Ocracoke’s history is obviously centered around the sea, whether it be with pirate activity, ships moving along the trade routes or the fishing industry. The island men were very often out to sea, for long periods. In 1846, the Hatteras Inlet opened up and many of the Ocracoke pilots moved to Hatteras, for the work provided by this new deep water access. In the late 1800’s until the mid 1900’s, many of the men headed north to work with The Army Corps of Engineers in Philadelphia or The US Coast Guard at bases away from the island. Consequently, the women rose to the occasion and became the guiding force at the school, the churches, village politics and the businesses.

Consistent with this tradition, our agency has experienced agents who have been practicing the craft of selling real estate on Ocracoke, as far back as 1982. The two owners of Ocracoke’s Lightship Realty, Daphne Bennink and BJ Oelschlegel are among those agents. The rest of our crew includes Jennifer Esham and Cheri Ely of Blue Heron Realty fame, and Ruth Fordon who has been working with BJ since 1990.

We call ourselves “Sister Companies”. Blue Heron Realty does property management, but hangs their licenses to sell with Lightship Realty. As a new start up company in 2008, Blue Heron appreciated the mentoring available to them through our years in the real estate business. It’s been a success ever since.


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Photos by Ruth Fordon