Manteo is most famous for, and celebrates, the first settlement in the new colonies and the now famous “Lost Colony.” The town was named after an American Indian Chief named Manteo that acted as a liaison between the colonists and the local Indian tribe. In 1584, English settlers established a fort and settlement on the northern end of the island. In 1587, Capt. John White returned to England for supplies, and upon his return to the New World, all of the colonists were gone with only one word carved on a tree as a clue, Croatoan. The fate of the colony is still a mystery today. But the town of Manteo does an excellent tribute to those hardy souls that established the first foothold on the Outer banks. Known as Festival Island, a small island on the northeast corner of Manteo is dedicated to the celebration of those settlers. Visit the Settlement Site and step back in time to 1585. See how the settlers dressed, worked and lived their daily lives, all in authentic costumes. Explore the Coastal Algonquian Indian village and sample the culture and discover how their community functioned. Board the replica of the Elizabeth II and help the 16th century costumed crew raise sails, plan navigation and even swab the decks. The Park’s Performance Series offers young entertainers presenting year-round music, dramas, dance, operas and children’s shows. Many concerts and events are held in the open-air pavilion with seats on the grass.
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