Swashbucklers, Soldiers and a Shining Beacon

Bald Head Island’s Colorful History Enriches Unique Fourth of July Celebration

BALD HEAD ISLAND, N.C., June 2 /PRNewswire/ — What do the Declaration of Independence and the Old Baldy Lighthouse have in common? Besides being important historical landmarks, both were commissioned by Thomas Jefferson. The story of Bald Head Island, NC – home to Old Baldy – is filled with many historical figures, from pirates to presidents to lifesavers alike.

Bald Head Island is a resort community accessible only by boat where no cars are allowed. Located two nautical miles off the southeastern coast of North Carolina, this island’s shores are no longer a refuge for pirates. However, the natural beauty of Bald Head Island ensures that this is still a place to seek and find adventure. Of the island’s 12,000 acres, 10,000 acres of beach, salt marsh and maritime forest are protected and will remain undeveloped.

The island’s annual Fourth of July celebration encompasses all the excitement of its memorable history. A carnival on The Common, picnics and a fireworks cruise aboard the ferry make for a festive day. But the highlight of the celebration is the much-awaited Annual Golf Cart Parade. Residents and visitors whimsically decorate golf carts – the preferred mode of on-island transport – and compete for a coveted slot among the best in show. Carts are transformed into elaborate floats, complete with papier-mâché, flashing lights, and wide array of accoutrements. The parade travels down the island’s wynds and ways, many of which are named after famous pirates.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, when pirates ruled North Carolina’s coastal waters with greed and terror, Bald Head Island was a favorite hideaway for these notorious bandits. The most famous pirate to roam the waters was Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. In a nod to this colorful past, today’s visitors are transported to the island aboard ferries appropriately named “Revenge” and “Adventure” – both ships from Blackbeard’s infamous fleet.

Bald Head Island’s historic lighthouse, known affectionately as Old Baldy, was commissioned by Thomas Jefferson in the early 1800′s and is the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina. It’s not the only lighthouse in Bald Head history, though. Another beacon once shone from the island’s eastern tip: the Cape Fear Light was erected in 1903, following the creation a U.S. life saving station on Bald Head Island. Cape Fear Station was a bustling community of surfmen until the service was deactivated in 1958. Today, Bald Head Island’s preeminent residential community, Cape Fear Station, stands as a tribute to these heroes. Its entrance is marked by the ruins of the Cape Fear Light.

Bald Head Island is accessible by ferry or private boat from Indigo Plantation and Marina in Southport, NC. A historic tour, which hits the highlight’s of the island’s history, is available. To experience the exceptional nature of Bald Head Island, visit http://www.baldheadisland.com/.

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