Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Window on Wanchese

Yesterday I went out to lunch with a lady from our church.

We ate at a restaurant in the village of Wanchese (WAN-cheese), which is on the south end of Roanoke Island. Manteo is about five miles away on the north end of the island. And that’s all there is on our teeny island—two little ol’ towns!

While both towns were named after Indian chiefs, they are very different from each other. The residents have worked diligently at keeping their village unspoiled and unchanged and it is truly a delightful—and different—sort of place to visit.

We ate here.


Fisherman’s Wharf is not like most restaurants. In fact, it’s not even like most seafood restaurants.

For one thing, you can look out the restaurant window and see fishing boats pull up. The tube you see in the picture vacuums up the catch from the boats and deposits it into some mysterious reservoir under (or behind?) the restaurant. (My seafood knowledge is nil.)


Not only does seafood come into the restaurant from the water side, it is also brought in on big trucks to the front of the restaurant. Talk about fresh seafood! I wouldn’t be surprised if the tuna I ate at lunch had still been swimming in the deep blue sea just a few hours earlier.


Just a mile or two from that restaurant is Wanchese Seafood Industrial Park, the only one of its kind in the nation. Millions of pounds of fresh fish and seafood are unloaded there. Products from the industrial park are shipped to points all along the East Coast, and around the world from Norfolk International Airport.

(I just love that kind of trivia.)

Anyway . . . back to lunch. Because we all know how much I love lunch! And breakfast! And dinner! And snacks! And chocolate! (Somebody stop me!)

The views at the Fisherman’s Wharf are interesting and quaint no matter what direction one looks.


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This is a crab house at the end of the parking lot at Fisherman’s Wharf; I’m not sure if the two places are connected but I just loved this little building. I’m not exactly sure what that yellow plastic shovel is for. Do people shovel shrimp into their own container? As I said, my knowledge in this area is nil. Less than nil, even.


Wanchese really is like a little town in a novel and most definitely worth experiencing.

I’ll close out with a few more paragraphs about Wanchese taken from its website.

The village of Wanchese seems a world away from the Outer Banks, even though it's only a few miles down the road. Wanchese isn't exactly a tourist town; it's a fishing village and has almost always been one. Long before the first European explorers landed, the Algonquin Indians, and perhaps others before them, traveled to the southern end of what is now known as Roanoke Island to fish and gather shellfish.

If you take a drive around Wanchese, don't bother to look for the downtown area as there isn't one, unless you count the post office. However, two-lane roads wind about the village, and the homes here are an eclectic mix, many with small rowboats and brightly colored decoys as yard art. You'll discover neighborhoods where mobile homes are neighbors to new construction, old farmhouses, and slightly tumble-down homes from a generation or two before.

There are a few diners, a bed and breakfast inn, and even a couple of art galleries. For decades, the population has consisted of mostly fishermen and the children of fishermen, but that's beginning to change as folks from other parts discover the town's quiet, not yet commercialized atmosphere, a refuge from the beach--even though it's just down the road.


Today Sarah and I will be driving to Virginia Beach (about 4 hours round trip) to go to a funeral for a church member’s relative. We happened to have two funerals that got scheduled back to back, so Sarah and I are going to one, and Steve will go to the other.

Sarah, of course, is happy about the chance for a road trip. That girl loves to travel! Hmmmm. Wonder where she got that quality from? Could it be that it’s because she was in 37 states by the time she was six years old?

Naw. Must be something else . . ..

6 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

SuziQCat said...

What a neat town!! Thanks for sharing it with us. I wonder, do most of the restaurants in Manteo and Wanchese close for the Winter, or are there enough year round folks to sustain them?

Anonymous said...

The yellow shovel in your picture is used for ice! They have to shovel ice onto the boat to keep the fish fresh.
Having been a fisherman's wife for many years I am very familiar! We still have one of those shovels (but now we use it for sawdust) they do not break and are very strong!!

Anonymous said...

Also you will find those yellow shovels in just about any fishing town in America, as my husband fished out of Pt Judith RI and it's the same! Ü

Anonymous said...

Did you ever make it to North Dakota when you were traveling and singing? It really isn't "on the way" to anywhere, so you pretty much have to have a reason to want to come!! Just curious! Love all your pictures and stories. You are always in my prayers, Sweet Friend!!!

Dorine McNary

Ann Martin said...

Enjoyed the pictures. Do really want to come visit--just finding the time to get away for a few days has been a challenge at this time. I have never been to Wanchese but have been to Manteo. So much in our state I have not seen.

Anonymous said...

I have eaten at the Wanchese restaurant many times.. :)
My dad's trawler used to come in there. He was a fisherman for a lot of my life (my younger years); he then switched over to tugboating. :)
Hoping Snowy feels better soon! (I got my teeth cleaned on Thursday!) :)