Tuesday, February 12, 2008

IF YOU LIKE OCRACOKE, TRY . . .Bald Head Island

Sunday, July 29, 2007 by The Washington Post

Bald Head Island is two nautical miles from the mainland and accessible only by passenger ferry ($15 round trip), which departs from Indigo Plantation, between Southport and Oak Island. The state's southernmost cape island has a wild and woolly history, complete with pirates, wild boars, Civil War soldiers and shipwrecks. But today's visitors don't get much crazier than their Lilly Pulitzer patterns. In 1983, the 14-mile-long island was bought by Bald Head Island Ltd., which sharply restricts development (10,000 of 12,000 acres are protected and undeveloped) and sets stringent guest policies. (Many establishments are open only to the 200-odd residents and renters of its properties.) In addition, cars are banned from the island, so most visitors use electric carts or bikes to buzz between Harbour Village, the maritime forest and the beaches.

BEST FOR . . . low-key, high-society sun-seekers who "summer" and "winter."

BEACH SCENE: Bald Head Island's unspoiled beaches cover the eastern, western and southern shores, and are nearly free of unsightly man-made backdrops. The dunes stretch back far, creating a substantial buffer between the shore and the road. Beachgoers give each other wide berths -- no towel cities here. Even the well-behaved dogs and children never seem to kick up too much sand.

SLEEPS AND EATS: The majority of accommodations on Bald Head Island are rental homes through Bald Head Island Ltd. (see Bald Head Island info below), yet there are two B&Bs in Harbour Village: Marsh Harbour Inn (21 Keelson Row, Bald Head Island, 800-680-8322, http://www.marshharbourinn.com ;from $250), a tasteful property whose 15 rooms have Shaker-style furnishings; and Theodosia's B&B (2 Keelson Row, 800-656-1812, http://www.theodosias.com; from $225), which has a three-story inn and cottages with such darling names as Sparkle Berry. Most rental properties have minimum-stay requirements; the exception is the Elements (Keelson Row, 800-432-7368; from $276), studio-size cottages in Harbour Village that are named after air, fire, etc.

Dining choices are limited because of the members-only rule, though renters and guests at certain inns are granted temporary membership. Card-free options in Harbour Village include Eb and Flo's (910-457-7217), which specializes in Low Country cuisine and is known for its steam pots (from $12.50), and the Maritime Cafe, Deli and Market (910-457-7450), for sandwiches, full hot meals ($2-$13) or picnic fixings.

DIVERSIONS: On Bald Head, rent a golf cart ($25 for the first hour, $10 for each additional hour) or a bike ($5 an hour) from Riverside Adventure Co. (1 Marina Wynd, 910-457-4944) and tool around the car-free roads. Trek through the leafy Maritime Forest Preserve, home to a 300-year-old oak, and the marshes and tidal creeks along the M. Kent Mitchell Nature Trail (off Federal Road). The Bald Head Island Conservancy (Federal Road, 910-457-5786, http://www.bhic.org) organizes seasonal events, such as alligator and bird tours, and private kayak trips (prices vary). Visit the state's oldest standing lighthouse, Old Baldy (built 1817), and the Smith Island Museum (North Bald Head Wynd, http://www.oldbaldy.org; $3), a re-creation of the lighthouse keeper's cottage. At Cape Fear and Frying Pan Shoals (off Shoals Watch), stand at the southern extreme of the Cape Fear Coast, where the Cape Fear River meets the Atlantic Ocean.

REAL ESTATE resources:
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Tuesday, January 9, 2007

North Carolina Ranks as the Top Destination

Americans Head West, Southeast; Say ‘Goodbye’ to Central Northeast Region United
A strong mobility pattern continued in 2006 as many Americans packed up their belongings and headed to the West and Southeast parts of the country, while the Central Northeast region of the country experienced an increase in residents departing. The statistics are among the findings of United Van Line's 30th annual "migration" study that tracks where its customers, over the last 12 months, moved from and the most popular destinations. The findings were announced by Carl Walter, vice president of United Van Lines, the nation's largest household goods mover.

United has tracked shipment patterns annually on a state-by-state basis since 1977. For 2006, the accounting is based on the 227,254 interstate household moves handled by United among the 48 contiguous states, as well as Washington, D.C. In its study, United classifies each state in one of three categories — "high inbound" (55% or more of moves going into a state); "high outbound" (55% or more of moves coming out of a state); or
"balanced." Although the majority of states were in the "balanced" category last year, several showed more substantial population shifts.


Known for hospitality and gracious style, the Southeast states welcomed many new residents in 2006, with North Carolina coming in as the top destination (64.0% inbound). South Carolina (60.6%) continued its 13-year inbound tradition, while Alabama (57.5%) experienced its fourth year as a high-inbound location. Although Tennessee saw less people move in this year (55.8% in 2006; 58.0% in 2005), it still captured a spot on the high-inbound list.

