Photos from 6/14 – Revisited 5/15
We have long been vacationing in the Ocean Isle Beach/Sunset Beach area of North Carolina, and I’m hoping to live in the area in the near future. Sunset Beach is our favorite beach; it’s quiet, it’s peaceful, and parking is free. This is a far cry from the Jersey beaches I used to live near.
A few years back I heard things here and there about a hidden mailbox somewhere on Sunset Beach. A mailbox on a beach sounds odd enough, but then throw in the fact that it’s a good 1.5 mile hike to get to it. Needless to say, my curiosity had been piqued. Why was it there and what was its purpose? So one morning I decided to attempt to find this reclusive mailbox, armed with little more than “walk down the beach til you’re almost in South Carolina” (Sunset Beach is right by the state line).
So I walked and I walked. For some reason, 1.5 miles seems significantly longer on the beach than in the woods, probably because the scenery doesn’t change all that much… and you can see very, very far ahead of you, and it never looks like it’s getting any closer. Eventually I saw a flagpole behind a sand dune and knew my goal had to be nearby.
I walked around the dune and found my prize.
So what’s inside? Not a geocache, surprisingly, but letters. Lots of letters. A few notebooks filled with people’s reflections – joy, woe, anger, and everything in between – are what’s inside. For decades, people have been walking to this remote, uninhabited part of the beach to write of their triumphs, regrets, and fears, and leaving them in the mailbox to share with others. I wrote a letter to my wife and then 7-month old daughter.
My wife and I decided to renew our vows at the mailbox the following year. Just a few days before we walked out to it, we saw the mailbox on the front page of the local paper. It had been damaged by a hurricane just days earlier, but people had already gone out and repaired it.
CBS News has an excellent article and video that shine more light on the history of the Kindred Spirit Mailbox.