The Portsmouth Homecoming is set for Saturday, April 23, in historic Portsmouth Village.
Cape Lookout National Seashore and the Friends of Portsmouth Island are inviting the public to join this year’s event where the theme is “Portsmouth Rises,” recognizing Portsmouth’s recovery after Hurricane Dorian in 2019 and the cancellation of the Portsmouth Homecoming in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The once-bustling sea village is now deserted except for National Park Service personnel and holders of park service leases. It’s a protected historic and archeological site that accessible only by boat. But the island is also treasured by countless families who trace their lineage to its former inhabitants.
Among the activities planned for the daylong celebration are a christening service and a traditional hymn singing in the Portsmouth Methodist Church. The U.S. Post Office in Portsmouth is to be open for that day only and feature a special postal cancellation stamp for mailings from Portsmouth. A special “Descendant House” is to be set up at the McWilliams house next to the church, where Portsmouth families can share their family photos, scrapbooks and family trees for others to see.
A traditional homecoming program featuring one of the village’s descendants playing the bagpipes and a dinner-on-the-grounds are also planned. Attendees are encouraged to bring a covered dish to share at the potluck.
Reservations for the passenger ferry from Ocracoke should be made with Rudy Austin’s Portsmouth Island Boat Tours by calling 252-928-4361. Ferry reservations are required, and the cost is $25 per person for the round trip.
For more information, visit the Friends of Portsmouth Island or the Cape Lookout National Seashore websites: www.friendsofportsmouthisland.org, or their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/friendsofportsmouthisland, or the Cape Lookout National Seashore: https://go.nps.gov/pvhomecoming