Although not considered "high inbound," other southeastern states also greeted new residents. Kentucky (52.9%) continued its five-year inbound trend; Georgia (53.9%) continued its 25-year trend as an inbound state; and Mississippi (50.1%) boasted a 3.2% increase in moves to its state as compared to 2005.

Supporting the idea that Americans still believe there is fortune to be found in the West, the Western portion of the country emerged as a top migration spot. Capturing the No. 2-inbound ranking, Oregon (62.5%) sustained its 19-year, high-inbound trend. While still a high-inbound state, Arizona (55.4%) saw roughly 5% less people move in than last year; however, Nevada (59.9%) continued its lucky streak of being high inbound since 1986.

Both New Mexico (57.9% inbound; a 3.7% increase) and Utah (56.0% inbound; nearly 6% increase) saw a rise of incoming residents as compared to last year's data. Idaho's (59.3% inbound) high-inbound ranking has held steady for the past 19 years; and Montana (55.0% inbound) retained its five-year inbound status.

Although not considered "high inbound," other Western states witnessed increases of incoming moves as compared to last year: Colorado (54.7% inbound) continued its four-year inbound trend and had 1.2% increase, and Wyoming (54.4% inbound) boasted a 4.3% increase.

Rounding out the high-inbound list are Washington, D.C. (57.9%), which has remained inbound since the first year of the study, and South Dakota (55.9%), which enjoyed its first high-inbound year since 1994.

Some other noteworthy inbound-migration states in 2006:

– Texas (54.6%) continued inbound movement since 1989 and saw slightly
(0.7%) more people move in as compared to last year.
– After being outbound last year, Nebraska (52.5% inbound) turned a new
leaf and has 3.2% more moves in as compared to 2005.
– Although it is considered a balanced state, Oklahoma (50.0%) saw a 3%
increase over last year's numbers.
– This year marked the first time in 25 years that Minnesota (51.3%) saw
more people entering than leaving.


States in the Central Northeast generally showed an outbound trend, according to United's records. Ranked No. 2 on the high-outbound list last year, Michigan (66.0%) moved up a spot to tie for the top outbound state on this year's list. Michigan saw a 2.1% increase over its 2005 numbers.

Other Central Northeast states that made the high-outbound list were: New York (59.5%), which has been an outbound state since the survey was established; Indiana (58.2%), which has been high outbound since 1993; and Illinois (55.7%), which has been high outbound since the survey's inception. Also continuing outbound traditions, New Jersey (60.9%, outbound since 1997), Pennsylvania (57.0%, high outbound for the past three years), and Ohio (55.8%, outbound since 1992) saw residents depart.

Rounding out the high-outbound states, Louisiana (56.4%) continued its two-year, high-outbound trend, but did see 1.5% less people leave as compared to last year's numbers. Continuing its reign as the top outbound state of 2005, North Dakota (66.0%) tied this year with Michigan for the state that lost the most residents. The year of 2006 marked the eleventh consecutive year that North Dakota has been classified as high outbound.

Not identified as "high outbound," but following the outbound trend in the Central Northeastern part of the country, Connecticut (52.4%) saw its fourth successive year of out-migration and Maryland (54.1%) continued its 15-year outbound tradition.

Some other noteworthy outbound states in this year's study were:

– California (52.4%) saw its lowest outbound percentage in four years.
– Missouri (51.8%) continued its 12-year outbound trend and had 1% more residents leave as compared to last year.
– Wisconsin (53.2%) witnessed its lowest outbound influx since 2000.

Walter said the United Van Lines study, through the years, has been shown to accurately reflect the general migration patterns in various regions of the country. He also noted that real estate firms, financial institutions, and other observers of relocation trends regularly use the United data in their business planning and analysis activities.

For more information, visit http://www.unitedvanlines.com.

Source: United Van Lines

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History of Bald Head Island © Copyright
Village of Bald Head Island

The Village's history is peppered with colorful people and connections. Through the years, the island has been a breeding ground for wild boar, a prime hangout for bootleggers, a supplier of materials for cedar pencils, a Civil War fort, a nesting ground for loggerhead turtles, and a produce farm and fruit orchard. Pirates, lighthouse keepers, Indians, river pilots, ruffians, soldiers, farmers, and entrepreneurs of all types have come and gone, and yet, the Village's essence is unchanged. This can only be because the island itself is a living thing, with its own integrity and spirit, its wild beauty more or less disregarding man's inclination to tinker.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, when pirates ruled the waters off the coast of North Carolina with greed and terror, the Village was a favorite refuge and base for the notorious buccaneers. In all, the waters surrounding Cape Fear were a hideaway for hundreds of pirates, the most famous of which were Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, and Stede Bonnet, the gentlemen pirate.

