I have recently discovered a remote and charming village, called Bald Head Island, located on southern Smith Island off the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina. It’s accessible only by ferry (20 minute ride); there are no cars on the island—only bicycle, feet, and golf carts. The village is about 5.5 square miles with 173 winter residents (more, of course, in the summer).
Humans are not the only residents on Bald Head. The island provides a beautiful semitropical wildlife habitat for a large loggerhead turtle population, raccoons, fox, deer, birds, alligators; and there’s a very active and successful loggerhead rescue program.
For a small island village, Bald Head is rich with history and beauty. It’s the home to an historic and picturesque lighthouse, Old Baldy, completed in 1817, using bricks that date back to 1789. Fort George was built during the Revolutionary War, and Fort Holmes was built in 1863 during the Civil War. Live oak trees, draped in silver moss, line the sweet village streets.
For those of us who are Charleston, SC fans, it was interesting to learn that Charleston’s initial settlement was founded in 1664 along the west bank of the Cape Fear River by John Vassal. His settlement was called Charles Town. As a result of conflicts with Native Americans and a number of other problems, a decision was made to move Charles Town further south to Charleston’s current location on the coast of South Carolina.
For those wishing to spend more than a day, there are beach homes, vacation rentals, and a few Bed and Breakfasts. In addition to bicycling, the island offers hiking trails through a maritime forest, beautiful beaches, kayaking, canoeing, golf, and stand-up paddle boarding. Coastal Urge, an outfitter, located in the village next to the Woods Gallery on Maritime Way, carries a premium selection of men, women, and kid’s clothing, swimwear, bicycles, paddle boards, and kites. They offer lessons, rentals, and tours. Jeoffrey and Catherine Nathan are the proprietors, and they are just great teachers and great fun! Learn more about Bald Head Island at www.salisburpost.com and Coastal Urge at http://www.coastalurge.com.