Postal Updates

Deserted Outer Banks island hosts reunion after four-year hiatus

Apr 25, 2022, 12 PM
The post office in Portsmouth, N.C., will be open for one-day only on April 23 to cancel mail with this special pictorial postmark.

Postmark Pursuit by Molly Goad

Every two years, a remote island in North Carolina’s Outer Banks hosts a reunion for those who trace their lineage to its former dwellers.

“Portsmouth Rises,” represented on the image on the postmark, is the theme of Homecoming 2022. The theme is a nod to the island’s survival of Hurricane Dorian in 2019 and the cancellation of Homecoming 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Located just south of Ocracoke Island, Portsmouth is deserted except for National Park Service personnel and holders of park service leases. The last two inhabitants of the island’s once-lively sea village, also named Portsmouth, left the island in 1971.

Nowadays, the 13-mile strip of land is accessible by a small boat or privately run ferry for those who want to experience the beauty of undeveloped land. There are no shops or other businesses, just a smattering of small cottages on the southern end regulated by the National Park Service, plus the remains of the village. Village tours are available, and camping is allowed following National Park Service guidelines.

To obtain the Portsmouth Rises postmark, address your request to: PORTSMOUTH VILLAGE Station, Postmaster, Box 9998, Ocracoke, NC 27960-9997, April 23.

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