Bonnet, the so-called "Gentlemen Pirate" from Barbados, was an educated retired military officer who turned to piracy in 1717 as a second career in order to escape what one historian tactfully referred to as "the discomforts he found in a married state." During his short stint as a pirate, Bonnet terrorized the Carolina and Virginia coasts aboard his sailing sloop Revenge with 10 guns and 70 men. For a brief time, Bonnet even linked up with Blackbeard, a pirate who never carried the title "gentlemen." In 1718 Blackbeard was cornered and killed aboard his sloop, Adventure , by two warships sent by the governor of Virginia. Just three weeks later, Bonnet was captured at Bonnet's Creek in Southport by Colonel William Rhett of South Carolina and hanged near Charlestown. Their deaths marked a dramatic end to the Golden Age of Piracy in North Carolina.

Long before pirates ever discovered the Village's nooks and crannies, Native Americans hunted Bald Head Island and fished its surrounding waters in the spring and summer while maintaining permanent settlements on the mainland. The island was, in effect, a seasonal retreat for the Native Americans when supplies of corn or grain began running low.

Early river pilots were responsible for giving the Village its unique and descriptive name. Eager to offer their navigational services to ships approaching the entrance to the Cape Fear River, they took up watch on a high dune headland on the southwest point on the island. According to local lore, the headland was worn bare of vegetation, making it stand out in contrast to the forest behind it. This "bald" headland served as a reference point for ships entering the river, and the name Bald Head Island has endured.

The year 1817 saw the construction of the island's most revered landmark and symbol, Old Baldy Lighthouse. Still the island's only "highrise," Old Baldy lighthouse was the second of three lighthouses built on Bald Head Island, and is the only one remaining. In 1903, the lighthouse was decommissioned when the Cape Fear Light was erected on the eastern end of the island, but it still serves as a prominent day marker for mariners. Due to restoration efforts by the Old Baldy Foundation and the generosity of hundreds of contributors, visitors to North Carolina's oldest lighthouse can climb up her 108 steps for a spectacular panoramic view of Bald Head Island.
The foundation of the Cape Fear Light can still be seen at the end of Federal Road across from three lightkeeper's cottages known as Captain Charlie's Station, after Captain Charles Norton Swan, a lighthouse keeper who lived with his family on Bald Head Island from 1903 until 1933. Captain Charlie's Station is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and still commands a sweeping view of the dunes and sea at the island's southeastern point.
In addition to lightkeepers, in the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries the island was home to members of the U.S. Lifesaving Service, the predecessor to the modern day Coast Guard. Several buildings on the southeastern shore of the island overlooking Frying Pan Shoals served as equipment storage and housing for the servicemen. The only remaining Lifesaving Station structure is a boathouse that was moved from the beachfront to back among the dunes where it is now a private residence.

Another symbol of the past presence of lightkeepers and lifesaving servicemen on the island is the Old Boat House on Bald Head Creek, built in 1903 to store supplies and boats. A dramatic change in the shape of the creek channel over the last ninety years makes it appear to have moved several hundred yards.

The most notable feature on the 1864 Blackford map (established by B.L. Blackford) was Fort Holmes, located on the Bald Head promontory at the southwest corner of the island. Most of what we know regarding the fort can be gathered from a detailed sketch of its layout prepared in 1865. In addition, several firsthand accounts prepared by officers at Fort Holmes are extant. The fort had been hurriedly erected in 1863 and 1864 as part of a defense system for the lower Cape Fear. The string of forts from Bald Head to Wilmington kept the river, the "lifeline of the Confederacy," open for blockade runners. Given the presence of two navigable entrances, that at Bald Head and a second above Smith Island at New Inlet, the river was ideal for such traffic.
The sketch of Fort Holmes prepared by Federal occupation forces in 1865 indicates that the earthen breastworks extended the width of the island from the lighthouse to the southwest tip at Bald Head. A road to the opposite end of the island ran through the upper part of the fort. The earthen works, it was noted, were reinforced with palmetto and oak logs. Four batteries extended along the east side of the fort. The fifth and largest, Battery Holmes, with bombproof magazines, was at the island's southwesternmost point. A flagstaff was positioned on the Bald Head promontory. Quarters and storehouses were located in several spots inside the fort.
Despite subtle shifts in sand and sea, Bald Head Island remains much as it was centuries ago. It still serves as a natural sanctuary for educators and students interested in coastal ecology, a home for a special breed of permanent residents that share a kinship of spirit with the hardy, independent lightkeepers and servicemen of days long past, and a refuge for vacationers seeking privacy and rejuvenation in a beautiful, relaxed se

Village fo Bald Head Island
Phone: (910)-457-9700
Fax: (910)-457-6206
Hours: M - F 8:30am - 4:15pm