As you pull up to the curb beside the loading dock, you unload your bags and get ready to say goodbye to your car. You're going on a relaxing beach vacation, but your car stays behind. You will place your bags, totes, suitcases in a numbered slot for the ferry attendants to heave onto the ferry for you. It is a tried and true system developed over the last few years as the only way to journey to Bald Head Island North Carolina.
Folks on the ferry are vacationers mostly, but some are counted in the number of "year-round residents" that call Bald Head Island North Carolina home. While we were waiting to board the ferry during our Spring trip, a woman, presumably a year-round resident, was getting on with nearly 10 hibiscus plants. She chatted with us for a minute and plucked a flower for my daughter. I was intrigued by her cargo, how else do you get plants from the mainland to an island that doesn't allow cars?
The ferry trip is a mere 20 minute ride. On the other side, the crew unloads your belongings onto the dock where a shuttle awaits to drive you to your destination. Don't forget to book your shuttle, it is free but reservations are required. Shuttles are golf-cart style, the accepted method of motorized transportation on the car-free island.
In our case, the shuttle collected us and dropped us off at The Marsh Harbour Inn. My parents came to the Inn for a weekend stay on a Groupon, and decided to buy a condo suite for the family to use four weeks a year.
We dropped our bags and got straight into our golf cart for a drive around the island. The first thing you will notice is a severe lack of noise. In the world of cars, we are so used to the sound of motors as white noise that it is barely noticeable. Here on Bald Head Island, the silence is profound. Every once in awhile, a golf cart will drive by with a soft whoosh. That's it.
The island is beautifully kept, and mostly wild all at the same time. The Southern Living style homes that dot the landscape are perfectly proportioned to their surroundings. The pervasive historic low-country style homes give way to a sense of nostalgia that follows you all over the island.
The beaches of course are the main attraction. After our golf cart tour of the island we headed to the beach on foot. I was particularly interested in Beach Access One with its purported tidal pools and calm waters.
Moms of five year olds understand.
Arriving at the long stretch of beach on the islands western side (bordering the Cape Fear River), we were the only ones there. In the distance, I could see a man and dog playing fetch at the edge of the water. It was distant. It was just us on the beach.
After our walk on the beach, shell collecting and sorting was the main priority on the large balcony.
Bald Head Island is a fascinating place. We will be going back often and I look forward to sharing our adventures. Look for the next post about the charming town, activities, and restaurants of Bald Head Island North Carolina ; in the Travel section of our blog.