There’s a reason people often use words like enchanted and magical to describe forests. Tucked among lush foliage, especially under a canopy of live oaks, you can feel as if you’ve slipped into another, more mystical world.
Covering 173 acres in the center of one of the most beautiful barrier islands on the East Coast, Bald Head Island’s maritime forest preserve is surely one of the most magical of all.
In addition to the aforementioned stately live oaks, Bald Head Woods is populated by a remarkable variety of vegetation, including laurel oaks, red cedar, American holly, yaupon, wild olive and catbrier, all protected from the ocean’s salt spray by the forest canopy.
An impressive range of animals and birds thrive in the forest, too, including Carolina wrens, cardinals and painted buntings, plus migratory species such as catbirds, towhees, blue jays and twenty-two species of warblers.
The same forest canopy provides protection for the homes that are nestled in this enchanted environment. During storms, the trees act as a buffer from the wind and salt spray, creating an obvious maintenance advantage, as well as an undeniably cozy atmosphere.
The environments that host island homes range from oceanfront to dune ridge, Harbour Village to salt marsh, and golf course to maritime forest, each with its considerable charms. The forest, however, may be the most unique for a coastal home, as Bald Head’s maritime forest is without rival on the Eastern Seaboard. Inspired by the surroundings, many of these homes feature custom wood finishes and features. Design cues may come from the variety of hues in the woods and foliage, from textures that range from rough bark to delicate ferns, and from fabrics that mimic and complement nature’s patterns.