We’d like to introduce you to Charles Cushman of the Pony Island Inn on Ocracoke Island. He and his family and business partners, Gary and Ashley Curry, lovingly care for the 64-year-old inn and provide their guests with top-notch vacation experiences year-round. We are grateful for their partnership and for their support for the Ocracoke ponies and Cape Hatteras National Seashore!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and the history of the Pony Island Inn.
The property first opened in 1958 and thrived for decades under the stewardship of the Esham family starting in the 1970s. We acquired it from the Eshams last year. The inn consists of fifty rooms of many shapes and sizes and has all of the modern amenities people look for, while retaining its classic charm.
We are based in New Bern, North Carolina, but we always knew that we wanted Ocracoke to have a prominent place in our hospitality portfolio. Our families have loved visiting the island for years and we are thrilled to now be a part of the special community there.
Why are the Ocracoke ponies and Cape Hatteras National Seashore important to you?
Obviously, they are the name and identity of our business! The ponies have long been a prominent symbol of Ocracoke Island. Besides being beautiful and graceful animals, I think they remind both residents and visitors of a simpler time. Ocracoke has some great history and traditions that are interwoven with the pony population, from the annual Fourth of July roundups to the old mounted Boy Scout troop. The ponies represent the wonderful wildness of the Seashore and the unspoiled majesty of Ocracoke, in particular.
What is your favorite way to enjoy Cape Hatteras National Seashore?
Getting outdoors. We love the trails at both Springer’s Point Preserve and Hammock Hills. Spending time on the beach is a given, and we also enjoy getting out on boats for fishing and cruising.
Why did you choose to support Outer Banks Forever?
The Adopt a Pony Program was our introduction to Outer Banks Forever. We always try to give back to local nonprofits and we were so pleased to “adopt” Luna. It was extra special for us to take our kids to the pony pens this summer and to meet Pony Wrangler Laura Michaels, who takes such good care of the animals. We consider Outer Banks Forever vital to the health and welfare of the Ocracoke ponies, which is why the Pony Island Inn jumped on the opportunity to show our support and we plan to do more in the future.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
We are thankful to Outer Banks Forever and its dedicated staff and volunteers for all your valuable efforts to assist and support the Outer Banks national parks. They are doing important work to maintain the identity and appeal of the area!
To learn more about the Pony Island Inn and to book your stay, click here.