Ernest Hemingway once said the best way to explore France is on a bicycle. He could have said the same thing about Southport.
The beautiful, picturesque town of Southport is a great place to ride a bicycle. The Adventure Company, 807-A Howe St. in Southport, is taking advantage of the situation.
The outdoor equipment business announced its Historical Southport Bicycle Tours.”The guide takes you to historic buildings and tells you about previous owners, she gives you a lot of the history of Southport and shows you a lot of plant matter,” said Jane Henderson, an Adventure Company employee. The tour includes locations like Southport’s old jail and cemetery in the route.
Although Southport’s history dates back several hundred years, the Old Brunswick County Jail is a part of the town’s more recent past. It was built in 1904 and used by law enforcement officers until 1971. It houses two cells with four bunks each. The first jail in the area was built in the 1820s complete with stocks.
Bicyclists might remember the jail from the movie “Crimes of the Heart.” Sissy Spacek was incarcerated there after she shot her husband, played by Beeson Carroll. It also appeared in “American Gothic” and “Summer Catch.”
For even juicier history, the Old Smithville Burying Ground offers plenty of good stories. Smithville is the old name of Southport, used up until 1886. Some interesting people buried here include General Robert Howe. Visitors will also see a memorial for Revolutionary War soldier and state senator Benjamin Smith, for which Smithville was named.
Of course, even without the great stories, a bicycle ride through Southport is a treat. There is usually very little traffic. The streets are lined with elaborate Victorian homes and shaded with oaks draped in Spanish moss. A cool breeze always blows off the Cape Fear River where small boats bob up and down in the waves and the occasional massive tanker ship plows by.
Each tour will last 1 hour. Tour fee $15.00 Bring your own Bike and Helmets Required! Tour fee and bike rental – $20.00 (limited number of bikes available.) Participants must pre-register by calling The Adventure Company at 454-0607