A Look Inside the Little Red Mailbox on the Outer Banks
You can never hear enough inspirational stories about hope, can you? In our opinion, the world needs more messages of hope—so here's one for you straight from the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Located at the recently renamed Hope Access at Glenmere Public Beach Access in Kill Devil Hills, near Mile Post 8 on Virginia Dare Trail, is exactly where you'll find the Little Red Mailbox (LRMB)—a small beacon of hope with a really big message.
Let's take a look inside.
Hope Resides in the Little Red Mailbox
The Little Red Mailbox is a special place on the beach where messages of hope are exchanged to and from those who need it most.
When you walk up the wooden deck of the Glenmere Beach Access, you'll see gorgeous ocean views ahead of you just beyond the gazebo, and to the left of that you'll see a bright red mailbox set atop a piling with black lettering and a red flag.
When you open the door, there is a journal with some pens ready and waiting for you to share your thoughts, or for you to find a little inspiration for your day provided by the entries of others who have been there before you.
The LRMB just had a makeover, in fact. Just a couple of years of salt, sun and sand can wear on you (in a good way, of course). The formerly weathered Little Red Mailbox made of steel, established in July 2014, has been upgraded to a shiny new aluminum one with a fresh coat of paint.
The red paint is almost as bright as the hope you'll find inside—and as you know, it's what is on the inside that matters most.
History of the Little Red Mailbox on the OBX
So how did the Little Red Mailbox come into existence? It was the idea of its creator, Sue Goodrich, as a way to help her deal with her mother's unexpected passing, while also helping others who may need a little help getting through the ebb and flow of life and its many seasons.
"Dear Hope,” Sue writes on the first page, "The angels listen softly to your heart and carry your hope on their wings.” It’s her call to anyone who passes by to share their stories and messages of hope.
According to Sue, the reason for the mailbox’s popularity is simple:
"I really think that just like me, everyone needs a little help, no matter what phase of our lives we are in. So many people told me that if I put the mailbox up, to watch out for what people might do to it,” she said. "But that hasn’t happened. Everyone treats it with respect.”
The spot on the beach where the LRMB is located has always been a place for Sue to reconnect with
herself, her thoughts and the beauty of the sea. The beach has a way of calming the mind, soothing the soul and providing peace, doesn't it? So it seemed natural to put the Little Red Mailbox there.
Because of the positive response, the town has designated a physical address for the mailbox so that no matter where people were, they could always send a note of hope 365 days a year. The message Sue hopes to send with the new address is this:
"Even if you are not near, the Angels (the little red mailbox) do hear.”
Sue’s husband Eddie donated the gazebo and other improvements at
the access in 2004. More improvements have been made at the site,
including the installation of a bench—making it the perfect place on the Outer Banks for reflecting on life, watching the sunrise or just closing your eyes, breathing in the sea-salt air, and listening to the symphonic sounds of the OBX beach that surround you.
Messages of Hope from the LRMB
Sue shared that she has a long list of entries that she holds close to her heart, and speaks affectionately of one man who visited the mailbox so regularly during a difficult period in his life that a special journal was made for him. The dialogue between him and strangers in the journal for several months helped pull him out of despair, she said.
"I love that Sue was inspired to start the Little Red Mailbox and that she chose her favorite beach access for it,” said Kill Devil Hills Mayor Sheila Davies. "I believe the Little Red Mailbox and the hope and inspiration it protrudes is a testament to the special people who are part of the fabric of our wonderful town.”
When we recently talked to Sue in preparation for this blog post, she shared the story about a teacher from Virginia who saw the Little Red Mailbox on social media. Eighth-grade English teacher Stacie Holzberger from Rockingham County public school in Harrisonburg, VA, and her fellow teaching colleagues thought it would be a wonderful writing project to have their students write a note of hope to the LRMB. Stacie will have those notes with her on her own journey to the Little Red Mailbox and plans to deliver them when she is in the Outer Banks this month. The timing couldn't be more perfect, since the date of the her arrival coincides with Sue's beloved mom's birthday.
"The signs from my Mom in heaven... I can't wait to meet her [Stacie] and read the children's notes of hope."
Photo Credit: Roy Edlund, theobxbeachbum.com
The Best of the Little Red Mailbox
The Town of Kill Devil Hills Facebook page just started featuring a Mailbox Monday post where you can catch a glimpse of the letters and notes of hope from past journal entries written in the Little Red Mailbox.
You can also visit the Little Red Mailbox on Facebook for your daily dose of inspiration from the Outer Banks.
So next time you're in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, be sure to stop by Hope Access in Kill Devil Hills and see the Little Red Mailbox for yourself. Everyone has a story, why not share yours? We hope you do!
Have you been to the Little Red Mailbox on the OBX? It's open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on the Outer Banks.