Moonlight excursions to Carolina Beach bid fair to the “immensely popular.” The trip up and down the river is delightful, and the large pavilion at the beach is a splendid place for dancing. The Passport carried down another large party last night.
The day excursions are a source of great enjoyment to very many persons. The ride on the river by steamer and across to the beach by rail, with a stroll on the magnificent beach, a fish and oyster feast and a cup of excellent coffee at Capt. Bache’s restaurant, seem to fill up the measure of enjoyment for most of the visitors, for very few have yet ventured on surf bathing, the greatest pleasure that the place affords and for which the facilities are unequalled anywhere on the coast. The surf comes tumbling in for miles; the beach is broad, almost level, so gentle is the slope to the sea, and as firm and smooth as a floor. Dressing rooms for the convenience of bathers have been erected on the beach, and it will not be long before the people who frequent the place find out what they were set up for.
The fresh water lake is a pretty sheet of water and decidedly a novel feature for the seaside. At one point, not far from the pavilion, it is within a stone’s throw of the ocean. It is about a mile wide, three or four miles long, and is said to have no outlet. It abounds in fish and alligators are by no means scarce. A gentleman who spent a day there this week shot an alligator about four feet long, on the shore of the lake and caught another—a larger one—with a set-hook; but the monster broke loose while his captors were dragging him into a boat.
A few years ago the coast from this point to Fort Fisher, two miles below, was lined with the wrecks of blockade runners that had been beached to escape the Federal cruisers. All but one of these have disappeared, and this lies close in shore and affords good fishing ground for sheephead. Farther out are famous banks, easily reached by boat, where pig-fish are caught in abundance.
Carolina Beach is already a leading attraction; some day it will be famous.
[ The Wilmington Morning Star – Wilmington, NC — June 4, 1887 ]
Its Beauties, Its Uses, Its Advantages
Fifteen mile from this city on the banks of the ocean, is situated the above resort which is daily, rapidly, and deservedly growing in popular favor. Fifteen miles did you say? Then how is it reached? Stepping aboard the Passport at her wharf at market dock you soon find yourself gliding down the Cape Fear and enjoying the breeze as it fans the cheek and tumbles the hair. Place after place of interest is passed, and the sights one sees along the banks of the river are of such variety as to make the trip a charm in itself. One hour is hardly spent on the steamer when there is a cessation of the monotonous throbbing of the engine and the boat moves slowly to Harper’s Pier. Where the pleasure seekers disembark to find in readiness a train of cars awaiting to carry them to their destination. These cars are made after the manner of cars used at Coney Island, and are convenient and commodious. A ride of five or six minutes through a level and interesting country, filled with flowers and green shrubbery, brings you in full view of the ocean and lands you at what is destined to be the most popular resort on the coast, Carolina Beach!
Evidences of thrift and industry are seen on every hand. Out of the sand houses have arisen, and a spacious pavilion, with smooth floors which invite the dancer, stands ready for the reception of guests. Bathing houses, conveniently situated, are erected, and a surf which beggars description rolls and tosses at your feet. The shore is hard and as level as a ball room floor, and so gentle and sloping is the incline that the swimmer can easily and without danger penetrate beyond the breakers, and on the slow and graceful curves of the advancing waves drive the dull cares of everyday life away. Opposite the beach are wrecks of blockaders, and he who is fortunate enough to find a day so calm as to allow him to reach them, will find the merriest sport with hook and line and sheephead that the Atlantic coast produces; and just beyond the wrecks are the far famed blackfish grounds, whose reputation for numberless fish has enticed many landsmen to visit them, but who have paid for their cupidity by rendering their account to old ocean and their tribute to the fish.
About a quarter of a mile from the pavilion, within one hundred yards of the ocean, but in striking contrast to it roar and dash and crash, nestles a quiet little lake, asleep in the tender and surrounding arms of budding tree and bush. It is a lovely place. Quiet and peace are its companions. It lives there by its little self, as if in dumb astonishment at the noise the ocean makes and seems to say, “Calm thyself, O Sea! I am happier than thou.” This lake, we are told, abounds in fish, and the lazy alligator suns himself on its banks. Boats have been placed on it and a sail on an inland sea can be had at will. It is in itself well worth the time and expense it takes to visit it.
Time will not permit a longer sketch of this delightful resort. It is a place that Wilmington has needed for years. The situation was choses, the houses built, the equipment of the road secured by home talent and home enterprise, and it is managed and directed by men whose qualifications and whose determination to make it a success need no comment. As a place where men of business can find diversion of sport and diversion of thought; where children may be carried and benefitted by the salt air baths; where men can spend a day or half a day and enjoy the pleasure of the surf; where picnic parties can have real “picnic” times; where giddy youth can whisper sweet nothings or nothing sweet to his companion, it cannot be surpassed. It is the coming place, and we say, “Let her boom,” and if that phrase is too much of an innovation to the carpers and croakers, we will substitute the vernacular of the young but not despondent Carolinian and say, with the honesty and sincerity of these undaunted spirits, “Let her go, Gallagher!”
[ The Wilmington Morning Star — Wilmington, NC — Sunday, June 5, 1887 ]