Coastal NC

VOL12ISS1 2016

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30 THe oRIGINAl ReloCATIoN GuIDe — CoAsTAl NC | Volume 12—Issue 1 brunsWicK county Brunswick County by lynne brandon Lazy beach days spent looking for shells, exploring an island or climbing a light house are just a few ways to spend time in the Brunswick Island region on North Carolina's coast. Bald Head Island is a crown jewel of the coastal region. A rich maritime history, protected forest and the presence of North Carolina's oldest lighthouse (1817) known as Old Baldy, make the island ripe for exploring. Visitors and residents travel to Bald Head Island by a 20-minute passenger ferry from Southport. Once on the island, travel is on foot, bicycle or golf cart. Of the island's 12,000 acres, 10,000 acres of beaches, salt marsh and maritime forest will remain protected and undeveloped. It is "island time" in the truest sense. Bald Head Island is one of the East Coast's most important nesting grounds for the threatened loggerhead turtle. It's also the northernmost subtropical environment on the East Coast where palm trees grow naturally. Climb to the top of Old Baldy for a panoramic view of the island. In tandem with the distinctive nature of the island are one-of-a-kind events. "Howl at the Moon" parties held every full moon are beachfront bashes where islanders and visitors come together to celebrate the sun setting over the water and the full moon appearing. The Annual July Fourth Golf Cart Parade is a 30-year tradition that brings together residents and guests to decorate more than 200 golf carts to compete for "Best in Show." Bald Head Island and Oak Island sit at the mouth of the Cape Fear River signaling the beginning of the Brunswick Islands. Islands and beaches such as Holden Beach, Ocean Isle and Sunset Beach string together to form 45 miles of wide, sandy shores. Each year visitors return for a rite of passage for the yearly family vacation or to stay the summer in a rented cottage or condo. Southport, Calabash, Shallotte and Leland draw visitors who enjoy quaint beach towns that promise plenty of "R and R." Outftters, tour guides, zipline and other adventure guides stand ready to show visitors a day of fun and relaxation on land and water. Large charters to small skiffs take anglers out for saltwater, freshwater and surf fshing. On land you can try a yoga class, have a picnic in a park or play baseball, soccer and tennis. Or, enjoy an outdoor music concert at area beach towns. Holden Beach is known for its beach music when the sun goes down. Ocean Isle is a family beach with the best of all worlds: fewer crowds, gentler waves and warmer water than other beaches and a 45-minute drive from Wilmington. The Museum of Coastal Carolina is a haven for small children with story time, planetarium shows and "Touch Tank Feeding." Kids and adults alike have fun at Shallotte River Swamp Park, home to challenging ropes courses, zipline tours and swamp boat eco-tours. In the evening, adults can sip wine at the Silver Coast Winery for a relaxing way to end the day. Ocean Isle made the list of TripAdvisor's "20 Affordable Summer Beach Destinations across the U.S." The love story of an old pontoon swing bridge and the people who drove over it for more than 50 years lives on in the Old Bridge Preservation Society Museum and Interpretive Center in Sunset Beach. Visitors see artifacts that pay tribute to the bridge that once heralded summertime for generations. Sit at the bridge tender's desk to imagine what it was like to open the bridge to boat traffc. Time spent at Sunset Inn is time well spent. Just a few steps from the Atlantic Ocean and Intercoastal Waterway, the inn is recognized as one of the best "B and B's in the Carolinas" by AAA magazine. Each room has a different theme and décor but the best seat in the house is the view of the salt water marsh and island life from your own private screened-in porch. The nautical town of Southport was named "America's Happiest Seaside Town" by Coastal Living magazine in 2015. The town has been featured in 40 flm productions including Safe Haven. Founded in 1792, Southport was once a maritime village built on the menhaden fsh industry. Today, the town is known for its historic homes, quaint downtown and water front restaurants. Two to visit are the Provision Company (try the oysters) and Fishy Fish Café. beaches, beach music, and memories

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