Of all the things we did while we were visiting the Outer Banks, I think my favorite attraction was the Lost Colony Drama on Roanoke Island. I remember studying about the lost colony as early as my elementary school days. I’ve always loved history and this story captured my attention from the first time I heard it. What happened to those first colonists? Jamestown was the first successful English colony but the colony of Roanoke was the first actual attempt at an English colony in the New World.
In July 1587, 117 English colonists (men, women, and children) came to what is now American soil to establish the first English colony. 1n 1590, just three years later, the colonists’ governor returned from England with supplies to sustain the colony. They found the area deserted. There was no sign of the colonists except for two small clues. On an abandoned structure was written the word “Croatoan.” The letters “CRO” was carved into a tree. Now, more than 400 years later, we still have no idea what happened to that small settlement of men, women, and children. There are theories, but no one knows for certain what happened to them.
For me, it was serene to stand there on those grounds among the same trees where the colonists would have built their homes. I looked around and wondered what had happened a few hundred years ago on the very spot where I was standing. Was there some sort of battle? An attack? Or did these people simply move to a new place so that they could survive until help and new supplies arrived from England? I doubt we’ll ever know.
If you get a chance to visit the visitor’s center on Roanoke Island, you can view artifacts from the colonists. They know they are from the colonists because they have dated the items to those times. Archeologists can determine what items were English and which ones were native. We couldn’t take photos but looking at those items was interesting. They still find things. One of the artifacts we saw was found by a visitor as late as 2008.
When we stepped outside the back door of the visitors’ center, we stepped onto the same grounds where the colonists had lived before they disappeared.
The monument in the photo above was placed there in 1896. It marks the area where historians believe the colonists lived before they disappeared.
The drama was awesome. I wasn’t all that impressed at first. I’ve always considered this subject a serious one. I didn’t like some of the humor, I suppose. It got better though. I ended up enjoying the play. If you visit Roanoke, be sure to see the play.
Be sure to check out The Lost Colony here while planning your trip. They present different dramas on different days so you’ll want to plan your trip to Roanoke Island for the drama you want to see.