We were about to leave the island when Capt. Palmer informed us that there was still another annex connected with the fish hatchery plant that we must see. On inquiring of the Captain what his additional show was he informed us that the building was used for the hatching and raising of what he called “allegories and these doggone snapping turtles.” We inquired what sort of a fish an allegory was and he informed us that it was as he reckoned some sort of half fish and half snake grown in the swamps of Florida. However we found the exhibition in the annex very interesting. We were informed by the man who was in charge that his alligator pens were out of commission just at present, but showed us bushels of “them there snapping turtles” of all sizes from a ten cent piece to a silver dollar, of the so-called diamond back terrapin variety, which are used when they reach a proper commercial size for making soups in the first hotels and restaurants in the large cities. We made up our minds however that we would not take soup on our plate if it by chance had any of the flavor of that prison pen for mud turtles.
One of the stocks in trade, in fact an important asset of Beaufort, is its so-called Beach Ponies, consisting of about 25 or 30 small ponies about one size larger than the Shetland brand, that are essentially as wild as any wild horse. They have pre-empted and practically own a small island situated about one mile out in front of the city and live there the whole year around and can be seen any hours during the day either quietly feeding or running and racing up and down the beach in plain sight of the people of the city of Beaufort. Their capers offer a continuous show especially to all the people who visit the city. These strange animals are not overlooked but usually receive some mention in all communications describing that watering place.
Extending from Bogue sound inlet nearly or quite to Beaufort inlet, a distance of about 25 miles, is located a long strip of land, Bogue Island. It is densely covered with large tree growth, mainly yellow pine, but due to its location and from the fact that its east or sea shore is washed by the warm gulf stream which brings a warm current of air, its climate is subtropical and compares favorably with the Indian river section of Florida. In fact shrubs and trees such as palms or palmettos, rubber trees, and also native orange trees are found growing among the pines, making the island a veritable jungle except in places where it has been cleared and cultivated. One would scarcely believe it but as a matter of fact the average temperature of the island is at least ten degrees warmer than the main land on the west.
Having been given a letter of introduction to the gentleman, Mr. John Royal, by my friend Dr. Irving Bacheller, who became acquainted with Mr. Royal during the two winters Dr. Bacheller sojourned at Beaufort for his health. Mrs. Ives and myself were promptly invited to spend a day with the Royals at their home on the island some eight miles seaward from Beaufort. In fact they sent their motor launch over to the city for us.
We were met at their dock and escorted up to their camp by the whole family of Royals and were royally treated while there, and while Mrs. Ives visited with the ladies and talked about Christian Science, Capt. Royal and I talked business. After an elaborate luncheon had been negotiated we were invited to take a walk across the island to the sea shore, which we eagerly accepted. All went with not a single woman left behind, on foot of course. Mr. Royal had caused to be cut out and cleared up foot trails for miles around his camp, one of which was kite shaped in form, over to the beach one mile, up the beach one mile and back to camp one mile. We made it, ladies and men, apparently as easily as walking around the square via Town Hall at Potsdam, very likely stimulated by the glorious ocean breeze which has an exhilarating effect similar to a dose of champagne.
But when we had arrived and climbed the great sand dunes, like breastworks guarding the seashore, and looked out onto old ocean’s broad expanse as far as the eye could reach in either direction, and viewed its hard white shell-covered and wave-washed sand beach, and had braced up and breathed in old ocean’s nectar of the Gods in great doses, I am prepared to say that as a lover of nature and woodman, I have never seen a more heart-lifting, getting-next-to-nature, making a man open his lungs to drink in deep draughts of health-giving ozone with the flavor of the pine, and “thank-God I was alive” place than the ocean beach opposite Mr. Royal’s place on Bogue Island.
Our return trip to Washington was over another route than our advent to wit, over the Norfolk and Southern Railway to Norfolk, thence to Washington via steamboat. We very much enjoyed this trip but time and place will not admit of a description. We desire to add however that we can recommend the trip as on of the most pleasing one on this continent.
Martin V.B. Ives