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Piers and fishing docks in Silver Lake Harbor off Pamlico Sound make an attractive and romantic foreground to the Ocracoke Lighthouse. Ocracoke Light remains among the oldest lighthouses still active on the southern coast of North Carolina's Outer Banks, and it is the second oldest operating lighthouse in the United States (the first is Sandy Hook Light house in New Jersey). The first Ocracoke Lighthouse was built in 1803 on Shell Castle Island inside the Ocracoke Inlet not far from Blackbeard's hideout. Destroyed by lightning in 1818 it was replaced by the current light in 1823 on the banks of the inlet near Ocracoke Village. The white-brick conical lighthouse stands 75 feet tall and has 220 stairs to its top, though visitors are not allowed to climb. Ocracoke Island can only be reached by ferry. Charlotte NC photographer Patrick Schneider has extensive photo collections of the following lighthouses: Bodie Island Lighthouse, Bald Head Island Lighthouse, Cape Fear Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Cape Lookout Lighthouse, Currituck Beach Lighthouse, Diamond Shoal Lighthouse, Federal Point Lighthouse, Oak Island Lighthouse, and Ocracoke Lighthouse on Ocracoke Island.