Bald Head Island is off the coast of North Carolina and is home to Cape Fear, a navigational nightmare for sailors of the past.
My family and I recently visited this little slice of heaven. We found that it takes some effort to get to this particular heaven, but once you arrive by ferry… it takes even more effort.
You see, there are no cars allowed on the island, so if you didn’t reserve an electric golf cart weeks in advance, your only options are: peddle power on a one- or two-person bicycle, walk the approximately 2000 sq. acres on foot, or turn around and get back on the ferry.
We did our homework, however, and reserved a golf cart. At some point on our excursion, I found myself wondering why all communities didn’t operate with golf carts. These carts are quiet, efficient and really easy to park. We drove for nine hours without a recharge.
After we had procured our golf cart, the first thing we saw, looming up out of the live oak trees was Old Baldy, North Carolina’s oldest standing lighthouse. Although built way back in 1817, Old Baldy is still lighting up the night to warn boats of its treacherous shoals.
Along with a rather whimsical name, Old Baldy also boasts 108 stair steps to the top of its off-center lanthorn. My husband, the more adventurous of the two of us, decided he was going to get to the top if he had to crawl up there. I, on the other hand, have an irrational fear of heights and simply looking up into the center of the lighthouse made me want to crawl inside of a box. I decided to keep both feet on the ground.
From the top, my husband yelled, “Come on up, honey! The view is spectacular!”
“Pigs will fly the day I voluntarily climb up the belly of this old behemoth! Take a picture!”
He was right. Judging from the picture on his cell phone, the view was breathtaking. Though, it probably would have seemed less so if seen through the eyes of someone who was hyperventilating and had a death grip on the railing as the wind carried her screams away.
We scooted around the island all day and saw spectacular beaches, marshland, and a 200-acre Maritime Forest Preserve teeming with wildlife. We had ice cream at the Marketplace. We looked for shells and watched sea gulls. Then we had a light lunch and went swimming at the Club. All the while, I fantasized about what it would be like to live in such a place. A place where you’d have nothing more pressing to do than tie up a hammock and enjoy the sea breeze. Where everyone knew each other, and where life was all about sun, sea and sand… oh, and golf. Did I mention the gorgeous golf course rambling across a good portion of the island?
Bald Head has every amenity for everyday life, including a hardware and grocery store. However everything is scaled down and the parking spaces are just big enough for golf carts. My husband and I were delighted with the functionality of the island and my children figured as long as there was ice cream to be had, it was a great place to be.
If you ever get the chance to visit Bald Head, I recommend you see one of the most delightful little places on the island: the Lending Library. I know, it’s a strange recommendation, but it’s so… cute! It houses all the major literary genres and even a selection of puzzles; all in a Hansel and Gretel-inspired cottage that takes up about the same area as a double-hole outhouse.
Quaint, functional, beautiful: Bald Head Island, North Carolina.