I got up early this morning, and walked down to the beach to shoot the sunrise. This was a beautiful, near-cloudless sunrise, and offered a really different view from the sunrise at Corolla. The birds were all over the beach, once again pecking at the treasures the ocean had washed up.
Today, we tried breakfast at The Pancake House, just across the street. This was probably the most ordinary meal of the trip. Unfortunate, too, as this place gets pretty good press. No biggie!
We went south (same thing we’ve done most of the trip!), heading toward today’s venues, the Oak Island Lighthouse and the Bald Head Lighthouse (Old Baldy). Our first leg of this journey was a car ferry from Fort Fisher to Southport NC.
On this part of the trip, we got a bonus — a peek at the Price’s Creek Lighthouse ruins. This one lies on private property, and about the only way to see it is to look at it from this ferry. Very nice, and one that wasn’t on the list.
We got to Southport, and found it was a cute little village, but much more modern than Ocracoke. It almost had a Mayberry kinda feel to it, with a big main road, and lots of well organized shops along the sides and sideroads. Beck fell in love with this place! We stopped at their information center and got some information on the lighthouses and ferries, and started on our way.
The first stop was the Oak Island Lighthouse. Truthfully, the best views of this one were from afar. It lies at the end of a dead end road on a piece of US Coast Guard property, with no real parking — we parked illegally, and were expecting the Coasties to come out and yell at us at any moment. Really unfortunate, especially given the attention North Carolina focuses on its lighthouses. This one was by far the least user-friendly, and really could’ve been skipped.
We drove to the people ferry that would take us to Bald Island. Bald Island is not only home to Old Baldy, but also appears to be home to Stepford-like retirement community, where everyone runs around on rented golf carts (no cars) to their rental properties and condos. The island is basically one big sales pitch. We went over, found a shopkeeper who clued us in on a little path to the lighthouse (which was closed today), and walked the trial to the lighthouse. This one is very nice, again without the black and white paint jobs of some of the others, but carrying its own character nonetheless.
We also walked through the grounds of the island chapel. This was a beautiful place to watch bees pollenate the flowers and listen to the quiet of the island. A very, very peaceful spot.
We walked back to the ferry, caught it back to the shore, drove back to Southport, shopped, ate some pizza, and headed toward the car ferry to take us across the inlet to Fort Fisher. We got back to the hotel, took a quick nap, ate some dinner at a small seafood place, and started packing.
We talked over dinner, and decided that tonight would be the last night of the vacation march. We had accomplished what we’d set out to do — see the lighthouses of North Carolina, and not kill each other in the process. 🙂 We succeeded, and had a ball, but it was time to start heading home, and getting back to our pets and home.