed more than 15 days from your check-in date, you aren’t covered on trip insurance. If there are any visitors being let on the island, then you aren’t covered. B.S. to me.

Leslie Lanier

September 15, 2011 5:38 pm

All it would have taken is some thinking on the part of the Hatteras Island/Dare County people that made the decision to re-open. Knowing the number of people expected on Hatteras, the # of people coming to Ocracoke, the # of cars a sound-class ferry can handle, the # of cars a Hatteras ferry can handle, it is easy to figure it equals a big fat nightmare for everyone. Visitors, Hatteras residents, Ocracoke residents, ferry personnel: all angry. Did anyone from Dare County even call the ferry division and speak with them?

Lizzy B

September 15, 2011 5:26 pm

As a cottage non resident owner in Avon, I can not even begin to imagine the fiasco of visitors getting to Hatteras Island. I understand the unemployment issue and lack of $$ coming in to the island.
I also can tell you, our homeowners Insurance agent has had to look at over 100 homes. He told me he can not even get to mine until end of next week. Our Rental company says it is “Rent ready.” Even though all the screen are gone, rugs stink and we have no idea if AC and mechanicals down on ground floor are running 100%. We have a repeat renter coming in this Saturday. The Insurance agent can not get to our cottage til mid to end of next week. I told the rental agency, if the renter complains the house smells, bedding could smell, mold under carpets this that and the other thing, they have to deal with it. As a cottage owner we have large expenses, on the cottage, water, cable electric, mtg., Insurance. We can not being giving 100% refunds either. I think this is just going to make an already upside down market fall way down further. Very alarming. I am sound side also!


September 15, 2011 5:20 pm

the name of the rental insurance company that is being greedy should be published. hopefully no one will re insure with them in the future. the company that is being reasonable should reap those new accounts.

Victoria Smith

September 15, 2011 4:51 pm

My brother cant even come home to visit from college. The ferry’s are taken up with people headed to Hatteras that aren’t even gonna spend their tourist dollars in Ocracoke. Residents are having problems attending Doc appointments and even grocery shopping…. If we cant keep getting in the few supply trucks were getting, then the stores dont have enough for everyone and WE cant get off or get back to shop off Island…Till HWY 12 is back open all the way through it should be like the Hatteras Ferry was No reservations, first come first serve, with residents having priority!!

beach lady

September 15, 2011 4:31 pm

Again, money is the decision maker. When you explain to someone that it is 88 miles from Kitty Hawk to Swan Quarter, a 2 1/2 hr ferry ride to Ocracoke, a 14 mi drive to another ferry then 40 minutes on that ferry – it doesn’t seem that long until you try to do it. Many people want to go to Ocracoke for a day trip. Tourists have no idea what they are going to encounter as far as time and inconvenience when they make that ferry reservation. I sure wouldn’t want to be working anywhere near this fiasco!

Vince O'Neal

September 15, 2011 4:01 pm

Not only are the Ocracoke tourists locked out of coming to Ocracoke, the residents of Ocracoke Island cannot get on or off the island.

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