Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mailbox at the Beach - An Excursion

It's no secret that I live on the coast. (Blog title sorta gives that away!) It may, however, be a secret that I live very close to Wrightsville Beach, about 5 minutes away and over the drawbridge. It's a cute little place, very cozy and home-y in the off season, and a perfect summer beach in the on-season. It's your typical coastal, island town.

Our beach has a mailbox *somewhere* on it. I'm not going to tell quite where, as it will add to the mystery. ;) But it's a mailbox with a set of wooden steps on a certain area of the beach, and there's something really ... neat there. I'm not going to give THAT away yet either, but you'll find out, as yesterday morning I decided to finally head out there and see if I could hunt this place down.

There really isn't much about this mystery locale on the internet, so what little information I had I'd gathered up from Google searches and a local magazine that published a small article on it last year. (Yes, I still had the back copy of that mag. And coincidentally enough, the local news also posted a small story on the mailbox that can be found when Googling now, although they don't give away the location! ;) So I grabbed my camera to document my adventure, hopped into the car, and headed out!

I made it! The public access was somewhat empty this morning, so I managed to get a shot of it. It was also REALLY bright out this morning, so I did a little post-processing on most of these photos so the colors would pop more. :)

Ahh, a nice clear sunny day! This area of the beach isn't a real popular 'touristy' area, so it was quiet, clean, and awesome. It's also not really 'tourist season' yet, so we'll see how it gets in a month or two!

I couldn't resist taking a photo of a few shells. :) I was also here to pick up some shells and sand for the winner of my giveaway, so it was a multi-purpose trip! Nothing wrong with digging around in the sand once in a while...

Ah, the beach! I love the beach! The water was pretty nice today, and I was wishing I had brought my bathing suit, beach chair, and book... maybe next time, though. I was here on business this time! And I had a ways to walk too...

This little guy was happy to point me in the right direction... and also to remind me, KEEP OFF THE DUNES! He was really noisy, and it was so funny to see him sitting on this sign, honking away, that I came up from the shoreline to take a photo.

Taking a break... aaaaaahh. I had been walking for a -long- time at this point! (A sidenote; after my excursion was over, I realized that I actually parked a lot farther away than I had to. Oops!) So I took a break to try and snap a photo of some relaxing seagulls. This guy seems kind of wary; actually, it was hard for me to get close without them standing up and walking away!

... Okay, almost there now... I think...

I knew I was almost there when the people started to dwindle to a few lone wanderers, and I stumbled upon this bird sanctuary. It was roped off, so I took this photo over the ropes. What a sweet place for the beach birds to nest... :)

Now I *know* I'm almost there, because I'm at the very end of the island! I took this photo across the inlet, of the big fancy houses on the other side! Aaahhh, that's the life. :) I was amazed how much bluer the water was here, likely because it's shallow.

... Okay... walk a little bit more ... turn around and ... !!

I found it!!!! Nestled in the dunes is a mailbox with a set of stairs -- they weren't always this short, the stairs used to be a full set, but the sand has covered nearly all of it. So now the steps are more of a seat. :)

And I have to admit, I feel AWFUL that I didn't get a shot from farther away of this, because it looks so cool. I turned around from taking the last shot of the sound to see this almost behind me, and I was overwhelmed with giddiness and almost childlike excitement that it totally slipped my mind.

It really was like a treasure hunt, because this place has been here for years but you really have to go a bit off the beaten path to find it, a little bit of an adventure. :) It was exciting and exhilarating to get out there and experience the sun and the sand along with searching for something iconic yet tucked away from the majority of people that visit the beach. Something special for sure.

But okay, back to the photo adventure!

You can see on the face of the mailbox door, it's scrawled with, "LEAVE A NOTE". And it has a cool starfish handle! The mailbox itself wasn't very large, probably a little bigger than my camera bag. I opened the door...

... and there it is! A notebook and pens, just ready for you to leave a note. :)

I don't know who exactly maintains the mailbox (although I have a hunch), but there is always a fresh notebook in here with some pens for people to write down their thoughts, pour out their hearts, or just draw a nice little picture. Here is what I wrote...

