Bald Head Island

Bald Head Island… one can just hope there’s nothing contagious here!  This island off of Southport, North Carolina is only accessible by boat.  The travel brochures say there are are no cars allowed; only bicycles and golf carts.  And the occasional service truck.  It really is beautiful… as you pedal along, you hear nothing but the birds chirping, the wind rustling tree leaves, and the whine of golf carts whooshing past.  There are roughly 1,200 homes on the island, and I think they each have at least one cart.  Many have two-cart garages, some have three or more.  And then there is the huge lot of rental carts for all the visitors. So maybe this tiny island has 2,000 carts on it.  All these homes need lots of service, so there was a surprising number of full sized trucks too.  The island is really beautiful, with lots of nice beaches, shady tree covered “roads”, and acres of green grass growing in marshlands.


We came across a giant house-eating monster, and I thought grandkids Bryan and Peter would have loved to watch it…

A huge tugboat pushing a far bigger barge came and went several times each day, carrying large trucks, work vans, and even a car pulling a U-haul.  We saw the dumpster full of smashed house leaving later. Sometimes 7 trucks, sometimes very little load.  The video below is sped up, but it still seemed they moved pretty fast, especially considering the size of the marina.


In 1792 congress allocated $4,000 to finish building a lighthouse that was started even before North Carolina was a state.  A couple of years later the lighthouse was finished – an open stucture with exposed metal girders.  The only problem was that the islands erode and change shape.  Within 20 years, the lighthouse was threatening to walk into the ocean.  So in 1817 they made a new one further inland, this time building it with brick.  They also re-used the lantern room and set it off center to fit over the new opening.  So it is North Carolina’s oldest lighthouse, even if it is just lit for show and not actual navigation.  The 108 steps to the top were a small price to pay for the view!



The British had a fort on Bald Head Island before the colonies revolted, and then that same fort was used by the Confederates during the civil war to keep supply lines going through Union blockades.  The fort itself has succumbed to the elements, with most of it now underwater and only traces of the rest discernible under the thick vegetation.


We took the kayak out for a long run – out of our marina to the inlet, where it felt like we were in the ocean.  Then around to the rivers running across the island, in between the grassy marshlands.  A little picnic dinner on a sandy beach was wonderful!



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