The Roanoke Island Maritime Museum and Roanoke Marshes lighthouse are located at the George Washington Creef Park in historic downtown Manteo. The boathouse which houses the Maritime Museum is housed in the original George Washington Creef boathouse. The original lighthouse, built in 1857, was a wooden structure and stood at the southern entrance to Croatan Sound, near Wanchese, until it was decommissioned in 1955.
The present-day reconstructed lighthouse was opened in 2004 through the efforts of the Town of Manteo. The historical exhibits about the light keepers and maritime history of the area will transport you through time and give you a sense of life long ago.
At the foot of the pier to the lighthouse is an old U.S. Weather Bureau Coastal Warning display tower. Used to fly signal flags to warn mariners of wind shifts and approaching storms, modern technology has made these towers obsolete. Believed to be only one of five towers still in use, the Manteo Weather Tower may be the only one with its original signal lights still in place.
The Roanoke Island Maritime Museum is located in the historic George Washington Creef boathouse and is a working boathouse which offers insight into regional history using watercraft displays, ongoing boat restoration work, and boatbuilding exhibits. Watch as the skilled craftsmen bring history to life.
The Maritime Museum offers the adventurous sailing programs for all ages for visitors and Dare County residents alike. Students, age 8 and above, learn teamwork, self-confidence, and appreciation for nature from these exciting sailing lesson packages. It also offers boat building classes.
You certainly should enjoy these great events also:
- The Annual One-Design regatta which is held each year on the last Saturday in July. This regional regatta is open to Optimist, 420, and Sunfish (youth and adult division).
- The Shallowbag Sail-About is held on Tuesday evenings (weather permitting). The public is welcome to join in a short sail on Shallowbag Bay in traditional watercraft. Certainly a great way to see Manteo’s waterfront and experience a bit of history by sailing traditional watercraft. A $5.00 donation per-person is encouraged.
- The Annual Roanoke Island Maritime Museum Wooden Boat Show is held on the last Friday and Saturday in October. Open to all new-construction or restored wooden boats the boats are displayed in the Creef Boathouse and Park and in the water at the Roanoke Marshes lighthouse docks. This is a judged event and there is a “People’s Choice Award” so don’t forget to cast your vote for your favorite wooden boat.
The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse and Maritime Museum offers a great glimpse into local maritime history and a day (or more) of adventure and learning for the whole family on the beautiful and quiet Manteo Waterfront.