Full electric power has been restored and tourists are returning to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands at North Carolina's Outer Banks. A bridge construction crew cut underground transmission lines a week ago, and visitors were evacuated - at the height of the summer tourism season. WFAE's David Boraks talked to Helena Stevens, who runs the 38-room Blackbeard's Lodge on Ocracoke.
STEVENS: Power has been on the islands. We’ve been on generator power. But today at noon visitors are welcome back to the islands.
BORAKS: So you’ve had nobody staying there for the past week. What has that meant for your business?
STEVENS: It has been a setback, to say the least. It’s the high season. So we call count on the revenue at this time of year, and the visitors coming.
BORAKS: Do you think you’ll be able to make up for it somehow, or is this going to be a tough year?
STEVENS: We’re hoping that we will be. We have a “shoulder season,” where we have events and the weather’s fantastic. So we hope people will come and visit us after the season, the main season is over. But we will have to work to accommodate the loss.
BORAKS: What’s it been like without visitors on the island?
STEVENS: It’s been very peaceful, actually, beautiful weather. Sometimes it’s been nice to enjoy the island when traditionally many people wouldn’t typically be able to because they’d be heads-down, working, and accommodating what’s necessary during the season. But we’ve really missed having the people here and it’s been difficult sort of not knowing what’s going to happen and hoping for the best, but having to rely on bits of pieces of news as it comes out. So it’s been a little stressful, but there’s been pockets of nice times.
BORAKS: Do you have anything special planned for the return of guests?
STEVENS: We’re just excited that the weather’s nice and that everybody’s gonna come back and all the businesses are up and in order, and have everything prepared for everyone after this time off.