"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Friday, May 5, 2017

Southport, NC

 The ferry from Fort Fisher to Southport was a pleasant 30 minute ride across the Cape Fear River. We hopped on our bikes and headed over for the day.

Southport stole our hearts. But that could have been due to the perfect sunshiny day with a mild breeze, 70 degree temps and we had arrived before tourist season. A perfect day for a bike ride after riding the ferry.

Passing the Southport Ferry while crossing the river.

Old Baldy Lighthouse built in 1817

We came upon the Old Burying Ground as we entered Southport.
Not long after the English began building Fort Johnston at Southport in 1745, a
small community began to develop around the military garrison near the mouth of the Cape Fear River. Ships coming into the river needed pilots and the protection of the fort
offered an ideal place for harbor pilots to settle. They were joined there by traders and

The little village at Fort Johnston needed a place to bury its dead and it was not long before the
first graves were prepared in what is the Burying Ground. By the time
the community was designated the town of Smithville in 1792, the little cemetery had
already been in existence for a number of years.

Monuments in the cemetery honor some of the most notable individuals in American
history, among them Governor Benjamin Smith, for whom Smithville was named. Born in 1756, Smith served valiantly in the American Revolution under the command of General George Washington.

Another notable monument in the cemetery honors General Robert Howe. Also a noted officer of the American Revolution, Howe served in both the Deep South and under George Washington in New York and New Jersey.

The Old Smithville Burying Ground is also a place to gain a true sense of the often tragic
relationship between Southport and the waters of Cape Fear. On a Friday the 13th (April 13, 1877), the pilot boat
Mary K. Sprunt disappeared into a severe storm and was never seen again. Five men lost their lives in the wreck, three of them related by marriage. Monuments stand to their memory in the ancient cemetery.

The old Burying Ground also contains the graves of Confederate soldiers and others who lost their lives in the service of their state, country and community. The local community treasures the cemetery and it is an important part of local history and legend.

A great day for a farmer's market with music.

Boat pilot tower
For more than 250 years, the tower served as a watch tower for river pilots. The tower watchman was responsible for sending river pilots out to help ships navigate the entrance of the Cape Fear River.
Modern communication systems made the tower obsolete

More historic homes

A place to ponder
 We spent some time at the State's Maritime Museum. The maritime history of the lower Cape Fear River, and contains a detailed collection that covers shipwrecks, piracy, the Civil War, commercial fishing, hurricanes, and a number of other natural and manmade events that have left a permanent mark on the North Carolina coast

This periscope went through the top of the building allowing us to see across the bay.

Lunch at the Provision Company was suggested by the visitor's center lady. We sat and watched the boats entering Cape Fear River from the Intercoastal Waterway as we enjoyed our seafood. Over our days along the coast, we had some great shrimp and grits, shrimp and crab cakes and other tasty seafood.

On our drive to Virginia, we stopped in Asheboro, NC at a cute RV park. We only wanted electric and water since we were only there for one night. They placed us all alone on the lower end of the campground near the creek. It was nice to walk along and listen to the water but I knew there was a storm predicted and was a little leery even though we were above the water. In the night the heavy rain waxed and waned. At one point, I couldn't tell if the swooshing sound was the water or wind in the trees. Mike actually took the flashlight out and checked the creek when the rain eased to make me feel better. At 3am our phones got a text for a tornado warning.  The next morning, the creek was 3 times fuller than the night before but we were good and bid our adieu before the next predicted round.


  1. I love exploring old cemeteries!! So much history in the Old Smithville Burying Ground.
    You can't be too careful with all the flooding around the country. Glad you were safe!!

    1. The weather and spring storms in the southeast are nothing to ignore. The tornado hit about 50 miles north of us.

  2. Yay Mike for going out and checking on the flooding! Eric would do the same. Our heroes. :-)) Biking and taking the ferry is my idea of a good time. We've done that several places (San Francisco, New Orleans, Lopez Island). So much fun. The farmers' market and music, too!

  3. I am not sure if he was being my hero or just wanted me to go to sleep. I vote Hero! I agree about the good time on a ferry.