New Hanover County
Morning Along the Beach
New Hanover County is essentially a peninsula wedged between the Atlantic Ocean and the Cape Fear River. Today was a beautiful sunny day, the perfect day to visit "the island" on which sits Carolina Beach and Kure Beach to the south of Wilmington.
Cape Fear Boulevard at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk.
Downtown Carolina Beach is for the summer tourists. It's just like me to visit a popular tourist attraction when there are no other tourists to be seen...
Looking south on Carolina Beach.
Two girls playing on the beach.
Two surfers trying to squeeze a little bit of pleasure from the Atlantic's small waves.
Trying to capture a nice photograph of the surfers, I had missed and captured a picture of just the waves. To my surprise, it actually looks pretty interesting. Next time I come to the beach I shall have to try!
Looking north on Carolina Beach.
It is important to remember there is wildlife at the beach. Sure, the most visible are the sea gulls and other birds, but there are less noticeable wildlife. Specifically today was a small group of dolphin swimming along the shore. You could only see their fins and arched backs every few yards as they traveled southward, making photographing them difficult. It was a beautiful site nonetheless.
Two birds searching for food on the beach while avoiding the deeper water.
Lake Park in central Carolina Beach. They claim it's a "Freshwater Ecosystem", but it has to become quite salty with every hurricane flooding the town. But the town does use it for drinking water, so it must be alright.
An old corner "Food Store" that looks like it's been around since the 1950's.
Continue south along US 421 from Carolina Beach and you come to the smaller resort coastal town of Kure Beach, North Carolina.
The sand dune separates (and protects) civilization from the sandy beach and erroding ocean.
K Avenue leads west out of Kure Beach towards the Cape Fear River. Out in the low woodlands the road makes a sharp turn north, not giving any site of the river. Soon you discover the Carolina Beach State Park (ironically, not on the beach, but merely near the town of Carolina Beach). That's when you realise this would have been a great detour around Carolina Beach.
The Carolina Beach State Park is located along the shore of the Cape Fear River at its junction with Snow's Cut.
This southern part of New Hanover County is called "the island" to locals because the Intracoastal Waterway and Snow's Cut canal cut off Carolina Beach from the rest of New Hanover County.
South of Kure Beach near the tip of the peninsula is Fort Fisher, a Confederate Fort during the Civil War that was captured by the Union in January 1865. Flying at the entrance to the visitor's center to this State Historic Site are the Union and Confederate flags from 1865 and the current US and NC flags between them.
What remains of Fort Fisher's northern wall. Most of the eastern wall has been lost to the Atlantic Ocean.
Looking south from Fort Fisher's northern wall over the marsh lands and Cape Fear River.
Birds, like this sea gull, appear to appreciate our wooden fence posts over the rocky shore that now protects the Fort Fisher State History Site.
State Monument to the Battle for Fort Fisher in 1865.
In the Visitor's Center is a certificate and medal for a brave Confederate soldier who worked to keep the Confederate flag flying over the fort during the Union's sea bombardment. It all looks quite official stating it was rewarded under the law of the Confederate Congress. What's striking, though, is the date of issuance: 1995. Yes, the "Sons of the Confederacy" awarded a medal under the auspices of an organization that has not exsisted for 130 years!
A little south of the State Historic Site is the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. The Recreation Area features a beach and the NC State Aquarium.
The State of North Carolina runs a car ferry line from the southern tip of Fort Fisher across the Cape Fear River to Southport. The closet alternate driving route across the Cape Fear River is the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge up in Wilmington.
Though I ran as far south in New Hanover County as I could, I did not reach where the Cape Fear River pours into the Atlantic Ocean. That place lies a few islands and sandbars south and will be seen another day.