This Old Coast Guard Tower Could Be the Ocean Hideout of Your Dreams - Atlas Obscura

This Old Coast Guard Tower Could Be the Ocean Hideout of Your Dreams

North Carolina’s Frying Pan Tower is for sale.

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Bone-tired travelers might consider a stay-over in a bed-and-breakfast. These accommodations tend to be cozy, sometimes tilting towards twee and verging on pastoral—maybe some birds tittering on a porch, stately trees shading paths or flower beds, or wind rippling branches.

But the Frying Pan Tower isn’t your typical B&B. What this unusual structure lacks in graceful trees and rambling paths, it makes up for in storied weirdness and blue views: It’s on a platform above the choppy Atlantic Ocean, more than 32 miles off North Carolina’s coast. And if you’re looking for a vacation as endless as water lapping toward the horizon, you can bid to buy the place. It’s up for grabs now, with a starting price of $10,000.

The Coast Guard installed the Frying Pan Tower in the 1960s as a light station, a more permanent structure to replace a ship and buoy that reminded boaters to tread carefully through the hazardous shoals of Cape Fear. (Many ran aground and sank: The area is rife with shipwrecks.)

The Frying Pan lightship and tower, photographed in 1965, once warned ships to take it easy on the shoals.
The Frying Pan lightship and tower, photographed in 1965, once warned ships to take it easy on the shoals. U.S. Department of Defense/Public Domain

It was retired in 2004, and the current owner, Richard Neal, bought the property from the U.S. government in 2010 and transformed it into a bed-and-breakfast. Now, he’s trying to offload the eight-room structure to another crew.

The digs aren’t especially luxurious, and getting to the site involves a bit of trekking: Travelers either have to reserve a seat on a helicopter, or charter a boat. (You can tie up to a mooring buoy nearby.) But maybe that’s all part of the charm for some weary mariner looking for a place to drop anchor.