Embrace the Pace
I am always pleased to discover a piece of tranquility tucked amidst the gift shops and restaurants filled with the ever present onslaught of visitors. On the northern end of Roanoke Island is the Island Farm, a living history site interpreting daily life in the mid-1800s. As expected, there are people dressed in period attire wandering the premises explaining their daily tasks, farm animals enjoying the bucolic setting and an assortment of historic buildings. The slogan on the brochures is, Embrace the Pace. Surprisingly, it is still a well-kept secret.
But what drew me in was the peacefulness, the smell of freshness and no traffic sounds, just the humming of the earth and its creatures going about their day. Chickens muttered and clucked as they dug their way to China under the cook house, taking dust baths to rid themselves of unwanted parasites. Birds sang overhead while Charley the oxen and Roxie lolled in the field and workers did their chores quietly with a hushed reverence.
Trees and plants were bursting with blooms and a million shades of green formed a backdrop for the simple buildings. Real grass with no sign of sand spurs or cactus stretched from the sheep pasture back to the cattle pen. Sharp sunlight highlighted the whorls and spirals on Roxie's stunning red back while a gentle breeze filtered through the unscreened, opened windows of the various structures.
In 1757, Adam Etheridge leased 1500 acres on this island to farm and raise his livestock, and in 1783, his son Jesse bought 150 acres of this land which now forms the core of today's Island Farm which the family has owned for over 200 years. The Outer Banks Conservationists acquired it in 1997. The family graveyard is the resting place for Adam Etheridge and his descendants, facing east, ready to rise up and meet their maker according to Christian and Masonic traditions. A ninth generation boy's Appaloosa is buried just outside the gate, and there is a memorial to hunters and fishermen, complete with buoys and crabber's boots
Special events like sheep shearing, Halloween and Christmas celebrations are held throughout the year so of course I purchased a season pass. I plan on returning to sketch these events and maybe move into one of these simple homes and just stay forever, living the simple life and embracing the pace.
I hear, and I forget.
I see, and I remember.
I do, and I understand.