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Harker's Island

     Decoy carving is a true American folk art. Native Americans were the first to use wooden carved decoys to entice ducks to the ponds and rivers. These hunting techniques were passed on to New World settlers, and in turn the knowledge was passed on to Europeans.

    On Harkers Island and Down East, waterfowling has been a way of life for hundreds of years beginning with the Coree Indians and continuing with English settlers to the area. In recent years this cultural heritage has enjoyed a rebirth thanks to the Core Sound Decoy Carvers Guild. Dedicated to preserving local art, lore, culture and history, the guild established the area's first museum in 1992.

    The Core Sound Waterfowl Museum, located on Island Road just east of the elementary school, rotates wonderful collections of decoys by local carvers, antique working decoys and other forms of waterfowl art. Down East collectibles and handcrafts, books, bird houses and feeders, related clothing, stationery, calendars and jewelry are also available for purchase at the museum gift shop. You can observe local carvers in action Thursday through Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm on the museum's lovely front porch. A visit is a short and interesting 20 minute drive from Beaufort. Open year-round, the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum hours are 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday, and 2 pm to 5 pm on Sunday.

     The annual Core Sound Decoy Festival is held the first weekend in December each year. The Crystal Coast's largest off-season event, the Decoy Festival attracts nearly 10,000 people to see the work of and meet the most renowned of active waterfowl carvers. Display areas, auctions and competitions fill the weekend with interesting activity including decoy carving, painting and float tank competitions. In a float tank competition, the slicks (working decoys as opposed to the decorative) are poked, prodded and turned upside down to make sure they right themselves properly. The decoy with the most natural, lifelike swimming ability and appearance is the winner. Entertainment, demonstrations, and food also abound. And don't miss the loon-calling contest on Sunday afternoon. Winning loon-callers have been featured on CBS This Morning and The David Letterman Show.

     The future of the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum is very exciting. Through the private support of the museum's membership, a permanent museum building on Harkers Island is coming closer to reality. The museum has a long-term lease with the National Park Service on 16 acres of land at Shell Point where the new building will neighbor Cape Lookout National Seashore's visitors center. The location is being prepared with interpretive nature trails and a newly restored freshwater duck pond, the centerpiece of the museum's environmental education program.
    Donations and memberships in support of the museum are always welcome:

Core Sound Waterfowl Museum,
P.O. Box 556,
Harkers Island, NC 28531
Phone: 252-728-1500

Lodging in this Area

More information can be found on the museum's web site.

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Last Revised: November 20, 2008 09:50 PM.

Hotel rates displayed in our listings are for comparative purposes only, the actual rates change daily.
Please click on the "Get Rates" Button for the current rates on the lodging you are interested in.
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