Jan Risher -

Taking a long drive, especially for a family vacation, is on my Top Ten list. On the other hand, to take a long car ride, you just load up, jump in and go. Granted, you have to be able to read a map, but even that has gotten easier with smart phones. As our 10-year-old daughter pointed out last week, “With the map on the phone, we don’t have to figure out where we are. It just tells us.” I’m not certain if such ease is a good thing or not, but it does simplify the process of figuring out if you took a wrong turn.

But, back to long car rides…

As much as I like taking any ole road trip, taking one to a place I’ve never been climbs even higher on the list.  When the destination exceeds expectations, I do a little happy dance for days.

Bald Head Island has prompted a drawn-out happy dancing.

I had never heard of Bald Head Island before I came across it in looking for a beach rental a couple of months ago. It’s a tiny island off the coast of North Carolina. Though soldiers in both the Revolutionary and Civil War used it for camps, barracks and the site of a hospital, it wasn’t developed until the late 1980s. These days, visitors take a 20-minute ferry ride to the island that doesn’t have permit any automobiles — and that’s the detail that seems to differentiate it from most every other place I’ve ever visited.

Quaint paths and near-silent golf carts give the whole place a different character. It’s so beautifully quiet. As I was heading to the beach one day, I was trying to identify just what it was that made the moment so lovely. I realized the only things I could hear were footsteps, waves and katydids.

Now that’s a vacation.