Atlantic Coast

Starting at the Statue of Liberty and winding up at free-wheeling Key West, these almost 2,000 miles of roadway run within earshot—if not sight—of the Atlantic Ocean.

Blackbeard the Pirate

Wandering around the idyllic harbor of Ocracoke, it’s hard to imagine that the waters offshore were once home to perhaps the most ferocious pirate who ever sailed the Seven Seas—Blackbeard. The archetypal pirate, even in his day, when piracy was common, Blackbeard was famous for his ruthlessness and violence as much as for his long black beard and exotic battle dress, wearing six pistols on twin gunbelts slung over his shoulders and slashing hapless opponents with a mighty cutlass. His pirate flag featured a heart dripping blood and a skeleton toting an hourglass in one hand and a spear in the other.

For all his near-mythic status, Blackbeard’s career as a pirate was fairly short. After serving as an English privateer in the Caribbean during Queen Anne’s War, in 1713 Blackbeard (whose real name was Edward Teach) turned to piracy, learning his trade under the pirate Benjamin Hornigold. Outfitted with four stolen ships, 40 cannons, and a crew of 300 men, Blackbeard embarked on a reign of terror that took him up and down the Atlantic coast of the American colonies. After five years of thieving cargoes and torturing sailors, Blackbeard was confronted off Ocracoke by forces led by Lt. Robert Maynard of the Royal Navy, and during a ferocious battle on November 22, 1718, the pirate and most of his men were killed. Blackbeard himself was stabbed 25 times, and his head was sliced off and hung like a trophy on the bowsprit of his captor’s ship.

Though there is no evidence that he ever buried any treasure anywhere near Ocracoke, Blackbeard’s ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, was discovered in 1996 off Bogue Bank, and some cannons and other objects recovered from the pirate’s ship are being preserved by the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort. Blackbeard’s legend, to be sure, lives on.