Outer Banks History: The Lost Colony of Roanoke

Roanoke Island, home to the town of Manteo, is rich with history and mystery. The inhabitants of the Lost Colony were never found, and the mystery has left historians guessing and searching for clues as to what happened during those three years on Roanoke Island.

In 1587, 117 colonists were left to settle on Roanoke Island, along with the first English child born in the Americas, John White’s granddaughter Virginia Dare. John White was the colony’s governor, and he soon sailed back to England for additional supplies for the colony. When he was finally able to return to Roanoke in 1590 he found their settlement empty and plundered – but with no signs of violence. The word “Croatoan” was carved into one of the posts of the fort, and the letters “Cro” were carved into a tree nearby. White believed this to be a signal that the colonists had been forced to relocated to Croatoan (Hatteras Island). However, White was forced to return to England and was never able to make the return journey to look for his family. The colonists were never found.

The Lost Colony Outdoor Drama

Experience the mystery and intrigue of this story for yourself at a classic Outer Banks attraction, The Lost Colony outdoor play. Celebrating 80 years, the play itself is of historical significance to the area. This isn’t a make-shift production, but rather a company of over 100 performers that dance, sing, and act out the story of the Lost Colony in a way that brings the legend back to life.

The Lost Colony play gained national significance, with Franklin D. Roosevelt attending its first season. It served as training for Andy Griffith, Terrence Mann, William Ivey Long, Leon Rippy and more, who all went on to have successful careers in the performance industry. The play is known as the “longest-running symphonic outdoor drama”.

Along with the outdoor play, The Lost Colony also offers a children’s theatre with programs aimed for the younger crowd, and an interactive ghost tour on the grounds of the Lost Colony. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy this piece of Outer Banks and American history.

The Outer Banks is full of activities, events and entertainment for all ages.  If you are ready to purchase your very own vacation home, permanent residence or investment property, let Eillu show you real estate so you can enjoy the Outer Banks to the fullest.  

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