In August of 1590, Governor John White of returned from an unexpectedly long visit to England to what is now Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. He had left the colony in 1587 to retrieve supplies for the struggling colonists who had lived on Roanoke Island since 1585. When Governor White made his return he found his colony gone. Only the carving of the word “Croatoan” on a wooden post provided a clue to White. Croatoan is an island off of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. White was unable to visit the island due to the weather conditions and was forced to return to England without finding what had happened to the colonists.
To this day historians argue as to whether the colonists of Fort Raleigh were killed by Native Americans, moved to Croatoan Island or another location, or simply assimilated into the native tribes of the area. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site is located on the location of the original colony. A reconstruction of the fort that they colonist built here can be visited by tourists to get a feel of the life that these colonists lived. In fact, the first child born of English parents was born here in 1587, just before Governor White made his return voyage to England for supplies.
The interesting story of the colonists and their mysterious disappearance is told at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site at the Waterside Theatre. The Lost Colony Outdoor Drama runs through the summers at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. The park also offers a short video on the colonists as well as exhibits and markers to help visitors understand the history of this area. In addition the park provides a hiking trail and access to the adjacent Elizabethan Gardens where breathtaking displays of flowers, shrubs, and trees are on display.
Visitors to Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and the surrounding area will also want to visit the Wright Brothers Memorial, Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Reserve, Alligator River National Wildlife Reserve, and the many other natural wonders of this region. There are a variety of outdoor activities in this area including freshwater and saltwater fishing, hiking, biking, and sunbathing. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site is located near Nag’s Head, NC, and north of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Its locations makes it an ideal stop for those vacationing on the Outer Banks as well as a great weekend trip from Wilmington, Fayetteville, Raleigh, and Durham, NC.
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