Under an awning of cypress trees, the gravel Secondary Road 1500 in Bertie County meets the edge of the Cashie River at a wooden gate with a rusted sign: ''Blow Horn for Ferry.''
Sans Souci Ferry is a cable ferry located on the Cashie River in Bertie County, North Carolina. The ferry is operated by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The ferry is located on SR 1500 south of Windsor, NC.
The Sans Souci Ferry has operated in some form or fashion since at least the 1800s. It wasn't until the 1930s that the state Department of Transportation took over operations of the ferry and has operated it ever since. The ferry is not considered part of the state ferry system which operates ferries along the immediate NC coast. The NC cable ferries are considered inland ferries and are operated by regional DOT divisional offices instead of the NC DOT Ferry Division.
The ferry differs from most ferries in that it is literally driven, or one could say guided, by a steel cable that is stretched across the river. The cable is secured on each end of the river by steel posts and as the ferry crosses the river, the force of the boat, with the help of rollers on the side of the boat, pulls the normally submerged cable out of the water. The cable is permanently secured to the ferry and allows for the boat to not stray off course in normal river currents. The ferry only carries two cars at its' maximum and does not operate in high water conditions or storms for the threat of the cable snapping in treacherous conditions is too great. Persons wanting to ride the ferry that happen to be on the opposite side of the river than the ferry must blow their horn to summon the ferry, which adds to the charm of this rural icon. The trip across the river takes roughly 5 minutes and saves a drive of about 20 miles.