Figure Eight Island: A Private, Peaceful, and Pedigreed Hideaway
Figure Eight Island, like much of the Carolinas, once belonged to royalty. Today, this highly exclusive private island is still home to royalty of sorts, Hollywood royalty. Figure Eight Island has attracted noteworthy celebrities and politicians for decades. The guest list reads like a veritable Who’s Who--Dino De Laurentis, George C. Scott, Robert Wagner, Jill St. John, Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, Alan Alda, Debra Winger, Nick Nolte, Kim Basinger, Alec Baldwin, John Travolta, Vice President Al Gore, Senator John Edwards, Leonardo Di Caprio, and Outcast have all enjoyed the solitude and privacy of the island.
But, don’t let the impressive roster of names fool you. It is the homeowner who remains “king” on Figure Eight Island. In fact, legend has it that Barbara Streisand’s request to film select scenes for The Prince of Tides on the beach of Figure Eight Island was denied. It would have been too disruptive for the residents, the island’s Homeowner’s Association informed her manager.
This 1,300 acre island is only accessible to approximately 450 island landowners and their guests via a guard-operated swing drawbridge (the only privately owned bridge on the Intracoastal Waterway). Once on the island, it’s more about what you won’t find than what you will find: there are no hotels, condos, shopping centers or commercial businesses, just a series of breathtaking multi-million dollar beach homes that span a five-mile stretch of traffic-free road.
Some say it’s the island’s ultra-exclusive status; others credit its natural beauty. No matter the reason, everyone agrees that Figure Eight Island is special spot that inspires intrigue, mystique, and a touch of envy.
Lifestyle and Leisure on Figure Eight Island
Indeed, it is the pristine, placid, and low-key nature of the island that appeals to both its residents and elite visitors. For years, much of beautiful Figure Eight Island was uninhabited and isolated. In fact, the only residents of the island were maritime wildlife and wild horses who roamed the sandy dunes of this coastal community.
Because of its private nature, Figure Eight Island is an ideal place for wildlife. In fact, the island’s name reflects the crooked paths in the marshes of Rich’s Inlet Creek. The Homeowners' Association is active in its conservation, monitoring and protecting area sea turtles and other endangered plants and animals on the island including piping plovers, sea beach amaranth, and marine mammals. Nesting and migrating birds are frequently seen by birdwatchers on Figure Eight Island. Water lovers often spot schools of dolphins from the beach.
Ask any celebrity who has lived on Figure Eight Island, and he or she will insist that real “star” is the unspoiled white sandy beach with crystal-clear waters. The area that surrounds the five miles of beach boasts tidal flats that are perfect for swimming, boating, fishing and kayaking. The private beaches are also an ideal spot for shell-seeking excursions or meditative walks.
The tranquility of the natural setting is further enforced by community speed limits (15 miles per hour on the bridge and 10 miles per hour in the clubhouse parking lot) which help to set the tone and pace on the island. Development has been limited to a yacht club, a marina, tennis courts, and a boat ramp.
In fact, it’s easy to forget that just minutes beyond Porter’s Neck Road, one finds the vibrant bustling communities of Porter’s Neck, Hampstead, Ogden, Wrightsville Beach, and Wilmington, NC. Residents of Figure Eight Island like to say: "Cross the bridge, drive along the causeway, and the rest of the world melts away..."
Retirement on Figure Eight Island
Figure Eight Island is the ultimate retirement retreat: ultra-exclusive privacy and security in a perfectly pristine locale just minutes from the amenities and conveniences of Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, NC. Although Figure Eight Island remains untouched by commercial properties, every amenity one would need is conveniently located nearby.
Retirees are drawn to this peaceful oceanfront community and the surrounding conveniences just five miles away. The award-winning architecture of the homes on Figure Eight enhances the rich natural splendor of the island. Indeed, what was once referred to as “North Carolina’s best-kept secret” is now the “glittering jewel of the Carolina coast”.
The temperate climate, peaceful surroundings, and calm waters are also a big selling point for those seeking an idyllic location in which to enjoy their golden years. During summer months, temperatures usually fluctuate between the 80s and 90s, with July being the hottest month. During the short winter, temperatures average in the 40s but sometimes dip into the 30s. The rest of the year brings pleasant, mild temperatures in the 60 to 70-degree range. While Figure Eight Island hasn’t sustained significant damage from a hurricane since 1999, you should be aware that it can potentially lie in a storm’s path.
In short, Figure Eight Island is a highly coveted oceanfront community where one can enjoy retirement (and beach living) at its finest: inviting waters, soothing sands, picturesque surroundings, no tourists, no traffic, yet all of the amenities that Wilmington and New Hanover County have to offer.
Real Estate and Housing on Figure Eight Island
Figure Eight Island features breathtaking, unique private homes designed by award-winning architects. You won’t find any cookie-cutter floor plans here. The island properties aren’t only gorgeous thanks to flawless design; they also feature spectacular ocean, sound or marsh views. This makes homes on the island sought after by production crews. Figure Eight Island was used as a film location for the popular TV show, Dawson’s Creek, but perhaps the most famous Figure Eight film location was the prop home close to the south end of the island, used in the 1991 film Sleeping with the Enemy starring Julia Roberts.
The oceanfront homes designed for the panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean range in price from $1.9 to $6 million dollars. Homes on the sound side of the island appeal to boating enthusiasts and range in price from $2 to $4 million dollars.
Local architects John Oxenfeld and Haywood Newkirk Sr. designed the islands’ early houses. Architects Ligon Flynn, Henry Johnston and landscape architect Dick Bell were later brought in to set the tone for what would become Figure Eight Island as we know it today. The marina building’s open, contemporary design earned Ligon Flynn an honor award from the state chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Flynn and Johnston designed in a way that would preserve the island’s huge oaks and natural maritime forests, giving birth to the "treehouse" design for which the architects are so well known. This design garnered Johnston an award from the N.C. Chapter of American Institute of Architects.
Although a number of the homes on Figure Eight Island function as year-round residences, other properties are used as second homes and luxury vacation rentals. This favorite hideaway of celebrities and politicians can be your hideaway too. If you would like to join ranks with America’s “royalty” and be one of the select few to own a piece of Figure Eight Island, please contact us today. We look forward to helping you make a home in this tranquil, non-commercialized seaside haven.