Not the most profound or mind-boggling, but it's true! I'll tell you though, earlier in the week I had worked up in my head what I was going to write in here, but once I actually got out here it all seemed to have fallen out of my head and so I had to go the impromptu route. ;)

The notebook is like a Postsecret, but a little bit neater I think. I sat here for about 20 minutes and flipped through the book, just reading. Some people had written pages upon pages of what they were going through at the time, some just a few words. Grief, sadness, fear and worry, to happiness, elation, joy and hope -- emotions spanned the gamut in this little book, and I couldn't resist photographing a few other entries.




It was nice that there really weren't a lot of people around (granted, it was about 11:00 am on a Thursday) so I could take my time and relax in this little haven. I had such a blast flipping through this notebook, and wondered who was collecting them all and replacing them with new ones... wouldn't that be fun...?

It's become something of a tradition to leave seashells behind at the stairs. This tree was covered in them, some attached by ribbon, some attached by string. Larger ones that couldn't be hung up were left on the sand and scattered around the stairs.

Here are some more shells, and the surfboard here... I don't know if that's always here, or if it was left recently. Either way, it's pretty neat. :)

Ta-da! This is the best photo of me I could get as a photographer without a tripod on a really sunny day! ;) I kinda like it, I think it mirrors the mystique of all of the notebook entries by only being a shadow.

All right, time to get out of here... wait, one more shot of the ocean!

Ahh, that's better! NOW I can go!

I hope you enjoyed my adventure of seeking out this little local treasure. I was happy to finally get out there and look for it; I had been meaning to for some time. And now that I know where to go, I'll surely be back for more in the future. And if YOU ever happen to be in the neighborhood, drop me a line, and I'll take you there! :)


Krysten @ After 'I Do' said...

That is SO COOL! I need to come visit you so you can take me there! What a sweet little thing - that notebook would be so interesting to read.

Amanda said...

That is so random and cool! :) Did there used to be a house there, you think? What a little adventure!

Gnetch said...

Wow, that's so awesome. The mailbox is so cute. I wish we have something like that here. But on second thought, if we have that here, it wouldn't last. The notebooks and pens would likely be stolen by some random kid. LOL

lifelove'n'wine said...

What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing this. The photos are beautiful and made me want to go to the ocean right now. I love the warm sand on my feet, the hot sun on my skin, and the smell of the fresh, salty air. I want to find this mailbox if I'm ever there!

Gabby said...

Okay, this is really cool!

Such a little hidden gem just waiting to be discovered. I wonder if we have something like that around here.

You should definitely make a digiscrap LO about it! I miss seeing your forays into it! You should join some digiscrap forums. I'm now part of the design team for -- come over!!!

BTW, I don't know how you don't go to the beach EVERY day to swim, hang out, relax. I would. I love the beach. This is so beautiful and I am very jealous! I wanna be there!!!!

PS -- I would love a handwritten note. I think you should still have my addy! ^_^

nando.gino said...

what a great story you have, and i like what you wrote on that note..simple yet meaningful. And wow to the ocean...

Standy said...

Take me there if I ever get the chance to visit you in the future. It's so beautiful.

Lady Banana said...

What a beautiful beautiful place.

How lovely that no one actually pinches or spoils the notebook, it's wonderful!

Luna said...

i love it. what a nice idea to leave notes there. that beach looks great. i live near the beach but with work i never have much time to go. i love your pics, just beautiful.

JessRaquel said...

That is so awesome! What a great trip, makes me want to live by a beach even more now! I hope I can find something cool like that someday!

Tazim said...

love the beach, too - fun looking trip! I like the idea of that hidden notebook in the mailbox.

Jenny said...

I'm not sure why but this post made me feel all emotional. I love that someone maintains this so people have a place to pour their hearts out. What a lovely gift of a place and an emotion.

Shelley Ann said...

1. i would love the visit wrightsville beach! its the setting for most of nicholas sparks book...ah how luck you are!

2. love the picture! they are all gorgeous!

3. that mailbox notebook is too cute. its such a wonderful idea!

4. i really miss the beach now...just got back today, but i wish i was still there!

WebSavvyMom said...

-->I love this! I had no idea this existed. We're heading to OBX for our annual vacation even though we live at the beach. Anyway, we're not going that far south but it's always nice to know about if we ever do make it down that way.