NPS Centennial: Getting a Bird's Eye View From Bodie Island Lighthouse



In late September 2013, I visited the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  One of the highlights of the trip was a stop at Bodie Lighthouse on the Oregon Inlet in Nags Head, NC.  It had recently undergone major renovations that finished at the end of March 2013.  Luckily for me, it was now open for the public to explore the interior of the lighthouse!

Bodie-Heather-2.jpgA wonderful park ranger gave a thorough tour, starting with a lesson on how to pronounce Bodie.  I, like many others pronounced it with a long “o” but it’s actually pronounced body, named after the Body family who once lived on the land where the lighthouse now stands. A bit of eerie folklore the ranger shared with me: The lighthouse is rumored to have been named from after the bodies that would wash up on shore.  Furthermore, this very same inlet is part of the Graveyard of the Atlantic.  

There’s 214 steps up the spiral staircase to the top and it’s essential to take breaks because that’s a lot of steps with no air conditioning! At the top, we stopped to view the first-order Fresnel lens, named after and developed by French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel and invented exclusively for lighthouses.   A Fresnel lens makes light visible over great distances.  It’s one of two first-order Fresnel lenses still in use in North Carolina.  The other resides in Currituck Lighthouse, a twin to the Bodie Lighthouse, only without paint.

Bodie-Heather-4.jpgThere’s a wonderful gift shop filled with lots of cool gifts and treasures.  The ranger station and gift shop are housed in the old lighthouse keeper’s quarters.  During my time there are many trails to explore around the lighthouse, many have boardwalks over the low marsh areas.  The park ranger gave caution on the trails due to that time of year - usually the summer - being snaky. I highly recommend a stop if you’re visiting the Outer Banks!    

- Heather, Mast Store Home Office





For more of our Mast Family National Park Service adventures and recommendations, click HERE

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