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The Island Farm, A New Outer Banks Attraction

Updated on October 20, 2011
DonnaCSmith profile image

Donna Campbell Smith is an author, freelance writer, and photographer. She has an AAS degree in equine tech and is a certified instructor.

A Look at Farming in the 1800s

Regular visitors to the Outer Banks who have seen all the sites can enjoy a new park on Roanoke Island in historic Manteo. Island Farm is a living history site taking us back to the mid 1800s to learn about life down on the farm. Island Farm has been in the Etheridge family since the 1700s. Family heirs turned the farm over to the Outer Banks Conservation in 1997.

The Island Farm Visitor Center is the portal to a trip back in time. It houses a small museum with information about life on Roanoke Island in the mid-1800s. Learn about fishing, boating building, farming, the Freedman’s Colony, and more. The small admission fee is used to support the livestock on the farm and maintain the farm buildings.

The Island Farm

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Inside the cookhouseSheep grazed in the front pasture. They provide wool for clothing, spun and woven on the farm.staff members are on hand to answer questions and demonstrate various skills.Garden and Main House.Meeting the Ox
Inside the cookhouse
Inside the cookhouse
Sheep grazed in the front pasture. They provide wool for clothing, spun and woven on the farm.
Sheep grazed in the front pasture. They provide wool for clothing, spun and woven on the farm.
staff members are on hand to answer questions and demonstrate various skills.
staff members are on hand to answer questions and demonstrate various skills.
Garden and Main House.
Garden and Main House.
Meeting the Ox
Meeting the Ox

The house, originally built in 1847, and a ten outbuildings have been carefully restored and furnished with period furnishings, some which are original to the house. It feels like a trip back in time when you enter the door. The table is set in the dining room, papers and books are arranged the desk in the parlor, the bed is neatly made in the servants quarters behind the parlor. When you go out the back door you see and smell fragrant smoke curling out of the cookhouse chimney. Step inside that small building and see what the cook is making. You may be treated to a taste of fresh butter and cornbread.

While visitors touring the buildings they will also meet staff in period costume. These staff members are on hand to answer questions and demonstrate various skills like spinning, cooking and livestock management. Sheep graze in the front pasture while the oxen are pastured behind the house. Chickens free range, explaining one reason the kitchen garden is enclosed inside a picket fence. The rooster crows proudly over eggs laid by his hens, adding even more authenticity to the tour. Children may enjoy a ride in an ox drawn cart, learning that an ox is a “boy cow” used for working on the farm.

Island Farm is located on hwy 64 in Manteo, North Carolina. To learn more visit their website at or call 252-473-6500


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    • JDove-Miller profile image


      9 years ago from YOUNGSVILLE

      Gotta make sure I go there next time! Thanks for the photos.


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