On our family vacation last week, we spent time in Shallotte, Bald Head Island, Ocean Isle Beach and Sunset Beach, North Carolina. On the day before we left, my husband and I decided to go explore a place others had recommended to us, Bird Island. After GPS majorly failed us, we asked a few locals for directions and they told us we would need to park at the public beach access at Sunset Beach and walk to Bird Island. We still weren’t exactly sure where it was or how far away it was, but we parked and started our walk down the beach. It was a nice albeit warm day, with no clouds in the sky so we enjoyed taking in the salty breeze as we walked. Somehow, we missed the big sign (pictured below) right when we were coming in from the boardwalk so we figured Bird Island was only a short stroll away (HAHA).
After almost an hour of walking, we decided to ask some passersby on the beach how far we were from Bird Island and they said, “do you mean the mailbox?” We had no idea what they were talking about but figured we should check out the mailbox they spoke of since it seemed to be close by and we had yet to find the elusive Bird Island sign. As it turns out, it’s called the Kindred Spirit Mailbox and thousands of people have visited over the years to leave their thoughts, fears, hopes and dreams in the notebooks it holds. We were shocked to see how quickly the notebooks filled up; they were almost completely full and the earliest date was only a week before our visit. We went fairly early in the morning so no one was around when we stopped to check it out, but as we were walking back past it on our way home, we saw a line of people waiting to write in the notebooks and take photos by it, so it seemed to be quite the local attraction.
Those of you that are fans of North Carolina native Nicholas Sparks may realize that this mailbox was featured in his recent book, Every Breath. So neat to find something like this when we weren’t even looking for it. We decided it was only fitting to leave our own note in the book among the other prayer requests, love stories and fond memories people shared.
Honestly, Bird Island itself was a little anticlimactic. I was picturing maybe seeing larger birds like cranes and egrets, but we just saw a lot of seagulls and sandpipers when we reached the end at the jetties you see above. Still cool, but just not what we were expecting. It was a beautiful but long walk (a little over 2 hours roundtrip), so be sure to bring some water and sunscreen if you’re setting out to explore the Bird Island Reserve or find the mailbox.
Some other favorites from our trip:
- Bald Head Island – We took a ferry ride out to explore the Old Baldy Lighthouse and had a furry companion on the boat. The island doesn’t allow cars, so it’s a nice way to get away from the hustle and bustle – everyone either drives a golf cart, bikes, or walks. Beware: the short 20-minute ferry ride is $23 per person – quite steep!
- Oyster Rock – Restaurant in Calabash, NC with so many delicious varieties of oysters (raw, steamed, cajun and Rockefeller) and a fantastic Bloody Mary. They have a beautiful outdoor seating area right on the water, so if you’re in the area, be sure to stop by.
- Paradise Point – The VRBO we stayed at in Shallotte. As you can see below, it’s right on the Intracoastal Waterway and has a hot tub, pool, kayaks, hammocks and room to sleep at least 10. Needless to say, we enjoyed our stay!
What is something you’ve been loving lately? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading.