People and Places with Pierce: The Sans Souci Ferry


WINDSOR, N.C. (WNCT) – “It’s very relaxing,” said David Hunt, owner of Hunt’s Enterprises Inc, a company contracted to operate the Sans Souci Ferry.

“They really enjoy it,” added Willie Lee, an operator of the San Souci Ferry.

“People love the experience,” said Doug Mizelle, transportation supervisor for Roadside Environmental Division 1.

It’s a smooth ride that gets rave reviews from thousands every year, but it’s one that you may never have heard of before.

“The Sans Souci Ferry has been in existence since the early 1800’s,” explained Mizelle. “DOT took it over in the 1930’s and has been maintaining it themselves or operating it by a contractor ever since.”

“It’s like a 12 mile drive down so when you get to the end of the road and you see this, it’s unexpected,” said Hunt.

“There are three left in the state,” said Mizelle. “This one is driven by a diesel engine and it has hydraulic props that drive it to and from, back and forth, across the river. It’s basically steered by a cable that as the ferry goes to each side, the cable lays back down toward the bottom of the river so it’s out of the way of navigating boats coming by.”

So just how many people use this ferry every day?

“Average we’ll say 10 to 15,” said Hunt. “Some days it’s slow. More toward the beginning of the month.”

“My GPS led me here,” said Derrick Rascoe, a Windsor resident using the Sans Souci Ferry. “It’s convenient because instead of driving all the way around it just takes you right back down to Windsor. I like it.”

The ferry may not look like much but believe it or not, it cuts about 24 miles off the trip to and from the town of Windsor for locals. For people coming from out of town though, it’s the history, the charm, and the beautiful scenery that draw them in.

“Everyone that comes down here loves the scenery of it,” said Lee.

“It pulls people in from all over the state,” added Mizelle. “They want to come and see the Sans Souci Ferry.”

“I came down here and fell in love,” said Hunt.

“One lady came from as far as Missouri and had never crossed before and she really enjoyed it,” said Lee.

“The only noise you’ll hear is the ferry motor running to take you from side to side,” said Mizelle.

“There’s no place like Sans Souci,” added Hunt.

Sans Souci is a French word meaning without worry, carefree. This place certainly lives up to that name.

The ferry is scheduled to go out of service for 6 to 8 weeks in mid August 2017 for maintenance work. Click here to go to the DOT TIMS website to check the status of the ferry. Select the “Northern Coastal” region then click on the “Incidents” tab to see if the ferry is out of service.

Pierce is always looking for interesting and unique people and places to visit. If you have an idea, send him an email or a message on Facebook or Twitter.

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