Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bald Head Island

Although I have been going to Oak Island for almost twenty-five years, I had never been to visit Bald Head Island, a neighboring island that is home to North Carolina's oldest lighthouse. Ever since I have taught fourth grade NC History I have wanted to go and see it. John and I decided that our week alone was the perfect time to explore the area.

We had to depart from Southport on a ferry to go over to the island. Once there the only ways of transportation are bikes, electric golf carts, and good old walking. I love the idea of a place that doesn't have a bunch of automobiles on the roads.

Those that have homes on the island have to ship their belongings on the ferry as well. I don't know what they do if the run out of supplies.

The marina has a beautiful building.

Once on the island, the views were wonderful. One can see the towns of Southport and Oak Island. You may notice the Oak Island Lighthouse in the distance. It is the newest lighthouse in North Carolina. Isn't it neat that this area can boast of the oldest and the newest NC lighthouses?

The other side of the island has some incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Can you just imagine what early visitors to this island must have thought about it. Legend has it that the island used to have an area that looked like a bald head and that pirates used that as a way to give direction.

I couldn't resist showing off my butterfly picture. It was made while on the island. Can anyone identify it for me?

There was another lighthouse structure on the island that was made of metal. It has long since been torn down although the foundation still exists today.

Old Baldy, as it is called, was built in 1817 . We were told that it was made of soft brick and concrete.

Once inside there are one hundred and eighty steps that spiral through several levels. My contractor husband was a little skeptical about the safety of this staircase. He was a bit fearful of climbing to the top. I figured that if it has been standing this long then it must be pretty safe.

Fortunately there were several landings for us to stop and catch our breath. There were even a couple of windows that gave a glimpse of the view waiting at the top.

On the last level, we had to climb a ladder through a small opening in the floor. The view from the top was amazing.

The three hundred sixty degree view of the island was worth the climb.

You could see everything from the top from the marina to the marsh.

Much of the island is a maritime forest with lots of trees. It was just beautiful.

It was a really hot and humid day so the temperature at the top was almost one hundred degrees. Sweat was running down our faces and backs.

Needless to say, we didn't stay at the top very long. With the unbearable heat and John's uncertainty of the construction of the stairs and platforms, we made our visit very short.

I am just amazed at the age and beauty of this lighthouse.

I would love to visit all of the other lighthouses in North Carolina. Maybe we will take a trip to the outer banks to do just that.

Of course after all of that climbing, we were very hungry. Fortunately the island has several restaurants. We ate at one called Eb and Flo's. Don't you just love that catchy name? John had steamed mussels and I had my favorite, crab cakes. It was all yummy. We finished up the day by returning to our own island and spent the evening on the beach with friends. A day doesn't get much more perfect than that.


Randy Emmitt said...

Never been to see Old Baldy, thanks for a wonderful tour! Your butterfly is a Palamedes Swallowtail. I just did a post on swallowtail please do drop by.

tina said...

What a lovely visit. I can't imagine climbing all those stairs but the view was worth it! I have no idea what your butterfly is. Randy at Randy and Meg's Paradise will know. His link is on my blogroll.

Cameron said...

Great tour that you shared!

My husband has tried several times to get me to vacation on Bald Head, but there's always been some excuse from me! (I know too many people who own homes there and it would make me feel like I was back at work with them.) A day trip sounds like a perfect way to see the island!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Beautiful area. I'd love to climb the lighthouse and enjoy that view.

Glenda said...

The lighthouse is so fascinating and the views spectacular! I would never have made it to the top climbing 180 steps! The view out the window inside the lighthouse is one of my favorites.

Have you ever read Eugenia Price's fiction books, which are set in St. Simon Island, GA? The lighthouse there was so much a part of her stories; we plan to visit there - in the near future, I hope.

From the Kitchen said...

Wonderful photos of a wonderful place. I feel as if I climbed right on up to the top of the lighthouse with you and experienced those spectacular views. Now I need a cold, cold bottle of water!!


Diana (Di) said...

What a wonderful visit you must have had. I love the historical buildings and can only imagine what might have occurred in those place; perhaps I too love the mystery of it all. Handsome couple you photographed! ;)

myletterstoemily said...

hi carla!

i loved your lighthouse and beach tour. it made
me smile to think what vastly different places we
are enjoying! yours is lovely!

mine is MUCH 'mountainier!'

you and your husband make a handsome couple.


Paula said...

I have always wanted to go to BHI. I've heard it is so nice there. It looks like you had a lot of fun!

Allison said...

I just happened upon your blog - and I love the pictures! You offer a lovely look into your world. Thank you!